Armies' pickups get military muscle in Thailand

By DENIS D. GRAY | November 10, 2011 | 1:35 AM EST

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (AP) — A factory in Thailand is taking the humble pickup truck and turning it into a military machine for those forces without the money or the need for armored behemoths.

Tough, multitasking and relatively cheap, some 35,000 trucks modified by the RMA Group have been sent off to troops and police in Afghanistan. The United Nations also uses its vehicles in countries including Kosovo and Haiti.

The company says converted Rangers for Afghan forces average $25,000 apiece compared to some $100,000 for a Humvee, the equivalent U.S. military workhorse. Spare parts generally are also cheaper and easier to obtain — all reasons pickups are popular not just with RMA clients but with Libyan revolutionaries, Somali warlords and other forces in country with rough terrain.