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Patriot3 and Elevated Tactics

Written by Susan Geoghegan

When critical tactical situations arise in elevated structures, police and emergency personnel must determine the most efficient access route. If engagement requires entry to upper levels, vehicle-mounted ramp systems allow faster approach and deployment. Patriot3, Inc. offers innovative solutions for the law enforcement, military and consumer markets with their Elevated Tactics Systems (ETS) technology. Each of the ETS vehicle systems, MARS, MARS RDD, RAID and Liberator, offers specific features to ensure a favorable outcome in a variety of tactical operations.

Military and police forces used to be limited to conventional methods of elevated entry that generally included the use of ladders and ropes. In 2000, Patriot3 coined the phrase “Elevated Tactics” with the introduction of their Mobile Adjustable Ramp System (MARS). In designing the MARS, the company analyzed previously used methods of entry and the problems associated with them. The design team had two main goals: to provide increased operator safety and to provide an ETS that could fit to a variety of vehicles worldwide.

Since the MARS was designed with a frame that spanned the length of the vehicle, it could be adjusted during the manufacturing stage to fit a number of vehicle types. It also allowed for quick removal and re-installation, enabling the host vehicle to be used without the ETS. Since its inception, the company has continued to solicit end user feedback to improve and expand the system’s capabilities.

For example, when the MARS was tested in Iraq by U.S. and Iraqi Special Forces units in 2004, favorable reports led to the development of Patriot3’s Fast Rope Deployment Tower. And when the need arose for a hydraulic ramp on smaller armored or low-payload vehicles, the company responded with the single ramp system known as the Liberator.

MARS

With the Mobile Adjustable Ramp System (MARS), units can enter a structure using multiple entry points at various elevations. Designed for elevated tactics and rescue operations, MARS provides the equipment necessary to ensure a successful outcome.

Fast Assault Suspension Tower (FAST) is a tower system that enables fast rope insertion over perimeters. Side Assault System (SAS) provides height adjustable platforms mounted to the outside of the vehicle, enabling high speed approach and assault of buses of all types. Observer/Sniper Bench is an adjustable bench designed to meet any ramp angle and is ideal for spotters and snipers. The Tactical Ladder is available in two-, three- and four-meter lengths, and these ladders provide additional access capability.

With its independently operating dual ramps, the MARS allows access to several floors simultaneously and is ideal in situations where the element of surprise is needed for successful deployment. With the MARS, teams can respond more quickly, increasing the odds for a safer outcome in tactical situations.

Most protected vehicles can be outfitted with the MARS, converting them into rescue units that serve multiple purposes. This enables the vehicle to perform elevated rescue efforts and emergency evacuations in response to man-made and natural disasters. MARS is designed to fit vehicles such as the Ford F-550, Fuso and MAN truck, as well as armored vehicles, such as the GPV Sergeant, Lenco Bear and BAE OMC RG12. Because of the MARS’ modular design, the system can be cost-effectively upgraded into a newer host vehicle, reducing replacement costs.

The MARS RDD (Rear Deployment Deck) offers all the standard features of the MARS in addition to rear crew seating and a rear staging area that transforms into a stairway for high speed evacuation and entry. It provides optimal speed, surprise and force for a number of operational missions. With enhanced assault and rescue capability up to three stories in height, the system allows access to any aircraft (including the upper doors of the Airbus A380/Boeing 747). The MARS RDD can be installed on a number of chassis body vehicles, such as the Ford F-550, and low-cab forward vehicles.

RAID

As a complete tactical response vehicle, the RAID is ideal for perimeter breaching, sniper positioning, bus assault and second- and third-story entry. This Rescue, Access, Intervention, Deployment system is equipped with the new Liberator HX Hydraulic ETS for versatile configuration.

The RTS (rear tactical step) is a heavy-duty bumper that can be configured to provide easy entry and exit from the vehicle, a platform for ground assault, or a staging area for elevated tactics. The side deployment rail is ideal for situations in narrow streets or alleyways where ramp use is not feasible. With multiple side-mounted platforms that are adjustable in height, the SAS (side assault system) allows high-speed approaches and access to buses and perimeters.

The HD Ford E350 4x4 Van provides seating for 10 operators, run flats, HD front bumper, hide-away emergency lighting and Quigley 4x4 conversion. Other features include RETRAX retractable running boards for ground deployment. It can also be fitted with the Liberator HX, in addition to other options available with the MARS.

Liberator HX

The Liberator HX is a versatile ETS that enables elevated access to second- and third-story buildings. Designed for SWAT, CT and Rescue units, it fits a broad range of both armored and non-armored vehicles. Some of these include Ford, Chevy/GMC and Dodge Vans and Trucks, Land Rover Defenders, Toyota Land Cruisers, the Mercedes/Dodge Sprinter, the Streit SWAT Truck and the Lenco Bearcat. The Liberator allows K-9 and robot insertion, as well as sniper placement and perimeter breaching.

The Liberator HX Hydraulic ETS was created to fit smaller vehicles with limited payload. This manually operated, single ramp system has many of the features and capabilities of the MARS and is ideal for areas where smaller vehicles are needed due to narrow roads. With ancillary equipment, such as Side Deployment and Tactical Ladder access to over nine meters, the Liberator provides effective high-speed rescue and evacuation operations. Existing armored vehicles can be mounted with the system or agencies can order a new “Liberator Ready” vehicle.

Effectiveness of the MARS in Military Operations

The Mobile Adjustable Ramp System is used by U.S. Military forces for training purposes and in Close Quarters Battle (CQB). At Fort Leonard Wood, students of the Special Reaction Team use the Patriot3 MARS as part of their tactical entry training. During exercises, they are taught how to effectively use the various capabilities of the ramp system to infiltrate elevated structures. Prior to acquiring the MARS, training teams used conventional equipment such as ladders to enter and clear buildings. Many of the soldiers feel that having ETS equipment in deployment situations increases the odds for a safe and successful operation.

The MARS has been used in Iraq as an infiltration platform by U.S. Special Forces groups. With the MARS, assault forces have the ability to conduct operations quickly and with limited collateral damage. It provides optimal safety and tactical advantage during close enemy engagement by making full use of the elements of surprise and speed. Post-operational evaluations conclude that the MARS is an extremely versatile platform for delivering forces to varied levels and breach points.

In 2005, the MARS was used to conduct a rolling assault in a hostile area of Baghdad. U.S. Special Forces were able to safely and effectively gain access to the second floor of a building known to be inhabited by an anti-coalition leader. After extending the ramp system, the assaulters and snipers gained entry through the roof, secured the structure and removed the cell leader without incident.

During a nighttime raid in Iraq, the MARS was used as part of a five-compound simultaneous assault. The elevated ramp system allowed the assault force to silently breach the compound wall and surround the target undetected. It resulted in the capture of four of the nine men who were part of an extremist terrorist cell without a shot being fired.

ETS and Policing

As with the military, police agencies can increase the success rate of tactical operations by utilizing an elevated tactics system such as MARS, RAID or the Liberator HX. SWAT units that previously relied on conventional methods of elevated entry now have access to a tool that can ensure a faster, safer engagement. Earlier this year, Patriot3 donated a RAID vehicle to the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) Grant Program.

The Fort Pierce, FL Police Department was awarded the RAID and joins the ranks of many other Florida teams with Patriot3 ETS units. Captain Gregory Kirk, the commander of the department’s SWAT team, noted that the RAID will provide the team with enhanced capabilities to achieve the objectives of speed, surprise and violence of action.

Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, FL.  She can be reached at sgeofl@embarqmail.com.

Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2010

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