Bluebird Marine Systems Limited










BEACH LAUNCH METHODOLOGY - How do we launch a 45x17 meter (147.5 x 55 foot) trimaran from a sloping shoreline without any kind of special preparations to the beach? To answer that question we are looking at beach launching using a custom built trailer with a beefy tractor unit, and other design scenarios, such as the conceptual, amphibious solution on this page.


Including the mass of the trailer, we should be calculating all up weight as being in the region of 100 tons, with contingency for 140 tons. This is allowing a generous safety margin - just in case the SeaVax holds are not fully discharged. Though discharge is a requirement before recovery.




Amphibious extreme beach launched and recovery vehicle AutoCad diagram


DRAFT DESIGN, END VIEW MKI - Potentially the world's largest amphibious vehicle is a concept design for a launch and recovery trailer using eighteen wheels on nine axles (or alternatively independent swing arms) fitted with 29.5R25 size rims and 1.86m diameter flotation tyres. The AmphiVax™ is seen in the picture above with a SeaVax™ onboard. Design Copyright © May 8 2016, all rights reserved. You will need permission from Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd to reproduce these diagrams unless for educational or review purposes.


We are looking at a number of potential scenarios by way of a feasibility study. This design is amphibious and self powered, doing away with the need for a separate tractor. The objective being to save costs and also simplify operations. Six of the eighteen wheels would need to be powered. More might be a luxury that we cannot afford - we will though build a scale model to test the theory.

PLAN VIEW MKI - The amphibious trailer is almost 31 meters long (100 feet) and 19 meters (63 feet) wide - so 18 meters longer than the General Dynamics M3. Six of the wheels would need to be powered at least. This is more to do with the limiting torque of available drive units than load carrying capacity, though traction may prove to be an issue. The frame would be made from 5083 aluminium alloy, shown here comprised of 1.0 meter diameter main tubes, triangulated to keep the boat protected from undue flex while traversing uneven shores. This grade of aluminium does not corrode in seawater. Quotes for the tubing proved to be prohibitively expensive because pipes of this diameter are not a stock item, requiring a rapid re-think.


World record largest amphibious vehicle, AmphiVax


MK I ECONOMY - To keep the costs down, we need to reduce the number of components and joints, to the absolute minimum, or we'll end up like the M3 (seen below), being too expensive - hence, impractical. The above design uses just 9 main tubes and 18 bracing tubes. That equates to just 60 meters of weld run. The alloy tubes alone would weigh (in the region of) 11 tons. The tubes would be supplied to us in 5.8 meter lengths (in containers). We may need to reduce the pipe diameter and consider making our main beams in a triangulated lattice. This is only to reduce materials cost, at the expense of increasing fabrication time. The bogies and other onboard equipment would weigh around 30 tons, making this design a 40 ton (estimated approximately) amphibious vehicle. This is a tad on the heavy side.



AmphiMax is the world's biggest amphibious boat transporter


PLAN & SIDE VIEW MKII - Not yet a work of art, but somewhat neater, the MKII amphibious trailer (AmphiMax™) is 30 meters long (97.5 feet). To reduce mass over the MKI, the MKII chassis would be made from 6082 aluminium alloy rectangular tubing 204mm x 102mm, as a space frame skinned in 3.25mm alloy sheeting. For this design we are using off-the-shelf hollow sections and sheet metal. The cost of the raw materials for this design of chassis fell to around £17,000 + VAT and delivery. This does not include welding or cutting equipment costs, but a design along these lines is starting to look promising. Using this method the weight of the bare chassis has fallen from 11 to 7 tons. This frame provides over 140 tons of buoyancy in flotation mode. Please note that these drawings are Copyright © May 18 2017 Bluebird Marine Systems Ltd, all rights reserved. You will need permission from the company to reproduce these diagrams except for private study or review.





DRIVEN WHEELS- Economy of construction is a major consideration when operating on a limited budget. How then to power the driven wheels? To keep the design as simple as we can, we are not having steered wheels in the conventional sense - we are looking at variable track steering as employed on other tracked vehicles, such as tanks and bulldozers, where the wheels on one side go faster, or slower than on the other side - so that the vehicle turns, in the extreme being able to spin on its own axis.


There are two ways of powering such wheels when you don't want a complicated drive-shaft arrangement: 


1. Hydraulic wheel motors, and


2. Electric wheel motors.


Which of the two systems is the most practical remains to be seen; the whole point of a feasibility study.



GETTING A GRIP - Tyre technology has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. More earth moving and agricultural vehicles are being fitted with rubber that spreads the load and so reduces rolling resistance.



Agricultural trailer wheel  12 stud agricultural wheels 


10 stud agricultural wheel rim  Stub axles with 10 stud pattern 


FLOATATION TYRES - Wide tyres spread the load preventing soil compaction and decreasing rolling resistance, so reducing the power required to simply move a large trailer. Nearly half of all modern agricultural and earth moving equipment is now fitted with floatation tyres as standard, compared to around 10% 5 years ago. Don't forget the basics, a larger wheel offers less rolling resistance and tends to iron out the bumps.








23.5R25 MA02  1606 608 38




26.5R25 Floatation 1733 681 41




29.5R25 Floatation 1860 754 44




29.5R25 M-Terrain 1860 754 60



1400 / 5.25bar

29.5R25 MB430 2077 890 58



1400 / 5.25bar





Chain drive M16 CAT grader 


DRIVING FORCE - [ABOVE LEFT] An ideal layout for bogies with four wheels to drive. This is the transmission for the Caterpillar M16 grader. Chain drive is very efficient and simple, but subject to corrosion if not encased. 


[ABOVE RIGHT] An electrically powered alternative that like the hydraulic drives below eliminates chains and drive shafts, but has its own set of problems, mainly the storage medium adding considerably to the mass of the vehicle. There are though many advantages to electric drives, such as for solar powered vehicles that remain on station for long periods, which might then generate the energy they need to move.





To calculate the power required for a pure vertical lift you need to know that: 0.746 kW (1 horsepower) = 0.305 meters in one second. This is basic information for designing cranes and almost any machine that moves something. It was based the ability of a real animal to lift or pull a load, long before internal combustion engines were invented.


The "grade" or "incline" of a beach (here assuming a solid medium like a road for rolling resistance purposes) is the rise divided by the distance traveled. You can multiply the incline by the weight of the vehicle to find the force of gravity.


For example, if a trailer and boat weigh 2000 lbs and you are climbing up a 1% grade (1/100), there is 20 lbs (9.074 kg) of gravity force holding you back - so 20lbs of force is needed to stand still on this slope.


For our 100 ton (total load) amphibian @ 1% gradient that equates to:  2,240 lbs (1,016.4 kg) of gravity force, or 4 horsepower - just to stand still on a 1% slope.


On a 2% incline (2/100) we'd need 4,480 lbs (2,032 kg) or 8 horsepower to counteract gravity and on a 20% slope: 22,400 lbs or 80 horsepower (60kW) to cope with gravity. As we need to be able to deal with 30% slopes, we are looking at 120 hp (90kW) as the base motor output + the power to move our load up the beach in a reasonable time and that means speed of travel. In this case 5-15mph (8-24kph) would be more that adequate, equating to between 300-400kW or (400-535hp).


Clearly then, the slope of the beach is very important when calculating the power needed to recover SeaVax. An inconvenient thing about "weight" is that "kilograms" is a unit of mass, not a unit of force, so it must be converted to Newtons when considering torque and motor specification. 


A vehicle reaches its maximum speed when available tractive effort balances out the sum of drag and downhill gravitational force, reducing the acceleration to zero. To go faster or cope with a steeper incline, you'd need to increase power. See the diagram below.






P(v)     is the tractive effort of the vehicle;
Q(v)    is the drag (rolling resistance and air drag);

B          is the brake force;
mg       is the weight of the vehicle;
N        is the reaction of the surface.





The unit of work is the joule (J), so that 1 J is the work done in moving a force of 1 N through 1 m. Thus: 1J = 1Nm.

By way of example, for a vehicle of mass 100 kg being lifted 2 m the work done against gravity is: 100×g×2 = 2,000 J  For a mechanical engineer, knowing the work done is largely academic. Either the motor specified develops sufficient tractive force to complete the task or it does not.


As another example, if a typical car of a mass of 1300 kg slides 100 meters down an icy slope, the slope being inclined at 30° to the horizontal the forces acting on the car are:

(i) its weight 1300kg x g x N

(ii) the normal contact force.

The distance the car moves in the direction of the normal contact force is zero and so this force does no work. The only force which does work is the weight. The distance moved in the direction of the weight is:

100×sin 30°= 50 m  And so work done by gravity = 1300×g×50 = 1300×10×50 = 650,000 Joules.
In this example the frictional forces on the slope and air resistance are ignored.









DRIVING FORCE - This is a selection of off-the-shelf hydraulic wheel motors, most of which we could use for the AmphiVax™ launch & recovery vehicle. These are wheel hubs with a fluid motor drive inboard of the wheel mounting flange. They are the basis for the transmission of many popular earth moving vehicles.





An amphibious vehicle (or simply amphibian), is a vehicle that is a means of transport, viable on land as well as on (or under) water. Amphibious vehicles include amphibious bicycles, ATVs, cars, buses, trucks, military vehicles, and hovercraft.


Classic naval landing craft are not amphibious vehicles as they do not offer any real land transportation at all.


Most land vehicles – even lightly armoured ones – can be made amphibious simply by providing them with a waterproof hull and perhaps a propeller. This is possible as a vehicle's displacement is usually greater than its weight, and thus it will float. Heavily armoured vehicles however sometimes have a density greater than water (their weight in kilograms exceeds their volume in litres), and will need additional buoyancy measures. These can take the form of inflatable floatation devices, much like the sides of a rubber dinghy, or a waterproof fabric skirt raised from the top perimeter of the vehicle, to increase its displacement.

For propulsion in or on the water some vehicles simply make do by spinning their wheels or tracks, while others can power their way forward more effectively using additional screw propellers or water jets. Most amphibians will work only as a displacement hull when in the water – only a small number of designs have the capability to raise out of the water when speed is gained, to achieve high velocity hydroplaning, skimming over the water surface like speedboats.






The Second World War significantly stimulated their development. Two of the most significant amphibious cars to date were developed during World War II. The most proliferous was the German Schwimmwagen, a small jeep-like 4x4 vehicle designed by the Porsche engineering firm in 1942 and widely used in World War II. The amphibious bodywork was designed by Erwin Komenda, the firm's body construction designer, using the engine and drive train of the Kübelwagen. An amphibious version of the Willys MB Jeep, the Ford GPA or 'Seep' (short for Sea jeep) was developed during World War II as well. A specially modified GPA, called Half-Safe, was driven and sailed around the world by Australian Ben Carlin in the 1950s.

One of the most capable post-war amphibious off-roaders was the German Amphi-Ranger, that featured a hull made of seawater-resistant AlMg2 aluminium alloy. Extensively engineered, this costly vehicle was proven seaworthy at a Gale force 10 storm off the North Sea coast (Pohl, 1998). Only about 100 were built – those who own one have found it capable of crossing the English Channel almost effortlessly.

Purely recreational amphibian cars include the 1960s Amphicar and the contemporary Gibbs Aquada. With almost 4,000 pieces built, the Amphicar is still the most successfully produced civilian amphibious car to date. The Gibbs Aquada stands out due to its capability of high speed planing on water. Gibbs built fifty Aquadas in the early 2000s after it was developed by a team assembled by founder Alan Gibbs before the company's engine supplier, Rover, was unable to continue providing engines. Gibbs and new partner Neil Jenkins reconstituted the company and are now seeking U.S. regulatory approval for the Aquada.

The Southern California based company, WaterCar, founded by Dave March, has also built four working amphibious prototypes, one which holds the Guinness World Record for World's Fastest Amphibious Vehicle (The Python). In 2013, March released the company's first commercial vehicle, The Panther. Since its release, WaterCar has been popular in the Middle East, selling to the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, with six additional vehicles being sold to the Crown Prince of Dubai. The WaterCar has also been sold to tech enthusiasts and residents of Silicon Valley.




NAVATEK, THE CURRENT RECORD HOLDER JULY 2014 - The Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, in conjunction with the Office of Naval Research, is currently testing a beast of an amphibious lander. 

The Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) has been developed as a replacement to the current Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC). The UHAC would be used to bring ashore troops, equipment, and vehicles. It can even land multiple tanks at once. 

The UHAC began testing on July 9 at the Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on Oahu, Hawaii, and it is taking part in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014 which is currently underway until Aug. 1. We have highlighted some of the amazing capabilities of the UHAC below.

The current iteration of the UHAC is only half the size of the expected final version, although it is still massive: 42 feet long, 26 feet wide, and 17 feet high.

At full capacity, the UHAC should be able to carry three main battle tanks ashore from a range of 200 nautical miles. Altogether, the UHAC can carry payloads up to 190 tons, almost three times as much as the LCAC.

Unlike the LCAC, the UHAC can continue moving while onshore across mud flats, tidal marsh areas, and even over sea walls of up to 10 feet in height. But the vehicle is limited to speeds up to 20 knots, half that of the LCAC, due to drag from its foam treads. In the videos the craft moves painfully slowly.




THE PREVIOUS RECORD HOLDER - The M3 Amphibious Rig is a self-propelled amphibious bridging vehicle that is used for the conveyance of tanks and other vehicles across water obstacles.

This interesting vehicle was originally developed by the German firm Eisenwerke Kaiserslautern, but has since (2002) been acquired by General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems. The M3 succeeded the conceptually similar M2 made by the same company. The M3 traverses roads on four wheels, deploying two large aluminium pontoons, the length of its hull, for buoyancy on water. The vehicle is self-deployable by road, operating as a 4x4 wheeled vehicle with a maximum road speed of 80 km/h. It is driven into the water for amphibious operation when it is propelled and steered by 2 fully traversable pump jets at speeds of up to 14 km/h. The M3 uses a diesel engine of 298kW (399hp) and has a crew of 3. The unit cost is roughly $3.5 million dollars. SPECS: Weight 26 tonnes, Length 13.03 m (42ft - 513 in), Width 3.35 m (10.88ft - 132 in) (side pontoons folded), 6.57 m (259 in) (side pontoons unfolded), Height 3.97 m (156 in).



This motorised beach tralier looks like a Moon Buugy


MOON BUGGY - This is the Beachlauncher. Although it looks very much like the Moon Buggy, or indeed, somewhat like a Mars Rover, it is in fact a mobile, remote controlled self-propelled, all-terrain vehicle that launches boats and personal watercraft in and out of the sea. It looks very little like the boat trailer it replaces. It is operated by radio control and powered by a petrol engine and state-of-the-art hydraulics. The Beachlauncher has its own deck walkway and stairs attached, giving you a “mobile boat dock” for easy access to your boat so that you can avoid the spray as you launch. The Beachlauncher will mainly be used for recreational boating, but could be used for emergency services, such as a Lifeboat launch and retrieval, or for Coast Guard operations. The Beachlauncher was designed for a wide variety of shorelines, from inland lakes, rivers, ocean bays and sounds. It is currently in use throughout the Great Lakes, Canada and in the FIJI islands . The powered trailer can maneuver through many types of shoreline terrain consisting of sand and rocky debris, b it is not recommended for deep muddy conditions.  Custom-built models are available upon request.




SPECIFICATIONS - The Beachlauncher can move a 16- to 32-foot boat with payloads ranging from 3,000 pounds (1,361kg) on the PWC-H model to 10,000 pounds (4,537kg) on the Superlauncher model, including boat, fuel and cargo. The vehicle can scale up a 12% (8:1) soft, rocky/sandy slope or a 25% (4:1) hard surfaced, ramped slope. The climbing ability will vary according to the local soil mechanics. 




PERFORMANCE - The Beachlauncher’s performance comes from a compact hydraulics system coupled to a 25hp engine, though more power can be specified. The system gives The Beachlauncher durability for tough work in shoreline and marine environments, as well as volumetric efficiency for peak power output and enhanced mobility. Their steel chassis is made from "I" beam sections that are hot dip galvanized to protect against rust. The hull bunks are carpeted and may be adjusted to suit varying boat sizes.




BEACHLAUNCHER CONTACTS - Beachworks LLC, (office) 10134 N. Port Washington RD, Mequon, WI 53092 (factory) 1801 S Car Ferry Drive, Milwaukee, WI 5302. Telephone:  414.788-1562. Fax: 414.763.0464. Email:



Beach launching a Hawkes mini submarine


LIKE MINDS - The Beachlauncher is a patented concept. Unlike a land based pier, concrete ramp, or a conventional boat trailer, Beachlauncher is mobile, so adapts to fluctuating water levels and shorelines so you can launch in low water or at low tide. The self-propelled vehicle crosses shoreline terrain including sand, stone, small rocks, silt and cobble. The Beachlauncher can be parked on your beach all year long. With its galvanized frame and motor cover, it’s protected from the elements. Many customers choose to drive the Beachlauncher into boathouses or onto slabs. A 12-foot-wide x 10 foot high door is needed to accommodate the overall width of the boat and launcher. Your boat length will determine the depth of your boathouse, as The Beachlauncher 4000-H model is only 17 feet long and 11 ft. 1 in. wide.( with deck up ) Model 6000-H is 20 feet long and 11 ft. 1 in. wide. The new "SPORT 4000" accommodates boats 16'-23' and is only 8 ft 6" wide.

The Beachlauncher can be used at a maximum water depth of 4 feet, 6 inches - it can travel several hundred yards to launch a boat and can remain submerged or remotely sent back to the shore while you're out boating. On your return to shore, and at the flick of a button, the operator can call the Beachlauncher back out into the water to retrieve a boat and passengers.




Washington (CNN)The U.S. Marine Corps is spending $225 million as it takes another stab at replacing its aging fleet of amphibious assault vehicles.
The Marine Corps on Tuesday awarded two contractors - BAE Systems and SAIC - contracts to develop 13 prototypes of the new vehicle. The Marines announced that they hope to have infantry paired up with the new amphibious combat vehicles (or ACVs) by 2020.

"ACV 1.1 is the first phase of eventually replacing the (assault amphibious vehicle) with a truly amphibious, armor-protected personnel carrier to support the infantry ashore," Col. John B. Atkinson, director of the Marines' Fires and Maneuver Integration Division, said in a statement.

The amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) in use now have become too costly to repair and upgrade, in part because many of their components are no longer manufactured, according to the announcement. The replacement will be an eight-wheeled vehicle similar to mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles used on land.

Whichever prototype is selected will include an onboard weapons systems. But the corps is also looking at a larger update of the program with options for variations on the new ACV vehicle.

The movement on a new amphibious vehicle program comes after the Marines spent $3 billion on a previous failed project to replace the vehicles. A Congressional Research Service report earlier this year found that the planned amphibious expeditionary fighting vehicle (EFV) program was canceled "due to poor reliability demonstrated during operational testing and excessive cost growth."

While the new ACV is being tested, the Marines will update their existing 392 amphibious vehicles to better protect against mine blasts, upgrade their engines and improve land and water mobility, according to the announcement.
By Tom LoBianco






Call it part tank, part boat and part beer cooler. But it's unquestionably all cool. It's a new U.S. Marine Corps vehicle for getting stuff like troops, tanks and trucks from ships to shore and back.

The Corps showed off a prototype of its Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector (UHAC) last week during Rim of the Pacific exercises in Hawaii, running it from the Navy's amphibious dock landing ship USS Rushmore to the beaches of Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on Oahu.

"Showcasing the UHAC during RIMPAC is a big deal," Dave George of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, which developed the UHAC with funding from the Office of Naval Research, said in a press release. "This is a great way to let people know that this new technology is being developed."

Here's how the UHAC works: The tracks, which are made of what the Marines call "captured-air foam blocks," extend like flippers to propel the craft through the water. When it hits the beach, the foam flattens to become like the tracks on a tank or a bulldozer, only much softer, according to a report from Stars and Stripes.
Last week, the UHAC prototype, which is about half the size of envisioned production models, carried an assault vehicle from the Rushmore to the beach. The Marine Corps says a full-size UHAC would be able to carry much more.





"The full-scale model should be able to carry at least three tanks and a HMMVW (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle)," Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Perera, the Warfighting Lab's Infantry Weapons Project officer, said in a statement. That's about three times the load that the Corps' current craft assigned to the task, called a Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), can handle.

It also will be able to surmount bigger obstacles. While an LCAC can only get over a 4-foot-high sea wall, a full-size UHAC will be able to get over sea walls as high as 10, 12 or even 16 feet, according to the Corps.
The UHAC prototype type is not armored or armed, but Perera said production models would have armor plating and a .50-caliber machine guns for protection.

They also would be much faster. The prototype could only go 5 mph on the water, but a full-size UHAC should do 25 mph, Gen. Kevin Killea, commander of the Corps' Warfighting Lab, told Stars and Stripes. The UHAC prototype used last week is the third in the program, built upon a concept originally proposed by the Hawaii-based shipbuilding and research firm Navatek, Ltd.

"There has been a one-fifth scale model, then a one-quarter scale model and this is a half-scale model, so we have been progressing," Frank Leban, program officer at the Office of Naval Research, said in a statement. "Every vehicle has incorporated more features and technology to help get us to the full scale."

There's no word yet on when the full-scale model may actually come, but officials were happy with last week's demonstration. "This is a great way to show what it can do," said George. "Today went quite well."
By Brad Lendon






With more than 20,000 units produced, the DUKW was the most successful amphibious truck of World War II. This 31-foot (9.4 m) 6x6 truck was used to establish and supply beachheads. It was designed as a wartime project by Sparkman & Stephens, a yacht design firm who also designed the hull for the Ford GPA 'Seep'. During the war, Germany produced the Landwasserschlepper. In the 1950s, the Soviets developed the GAZ 46, BAV 485, and PTS.

During the Vietnam War, the US Army used the amphibious articulated Gama Goat and the larger M520 Goer truck-series to move supplies through the canals and rice paddies of Southeast Asia. The latter was based on a 1950s civil construction vehicle and became the US Army’s standard heavy tactical truck before its replacement by the HEMTT. Although the vehicles' wheels were mounted without suspension or steering action, and land speeds over 20 mph (32 km/h) were ill-advised, its articulated design provided it with good maneuverability and helped it to keep all four wheels firmly in touch with uneven ground. Coupled with its amphibious capability, in the Vietnam War, the M520 Goer developed a reputation of being able to go where other trucks could not.

For taking vehicles and supplies onto the beaches the US used the 1950s designed LARC-V and the huge LARC-LX which could carry 60 tons of cargo.

The British Army used the 6x6 wheeled Alvis Stalwart as their amphibious cargo carrier. In the water vectored thrust water-jet propulsion units drove it along at about 6 knots.

The M3 Amphibious Rig can be used as a ferry or as a floating bridge for trucks and heavy combat vehicles.

Gibbs has also developed other types of fast amphibians including the Phibian, a 30-foot (9.1 m) amphibian that is aimed at first responder market, and the Humdinga, a 21-foot (6.4 m) amphibian that is capable of traversing extreme terrain.





US MARINES - The "Marine Corps Base Hawaii (July 18, 2004) - U.S. Marines assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment guard their Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV) following a mechanized raid in support of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004. RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands. This year's exercise includes seven participating nations; Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. RIMPAC is intended to enhance the tactical proficiency of participating units in a wide array of combined operations at sea, while enhancing stability in the Pacific Rim region. Photo by Jane West Photographer's Mate 1st Class.



LARC-V - The LARC-V (Lighter, Amphibious Re-supply, Cargo, 5 ton), is an aluminium-hulled amphibious cargo vehicle capable of transporting 5 tons. It was developed in the United States during the 1950s, and is used in a variety of auxiliary roles to this day.



LAND ROVER - The Land Rover Series I, II, and III (commonly referred to as series Land Rovers, to distinguish them from later models) are off-road vehicles produced by the British manufacturer Land Rover that were inspired by the US-built Willys Jeep. In 1992, Land Rover claimed that 70% of all the vehicles they had built were still in use. This one is equipped with inflatable floats to make raft of the vehicle.



BTR-80 - The BTR-80 (Russian: бронетранспортер/Bronetransporter, literally "Armoured Transporter") is an 8x8 wheeled amphibious armoured personnel carrier (APC) designed in the USSR. It was adopted in 1986 and replaced the previous vehicles, the BTR-60 and BTR-70. This one makes its way ashore from a Ropucha-class landing ship during a combined American-Russian disaster relief exercise in June 1994 near Vladivostok.



OYSTER - Since 1977, several boat builders in Brittany have built specialized amphibious vehicles for use in the area's mussel and oyster farming industries. The boats are made of aluminium, are relatively flat-bottomed, and have three, four, or six wheels, depending on the size of the boat. When the tide is out the boats can run on the tidal flats using their wheels. When the tide is in, they use a propeller to move themselves through the water. Oyster farmers in Jersey make use of similar boats. Currently, Constructions Maritimes du Vivier Amphibie has a range of models.



VAB - The Véhicule de l'avant blindé or VAB ("Armoured vanguard vehicle" in French) is an armoured personnel carrier and support vehicle designed by the Euro Mobilité Division of GIAT Industries of France. It entered service in 1976; around 5,000 were produced.

The VAB was designed as a wheeled troop transporter, complementing the tracked AMX-10P. Specifications for the project called for an NBC-proof, amphibious, lightly armoured vehicle to provide infantry with basic protection against shrapnel and light infantry weapons. These features were dictated by its possible usage in the event of an all-out conventional war breaking out against the Warsaw Pact; in particular, the amphibious capabilities were needed to bridge the rivers in Eastern France and in Germany.

Companies Panhard and Saviem/Renault answered the requirement, and the Renault prototype was selected in May 1974 with 4,000 units ordered. The first delivery occurred in 1976, and production continued at a rate of 30 to 40 units a month. You can see the pod water jet in the above pictures. Replacement of the VAB is scheduled for around 2020. A diesel-electric vehicle stemming from the EBM10-EBM20 programme is due to be selected.



STALWART - The FV 620 Stalwart, informally known by servicemen as the 'Stolly', is a highly mobile amphibious military truck built by Alvis that served with the British Army from 1966 until the 1980s.

The hull is the vehicle chassis, the engine is situated under the load deck in the rear of the hull and the gearboxes, differentials and transfer boxes forward of this. The load deck was open-topped with large drop down panels on either side. Waterproof seals ensured that these would not leak when in the water. The three man cab has the driver's position in the centre and a seat for a passenger either side. The cab can only be entered through roof hatches.

The Stalwart could carry 5 tonnes of stores, or tow 10 tonnes. In the water it could be driven at about 6 knots by vectored thrust water-jet propulsion units. The drive system, which included the all-wheel drive, multiple gearboxes, and the water propulsion units, was complex and needed a lot of maintenance. When the amphibious qualities become unnecessary, it was common for the water jets to be removed to reduce weight and maintenance.



IGUANA YACHTS - Iguana Yachts is a French company created in 2008, specialized in design and manufacturing of new generation boats. The main facilities and shipyards are located in western France, in Normandy where the allied troops landed 70 years ago. The groundbreaking products of the company rely on a brand new patented technology : amphibious motorboats featuring all-terrain tracks. The shipyard was created in 2008, from the idea of Antoine Brugidou, former Vice President of Accenture, in association with the naval architect Tanguy Le Bihan and the designers (Fritsch & associés). Based on the requirements of Antoine Brugidou willing to have a performant, marine and elegant boat able to walk on each and every surface, Antoine Fritsch designed the Iguana Mobility System. A very simple and efficient patented system enabling the hull to carry the mobility system. In marine conditions, the track system is perfectly integrated in the hull and deployed (90° rotation) on the ground. The special designed tracks (customized external pattern adapted to sand and mud, and internal material unaffected by corrosion), enable the boat to land on most of the surface from slopes (up to 12° angle), to sand or mud beaches or even small rocks surfaces.




HYDROCAR - This aluminum-bodied, meticulously crafted amphibian is unique in that it literally – transforms its shape from ‘LAND MODE’ to ‘WATER MODE’ with the flip of a switch. On land, its full-length articulating sponsons are raised and become the car’s fenders. Upon entering the water, the sponsons are lowered nearly eight inches to transform the car into a tunnel-hulled watercraft within a matter of seconds. It’s main body is made of type 304 stainless steel, so rust will not be a problem. Under the hood, it has a fully dyno-tuned Chevrolet engine that produces 762 horsepower at 5,800 rpm. Originally, the car used a six-bladed propeller. However, according to Dobbertin, this didn’t create enough “bite in the water,” so he replaced it with a four-bladed Rolla stainless steel propeller that was yet to be tested in the water before the HydroCar was sold. Despite required tweaking, it’s still an incredible amphibious vehicle.




CONCEPTS - [LEFT] - Munich-based truck maker F.X. Meiller has seen the future of construction hauling, as this sleek all-wheel drive tipper capable of dumping in all four directions. Chinese transportation designer Haishan Deng created a series of concept drawings depicting what Meiller's new super tipper truck in action that won him a 2007 red dot award.

[RIGHT] - Presented here is a concept model depicting Volvo's view into the future of construction equipment. The model is 1:50th scale. Each wheel houses an independent electric motor which provides the drive force without the need for drive shafts. The wheels are mounted on independent swinging arms which allow smoother travel over the roughest terrain compared to a solid live axle.




STUNNING - This WWII VW Schwimmwagen 4x4 from Germany holds the record for the most produced amphibious vehicle ever. It is a superb example of good design, based on the legendary VW Beetle running gear, but without the flat floorpan that proved to be unsuitable for boating adaptation. The example above is a beautifully painted example in great condition, for a 73 year old vehicle - and trendy with it.


The Schwimmwagen was a sub-product of the “Kübelwagen”, litteraly: “bucket-car” first produced as the type 128. A new model was studied by Erwin Komenda, car body designer of Ferdinand Porsche, in 1940, to provide an amphibious car. It was a mix of the VW type 86 four-wheel drive model, mixed with elements of the VW type 87 command-car, using the air-cooled “flat-four” boxer and a transmission with four speeds manual, two tranfer case, and a 4WD capability only on the first speed and reverse. The first body designed was based on the usual VW wheelbase, 240 mm (7,9 ft). This prototype initiated the type 128 series that proved to be flimsy and troublesome.

With a brand new hull, the type 166 proved far more reliable and was also simplified for mass production. From 1941 to 1944, no less than 15 600 were built, from which 14276 came from Fallersleben (Volkswagen factory) and only 1308 by Porsche at Stuttgart and the bodies at Ambi budd in Berlin. Porsche models differed only by a few details. These cars were caracterized by a single speed FWD transmission (sometimes in reverse), front and rear axles ZD differentials, and portal gear rear hubs. A single screw propeller mounted in an amovible gear was easily put in place for swimming, directly tied to the transmission. That means only forward motion was possible. For manoeuvers, simple paddle were used, or the normal reverse speed was activated, and the wheel motion could itself slowly move back the car. All these cars were equipped with a removable hood, spare parts and a spare wheel, all on the front, and additional shovel, pickaxe, and paddles locked on the hull sides. There were no doors for rigidity, two front seats and a rear bank. Soldiers sometimes nicknamed it “the Frosche” (“frog”).





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