Want to Drive a Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux? Better Talk to Uncle Sam
The global Ford Ranger, along with the Toyota Hilux and Land Cruiser 76 and 79 models aren’t available in the U.S. thanks to safety and emissions regulations. However, the U.S. Military has secured a contract with an Ohio-based company to upfit 396 of the trucks and SUVs with armor and communication equipment for duty in regions where the vehicles are commonly found.
It’s the perfect form of camouflage, actually. The enemy is far less likely to spot a Land Cruiser than a Humvee or MRAP.
The contract is between the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida and the Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio. The five-year contract is worth $170 million for as many as 556 vehicles. According to Military Aerospace, 396 of the vehicles will be armored with the remaining 160 vehicles retaining their OEM looks.
Battelle will add various levels of crew protection like armor, along with stronger suspension and braking systems, frame and body reinforcements, and run-flat tires on special wheels that can withstand small arms fire. Infrared lighting for blackout mode will be included, along with C4ISR equipment, otherwise known as command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment. These upfitted vehicles will mostly consist of the Land Cruiser.
It will be a while before these vehicles see combat, however. Battelle will need time for developing the specialized add-ons for these specific vehicles. The prototypes then have to pass the military’s grueling evaluation process and qualification testing. At that time, the government may issue delivery orders for production. Yep, none of this is set in concrete. Battelle expects to have the contract finished by 2023.
Continue reading for more information.
BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Meritor Defense have been working on a military project dubbed the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program in an attempt to manufacture a lightweight vehicle that the U.S. armed forces can use anywhere in the world. This project had yet to be officially proposed, as its equipment was still in the developmental phase, but as of today, testing is over and the proposal is to be submitted.
You may be wondering “what does this have to do with production cars?” The driving force of this new military device, which is ultimately the replacement for the Humvee, is shared with one of the best-selling pickups of all time, the Ford F-Series SuperDuty. Yup, this large-caliber-gun-toting machine will come fitted with Ford’s now famous 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine.
The exact specifics of the engine have not been released, so we are not certain if this will be the same 6.7-liter you would see under the hood of a 2012 F-250 SuperDuty. Unfortunately, that will likely never be known, but we do know that the Power Stroke engine is up to the task, pumping out an impressive 400 horsepower at 2,800 rpm and 800 pound-feet of torque at 1,600 rpm.
This will likely end up similar to the Allison military transmissions vs. civilian models deal. The Power Stroke’s basic technology will remain the same, but the engine will be highly modified for combat usage. If the military accepts this design as one of the three it will select, this could mean that the Power Stroke could see much advancement in upcoming years, as the military tinkers with the engine and Ford mimics the modifications. This also means that we are in for a slew of “Ford’s so good, we power military vehicles” styles of commercials, oh boy.
On a semi-ironic aside to this announcement, Ford was once a part of the JLTV program, but dropped out earlier. We guess there are no hard feelings between Ford and BAE.
Hit the jump for the official press release.