At the Detroit auto show, the U.S. Army Tuesday unveiled a hulky, prototype “SmarTruck II” — designed since the September 11, 2001, attacks with President Bush’s War on Terrorism definitely in mind.

Designers created what they call “nodules,” based on a stainless steel box that sits on what would normally be the bed of the truck. The boxes are interchanged depending on the mission.

The idea is for the vehicle to be useful in conventional combat or be transformed quickly to detect chemical and biological weapons, or even to help in recovery from a disaster.