Chrysler Group Showcases New Vehicles For UK Military

The Prototype Dodge Ram Combatt And The Jeep Wrangler TJL


A military version of the Jeep Wrangler has had its UK debut at the Defence Vehicle Dynamic show, together with a hybrid-powered version of the Dodge Ram, which showcases the very latest DaimlerChrysler hybrid power-train technology.

The military version of the Wrangler – the Jeep Wrangler TJL – continues the Jeep legend that began in 1941 when the American Army needed a tough and versatile cross-country vehicle. The result was the world’s first purpose built four-wheel drive vehicle – the Willys MB, nicknamed the ‘Jeep’.

For the modern military, the Jeep Wrangler TJL has been modified to handle additional payloads with a heavy-duty axle, cargo bay and upgraded suspension. It features seating for eight people and a wheelbase 22 inches longer than the standard civilian vehicle. Power comes from a 4.0-litre PowerTech™ six-cylinder petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission, or, for the first time in a Wrangler, the TJL will be available, from 2005, with a four-cylinder 2.8-litre diesel engine.

The Dodge Ram COMBATT 2 Hybrid demonstrator vehicle* is a military version of a Dodge Ram 2500 (¾-Ton) full-sized pickup truck. The prototype is powered by a 5.9-litre Cummins TurboDiesel engine together with a PowerGen hybrid system, capable of providing up to 10 kW of exportable 120/240-volt AC 60 Hz power.

One of the key features of the PowerGen system is portable AC power which is available either when the vehicle is stationary with the engine idling, while the vehicle is being driven, or with a Silent Mode where approximately 1.5 kW-hrs of power is supplied by the HEV batteries when the diesel engine is switched off.

Up to 10 kW of 60 Hz AC power is available to power equipment when mains power is unavailable due to site location, natural or man-made disasters, or in combat conditions. The AC power is grid quality and will power industrial equipment, sensitive electronic equipment including computers and TVs, or recreational equipment.

The prototype is also equipped with a purpose-built state-of-the-art hydro-pneumatic suspension system that provides a unique combination of on-road ride and handling comfort with extreme off-road mobility. The suspension enables any single wheel to scale an obstacle up to three feet in height and means that the Dodge Ram COMBATT is capable of negotiating the severest off-road terrain.

Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "These two new prototypes demonstrate some of the technology which we may be seeing in our civilian vehicles in the future. Although they have been developed to address the specific needs of the military, they could also have a future role with aid agencies, utility companies and the emergency services in the UK.

"The Wrangler TJL brings the classic military Jeep right into the 21st century, while the prototype hybrid technology in the Dodge Ram, together with its payload and off-road ability, has obvious applications for disaster relief as well as military operations, where communications in remote areas are vitally important."

Published 3 July 2004 Melanie Carter

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