When the going gets tough, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency creates a vehicle -- capable of driving on water, land, and even deep mud -- to keep things going.
Officially known as the captive air amphibious transporter (CAAT), this water wagon currently under development looks like the strange lovechild of a tank and a hovercraft. CAAT could one day serve as an invaluable tool for the U.S. military when it delivers supplies to the coasts of disaster-stricken areas.
By combining the tread-like design of a tank and dozens of air-filled pontoons, the 4-ton CAAT shown in the DARPA demonstration video below seamlessly travels through water with what appears to be respectable speed (we are waiting to hear back from DARPA on just how fast). The amphibious navigator truly shines as it drives over debris (which would normally cause problems for conventional boats), and ascends out of the water onto the beach or concrete without issue.
Surprisingly, the CAAT shown in the DARPA demonstration sits at a measly one-fifth scale of the proposed 450-ton full-size transporter.
In a press release, DARPA notes that the vehicle derives from the tactically expandable maritime platform (TEMP), a program that aims to create a variety of support modules that can fit within traditional 20- to 40-foot commercial containers for easier transport and deployment during disaster scenarios. DARPA has not yet given a date for CAAT's deployment.