Even in the ancient world, it was usually the army with the strength and power of their military vehicles who won the battles. An armored elephant with arches hoisted on its back was soon replaced with tanks. Giant galleys with slaves manning the oars were replaced with battleships. The elite cavalry has been replaced with a seemingly endless supply rugged armored trucks and off-road vehicles.
These are the military vehicles of our time, from Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor to the AAV7 Amphibious Assault Vehicle which is designed to bring up to 25 Marines off ship and to land in order to engage the enemy. These vehicles do everything from sail the oceans to protect the mainland, rocket across the sky to provide ground support, and rumble across rugged terrain to find the enemy in some of the most hostile hotbeds in the world. From tactical surveillance to troop transport to battle itself, these vehicles will get the job done, better and faster than anything else in the world.
Are you in the military, retired, or just in love with the potential of a military vehicle can do? This is the quiz that will prove if you have what it takes to go up against hardened soldiers around the globe. Take this quiz to see if you can identify these military vehicles!
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk was the first American aircraft to utilize stealth technology. It entered service in 1983 but was only made public in 1988. The Nighthawk saw extensive action during the first Gulf War, flying over 1,300 missions. Although utilizing stealth technology, a Nighthawk was lost to a surface-to-air missile over Yugoslavia in 1999.
This six-wheeled driven vehicle is used for route clearance and the movement of debris off roads, paths, etc. It is also able to withstand blasts from mines and other forms of explosions, which may cripple the vehicle but will keep occupants safe. It was first used in Afghanistan in 2003 by engineers of the United States Army. The Buffalo has a 30ft robotic arm which is employed to clear routes without the occupants of the vehicle needing to disembark.
The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a fifth-generation stealth fighter serving in the U.S. Air Force. Although built for air superiority, it can carry out ground attack duties as well. The Raptor makes use of weapons bays with all payload kept internally until needed.
In service with the United States Marine Corps, the AAV7 serves as an amphibious assault vehicle. It is capable of speeds of 20 mph off road, 45 mph on tarred roads as well as 8 mph while on the water. It has 3 crew and can carry 25 Marines into battle. The primary role of the AAV7 is getting troops off ships and to shore as quickly as possible.
The Virginia Class attack submarine is a nuclear-powered ship with the primary role of destroying enemy shipping and submarines. It can be used to gather intelligence and play a role in reconnaissance and support. It is armed with torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. This submarine is capable of 25 knots and is manned by 15 officers and 117 crew.
Designed as a carrier-based fighter and entering service in mid-1945, the Grumman F8F Bearcat saw no action during World War II. The war came to an end before it could be deployed in any large numbers.
The Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier is the largest ship in the United States Navy, with a displacement of 102,000 tons and a flight deck 332.9 meters in length. Even with its massive size, the Nimitz Class can reach speeds of over 30 knots. There are over 3,000 personnel on board these ships, as well as more than 2,800 aircrew. Up to 82 aircraft can be on board at any time.
This vehicle is used to recover and rescue stranded vehicles on the battlefield. The M88A2 Hercules (which stands for heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system) performs its duties mostly by using a winch or towing stranded vehicles. It is so powerful that it can even winch the M1 Abrams tank, which weighs around 62 tons, while repairs can also be carried out on other stranded vehicles.
Nicknamed "The Fork Tailed Devil" by the German pilots that faced them, the Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a twin-engined aircraft that performed a number of roles. These included bomber escort, interception, level bombing, and dive bombing, as well as photo reconnaissance. The Lightning was exceptionally fast and maneuverable.
In service in the United States Army, the M9 Armored Combat Earthmover, or ACE, is a bulldozer, primarily used to dig trenches. These trenches are then filled with various artillery units, adding to their stability while in action. It can also be used to clear minefields and obstructions, filling trenches and trench crossing amongst other duties. It first entered service in 1986 and saw action during the first Persian Gulf War in 1991, playing a vital role in removing vehicle blockades.
A two-seat, variable swept-wing, carried-based fighter in the U.S. Navy, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat began service in 1974 and continued in a front line role until 2006. F-14's have seen extensive action, both with the US Navy as well as the Iranian Air Force who received an order of Tomcats in 1976.
The biggest hospital ship in the U.S. Navy is the USNS Comfort. It has over 700 medical personnel on board, carries 5,000 units of blood and includes 12 operating theaters. Both the Comfort and its sister ship, the USNS Mercy, are converted oil tankers. Each ship is over three football fields long and as high as a 10-story building. Both ships are also used for humanitarian missions around the world.
More commonly known as the Humvee this tactical vehicle is used by over 50 countries. It can carry multiple configurations of weapons, including machine guns as well as anti-tank missiles, while it can also carry 2 or 4 crew depending on the configuration chosen. The Humvee is a true off-roader with the ability to handle 60-degree slopes as well as water as deep as 60 inches.
The most famous Japanese fighter of World War II, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero was carrier-based, had an incredible range, and was extremely maneuverable. It was far superior to early American aircraft in the Pacific theater, and at one stage had a kill ratio of 12 to 1.
With a range of mission specifications, both offensive and defensive, the Arleigh-Burke Class Destroyer is able to operate independently or as part of a battle group. These ships have a top speed of 30 knots and are crewed by over 300 sailors.
One of the most famous aircraft ever designed, the Supermarine Spitfire can easily be recognized by its elliptical wing shape. With over 20,000 Spitfires built during the war, the aircraft was constantly evolving and was able to perform a number of roles, an incredible feat considering it start out life as a fighter only.
The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle is scheduled to replace the Humvee in the United States Army and Marine Corps. It provides mobility, firepower as well as the protection of its occupants from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Over 55,000 will be delivered, replacing a third of the Humvee's currently in service. The vehicle can be adapted for a number of configurations depending on its current mission.
The Ford Class Aircraft Carrier, scheduled to enter service in 2017, will become the premier ship in the U.S. Navy. With the ability to take a 75 aircraft strong strike force anywhere in the world, it will be used as a forward presence, act as a deterrent and provide maritime security. It can also be used in humanitarian missions. This ship class is 337m in length and displaces over 100,000 tons. Two nuclear reactors power four 30-ton bronze propellers, to provide a top speed of over 30 knots.
The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is a twin-engined, carrier-based fighter and an upgrade to the F-18 Hornet. It serves with the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. It entered service in 1999, and was brought in to replace the aging Grumman F-14 Tomcat.
The premier battle tank of the United States military, The M1A2 Abrams is an upgrade of the M1A1. It is armed with a 120mm main gun (with 40 rounds), as well as 7.62mm and .50 cal machine guns. It has a crew of 4, including a driver, gunner, loader and commander. The M1A2 is capable of traveling at speeds of up to 42mph on good roads, incredible for a machine weighing 62.5 tons.
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, or "Jug" as it was affectionately known by its pilots, was a very versatile aircraft. From escorting bombers over Germany to ground attack missions, the Jug could do it all. It was a massive piece of machinery - when fully loaded with weapons and fuel, it weighed around 8 tons.
Special Operations Craft Riverine are used by U.S. Special Forces, including SEAL teams. They are designed to operate along coastal areas and on rivers. An example of such a boat is the Anaconda. It is capable of speeds of up to 50 knots and is extremely agile. It can transport up to 14 troops.
Used by the United States Special Forces, the Lightweight Tactical All Terrain Vehicle (LTATV) carries two crew in a side by side configuration. It has a number of advantages. It is easily transported, highly maneuverable, has four wheel drive and capable of handling a range of terrains. A slightly larger version, which carries four crew is also available. Armament wise, the LTATV has both machine gun and grenade launcher hard points. This vehicle has been used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Landing craft in the U.S. Navy during World War II came in two main variants - Landing Craft Infantry (LCI) and Landing Craft Mechanized (LCM). LCI's are all about getting troops to shore quickly and efficiently, while LCM's do the same for heavy machinery, such as tanks, at designated landing points.
The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is essentially a carrier-based aircraft with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. It was the first aircraft to make use of carbon fiber wings as well as fly-by-wire avionics. The Hornet first saw action in the 1991 Gulf War in both ground attack and air superiority roles.
A Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, the Cougar carries 2 crew and 4 troops across a range of terrains. It is capable of surviving a blast from 30 pounds of TNT under the axles and a 15 pound TNT blast straight under the vehicle. It is totally protected against small arms fire, up to 7.62mm ammunition. The vehicle was specifically designed to counter terrorist tactics of using Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
PT Boats were used by the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. They were quick and maneuverable, carrying both machine guns and torpedoes as armament. PT Boats were built out of wood, making them cheap to manufacture. Interestingly, John F Kennedy commanded one of these boats -- PT 109 -- when he served during the war.
The BAE Harrier II was the last model in the Harrier family which initially entered service in 1969. This upgraded model was introduced in 1989 with 143 built. The Harrier II is both capable of operating from small airfields and aircraft carriers thanks to its vertical take-off and landing capabilities. It can be used in a number of roles, including close air support.
Scheduled to enter service in 2018, the Hawkeye is a combination of a Humvee and a 105mm howitzer gun. It will have a crew of 5. The mobility of this vehicle provides a 360-degree field of fire, a massive advantage on the battlefield.
This delta winged multirole fighter was a collaboration between a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. It was introduced in 2003 and currently serves in eight air forces worldwide. One Typhoon costs around $96 million to produce.
With over 40 ships on active duty as of 2017, the Los Angeles Class Attack Submarine is the backbone of the U.S. Navy submersible force. These subs are armed with torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles. They are powered by one nuclear reactor driving a turbine which gives a top speed of over 25 knots. 129 crew are on board each sub.
Named after former Army Chief of Staff General Creighton W. Abrams, the M1 entered service in 1979 and is still in production today. It has seen extensive combat action, firstly in the 1991 Gulf War, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. Over 8,000 have been produced for the United States and its allies. It has a maximum speed of 42 mph and a range of 265 miles. Armament comes in the form of a 105mm rifled main gun as well as three machine guns of varying calibers.
A collaboration between the United Kingdom, Italy, and West Germany, the Panavia Tornado is a true multirole aircraft. It has five variants which include close air support, air defense interceptor, reconnaissance, and maritime attack. This swept-wing aircraft is still in service despite production being stopped in 1998.
A battle tank in the British Army, the Challenger 2 entered service in 1994. Considered one of the toughest tanks in the world, the Challenger 2 has a range of armor options to protect it from a direct hit, including Chobham composite armor. Armament comes in the form of a 120 mm rifled main gun capable of firing armor piercing rounds accurately over 3 km. In fact, a Challenger 2 has the record for the longest tank kill ever recorded - a hit at over 4 km achieved during the First Gulf War.
Helicopter carriers differ for naval forces around the world. The United States does not have a pure helicopter carrier in service. The Wasp Amphibious Class, for instance, carries not only helicopters but also AV8 Harrier aircraft. These use vertical take-off and landing systems and so do function in the same way as a helicopter, however. Helicopter carriers were used extensively by the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.
Entering service in 1983, the Embraer EMB 312 Tucano is a two-seat, single-engined trainer in service with the Brazilian Air Force. It serves a variety of roles, including ground attack, anti-drug surveillance, and border protection. Besides Brazil, it also serves in the French and Argentine Air Force.
A Chinese Battle Tank introduced in service in 1997, the Type 96 is operated by a crew of three. This 47-ton tank has a 1,000-HP diesel engine capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 40 mph on roads. It can traverse gradients of 60%, cross trenches of up to 2.7 m and operate in water up to 1.4 m deep. Sudan is the only other country operating the Type 96 at this point
Amphibious Dock Landing Ships give the U.S. Navy the ability to get troops, vehicles and other supplies into battle zones. They are also used in humanitarian missions around the world. These ships are equipped with a contingent of troops, helicopters, aircraft (in some cases), various vehicles and landing craft.
Classified as an armored fighting vehicle, the Navistar International MaxxPro is capable of withstanding small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs. It is in service with a range of armed forces throughout the world. Armament includes a range of options such as a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine guns or 40 mm grenade launcher.
A fighter bomber serving in both the Chinese Army and Navy. The Xian JH-7 entered service in 1992.
Tarawa Class Amphibious ships entered service in 1976. They combined the duties of four other ships types into one. These included a helicopter carrier, an amphibious transport dock, command ship and amphibious cargo ship. Although smaller than the new Wasp Class, the Tarawa Class can carry a squadron of AV8 Harrier aircraft, helicopters, 200 armored vehicles and 1,900 troops. They were decommissioned in 2015.
The Mikoyan MiG-29K, codenamed 'Fulcrum' by NATO, is a naval version of the Russian air superiority fighter. It is in service with both the Russian and Indian Navy.
It quickly became apparent that the need for Mine Resistant Ambush Resistant Vehicles (MRAP) was paramount in overseas theaters of conflict in the war against terror. The BAe Caiman is another vehicle that provides these capabilities. This multi-terrain vehicle performs a variety of roles, including troop transport for up to 10 soldiers, battlefield ambulance as well as a mobile command center. Over 56 000 have been produced.
One of the largest amphibious assault ships in service today, the Wasp Class can carry troops to hostile shores and can carry AV8 Harrier aircraft as well as hovercraft. The ship carries 2,000 or more troops and the ability to land nine helicopters at any one time. This ship has a large onboard hospital.
The Aermacchi MB-339 is a jet trainer in the Italian Air Force. It first flew in 1976 and served in the Italian, New Zealand, Royal Malaysian, Eritrean and Nigerian Air Forces. The aircraft is still in production and, so far, 230 have been constructed.
The Stridsvagn 122 is basically the German Leopard II tank with a few changes specifically made for the needs of the Swedish Army. These include superior armor protection and an improved fire control system. This 68-ton tank has an operating crew of four, a maximum speed of 45 kph and range of 292 miles. The main armament comes in the form of a 1x120 mm smoothbore gun.
An undersea rescue vehicle with two crew, this ship has the ability to locate submarines in distress. It then latches onto the hatch and has the ability to transport 24 crew at a time back to the surface. It also includes a gripping arm, capable of lifting 1,000 pounds.
The Sukhoi Su-25, codenamed 'Frogfoot' by NATO, is a close air support attack aircraft that entered service in 1981. This aircraft has seen extensive combat both in Afghanistan in the 1980's and, more recently, Chechnya. In 2013, the Su-25SM3 Grach was introduced. It is a substantial upgrade from previous versions of the 'Frogfoot.' Around 80 of them will be delivered to the Russian Air Force.
The Ural Typhoon is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle produced in Russia. It has 6 wheel drive, houses three crew and has the ability to transport 16 other soldiers. Armament comes in the form of either 7.62mm or 14.5mm machine gun. This is remotely controlled from inside the vehicle, offering further protection for its occupants. The Typhoon has a top speed of 65 mph.
Built under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Ajeet is based on the Folland Gnat. The Ajeet, which means invincible, is used both as an interceptor and ground attack aircraft. A two-seater version is used as a trainer.