Given the federal government's fondness for acronyms, the U.S. Department of Defense calls a specially modified Deere 624J wheel loader a TRAM — for tractor, rubber-tired, articulated-steering, multi-purpose vehicle.
John Deere has a contract to build 300 of them for the U.S. Marine Corps. Fitted with a special armor package and designed for use in combat-support operations, the TRAM is engineered to a handle a 2.5-cubic-yard, multi-purpose bucket and to serve as a forklift with a minimum capacity of 10,000 pounds at a 48-inch load center.
These new TRAM units, says Deere, are replacements for those originally supplied by the company in the late 1980s. Deere has refurbished the first TRAM models during the past two decades and, according to the company, the machines still serve around the world.