The SHERP (STREIT GROUP)
Gigantic self-inflating tires turn this bulletproof combat all-terrain vehicle into a tiny tank that floats and swims.
Sure, it may look like a whole lot of fun and a must-have adult version of Big Wheels, but this eye-catching ATV, dubbed the SHERP, also delivers amazing off-road performance on the toughest of terrains like slick ice and steep rocky inclines
In a way, the gigantic tires act like swimmies for a combat ATV, allowing it to dominate on water too.
STREIT has brought the SHERP to demonstrate at this year’s Eurosatory event in Paris – one of the largest everything-needed-to-wage-war shows in the world. The unusual looking vehicle quickly began drawing a crowd as it flaunted its humungous tires and the surprising things it can do during demonstrations at the event.
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And when legendary armorer STREIT gets involved, then a SHERP could become not just a bunch of fun … but a fierce machine fortified against blasts, bullets and more.
The SHERP (STREIT GROUP)
Demand for all-terrain vehicles that can provide access to remote and difficult-to-reach places continues to be high for the U.S. military and allies. So what could the SHERP bring to the fight?
It has mammoth wheels, but what else?
About 11 feet long, 8 feet wide and 8 feet high, this ATV has a roomy cabin in the basic model that can fit about two warfighters.
The ride will feel like an ATV, but it isn’t open top. In fact, it is even designed for two beds in back which could be very handy for a recon team out scouting in advance of troops, for example. Handy, and a comfier bed than dirt.
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Without armor, it weighs approximately 3,000 pounds and can carry about 2,200 pounds. In addition to the basic model, there is a SHERPA “Pickup” design.
The SHERP (STREIT GROUP)
And these gargantuan tires? They are almost human-sized. The SHERP tires are more than five feet tall. By comparison to the size of the cab, they look even bigger.
Designed as low-pressure tubeless tires, they utilize pneumocirculating suspension. The tires easily adjust pressure for different types of terrain underfoot such as ice or sand – and when it hits water they transform into a sort of raft, allowing the tiny tank to automatically float.
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Maximum speed is approximately 25 mph, even when tackling tough terrain. One of the many advantages of military ATVs like the Polaris Defense MRZR is that they are air transportable. SHERP is similarly compact so it could potentially be rapidly transported by air over long distances and deposited to handle mission specific objectives.
The standard SHERP is powered by the Japanese Kubota engine and runs on diesel. It has a 5-speed manual transmission. The 1.5L 4-cylinder gets about 44 horsepower, but around 88 ft-lbs of torque.
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With its skid steering, SHERP can turn on a dime – not something you might expect from those jumbo squishy wheels - but that sort of agility can be crucial in battlespaces.
The SHERP (STREIT GROUP)
With STREIT armor, this ATV could provide opportunities for access to hard-to-reach places while inside a fortress. SHERP may also be able to provide access for missions requiring both ice and water transport- in one vehicle.
Like all ATVs for combat, the SHERP has been tested against steep inclines. This model can handle inclines of 35 degrees.
No clear path? No problem. This unusual ATV will charge straight over fallen tree, explosion debris, big chunks of blown-up road asphalt, car wreckage zones and more obstructions in war zones provided they are about 30 inches or less.
For example, say a team in SHERPs is travelling up a narrow mountain path and rocks have caused an obstruction ahead. The SHERP can clamber over a small boulder like it was a pebble.
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STREIT can do some mind-boggling things to wheels to make them seemingly indestructible. Having said that, even the standard SHERP will continue to travel even if one or even two wheels are taken out.
This thing is dogged – a quality certainly handy in war zones.
Deep snow and marsh are two examples of terrain that can be very challenging for a vehicle. SHERP’s design means sinking is not a problem.
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SWIMMING AND ICE WITH EASE
Ice is not exactly known for traction and can be extremely tough. When slick with water on the surface, it can be especially tricky.
But SHERP is not bothered. This fella will roll right off the ice into the water as if it the ice were asphalt. And then clamber back out of the water onto ice again seemingly effortlessly on such a slick surface.
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Why doesn’t it sink when it hits the water? The tires automatically inflate, transforming into floating devices so powerful they float the vehicle.
The SHERP doesn’t just float on the water – it swims and at speeds of nearly 6 mph.
The tires become ATV ‘swimmies’ and the paddle-like treads help propel the vehicle forward.
When SHERP hits solid terrain, the floating devices transform back to tires automatically and the ATV continues to roll without any sort of change out or stopping.
Imagine an ATV that also swims – and with state-of-the-art, maximum armor. It would be part tiny, floating tank and part ATV ride like those enjoyed all around America- but bullet and bomb proof.
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With those enormous goofy looking wheels and the off-roading and swimming, it looks like irresistible fun but … it just can’t help itself, this little fella is already a show stealer this week.
As STREIT well knows, looks can be deceiving. The company excels at turning regular vehicles into rolling bullet and blast proof formidable fortresses.
Take a ‘soccer mom’ wagon and put in their hands. It would look exactly the same but could have state-of-the-art bullet defeating windshields, bomb defeating floor, an escape hatch and lots of other remarkable unseen maximum protection features.
So don’t let the looks fool you … the SHERP has been demonstrating only a fraction of its range at Eurosatory. Armoring at the very top level is always closely held methodology. But one thing is for sure, STREIT armored SHERPs would still look like irresistibly fun ATVs to drive, but would be exceptionally fortified fortresses.
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Eurosatory is a biennial event held outside Paris that draws delegations from the most powerful militaries in the world. This year’s edition is set against the backdrop of the historic United States and North Korea summit. With Russia, China, Iran and Syria amongst other potential threats making frequent headlines, the turnout amongst NATO nations was expected to be particularly strong.
Over the course of five days, there are high level defense and security conferences. But the standout this year is the scale of innovation on show for the military delegations to consider.
This year, the intensity is unmistakable as delegations in colorful and varied military uniforms moved with focus through the sprawling jam packed space of one of the largest military shows on earth.
Allison Barrie is a defense specialist with experience in more than 70 countries who consults at the highest levels of defense and national security, a lawyer with four postgraduate degrees, and author of the definitive guide, Future Weapons: Access Granted, on sale in 30 countries. Barrie hosts the new hit podcast “Tactical Talk” where she gives listeners direct access to the most fascinating Special Operations warriors each week and to find out more about the FOX Firepower host and columnist you can click here or follow her on Twitter @allison_barrie and Instagram @allisonbarriehq.