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Toys

New and Improved - SmarTruck II 329

jmoriarty writes "The Army's next generation SmarTruck is on display in Detroit. The original version of the SmarTruck was covered back in May, but the Army now admits that version was 'hardly ready for the real world'. Apparently the real world version needed interchangable nodules, and the absolute must-have for every Slashdotter's vehicle - a 'hacker in a box'."
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New and Improved - SmarTruck II

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  • heh (Score:4, Funny)

    by kin_korn_karn ( 466864 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:16PM (#5040670) Homepage
    but can bill murray drive it back from eastern europe?
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:19PM (#5040698)
    "The Army's next generation SmarTruck is on display in Detroit..."

    Thought we had a Star Trek parody here.

    "Mr Data, when I said 'Fire at Will', I didn't mean for you to be so literal."
    • by schon ( 31600 )
      This is obviously a movie parody (note the roman numerals in the title..)

      "SmarTruck II - The Wrath of Saddam"

      Hmm, doesn't quite have the same ring as "Wrath of Khan"..

      I wouldn't watch it anyway.. William Shatner parodying Bush might make my head explode.
    • Apparently the real world version needed interchangable nodules...

      Thought we had a Star Trek parody here.

      [treknerd] My treklore might be a bit fuzzy, but certain starships were designed this way - most starships from the retrofitted enterprise onward were designed with swappable bridge modules (which was basically an explanation as to why the Enterprise's bridge layout kept changing from movie to movie), but the most striking example of this was the nebula class - nacelles tucked right up under the saucer, shortened vertical engineering section and a huge mission definable pod mounted on its back. Survey mission? slide on a sensor pack. Goin' to war? Add some extra photon torpedo launchers and you're good to go.

      They did something like this on DS9 with the runabouts as well, but that was because one episode had all three runabouts on screen at the same time and viewers needed to be able to visually tell the ships apart - one didn't have one, one glowed green and one glowed red (or something like that). Cute.

      [/treknerd]

      Triv
      • Yeah you're right. You're also right about their motivation. They needed to have a reason why a.) The bridge that was on the top of the ship and b.) why bridges of various ships look so drastically different. They needed them to be different for the audience to know what they're watching.

        In Star Trek 2, the Reliant was originaly going to be a Constitution class ship like the Enterprise. That would have been hard for the audience to watch, though, so they designed the Reliant without an engineering hull and a rollbar. Originally, though, the nacelles were going to point upwards like on the Enterprise, but when the design was handed in it was read upside-down. They liked the difference that it made having the nacelles hang from the ship. So they did one more re-design with those features in mind. Clever, eh?

        That really waasn't the point of my joke, though. I wasn't commenting on the vehicle itself, just the wording in the article. It has 'SmarTruck', 'the', 'next', and 'generation' in the same line. :)
  • If I had one of these I would drive through Iraq shouting "All Your Base Are Mine" over the bullhorn.
    • by PW2 ( 410411 )
      A more effective thing to shout would be to take what you said and switch it around a little, "Mines are all around your base."
  • Is it me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by altairmaine ( 317424 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:21PM (#5040715)
    ...or is the military run by 7-year-old boys? In third grade, I too would have been very excited about a truck with missile launchers and a huge artillery system termed "Crusader".

    Don't even get me started on the names of operations. "Infinite Justice", anybody? It sounds like something out of the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
    • Hey, maybe this is built with the same principal as America's Army. See, next they'll start a TV series with Hulk Hulgen driving the thing around and stoping international bad guys. Then, they'll introduce a whole line of toys, with 'modulus' you can buy to add on to it.
      But of course, the very coolest accessory, only seems to be available at your local army recruiter! Bring your dad in to the recruiters office and get the Ultimate Battle Pack for only $59.95!
      I wonder if the Crusader comes with a submarine option, or a copter option?

      - Tristan
    • Crusader? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Obviously you know nothing about military equipment, especialy field artillery.

      1.) The Crusader is a smaller system then the current Paladin system that has been in use since around the 1950's. Yes we are talking the 1950's

      2.) 1 Crusader can send out more rounds in one minute then a entire battery of Paladins. A battery usualy consists of 6 to 9 Paladins.

      3.) The crew of a Crusader is 1/2 the size of the Paladin crew. Most of the system is using computers compared to Paladin which has 100% no computers. (this does not count fire direction control) The Crusader has proven to also be more accurate in shooting as well.

      4.) The Secretary of the Army had recommeneded that we keep the system since people who deal with Field Artillery already have a prototype of the system running and are using it in the field. They are impressed with it, and it has been proven to be more reliable then the current systems we have in place. Rumsfield said no no no so they had to cancel the program. Total bullshit since Rumsfield has no clue on how field artillery works.

      5.) A round from a aircraft, or a rocket that does equal amount of damage cost over $1K, a round from a Crusader costs under $100. Oh and these smart rounds we always hear about are also made for Field Artillery systems and are just as effective.

      6.) To move a Paladin battery it would take like 10 C5 airplanes to deploy them. For the same firepower you can move 2 Crusaders on 1 C-5.

      7.) A lighter model can be airdropped into combat, current we have no decent system in field artillery that can be dropped into combat. Oh and the Paladin weighs more then the Crusader.

      Overall I have no clue why they dropped the Crusader. The project was running under budget, and within 10 years would have started saving billions of dollars on what we are currently using. Besides we already spent several millions to build the system.

      A direct link so you can brush up on your bullshitting skillz
      http://www.army-technology.com/projects/cr usader/

      This comes from someone who use to be in the Field Artillery and also lives 10 miles from the Field Artiller Training School for the Army.

    • by bobdehnhardt ( 18286 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @01:46PM (#5041454)
      Don't even get me started on the names of operations. "Infinite Justice", anybody?

      I understand that the other names under consideration included:

      • Operation Boot Up Your Ass
      • Operation Get 'Em, Ray
      • Operation Dessert Storm
      • Operation Whatever Dick Said
      • Operation Hey, You Can't Do That!
      • Operation Okay, Now We're Really Pissed
      • Operation Forget About The Economy

  • which the military brass now acknowledges was eye-catching with a pop-up pepper spray

    CowboyNeil: Hey Taco... those terrorists are getting really close, should we open up fire with the machine guns?
    CmdrTaco: Nah 'Neil, let's just use the pepper spray, it worked great on those purse-snatchers back home.


    Um yeah... pepper spray is useful, but I can't see it being used in many military situations when a fully-automatic gets the job better and has much more range. Unless they're going for disabling the enemy instead of mortally wounding, but even in that case there are probably things much better than pepper spray, especially considering range.
    • Re:Pepper Spray (Score:4, Insightful)

      by elixx ( 242653 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:24PM (#5040745) Homepage
      Insert a chemical or biological agent of your choice into a base substance of similar consitency and you have yourself a bringer of mass death on wheels.
      The pepper spray bit in the article is just to make you feel Warm And Fuzzy because you know how much They Care.
    • by zulux ( 112259 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:29PM (#5040807) Homepage Journal
      Um yeah... pepper spray is useful, but I can't see it being used in many military situations when a fully-automatic gets the job better and has much more range. Unless they're going for disabling the enemy instead of mortally wounding, but even in that case there are probably things much better than pepper spray, especially considering range.


      Non leathal weapons have some neet capabilites: you don't have to worry about firendly-fire. Just zap them all and sort them out at your leasure.

      If someone looks suspicious - zap them first and ask questions later. No need to be coy, zap away!

      Imagine this: A crowd of anti-american protesters starts protesting when we occupy France. With curent technology, you can do much if you don't want to be a murdurer. With with non-lethal weapons you could zap the whole crowd and process them one at a time - seperating common citiziens from the truly nasty McDonalds/Nike/Hollywood hating French terrorists.

    • Pepper spray is probably more usefull against civillians than against terrorists/soldiers. I also wouldn't be surprised if that was the intent. Its probably for use against any non combatant that irritates you and you would get in trouble for killing.

      Consider urban warfare. You could be facing attack from soldiers and civillians. While your standard weapons are perfect for mowing down enemy soldiers, there are political implications to mowing down civilians. Unless of course you are Isreal killing Palastenian civillians, then it's just collateral damage. Ok, political bias aside, that's probably the reason for pepper spray.

      Geez, at a million bucks a peice that is one overpriced truck.
    • The military has a lot of interest in non-lethal weapons. There are a lot of situations where lethal force isn't a viable option, and situations where (as you note) you want to disable and capture, not kill, the opposition. Actually pepper spray is one of the more effective non-lethal chemical agents, particuarly in high concentrations and when combined with other disabling agents (tear gas).
      • I've never understood the faith people have in pepper spray. At least, not since I was working security for a widespread Panic concert and a biker did a cool trick with one of the security guards pepper spray... He grabbed the pepper spray and sprayed it into his mouth, then chased it with a beer and belched.... You shoulda seen the security guards eyes...

        Kintanon
    • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @01:27PM (#5041291) Homepage Journal
      ..hate to be a spoilsport but a huge amount of the latest military training and equipment developed and deployed is intended for domestic use. This is an involved topic not readily addressed in a few posts, but doing some research it becomes *fairly* apparent.

      Part of my own personal research is talking to active or retired or semi recently quit members of various US "forces". I have heard some rather disturbing *things* along these lines. Very disturbing. Here's one just at random, a lot of training now revolves around indoctrination that US civilians have no constitutional "right" to bear arms. Another is training for manning roadblocks and for doing house to house searches in regards firearms confiscation.

      The model states health emergency act is an eye opener as well. You can see/guess what's coming and it ain't nice. Forced... everything. Reading on "less than lethal" weaponry you can find out more, microwave beam weapons, sonic weapons, various gasses, etc, all designed for mass riot control, and to deflect any immediate criticism that it's only for "foreigners" overseas someplace in some war, these weapons are being provided to US police forces as well. Another clue is the intense militarization of US police forces, emphasizing military styled training and hiring ex military personnel over traditional policing and maintaining that police are civilians. Nowadays police refer to non police as "civilians", noting therefore they are "not". It's a mindset and series of occurrences that should be setting off a lot of alarm bells in people's minds now.

      It's also a big clue why the army has started on adopting a lot more wheeled armor over tracked, much easier to use in cities and on roads. Yes, easier to transport as well, but still...
    • Military grade pepper spray is a lot different then what you get from the store.
  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GMontag ( 42283 ) <gmontagNO@SPAMguymontag.com> on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:22PM (#5040720) Homepage Journal
    This is deceptively like taking a standard flatbed truck, with no fancy cab interior, providing an easy way to link the cab to the bed (oh, like say a data and power cable or 2), then tossing on/in any old modular box for the mission...

    Humm, didn't we do this with the HEMTT series? The MTV series, hell even the old 2.5 ton series (complete with "modular" 5 ton wrecker for mobility to/from the motorpool), the list goes on.

    Oh, just noticed from the article, they cost more. Wow, some innovation.
  • $400 Toilet Seat (Score:4, Insightful)

    by core plexus ( 599119 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:22PM (#5040724) Homepage
    I'd love to see a list of the components they used for this thing. I'm guessing, having been in the Army, that it's way overbuilt, and when it gets to the field, the troops will hate it. And, it won't be long before someone figures out a low-tch way to defeat the "gee-whiz" factor, just as happened in Bosnia. (See Fooling High-Tech with kerosene lanters, aluminum foil, and other household items).

    Over-exposed schoolgirl victim of high-tech bullying [xnewswire.com]

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anixamander ( 448308 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:22PM (#5040730) Journal
    Apparently the real world version needed interchangable nodules, and the absolute must-have for every Slashdotter's vehicle - a 'hacker in a box'."

    I suppose this gives new meaning to the term "wardriving."
  • by Farley Mullet ( 604326 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:23PM (#5040733)

    . . .but a news conference featuring a marching color guard and a military band playing patriotic songs such as "God Bless America" to introduce a truck seems straight outta the Simpsons. Like an inanimate carbon rod getting a medal from the president or something.

  • From the article:
    The military said it has no plans to produce the truck any time soon
    It's a publicity stunt, nothing more.
    Is anyone else a little skeptical of the "read all e-mails sent near the truck" capability? Have they not heard of encryption?
    • Re:Hmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kymermosst ( 33885 )
      Is anyone else a little skeptical of the "read all e-mails sent near the truck" capability? Have they not heard of encryption?

      Maybe they are using van Eck (Tempest) phreaking. (Google it if you don't know what it is.)

      If one could capture what was on someone else's monitor, a computer could OCR it easy enough. A computer could probably locate the signal, as well. This would provide for the possibility of an automatic capture system.

      Also, since you generally don't type e-mail in encrypted form, it's irrelevent.

      This is just speculation, mind you.
    • A publicity stunt? Ok, But to prove what? How to beat the Discovery channel Monster garage crew?

      Lets put it this way. If my army had to rely on this thing, I would be thinking of moving.

      Oh wait I already did from Canada to Switzerland. ;)
  • by joshsisk ( 161347 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:24PM (#5040740)
    It includes a computer program linked with surveillance equipment to monitor what people in the area around the vehicle are saying in e-mail

    Excuse me? Why do you need a truck to monitor email? Wouldn't it be safer to monitor email from afar?
  • by notestein ( 445412 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:25PM (#5040759) Homepage Journal
    The most stunning thing I learned reading this article is that you now have to pay to watch CNN video clips.

    What are they thinking?
  • Smartruck Site (Score:3, Informative)

    by bkruiser ( 610285 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:26PM (#5040763)
    http://www.smartruck2.com/
  • Holy Cow... (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by airrage ( 514164 )
    I need a tax break. The government has too much money; things of this nature should be killed in committee due to lack of funds.

    Does it have tilt steering?
  • by Valar ( 167606 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:28PM (#5040790)
    I mean, it is obvious this thing wasn't really intended for a desert. I mean, the hacker in a box thing, and all the modifications to fight off crowds. We already had one story recently about drones being used over US air, and we all know about Tempest and Carnivore. I think it is clear that this thing is designed to either operate in America or other countries similarly structured, not against any target the administration is likely to publicly attack (i.e. 'heathen desert living primitive terrorist types').
    • by MyNameIsFred ( 543994 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:48PM (#5040966)
      One of the big issues facing the U.S. military is it doesn't have a clue where the next battle will be. Three years ago would anybody have predicted that we would go to war in Afghanistan? Consequently, the military has to have a capability to fight anywhere, and certainly having a capability to fight in an urban environment makes sense. And for those following the news, the military's big concern in Iraq is not desert fighting, but urban warfare. Why do you think the Marines and the Army have been training heavily in their urban warfare training centers. I'm not saying the military should buy this thing, but I am glad that they're thinking about what to do and how to do it. The alternative being, "if something happens, I sure hope we have the right weapons..."
    • I mean, it is obvious this thing wasn't really intended for a desert.

      And not every military mission is in a desert. Just about every country on the planet have some land that is not desert.

      And I think it is clear that this thing is designed to either operate in America or other countries similarly structured, not against any target the administration is likely to publicly attack (i.e. 'heathen desert living primitive terrorist types').

      I think it is clear you have no clue as to the many, many types of missions that are carried out by the military (US and otherwise).
    • This is an Urban Assult Vehicle [imdb.com], but that does not necessarily mean they are planning a raid on New York.

      Remember, if we HAVE to go into Iraq|Afganistan|Bosnia|... we will be fighting in the cities. The last Gulf War was an anomaly - this time, Saddam will allow us to take all the sand we want. However, if we want to move into the cities, then we will pay dearly.

      So, you want a vehicle designed to fight in a city. Any city - Bagdad, Prague, Paris, Wichita, it doesn't matter.

      That said - some of the moves being made to prepare for citizen suppression scare the crap out of me. I expect that by the time I am ready to retire, we will be living in what Civilization calls a "Corporate Republic".
  • What's the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mike_mgo ( 589966 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:28PM (#5040794)

    To me this just seems up there with the color coding terror warning system; something to make it look like the people in charge are making us safer but without any real effect.

    What role would this truck ever really play in the army? It seems to me that the curent Humvee is probably modular enough to perform any of the tasks that the SmarTruck is designed for.

    Oh well, who really expects common sense from the government, if it's for the army of course its a good idea.

    • The point is simple. Building it made lots of money for a few companies that have "links" with people in the military who make decissions on these things...
    • Cab houses 3-D mapping system and communication system dubbed 'hacker in a box' that could monitor e-mail in area, send e-mail or destroy enemy communication system.

      Come on - with this kind of power, the US Army can SPAM Iraq into submission ...

    • What role would this truck ever really play in the army?

      Who knows? Has the senior Army leadership clued you into the plans they have for this? Light pickups and Blazers are very common in the military. Why not outfit them for tasks where they can be useful?

      It seems to me that the curent Humvee is probably modular enough to perform any of the tasks that the SmarTruck is designed for.

      Starting with a reliable platform (current pickup/SUV) brings a lot to the table. Parts availability, repairs, fix it anywhere.
      The HUMVEE is a 30 year old design. Not perfect for many missions. Maybe, just maybe, a new (or additional) platform should be looked at. The only way to stay ahead is to keep trying new things.
  • mental masturbation? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ldspartan ( 14035 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:28PM (#5040799) Homepage
    Sounds and looks like designers having fun with themselves. Lines like 'we wanted to make something which would make people know that we mean business' lead me to believe that this is not a deployable vehicle. Even if it was, why use a commercial pick-up platform? The military has several wheeled, all-terrain platforms that are suitable to this job (armored personel carriers spring to mind).

    So, I at least think that its just more standard auto-show fluff.

    --
    Phil
  • Useful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:28PM (#5040801) Homepage
    Okay, who else wouldn't want to drive one of these things into a combat zone?

    Look, it's got some nice bells and whistles, but hand me an RPG or drive this over a mine and all it'll be good for in the future is roasting marshmallows. Wouldn't it make a hell of a lot more sense to mount this sort of electronic warfare gear onto Humvees or (better yet) APCs? Which vehicle would you rather have when even the Somali militia opens up on you, much less anyone with training?

    The general quoted in the interview acknowledged that there was no mission in mind for the first generation SmarTruck. Well, that's the mission for this thing? A next-gen friendly casualty generator?

    • An RPG is going to destroy any of the vehicles you mentioned, except usually very heavily armored vehicels (aka tanks).

      Read the book (not see the movie) Black Hawk Down. While dashing through Mog. soliders in APC's frequently left the backdoor of their APC's slighly opened, so that if they were hit with a RPG they wouldn't be instantly killed if it penetrated the armor and exploded. With the door ajar the explosion would throw lucky ones out the back and give them at least a fighting chance at survival.

      Likewise with Humvee's, either a mine or a decently placed RPG would essentially end the mission of all passengers.

      This truck is probably just a marketing ploy concoted by the army + chevy/ford/whoever makes the truck.
    • Look, it's got some nice bells and whistles, but hand me an RPG or drive this over a mine and all it'll be good for in the future is roasting marshmallows.

      It's an anti-terrorism device. It isn't INTENDED to be used in areas where your enemy has an RPG or has planted mines. It's intended use is places like New York City or Detroit or Los Angeles -- against ordinary citizens.

      If that doesn't frighten you, I don't know what will.

      • Ok, fine, but I think somebody has been watching too much RoboCop!

        Terrorists usually attack by:
        1) Blowing themselves up
        2) Blowing a truck up
        3) Blowing a building up

        Now as sad as these terrorists are, how exactly is this supposed to stop terrorists blowing things up?

        Outside of that people have not been reduced to chaotic factors shown so often in movies.
    • all ground vehicals, including tanks, are just targets. Tanks look great moving across a flat desert, towards an ill-equipt foe, but that same senerio with any country near are technology level of the US would end very badly for the tanks.
    • I would rather convert one into a camper van and go touring :) I think it would turn some heads :)
  • by dr_dank ( 472072 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:30PM (#5040813) Homepage Journal
    SmarTruckII could just sit and listen, send bogus e-mails to confuse an enemy, or, if it is not amused, kill the enemy communications system altogether.

    The US military has discovered the destructive power of Slashdotting. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
  • Only our goverment would be willing to drive into battle in a Chevy.
  • Whatever (Score:3, Informative)

    by kruczkowski ( 160872 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:33PM (#5040839) Homepage
    Remeber when the HUMVE came out? everyone thought it was the best thing in the world.

    I worked with the Army. I went to an exercize for a month, and I can tell you that they are the bigist peace of shit on wheels. Everywere the Army goes they break down. Insted of driving them in a convoy, they had to put them on a train, why? Becouse the commanders said they won't last the 12 hour drive. Everyone I talked to said they were shit.

    Why? becouse the Army buys the cheapest part to run them, and the solderiers don't care about them. Like my father said, back in the day when the jeep was your life, you took are of it. Now when it breaks down, they get a replacement. Thats nice until you notice your motorpool is many miles away.

    Besides the cool versions like this one, only the commanders get. Who don't drive them becouse they perfer ther nice Audi and Volvo rentacars. (Yes the commanders did ditch there tactical vechicals to drive around in new A8's)

    It scares me a little about this Iraq situation. The Army people now days don't know anything. It's sad I think, and I hope they don't go into war, becouse there heads are so stuck up (we *did* kick ass in afganistan, _but_ with the help of the Birts and Canadians) I could go on more about why I feel this way. But I'll save my breath.

    Remeber, Sadam is no dumb ass. The read dumbasses are the young officers who think they can kick anyones ass.

    Needless to say I don't work for the Army anymoe for this reason.
    • "Remeber, Sadam is no dumb ass. The read dumbasses are the young officers who think they can kick anyones ass.

      Needless to say I don't work for the Army anymoe for this reason."

      This guy is obviously an expert on "dumb" and "ass" having been one most of his life.
    • It scares me a little about this Iraq situation. The Army people now days don't know anything. It's sad I think, and I hope they don't go into war, becouse there heads are so stuck up (we *did* kick ass in afganistan, _but_ with the help of the Birts and Canadians) I could go on more about why I feel this way. But I'll save my breath.
      This is quite possibly the most uninformed statement I've ever read on Slashdot. And... surprise! It's got a score of 5.

      If you honestly think we're relying on the likes of Canada to protect our nation, you are absolutely insane.

      • And your response was quite uninformed as well. ..with the help of the Brits and Canadians.. was the key there.

        PPCLI (Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry) was to be awarded a US Congressional Medal for its work in Afganistan, the first such honour since the PPCLI served in Korea. The JTF2 (Joint Task Force 2 - Canadian Commandos, comparing them to Navy Seals is comparing a Pit Bull to a German Shepard) were also given citations to their sniper squad for work done in southern Afganistan.

        The US did not rely on it's friends, but it did get help. If you think you can go it alone, then you're absolutely insane.

    • I was *in* the Army and for the most part, I agree with everything above. However If you have a crafty supply seargent running the parts section of the motor pool this can be circumvented. We had awesome parts from high performance glow-plugs to tires. Our HMMWVs could bark the tires (Not easily done in a full time 4W drive vehicle) And they almost never broke down. So if you had the right man for the job (someone willing to put in the extra hours to find the right part numbers and requisition them) HMMWVs rock! Like everything else in the Army, It's all about the people.
    • Re:Whatever (Score:3, Informative)

      by gol64738 ( 225528 )
      are you kidding? i've found the HUMVEE to be an extremely reliable vehicle!
      while stationed in northern Saudi Arabia during the whole Desert Shield/Storm thing, we would take these things out into the desert and make jumps.

      wow, we could hit a jump doing about 80 and be airborne for 3-4 seconds!

      be careful when jumping these things though, it's real easy to hit your head on the inside middle turret handle when coming down for landing.

      we basically tried to drive these things into the ground, but the worst case scenario was a broken axle on a single HUMVEE.

    • Re:Whatever (Score:4, Insightful)

      by miltimj ( 605927 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @02:03PM (#5041601)
      From my experience, HMMWVs rock. I've driven over everything with them, including small trees and boulders. Four-wheel independent suspension and eight-feet wide, baby.

      They take a licking and keep on ticking. I've never had a problem with them -- oh yeah, but that's also because we take care of them.

      It's honestly really too bad that the people you were around weren't doing their jobs. Don't fault the vehicle for the operator's negligence. The HMMWV is an amazing and versatile vehicle.

      The Army people now days don't know anything.

      I gotta believe this is nothing more than a troll... you obviously don't know what you're talking about.

      But I'll save my breath.

      Please, do.
  • by Hayzeus ( 596826 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:33PM (#5040840) Homepage
    Like how much for leather? Is there a towing option? You'd think CNN might dig a little deeper...
  • 1977 Honda Accord [akamai.net]

    This was supposed to be in parent... but I clicked by accident
  • Prior Art (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RDW ( 41497 )
    Of course, a superior Top Secret heavy-duty vehicle with interchangeable mission 'nodules' has already been developed [tvcentury21.com].
  • There's a company in PA called IBIS TEK [ibistek.com] that modifies a GM SUV [ibistek.com] and it is legal to buy in the U.S. [pittsburghlive.com]

    You can buy a sensor package and NBC protection. It becomes a problem when you mount the .50-caliber M2 machine gun or a MK-19, 40-mm grenade launcher, which hides inside the cargo area.

    It will set you back $500,000, but the cool thing is the quote from IBIS TEK "the average deer hunter in Pennsylvania could operate the system if he or she had a minimal amount of computer experience."
    I guess that includes me :-)
  • I just got my Honorable discharge a month ago.

    This would have been a fun project to work on, even if it is just someone's research idea that will never come to pass. It would have been damn fun to be the test driver or T.C. for this thing.

  • More US technomilitary fetish.

    This isn't going to stop them from wrapping it up in Iraq in 3 days, though.

  • According to the Smart Truck II [smartruck2.com]homepage:


    The center console of the vehicle houses the rear view video display, joystick controls, driver GPS Display, mobile satellite phone, AM/FM/CD stereo system, and cellular phone mount.


    What!?! No cupholder?

  • by Lev13than ( 581686 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:48PM (#5040962) Homepage
    The SmartTruck looks like something Mattel invented... Why they decided to put it on a truck cab instead of a modified Hummer is beyond me.

    In any event, there is already a great vehicle system on the market: the Canadian Forces' Coyote [forces.gc.ca], part of their LAV [forces.gc.ca] platform of vehicles (insert gratuitious Canadian army jokes here). This system is so successful that it has been picked up the US Army under the Stryker [army.mil] name. Plus, it has the advantage of looking like it belongs on a battlefield and not some kid's sandbox.

    Some specs for the Coyote:
    Length: 6.39 m
    Width: 2.50 m
    Height: 2.69 m
    Maximum speed: 100 km/hr
    Range: 660 km
    Weight: 14.4 t
    Gradient: maximum 60%
    Side slope: maximum 30%
    Minimum turn diameter: 15.6 m
    Trench crossing: 2.06 m
    Fording
    shallow: 1.3m
    deep: 1.0m
    3 configurations:
    Command (51 vehicles)
    Battlegroup (120 vehicles)
    Brigade (32 vehicles)
    Armament:
    25-mm stabilized M242 chain gun
    7.62-mm stabilized coaxial machine-gun
    7.62-mm top-turret mounted machine- gun
    76-mm smoke/fragmentation grenade launcher
    Sights:
    Daytime optical
    Thermal Imagery (TI)
    Generation III Image Intensification (II)
    Surveillance System:
    Battlefield
    Surveillance Radar
    Thermal Imager
    Daylight camera
    Laser Rangefinder

    Winch: Front-mounted 6,800 kg dynamic pull
    self-recovery winch
    Engine: 275 hp Detroit Diesel 6V53T
    Transmission: 5 forward gears, 1 reverse
    Transfer case: 2 speed
    Suspension: Independent Rear 4 wheels
    torsion bar
    Front 4 wheels strut
    Wheels: 8 wheels (4 or 8 wheel drive)
    Tires: Michelin XML
    Brakes: Power (air)
    Electrical system: 28 V
    Batteries: 2 x 12 V automotive, 6 x 12V
    auxiliary
    Alternator: 300 A
  • Hey, that's a really smar idea!
  • The Army has been looking for commercial alternatives to the HUMMV. There are prototypes, but nothing that's gone into volume production.

    There's the COMBATT truck [gmmilitary.com] (a GMC pickup with a lift job and some armor). Rod Millen Racing [rodmillen.com] has built dune-buggy type vehicles for the military (they look like Somali technicals, but perform like Baja trucks.) There are other prototypes around.

    GM has a military product line [gmmilitary.com], based on pickup or Suburban platforms. Except for the Rod Millen vehicles, all this stuff is for rear areas; if you have to follow tanks around, you need a HUMMV.

  • In another twist, the vehicle can house an unmanned dronelike small aircraft that can hover over a nearby area and send live video back to the vehicle.

    I wonder if they are referring to this thing [rctoys.com] which was supposedly licensed by the military. Slashdot covered [slashdot.org] it a while back.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @12:58PM (#5041041) Homepage Journal
    i'll try not to be a troll here, i'm really trying.

    umm what the fuck? we went from a $500 40 hp, 4wd jeep that seemed to do a pretty damn good job of transporting 4 humans up a 40 degree incline with no problem. they are inherently simple, and weigh nothing. with today's design/production technology, they'd weigh less and cary more, and probably be stackable.

    enter the 1980's. we get $100,000 hummers. they hold exactly the same number of people, don't accelerate any faster, and aren't any better at navigating the offroad. they also weigh two tons.

    i like the idea of mass producing an F-250/350 for certian needs, like a portable rocket launcher, but you do not need 6-10 wheeled F-550's that cost 100,000 a piece. there's no reason the truck needs more than 200 hp, and there's no reason why you can't use slightly beefed up suspension parts for this sort of job out of the ford/chevy/dodge parts box to cut prices down to the 12,000-20,000 price range. i can understand the price inflating with a bed-mounted rocket launcher, but the initial cost of the chassis is unbelivably absurd. what ever happened tt back to basics?
    • Transporting 4 humans is no longer the mission. Drone launch, intel, crowd control, riot supression...all this takes equipment. Equipment is heavy. More horsepower needed to haul it.
      If you've ever seen a HUMVEE haul a duece and a half out of frame deep mud, you'd understand the difference.

      Modularity. Designing in the ability to swap boxes for different missions adds cost and weight.

      Finally...from the article:
      The military said it has no plans to produce the truck any time soon, although Bran Ferren, a designer of SmarTruck II, said that if an order came through it could be put in production in a year.
    • by demo9orgon ( 156675 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @03:16PM (#5042312) Homepage
      Hey, you noticed all the GoldBricking and showmanship. That's what this is really about. It might also go that extra-mile when high-school kids are herded into an auditorium to watch recruitment videos made using it. All the shop-doodz might get wood and talk about making their own war-buggy, and the chess-headz would probably cookup stats for it so they could play with one in an RPG game or try to draw one for a extra-credit in their cad class, and all the welfare kids would probably be hoping for a scholarship so they wouldn't have to join up to get into college and eat.

      Of those that enlist with this kind of thing in mind, 99.9% of them won't realize that they'll probably never see one in actual use; maybe in a motorpool, or maybe if they're not passing out in formation at a parade as a general drives past them in one, but that's about it.

      If any intelligence gathering unit showed up with something like this, it would be RPG bait. Little kids would be told to roll grenades under it, and could you imagine getting it ready for inspection?! There would be a pissed off captain somewhere yelling,
      "Sick Call!! The whole damn platoon!?!"

      Field work is much more successful when they just (skunkworks local 151) rework several large delivery trucks, paint them up with the words, "Delivery" or "Plumbing" in the native language of the area, hire the local piraiah who can't get laid and doesn't have any friends and still lives at home playing video games or programming(holy shit, I just described 90% of slashdot!) to drive the damn thing, and spend the day driving around with electronic vacuum cleaners feeding hard-drives and tape recorders. Nobody would say a word, and the job would get done. The biggest retrofit would be to tear off the metallic top over the cargo area and setup an RF neutral one using fiberglass...no biggie, what, all of $2500 to $5000 per vehicle, and maybe all of $200 to the driver for as long as you need them, when you need them.

      Crap...I'm probably screwing up posting this, I certainly hope nobody in the "Axis of Evil" is reading slashdot right now...

      Cheers
  • Now if only the army would release these as spares, I'd be on the list to get them with the floodlights ;)
  • by 1stflight ( 48795 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @01:07PM (#5041117)
    Oh no that thing doesn't stand out in the slightest! I'm sure it's camoflauge works great... in a Mad Max world.
  • I thought the U.S. Army was part of the Department of "Defense"[sic]. As such shouldn't the Army's goal be to defend the US from foreign enemies?

    With the Posse Comitatus Act still supposedly intact, why does the Army need a vehicle that is obviously aimed at use against a civilian populace?

    Or is the Posse Comitatus Act, like our Bill of Rights and getting honest answers from administration officials, yet another casualty of the War on Terror?
  • Did anyone actually *read* this article?!?!!! It's supposedly designed to intercept (spy) on local email, spoof email (propaganda) and last destroy communications.

    "In the cab of the truck are housed a 3-D mapping system and a communications system that Fuller described as "hacker in a box." It includes a computer program linked with surveillance equipment to monitor what people in the area around the vehicle are saying in e-mail. SmarTruckII could just sit and listen, send bogus e-mails to confuse an enemy, or, if it is not amused, kill the enemy communications system altogether."

    I'm surprised not to see the typicial out-of-control, knee-jerk reaction from the slashdot crowd to this.
    • Because you CAN'T just wirelessly "snoop" on emails. This is a press release, written for technical PHBs, and apparently, Slashdotters named ChaosMt. For Chrissake, the guy used the words "if it is not amused". Its obviously just marketing spin.
  • by aengblom ( 123492 ) on Wednesday January 08, 2003 @01:20PM (#5041246) Homepage
    The prototype vehicle cost between $500,000 and $1 million, Fuller said, although she said it is tough to estimate precisely because it involved partnerships with several firms.

    The military said it has no plans to produce the truck any time soon, although Bran Ferren, a designer of SmarTruck II, said that if an order came through it could be put in production in a year.


    As I read it, after Sept. 11 some military command folks said--wow, that changes a lot.

    They concluded the military might need some new ideas for lightweight vehicles and told some researches to play around with what they could come up with.

    This isn't going to the battlefield--it's a prototype of a number of new ideas. And if one of those ideas can save an American soldiers life it's well worth it in U.S. Military (as well as Political) economics.

    Soldiers are expensive to train (and thus lose) and its even more expensive to explain their death to the public.
  • Damn, that truck looks like one of the entries on FMC.

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