Why Don’t We Do It In the Road: The RAF’s New Truck
Britain’s Royal Air Force had a problem. How were they to keep their helicopters operating on the front lines by delivering fuel to them in the field, rather than forcing them to divert back to remote base for fuel or doing it on metalled roads up to 100 miles away. The USA uses portable “drop and go” systems like the AAFARS, but Britain is going with a slightly different approach: a big, honkin’ 10-wheeled armored truck from Oshkosh. The MOD worked with Oshkosh to develop the vehicles, then bought 58 aviation fuel versions at a cost of about GBP 500,000 each (about GBP 29 million total, or $51 million at current conversion).
“It’s an impressive vehicle, and the improvement in capability will be severely tested in the forthcoming Afghanistan deployment, where dirt tracks and mountain passes are the norm,” said Squadron Leader Geoff Maple, Deputy Commander of the RAF’s Tactical Supply Wing (TSW), RAF Stafford. “…So far they have proved themselves extremely capable of going virtually anywhere that a tank can go.” Crews are being trained in preparation for the upcoming commitment, and the added capability for in-field refueling with rotors turning will be appreciated. On the flip side, Afghanistan will also be a stern test of the armored trucks’ survivability. Will they be able to practice safe supply? Read the full UK MoD story.