S. Military Using B-52 Bombers, F-16 Fighter Jets, and Drones to Reshape Afghanistan; Push out Taliban
Military warfare is a subject that flies by my head on most occasions. I don’t know much about it, and I’m not well-versed in the world of tactical operations. But there is something to be said about a recent report that revealed the U.S. Air Force using B52 bombers, F-16 fighter jets, and drones to literally reshape the terrain in Afghanistan with the goal of doing away with secret mountain passes that can be used by militants and extremists.
Veteran’s Day Special – Military Vehicle Video Compilation
Today is Veteran’s Day, and from all of us here at TopSpeed, we would like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the men and women serving in our country’s military. In recognition of this day, we put together a list of videos that feature modern military machines, including a list top American transport vehicles, the new Oshkosh JLTV, the hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 undergoing testing, and even five military vehicles available for purchase by civilians.
If you’re looking for a way to show your appreciation, Military.com has a list of suggestions to check out. You could also donate to a veteran’s charity organization, such as Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, or the USO. Or you could just say “thank you for your service” to a veteran.
Continue reading to watch the videos.
General Motors Launches New Military Defense Division Called GM Defense
The U.S. Military now has a new supplier of vehicles and futuristic technology. General Motors announced its creation of a special division within the company designed to cater to military hardware, designed both by GM and in conjunction with the specific needs of the military. It’s called GM Defense LLC and is already working with the U.S. Army and Navy with at least three projects. According to a report by Automotive News, GM officials say GM Defense is "helping GM better anticipate and react to the diverse needs of global aerospace and defense customers."
GM Defense’s latest project is SURUS, or the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure. The hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicle is fully autonomous and has a nearly limitless number of configurations thanks to its flat top designed to accept various accessory components like personnel cabs, cargo containers, and even mobile command and hospital pods. Preceding SURUS is GM Defense’ hydrogen fuel cell-powered Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a modified Colorado mid-size pickup designed as a support vehicle for the U.S. Army. Both SURUS and the ZH2 boast silent operation with no smells or emissions, which are perfect for sensitive combat operations.
Continue reading for more on GM Defense LLC.
Memorial Day is all about celebrating our Armed Forces and remembering the high cost of freedom. Countless American lives have been lost in the continuing fight for freedom and independence. Today, we honor them in the best way we know how – by taking a look at the U.S. Military’s current mobile hardware.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is built by Lockheed Martin as a “lightweight” vehicle designed for widespread use throughout the military. It serves as an armored troop carrier that’s resistant to light arms fire and roadside IEDs commonly found on today’s front lines. Unlike up-armored Humvees and the heavy MRAPs, the JLTV doesn’t suffer from poor driving dynamics and off-road performance. This helps keep our boys protected while on the move, regardless of terrain or outside conditions.
Despite the JLTV’s 14,000 pound curb weight, the vehicle is light enough for both the CH-47 Chinook and CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters to airlift, giving the vehicle an added level of transportability. Also adding to the JLTV’s list off accolades is its relatively low cost and good fuel economy, along with its reliability and low logistical support costs.
Sure, the JLTV might not have as memorable a name as the Humvee, but this bad boy is one of the best solutions to keeping our troops safe while keeping them on the move.
Continue reading for the full run-down
Husky MkIII Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector
Celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868. Before the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions celebrated on different days had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while serving in the military. As usual, we here at Top Speed celebrate Memorial Day by having a closer look at the vehicles used by the U.S. Army, and especially those that were conceived to protect the lives of our brave soldiers. One such vehicle is the Husky MkIII Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector.
Developed in the 1970s for the South African Defense Force, the Husky Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector (VMMD) has been sent to clear military convoy routes in just about any major armed conflict around the world, including the Middle East, Africa, and Southern Europe. Dubbed "Chubby," the system received several upgrades throughout the year, now being sold as the Mk III. Although Critical Solutions International has developed a second-generation, Husky 2G model, the first-gen based MkIII continues to be popular among armed forces around the world.
That’s far from surprising given that the vehicle is blast survivable, field repairable, and has been subjected to more than 6,500 landmine and IED strikes with minimal operator casualties. These skills enable the Husky MkIII to not only protect the operator controlling it, but also provides safe passage for military convoys in the most dangerous environments around the world. While most military systems are built to destroy buildings and harm human beings, the Husky Mk III was created with the sole purpose of protecting those who risk their lives on a daily basis.
Continue reading to learn more about the Husky MkIII Vehicle Mounted Mine Detector.
In honor of Memorial Day, we’re taking a look at a selection of military hardware and vehicles, including some of the latest technology deployed on the modern frontlines. The iRobot Warrior is one great example. Designed as a multi-mission, unmanned ground vehicle, or UGV, the Warrior is a flexible utility robot capable of tackling dangerous situations without placing U.S. soldiers in direct danger. It’s produced by the Massachusetts-based iRobot Corporation, which just so happens to be the same company that makes the Roomba, that vacuum disc you see cats riding around on the Internet. But the Warrior isn’t a joke – this machine is a highly versatile battlefield asset capable of saving lives.
Developed in part thanks to a multi-million dollar contract with the Army Tank-Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, there are multiple iterations and configurations of the iRobot Warrior, including the 710 and 710 Kobra. Read on for the details on this modern slice of combat-ready tech.
Continue reading to learn more about the iRobot Warrior.
Quick Drive: Jeep 75th Salute Concept
Everyone knows Jeep’s long and storied history began with the onset of WWII. The original Jeep, the Willys MB, was the answer to the U.S. War Department’s need for a lightweight, go-anywhere reconnaissance vehicle. Willys-Overland developed the design, while Ford assembly lines helped meet production requirements. Fast-forward 75 years to 2016, and Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep division built a one-off commemorative recreation of the MB using the modern Wrangler. The result: the Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute. And thanks to the 2017 Jeep Beach gathering, the Salute and I stormed the beaches of Daytona, Florida, some 4,300 miles east of Normandy.
There were no mortar shell or .30 caliber rounds whizzing by, but the 75th Salute and I were shot with plenty of stares, pointing fingers, and camera shutters. The Jeep certainly commands attention, especially juxtaposed to the sea of shiny Wrangler JKs with 20-inch chrome wheels and LED light bars. The Salute stands out in its simplicity, armed only with a hemp recovery rope for an accessory. Even that was standard issue in 1941.
Jay Leno Goes Ultimate Bad Ass In The USSV Rhino GX: Video
Presence. Do you wanna be seen? Do you wanna drive around in something that can blot out the sun like it’s a solar eclipse? Then U.S. Specialty Vehicles has what you need. Say hello to the Rhino GX, a seven-foot tall, eight-foot wide, 9,600-pound, quarter-million dollar slab of America ready to roll over anything in its way. Based on the Ford Super Duty F-450, this thing is rocking custom steel body panels, composite fender flares, and custom-made forged one-piece wheels, all of which lend it a military-grade aesthetic that’s sure to turn heads. The suspension is new as well, with hydraulic components replacing the stock set-up, but the drivetrain and engine are both factory fresh with a 6.7-liter powerplant and 4WD grip. It’s also 100 percent street legal, and offers impressive opulence and space in the cabin, all of which Jay Leno gets to experience firsthand in this episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
“This is great for dropping your kid off at soccer practice, if your kid’s on the prison team,” Jay starts the video. Hit play and you’ll get an in-depth look at how U.S.S.V. puts these things together, and what it’s like to bash around on the streets of Los Angeles. The video also features the Rhino XT, a modified four-door Jeep prototype that was featured in ‘The Fate of the Furious.’ Rhino is ramping up production of the XT now, blessing it with a supercharged V-6 engine, larger Toyo tires, and more of those custom forged wheels.
If Self-Driving Cars Are Scary, how do you Feel About Autonomous Fighter Jets?
It wasn’t long ago that we heard about F-16 fighter jets functioning as drones to serve as realistic targets to help fine tune new weapons integrated into the F-35 fighter jet. But, that just wasn’t enough for old Uncle Sam, and now Lockheed Martin has announced that an F-16 drone as not only successfully flown in formation with a manned F-35 but planned and executed an air-to-ground assault and then returned to formation once its mission was complete. What’s really crazy, however, is that the F-16 drone also identified an air threat, engaged in combat, and then proceeded to complete its original mission.
That’s right! Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force has teamed up and can now modify an F-16 fighter jet to not only fly on its own but engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground combat all on its own. It can assess threats as they come and deal with them accordingly all on its own. Reportedly, the drone makes use of Lockheed’s advanced collision avoidance system to ensure the safety of other manned aircraft in formation. Captain Andrew Petry of the Air Force Research Lab said, “We’ve not only shown how an Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle can perform its mission when things go as planned but also how it will react and adapt to unforeseen obstacles along the way.”
This is a big deal in more ways than one, so keep reading to learn more.
The U.S. Marines Get a New Toy to Play With
The Marines have been trying to get their hands on a new amphibious combat vehicle, and back in 2015, one of the companies to deliver on that desire is BAE Systems. The company, along with its partner IVECO Defence Vehicles, was awarded a contract worth $103.7 million dollars to develop a new, go-anywhere ride for our boys. The vehicle is known as the ACV 1.1, and the first one has been delivered for testing that will start in the first quarter of 2017. This new vehicle is based on a platform provided by Iveco Defence Vehicles but is said to provide superior protection and improved survivability for its passengers over anything the Marines currently have in this type of vehicle.
Powering this beast is a 700-horsepower broot of an engine that will make the ACV 1.1 faster and torquier than the Assault Amphibious Vehicle that is currently in use. According to BAE Systems, it can haul a total of 13 Marines in suspended seats along with an additional crew of three that handle operating this crazy machine. It is an official 8x8 vehicle, which means power is delivered to every wheel for the all-terrain goodness that our defenders need to go anywhere safely and securely. It can be deployed at sea, and crawl over just about any type of terrain our rocky, water-covered planet can throw in front of it.
To protect the men and women that this thing will undoubtedly haul into less than favorable situations, all other specifications are highly classified. So, don’t expect to learn much more about it. There will be a total of 16 prototypes delivered for testing next year, and BAE systems is confident that the Marines will find them and their state-of-the-art systems to be on point.
Adopt a Veteran: GovPlanet Auctions Surplus Military Vehicles
You may have spent countless hours on eBay or Craigslist searching for an awesome new-to-you vehicle. Many times, the selection is a bit thin and worse for wear. However, there’s one auction website where the inventory is always full and low-mileage deals can be found all day. It’s GovPlanet.com
GovPlanet is an online auction house for used surplus military hardware ranging from utility trailers and armored Humvees to military-spec construction equipment and generators large enough to power a Forward Operating Base. Most of the equipment is in fair to good condition and everything comes with GovPlanet’s “Ironclad Assurance,” which is their way of certifying the equipment was professionally inspected and the results are listed in the auction. Large photo banks accompany each sale, so there’s no guesswork. What’s more, there’s no shady seller trying to con you out of money or some guy who’s going to rob you at gunpoint when you show up at the Wal-Mart parking lot to swap cash for a car.
GovPlanet is actually part of a larger operation called IronPlanet, which specializes in selling privately owned heavy equipment like bulldozers and dump trucks. Both GovPlanet and IronPlanet host weekly online auctions and have a shipping company standing by for delivery.
There are tons of really good deals to be found. A quick search found 1987 M998 Humvee with only 3,000 miles on the odometer with a reserve price of $3,500. If quality is what’s desired, stuff like the 2000 M1123 Humvee pictured above can be had. It only has 61 miles and looks like it just rolled off AM General’s production line.
Even if you’re not in the market for military surplus equipment, any gearhead could spend hours pursuing through the vast array of auction items.
2016 Chevrolet Colorado ZH2
Nearly a month ago, we told you about General Motors’ partnership with the U.S. Military’s Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center to build and test a fuel cell vehicle for use in military operations. Well, GM has debuted its hydrogen-powered pickup and it’s called the Colorado ZH2.
As you can imagine, the truck is based on the Chevrolet Colorado. The ZH2 nomenclature is a play off the Colorado’s (or more historically, the S-10’s) off-road package, the ZR2. With its R swapped for an H, this hydrogen-powered truck is designed to test the capabilities and limits of a fuel-cell vehicle in off-road, wartime-style environments.
“Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further,” said Paul Rogers, director of TARDEC. “Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further.”
The speed Rogers is referring to is the time TARDEC gave GM to come up with this truck. From contract to concept, the project has happened in less than a year. That’s nearly light speed when it comes to government operations. From this point, the Colorado ZH2 will undergo a year’s worth of evaluation and demanding rigors to determine if hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have a future on the battlefield.
So what’s the big deal about fuel cell technology, you might ask? This propulsion system is nearly silent in operation, it offers a reduced thermal signature, has high torque thanks to its electric drive, offers low fuel consumption, and even creates water, which can be utilized in the field by soldiers.
There’s plenty to talk about here, so keep reading for the full run-down.
Continue reading for the full review.
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.
As we celebrate Memorial Day and its significance to the Country and those who died to protect it, we’re reminded of the mechanized portion of our military. Patrolling war-torn zones is never a safe for mundane task, so our Military’s police force requires a specialized vehicle for the job. That’s this – the M1117 Guardian armored security vehicle.
This light-armored, four-wheeled monster has been in service since 1998. The U.S. Military currently operates around 1,700 examples, with variations on the same theme. These variants offer specialized service rolls from armored personnel carrier with seating for eight, to an armored ambulance, command vehicle, recon vehicle, mortar carrier, and even a recovery vehicle.
In its basic form, the Guardian requires a three-man crew and has room for three troops. It comes armed with several small and medium arms, including an automatic grenade launcher. When the opposition fights back, the Guardian offers protection from light arms up to 12.7-mm armor-piercing rounds. It’s even got an air filtration system that protects its occupants from chemical and biological attacks. While it offers a high level of protection, the Guardian is susceptible to heavy artillery and nuclear weapons. We’ll give it a pass on that last one.
So in honor of our military’s mechanized members, check out the Guardian’s details below.
Continue reading to learn more about the M1117 Guardian.
Oshkosh Logistics Vehicle System Replacement
Let’s face it; the U.S. Military gets involved anywhere it is needed, and the unfortunate reality is that a lot of the time those enlisted are putting their lives on the line. The soldiers on deployment often deal with some of the harshest environments and circumstances imaginable, as does the equipment they use. One such piece of equipment is the Oshkosh Defense Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR,) that has somewhat recently replaced the original Logistics Vehicle System.
The LVSR has been in service in the Middle East since late 2009 when Oshkosh sent the first example to Afghanistan to assist the U.S. Marine Corps in early October. It is designed to haul cargo, trailers, and even act as a wrecker when properly equipped. What’s more, Oshkosh sends out Field Service Representatives, who work side-by-side with our troops to offer training and support for these vehicles when needed. With a payload capacity of 22.5 tons (45,000 pounds) on-road and 16.5 tons off-road, the LVSR is a pretty mean machine.
When the first LVSR was deployed to Afghanistan, Andy Hove – President and Executive Vice President of Oshkosh Defense – said, “The fielding of this vehicle in Afghanistan is a significant milestone for both the U.S. Marine Corps and Oshkosh Defense. The LVSR expands on the capabilities of the LVS, which has been an integral part of the Marine Corps fleet for nearly 25 years, to negotiate and overcome the most challenging environments, including those found in Afghanistan.”
So what exactly is an LVSR and how does it help the troops? Well, we’ll talk about that a little bit in our review below. So grab yourself a beverage and let’s learn a little about it.
Continue reading to learn more about the Oshkosh Logistics Vehicle System Replacement.
M9 Armored Combat Earthmover
Perhaps the name “Earthmover” is a sign of what this highly mobile armored tracked vehicle can do. Officially called the U.S. M9 Armored Combat Earthmover, the M9 is a highly mobile, armored, amphibious tractor, dozer, and scraper that took the field for the first time in 1986, serving in a number of important battles for the U.S. Army, including the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq.
The M9 is neither an attack vehicle nor a defensive one. But it is capable of supporting forces in both operations by performing such jobs as digging hull defilade fighting positions for guns, tanks, and other battlefield systems to increase their effectiveness and ultimate survivability. It’s also capable of preparing anti-dank ditches, combat roads, access routes on bodies of water, and remove roadblocks in the event of such predicaments.
The M9’s track record in service has proven to be a boon for the U.S. Military. It’s still in service today, thanks in large part to a long history of effectiveness in the battlefield where it’s versatility in performing a wide variety of missions helped immensely in keeping pace with the operations.
Close to 500 units of the M9 are in U.S. service today and are prominently used by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps.
Continue after the jump to read the full review.
Humvee Replacement Delayed Thanks to Legal Skirmish
U.S. Military troops must now wait even longer before Oshkosh Defense’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, the replacement for the aging Humvee, is ready for service. This comes after Lockheed Martin filed a protest against the Army’s decision to award Oshkosh with the JLTV contract. The protest, which eventually turned into a full lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, pushed final testing and military approval of the Oshkosh JLTV back some four months, subsequently causing the program to miss testing windows with the Army and Marines.
Now the JLTV program will be delayed even further, according to Thomas Dee, the deputy assist secretary of Naval Expeditionary Programs and Logistics Management. “A 90-day delay grew into about six- or an eight-month delay just because of the difficulty of rescheduling a test phase that we were going to do, which then impacts the decision date for the full-rate production decision; which, in turn, puts our funding out of phase for the JLTV program ... which then allowed us to take a look at the time difference between the completion of testing and that whole rate production decision, and it ended up stretching out IOC (Initial Operational Capability) about a year,” Dee said at a Senate Armed Services Seapower Subcommittee hearing.
Dee went on to say the program’s new schedule is sequenced to accommodate testing and logistics development before the JLTV move on for its final testing for the military, called the Multi-Service Operational Testing and Evaluation. This final testing is currently scheduled for February 2018. Only after that will Oshkosh begin to produce the JLTV on to meet its low-rate initial production contract with the U.S. Government to 16,901 vehicles, which will cost the U.S. taxpayers $6.7 billion.
Continue reading for more information
Drifting cars are awesome. They bring some joy to my life. But you know what’s better than drifting cars? Drifting tanks and Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAVs)!
Check this video out: that’s the United States Marine Corps. performing joint exercises with the Norwegian Telemark Battalion in the wintry landscape of Norway. Part of this training apparently involves driving tanks and AAVs in frigid environments. And, as the video so awesomely demonstrates, the sight of these 60-plus ton machines of warfare performing drifts is pretty incredible.
I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it is to drive normal cars in conditions like this, but a tank and an AAV? Forget about it. This is some specialized skill we’re watching here. It may look awesome from our perspective because we only get to watch it, but for those guys, this is the kind of skill that could play a huge role in winning a battle.
Much respect to these fellas.