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Despite Setback, Boeing Remains Committed to Phantom Badger

Designed in response to a U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Request for Proposals (RfP) for a vehicle capable of being carried internally in a Bell Boeing CV-22 Osprey, that was awarded to General Dynamics, Boeing developed the Phantom Badger. Despite not being selected, Boeing has remained committed to the program, even though a potential client remains unclear at this point. Originally unveiled at the 2013 Special Operations Industry Conference (SOFIC) held in Tampa, Fla., this past May, the Phantom Badger has also made appearances at Modern Day Marine and the 2013 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Looking like a mini-me version of a Humvee, the Phantom Badger packs an impressive array of capabilities in such a small frame. The Phantom Badger followed the directives of the RfP, which In addition to having the ability to be carried in a CV-22, sought among other things a vehicle that is capable of carrying two passengers in addition to the driver, include an installable weapon station mount that can be fired within a minute of offloading, be able to carry three to six casualty litters, and include a winch and mount.

The Phantom Badger is designed to power over even the most difficult terrain thanks to its four-wheel steering and all-wheel drive. The vehicle went four-wheeling at Fort Bragg, N.C. and off-roading at the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC), Silver Spring, Nev. What the testing demonstrated was a vehicle capable of climbing 60-degree inclines and fording nearly three feet of water, thanks to its intake design. The vehicle was further designed with the input of special operations forces. “We listened very closely to the customer, and every element on the vehicle was integrated with the warfighter’s specific input,” said John Chicoli, Boeing’s Phantom Badger program manager.

“Phantom Badger protects warfighters from being buffeted in rougher terrain, which keeps them fresh and focused for the fight.”

The robust suspension system of the Phantom Badger is designed to ward off so-called “battle rattle,” physical exhaustion experienced by combat vehicle operators while simply riding in the vehicle over rough terrain. To help with that, Boeing turned to MSI Defense Solutions, a company with extensive experience in NASCAR, which designed the shocks and suspension system. “Phantom Badger protects warfighters from being buffeted in rougher terrain, which keeps them fresh and focused for the fight,” said Chicoli.

Phantom Badger

The Phantom Badger has a rugged suspension system that is designed to give a smooth ride even when handling rough terrain. Boeing photo

A modular design with a customizable rear section give the vehicle the ability to support a wide range of missions. Mission modules are designed to be swapped out in 30 minutes and can be fitted for missions such as reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, mounted weaponry, combat search and rescue, and casualty transport.

“This is a vehicle that will last the customer a long time, and we truly think this weight class of vehicle closes a big capability gap.”

Designed to swiftly enter and exit a CV-22, and by extension other aircraft such as the CH-47 Chinook, the Phantom Badger is seen by Boeing as fulfilling a longstanding operational gap. “There is a distinct need for a reliable combat vehicle that can be deployed from the V-22, and Phantom Badger exceeds that need,” said Chicoli. “This is a vehicle that will last the customer a long time, and we truly think this weight class of vehicle closes a big capability gap,” added Chicoli.

Phantom Badger

The Phantom Badger can achieve speeds of almost 80 mph on paved surfaces. Boeing photo

 

Boeing Phantom Badger

Top Speed: Approximately 80 mph (paved surface)

Mobility: 35 inch BF Goodrich all-terrain mud tires, all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering

Engine: Commercial, multi-fuel, 240 horsepower

Range: Approximately 450 miles

Turning radius: 25 feet

Payload:  More than 3,000 pounds

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Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...