The Indian Army has ordered 1,239 6x6 cross country MAV cargo trucks from Indian firm Tata. Each vehicle will cost $117,000. Tata is a major truck manufacturer and offers many models. Their 6x6 cross-country models tend to carry up to five tons off road and 7.5 tons on roads. The army models will have a crane built in for quick loading and unloading. The MAV driver compartment has heat and air conditioning and the vehicle is built to handle dirt roads and cross country operation. The MAV can do up to 40 kilometers an hour on dirt roads.
The U.S. Army has depended on a similar vehicle, the 8x8 HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) since the 1980s. These cost about $300,000 each. The American army has nearly 14,000 of these eight wheeled vehicles, which form the backbone of its transport force. HEMTT is similar to most heavy trucks used by Western armed forces. HEMTT come in five different configurations, the most common being the cargo carrier (ten tons carried in the truck, plus another ten tons in a trailer) and tanker (10,500 liters/2500 gallons). The vehicle weighs 19 tons empty, have a max speed of 90 kilometers an hour and a range (on one tank of fuel) of 480 kilometers (less if moving cross country.) There are also 2,000 HET (Heavy Equipment Transporters). These are 42 ton semi-trailers that can carry up to 70 tons. Their main job is hauling M-1 tanks long distances. But HETs can also carry supplies, and often do. The latest HEMTTs (the A3 model) use their diesel engine to drive a generator, which produces over 100 kilowatts of power. Normally, this electricity runs electric motors that move the truck. But put the truck in park, and the power is available for other uses, like powering a military base in a remote location. In 2005, a HEMTT A3 prototype was sent to New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina hit, and provided power for a hospital. This new “Propulse” technology is being installed in other models of army trucks as well.
The smaller Tata MAV vehicle has many capabilities similar to those found in the much costlier HEMTT. The cross-country capabilities are particularly important because the Indian Army is preparing to defend thinly populated areas of the northwest that are claimed by China. These areas, on the border of Tibet, have few paved roads and not many unpaved ones either. The MAV will be very useful in places like this.