Vehicle Recovery in Combat


Modern Day Marine Expo / AUSA 2007

Urban combat environment can be particularly dangerous to soldiers remaining in disabled vehicles. Rapid recovery is therefore imperative, and military users are examining many alternatives to facilitate rapid, safe recovery of disabled or damaged vehicles without putting the crew or rescue teams at unnecessary risk. A number of systems were on display at MDM 07, reflecting simple but effective vehicle recovery solutions.

A simple Front Protective Bumper (FPB) designed by IbisTek for the HMMWV is designed to push stalled vehicles or other stationary obstacles from the roadway. The FPB can be installed in 60 minutes, without special tools, welding, and drilling or vehicle modification. Several accessories designed for the FPB include various assemblies, wire cutters and a ‘vehicle push assist system’ (VPAS) designed to soften the contact with smaller vehicles without damaging either vehicles and prevent two-wheel vehicles from going under the HMMWV.

Recovery under fire (RUF) system designed by the Israeli automotive accessories specialist Tal&Hadas enables vehicle recovery during combat operations, specifically in dense urban terrain. The RUF enables tow vehicles to recover RUF equipped disabled vehicles without manual support, thus eliminating the need for warfighters to leave the protected vehicles and expose themselves to hostile fire. The RUF kit can be mounted on a vehicle within fire minutes, withoutspecial tools. During the recovery the towing vehicle can approach the disabled vehicle at wide angles, and maneuver effectively in narrow streets. Tal&Hadas are currently offering the system for the HMMWV, Zeev (Ford 150 based armored vehicle), the David armored Defender, and armored Storm (Jeep based) light vehicles. A heavier version designed for the MRAP will be completed by December 2007.

A different solution is the tow-bar designed for the HMMWV by IbisTek. This compact telescopic assembly weighs about 60 pounds and can be rapidly installed, connected to existing pintle and tie down hooks, to recover up-armored HMMWVs at maximum vehicle weight under combat conditions. The standard IbisTek tow-bar can be used to tow loads up to 17,500 lbs over long distances. Compared to chain or tow strap, requiring the driver to stay in the towed vehicle, the tow-bar provides a more effective and safer combat recovery method.

Other topics covered in this review: