Thriving Off-Road with Oshkosh Trucks
Mar 15, 2010

Operations on Afghanistan’s harsh mountainous terrain have proven to be a challenge for international forces’ tactical wheeled vehicles, too often limiting them to predictable routes on the country’s road networks. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, designed to provide additional protection for the U.S. Armed Forces in urban settings, were experiencing difficulties operating on the rugged Afghanistan environments. As a result, the U.S. military Forces put a call out to industry for the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV), a highly mobile, off-road vehicle that provides protection levels equal to previous MRAPs. Following a highly competitive bid process for this urgently needed vehicle, the Oshkosh Defense M-ATV was selected for the program.

Oshkosh received the contract award and the first vehicle order on June 30, 2009. Following the award, the company continually ramped up production month after month until reaching a monthly output of 1,000 vehicles. To date, Oshkosh has received orders from the U.S. government for 6,619 M-ATVs, as well as parts kits and in-theatre aftermarket support services. The first vehicles reached Afghanistan in October 2009 and began performing in operations in December 2009.
Among the Oshkosh M-ATV’s key differentiators are the company’s propriety TAK-4® independent suspension system and a proven chassis, which allow the vehicle to deliver exceptional cross-country mobility in the most challenging environments. The Oshkosh TAK-4 system has undergone more than 800,000 kilometres of government testing, helping the vehicle achieve a 70 percent off-road profile capability and 40 centimetres of independent wheel travel.
These features have resulted in the M-ATV’s ability to thrive in environments where other combat vehicles struggle. Whether presented with rugged terrain, rocky obstacles or slopes of up to 60 degrees, the M-ATV is designed to overcome the challenge. The vehicle’s exceptional mobility allows it to negotiate difficult terrains and also reduce wear and tear on its occupants, allowing them to arrive fresh and ready for the mission at hand.
The vehicle uses an armour system similar to those used on more than 5,000 MRAPs and thousands of Oshkosh Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) armoured cabs that are operating in theatre. The TAK-4 system, which also is being retrofitted on more than 2,400 legacy MRAPs for improved mobility in Afghanistan, provides added flexibility to the vehicle by allowing it to receive additional armour packages and a payload of up to 1,814 kilograms.
In addition to using the same independent suspension system as the MTVR, Oshkosh also incorporated its MTVR chassis into the M-ATV. The MTVR, used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy Seabees, had already proven successful in logistics operations in Afghanistan. Like the M-ATV, it boasts a 70 percent off-road profile capability and is designed for extensive cross-country operations. Several MTVRs in the country have exceeded 70,000 operational miles, with readiness rates greater than 92 percent.
The M-ATV uses a Caterpillar C7 276-kilowatt engine and an Allison 3500 SP automatic transmission. It carries four passengers and a gunner. The vehicle’s two-channel central tire inflation system has four terrain settings, which the vehicle can switch to automatically. Run-flat tires allow the M-ATV to drive a significant distance at a high speed on flat tires.
Oshkosh is supporting the M-ATV program by delivering spare parts kits to be used as in-the-field replacements after parts delivered with the vehicles have been consumed. The company also is providing factory-trained field service representatives (FSR) to provide in-theatre program support. Oshkosh FSRs are stationed worldwide and support military fleets with services such as training, maintenance, parts identification and technical assistance.
Oshkosh Defense is a division of Oshkosh Corporation. It is an industry-leading global designer and manufacturer of tactical military trucks and armoured wheeled vehicles, delivering a full product line of conventional and hybrid vehicles, advanced armour options, proprietary suspensions and vehicles with payloads that can exceed 70,000 kilograms.
Oshkosh Defense provides a global service and supply network including full life-cycle support and remanufacturing, and its vehicles are recognized the world over for superior performance, reliability and protection.

© FrontLine Defence 2010