Saturday, July 7, 2012

10 Best Military Vehicles 2012

The HMMWV is so last conflict. Take a look at the latest wheeled ordnance—from here and abroad—that some of the world’s militaries are using. Beige never looked so bad-ass.
The DPV is basically a Volkswagen-powered dune buggy with guns. What’s not to love? Oh, yeah, Navy SEALs kick ass in these, too. Built by Chenowth Racing Products, which has previously constructed Class 1 Baja buggies, the DPV will go 80 mph with two soldiers strapped into its buckets. There are newer buggy-type attack vehicles, but this is the original.
The Dingo’s manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, of Munich, Germany, calls this Unimog-based truck an “all-rounder,” but there’s barely a round thing anywhere on it. It can carry up to eight soldiers for missions ranging from patrol to ambulance. Germany is the Dingo’s largest adopter (possibly because of that nation’s love of sultry styling). And no, it will not eat your baby.
The hateful, fork-armed alien robot in Transformers, code-named “Bonecrusher,” was based on this minesweeping six-wheeler. In reality, the sifting fork of the Buffalo A2 is much smaller than that of the fictional Decepticon. With the Buffalo’s remote-control 30-foot arm, its crew stays safe behind tons of armor while clearing mines. It weighs 75,000 pounds and has a 12.5-liter Caterpillar diesel engine.
“MGS” stands for “mobile gun system,” aptly named because one of this eight-wheeler’s three-man crew has a finger on the trigger of a 105-mm autoloading cannon that is not that different from the original armament of the M1 Abrams tank. And he can fire one of those monster shells every six seconds. A 7.62-mm machine gun and a 50-caliber machine gun handle less fortified threats. The Stryker is capable of 60 mph and shooting on the move. Other variants include an infantry carrier capable of transporting a nine-man squad.
When the Army or Marine Corps need to move a 67-plus-ton M1 Abrams tank, they call upon the HET (Heavy Equipment Transporter) to get the job done. With a 700-hp, 18.1-liter diesel, this beast can reach 50 mph. One version, the M1070A1, has two steering axles to aid maneuverability. The HET is the vehicle Sylvester Stallone’s character from Over the Top wishes he drove.
The LVSR is what’s known in the business as a heavy tactical vehicle. “Heavy” because, in wrecker form, this 35.5-footer weighs 67,600 pounds; “tactical” because of its integrated armor and fully independent suspension. If you’re counting, that’s 10 independently suspended wheels. Jeep Wranglers weep in its presence.
Picking up where the HMMWV left off, this go-anywhere, multi-mission-capable, 13-plus-ton behemoth is the new face of U.S. forces. Since 2009, the Pentagon has awarded Oshkosh contracts valued at $4.5 billion for 8800 M-ATVs. Powered by a 370-hp, inline-six Caterpillar diesel, the M-ATV comes in one of six configurations ranging from a tactical ambulance to a special-forces vehicle equipped with infrared driving lights so that night-vision–equipped operators can advance undetected.
If you can get over all the obvious French-car jokes, the VAB is pretty cool. This troop transporter can be fitted with two impellers (the pods at the rear corners) that turn it into an amphibious assault vehicle, albeit a slow one, even if it’s capable of a quite-respectable 65 mph on dry land. Its ZF transmission is in the same family as the automatic in Hyundai’s Genesis coupe.
“RT-2UTTKh Topol-M” is actually the designation for a Russian intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), but the 16-wheeled mobile-launching platform carrying it is made by Belarus-based MZKT. Just one of these ICBM warheads has roughly 38 times the destructive force of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in World War II.
Capable of fording water three feet deep, the HMT 400 trades full-enclosure protection from small-arms fire for maximum visibility and all-terrain performance. It’s used by the U.K.’s army, and while we’re not military strategists, the idea seems “at sixes and sevens” to us.

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