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The trucks

Just like the veterans Chris and Paul, the two HX trucks for the record attempt are a Brit and an Australian. The HX 4x4 comes from current series production for the company's Australian client and the larger HX 6x6 is a prototype for a major British purchase which was completed in 2013. Over 12,000 HX trucks are currently sold or in operation in a wide variety of versions worldwide.

Rheinmetall offers a wide range of highly mobile and armoured truck systems. Based on 40 years of experience in military vehicle development, construction and maintenance servicing, the vehicles in the highly mobile HX series (4x4 to 10x10 versions) are some of the most experienced in deployment worldwide. Essential features in military tactical vehicles include mobility, versatility, functionality and a robust design. They must be capable of contending with exceptionally harsh road conditions and extremely rough terrain.

Unlike many comparable vehicles, the HX range from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) comprises military-off-the-shelf (MOTS) products. They unite reliable, tried-and-tested series production components with technology specially designed for military needs on customised military vehicles. User nations currently include the UK, Australia and New Zealand while Germany, Sweden and Norway have all placed major orders with RMMV.

Fittings & conversions

The vehicles are capable of reaching altitudes over 5,000 m. Engine power normally shows a linear decrease of 6% for every 1,000 m. 76% of the engine power is available above 5000 m and then decreases no further. The steering has been adapted for altitude expedition vehicles and the reduction in engine power decreased. The injection rate has also been modified and a reduction in engine power is assured if the turbo-chargers threaten to over-rev.

Other adaptation:

  • Alliance oversize tyres A-390 60-55 R26.5
  • PTG tyre inflation system (STIS)
  • Rotzler & Sepson self-recovery winches
  • Visual X special lighting
  • Hiab lightweight crane for the refuge construction and handling spare tyres
  • Crossmobil/Saxas off-road military platform
  • Engine control adaptation due to extreme altitude
  • 600 l tank modification/relocated to platform
  • Eberspächer D4Power auxiliary air heater + altitude kit
  • Operating supplies for low temperatures
  • Dinitrol tough protection/windscreen repair

Cab

The HX can be equipped with different cab types. Consistently enhanced for tough military use, the cabs impress due to their ergonomic design and ample space provision. They can be featured as an unarmoured version, with a modular armour package, or as a highly armoured version with integrated protection against mines, bombardment and booby traps. In its highest armour class, the HX also protects its crew from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The spacious driver's cabs can be exchanged for specific uses, adapting the truck to change in danger situations. The identical interior design and instrument layout in the different cabs allow users to drive both armoured and unarmoured trucks based on a train-as-you-fight approach without reorientation. All cabs are designed for a standard crew of up to three persons.

Driver's cab roof

Depending on the variant, the driver's cab roof can feature a specially reinforced round, climb-in hatch. In addition to rotating ring mounts, remote control weapon stations can also be fitted for self-defence and convoy protection.

EMC

The HX vehicle range exhibits unparalleled electromagnetic compatibility for its class. Susceptibility to failure in the vehicle and its equipment due to external influences, such as jammers, and the HX series' electromagnetic signature, its detection and registration have all been reduced to a minimum thanks to extensive measures.

Axles

The latest HX generation features a reinforced front axle which carries loads up to 11 tons. Capable of bearing the extra weight of highly armoured cabs, the HX features sufficient potential for expansion to integrate comprehensive radio and guidance equipment or other systems. An axle displacement of up to 400 millimetres allows the vehicle to travel over terrain at high speed and overcome challenging obstacles. Even in its highly armoured variant and under full load, the HX is thus able to deliver unrestricted off-road performance.

Tyres

With standard tyre sizes up to 16.00 R20 and anti-skid chains attached, the HX is a champion performer on challenging, rough terrain in terms of drive quality and mobility, offering optimum traction, floor clearance and floor pressure.

Fuel

All HX engines have been specially developed to tolerate diesel fuels with a high sulphur content or low lubricity, so that vehicles can be put into operation anywhere in the world and are not dependent on a supply of high-quality diesel. HX vehicles can also run on JP-8 jet fuel or on F-34, the universal fuel required to comply with the NATO Single Fuel Concept.

Fording depth

The HX can cross bodies of water up to 1.5 metres deep without prior adaptation, which qualifies it for uses such as low-water crossings or maritime landing operations. Thanks to its exceptional fording capability, the HX is also highly suitable for continuous use in water, making it ideal for flood rescue operations, for example.

Engine

The water-cooled MAN diesel engine is available in different power versions and emissions categories, including the D0836 (340 HP), D2066 (440 HP), D2676 (540 HP) and D2868 (680 HP). The engine control is especially adapted to military usage requirements.

Radiator

Although the engine is placed in a conventional lengthwise position between the beams in the chassis, the radiator is located on the rear of the driver's cab. This ensures it is better protected against damage and blockage, caused by mud, for example. This position also improves the vehicle's cross-country mobility thanks to a greater driving slope angle and related fording capability. This layout also means a larger radiator can be used, thus significantly improving operational capability in hot climate zones.

Frame

The specially developed military frame is designed for uncompromising off-road use while subject to maximum load conditions and peak stress loads. This constitutes a key feature to distinguish the frame from militarised civil chassis.

Superstructures

A wide variety of superstructures can be incorporated into the rear section of the HX, depending on its intended use. Typical systems include platforms, hook loading systems, tippers and container mounts. However, special uses as a tanker, a bridge launcher or a recovery vehicle with crane are also possible.

Service life

Thanks to ample, comprehensive test cycles which each HX variant needed to undergo during development, the HX features a long service life, even when subject to extremely tough stress loads in all areas of use.

Climate conditions

Since they are designed for use worldwide, HX range vehicles are capable of operating in all climate zones with temperatures ranging between -46 and +49 degrees Celsius.

Retrospect

HX and SX vehicles can trace their roots back to the 1970s. In December 1975, the German Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement commissioned MAN to develop a new generation of trucks, the LKW KAT I mil gl (Category I, militarised and all-terrain). These vehicles were supplied between 1976 and 1982. Their load classes ranged between five and ten tons. The terms 5-, 7- and 10-tonner established themselves as abbreviated designations. Mainly used as transport vehicles, the trucks are still in operation today.

A change in requirements and new weapon systems called for an enhanced vehicle generation, the KAT IA1, between 1987 and 1993. These vehicles came in different versions for use as system carriers for vehicle-launched pontoon bridges, assault bridges, folding road slabs and carrier vehicles for Roland and Patriot anti-aircraft systems. Continuously improved, these transport and special purpose vehicles prove their worth in everyday use in the German Federal Armed Forces and still continue to form the backbone for tactical logistics today.