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International launches new truck for U S military

International Truck and Engine Corporation and the U S Army today unveiled the next generation of military and commercial vehicles at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) 2004 World Congress.

The two new concept vehicles – the SmarTruck III and a new International Commercial Utility Vehicle – are both built off of an International High Performance four-wheel-drive medium truck platform.

SmarTruck III, a collaboration of the U S Army’s National Automotive Center and International Truck and Engine Corporation, will offer the military advanced capabilities in state-of-the-art communications and detection systems while offering improved fuel economy and increased armor protection to better withstand roadside attacks.

A commercial version of the SmarTruck III, the International Commercial Utility Vehicle, can be modified to serve a range of potential customers, from the U S Border Patrol, to the Department of Homeland Security to applications in the construction industry. Both prototypes are the first vehicles launched from International’s new military business operation and represent International’s commitment to growth in this market.

“The demands of today’s soldiers mandate that we build vehicles that offer greater functionality, protection and mobility,” said Daniel Ustian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Navistar International Corporation, the parent company of International Truck and Engine Corporation.

Ustian said the two new prototypes are an example of a number of growth opportunities that are part of Navistar’s core growth plans to become a $15 billion company by the next industry cycle.

Archie Massicotte, vice president of military business at International, said that SmarTruck III offers the latest advances in communications, defense and occupant protection, and field intelligence. The vehicle also can be outfitted with advanced telematics technology that will allow military command centers to know in real time where the vehicles are located, and with remote diagnostics, how they are performing.

With a new Internationalâ VT275 diesel engine, which is a 4.5-liter V6, and a hybrid hydraulic launch assist for power at startup, the technologies used in the concept vehicles also allow for better fuel economy.

On the commercial side, the International Commercial Utility Vehicle is a modified, simpler version of SmarTruck III that can be used by various government agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and the U S Border Patrol or non-government customers such as construction or utility companies.

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