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Pimp My Killing Machine
June 7, 2006 4:47 PM   Subscribe

Defensor Fortis: A Photo Set. A soldier in Iraq has been posting images of consumer vehicles modified and employed by "Civilian Security Contractors". [via] War has always seemed to instill the creative spirit in its participants, and we also have a detailed history of Military vehicles making a successful transition into the civilian marketplace. With the unprecedented rise in Mercenary Employment, it's hard to tell where the innovation is coming from - the top down, or the bottom up? Our favorite grease monkey seems to have missed out on all the hot welding action, but you can't blame him for not trying. At the very least, it seems they can all agree on something.
posted by prostyle (33 comments total)

 
Interesting. Very Mad Max.

But if you're attempting to armor up a civilian vehicle, you've already lost the game. You might last a little bit longer, but when you run through a full tank of gas in about 15 mintues due to the inordinate weight in the middle of an unfriendly neighborhood (i.e., any part of Iraq that isn't the Green Zone), you're fucked.
posted by bardic at 4:57 PM on June 7, 2006


Maybe they put in bigger gas tanks.
posted by delmoi at 5:16 PM on June 7, 2006


So we spend half a trillion dollars on this war and it ends up getting fought with Chevy Tahoes and Ford F150s? That's pretty damn pathetic.
posted by octothorpe at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2006


War has always seemed to instill the creative spirit in its participants

Indeed seems to, but it is will to survive death that really motives ; war isn't a necessary precondition for this will to emerge.
posted by elpapacito at 5:24 PM on June 7, 2006


So we spend half a trillion dollars on this war and it ends up getting fought with Chevy Tahoes and Ford F150s? That's pretty damn pathetic.

At least we know that building an entire economy based on gas guzzling wasn't a total waste. Think, at least they're buying american until toyata comes out with their own personal tank.
posted by IronLizard at 5:28 PM on June 7, 2006


What the fuck is toyata?
posted by IronLizard at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2006


"Maybe they put in bigger gas tanks."

At five cents a gallon, they can afford to.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:52 PM on June 7, 2006


So we spend half a trillion dollars on this war and it ends up getting fought with Chevy Tahoes and Ford F150s? That's pretty damn pathetic.

It takes 40 fucking liters (10 gallons) of diesel fuel just to *start* an M1A2 Abrams tank. They can easily blow through a full tanker truck's worth of diesel in a single day.

I shouldn't even need to mention the gas mileage of a Hummer on Metafilter.

Be grateful that the military is using pimped out civilian cars for mobile general-purpose machine gun turrets.
posted by Ryvar at 6:05 PM on June 7, 2006


It's pretty interesting to read about those poles and insurgents doing tiny wires to try and decapitate (!!!) the guys on the turrets. I had no idea people did such things.
posted by mathowie at 6:14 PM on June 7, 2006


I'm with octothorpe -- As much as the gas argument makes sense, I still find it disturbing that they have to resort to civilian vehicles in the first place. Why don't our troops have adequate equipment and vehicles?
posted by spiderskull at 6:18 PM on June 7, 2006


What the fuck is toyata?

Some say Toyota, some say Toyata.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:18 PM on June 7, 2006


A non-armoured car isn't much use in warfare.
Handgun bullets (by which I mean bullets fired from assault rifles like the Ak-47 or M-16) will easily go through an ordinary car door and still have enough energy to kill.
NATO 7.62 mm rounds fired from a machine gun will slice through a whole car without even being deflected unless it hits something massive like a cast-iron engine block.

Which makes this look like a pathetic last-ditch effort by an underfunded force.
posted by spazzm at 6:21 PM on June 7, 2006


It's pretty interesting to read about those poles and insurgents doing tiny wires to try and decapitate (!!!) the guys on the turrets. I had no idea people did such things.

It is amazing what people will do to survive, or to win.

Not quite as dramatic, but several of my college classmates finished high school as the former Yugoslavia was self-destructing. One explained that the power utility shot off residential power in the cities, but many of the low voltage transmission lines were still active. Apparently you could use a syringe of HCl to dissolve the copper cores and bolt on your own tap. You could then connect everything back up, all without getting zapped.

There were also some fairly dramatic / horrific stories about dodging snipers while attempting to get to one of the few public water points, all while dodging the corpses of your former neighbors who weren't fast enough.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:25 PM on June 7, 2006


And don't even get me started on what a heavy machinegun will do to an ordinary car.
posted by spazzm at 6:28 PM on June 7, 2006


Got a laff out of this comment regarding this photo:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/defensorfortis/128814118/in/set-72157594152852804/

Fusion Time Machine says:

Yeah I just wanna know, who owns those trucks? Does the military? Or what? And if they do, were they brought to Iraq to be used for this? Man those are totally kick ass machines!

Think of this, take the weapon setup of an AC-130 and put in one of those Ford F350s FX4s! Guns from every direction, a 30mm cannon....clear everything for 100m! BAM! To the next level!

posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:29 PM on June 7, 2006


The military isn't using these. These are civilian contractor security mercinaries and/or Iraqi police/national guard. This is only one of a myriad of ways that Haliburton and it's subsidiaries spends the money that we would have otherwise spent to equip our soldiers with body armor or armored Humvees. Believe me, the markup is a bitch.

It's war for Profit people. /preachestochoir
posted by HyperBlue at 6:30 PM on June 7, 2006


It's war for Profit people. /preachestochoir

The Arms of Krupp should be required reading.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:36 PM on June 7, 2006


A bigger gas tank would only help so much (and be pretty tough to install). Diminishing returns and all that. What they really need are military light armor type vehicles. But Iraq is a pacific new beacon of democracy, and it would be silly and overblown to give military vehicles to civilian contractors. Right?
posted by bardic at 6:36 PM on June 7, 2006


I still find it disturbing that they have to resort to civilian vehicles in the first place. Why don't our troops have adequate equipment and vehicles?

Hopefully someone who has actually fought in this war will chime in, but my suspicion is that narrow streets and general hazard/obstruction avoidance plays a role, as does fuel consumption, as does the fact that in a lot of situations it seems like a Hummer would be overkill when all you really want is a squad-level machinegun mounted on wheels and just enough armor to block the only-moderately-powerful 7.62x39mm round an AK-47 uses.

There's probably a better reason - or several - that I can't think of since I'm yet another person sitting at a keyboard in a comfortable apartment, but off the top of my head those seem like sufficient justification. In Mogadishu (which Baghdad is not, but some of the same principles would seem to apply) the warlords make heavy use of 'technicals' - essentially medium and heavy machineguns mounted on the bed of a pickup. They do this for the simple reason that it fits the needs of that environment - it makes sense for Americans to do the same with some improvements like armor.

The Arms of Krupp should be required reading.

Ahhh, Krupp . . . sometimes you make me proud of my German heritage (yes that was a joke).
posted by Ryvar at 6:41 PM on June 7, 2006


Ryvar what in the hell is that thing -- it's like a god.
posted by undule at 7:00 PM on June 7, 2006


I'm with octothorpe -- As much as the gas argument makes sense, I still find it disturbing that they have to resort to civilian vehicles in the first place. Why don't our troops have adequate equipment and vehicles?

It's not the troups, it's the private security forces using those trucks.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 PM on June 7, 2006


Ryvar what in the hell is that thing -- it's like a god.

At first I thought it was a photoshop or something. What is it?
posted by delmoi at 7:05 PM on June 7, 2006


At first I thought it was a photoshop or something. What is it?

what is this pimp ride?
posted by b1tr0t at 7:07 PM on June 7, 2006


Answer.

Essentially it's a special-purpose machine for wreaking unprecedented destruction on the environment (hence my sarcasm) via open-pit mining for coal. Runs about $100 million euros.

It is, however, sort of an ultimate example of the sheer bloody-mindedness typical in German engineering.
posted by Ryvar at 7:09 PM on June 7, 2006


Damn, beaten.
posted by Ryvar at 7:10 PM on June 7, 2006


I thought maybe it was an Archimedes claw.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 7:14 PM on June 7, 2006


It's not the troops, it's the private security forces using those trucks.

I never thought that it was our troops using these things, the FPP says right at the beginning that they are "Civilian Security Contractors". But even if it's not our troops, it is our money.
posted by octothorpe at 7:16 PM on June 7, 2006


We're employing mercenaries with an A-Team fetish. I can think of nothing more frightening or disturbing.
posted by aladfar at 7:20 PM on June 7, 2006


I doubt these things are armored too heavily. They're not meant to be tanks or APCs, just mobile machine gun emplacements. The main point of the vehicle is not to protect the gunner, it's to give him mobility.

Of course, I wouldn't want to be the gunner on one of these; the vehicle doesn't offer much protection against high-calibre weapons or IEDs, and it holds them up and makes them easy targets. Particularly if the vehicle is stationary.

It seems like it'd be just the thing for protecting convoys against bandits, though.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:10 PM on June 7, 2006


That is the most awesome fucking machine I've ever seen. I'm going to make a blog post all about it, one day.
posted by IronLizard at 12:46 AM on June 8, 2006


Presumably this is at least partly inspired by militia use of technicals in places like Somalia.
posted by drill_here_fore_seismics at 2:11 AM on June 8, 2006


Ryvar: that machine is 'an end level boss for the world.' Read that somewhere.
posted by econous at 8:30 AM on June 8, 2006


It's like a big blue room version of Car Wars over there. All we need are semi's with front and rear mounted machine guns and armoured king pins.
posted by Mitheral at 8:37 AM on June 8, 2006


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