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SEMA 2004: U.S. Army Showcases SmarTruck III

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 2, 2004 -- The United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center's (TARDEC) National Automotive Center (NAC), in conjunction with HEART International, Integrated Concepts & Research Corporation (ICRC) and International Truck and Engine Corporation today introduced SmarTruck III at the 2004 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 2-5, 2004 (Booth 35409). Designed for America's homeland, a war zone or any number of commercial applications, SmarTruck III showcases the latest in armor protection, highly-advanced communications and detection and deterrent capabilities making the SmarTruck III a true Mobile Command and Control Center. In addition, SmarTruck III can be reconfigured to support any number of homeland security missions, including disaster relief, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) efforts and military support to civil authority.

"SmarTruck III is the latest variant of a medium-duty truck developed by the NAC to fulfill homeland security and military mission-critical tactical applications for the Army, Air Force and Navy," said Dennis J. Wend, executive director of the NAC. "Working closely with HEART International, we have developed the proprietary new body and chassis technologies that form the foundation for SmarTruck III and its future special mission variants."

"The NAC is leading the way creating state-of-the-art vehicle technologies for our brave men and women in the field," added Wend. "Our success is made possible through strong dual-use partnerships with leading industry manufacturers."

For the military, the NAC's partnership approach makes it possible to improve vehicle performance, safety and endurance while also reducing design, manufacturing, operations and maintenance costs. The application of jointly developed technologies has similar impacts for commercial partners -- safer cars and trucks, more advanced technology available to the consumer and lower cost due to the broader market base.

"It is especially gratifying to support the NAC's efforts at this point in our military history," said Doc Watson, executive director of Heart International's Special Mission Vehicle Operations. "If SmarTruck was in the field today, it would be helping to keep our military personnel safe."

The Air Force can use SmarTruck III as a Command and Control Center designed to monitor airfields and other vast surrounding areas. Border Patrol and U.S. Marshals will use the multi-purpose vehicle to detect the movement of personnel or vehicles in remote areas. For Homeland Security, SmarTruck III is configured to monitor bio threats and personnel movements. In a war zone, it could bring state-of-the-art communications and detection systems while offering uparmored protection to withstand terrorist and insurgent roadside attacks.

SmarTruck III has a mass-produced cab and a 4.5-liter V-6 24-valve diesel engine with twin sequential turbochargers. Its lowered frame makes it possible to load the vehicle onto a C130 military transport plane. The vehicle has a full suite of electronics, including the most advanced communications, detection and weapon systems to be deployed in a vehicle-based mobile unit. SmarTruck III's hardtop, retractable roof opens to deploy a .50 Calibre gun that is part of the Weapons System Module.

In the field, SmarTruck III has the capability to detect an airborne biohazard and alert authorities before it can cause harm or havoc; spot and track illegal trespassers or attackers even in complete darkness, and repel them should they try to disable the truck's advanced surveillance and communications capabilities; or sense a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) and knock it out of the sky. SmarTruck III owes its wide-appeal to its innovations in defense & occupant protection, field intelligence, communications, and vehicle performance.

Defense and Occupant Protection

In military operations, SmarTruck III's vehicle systems are active and capable of detecting personnel movement, a bio-threat in the air or incoming RPGs. The full spectrum active protection close-in layered shield (F-CLAS) perimeter defense system provides vehicle survivability from close-in threats like rocket-propelled grenades and antitank-guided missiles and was named one of the Army Material Command's Top 10 Greatest Inventions of 2002.

SmarTruck III is outfitted with Level III ballistic protection (to withstand 7.62 x 51mm rounds) and includes armor flooring which was specifically designed to dissipate the energy from a ground explosion away from the vehicle. The vehicle is equipped with a weapons station module featuring a remote controlled .50 Calibre machine gun that rises from the back of the vehicle to maximize security in the immediate area.

A special Kidde Dual Spectrum Advanced Fire Support System (AFSS) can sense an explosion or fire on board and suppress the explosive fire within milliseconds, thereby preventing harm to the occupants and reducing fire damage to the equipment. For example, the basic "Dual Spectrum" sensing system monitors and responds to any penetration of either a fuel tank or a hydraulic line, which can often result in casualties and mission failure.

Field Intelligence

The highly sophisticated intelligence equipment includes a Bio-agent Acquisition System, which can acquire particulate samples from intake air and distinguish bio-aerosols from dust and other non-biological material, therefore detecting bio threats while the mobile unit remains secured from penetration. The Identify Friend or Foe system utilizes broadband infrared emitters in a 360-degree array that cannot be seen by enemy image intensifiers but can be detected by standard U.S. night vision systems.

The Surveillance Module contains a high-resolution Situational Awareness Camera that captures a full-motion spherical scene at 100 pixels per second. The Module captures directional sound and includes a day and night vision periscope camera with integrated laser range finder.

Housed on the roof of SmarTruck III, a ducted fan Unarmed Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is capable of vertical takeoff and landing and high-speed horizontal flight to offer a low cost surveillance option. The UAV may carry a variety of payloads including cameras or Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) sensors for air quality sampling.


SmarTruck III's communication technologies create an integrated, stand-alone Command-and-Control Center. There are two communication centers inside, one for the driver and front seat passenger equipped with wireless tablet PCs for wireless internet monitoring, and a second for the rear seat crew members. Utilizing two antennae mounted on the roof of the vehicle, the TracNet 2.0 communication system brings high-speed satellite Internet access and satellite TV to the SmarTruck.

All passengers can monitor Internet communications wirelessly, and the tablet PCs will allow the user to monitor vehicle operations and control some of the peripheral devices from outside the vehicle. The rear seat command and surveillance operators will have a 20" LCD touch screen, two 7" LCD monitors, two wireless tablet PCs, a rack computer, multiple radios and a rack keyboard and mouse.

Riding in captain's chairs, the SmarTruck's four-person crew operates an array of ultra-high tech equipment. The Driver is responsible for piloting the vehicle. He also monitors visible light and night vision camera signals on a rear-view LCD mirror and a forward-looking heads-up-display unit. The Gunner, the vehicle Commander sitting next to the driver, operates the weapon station control unit including monitoring all weapon system camera feeds (including the friend or foe identifier), weapon deployment, target acquisition and firing. The Surveillance Operator and the Communications Operator, through their numerous electronic interfaces, will monitor all UHF and VHF radio traffic, track the highly-detailed GPS navigation software, monitor the real-time vehicle diagnostics, control the UAV device and payload, view the numerous camera displays such as the Telemmersion system with 360 degree camera for the full-motion spherical scene and sound, analyze nuclear and chemical detection data, and engage all countermeasure controls (includes 4-quadrant video signal with light and night vision, allowing the user to deploy the F-CLAS perimeter defense system, electric shock doors, etc).


Using the latest International telematics systems, the SmarTruck III and its commercial variations are designed to maximize uptime for the vehicle, increase fleet productivity and reduce operating cost in seven key areas. These include: systems management using GPS for location monitoring; situational updates for tracking supplies; logistics control; full time vehicle diagnostics; prognostics of predictive failures; embedded training for operators; and systems management for recording vehicle performance.

Vehicle Performance

The base vehicle for SmarTruck III is an International V-6 powered Crew Cab, 4200 series on a medium-duty platform. The exterior of SmarTruck III features substantial modifications to reflect design elements of a military vehicle. The truck will be fitted with an air suspension to achieve adjustable ride height and a hydraulic launch assist to multiply the rate of acceleration. Its generator system provides 8.5 kW of continuous power and serves as the primary power source for all add-on vehicle technologies.

TARDEC is responsible for developing and maintaining vehicles for all U.S. Armed Forces, many federal agencies and more than 60 foreign countries. TARDEC's National Automotive Center is the Army's official link to commercial industry, academia and government in developing new dual-use automotive technologies that meet the needs of both the defense and commercial industries. Together, they lead the way in providing our Soldiers with vehicles and vehicle technologies that will increase survivability and ensure mobility on the battlefield while reducing design, manufacturing, operations and maintenance costs.

Under the direction of Mr. Dennis J. Wend, the NAC is U.S. Army TARDEC's technology transfer arm and part of the new Research Development Engineering Command based in Aberdeen, MD.