Built by ForceProtection Inc The Buffalo is used in route clearance missions, such as the Canadian The Expedient Route Opening Capability (EROC). It entered US military service in 2003. It is classed as a Category III in the USMC MRAP program.
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Protection
When a vehicle hits an IED or mine, the horizontal flat underneath acts like a sail and captures the energy released, which destroys the vehicle. The V-Shape hull design eliminates the risk of destruction as there is no horizontal flat underneath so the energy is deflected and escapes.
The vehicle is constructed of 2 layers of steel and can be fitted with Bar Armour aka cage armour ro pre-detonate an RPG-7 and lesser the damage to the vehicle, which is fitted round the outside of the vehicle.
It has several windows, all constructed of 5 inch thick armoured glass running around the vehicle, so the 2 man crew and 4 embarked troops have an all round field of vision, for maximum situational awareness.
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Tyres and Chassis
Elements of the chassis and drivetrain like suspension and the driveshaft are left exposed (not behind armour) so that if they are damaged/destroyed in an attack they can be quickly replaced.
The tyres are all run flats, which means the normal inflatable void under the rubber is replaced with a solid steel wheel. The use of 6 wheels means more than 1 needs to be taken out to achieve a mobility kill.
The vehicle is powered by a Mack ASET AI-400 I6 450hp diesel engine. It can run on the JP-8 jet fuel as used by the Abram’s tank and uses an Allison automatic transmission.
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Interrogation Arm
The vehicles crew has the unique capability of remote interrogation of mines, IEDs or suspected threats safely from within the cab.
The arm is mounted at the front of the vehicle and is hydraulically powered with a distinct rake looking attachment. It is able to detect (via way of sensor), expose and manoeuvre the suspect device/IED for deposal.
The Interrogation Arm is fitted with a camera (and other optional devices like sensors) and both are linked up to a monitor in the front of the cab, so the operator can see what he is doing as he operates the arm.
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Marks and Upgrades
In 2009 the second version, simply called A2 was introduced. It saw improvements in the engine, transmission, suspension and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning).
In 2012 GDLS (who bought ForceProtection Inc and now manufacturer it) introduced the Super Buffalo:
“The new Buffalo concept-demonstrator capabilities will be rolled out in two phases. Phase I shows the Super Buffalo as a multi-functional vehicle that executes detection and interrogation functions while reducing the size of route-clearance tools and technologies. Phase II employs a command-and-control (C2) platform that uses survivable, multi-functional robots to execute tasks that are in direct contact with IEDs. This phase leverages existing vehicle platforms, tools, technologies and communications. It also provides flexibility in any tactical situation by introducing C2 components that can be co-located, dispersed and man-portable.”
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Specifications
Weight 45,320 lb (20,560 kg) (curb weight) 56,000 lb (25,000 kg) (max weight)
Length 27 ft (8.2 m)
Width 8.5 ft (2.6 m)
Height 13 ft (4.0 m)
The American Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle Operators
United States – 200 (A1 Version)450(A2 version)
United Kingdom – 18 vehicles
Italy – 6 vehicles
France – 5 vehicles
Canada – 5 plus an additional 10 for delivery in 2009
The Expedient Route Opening Capability (EROC) systems
Not only serving as a mine protected personnel carrier, the vehicle serves as one of the three vehicles used to lead patrols/convoys in Afghanistan.
The first is the Meerkat Mine Detection Vehicle (a one man vehicle that is equipped with detection equipment) and then the Buffalo, which lifts to the surface and moves the detected IED for the engineers located in the third vehicle (normally a 6×6 Cougar) to deactivate it. This is known as EROC, which has been carried out by US and Canadian Forces.