Armor: Shipping Containers Rigged For Combat Duty

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March 3, 2007: Armored shipping containers are becoming big business, and the latest version is basically a hospital emergency room in an armored, and air conditioned, shipping container. Three years ago, the first armored container, for protecting (from roadside bombs and gunfire) people being transported through hostile territory, became available. Two years ago, MTTCS (Multipurpose Troop Transport Carrier System) arrived. These are modified cargo containers, built to fit on the beds of 2 1/2, five and seven ton military trucks. The lightweight armor protects against rifle bullets (7.62) and nearly all bomb fragments. MTTCS is actually a modular system. With center and end modules. There are two and four foot long (7.8 feet wide and 8 feet high) and two foot long center sections, as well as end sections. The four foot module has a hatch on top, and a ring mount, so you can mount a machine-gun and swing it around in all directions. There are also small windows, firing ports and, of course, doors. The four foot sections weigh 4,400 pounds with the roof and end sections, 3,650 without the roof. The sections are light enough to use available lifting equipment to put them on a truck bed, where they are quickly bolted together.

Thus for the smallest truck, a 2 1/2 ton one, you would use a single four foot module, and two end modules, creating space for four troops inside. For a longer seven ton truck, you could use two fours and a two, plus end modules, which all weighs 9,600 pounds, and can carry 16 troops, plus having two ring mounts topside. Such a configuration would be 20.2 feet long.

The MTTCS can also be used on the ground, as part of base defenses. The MTTCS has undergone combat testing in Iraq, last Summer and is going into mass production. Commanders in Iraq want protection like MTTCS, or custom built gun trucks (using heavy, as in 5 or 7 ton trucks) for convoy and supply movement work. The big trucks are much safer than a hummer if you are hit with a bomb. While the terrorists are using larger bombs, the increased size of such bombs limits the number places they can plant them, it takes longer to place them and this makes it more likely that the crew planting the bomb will get caught. But these larger bombs are rough on M-2 Bradleys and hummers. While the army has armored the cabs of many heavy trucks, it is reluctant to do so with the truck beds, because that limits the amount of cargo the truck can carry. Putting on and taking off the armor sets is also not a good idea, as it takes time and wears out the fittings. So MTTCS has a ready market, not just for Iraq, but in other trouble spots where terrorists are attacking.

These shipping containers are being used for living and work space, and are popular because the containers are sturdy, and easily transportable. Thus these containers, which only came into general use about fifty years ago, are changing the face of warfare.

 


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