One old cliché, "Jack of all trades, master of none" is a bit wobbly these days thanks to Gibbs Technologies. Amphibians, those multi purpose land/water vehicles that promise great things but too often perform poorly in both environments, have finally come of age. Gibbs created HSA (High Speed Amphibian) Technology, that enables high speed performance on both water and land with transition times between the two a matter of mere seconds.
Almost a year ago we mentioned the Quadski, a Gibbs combination ATV and personal watercraft that was developed for the consumer market and looked to be a stunning performer. It doesn't take a brilliant mind to think of a few military and rescue uses for this technology and, sure enough, Gibbs yesterday announced they've teamed with Lockheed Martin to develop amphibious combat vehicles.
Gibbs Technologies Press Release and more photos below:
Gibbs Technologies and Lockheed Martin have agreed to develop a family of high speed amphibious vehicles designed specifically for military operations.
The militarized High Speed Amphibians (HSAs) will use technology from a fleet of prototype amphibious vehicles developed by Gibbs Technologies for consumer use, including the Gibbs Aquada, a three-person sports car, Gibbs Humdinga, a four-wheel vehicle, and Gibbs Quadski,an amphibious all terrain vehicle.
Gibbs’ technology enables amphibians to travel at speeds over 45 mph on water and over 100 mph on land – and to transition from water-to-land or land-to-water in five seconds. These features provide a much needed capability for military littoral, riverine and special operations.
“HSAs are high performance craft on the water, and high performance vehicles on the ground and the transition between the two is seamless” says Alan Gibbs, chairman of Gibbs Technologies. “These are true amphibians, combining the best of both worlds.”
Gibbs and Lockheed Martin are developing three military concept vehicles, representing a scalable capability to meet various missions:
• The Amphibious Combat Craft – Expeditionary (ACC-E) is a 20-foot amphibian capable 45 mph on the water and 80 mph on land;
• The Amphibious Combat Craft – Riverine (ACC-R) is a 35-foot amphibian capable of 40 mph on the water and 65 mph on land; and,
• The Terraquad, capable of over 55 mph on the water and 50 mph on land.
Gibbs and Lockheed Martin will advance the development by integrating expeditionary command and control capability, armor and weapons systems. The military version will have
network ability to share and distribute information from onboard and remote sensors. The craft will be able to accommodate a variety of weapons systems, based on specific mission needs.
“Until now, our Navy and Special Forces have taken on great risk with sea-to-shore insertions,largely due to a transition period that can last an hour or more in vulnerable areas,” said Rich Lockwood, Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensor’s vice president for Mission Systems. “HSA minimizes that risk, allowing forces to move safer and faster – and with capabilities that make it a powerful asset in a net-enabled force.”
Alan Gibbs founded Gibbs Technologies in New Zealand in 1996. Initial amphibian concept work was undertaken in 1997 and 1998 in Detroit. In 1999, excited by the technology, Neil Jenkins merged his business to form Gibbs Technologies UK, of which Gibbs Military Amphibians is a licensee.
All of these military vehicles and the consumer vehicles that came before, are very well designed and the HSA Technology is nothing short of amazing. The Gibbs website has a number of videos of these vehicles in action and their performance does not suffer in either land or water environments.
Gibbs is not set up to manufacture these vehicles directly but is a development company able to take the technology from initial concept to pilot production, proving its function, performance and durability. The technology is available for licensing to other manufacturers and any company that decides to move forward with production is likely to have a winner on its hands.
Admittedly, these amphibians will not be cheap, but the utility of these vehicles should not be underestimated. I'll be keeping a closer eye on Gibbs Technologies in the coming months to see what happens next. It could be exciting.