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Armored Cars: Navistar Defense MXT

November 3, 2017

The MXT has been around for more than a decade but its impact on the protected vehicle market is negligible at best. This doesn’t diminish its status as a successful venture by American truckmaker Navistar outside its well-known MRAPs like the MaxxPro. The MXT, which grew to a family of vehicles, has everything a modern army is looking for in a truck; large, armored, and suited for off-road rigors.

There are five variants of the MXT in Navistar Defense‘s catalog. These include an unarmored pickup truck, the better armored MXT-MVA, the MXT-MVA IS that’s equipped with an independent suspension system, an MXT with a troop compartment mounted on its bed, and an MXT for hauling cargo.

The MXT was first revealed in 2006 as a gargantuan civilian pickup truck that was later spun off into a military product. This is why it’s recognizable for its bulbous hood and the iconic Navistar grille. Years of careful marketing for the MXT raised its profile among international customers and eventually caught the British Army’s attention. A need arose in the late 2000s for a Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV) for the UK’s expeditionary wars and Navistar scored its first MXT orders in 2009. By 2011 a total of 351 MXT’s, renamed the Husky, were delivered to the Brits.

The secret to the MXT’s appeal is Navistar’s expertise with building long haul trucks. The MXT runs on a 340 horsepower MaxxForce 6.0D V8 turbo diesel engine that gives it a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour. Other mobility features are its central tire inflation system and optional independent suspension for better movement over rough terrain.

When deployed in a war zone the MXT-MVA can fit five soldier sin its cab, including the driver and co-driver. A single roof hatch is available for mounting a turret or a remote weapon station. Its bed supports 8,500 lbs of cargo, whether it’s ammo, fuel, or additional warm bodies.

There’s little public information on how much armor the MXT has but this should be at STANAG II at the very least. Maybe it’s more polite to suggest “it depends” when contemplating its armoring level. The same applies to whatever comms, countermeasures, navigational tools, and sensors it could have installed.

But the MXT’s merits haven’t attracted other buyers since the Husky’s brief success. Neither did it manage to join the competition for the US military’s JLTV from 2012 to 2015, which saw Oshkosh victorious. As a result the MXT doesn’t appear to be in production and so many countries have rolled out similar vehicles for the same end users.

Being a product of the US defense sector, the advent of Oshkosh’s JLTV threatens to permanently eclipse the MXT, whose future prospects are nearly stifled by abundant Cobras, Nimrs, Sherpas, and Vamtacs–to name a few. But hope springs eternal and military logistics does have a diversification bias. The MXT may still find a comfortable niche for itself. Just look at the Land Rover.

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