What happens when you cross a
hummer with a mountain goat? You get ELSORV (Enhanced Logistic Off-Road
Vehicle). It looks like hummer, but performs like civilian cross country
vehicles with unbelievable agility. It is based on a similar vehicle designed
for SOCOM (Special Operations Command) over the last five years. That vehicle,
SRATS (Specialized Reconnaissance Assault and Transport System) weighs 3 tons,
uses an upgraded hummer engine and is 14.6 feet long (versus 15 feet for a
hummer). It can carry four passengers, plus six more on outriggers. Payload is
two tons, including passengers.
remarkable thing about SRATS and ELSORV is the running gear, which enables it
to climb over rocks, at up to an 80 degree angle. The basic design goal of
these vehicles is to be able to go anywhere an infantryman can climb or
scramble to (as long as there's a space large enough for the vehicle to get
through). On a road, or any other hard surface, the vehicles can go up to 140
kilometers an hour. The main differences
between the two vehicles are that SRATS, as befits a Special Forces vehicle, is
an open cab, while ELSORV is closed, and has less carrying capacity (1.3
tons). Both vehicles are also good at
crossing soft sand, and can be equipped with an armor kit that protects against
7.62mm rifle bullets.
ELSORV vehicles are being tested in Afghanistan, where soldiers driving them
are amazed at the agility of the vehicles. Some SRATS vehicles are already
being used by SOCOM operators. SRATS was developed with help from DARPA, and as
part of an effort to design the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle).