The Navy’s new high-speed boat heads for land: Iguana Interceptor

  • The US Navy has received two Iguana Interceptor amphibious boats.
  • The boats are designed for high speed navigation, reaching over 50 miles per hour.
  • In seconds, the boat can deploy a landing gear to allow it to crawl on dry land.

    The US Navy has just purchased a whole new type of boat, which is not limited to operations on the water.

    Of course, the French-made Iguana Interceptor is a high-speed boat. But it is also capable of deploying tank-like caterpillars that allow it to exit the water and crawl on dry land. The Navy plans to use the boats for surveillance missions in shallow waters, where its land and sea capabilities will come in handy, according to Popular science.

    At sea, the Interceptor looks like any other boat: it has a fiberglass hull reinforced with carbon fiber; two 350 horsepower outboard motors; and the ability to reach up to 50 knots, or 57 miles per hour (mph) on land. The Interceptor is typically configured with seating for five and can carry a total of 2,645 pounds.

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    All of these features are pretty normal for fast boats, but the Interceptor’s hull hides an interesting trick: on command, it hydraulically deploys a pair of tank-shaped rubber tracks. Kevlar reinforced tracks allow the vehicle to crawl directly out of the water on dry land at a speed of 4.3 mph. The vehicle can deploy the tracks in just 8 seconds, and on land, it stands almost 11 feet tall.

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    The Navy received two interceptors in 2020 for testing and evaluation. It’s unclear exactly what purpose the Navy has in mind for the ships, but they seem ideal for the special naval warfare role, especially for infiltrating and exfiltrating the coasts in contested or downright hostile territory. The Interceptor can approach a small island and head inland to camouflage itself, instead of staying on the beach where it could be easily seen.

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    There are several advantages to the boat having the ability to steer on land. The Interceptor can drive inland and deliver supplies, pick up injured soldiers, or assist with disaster relief efforts. Almost all of the US Navy’s surface ships, especially frigates, destroyers, and cruisers, could follow suit. These ships would be able to deploy teams ashore in locations without piers or docks.

    The Interceptor is not really a combat vehicle. Although it is capable of mounting a medium machine gun on the bow, it has minimal armor. It does not replace a land armored vehicle either, as bullet holes in the hull of a boat are obviously undesirable. The main protection of the boat is its top speed of 60 mph.

    Iguana thinks the Pentagon will buy more Interceptor ships, claim on their website the US military will soon be placing an even larger order.

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