What do the Islamist insurgents in the Sahel and the Burkinabe, Malian, Mauritanian, Nigerian and Chadian units of the G5 Sahel Joint Force have in common? All ride in Toyota. The beast of burden of the theaters of war was also adopted by the French special forces who equip themselves in Toyota improved by Technamm.
The famous "technicals", these civilized pickups customized for the fight, are not out of fashion! They still haunt battlefields. They equip light units with numerous national forces and numerous armed terrorist groups. Their favorite: the Toyota pickup Land Cruiser or Hilux with additional tanks for fuel and water, a lookout for a large caliber weapon and desensitious plates.
Toyota and its beast of burden certainly have competitors (Isuzu, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, plus the Chinese Huanghai, ZX Auto and Great Wall) but the brand has advantages: the robustness of its vehicles, their easy maintenance, the availability global parts and the affordable cost of its indestructible pick-up.
As the Kalashnikov
The weakness of the Toyota? Its lack of armor and its vulnerability to improvised explosive devices (IED), even the most artisanal. What discourage users? Not even since the number of pickups mobilized worldwide does not decline and that it is part, as the Kalashnikov, these timeless equipment and well anchored in the imaginary contemporary warrior.
These qualities and defects convinced the French company Technamm, created in 1987 near Aix-en-Provence, to transform civilian pickups into vehicles intended for a military clientele. The choice fell on Toyota whose chassis is preserved but many of which are modified and improved. Winches, hitch, gun carriage, benches, desensitisation plates, ammunition storage, etc. are added.
"Toyota has been better suited, not equaled"
"Why Toyota? Because it's an efficient, rustic, powerful and very economical vehicle, explains Dominique Croizat, the CEO of Technamm and one of the co-founders. We tried several brands including Nissan but Toyota proved to be better suited, not equaled. And then we can count on continuity: the production is assured and it serves us well. ".
From the Toyota Land Harris, Technamm fired the Masstech Recamp and its declensions like the Masstech Long troop transport or the T4 in version 6×6 (7 tons of total weight allowed in charge) … An extended range in the field of security with vehicles for the services of rescue, the fire brigade, the gendarmerie, etc.
Currently, the company is completing an order of some 250 Masstech Recamp for the joint G5 Sahel force. A hundred copies have been delivered, 90 are awaiting delivery and another 120 are in the process of being manufactured. Cost per unit: about 55 000 €.
French commandos also in Toyota
The French army has also equipped with Technamm. First in Masstech T4. 500 of these vehicles pulled from the Toyota HZJ76 were bought by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. They can be seen in the streets since many patrols of the Sentinel operation use them, together with the VT4 produced by Arquus on the basis of a Ford Everest. Cost of this VT4: 70 000 €, maintenance and parts over the lifetime of the vehicle included!
Like those of the G5 joint force, Masstech Recamp, but even more customized, equip the French special forces deployed in the Sahel to hunt down the jihadists. A first set of 30 copies has been delivered. "These are deeply modified vehicles, especially in terms of suspension, braking", explains Dominique Croizat who anticipates a second series. And who dreams of providing the French commandos, still lacking tactical vehicles, his six-wheeled T4.
Why jihadists and those who stalk them still drive in ToyotaOuest-France.fr