Specialized Reconnaissance Assault and Transport System evolved from a proof of concept vehicle, and it’s usually recognized as SRATS. The SRATS utilizes popular Rock Crawler and Sand Rail technologies, which are popular with extreme off-road automotive sports. It is used to produce an off-road vehicle designed to handle extreme terrain in all-weather conditions.
In 2004, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funded the development of two prototype vehicles under a proof of concept demonstration of a small vehicle that would bridge the gap between the soldier and the HMMWV. In 2007, US BAE Systems and the SRATS developer specialty vehicle maker unveiled their agreement in transforming the militarized rock crawler into a serially produced military vehicle. That was a direct response to the US Army’s interest in acquiring new military vehicles to support its light brigades and special forces units.
The SRATS combines commercial rock crawlers and sand rail technologies. In addition to an automotive platform designed for mobility in extreme conditions, it is equipped for near-vertical rock climbing or rubble field traverse (maximum grade climb of 80%). The vehicle also has high acceleration and speed, sustaining high-speed chase or fast egress from a hot target area with sustainable firepower.
The Specialized Reconnaissance Assault and Transport System went through field testing and demonstrations beginning in November 2004. The hard demonstrations simulated the reduction of soldier backpacks by 80 percent or more and infantry logistical support going anywhere a soldier can walk or climb. The SRATS vehicles demonstrated their capability to handle extreme terrain, travel over rubble, and go through the road-less terrain. They were also tasked with simulated high-speed convoy escorts, casualty evacuation, and insurgent off-road pursuit.
The SRATS has a curb weight of 4,700 pounds, fitted with an uprated HMMWV turbo-charged diesel engine, rated at 340 hp running on JP8 fuel. A single Chinook CH-47 lift can carry two carriers. The carrier accommodates four passengers, with an additional six seated on outboard rigs. It can be equipped with an armor package weighing 2,000 pounds, providing efficient protection against 7.62 rifle bullets and fewer calibers. The SRATS carrier can be configured with independent front and rear steering for maximum agility and maneuverability in extreme conditions.
The first SRATS was completed in 2006 as ‘proof of principle’ vehicles for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), creating much interest among special forces members. The US military was ready to order over 100 of them in the first phase. Still, interest expanded beyond the special forces, and the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) was interested in producing thousands of these vehicles. This potential motivated the SRATS developer to approach BAE Systems to the team to develop and produce a new armored version with upgraded abilities.
SRATS vs. HMMWV
The armored SRATS carrier is designed to bridge the gap between the current military vehicle HMMWV (Humvee) and the dismounted soldier, providing support and logistics for small infantry elements. It means to negotiate on and off-road convoy escort and mobility, carry out stealth recon missions, extract high-value assets from difficult locations and conduct fast pursuit off and on-road, and be able to withstand gunfire.
SRATS has a length of 175″ (4.445 m’) and a wheelbase of 132″ (3.352 m’), the vehicle curb weight is about 6,500 lbs (2.948 t.) for the unarmored version and 8,500 lbs (3.856 t.) for the armored vehicle, fitted with small-arms protection (7.62mm) and run-flat tires.
In both configurations, the SRATS carrier can carry a payload of 4,000 lbs (1.814 t.), including four passengers at full gear. The carrier is powered by AM General 6.5 V8 turbo diesel engine rated at 300 hp and 505 lb/ft torque. It uses standard fuel tanks to sustain operation at 375 miles (60- km) or accommodate larger fuel tanks for an extended range.
The ELSORV (Enhanced Logistics Off-Road Vehicle) SRATS Inc.
After years of probations and testings, SRATS finally comes out as a final product as the ELSORV, which stands for Enhanced Logistics Off-Road Vehicle. It resembles a Humvee but with much more agility and off-road capability. It is based on an SRATS design for SOCOM over the last five years.