Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic could one day be protected by an amazing vehicle designed and built in Surrey.
ARKTOS Developments Ltd. said yesterday it has been in discussions with the Department of National Defence to modify an amphibious Evacuation Craft for use as a rescue and patrol vehicle.
“We need to know what’s going on up there,” said Thomas Maldwyn, an ARKTOS consultant.
The evacuation craft, which has been dubbed the Meanest Amphibious Machine by the Discovery Channel show Mean Machines, would be perfect for the job, said Maldwyn.
“There’s nothing like it in the world,” said Maldwyn. While carrying 52 people, the ARKTOS can operate in the ocean, on ice, in a combination of ice and water and can easily roll up on land — even if it’s muskeg or treacherous quicksand.
Company president Bruce Seligman suggested an ARKTOS could be stationed aboard an icebreaker.
“They can go where the vessel can’t,” said Seligman.
ARKTOS was putting one of the $2.35 million US vessels through sea trials yesterday in the waters off Ladner before it’s shipped off to Alaska, where it will be used as year-round rescue craft for oil rigs.
The craft is equipped with water jets that allow it to go through oil fires. The treads on its four tracks can be spun so they’re also covered with water and protected from fire.
Although made of steel and equipped with thousands of special spikes, the treads are covered in a special rubber from Goodyear that’s designed for ultra-frigid temperatures. Possible modifications for military use could involve mounting a crane on its deck to lower snowmobiles to the ice or snow for speedier patrols or rescues.
Diesel-powered jets in each of the vessel’s two compartments make the vessel highly manoeuvrable, even in tight confines like those of the Captain’s Cove Marina in Ladner, where the vessel is being tested.
An articulated joint between the two compartments is the key to its success. “It’s the key to its mobility,” said Seligman of a hydraulically-powered connection that can be moved side to side, up and down or locked into place.
There are only 18 such craft in the world. In addition to Alaska, they are being used in China and Kazakhstan, specifically in the Caspian Sea.
ONE MEAN MACHINE
– 15 metres long, 3.6 m wide, weighs 32 tonnes, with a fibreglass-composite hull.
– Can operate in water, on ice, in water and broken ice, muskeg, mud or quicksand for 12 hours on full power.
– Power provided by two 260 horsepower Cummins diesel engines that use jets to drive the vessel at 5.5 knots in the water or up to 16 kilometres per hour on land, although military applications could be modified to go faster.
– Can manage a 34-degree slope or incline.
– Carries 52 passengers.
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Original Article BY THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE OCTOBER 24, 2007