US military literally trying to reinvent the wheel

Originally published at:


Is anyone else reminded of this? landmaster


While, undeniability super cool. It does seem very complicated with many, many parts. Which leaves many points of failure in tough terrain and situations. But I could be wrong - maybe it’s pretty modular etc.


That’s a lot of unsprung weight. Breakable unsprung weight. I’d rather have a half track.


That vehicle was the star of the movie.


It is a neat idea. Does it actually help getting over rocky or irregular terrain? It is neat, but not too impressive just driving in a parking lot.

I can imagine various Jeep and rock hopper communities wanting these one day.


This is the kind of engineering masturbation exercise that defense contractors love. Some engineering team in some subsidiary has a wacky idea that nobody will buy but they want to play with it anyway, so they sell the idea to the federal government to fund development. I have friends who work in aerospace, and they see projects like this go by all the time. It will sink $100m or so and nothing will come of it.

If the US spent half of this effort on real science, we’d have a base on mars and 20 types of cancer cured by now.


Yeah. And the tires don’t appear to be pneumatic, so it probably rides like a paint shaker.

I have to wonder whether a set of retractable tracks wouldn’t be better all around. Sort of like the retractable wheels you see on pickups used for railroad maintenance.


Back then you did anything you could to get more mileage (heh) out of a big prop. Here it is in an Amoco ad:

ed: omg that pointless ad is 60 seconds long.


should imagine would work better on bigger vehicles with scaling up some
just to add strength or brute force

1 Like

What was the most amazing about that is just how underbuilt those little track systems were. Plastic idlers, underengineered suspension, difficult maintenance, they were just terribly designed. The sort of thing that’s mostly for show and to wow your buds on rock crawl day where you’re fine with spending 8 hours to go 200 meters over some boulder field.

You know they had to cost a small fortune and in the end they couldn’t even go on paved roads without destroying themselves.


Yeah, I want to see the test were these things hit potholes/rocks at speed a few times and what you have to do to fix one in the field.

1 Like


1 Like

Damnation Alley.


Thank you Dr. Strangelove for going do-lally and
leaving me the heritage of Damnation Alley, Damnation Alleyway

1 Like

Perhaps these are the early version of Smartwheels from Snow Crash?


The show is a highly engineered put-on with capable, educated men acting like 20-something buffoons.

I am sure they picked the most fragile and under-engineered product for the show. There are a few manufacturers of such treads.

Heck, I would not put it past them to intentionally bust up some pieces if they were performing too well.

Wasn’t Hyundai working on a car with four legs for emergency off road driving?

Alternative “solution”: “This half tank could use and its four wheels and the two tracks on its sides. When it needs a high speed it lifts the tracks and moves very fast, on paved roads etc, but when it gets stuck in some heavy mud and four wheel drive is not enough it emerges its two tracks and can get out of some heavy swamps. And if the inflated rubber wheels get shot flat or burned down he can also use tracks – the wheels are not necessary when it moves on tracks.”

1 Like