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
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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