Normally I don't write about cars, or military research, but the ARGO 5000 Project caught my attention, and frankly, got me interested. (I read about this in a magazine for army veterans. I was just browsing in the bookstore, but the article was so interesting I just had to buy it.)
Its an amphibious monster truck designed for the post-apocalypse. That's what I'd call it.
The ARGO 5000 is designed as a vehicle to be used in any kind of "What If" scenario... for example, nuclear war, alien invasion, natural disaster, comet hits the earth, that sort of thing. Under those circumstances the vehicle would have to be self-sufficient for fuel, able to travel over land or water, able to carry at least 20 people, able to resist attack and attack others. Indeed, when I saw the designs for the ARGO 5000 I was amazed at how SIMPLE the design was. It used state of the art technology, but in the end was easy to build and adaptable.
Let me give you some examples:
They look like huge thick monster truck wheels (sorry I don't have the photo online), airless, bulletproof, made of highly durable and flame resistant poly-carbonate rubber. There is no axle. There are six wheels, three per side, and each wheel runs on its own independent electric motor.
On the roof and sides is bullet-proof solar panels to provide an electrical recharge, but thats not the only possible fuel source. The hybrid-engine is designed to run on diesel, gasoline, alcohol, methane or hydrogen and a variety of other fuel sources. Initially the ARGO 5000 will be equipped with a full tank of hydrogen (the most efficient fuel source) and a full battery charge. The idea here is that even though fuel sources would be scarce during a post-apoc. scenario, the ARGO 5000 would be able to use ANY available sources or recharge itself independently.
For water travel, a water turbine engine is built on the bottom of the ARGO 5000.
Six gun turrets loaded in the four corners plus 2 on the sides. The state-of-the-art gun turrets run on electricity provided from the hybrid-engine and fire "shrapnel-based amunition", meaning the guns can shoot anything from nails, to gravel to actual bullets. The guns initially come with .50 calibre lead balls (similar to musket balls).
In the belly of the ARGO 5000 there is an arsenal of standard military rifles, SMGs, pistols, a variety of different grenades, enough plastic explosives to blow up the WTC, combat knives & axes, and six copies of a guide which shows a person how to build their own weapons and explosives.
The length of the ARGO 5000 is built of flexible dent and bullet-resistant steel/plastic. Unlike modern cars which are designed to be crushed under the impact of a crash, the ARGO 5000 is designed to simply take the hit and maintain its shape. The front of the ARGO 5000 has been designed for ramming enemy vehicles.
NOTE: The armament really isn't that impressive. The vehicle is designed for survival, not attack.
The cargo hold is designed to hold as many people as possible. It is not designed to sleep in however. In theory, 20 people could sleep in the cargo hold, but you could also pack roughly 50 to 60 people in the hold if they were packed in like sardines.
Ignoring people, the cargo hold is large enough to hold 2 full-size trucks. Initially the ARGO 5000 will come with two such trucks (known as DODGE 5000s) which will also used hybrid-engines and be capable of using any fuel source.
In the belly of the ARGO 5000 is a storage space containing survival gear, ten radiation combat suits, army rations with strong preservatives, medical kits, a five year supply of insulin/all-purpose anti-biotics and six copies of a medical/survival guide.
The US military also has several other design projects currently on the go: The APACHE 5000 and the already mentioned DODGE 5000. The design funding was approved by George W. Bush in April of 2001. Prototype testing will commence in April 2006.
My response? The same response I had when I saw James Bond driving a tank during "GoldenEye" and when I saw Batman driving the new Batmobile in "Batman Begins":
"Kewl! I want one!"