When a Marshalltown military police unit deploys to Afghanistan this fall with other Iowa National Guard soldiers, they’ll be using a vehicle specially designed to help keep soldiers and convoys safe. Radio Iowa’s Dar Danielson recently observed guard training exercises in Minnesota.

The Marshalltown M-P’s travel in the armored Humvees — but they also use larger Armored Security Vehicles or A-S-V’s. Sergeant Tyler McWilliams gave Danielson a tour of the vehicle, The driver’s seat is in the front along with a seat for another soldier that controls the radios and a system that tracks all the vehicles in the convoy. It has a turrent in the middle that can rotate 360-degrees with a .50 caliber gun or grenade launcher.

In the back there’s a V-I-P seat where an important person can ride, or the seat can be taken out and a “Duke system” can be installed. The Duke system helps detect and prevent the explosion of I-E-D’s (improvised explosive devices). McWilliams says it’s a heavily armored vehicle that provides firepower and protection, along with some speed.

He says the recommended safe speed is 63-miles-an-hour, even though it weighs 17 tons. The M-P’s will be among some 2,800 Iowa National Guard soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan.