Contractor preps Jeep Wrangler for battlefield use
Defense contractor Hendrick Dynamics has modified the Jeep Wrangler for potential use on global battlefields.
The North Carolina-based company expects the US Army to need another vehicle to fill the gap between the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, known as the Humvee, and small Lightweight Tactical All Terrain Vehicles, commonly referred to as side-by-sides in the consumer market.
“One of the best points of the project is you’re starting with such an incredibly capable vehicle which comes right off the line in Toledo,” Hendrick Dynamics general manager Marshall Carlson told The Blade.
The company starts with a diesel-powered Wrangler Rubicon, modified for higher payload capacities and certified for transport via helicopter and aircraft. Adding in a 24-volt electrical system, additional safety provisions and military gear is said to bring the per-unit price up to $75,000.
Hendrick Dynamics is not the first company to view the Wrangler as a useful light vehicle for tactical deployment. Chrysler once established a joint venture to build a specially-modified Wrangler, known as the J8, as an alternative to the Toyota Hilux for foreign militaries.
The J8 was also a diesel variant, upgraded with a payload capacity of nearly 3,000 pounds and a tow rating approaching four tons. Other modifications ranged from a snorkel to armor plating. Some have been manufactured in Egypt, while others are built in Israel and known as the Storm.
The US military has not yet awarded a contract for its next light-duty tactical vehicle.