Thursday, April 12, 2012

About that International MaxxPro

Surely, you've seen the photos of the International MaxxPro Mine-Resistant Armored Personnel ("MRAP") vehicles recently acquired by the Department of Homeland Security. They are painted black, and have the words "POLICE / RESCUE" stenciled on the side.

They look like this:

One thing you'll want to keep in mind about these vehicles. They are not tanks. Say it with me, class...THEY ARE NOT TANKS. They are "armored personnel carriers". They are designed to protect the occupants from battle-rifle fire, as well as explosions from mines and IEDs. The operative phrase here is "protect the occupants".

If you'll notice, this vehicle is essentially nothing more than a very heavy-duty SUV with an armored cabin. Its exploitable weakness is the fact that armor is an afterthought.

Remember, there are certain conditions which must exist for an automobile to run and drive, just as there are certain conditions which must exist for a human being to continue living.

First and foremost, the MaxxPro is a truck manufactured by the International Harvester corporation. At the end of the day, it is a truck. Abandon all of the aforementioned info about the cabin being well-armored, and try to follow along.

If one looks closely near the front wheels, one will notice the leaf springs of the front suspension. Standard fare for a heavy-duty truck with a solid front axle, especially those which carry a large amount of weight such as that of an APC.

One may also remember that the MaxxPro utilizes the MaxxForce 10 I-6 TurboDiesel engine. It, like most other modern turbodiesel engines, relies upon a great deal of electronics. Electronics rely upon wiring, which in turn relies upon some form of plastic insulation. 400F inside the engine compartment will stop this vehicle in its tracks.

An internal-combustion engine relies upon four specific elements in order to function. They are fuel, air, ignition, and compression. A diesel engine, such as the MaxxForce 10, gets its ignition as a result of its compression. When the fuel-air mixture is compressed to an extreme degree, the fuel reaches its "auto ignition" temperature. This temperature is roughly 600F. When diesel fuel reaches this temperature, it will automatically ignite in the absence of any other ignition source. If diesel fuel is heated to this temperature prior to compression, it will ignite when mixed with oxygen during the intake stroke of the engine. Heating diesel fuel beyond 600F prior to the compression stroke will stop the MaxxPro in its tracks.

Above and beyond engine or chassis damage, you also have the human element. The MaxxPro is armored in steel. It is intended to be resistant to explosions, and to withstand the massive amount of pressure typically associated with such explosions. In order to do such things, vehicles such as the MaxxPro must be both armored and fairly-well sealed. In order to seal a vehicle in this manner, an air intake/exhaust port system must be utilized. If such ports were to be compromised, the vehicle's crew would be stopped in its tracks. Smoke inhalation is an extreme hazard, which is also something to think about before fielding one of these vehicles on the streets of America.

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