A Glimpse of the Future
March 31, 2007
In Fort Lewis, Washington, soldiers are receiving an opportunity to test the future of military vehicles. Currently being tested are two utility trucks and two maneuver sustainment vehicles. The testing is part of the Army’s $60 million program to modernize its aging tactical fleet for the challenges of today’s missions.
The vehicles are only in concept stages, but just like the civilian automobile industry it allows a glimpse of the future. The vehicles all are equipped with remote weapons systems, night-vision capabilities, and enough strength to sustain the concussion of a roadside bomb.
Tim Connor, a Defense Department contractor who oversees the project, brought the vehicles to Ft. Lewis on Wednesday. He brought them here so soldiers could get there hands on them, “to play with and try to break ‘em.”
Unlike traditional vehicles, which often don’t have enough protection for the dangers soldiers in Iraq face, the concept vehicles are outfitted with many high tech upgrades. They also include ballistics glass, video cameras and touch-screen controls.
The two utility trucks are comparable to a Humvee. The difference, the new vehicles are more heavily armored, have bigger wheels and are designed to sustain a blast from beneath the carriage. The new vehicles also feature quieter hybrid diesel/electric motors.
The trucks will remain in Washington through April. The Marine Corps. plans to put the vehicles through its own set of test during the last two weeks of April. After that they will go on display at the Pentagon.