TopGear.com10 April 2014

Meet the US Navy’s brand new car

Developed by NASCAR, built by Boeing, this military weapon packs 240bhp and a very silly name

Meet the US Navy’s new car

Spitfire. Apache. Marauder. Names to chill your enemy's blood. So what d'you reckon the US Navy's latest car's called?

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

The PHANTOM BADGER. Seriously.

But ignore that for just a second, because it's a pretty interesting thing. It's been built by Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer, so it could fit in the back of a Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt rotor - an aircraft used by the Navy. But Boeing's used to building, y'know, planes and stuff, so recruited a partner with automotive expertise.

Presumably they were all busy, so Boeing called on a small NASCAR engineering company called Motorsport Innovations (MSI), from North Carolina. MSI developed the Badger's hard-wearing suspension system (there's a phrase we never thought we'd type on TG), and helped with its four-wheel steer setup, which gives it a 7.3-meter turning circle - 3cm narrower than a London taxi.

John Chicoli, Boeing's Phantom Badger program manager, says: "This weight class of vehicle closes a big capability gap. [Navy] certification validates Phantom Badger's versatile design while offering the warfighter increased battlefield access and deployment options."

The 240bhp, 80mph military thing can carry some pretty devastating stuff: weapon loads include a .50-caliber machine gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher bolted to the roll cage. In the back you can choose between general-purpose machine guns, or special medevac or storage modules. And no, it doesn't float.

But seriously. Phantom Badger? Can you do better, internet? Mystery Stoat? Haunting Vole?

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