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Afghan Army Receives First Shipment of Light Tactical Vehicles

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2005 – The first shipment of Ford Ranger light tactical vehicles for the Afghan National Army recently arrived at the supply depot in Kabul, Afghanistan.

The delivery of 83 brand-new, 4x4 double-cab pickup trucks, produced by RM Asia in Bangkok, Thailand, was only the start of an anticipated total of 5,160 vehicles scheduled for delivery to the ANA over the next 18 months, officials said.

Shipped by U.S. Defense Transportation System carrier American President Lines, they will be distributed to the ANA to provide critical transportation for troops and cargo.

"This was a significant step in meeting the ANA's need for tactical vehicles," said Defense Resource Sector program manager U.S. Air Force Maj. Lynnane George, of the Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan. "Along with the need to rebuild the ANA, came a need to provide transportation for troops, so fielding the vehicles became a top priority."

A family of light tactical vehicles was needed to perform a variety of missions -- including emergency medical transport, transportation for material and troops, and field vehicle-repair capability.

The U.S. Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, Mich., awarded the first contract for 583 trucks on Dec. 30. The same day, a second contract for an additional 400 vehicles was awarded.

These first 983 vehicles are 2.5-Turbo diesel crew-cab pickup trucks, which will meet the ANA's need for cargo vehicles. Delivery of the remaining 900 trucks is expected in the spring.

These agile vehicles are dubbed "severe off-road vehicles" and are fitted with extra-heavy suspension systems, enabling them to better survive the harsh terrain and extreme conditions found in Afghanistan. Each truck also arrives complete with two years of spare parts and manufacturer-recommended maintenance.

"OMC-A, the TACOM offices and the Ford Motor Company worked closely together to tailor the SORV Ranger for the Afghan National Army," said Len Delunas, regional manager for RM Asia. "The next steps will see Ford's SORV Ranger platform extended to meet a wide range of specialized operational needs."

Delunas said the vehicle fleet will consist of a total of five variants, including cargo, emergency response, personnel/tactical and personnel/command trucks, as well as maintenance vans. At an anticipated delivery rate of about 415 vehicles per month, the ANA's projected fielding requirements should be met by April 2006.

(From an Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan news release. Air Force Maj. Lynnane George contributed to this report.)

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