The military industry is constantly changing and evolving. Along with technology, any discovery breeds new generations of products. Since World War 1, tanks have been an indispensable asset in the battlefield. These heavily armored mobile are agile and can take up massive hit without budging. But the hindsight of their deployment is the amount of fuel they consume. To aid this, the tanks are mounted to Military Heavy Equipment Transport vehicles, so they can be transported deeper into the territory. Heavy Equipment Transporter (abbreviated as HET) is specialized trucks or tractors to tow trailers that are mounted with military equipment like tanks, armored vehicles, or cargos. Below is the list we have compiled to get you started!
1. M26 Tank Transporter (America)
The M26 Tank Transporter is an Army Heavy Equipment Transport and Recovery Truck developed during World War 2 to meet the demanding weight of American main battle tanks like Sherman or Pershing. This agile but strong monster got his name from its exhaust pipe that often spits fire like that of a dragon. Unlike other HET vehicles at that time, this generation of the transporter is heavily armored and mounted with a .50 caliber machine gun for self-defense. But even though it looks bulky, this vehicle performs off-road better than its predecessors. This semi-trailer transporter can pull 60 tons of cargo including 7 crews in the cabin.
2. Scania R730 (Sweden)
The Scania R730 is a Sweden-made stubborn hauler with an 8x8 wheel system. The Military Tank Transport vehicle is equipped with a 730hp V8 engine to pull weight up to 80 tons without a hitch. We love the low profile look on this truck, but make no mistake that this 8-person cabin is heavily armored to repel bullets and even artillery rounds. Another perk from this hauler truck, besides its powerful pull, is the interchangeable parts between the military and the commercial versions to eliminate spare parts scarcity. This truck is truly the power horse of the wargame.
3. Taian TA4360/ Taian TAS4360 (China)
Type 99 is China’s heaviest main battle tank that weighs about 27 tons. It takes a lot of effort and money just to mobilize this tank in the field. A special Military Truck Transport vehicle is needed and Taian TA4360 meets the demand. The 6x6 transporter handles all terrains remarkably while pulling up to 50 tons of weight on its back. This ability owes it to switchable modes between 6x6 and 6x4 configurations. The 517hp turbocharged diesel engine, coupled with twin winches at the back, is also reliable to tow stuck armored vehicles, making it a great makeshift recovery truck.
4. KamAZ-78504 (Russia)
Russia eventually replaced their reliable MAZ truck series into newer KamAZ trucks. KamAZ series consists of an array of Military Heavy Equipment Shipping trucks in various sizes and payloads: the gigantic KamAZ-7850 (16x16), multi-purpose KamAZ-78509 (12x12), and powerful KamAZ-78504 (8x8). The KamAZ-78504 is nimble compared to its brothers, but more than enough to transport tanks or mobile artilleries with agility and speed. The hood is prepped with a whooping 500hp producing diesel engine that tows up to 90 tons semi-trailer. Now that does not sound very small, does it?
5. SLT 56 Franziska (German)
SLT 56 Franziska is said to replace German’s notorious SLT50 Elefants to accommodate newer, heavier tanks. The additional 6 tons should be enough to haul Leopard 2 tanks. This change came with a cost. With a configuration change from 8x8 (Elefants’) to 8x6, the truck may produce more power on hauling, but certainly, limit its mobility on cross-country traversing. There are also changes in winches and boxes settings and added air-suspended seats in the cabin. This truck can take 4 crews with it and equip a machine gun, mounted at the top of the cabin.
6. Oshkosh M911 (America)
The Oshkosh M911 Heavy Equipment Transporter is a heavy haul vehicle befoe the era of A1 Abrams tanks. The diesel engine is packed with 450 horsepower. And when it is paired with the M747 semi-trailer, it can transport 60 tons worth of cargo at about 74 km/h. This truck was built extremely resilient to weather that no matter cold or hot the temperature, it will work without major trouble. In its golden era, these transporters carry numerous M60 Patton tanks in Cold War and Gulf War. Later on, this line of the transporter was replaced by the more advanced Oshkosh M1070.
7. Oshkosh M1070A1 (America)
The most recently developed HET vehicle, Oshkosh M1070A1, is an improvement from Oshkosh M1070 Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET). Just like its predecessor, the newer tractor truck is a part of a transport system for American third-generation main battle tanks, the A1 Abram. Deployed in 2012, this truck is embedded with the Caterpillar C18 turbocharged diesel engine, capable of producing 700 horsepower to haul its cargo. The cabin is now armored and can be loaded with a driver, a co-driver, and 6 men. This 8x8 beast is mated with an M1000 trailer to complete the A1 Abram Heavy Equipment Transport System.
8. MZKT-74295 (Belarus)
This transporter is simply the one beyond all vehicles mentioned before. Could MZKT-74295 be a start of a new breed of tank transporter? Boasting its 796hp Mercedes-Benz OM441LA diesel, this giant of a truck is capable of towing not only one, but two trailers simultaneously (semi-trailer and a trailer), maxing its load capacity to 3 tanks (about 130 tons!). Since the transporter carries more tanks, the cabin is then adjusted to fit 9 people, including the driver. If you think this vehicle is going to run like a snail, you might want to reconsider because 82 km/h is not a bad number. This tank transporter is simply the game-changer.
Military technology never stops evolving and continues to seek ways how to create the perfect trump card on the battlefield. As tanks get more tactical and sophisticated, they also get heavier. Demand is rising to accommodate the bottleneck and so the Army Heavy Equipment Transport vehicles were invented and improved along with the changes. There are only a handful of stories about tank transporter operators as opposed to generals and frontline soldiers. These Military Heavy Equipment Transport vehicles are unsung heroes that may stand between a victory and a loss.
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