Boeing Built Marines an Osprey Jeep with NASCAR Connection

Phantom Badger 1One of the drawbacks of the Marines’ MV-22 Osprey has been its inability to take aboard an all-terrain, multi-role combat vehicle and deliver it to the fight.

The vehicle would have to be only five-feet wide to fit the tight confines of the tilt-rotor aircraft and also have enough power to handle the 60 percent grade of the off-on ramp.

“It was a square peg in a round hole thing,” said Garrett Kasper, a spokesman for Advanced Boeing Military Aircraft. “Those have been the limiting factors.”

Boeing and MSI Defense Solutions, of Mooresville, N.C., have developed the Phantom Badger Internally Transportable Vehicle as a solution to the Marines’ problem. MSI Defense Solutions worked with NASCAR teams before it started working with the Pentagon.

The 60-inch wide Badger has a 240 horsepower multi-fuel engine, can ford 3 feet of water and can hit 80 mph on paved roads, according to the manufacturers.  The vehicle is a much easier fit into the more spacious cabins of the CH-47, the C-130 and the C-17.

The Badger also features four-wheel steering, giving it a 24-foot turn radius. With the flip of a dashboard switch, both front and rear wheels can be steered.

Boeing played up the modularity of the Badger that would allow it to be configured for a range of missions, including reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, mounted weaponry, and combat search and rescue.

In the rescue mission, the Badger can be fitted with as many as six litters, Kasper said. The modules can be switched out in about an hour with simple tools to handle six bolts on the reach chassis, Kasper said.

Another feature was easy maintenance. “Many key items like tires, hydraulic pumps, bolts, and winches are already in the motor pool supply system,” Boeing said.

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  • jack

    Let me guess….it will only cost the taxpayers 1 million per copy.

  • tmb2

    No mention of the M1161 and M1163? They’re $200k jeeps built to carry a mortar system and other odds and ends on the V-22. The Corps has had them for a few years.

    • blight_

      That’s okay, they can sink them to make reefs and buy more vehicles. Hoorah!

      The inspector general report said that the average cost of a single Growler has risen 120 percent, from about $94,000 when the contract was awarded in 2004 to $209,000 in 2008. The unit cost for the vehicle with mortar and ammunition trailer has grown 86 percent, from $579,000 to $1,078,000.

      The first six mortar and ammunition systems have been sent to Marine units, as have about 20 ITVs. “It is up to unit commanders who receive them as to whether they will take them when deployed abroad,” Garner said.
      Troubles with the two systems started in 2004 during the final competition between two bidders for the vehicle contract. One bidder was a team of the giant defense contractor General Dynamics Corp. and a small company called American Growler Inc. of Ocala, Fla., known primarily for building a successful dune buggy using surplus, customized Army M151A2s, a popular version of the military jeep. The other was a contractor in Michigan called Rae-Beck Automotive LLC, which built a popular neighborhood electric car.

      By choosing General Dynamics and American Growler, the Marines were able to procure an existing vehicle that was equipped with components that could be purchased “off the shelf,” avoiding costs of research and developing an entirely new vehicle. While the Rae-Beck entry was found to be superior in some tests, the Growler, according to Garner, was better “in the most important ones.”

      But after the contract was awarded, Garner said, “there were significant additions made for capability.” For example, an air suspension had to be added to allow the Growler to get on and off the Osprey because it could raise and lower its height. The makers added a new cooling system, power steering and power brakes, along with a beefed-up General Motors engine similar to the one used in the GMC Yukon. Altogether, Garner said, about $50,000 of the cost growth was in additional off-the-shelf items that now permit the Growler to travel up to 45 mph on a highway.

  • Lance

    Strange all the talk of BIG HUMVEEs and JLTVs and yet most operators prefer a small tactical vehicle like the GROWLER or Jeep. M-151 FAV and its evolved cousins live again and keeps living in SOCOM.

    • “most operators prefer a small tactical vehicle like the GROWLER or Jeep. M-151 FAV

      Evidence? References? Documentation?

    • blight_

      Humvee isn’t even that big…compared to an MRAP.

      If not occupying a foreign nation prone to laying IEDs, the Humvee will do just fine. Lightweight jeeps are fine too, but the Humvee was originally sized to carry more stuff than older jeeps without excessively compromising offroad capability. Pretty sure an M151 couldn’t be uparmored, or carry a CROWS, or mount an Avenger turret. Some things just require a larger vehicle, and some things don’t need the larger vehicle.

      I’m beginning to wonder why the Osprey was not sized to carry vehicles in the first place, instead of inventing this requirement after the fact. It won’t be long until a bigger Osprey is developed, similar to how the CH-47 grew out of the CH-46.

    • tmb2

      SOCOM is a niche market with vastly different mission sets than the rest of the Army or the Corps.

  • dlk

    The USMC developed the M422 Mighty Mite in the last millennium…..but it probably was not expensive enough to use today.

  • Why not use Polaris Rangers or other off the shelf utv.

  • S O

    Boeing. Ridiculous.

    Only idiots would give Boeing a contract for a couple dozen or few hundred offroad cars. There are much better, small companies which -while still making much profit – would produce a much cheaper vehicle.

    And this wasn’t the first attempt to build or buy such a thing. There were the miniature Jeep-lookalikes which suddenly costed ten times the COTS price once painted in green. There were the G-Wagons. There was the RST-V gold plates Rube Goldberg machine.

    They should have bought a decent helicopter.

  • Ben

    That steering. We’ve taken our first step towards realizing a Halo Warthog. Perhaps Boeing should have named it the Piglet.

    • Love it. Great idea must copyright it.

    • S O

      Plenty off-road cars from the 30’s were steering with all four wheels, were complicated and heavy.

      Eventually, the best off-road car of WW2 was the Type 82 Kübelwagen, essentially an early Beetle with military style body, smooth underbelly, differential lock and a gearbox capable of driving at walking pace. It was about as useful as a Willy’s Overland Jeep at half the weight, power, thirst and presumably half the overall expense. And it was almost unstoppable off-road, recovery was possible with mere manpower because of the light weight. The post-war result was the creation of the original dune buggys based on the concept of lightweight 4×2 going offroad.

    • some newer trucks have a slight rear steer action

    • Rick

      Your comment is spot-on! I burst out laughing… I’m a USMC & SeaBees vet and wonder why they didn’t consider an updated Jeep -simple, reliable and 4 men can lift and back-haul it. I also agree with the following comments re: Kubelwagen, another good choice. Don’t ask the guys who’ve been there, just turn the whiz kids loose.
      Additionally, I’m still a little leery of the Osprey.

  • William_C1

    Well on the positive side there is no way they could possibly make this as expensive as the Marine’s current ITV.

  • Kostas

    Really? 70 years after WWII we came up with a vehicle with the same capabilities as the jeep?

    If this vehicle is intended for any kind of combat mission, then it seems that the hard lessons we learned in Somalia, Afstan and Iraq with the non-armored vehicles are forgotten. We might have to suffer some additional thousands of casualties for the geniuses to realize that for combat missions you need ARMORED vehicles.

  • LtKitty

    Might just be my arm chair general, scifi mind cranked to 11, but why not have a V-22-type or quad rotor carryall that can reliably pick up tanks, armored vehicles, supplies, etc? Perhaps some sort of claw that can quickly grip a SUV-sized object. Certainly a system that can do this isn’t outside the realm of possibility.

    • engineer

      It’s called Joint Heavy Lift (JHL).
      But it would not fit nicely on an mphibious landig ship. the MV-22 is about the largest platform that can fold to CH-53 size.

    • tmb2

      Realm of possible, sure. Affordable within a realistic timeframe and budget, not any time soon. The V-22 is a medium-lift bird and carries at most 20,000 pounds. The heaviest helicopter we have can carry about 30,000 pounds which eliminates pretty much all of our armored vehicles. A V-22 styled lifter is on the drawing board, but the size and power required to lift an IFV isn’t there yet.

  • Mark

    Phantom Badger Internally Transportable Vehicle is NOT a Jeep.
    There’s only one Jeep and this vehicle is NOT a Jeep!

  • PostwarVandal

    “…can be fitted with as many as six litters”
    That’s a lot of cats…

  • Hunter76

    This cart has no business in a serious fight. An AK would tear it to shreds. If you need a light attack force, go with Special Forces or SEALS and their dune buggies. By buying into the MV22 paradigm, by which they can’t use any fighting vehicles, the Marines are transforming themselves into a light infantry, which will face increasingly tough going at budget times.

  • hibeam

    Why not pound everything down below into a whiskery red mist with drones and leave the Osprey’s and the jeeps and the ground pounders safe at home?

    • Ben

      Political fallout, devaluing of human life, and the desensitization to killing/war. It’s a huge ethical issue. Not to mention the fact that drones aren’t known for their great ability to distinguish enemies from civilians.

    • tiger

      Obama seems to be taking your advice……

    • JWH

      “Drones” cannot seize and hold terrain.

  • nvsmithers

    “MSI Defense Solutions worked with NASCAR teams before it started working with the Pentagon.”

    So what did they work with NASCAR teams on? You can change the tires and put fuel it in less than 14 seconds?

  • sailor12

    Another waist of tax payer money for a toy that they want.

  • chikiteri

    Didn’t GD win both USMC and SOCOM ITV contract?

    Boeing solution was not NAVAIR certified (but they are the Boeing so they probably won’t care)

  • blight_

    I’m surprised nobody seized up on the modules business.

    “Boeing played up the modularity of the Badger that would allow it to be configured for a range of missions, including reconnaissance, explosive ordnance disposal, mounted weaponry, and combat search and rescue.
    In the rescue mission, the Badger can be fitted with as many as six litters, Kasper said. The modules can be switched out in about an hour with simple tools to handle six bolts on the reach chassis, Kasper said.”

    When have we heard “rapidly switchable modules” before…ha ha.

  • blight_

    In October 2014[sic?] the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) disclosed that it had chosen the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD OTS) Flyer Advanced Light Strike Vehicle (ALSV) over the Phantom Badger for its V-22 Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) contract.

  • Tad

    This seems backwards to me. Shouldn’t one develop vehicles that meet one’s tactical needs (I assume things like the HMMWV started out that way), then develop an aircraft that can transport those vehicles? Why was the V22 developed in the first place if it cannot transport standard US military tactical vehicles? Strictly as a troop transport? Probably a whole bunch of historical reasons for how things have worked out, I guess.

  • Justin

    Well since we’ve already got bolts and tires that will fit this MUST be a good deal.

    The fact that a spokesperson was willing to stand there and say “many” parts are already on hand, and include in that litany of items things like bolts, tires, and winches… which I’m pretty sure can be made to fit any vehicle…. And actually be serious shows how ignorant these companies have become. Here’s a crazy idea: why not build the damn aircraft wide enough to accommodate existing vehicles. Since you were building an aircraft and all. But this way you get to build TWO things for the military to buy. Well played.

  • Blake


    I think you are all being too judgmental.
    After all, it was build with the help of NASCAR. Lol

  • Blake

    A custom vehicle for their custom aircraft …
    Doesn’t sound like a pyramid scheme at all.

  • Bennett
  • leo

    they have to spend tax anyway because that is their job

    • caroll sickles

      I am driving a 1967 M151A1. still very capable, light and cheap

  • indianmedicine

    I don’t see these as being demanded in the high numbers that would be required to equip a large maneuver element, but would be reduced in numbers to provide Specialized Command needs within the design roles.

    I believe this vehicle would have Good Purpose within the USMC SPEC-OPS Community for insertion and movement to target and/or MSS Purpose.

    Many are unaware the it was the USMC that “Wrote The Book” on “Small War’s” from its experience in the Pacific Theater back in the day – which is the Foundation for the Multiple Services in their contribution to to LIC/UW/DA Missions.

    So, if we can keep a Committee from Design Over Load, I see the USMC being a “Happy Camper” with this – with “Cost Effectiveness” in mind.

    -De Oppresso Liber- Non Gratum Anus Rodentum-

  • Andy

    I looked couldn’t determine what these are supposed to cost us
    tax payers, but with Boeing involved you can bet it’s sure got to be
    more than a Porsche 911 costs and not nearly as stable as one

  • us army 1959

    more B S And a waste of money we the people don’t have.

  • Baker

    Looks like a pretty nice vehicle. But this Commando is a real Jeep –

  • What is the unload time once the ov-22 is on the ground in a combat mode? I can see the load master standing out there waving the vehicle out of the OV-22.
    What in the hell was this hill climb up on a mat of some kind. Are they going to carry mats with them in combat so they can lay them out of the hill that the vehicle has to go up. Show me this thing going up a sand dune in a desert or a hill in lets say a country like Afghanistan something that is real. Not a hard dirt road that was show in this video. This was a bunch of crap for testing this vehicle in my book. I can see my self taking fire and running around in circles around a pile of rock. I know you need a vehicle that will turn in a short space but make it real.

    Show me what it can do on rough ground where you are taking fire and you are in the bug out mode not out for a Sunday drive. Your test video didn’t show me much of anything

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  • Zspoier

    And you wonder what happened to all them M-151 Jeeps

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  • Lurking0Death

    They could have taken the Dodge Ram chassis with its unbreakable 5.9L diesel, thrown some armor around it for about $65,000 a copy. A phantom badger will cost 2.5 times that, my guess.