U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center-Natick
Public Affairs Office
Natick, MA 01760-5012
Contact: Chief, Public Affairs Office
Date: April 3, 2002
Cargo bed covers available for purchase
Natick, Mass. -- Rigid covers for vehicle cargo beds and trailers developed at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick) are available for purchase through Soldier and Biological Chemical Command's Integrated Materiel Management Center.
The Humvee and M-105, 1 1/2-ton trailer covers are composed of a fiberglass-reinforced plastic consisting of polyester fiber reinforced resin weighing nearly 450 pounds, while the 2 1/2-ton and 5-ton Family of Cargo Bed Covers are made with an aluminum skin and aluminum honeycomb core weighing nearly 700 pounds. The same aluminum covers fit on the Army's Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), FMTV trailer and the 800 or 900 series truck by altering the adapter.
The new cargo bed covers offer a lockable and environmentally-safe alternative to bow and canvas or homemade wooden covers.
"They didn't have anything other than bow and canvas, which would leak and leave tools and other sensitive items unprotected," said Robert Rhine, logistics manager for the Shelters Team. "Soldiers would then often build their own plywood covers. These were often unsafe and not very durable."
Rhine, a retired Army chief warrant officer, served as a battalion maintenance officer and recalled how the weight of the plywood and two-by-fours built on trailers could easily reach the vehicle's weight limit before carrying anything. Another disadvantage is that the custom-built shelters can't be lowered to fit inside an airplane, so they would be left behind.
"Without a cover, there was nothing to keep tools and parts neat and orderly, and items could get stolen, tools especially," he said. "For the amount of money units spent on plywood for homemade covers, they could have bought several of these cargo covers."
The Family of Cargo Bed Covers for tactical wheeled vehicles and trailers store, protect and secure equipment, tools and other theft-prone items in a vented, weather-tight and lockable cube without interfering with the carrier mobility by ground, air or rail. The Cargo Bed Covers have been tested, approved and type-classified standard through Natick.
All cargo covers have two vents for interior ventilation. Troops can enter the cover through a lockable rear door and have cab access with the Humvee. Six sets of nuts, bolts and washers are used to attach the Humvee cover through existing holes in the Humvee bed. For the trailer cover, eight sets of bolts, self-locking nuts and flat washers fasten through the sidewalls.
The larger 2 1/2-ton and 5-ton family covers are height-reducible for internal air transport on a C-130 or C-141 and have a two-piece lockable rear door. These covers are attached to its carrier with 16 bolts, self-locking nuts and flat washers. The Light Medium Tactical Vehicles (LMTV) and Medium Tactical Vehicles (MTV) require an adapter kit that allows mounting without modifying the cargo bed. Other features include roof steps and handholds for safe entry and exit.
All cargo covers have two 4-inch-diameter power and signal ports located on the forward side panels so soldiers won't have to leave a door open or drill a hole through the side as they did on the homemade covers.
They are painted white inside and can be ordered with a sand or woodland camouflage exterior. Furthermore, after units have the cargo bed covers, they can customize the interior with any variety of features, such as tool cabinets, shelves, workbenches, lights and fans.
Natick is part of the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM). For more information about SBCCOM or the Soldier Systems Center (Natick), please visit our website at http://www.sbccom.army.mil.
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