Militaries around the world are using the latest top notch technology to create hardcore vehicles that can survive enemy attacks. Some of these vehicle designs are cool looking while others are ugly and strictly utilitarian. Regardless of what they look like, they have effectively served soldiers in both combat and non-combat situations. After all, no enemy ever said they won’t attack a military vehicle because it looks cute.
Many of the cars we’ve compiled on this list earned their pedigree during World War II, which isn’t really a surprise since during that time the U.S. stopped manufacturing civilian cars and concentrated on manufacturing vehicles for war.
After the war, most of the military’s cars were transitioned to the civilian market. As expected, most of the armored cars developed by the military are able to maneuver through rough terrain, can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 13 seconds, offer protection to passengers inside and have plenty of other cool features. So civilian versions of the cars have been developed and made available to the public.
Below is a list of cool military cars we bet you’d want to test drive if you had the chance.
11. Sand Cat
Places used: Mexican drug war and the war in Afghanistan
Main armament: Optional remote weapon station
Suspension: 4X4 wheeled
Engine: 6.0L Power stroke diesel V8
The Israeli car magazine, “Hegeh” described the Sand Cat as looking like one sexy female air force commander. Plasan of Israel designed this armored vehicle and they got their inspiration for the design from the Ford F-series.
The vehicle’s body utilizes a combination of composites, ceramics and armored steel to fend off threats at various levels. It has a spacious and comfortable interior. In fact, the interior is so spacious that it can accommodate an open stretcher.
In July 2007, a better version of the Sand Cat known as the Sand Cat Plus was released to be used by elite Special Forces. It’s a low profile car, painted in civilian colors, and looks like a SUV.
10. Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
Places used: Never used
Armor: Ceramic armor panels, Kevlar like woven fabric and s-2 fiberglass. Protects against artillery fragments and machine guns.
Main armament: M240 Machine gun, 7.62mm Coax and a digitally controlled Mk44 Bushmaster II Mod 0.3mm cannon
Speed: Water: 28.6mph (46km/h), road: 45mph (72.42km/h)
Suspension: 14 retractable independent Hydraulic Suspension Units
Engine: MTU Friedrichshafen MT883 Ka-524 diesel engine
It was initially known as the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle and was designed by the U.S Marine corps, to be launched in 2015.
Unfortunately, this military machine never saw the light of day because the project was canceled. The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, halted production in January 2011.
If it had been produced, this vehicle would have had three times the speed in water and about twice the armor of the AAV-7A1 Assault Amphibious Vehicle.
9. Otokar Cobra
Places used: Turkey-Pkk conflict, Russo-Georgian war and war in Afghanistan
Armor: Low silhouette and optimized body angles for increased survivability. Additional composite flooring, four point seat belts and collapsible seat bases protect the crew. The hull protects against artillery shell splinters, machine guns and infantry rifles.
Armament: 12.7 or 7.62mm machine guns. 30mm cannons or 40mm grenade launchers, thermal imaging and night vision capacity.
Engine: Turbo diesel V8 engine
This is a lightweight armored vehicle manufactured in Turkey by Otokar Otobus Karoseri Sanayi. It doesn’t matter where you drive this amphibious monster…its performance is the same in water and on land. And by the way, this vehicle can accelerate from 0-60 km/h in 13 seconds. Cool, right?
8. Ultra Armored Patrol Vehicle
Debut: September 2005
Places used: N/A
Armor: Crew compartment has a space frame made of tubular steel. This moves the crew away from the sides to reduce impact of side blasts
Engine: 6I power stroke turbo diesel
The Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Office of the Nava Research did a pretty good job at creating a vehicle that combines chassis and armor. It also features racecar technology and lightweight, cost-effective armor.
7. Chenowth Strike Vehicle
Places used: Iraq war, war in Afghanistan and Operation Desert Storm
Armament: 1 X 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcher and 1 X 12.7mm M2 machine gun
This military vehicle is so small that it can be carried in CH-53 or the CH-47 helicopters. The C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft can carry three of these superfast buggies and they can also be paradropped.
The buggy combines cross country mobility, high speed and low weight so it can maneuver on any terrain. It has a high strength tubular frame with a roll cage. Although you can add extra armor on it, the Chenowth strike vehicle is mostly used for scouting missions and hit-and-run style raids.
6. VEPR Commander
Engine: 4 cylinder, 3.9 liter diesel
If you have problems that a Ford Expedition or a Hummer H1 can’t handle, then the VEPR Commander will provide you with a great solution.
Information about the VEPR is scarce as it is a Ukrainian armored personnel carrier. It took multiple Google searches and a lot of Google translate but we’ve managed to come across some of the information listed here.
You won’t see many of these VEPR Commanders parked on the street because they are meant to be used by bank and security services, oil and gas industries, police and the military.
Considering its size, the vehicle only consumes 14 liters of fuel per 100 km in urban areas and 11.5 liters per 100 km on highways. It’s even more fuel-efficient than a Hummer.
Engine: V8 diesel 6.2 L (380 cu in) or V8 turbo diesel 6.5 L (400 cu in): 190 hp (142 kW) @ 3,400 rpm / 380 lbf·ft (515 N·m) @ 1,700 rpm
Speed: 89km/h at maximum gross weight, top speed 113km/h
Armament: Optional equipment like the M240G/B machine gun, M2 heavy machine gun, Mk grenade launcher, M134 mini gun and M249 LMG machine gun.
There’s a civilian version of the Humvee and a lot of people have already bought it. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a classic, badass military vehicle.
The Department of Defense began auctioning 4,000 used Humvees to the public in December 2014. The Humvee models up for auction don’t have armor and are out of U.S. service.
4. ZIL-135 Rocket Launcher
Engine: 2X URAL-375 V-8.6.9 liter gasoline water-cooled
Speed: Top speed 65km/h
Armament: Rocket launcher
The Zil-135 was originally intended to carry and launch missiles. It was exported to communist countries. Actually, North Korea loves the missile launcher so much that it’s always featured in movies or documentaries about the country. It was popular during the Cold War but now, not so much. You can purchase this missile launcher by the way – but without the missiles.
Armor: Ballistic protection and mine blast protection
Engine: Cummins ISBe4-300 Diesel, MAN D0836LOH Diesel
The marauder was specifically designed for peacekeeping and reconnaissance missions. There is a civilian version of it and it was even featured in Top Gear UK.
They tested how it compared to the discontinued Hummer H3. They even tested how well it could withstand an explosion. Turns out it only sustained minor damage while the Hummer H3 was completely destroyed.
2. Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Vehicle
Debut: Yet to be used
Crew: Zero. It’s remotely operated
Armament: Light vehicle obstruction smoke system, obstacle-breaching system, 9mm Uzi, M240G medium machine gun, M249 squad automatic weapon
The Gladiator is small and cute but you don’t ever want to be on the wrong side of it. It’s designed in such a way that it can be deployed into the field and carry out the same job as a soldier, especially in hostile areas, mine fields, urban battlefields and areas where biological or chemical weapons are used. Unfortunately, the Gladiator is still under development.
1. Landing Craft Air Cushion
Armament: Can be mounted two 12.7mm (.50 in) machine guns
Engine: 4 gas turbines
Speed: 74km/h when loaded
The landing craft is a cushion vehicle used by the US Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force to transport personnel, cargo, equipment and weapons systems across the beach or from ship to shore.