Armored vehicles offer optimal protection for law enforcement and military personnel facing high-risk situations. Built on various chassis types, from SUVs and vans to full-size trucks, they are designed to handle any SWAT, rescue or tactical operation. But when a vehicle with extreme mobility is required, one that can fit in an elevator, through a front door, or down a school hallway, the PAV1 Badger leads the pack. Touted as “the world’s smallest manned armored assault vehicle,” the Badger was introduced by Howe and Howe Technologies
Owned by twin brothers Geoffrey and Mike Howe, the company is known worldwide for its extreme vehicle fabrication and design. Working with clients ranging from military and law enforcement to the commercial and industrial sectors, Howe and Howe Technologies designs each vehicle to meet specific requirements. Its line of manned and unmanned vehicles includes the Ripsaw, the Badger, the Mini Ripsaw and the Subterranean Rover. Geoffrey Howe stated that the company “continues to push the envelope by bringing custom vehicles of locomotion with extreme requirements to the world.”
Sold only to military and law enforcement organizations, the Badger is a compact, all-terrain armored vehicle that provides Class 4 ballistic protection. At 32 inches wide, 54 inches high and 84 inches long, this one-person vehicle can knock down cinder block walls, drive through mounds of debris and handle the harshest weather conditions. The Badger weighs 3,300 pounds and is powered by a 30 hp diesel hydrostatic drive system. With a zero turn radius and a top speed of 6 mph, the Badger is specifically designed for SWAT applications.
The vehicle operator’s visual range is 90 degrees forward and 90 degrees from each side. With the original PAV1, the operator enters the vehicle through the top. This feature was reconfigured to a side entrance on the PAV1.2 (released in spring 2008), allowing for easier escape in rollovers. The updated Badger also has an emergency escape hatch and added gun ports in the front of the vehicle. Both vehicles boast a ballistic armor exterior that is resistant to a 30-06 bullet at point blank range, and both are lined with ballistic Kevlar® for added protection.
The impenetrability of the Badger can be witnessed on one of the many videos offered on the company Web site, or accessed on cable television. Yes, not only are the Howe brothers groundbreaking entrepreneurs, but they also have their own show on the Discovery Channel. Each week, viewers of "Howe and Howe Tech" can watch the twins, their wives and the dedicated shop crew "push the limits of innovation."
In the "Badger Bullet Test" video, the Howe brothers and Chief Stephen Peasley of the North Berwick, Maine, Police demonstrate how the Badger's armor plating can deflect any bullet made. Using a wide range of firepower, Peasley test the limits of the Badger's armor capabilities with a 9mm Luger, a Smith & Wesson .500, an M16, and a 12-gauge. With each one, the armor deflects the bullet, leaving only a nick in the paint. Because all the above weapons simulate what law enforcement actually experiences in the field, the results are quite impressive.
But the true test came when Howe handed Peasley a .50 caliber rifle. Traveling at almost three times the speed of sound, this military-grade ammunition is designed to take down armored vehicles and airplanes. As Howe points out in the video, “For real, it is a monster.” The result: The .50 bullet penetrates the ballistic armor, but is stopped by the Kevlar liner.
The price of the Badger ranges from $70,000 to $120,000, depending on specific client requirements. Available options can also be purchased, such as air conditioning and robotic arms. Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Fla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.