CROC amphibious vehicle (photos : PN-Timawa)
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines, as one of the world’s largest archipelagos, also has one of the longest combined coastlines on the planet. Patrolling them requires a well-trained military force and, just as importantly, an appropriate fleet of vehicles.
Enter the Coastal-Riverine-Overland Craft (CROC). The CROC is a locally developed, Filipino-designed amphibious vehicle that combines the abilities of an all-terrain vehicle and a high-speed jet boat. CROC reportedly incorporates lightweight but rugged materials and breakthrough hull design. It is designed to be equally adept at running on land and cruising in the water.
The CROC starts out as a 4x4 land vehicle and by retracting its wheels, transforms into a high-speed powerboat capable of navigating in deep and shallow water.
On land, the CROC is projected to be capable of speeds up to 120 km/h, and with a 200-liter dual fuel tank, could attain a range of 1000 km. Its specs include independent double-wishbone suspension at the front, and a rear torsion bar with coil-over-Eibach springs. It is even equipped with four-wheel steering, providing maneuverability in tight spaces such as the infamous U-turns along C5. It’s equipped with four-wheel disc brakes.
A centralized tire-pressure control system, like the Humvee’s, can be included as an option. A front winch and a portable winch will help in its varied missions, as will a steel-reinforced back rest, that, used as a bridge, will enable the truck to traverse a one-meter canal or trench.
Its optimum land speed could exceed 120 kph and with a 200-ltr dual tank, the range could be more than 1000 kms on paved roadways.
In the water, CROC’s tri-hull design and 23-foot length provide stability, and also lessen the shock transmitted to the interior. In the water, it is powered by a marine jet drive, allowing it to perform spins, slides and full stops in high-speed runs. Virtually unsinkable, the CROC stays afloat even if its compartments are filled with water. The four tires help provide buoyancy. Its design includes self-righting capability in the event that it flips over.
The model that will be on display at the Manila International Auto Show (MIAS), from April 7 to 10 at the World Trade Center, is dubbed the CROC-X, as it is an experimental model. Powering the CROC-X is a 5.2-liter Magnum V8 water-cooled engine, sourced from Chrysler. Power is coursed through a four-wheel drive automatic-transmission, with a five-speed manual transfer case for the marine jet.
The basic CROC tips the scales at 2.5 metric tons, and can carry a payload of two metric tons, with suspension modification. CROC-X is a collaboration between civilian and military innovators, and was prototyped in a just six months.
CROC during swimming test (photo : Inquirer)
The designers envision production models to be powered by any of a variety of engines, including diesels or hybrids. For sea-going CROCS, such as those to be used for coastal patrols, a marine engine would be preferable.
The CROC is also reportedly ideal for rescue operations, particularly during floods and other natural calamities. The designers also foresee applications in the tourism industry, as it can be used as in a combined 4x4 vehicle and jet boat adventure ride, taking off from popular beach resorts.
The CROC can carry 10 passengers, including driver and navigator, and can be equipped with mounting for various types of weapons, radio sets, external fuel tanks and other equipment.
Ballistic protection will be incorporated in future iterations. The prototype model already includes an anti-landmine feature—detachable chimneys above the front wheels to direct blasts upwards.
To provide quick egress, not to mention a touch of drama, the doors open gullwing style.
The vehicle is designed by OPCENTEC, a local company specializing in designing and prototyping unique technology solutions for defense, security and disaster response.