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Interpretation ID: 24579

Mr. Tom Peterson
Traffic Manager
Oshkosh Truck Corporation
2307 Oregon Street
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Dear Mr. Peterson:

This responds to your letter dated June 18, 2002, concerning a King Heavy Equipment Military Trailer Model GTS 100 which Oshkosh Truck imported on June 30, 1999, as a prototype trailer for testing and training purposes. The trailer was imported under a Temporary Import Bond, which has had two annual extensions. The 3-year limit is June 30, 2002. You would like to keep the trailer in the U.S. for further testing and training, and suggested that it might be "reclassified to off-road usage only." You indicated in a telephone conversation with a member of my staff that the further testing and training would relate to military use.

As discussed below, while we doubt the vehicle could be considered an off-road vehicle,[1] we believe, based on the facts provided in your letter, that the trailer can remain in the U.S. under 49 CFR 571.7(c).

According to your letter, the trailer in question was designed and built in the UK strictly for military usage. Oshkosh Truck designed the trailer specifically to operate with the Oshkosh M1070 Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) tractor for carriage of main battle tanks up to 72 tons in weight, or to carry two lighter armored vehicles up to 36 tons each. Oshkosh Truck won a bid to build 92 UK HET tractor/trailer combinations and the trailer was built as a prototype as part of the building process. Since the trailer has been in the United States, it has been hauled on a commercial double-drop trailer to various proving grounds, including the Aberdeen proving grounds in Maryland, for testing purposes.

Under 49 CFR 571.7(c), no Federal motor vehicle standard applies to a vehicle or item of equipment manufactured for, and sold directly to, the Armed Forces of the United States in conformity with contractual specifications. In a letter to Oshkosh Truck dated July 3, 1986, we stated that while this exception applies only to vehicles manufactured for sale, the agency had no objection to limited use on the public roads of nonconforming prototype vehicles that have been developed expressly for sale to the Armed Forces of the United States.

We believe the situation you describe is sufficiently close to that described in 571.7(c) and our July 3, 1986, letter that the prototype King Heavy Equipment Military Trailer Model GTS 100 can remain in the U.S. under that section. I emphasize, however, that this opinion is limited to the specific factual situation involving this vehicle and should not be considered as precedent as to how we might treat other situations. I note that we would not apply this section to individuals importing surplus military vehicles.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact Edward Glancy of my staff at 202-366-2992.

Jacqueline Glassman
Chief Counsel

[1] According to information provided with your letter, in designing the vehicle, attention was paid "to meet existing and known future transport legislation to meet the anticipated peacetime movement requirements." More specifically, the semi-trailer was designed to meet European requirements for the movement of heavy loads with the ability to negotiate compliant surfaces and maintain a degree of "off-highway" capability. (Emphasis added.) Thus, while Oshkosh Truck may not plan to use this particular trailer on the U.S. highways, it does not appear to be an off-road vehicle.