Cars > Off-Road

A UAE-based company will sell you this hybrid tank

So you can protect yourself and Mother Nature at the same time

This tank doesn't have a gun, but it can go far on a tank of fuel. IMAGE FROM HIGHLAND SYSTEMS

When armed forces around the world look for tanks, reducing greenhouse-gas emissions isn’t really one of the priorities. For instance, when surrounded by RPG-wielding Arab fundamentalists, the last thing that the crew of an M1 Abrams main battle tank will do is go hypermiling. But not all rich individuals who need an armored vehicle have the logistical might of the US Army behind them. And they might want something that could go the distance on a single tank of fuel.

UAE-based Highland Systems might have the perfect product to fit their needs. It’s called the Storm, an 8,000kg tracked vehicle that has the goods to go far with every fill-up. But before we get to that, let’s see what makes this thing tank-like.

The Storm's armor can protect it against mines and improvised explosives. IMAGES FROM HIGHLAND SYSTEMS

The Storm’s armor complies with STANAG 4569 specifications. These are protection standards developed by NATO for light armored vehicles. The Storm is certified for Level 2 of these standards, which means it offers shielding from 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds, 6kg improvised explosive devices or anti-tank mines, and distant impacts from 155mm artillery shells.

We wonder how this thing drives at its 140km/h top speed. IMAGES FROM HIGHLAND SYSTEMS

What is interesting is the choice of powertrain. Details on the website are a bit sketchy, but from what we can understand, the engine is a diesel-electric hybrid unit where a fuel-fed mill acts as a generator to power electric-drive motors. There is also a battery pack feeding juice to these motors so the Storm can quietly crush cars blocking its path.

The endurance numbers that Highland Systems is quoting are in hours. When operating in diesel-electric mode, the Storm can continue to run for up to 36 hours. Obviously, this goes down as more performance is demanded from the vehicle. For example, the battery can only last for only 1.5 hours when running at speeds of over 100km/h (making this a pretty fast tank). On water, you can squeeze four hours from the battery pack before needing a recharge.

Who needs a speedboat when you have one of these? IMAGE FROM HIGHLAND SYSTEMS

If we understood the specs correctly, the Storm’s hybrid powerplant is good for 2,500hp and 4,400Nm. Top speed is a staggering 140km/h—incredible when you note that most military vehicles struggle to breach half that. The battery can be fully charged in just 2.5 hours, and there is seating for six. But if you need to know how much it is, you’ll have to contact Highland Systems for that.

Miggi Solidum

Professionally speaking, Miggi is a software engineering dude who happens to like cars a lot. And as an automotive enthusiast, he wants a platform from which he can share his motoring thoughts with fellow petrolheads. He pens the column ‘G-Force’.