Fun Trucks Friday armored edition: The best defense is a good offense

There’s nothing fun about armed conflict, and there’s way too much of that going around lately. While we here at Fun Trucks Friday are a peace-loving bunch, we also know not to take the family 4×4 to a tank fight. So this week, let’s have a look at some recent hard working war-truck developments.

(These vehicles beg the question: Do the people who design war machines for a living watch video games and say, “We can build that, can’t we?”)

RUN AWAY, NOW: It’s probably got a cooler name in Hebrew, but then again, the CombatGuard armored vehicle (Slides 1-4) from Israel Military Industries doesn’t need macho moniker. It’s branded quietly but carries quite a big stick, quickly and anywhere.

“The 4×4 wheeled vehicle is designed to negotiate extreme harsh terrain with agility, speed and lethality,” states the matter-of-fact IMI news release ahead of last month’s Eurosatory international defense and security exhibition in Paris.

The eight-ton vehicle can carry 3,000lbs. of payload, powered by a 300hp diesel engine. Its maximum road speed is 90mph-plus. Customized 54-inch wheels help enable the CombatGuard to ford water obstacles up to five-feet deep and climb vertical obstacles up to 31 inches – in forward AND reverse.

The protected hull accommodates six or eight fully equipped troops along with modern, advanced weapon systems. The modular design allows for different levels of protection, including from advanced threats such as EFP (explosively formed penetrator, for those who don’t keep up), land mines and blast. CombatGuard can also be equipped with IMI’s ”Bright Arrow” – an active protection system integrated with the vehicle’s optional remote controlled weapon station.

Let’s take it for spin.

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YOU FIRST. NO, YOU: Also at the big show in Paris, Oshkosh Defense demonstrated its TerraMax Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) technology. Attendees observed an Oshkosh MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (Slide 5) equipped with TerraMax UGV and a mine roller autonomously navigating a course that simulates military route clearance missions.

The technology enables military leaders to remove personnel from leader and/or follower vehicles traveling high risk routes and provides greater standoff distance from explosive threats.

TerraMax UGV can readily adapt to account for mine rollers, ground penetrating radar and other emerging systems used for the detection, disruption and pre-detonation of explosive hazards.

OCUTroops can be trained to operate TerraMax-equipped vehicles in only a few days, as the technology is designed to support rapid deployment. The user-friendly TerraMax operator control unit enables a single operator to supervise multiple autonomous vehicles, as well as provide follower vehicles with over-the-horizon situational awareness.

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HOW TOUGH ARE MARINES? So tough, the robot follows them into battle. This one, also with an understated nickname, is GUSS, or Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (Slide 6).

Developed by TORC Robotics, the technology allows for GUSS-equipped ground support vehicles to be controlled remotely or autonomously.

Still early in the experimental phase, the U.S. Marine Corps is looking at the sensor-guided system for medical evac, to deliver supplies over dangerous territory and to lighten the load of boots on the ground.

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