The U.S. Navy has certified the Phantom Badger, a 240-horsepower combat support vehicle that’s about the size of a Mini and tough enough to traverse damn near anything. It’s designed to fit inside several different aircraft, including the V-22 Osprey, and airdropped to provide ground troops with superior mobility.
“This certification validates Phantom Badger’s versatile design while offering the warfighter increased battlefield access and deployment options,” John Chicoli, who leads Boeing’s internally transportable vehicle program, said in a statement.
The vehicle, which looks a lot like a squished HumVee, was developed by Boeing Phantom Works with an assist from Motorsport Innovations. Those guys are known more for their work on the racetrack than the battlefield, and helped Boeing develop an adjustable suspension system tough enough for the rigors of battle. Together they engineered a four-wheel steering system that gives the Badger a 24-foot turning radius.
“The agility, the speed of this vehicle is unmatched right now,” Chicoli said.
The Badger will hit 80 mph running flat out, and unleash hell doing it. Weapon loads include a .50-caliber machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher bolted to the roll cage. The rear-facing seats can be equipped with general-purpose machine guns or ditched for hardware supporting resupply or medevac duties.
The vehicle is just 60-inches wide, and it was designed to fit in the cargo hold of a V-22 Osprey—a tilt-rotor aircraft so narrow the Pentagon doesn’t have a ground support vehicle that fits inside it. The CH-47 Chinook helicopter and the C-130 cargo plane can carry two Badgers apiece, while the C-17 transport plane can carry 10.
The Badger had completed 5,000 miles of testing over a wide variety of terrain and has been successfully dropped from a C-17. Boeing says it’s tough as nails and ready for duty.
“This is a vehicle that will last the customer a long time, and we truly think this weight class of vehicle closes a big capability gap,” said Chicoli.