There's no escape from the Phibian

It can switch from highways to waterways at the touch of a button

It will never win any beauty competitions - but it might give police and the military the upper hand when it comes to all-terrain missions. A U.K-based company that designs amphibian vehicles has come up with the Phibian, a high-speed vehicle that is just as happy in the water as it is on and off the road.
The craft was revealed to the public this week, ahead of the annual conference of the American Society of Naval Engineers.

Gibbs Amphibians says its new vehicle has a top speed of 30mph on the water, and land speeds they coyly describe as 'highway-capable'. It hopes the new design - featuring multi-million-dollar technology - will bring the amphibious vehicle out of the novelty-car arena and pave the way for serious uses in business, law enforcement and the military.

Gibbs Technologies Chairman Neil Jenkins said the Phibian was purpose built for multi-mission first responders and the military.He said: 'Natural disasters in recent memory, such as the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and elsewhere in Asia - as well as the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans - illustrate the need for amphibians as capable, versatile and efficient as Phibian.'

At the touch of a button, and within about ten seconds, Phibian's wheels retract and twin water-propulsion engines take over from the land engine.Unique design of both the wheel-retraction system and the 'hull' of the vehicle mean that the Phibian can perform as well as purpose-built speedboats.A patented retracting suspension system provides exceptional ride-and-handling on the road, but in the water retracts wheels in seconds to reduce drag.Largely made from carbon fibre, the Phibian is light and transportable. A ground clearance of 16 inches means the vehicle can also be used off road.

Mr Jenkins said the multi-role capability of the Phibian - as well as its sister design, the smaller Humdinga - made it ideal for all-terrain rescue missions. There were clear applications for the police and military, such as beach landings or remote river crossings.Gibbs has been developing amphibian vehicles and technology since 1997. It represents an investment of more than $200 million and more than two million hours of engineering.

© Daily Mail, London

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