The 5 Fiercest Combat Vehicles to Roam the Earth Today

Many motorists look to military vehicles with awe. And for good reason. Their ability to overcome the harshest environmental conditions and operate in difficult terrain make them a force to be reckoned with.

Their fame transcends even their prowess on the battlefield. Some of today’s most iconic commercial vehicles originated from the bygone era of warfare. Jeep, Hummer, and even automotive manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW all had humble beginnings formed in the crucible of war. Armored vehicles helped bring about everything we love about cars today.

Advancements in technology continue to challenge how we perceive automotive vehicles.

Known as the fiercest combat vehicles today, these five fighting machines have impressed and terrified adversaries on the battlefield.

1. PL-01 Stealth Tank
At the moment, this concept stealth tank is just that, a concept. But with production stated to begin in 2018, expect to see the PL-01 make its mark on the modern battlefield. This stealth tank has been built from the ground up to be practically invisible to infrared and radar detection as well as thermal sensors.

Its multi-layered ceramic-aramid armor provides protection up to 30- or 40-mm armor-piercing rounds. Weapons armament includes a 105mm or 120mm main gun able to fire either anti-tank rounds or anti-tank guided missiles. Advanced features also include a remote-controlled weapons station.

The evolving nature of asymmetrical warfare and unconventional tactics have given rise to the importance of the mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) armored vehicle. One of the best examples of such as a vehicle is the JAIS, a multi-role all-terrain vehicle, capable of operating in the fiercest combat operations.

The JAIS provides the ideal balance of firepower, survivability, and tactical mobility. Its modular design allows it to support multiple mission variants to operate according to various mission requirements. Its exceptional crew protection and mobility allows the JAIS to be deployed as an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) complete with a full suite of weapons, ammunition, and rations.

3. Joint Light Tactical Vehicle
As the US military prepares to phase out the iconic, yet aging Humvee, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will become the next stalwart of the battleground.

With an emphasis on crew protection, the JLTV comes equipped with the Core 1080 crew protection system. The JLTV is more than just about defense though. Much like the JAIS, its powerful drivetrain and advanced suspension system make it an ideal armored vehicle for any battlefield engagement. Integrated weapon systems include remote weapons systems, turret operated systems, and a tube-launched missile system.

4. Rapid Intervention Vehicle
When Special Forces require a vehicle to conduct reconnaissance, covert, and special operations over long ranges, they turn to the Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV). A purpose-built tactical ground vehicle, the RIV has high speed and incredible power-to-weight ratio capabilities providing improved performance on the battlefield. The vehicle is also equipped with:

  • Run-flat inserts (RFI)
  • Central tire inflation system (CTIS)
  • Control system to adjust ride height, enabling it to increase its mobility on off-road terrains.

Its armament includes light and medium machine guns, such as a 12.7mm machine gun. The RIV uses speed and mobility to be a quick response vehicle to tactical situations in remote sites. Its lightweight design enables it to be deployable by fast ground transit or helicopter insertion.

5. M1 Panther II
If the name sounds familiar, that’s because the M1 Panther II borrows its name from the unstoppable force that is the M1 Abrams tank. But it’s more than just its carbon copy.

The M1 Panther II has been designed based on the M1 Abrams tank, but its specialty is in mine detection and clearance. This mine clearing vehicle uses a modified hull designed to clear minefields in combat conditions. Purely serving as a support and breaching vehicle, the M1 Panther II has replaced its main cannon and turrets with outstretched specialized mounted mine rollers meant to explode mines on the battlefield.

It’s a task not sought out by many. Luckily the design of the M1 Panther II ensures fewer lives are lost to mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

These truly impressive military vehicles were once built on the edge of innovation. They stretch the limits of engineering and machinery to out-power, out-perform, out-maneuver, and out-class their adversaries. Each military vehicle on this list has played an instrumental and extremely difficult role in today’s modern battlefield.

Miles Chambers currently serves as the Senior International Business Development and Sales Manager for NIMR Automotive LLC and currently chairs the Azerbaijan-South Africa Chamber of Commerce.

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