Uncle Sam isn’t waiting.
While civilians in the U.S. wait for a return of the Ford Ranger–presumably for model year 2018–U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is instead opting for a global version of the truck that will be prepped for battle by Battelle, the world’s largest non-profit research and development group.
Since 2013, Battelle has been transforming Toyota Hilux pickups into battle-ready trucks for SOCOM, according to foxnews.com. That contract has now been extended five years and amended to include Toyota Land Cruisers and Ford Rangers sold overseas. Several hundred trucks will be produced through the $170 million deal.
Even if a Ford Ranger was currently parked in dealer showrooms in the U.S., the chances are slim that SOCOM would even buy them. Why? The goal is to make the trucks appear as normal as possible in foreign countries without giving away the fact that they’re equipped with armor plating, sapphire-reinforced glass and run-flat tires. Steering wheel location and other differences could giveaway the truck and attract attention.
But still, having been stuck in L.A. traffic jams with gun shots sounding off nearby, the idea of having an armor plated truck sounds comforting…and heavy.
The Dyneema plates and special glass will add thousands of pounds, foxnews.com reports. As a result, the drivetrain and suspension will have to be beefed up to handle the extra load.
It’s nice knowing that U.S. personnel will be better protected in these trucks, the most bad ass versions of which will withstand large-caliber firearms and IED shrapnel.