One of the drawbacks of the Marines’ MV-22 Osprey has been its inability to take aboard an all-terrain, multi-role combat vehicle and deliver it to the fight.
The vehicle would have to be only five-feet wide to fit the tight confines of the tilt-rotor aircraft and also have enough power to handle the 60 percent grade of the off-on ramp.
“It was a square peg in a round hole thing,” said Garrett Kasper, a spokesman for Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft. “Those have been the limiting factors.”
Boeing and MSI Defense Solutions, of Mooresville, N.C., have developed the Phantom Badger Internally Transportable Vehicle as a solution to the Marines’ problem. MSI Defense Solutions worked with NASCAR teams before it started working with the Pentagon.
The 60-inch wide Badger has a 240 horsepower multi-fuel engine, can ford 3 feet of water and can hit 80 mph on paved roads, according to the manufacturers. The vehicle is a much easier fit into the more spacious cabins of the CH-47, the C-130 and the C-17.
The Badger also features four-wheel steering, giving it a 24-foot turn radius. With the flip of a dashboard switch, both front and rear wheels can be steered.
Boeing played up the modularity of the Badger that would allow it to be configured for a range of missions, including reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, mounted weaponry, and combat search and rescue.
In the rescue mission, the Badger can be fitted with as many as six litters, Kasper said. The modules can be switched out in about an hour with simple tools to handle six bolts on the reach chassis, Kasper said.
Another feature was easy maintenance. “Many key items like tires, hydraulic pumps, bolts, and winches are already in the motor pool supply system,” Boeing said.