The US Army develops a truck with 007-like capabilities
By Mike Hanlon
June 4, 2004
With the United States at war with terrorists, the show-stealer of the Detroit Auto Show was predicably the US Army's latest anti-terrorist SmarTruck, the type of vehicle which we could easily imagine master gizmologist "Q" briefing 007 how to use before he goes after the latest super-villain.
The anti-terrorist capabilities of the SmarTruck will be used in a variety of ways, most likely to effect the safe movement of VIPs or sensitive documents in hostile environments - places where assassination or kidnap is possible.The first 60 seconds is when the damage is done in such situations - the prognosis for a happy ending is much better in most cases if you can keep the bad guys out for the first minute or two, whilst options are assessed and back-up sought.
Accordingly, the SmarTruck is 90% defensive and 10% offensive:
* the Ford F-350 SmarTruck is swathed in light weight Armormax Kevlar bulletproof armoring the lightest armour available and is rated for all handguns up to and including the .44 Magnum. The windows are bulletproof glass.
* vehicle agility was enhanced by a Quadrasteer rear steering system which enables the vehicle to have the turning radius of a small car.Once the SmarTruck gets moving, it can deter any pursuing vehicle with a host more M-style gadgets:
* there are three PanelMate touch screens use; one in the dash and two in the seatbacks of the front seats, to be viewed and operated by the rear passengers. These screens control the array of armaments and deterrents.* an oil slick can be released from a dispensing pipe located along the backside of the rear bumper
* the tack dispenser can release a carpet of tacks designed to sit with one sharp point upright* there are four pepper spray dispensers - one above each door. These dispensers are capable of propelling pepper spray a distance of up to 12 feet. Once the spray reaches the enemy, their eyes and skin start to burn instantly.
* a smoke screen can be expelled from the exhaust system of the vehicle. It creates a thick wall of smoke to deter the enemy.* two sets of blinding lights are located on the SmarTruck - two at the front and two at the rear, designed to release a light so bright that the enemy cannot directly look at the vehicle thereby making pursuit difficult.
* all four door handles can be electrified to send a 110 volt shock to the enemy
* If being pursued at night, the driving lights can be turned off and the Raytheon night-vision system used to drive in the dark. At the heart of the truck is a ruggedized 12 Volt DC computer specially designed for vehicle use.
The vehicle PC serves as an event recorder - like a black box. Naturally enough, this is just one of many components which make up the comms system - there's also GPS and a secure encrypted satellite link, voice-activation for all the vehicles functions, and fingerprint recognition is used.
Of course, if all else fails, you can always raise the high-powered laser-guided machine gun which can be operated with a joy-stick from video screen inside the vehicle.