The bomb exploded like a dusty thunderclap directly underneath the front left tire of the U.S. Army MaxxPro truck, sending the tall, roughly 20-ton vehicle lurching at least 10 feet forward and scattering chunks of the outer hull like amputated body parts.
It was March 19, 2011, in the Pakhab-e-Shana in eastern Afghanistan’s breadbasket Logar Province. The bomb, later estimated at 250 pounds, had targeted a convoy belonging to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division carrying humanitarian aid to the impoverished village.
What happened next was either the direct consequence of the MaxxPro’s special design, or the expected result of a bomb striking any U.S. military armored vehicle. That distinction lies at the heart of a months-long debate that could shape the direction of American vehicle development.