When you think of a troop transport you might imagine a hulking four wheeler clad in inches of armor, belching thick exhaust as it blazes toward the battlefield. While that sight isn’t uncommon on the modern battlefield a new, smaller machine is looking to add speed and nimbleness to the troop-transport game.
Named the Phantom Badger (which is neither a terrifying or descriptive name), Boeing’s newest addition to the US military’s vehicle architecture is a 240HP machine that can reach top speeds in excess of 129km/h (80mph).
Packing a .50 caliber machine gun on its roll-cage the Phantom Badger’s forward facing gunner can opt for the traditional high-powered boom-stick or switch over to a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. To augment that impressive arsenal, the Badger can be defended by general purpose machine guns fired from the vehicle’s two rear-facing seats.
Although originally envisioned as a rapid reacting offensive unit the Phantom can also be configured to act as a medevac vehicle, losing the two gunner seats in its caboose and replacing them with enough cots to transport four wounded vets.
While its mechanical specification, armaments and flexibility ensure that the Phantom Badger fills an existing capability gap for land forces, it’s the machine’s capacity to go airborne that’s truly impressive.
Designed to fit within the frame of a V-22 Osprey (another frightfully benign vehicle name), the Badger can be deployed to almost any theatre where a VTOL craft can land. Once on the ground the Phantom can exit its mother ship in just 17 seconds, tearing towards its target less than a second later.
Proving that it’s a road-ready warrior, Boeing’s engineers tested the Badger over 5,000 miles of rough terrain spanning from the deserts of Nevada to the rugged hills of North Carolina; the truck was even dropped from a C-17 just to make sure it could take a beating. After surviving all of that torture the Badger is beginning to see the light at the end of the long defense-procurement tunnel. While no date for its adoption or unit price have been quoted I’ll bet we see many more of these machines hitting military training facilities in the next few years.
Image and Video Courtesy of Boeing