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Army High-Tech Displays For Detroit Show (Dec. 17)

DETROIT --- The United States Army today announced it will showcase the latest in technology innovation from its National Automotive Center (NAC) at the North American International Automobile Show at Cobo Hall next month.

Based at the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, Mich., the NAC is the Army's official link with the auto industry and academia in developing dual-use technologies for defense and commercial applications. It also has the lead role for the government's initiatives to develop more fuel- efficient, lighter-weight and safer vehicles.

In addition to major exhibits by Ford Motor Company, DaimlerChrysler and General Motors Corp., the NAC will rollout the latest anti-terrorist SmarTruck -- a specially modified electronic showcase of military capability, built by MSX International.

We want to show the American public the many technologies we are working on in cooperation with the automotive industry," Dennis Wend Director of the National Automotive Center added. "Clearly, these capabilities will also provide us with the opportunity to enhance homeland security."

"Our latest technology innovations are under development with our scientists and technology development teams, and are being field tested right now," stated Wend. "The reality of today's military environment demands that we dramatically accelerate the infusion of mobility and technology innovations into new systems and bring them on line to respond to the military's worldwide needs."

All of the projects in the NAC display at the show are part of the Army's Twenty-first Century Truck Program. They include: A GM platform featuring the Allison Electric Drives E(P) System, the Ford IMPACT demonstrating the application of efficient, lightweight technologies to high-volume truck platforms; and the Oakland University Next Generation Electric Architecture built into a DaimlerChrysler Jeep.

"The Army wants to increase the fuel efficiency of its 250,000-vehicle fleet 300 percent by the first half of the next decade, while integrating more advanced technologies and lighter-weight materials. The U.S. Army spends $1 billion annually to buy new vehicles and $2 billion per year to operate and maintain them. Fuel accounts for 70 percent of tonnage transported by Army vehicles," said Wend.

"We are working with the American automotive industry to investigate a full range of vehicle applications with a view to applying technical innovations developed for the U.S. Army and commercial vehicles," Wend said. "Future Army vehicles will be much, much lighter, but will have to have the same or even better survivability as the current fleet. Our goal is to transform the U.S. Army to a lighter, more mobile, more fuel-efficient force -- we'll only get there with active participation from America's automotive industry."

"The automotive industry has the opportunity today to make a difference for the U.S. Army, to help transform the Army into a lighter, quicker, more mobile force," Wend said. "The automotive industry needs to be at the forefront of our efforts to transform the Army. If we want to enjoy freedom we need to work at it everyday."

A subordinate activity of the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), NAC serves as the Army's agent for advancing the development of dual-use automotive technologies by industry, academia, and the military services. By cultivating relationships and forming cost-shared partnerships, the NAC accelerates the exchange and implementation of automotive technologies creating developmental savings that are shared by all participants.

" Army Goes High Tech At Detroit Auto Show