The Willys MB – better known as the original jeep – was a game-changer during World War II.
Small, agile, versatile and durable, jeeps were easy to deploy, easy to operate and easy to
maintain, making them perhaps the Allies’ most important battlefield equipment.
original jeep’s winning formula in a stocky little bruiser of a car called the Phantom Badger
steering, it is highly manoeuvrable. The setup gives the vehicle a turning circle of just 24ft
fully 10ft tighter than a Mini Cooper’s. Such agility is particularly valuable in urban
environments, where the ability to make tight turns and slip through narrow alleys can
change the outcome of a battle.
Willys’ civilian Americar line, the Phantom Badger makes use of the 3-litre turbo-diesel
V6 from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The engine – which can run on JP-8 jet fuel as well as
diesel – produces 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, sufficient to enable the
four-wheel-drive Badger to reach a breezy 80mph on paved surfaces.
heavy tests that included form-fit checks, pressure trials and structural evaluations, the
US Navy officially certified the Phantom Badger for transport in the belly of the
Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft a big step toward actual deployment
with the US Marine Corps and US Air Force Special Operations, both of which
already operate the Osprey.
of a traditional turboprop aircraft, the Osprey can deliver cargo to tight spaces and hostile
environments and get out quickly. (The current record for off-loading a Badger is just
The Osprey first flew in 1989 and has known its share of troubles over the years including
a swollen budget and some highly publicised crashes.
But it has since proven its mettle in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on humanitarian
missions, including the delivery of relief supplies after Typhoon Yolanda hit the
Philippines in November 2013.
lease on life.
Boeing has designed 10 so far, including packages for reconnaissance, combat search
and rescue, casualty transport and explosive ordnance disposal, along with mounts
for such weapons as a .50-caliber machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade
interchangeable in the field in 30min or less!
the aide of North Carolina-based MSI Defense Solutions.
MSI applied its expertise in off-road racing, Nascar and Formula 1 to develop the
Badger's suspension and four-wheel-steering systems, and is presently handling
the design and fabrication of the interchangeable mission modules.
matter – just like the original Jeep. And like its heroic grandfather, the Phantom Badger
will be a game-changer on the modern battlefield, able to go places and do things the
outsize Hummer never could.
the works, Boeing has plans for the Phantom Badger that extend beyond
other applications. And how about a civilian version?
“It is a commercial vehicle, and Boeing will gladly have a discussion with anyone is
interested in purchasing Phantom Badgers for their collection or personal use.”
For now, however, Badger pricing remains classified.