Due to the ferocity of modern-day combat and the ever-evolving, 21st-century battlefield,
transporting military equipment to and from areas of operation as quickly and efficiently as possible is essential. However, when the majority of these vehicles weigh in excess of ten tons – with some, such as the M1 Abrams main battle tank, clocking in at 70 tons – logistics become a major stumbling block.
How do these heavy-duty tractors safely carry vehicles weighing well over 60 tons?
This problem is overcome with heavy equipment transporters (HETs). These vehicles consist of a large pulling tractor – equipped with a high-horsepower/torque diesel engine – and elongated trailer with hydraulically powered drop ramps.
The trailer’s tyres, suspension and wheelbase are modified to withstand vast payloads. For example, the M1070 semi-trailer has automatically steerable axles and load-levelling hydraulic suspension, while the tractor is equipped with front and rear-axle steering as well as a tyre-inflation system.
These technologies enable tanks, armoured personnel carriers and more to be moved great distances over uneven terrain. The benefits are that the transported vehicle itself can avoid wear and tear before reaching the battlefield, and they can be moved swiftly at up to 72 kilometres (45 miles) per hour.