The full-size sliding assault door is balanced and wheel-mounted for quick, easy exiting.
A custom transport truck carries the TRAC vehicle to the scene of the incident.
FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
From lone shooters and drug cartels to the threat of terrorism, officers in all law enforcement agencies now face more violence and firepower than ever. What’s needed is technology that gives the edge back to the good guys. The Tactical Response Armored Car (TRAC) is a new class of vehicle that provides law enforcement with greater safety, versatility and speed of response than previously possible.
Built on a compact armored vehicle platform with tank-like, all-terrain tracks, the vehicle features various attachments, including an assault platform, a breaching ram with wireless camera, a grapple bucket, a vehicle extraction tool and a custom option. The operator can swap out attachments in minutes via quick change couplers, while a custom transport truck gives TRAC and its attachments the portability to quickly go anywhere.
Tactical reconnaissance and engagement are also hazardous with traditional equipment. Approaching a scene is usually done in an unarmored car or van. If an armored carrier is used, officers make the final approach on foot.
“Most ballistic vests and shields are rated for handgun ammunition,” says Sgt. Dan Frair, SWAT team leader of the Binghamton (N.Y.) Police Department. “The vests leave the face and lower body exposed, and the shields leave the lower body exposed. When rifle-rated shields and vest inserts are used, the added weight restricts mobility.” Officers carrying a shield typically deploy with a pistol, limiting offensive range and firepower.
When entering a structure, officers are at a tactical disadvantage. “Many SWAT teams lack the ability to quickly and effectively enter through a second floor opening,” says Frair. “Some suspects have barricaded the first floor doors to thwart entry. If they retreat to the second floor, they may booby-trap stairs or shoot at officers as they come up.”
A Tactical Edge
Enter TRAC, designed to handle the full range of law enforcement crises while protecting officers. Manufactured by Dolmen, the TRAC is small enough to fit in corridors, freight elevators and high-rise buildings, but it’s large enough to carry eight or more personnel.
The vehicle’s assault platform, with Level II, III or IV armor plating features top, bottom, front and side protection with matching ballistic glass. To ensure reliability under fire, TRAC equipment offers full manufacturing traceability, including mill certificates with ballistic and heat reports.
“When officers put their lives on the line, they need to know the equipment will do the job it’s meant to do,” says Frair.
The curved assault platform’s three large windows give officers an unobstructed view with armor protection, making direct line-of-sight assessment and response possible.
Recently, Binghamton SWAT put TRAC to the test in two days of unscripted training. Up to six team members fit in the assault platform with up to four standing on an armored rear platform.
“To get a view into the crisis location without the TRAC, our team has had to approach behind handheld ballistic shields, which provided limited protection for team members,” says Frair. “With the TRAC, our entire emergency action team can approach the crisis location and observe from behind significant ballistic protection, and even make an emergency entry through a first or second floor opening if necessary.
“The assault platform windows gave our team a safe, clear view of what we were dealing with,” adds Frair. “In a warehouse exercise, 10 of us deployed from the assault platform door with complete frontal cover in about 30 seconds.”
Because the assault platform can be raised, Frair’s team achieved simultaneous first- and second-floor entry of a training structure via windows. “This capability could help surprise and overwhelm a target,” says Frair. “It could help officers avoid the stairs, known as ‘fatal funnels’ because of how they force officers into such constricted space.”
Providing more than 3,500 psi, the hydraulic ram is strong enough to punch through steel doors and concrete walls, yet sufficiently adroit to remove a window shade.
“With the camera on the end of the ram, you can breach windows, doors or walls and look around inside the crisis location without exposing officers,” says Frair. “To recon the third floor, the platform can lift an officer to the second floor, where he could then raise a pole camera to view inside a third floor window.”
Binghamton SWAT’s Chris Governanti says, “The machine has a zero turn radius and extremely low ground pressure. It’s extremely agile and can conquer urban and rural terrain with ease.” Two joysticks control its functions, one for the vehicle and one for its attachments.
A grapple bucket attachment can easily remove burglar bars, security shutters, and other difficult to handle objects. Similarly, a vehicle extraction forklift attachment can pick up, remove, or place vehicles to remove or create a barricade.
“Since the grapple and forklift can make or remove barriers to enter or exit, they’d help in emergencies, such as riot control or clearing streets of debris and fallen trees after a storm,” says Governanti. “The grapple could tear down a house, given time.”
How to Get One
A number of TRAC options—including chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive capability, which makes it hazmat compatible; and a forward looking infrared color digital camera with thermal
imaging for enhanced recon capacity—help it qualify for Homeland Security grants. Dolmen provides grant-writing assistance on request. Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at http://www.rkb.us
and keyword search “Dolmen.” For more information and to watch a video of SWAT team training with the equipment, visit
or call 607/239-2737.