5 unique military vehicles on the horizon

Made for land, sea and air, these emerging vehicles demonstrate the future of military transportation

5 unique military vehicles on the horizon

GHOST anti-terrorism vessel (Photo courtesy of Juliet Marine Systems)

By Military1 Staff 

Whether developed exclusively for the U.S. military or created by civilians with the Armed Forces in mind, a number of highly unique vehicles are making waves within the defense tech world.

Currently in various stages of research and development, here’s five modes of military transportation that could have major impact on future operations.

XS-1: Experimental Spaceplane

Northrop Grumman revealed concept artwork for a futuristic military space plane, officially known as the XS-1 (Experimental Spaceplane). The plane is designed under a $3.9 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Products Agency (DARPA).

The XS-1 space plane is designed with the goal of making spaceflight more routine and affordable, as well as faster. DARPA envisions the XS-1 to be able to fly 10 times in a 10-day span and launch 3,000- to 5,000-pound payloads to orbit for less than $5 million per flight. According to DARPA, phase 2 of the project is flight testing and will be held next year. The first mission of the space plane is expected for 2018. Watch the video.

Lenco BEAR Troop Transport Armored Vehicle

Lenco announced the successful blast testing of its BEAR Troop Transport Armored Vehicle. The 17-man armored vehicle is designed for military personnel and international security forces conducting operations in hostile global environments.

The BEAR is constructed from Mil-Spec steel with an additional composite B-Kit and engineering changes designed to deflect blast pressure. Lenco modeled the vehicle after Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles in order to allow it to withstand direct underbody blast and close proximity mortar round attacks. Features include blast seats, full fire suppression capabilities and run flat tires.

GHOST anti-terrorism vessel

Juliet Marine Systems introduces its GHOST anti-terrorism vessel for military applications. Designed to provide stealth capabilities for tracking and identifying targets, the GHOST ship operates both above and below the water’s surface. The vessel combines technologies from stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopters and works them into a marine platform.

GHOST employs underwater structures that tunnel through the water surrounding them as the vessel moves forward, allowing for reduced friction on the craft’s hull and higher speeds. Watch the video.

GUSS: Marine Corps Unmanned Off-Road Vehicle

The U.S. Marine Corps completed its first live test of a completely autonomous off-road vehicle during the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercise.

Developed in a partnership with the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and TORC Robotics, the small, self-driving vehicle is designed to keep troops safer and lighten their load. According to Gizmag, the jeep-like truck, fitted with a Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) system, can carry supplies up to 1,600 pounds and safely transport wounded warriors. Watch the video.

UHAC: Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector

The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab is overseeing the development of a massive new vehicle dubbed the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector. Currently in its testing phase, the half-sized UHAC prototype weighs in at 38-tons and stands roughly 18 feet high. Designed for land and sea, the vehicle’s track is made up of dozens of durable foam flaps that contain captured air cells. Its movement is described as “a cross between a caterpillar worm and a belly of a snake.”

Currently, the prototype moves at about 5 mph on the water; however, the full-size version will reach speeds of about 25 mph. While other amphibious crafts are able to reach higher speeds than the UHAC, the massive new contraption is more adept at moving over rugged land terrain and its tracks leave virtually no marks. Learn more.