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Techhicals

Light utility vehicles

Technicals

Technicals are commercial pickup trucks, fitted with trainable machine guns in their cargo area

 
 
Country of origin International
Entered service ?
Configuration 4x4
Cab seating 1 + 1/3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (empty) 2 000 ~ 2 200 kg
Payload capacity 500 ~ 800 kg
Length 4.5 ~ 5 m
Width ~ 1.8 m
Height ~ 2 m
Mobility
Engine various petrol or diesel engines
Engine power varies depending on the engine
Maximum road speed ~ 160 km/h
Range 700 ~ 1 000 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.35 m
Trench ~ 0.5 m
Fording ~ 0.5 m

 

   During various military conflicts standard commercial pickups are often converted into improvised fire support vehicles, armed with heavy machine guns, mounted on tripods. These improvised combat vehicles are called technicals. Light improvised fighting vehicles date back to the first use of automobiles. However the generic term "technicals" originated only in the early 1990s. These improvised fire support vehicles are very popular in Africa, Middle East, South America, and other war-torn regions. These are widely used by various irregular forces and militant groups, as well as military units.

   Technicals are typically converted from 4x4 pickup trucks with high off-road mobility. Most commonly used vehicles are Toyota Land Cruiser and Toyota Hilux. These are popular due to their unsurpassed reliability, toughness and great off-road mobility. Other popular vehicles are Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200, and other pickups.

   Technicals are typically fitted with trainable heavy machine guns, installed on the tripod in the rear cargo area. Also there can be numerous improvised modifications, fitted with anti-aircraft guns and missiles, anti-tank missiles and recoilless rifles. Even salvaged artillery rocket systems and helicopter rocket pods are mounted on pickups. There were even cases when pickups were fitted with captured BMP-1 turrets. So the weapons can vary widely, depending on tolerances of the platform, readily available weapons and imagination of the fighting force. Some technicals are fitted with add-on steel plates, which provide some degree of protection for the gunner.

   Many purpose-designed tactical vehicles, such as the HMMWV, have provision for mounting a machine gun and other weapons by their design. Hence these are not considered as technicals.

   Technicals can strike from unexpected direction and deploy troops. These light gun trucks can be also used for defense of rear areas, setting up checkpoints, reconnaissance, escorting convoys, patrolling and other roles. These vehicles can be used for utility role, carry armed troops, weapons and supplies.

   Technicals are typically used by militants and irregular forces, who lack conventional armored vehicles, but need offensive capabilities. These light gun trucks are also used by poorly funded governmental military units, where soldiers have to make do with what is available for them. By fielding technicals some countries and militant groups respond to unexpected military situations. Converting standard pickup trucks into improvised fighting vehicles is a low-cost way to create a multi-role vehicle with fast attack capability. Various pickup trucks are widely available in large numbers. In some cases pickups are requisitioned from their owners for military needs. In war-torn regions technicals are often used by both parties.

   However even a US military, notably special forces, purchased Toyota Tacoma pickups from car showrooms, modified them and used for covert operations in Afghanistan.

   It takes less than one day to fit a standard pickup truck with a heavy machine gun. Such work can be performed in any mechanical workshop, and even in field conditions, if welding and other tools are available.

   However these soft skin civilian vehicles are extremely vulnerable to small arms fire, artillery shell splinters and landmines. Technicals exploit their speed and mobility in order to avoid contact with enemy. The light gun trucks avoid contact with heavier armored vehicles, such as armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, as well as helicopters and ground attack aircraft.

   Overall technicals perform well against less technically-advanced enemies. However these improvised vehicles perform poorly and have little tactical value when facing technologically superior enemies.

   Mechanical reliability of these vehicles is useful for irregular force that lack repair-related infrastructure of conventional army. This is the main reason why proven and reliable vehicles, such as Toyota Land Cruisers and Hiluxes are being selected for conversion to improvised fighting vehicles. Their four-wheel dive allows for certain level of off-road performance.

 

 
Technicals

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Technicals

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Technicals

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Technicals

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Technicals

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Technicals

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