Jeep has long been regarded as the most American brand in the automotive industry, thanks in large part to its long history of military service. Although Jeeps have carried soldiers over just about every terrain imaginable, they haven’t yet made one that could take to the sky. At least not one narrow enough.
If you’ve ever been down to the North Carolina coast near the marine camp at Cherry Point, you may have seen V-22 Ospreys flying around. These tilt-rotor aircraft are capable of vertical takeoffs and rapid flight, making them invaluable for inserting troops into precarious environments. The only trouble is that those troops are stranded once they get there – the Osprey isn’t large enough to carry anything other than a couple of ATVs.
What good is a military industrial complex if it can’t build a better Jeep, though? Boeing, maker of the Osprey, problematized the Pentagon’s need for a narrower personnel carrier and came up with this:
The five-foot wide Phantom Badger. Not only does it fit in an Osprey, you can load a brace of Badgers into a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, or eight of them in a C-17 Globemaster III.
Aside from the wonky name – we’ll give them a pass for being an aeronautics company – the PB seems to fit all the needs required of it. It’s still a Jeep at heart, powered by the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 found in the Grand Cherokee and the RAM 1500, which gives the 8000 pound vehicle 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. It will carry 3350 pounds or tow 4000. It has four-wheel steering and a turn radius of twenty-four feet, it can mount a .50-caliber machine gun or a 40-mm grenade launcher on its back, it will drive through as much as three feet of water, and it has a top speed of 80 miles-per-hour on pavement. Needless to say, it should get the job done.
The PB’s suspension even gets some tuning and contribution from MSI, a North Carolina operation normally associated with NASCAR. You can watch it in action in the video below:
It might say Boeing on the side, but you can clearly see where they got their inspiration. There’s still no civilian vehicle that can match the off-roading capability of a Jeep. If you want to see the real thing, visit us today at Leith Chrysler Jeep in Raleigh.
(H/T Car and Driver)
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