Boeing Co, looking to win more business as the US Defense Department seeks to bolster support to soldiers, said on Tuesday that it sees many applications for a family of advanced trailers it has developed that can be used to retrieve damaged military vehicles from hostile environments.
The trailers, which are in the testing phase, can evacuate and recover hard-to-move vehicles that weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and will roll on rough terrain. The system uses hydraulic lifts and winches to pull vehicles onto a trailer bed so they can be taken to a safe location for repairs.
The trailers, which can be tilted, lowered or raised, can also be used to transport military cargo.
Boeing said the trailers can curb the amount of equipment, number of people and time it takes to recover a damaged armored truck.
The aerospace and defense company said it has been awarded a contract to build two of the trailers under the Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) program, a US initiative that speeds the development and delivery of certain military capabilities. The contract is expected to be announced this week.
"Once it gets through the testing, we think there's literally a market for thousands of these types of vehicles," Daniel Afflick, director of ground forces support solutions for Boeing, told a briefing at the Association of the US Army conference in Washington.
"I don't have to tell you that the ground customers especially are skeptical of a solution has not been proven," he added.
In June, Boeing said it won a $5.2 million contract to cover testing and certification from the US Marine Corps to build four of these trailer systems that can retrieve Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armored trucks that are being used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Afflick said the trailers also had commercial uses, in industries such as logging and mining.
"We're looking at customer applications in a lot of different areas," he said.