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    Technical is a neologism for a light improvised fighting vehicle, typically an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting a machine gun, anti-aircraft gun, anti-tank weapon, or other support weapon, somewhat like a light military gun truck

    The term technical describing such a vehicle originated in Somalia in the early 1990s. Barred from bringing in private security, non-governmental organizations hired local gunmen to protect their personnel, using money defined as "technical assistance grants". Eventually the term broadened to include any vehicle carrying armed men.[1] Technicals have also been referred to as battlewagons, gunwagons,[2] or gunships.

    Among irregular armies, often centered on the perceived strength and charisma of warlords, the prestige of technicals is strong. According to one article, "The Technical is the most significant symbol of power in southern Somalia. It is a small truck with large tripod machine guns mounted on the back. A warlord's power is measured by how many of these vehicles he has."[3] Technicals are not commonly used by well-funded armies that are able to procure purpose-built combat vehicles, because the soft-skinned civilian vehicles that technicals are based on do not offer very good protection to their crew and passengers.

    Technicals fill the niche of traditional light cavalry. Their major asset is speed and mobility, as well as their ability to strike from unexpected directions with automatic fire and light troop deployment. Further, the reliability of vehicles such as the Toyota Hilux is useful for forces that lack the repair-related infrastructure of a conventional army. In direct engagements, they are no match for heavier vehicles, such as tanks or other AFVs.


 

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