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Should roll bars be a requirement for new combat vehicles?

My attention was recently brought to Force Protection's JAMMA, or Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset vehicle. As I've reported in the past, SOCOM has dropped the requirement for a V-22 compatible vehicle from it's request to industry for a Humvee replacement, however, the JAMMA comes in two flavors. Narrow track for the V-22 Osprey and wide track for the MH-47 Chinook.

From Force Protection:

“The Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset (JAMMA) was built as a first response vehicle to better equip and protect those who put their lives at risk in crisis situations. A technological leap over similar vehicles, this high performance platform can handle challenging terrain at high speeds even with a combat payload. JAMMA has innovative rollover protection and modular, threat-specific armor for multiple mission profiles - reconnaissance, rescue/recovery, med-evac, mobile security, and more. The optional state-of-the-art hybrid engine optimizes vehicle efficiency and generates 22kW of continuous exportable power.”

One feature that caught my attention right away was the rollover protection. Many soldiers mistakenly believe that the A, B, and C pillars on a standard Humvee somehow constitute a roll bar. I was in a vehicle roll over myself in Afghanistan and thankfully we all walked away with only some bruises.

Sadly, I was also in another convoy during the same deployment where a Ranger was killed in the course of a roll over. I'm convinced that some kind of roll over protection for the turret gunner can save many lives. The question is, can it be done without reducing the capabilities of the vehicle and the gunner's movement and range of fire.

It seems that the JAMMA may have a viable solution with a retractable roll bar. If they build a FM and Sat antennae into the metal framework they might be on to a good thing!

Kit Up! contributor Jack Murphy is a former Ranger, Special Forces Soldier and is the author of the military thriller Reflexive Fire.

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