What happens when a country waves a $500M check in the air and yells “show me what you got!” The answer is the world’s most unstoppable vehicles.
Water, ice, snow, mud, walls, inclines, and even mines cannot stop these military vehicles. They may not be fast or small or even be allowed on the Nurburgring, but they will not be stopped no matter what. Our advice if you see one coming is to just run for it! And yes, there are a plethora of military vehicles you can own and even drive on your own, but these are in a different class of dangerous so only two can be bought by civilians in the United States.
So what makes a ground vehicle unstoppable like the M1 Abrams? It must be able to withstand extreme conditions, combat aggression, and very hostile terrain. It must have tracks or a surplus of wheels and very low gears. Since it’s for military use, it won’t just be carrying you kids from soccer like some Rezvani Truck; it needs to be able to transport troops, ammo, functional weapons, and explosives. Most importantly it has to be so well armored that if it were filled to the brim with C4 it wouldn’t combust if it fell off a cliff into a wildfire.
10. M1 Abrams Tank
The workhorse tank of the United States army is the Abrams M1. It’s not just a modernized cannon so much as it is a platform for a variety of vehicles including minesweepers known as “M1150 Assault Breacher Vehicle” (below). To watch a Breacher work is a once-in-a-lifetime-level of cool. The 1,500 horsepower machines started in 1979 and last saw a battle in Yemen in 2016 and at the most basic level, the frontal armor is a minimum of 6 inches thick and up to 27 inches of RHA (rolled homogenous armor).
The 45-foot-long Breachers weigh in at 72 tons and include a 15-foot long “plow” to detonate mines and over 6,000 lbs of explosives to clear a safe path for troops. The peculiar M104 Wolverine (also M1 Abrams-based) even makes every vehicle unstoppable with an attached deployable folding bridge to make crossing streams and ditches possible for anything under 70 tons. It can then cross, attach to the other side, and fold up the bridge without the crew ever stepping out. Currently, you cannot own an M1 Abrams.
9. SHERP ATV (You Can Own)
In our experience, it’s the Russians that make the strange-looking almost impracticable vehicles. You may recognize this one from Top Gear in 2016, but basically, it’s a series of two to 22 person tanks that you can own, such that started life delivering supplies to the highest base camps in Mount Everest. To turn it the wheels go to different speeds allowing it to have a less-than-6-foot turning radius. So what exactly makes this toy-looking vehicle unstoppable?
It has a low center of gravity with the engine and heavy components lower than you think, making it capable of a 35° climb ascent, 1-meter obstacle crawl-over, and 30° of tilt in any direction! Oh, did we mention it’s amphibious? With its massive tires, it can go down to 8 psi and reinflates via exhaust gasses at your command. Should tires go flat, it can continue on just its front two tires! It has zero suspension of any kind, relying solely on the large tires to do the trick. So large, in fact, are the tires, that SHERP decided to put 61 gallons of additional fuel in the “wheel disks” (translated from Russian) allowing for 19 hours of nonstop running.
8. M1117 Guardian “Commando”
The M1117 Guardian “Commando” is classified as an “Armored Security Vehicle” made for the United States Police in 1990. It was made to be a mine-resistant combat-ready alternative to the HUMVEE. Unlike most late HUMVEE’s, the Commando is fully air-conditioned. The hull is made to withstand small arms fire, mines, and IEDs with a ceramic composite coating. It can even deflect RPGs with its angled plating, though a direct hit is also survivable.
It can get through a lot more than most vehicles with the ability to wade through 5 feet of water, climb 60% inclines, and clear obstacles five feet high, while still smoothly hitting 70 mph on highways with its independent suspension. The 260-horsepower Cummins gives it 828 ft-lbs of torque and it can do all this without refueling for almost 500 miles.
7. Kamaz Typhoon-K
Again, the Russians make a silly-looking monster of a vehicle. The “Typhoon Program” is one by Russia to create a new line of armored vehicles for military and police use. The Kamaz “Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected” (MRAP) six-wheeler modular platform that can withstand, at a minimum, 17 lbs on TNT underfoot. It has a 360-degree view for drivers through 5″ of bulletproof glass.
Configurations of 4×4 up to 8×8 have all wheels powered with adjustable ground clearance and run-flat tires. Surprisingly the thing gets a respectable 10 mpg giving it 750 miles of range without added tanks. While a lot about them isn’t public knowledge, amphibious ones also exist making them some of the more formidable military vehicles worldwide.
6. BAE Caiman MTV
The BAE company is known for making the best overland trucks, some even competing in the Dakar Rally, but the Caiman MTV is one that you cannot own nor rally. Though classified as a “Low-Signature Armored Cab” there’s nothing “low” about it. The U.S.’s Medium Tactical Vehicle lineup finished testing the Tensylon composite armor of the Caiman in 2007 and bought over 1,000 for just shy of 500,000 apiece. The automatic full-time AWD and central tire inflation system make this capable for a start.
Little can be said about them publicly, but what can be said is that anyone who has driven one or in one is impressed. A 10-man crew once was hit by a roadside bomb and found they were unable to pinpoint where it hit, so instead, they took a picture with the charred side of the Caiman. NASA keeps one on hand at the end of a “slidewire” where crews of a space shuttle can zip-line to board and egress to safety.
5. LGS Fennek
The Fennek is named for a fox and is the modern option for Germany’s and Netherland’s army “scout cars.” 4WD and computer-controlled tire inflation systems are, naturally, included, as well as a GPS, laser rangefinder, and thermal imaging. The 10-ton, 3-crew machine is darn near unstoppable on its own, but if it were needed it comes with an “Aladin” drone.
Mine resistance exists, as well as an enclosed AC and oxygen system as well as other precautions to protect against nuclear. One such Fennek in operation in Afghanistan was hit with an RPG that detonated in the rear. The protected crew compartment let the three men walk away uninjured.
4. BAE BvS 10 ‘Viking’
This little double-tank is of Swedish origin and is unique in that it’s totally amphibious, not common for tanks. The twin cabs articulate freely and the BvS 10 is upgraded from its predecessors with a 5.9 L diesel engine, a new chassis, more ground clearence, and improved steering. It can load up to 10,000 lbs or the weight of the front car.
The armor is STANAG level 2, or good for light arms fire, and can fit up to level 4, or mine and IED protection. If you’re wondering, the rear car can either be rolling or driven depending on the setup. For a driven rear end, the connection simply includes a drive shaft that can be connected.
3. Bradley Fighting Vehicle
This United States tank is named for WWII U.S. General Omar Bradley. Unlike a lot of tanks, the Bradley is made for troop transport and protection like the M2 and can be fitted for fighting like the M3. It started life in 1981 by BAE Systems Land & Armaments with the intent of providing infantry transport and cover fire. It can hold a crew of three plus six fully armed troops.
The armor is spaced laminate good for 14.5 mm protection on all sides. A 600 horsepower diesel ensures it can keep up with M1 Abrams on the battlefield at a respectable 35 miles per hour, in order to hold formation. A previous version was made amphibious-cable with deployable flotation devices that were negated in favor of more armor. Developing the Bradley’s armor in testing created guidelines that govern how the U.S. now tests armored personnel transports.
2. Paramount Marauder (You Can Own)
Once used by Richard Hammond on Top Gear, the Marauder is a military-made vehicle that a civilian can buy. Richard Hammond said you need to pass a background check, but that’s only true in a land where the 2nd amendment doesn’t exist. The Marauder comes with 290 horsepower, 808 ft-lbs of torque, and ARs if you jump through the hoops.
The windows are 3.5 inches thick and it has a fully enclosed air system, like the LGS Fennek, for a fallout situation. As demonstrated by Richard Hammond, it can withstand a massive amount of explosive force and still drive out mostly unscathed thanks to run-flat tires. Getting your own will set you back a reasonable $500,000 plus shipping from South Africa.
1. Cougar MRAP (you can Buy)
If the Cougar MRAP (Mine resistant and ambush protective vehicle) looks like the Marauder, don’t be confused! though it’s also from South Africa, it’s more than just the two extra wheels that make this better. The monocoque chassis is V-shaped on the bottom to deflect explosions outwards, and it’s rated for far more explosive and fire resistance. Atlas Survival Shelters bought one for themselves in Dallas Texas and if you guessed that the owner is the type to wear a t-shirt that says “I plead the 2nd,” you’d be right.
The centrally-located driver’s seating is open to the rest of the cabin unlike many MRAPs so the reinforcement on all sides must be level 4, though the exact armor details are classified. 6WD is standard, and enclosed air is a “no duh.” Run-flat tires, turrets, and button-close doors are all included. All you need is your CDL in the states, and the ability to remove armor for an oil change (or pay $900-$1,500 for someone to do it).