What do you do when a Hummer won't fit inside an airplane? Design a new one.
VSTOL aircraft incorporate some of the best elements of an airplane and a helicopter. Vertical/Short Take-Off and Landing capabilities allow them to take off, land and even hover in mid-air like a helicopter, but move across the sky like a plane. Terrafugia is developing a VSTOL flying car, but it’s not the only one out there. The Harrier jump-jet may be the most famous, but the Osprey offers more versatility. A joint project between Bell Helicopter and Boeing, the V-22 Osprey incorporates a tilt-rotor design, but can carry much more than other VSTOL aircraft. Say a jeep, for example.
Because the Osprey can’t accommodate a full-size Hummer, Boeing has developed a new vehicle made to fit inside the V-22’s cargo bay. Called the Phantom Badger, it was introduced on May 14 at the Special Operations International Conference in Tampla, Florida. Aside from its design brief to fit inside the Osprey, the all-wheel-drive Phantom Badger was designed by Boeing with MSI Defense Solutions to climb 60-degree inclines and ford through two feet of water. It’s been fitted with beefed-up hydraulics and suspension to reduce battle fatigue for both vehicle and passengers.
Aside from the Osprey, the Phantom Badger will also be able to fit in any number of other aircraft as well. Boeing is still testing and developing the Phantom Badger at the Nevada Automotive Test Center in anticipation of future contracts. (Special thanks to Boeing for facilitating with the info and photos you see here.)