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Soldiers in Afghanistan Test New Off-Road Prototypes

By Army Sgt. Jessica L. Sheldon
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan, June 9, 2008 – Soldiers from Combined Task Force Currahee recently test-drove a new vehicle that could help alleviate some of the problems they have maneuvering through Afghanistan’s mountains and valleys.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Soldiers from 101st Airborne Division test an enhanced logistic off-road vehicle prototype to see if it meets their standards for operational use in Afghanistan. Three prototype vehicles are being tested. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica L. Sheldon, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The enhanced logistic off-road vehicle, known as the ELSORV, may be the answer to navigating Afghanistan’s rugged terrain.

Three prototypes are being tested. Afghanistan’s rocky terrain makes the going slow and difficult for supply convoys, evacuation and basic ground transportation.

“This vehicle was brought on as an operation need,” said Charlie Copsey, one of the engineers who built the ELSORV. “Rapid Equipment Force funded the building of the prototypes.”

All three prototypes are in Afghanistan so soldiers can learn how they handle in the terrain. Over the past year, the ELSORVs went through operational assessments in the United States, and now they are here for a real-world assessment by the soldiers who could end up using the vehicles.

“The ELSORV is unlike any other military vehicle I’ve driven,” said Army Sgt. Lance Davis, one of the test drivers. “It goes wherever you want it to go.”

Copsey said ELSORVs can carry 2,700 pounds, and they have modified Humvee engines that can conquer approach angles of 90 degrees and climb slopes at 80 degrees.

“As long as they have power going to one of the wheels, they’re going to stay mobile,” Copsey said.

The ELSORVs allow soldiers to go over obstacles without getting hung up on the undercarriage. The vehicle can go 90 mph safely on a hard surface.

“The best place for these vehicles is here in Afghanistan,” Davis said.

(Army Sgt. Jessica L. Sheldon serves with 382nd Public Affairs Detachment.)

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