The SWAT team’s armored personnel carrier speeds toward the emergency as a shooter is barricaded in a row house. The two uniformed officers who tried to serve a warrant are in a nearby trauma center. A fusillade from a rifle has riddled the patrol cars that responded to the “officer down” call. The SWAT team members, already sweating in their body armor, are facing a tough assignment. They are secure while in their personnel carrier, but once they exit in front of the row house, only their ballistic vests will stand between them and the shooter as they assault the building. Someone is likely to get hurt, or worse. Steve Hanratty, CEO of Dolmen Corporation, worries about situations like this. Dolmen, named for ancient stone tombs and huge arch structures such as Stonehenge, has created an equally solid protective solution to the multitude of problems SWAT officers face in dangerous situations.
Dolmen’s Tactical Response Armored Car (TRAC) is a remarkable new vehicle that combines the characteristics of a light tank, a battering ram and a forklift. No kidding. In fact, the TRAC is a serious, tough machine. Propelled by a 99-horsepower engine that can move at nearly 12 mph, the chassis and cab are fully armored with MIL STD ballistic steel up to .50 of an inch thick. It is able to withstand bullets up to .50-caliber armor-piercing rounds. The TRAC uses two 18-inch wide rubber tracks, giving it capability to maneuver on rough terrain, including snow, ice and mud. It also can climb over obstacles and debris with ease.
In fact, the TRAC may be the only non-military tracked tactical vehicle available in the U.S. At first glance, the mechanism may seem like a costly extravagance, but Dolmen’s CEO Steve Hanratty insists it is an efficient alternative to wheeled platforms. “If anything, the TRAC will reduce operational and indirect costs,” Hanratty said. “In situations facing a sniper or a competent shooter, well-placed rounds can flatten tires. You can’t disable the TRAC this way.”
The vehicle’s operator sits in a protected cab. Ballistic glass windows provide a clear field of view. The cab is air conditioned for comfort in hot weather. A forward-looking infrared (FLIR) enables the operator to navigate safely in darkness if necessary. Optional protection against chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-explosive environments is available for installation. The cab has a locking entry door, a gun port and a rear escape hatch for emergency exits. Depending on armor installation and system configuration, the vehicle tips the scales between 11,000 and 15,000 pounds.