It’s an EM50 – Urban Assault Vehicle.
Most folks would not think of their vehicle as a piece of tactical gear, but a good vehicle is essential for the missions of everyday life. Before anyone starts the Ford versus Chevy argument, I would like to highlight a vehicle I ran across today. While jogging around camp, I saw what looked to be a Stomper (remember Stompers?). I had to stop and check it out.
The vehicle I came across is the Arctic Trucks Toyota Land Cruiser 120/AT44. This one has been modified for combat use which I will discuss later. The version in the picture belongs to the Lithuanian Army stationed here in Kabul, Afghanistan. After a quick inspection and discussion with the Lithuanian Army Sergeant that the truck belongs to, I did some research.
According to the Arctic Trucks website, www.arctictrucks.com, Arctic Trucks specializes in modifying 4WD vehicles for use in rough environments, for example in the mountains, on glaciers or in the desert. Rescue teams, military units, police forces and electrical companies use Arctic Trucks cars, as well as ordinary people who need cars that suit their lifestyle. Arctic Trucks has been operating in Iceland and Norway for many years. I further learned that in 1990, Toyota of Iceland began modifying Toyota trucks for arctic conditions. Later they became a separate entity from Toyota and now specialize in modifying Toyota, Hyundai, and Nissan vehicles for rough conditions. The military version has been further modified by them.
The model I saw is based on the Toyota Land Cruiser 120 model. However, after a heavy duty lift and suspension kit and whopping 44 inch, kevlar re-enforced sidewall, run flat tires you are ready to take on the daily commute. After that they strapped on ballistic glass and armor plating. To the glass they added rifle ports to blast the hordes of Zulus trying to overrun your vehicle, and a top mounted hatch for a top gunner to pop out of, or serve as an escape hatch. The top hatch could come in handy for those pesky tail-gaiters. This beauty runs on diesel and the standard model comes with a 3.0L diesel engine.
As far as accessories, this baby has it all. Front and rear heavy duty bumpers, head light/tail light guards, and a front-mounted winch is standard. But wait; there’s more, heavy duty floodlights on the front as well as a remote controlled top-center mounted spotlight. In addition to these perks the top mounted luggage rack has rear facing flood lights for when you have to backup in a hurry. The addition of two spare tires, traction grates for the deep mud, a heavy duty jack, and a built in air-compressor pretty much insure that you will make it through anything that comes your way. A twelve volt generator comes standard as well with applicable power outlets. That should impress them at the next hunting trip. To top it all off, a shovel is included. Should you ever get stuck, I guess you could dig yourself out, or use it to hit a zombie on the head.
While I was talking with the sergeant, another trooper came along. He said he had seen the trucks on the Discovery Channel where they drove across the North Pole and then the South Pole, sort of a Baja 1000 on Steroids. After looking over the truck, I believe it could do it. How much would you expect to pay for all of this you might ask? I’m telling you, don’t ask. It is a lot. Overall though, after reviewing the truck, I had to ask myself. Do I have a good jack, good spare, shovel, survival kit, and anti-stuck kit such as a winch or tow-rope with solid shackles for my vehicle? If you can’t afford an Arctic Trucks AT44, you may want to at least invest in some good kit to keep you mobile. Drive on.