Some of the world’s most iconic vehicles are in line to fit the bill for a US defense contract that would provide low-profile but battle-ready field vehicles to special operations troops.
According to Military Aerospace, the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has placed an order for several hundred Toyota Land Cruisers, HiLuxes and Ford Rangers to be modified in order to provide special operations forces with both armored and unarmored vehicles for special missions.
The contract was awarded to the Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute and is worth a cool $170 million over a five-year program. With as many as 556 vehicles slated to be made (396 armored and 160 unarmored), SOCOM may order fewer of the modified vehicles if they so choose.
Mostly using the Robust Toyota Land Cruiser and HiLux platforms that have won the hearts of vehicle enthusiasts around the globe, the battle trucks will look like stock vehicles but sport new armor, communications equipment, run-flat tires, better suspension and other upgrades to improve both versatility and survivability in hostile environments.
Due to the widespread availability of the vehicles around the world, the vehicles will have a fair degree of parts commonality with lookalike indigenous vehicles and will allow operators to maintain a low-profile while rolling through hotspots around the world.
The new SUVs will go through an extensive review and approval process before being assigned to a SOCOM vehicle lot. After testing is complete, the government may issue delivery orders for full-scale production.
Battelle will do the majority of the work in Columbus, Ohio and is scheduled to complete work by July of 2023.
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