Chris Arnold, NPR
An armored cab on the assembly line at the Stewart and Stevenson tactical truck factory in Houston. The cab will replace unarmored versions on trucks used to haul food, fuel, troops and supplies around Iraq.
According to the House Armed Services Committee, the military has armored only about 15 percent of the medium and heavyweight trucks it uses in and around war zones.
Several new features have been added to the armored cabs being assembled at the Stewart and Stevenson plant in Houston:
· The armor metal on the cab also serves as the cab's physical frame — cutting down on the total weight.
· The sides of the cab are angled to help deflect and absorb bullets or blasts.
· Windows are made of thick bullet-proof glass and do not roll down. Unlike older cab models, this cab now has air conditioning, eliminating the need for open windows.
One manufacturer says the biggest problem in building more trucks is getting enough specialized parts. Another says it could increase production of armored vehicles if the Pentagon asked. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.