Hendrick Dynamics, a division of the Hendrick Performance Group, recently launched the COMMANDO tactical vehicle. Based upon a commercially designed production platform, the COMMANDO has been modified into a versatile tactical vehicle to meet military specifications for direct transportation support of combat and/or tactical operations. The main objective was to create an ultra light mobility tool that could perform a wide array of missions in various terrains. More importantly though, the vehicle had to be safe, versatile, and affordable.
Starting with a factory produced Jeep Wrangler, the COMMANDO is fitted with a JP-8 diesel-powered turbo engine producing 197 horsepower and 339 ft/lbs of torque. Paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive and two-speed 4WD system with 4:1 low range, the COMMANDO will easily tackle a variety of difficult terrain while getting 400+ miles range using only onboard fuel. Capable of a 72 hour idle without refilling the tank, the COMMANDO can be used for remote sensing and communication relay activities.
The COMMANDO is currently available in three different configurations. The COMMANDO 2 has the shortest wheelbase and was created for maximum maneuverability in tight terrain. With seating for two, the vehicle features an enclosed cargo space of 55 cubic feet behind the occupants. The COMMANDO 4 has a longer wheelbase and can be easily configured to match the mission profile. Seating for 4 is standard, but second row seating can be easily removed to increase the enclosed cargo space from 31 cubic feet to 70 cubic feet. The COMMANDO S, which essentially is a Wrangler converted into a pickup truck configuration, has a larger cargo bed and takes advantage of the patent-pending Mission Pallet Attachment System (MPAS).
Each COMMANDO is outfitted with a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS). Engineered to exceed FMVSS 216 load standards, the ROPS is a fully TIG welded chromoly tube framed cage anchored to multiple attachment points on the vehicle’s frame rails. The cage uses no bolted connections and is completely nonremovable. Multi-point latch-style safety harnesses come pre-installed at each seat position for occupant safety. Other safety features include a mechanical emergency brake system that operates independent of the hydraulic brakes.
The Mission Pallet Attachment System, which is available on the COMMANDO S, allows teams to easily reconfigure the vehicle’s payload to perform specific tasks. Whether the mission calls for hauling cargo, operating generators and compressors in remote field locations, or providing additional firepower to troops or operators on the ground, the “pallets” can be removed and interchanged so that one vehicle can perform a multitude of tasks.
The COMMANDO vehicles went from start of production to active duty OCONUS in nine months. During that time, the platform was mobility validated, was outfitted with man-optional robotic capabilities, completed safety evaluations, and even earned CH-47 flight certification. The initial units saw combat within the first few weeks of duty. COMMANDOs are only available to government agencies and their contractors so don’t get your hopes up of driving that diesel JK just yet. For more information about the COMMANDO from Hendrick Dynamics, visit their website or watch the video: