I am a scientist and an engineer and it saddens me to see the poor designs of current MRAPs and APCs in use in Afghanistan and Iraq when there are much better ideas being neglected. Here are some of the best old ideas and some new ideas of mine. MRAP luggage compartments / trailers / passenger trailers MRAP luggage compartments / trailers / passenger trailers are something I want to feature in my new design. I hear complaints from many sources about passenger cabins not being spacious, can't afford to make them smaller and so on. The thing is, if you always put the gear the troops are carrying (heavy guns and ammunition etc.) in a trailer it saves space in the passenger cabin right? So then the armoured passenger cabins could be made smaller, and the gear stored in a non-armoured volume, either a luggage compartment - a boot or a trunk which can be low, lowering centre of gravity, or in a trailer, which also takes the weight off the MRAP wheels which helps to prevent road collapse. So for all kinds of reasons I am thinking that pulling a luggage trailer and a non-armoured boot/trunk should be integral to a good MRAP design, not just an optional extra. So why don't MRAPs use trailers more, when road collapse, heavy weight on the wheels is such a problem? I know that to use or not to use a trailer is an operation decision that the military make but if anyone knew if trailers were a bad idea for some reason, then would you please point that out. OK for existing MRAPs (some of which don't have a fixed gun) I can see why the passengers want to keep their weapons with them so that they can dismount guns blazing. Frankly, a "no fixed gun" APC is a really bad design in my opinion. Even one gun is too little in my opinion. Defence against ambush is why you need fixed guns on every APC roof. My design (see below) would include a minimum of one gun on each side of the catamaran MRAP. Actually, I would like 4 guns on top; that is possible and if you read on I will explain how. Guns, video cameras, & periscopes Only the guns and video cameras (2 per gun, one wide-angle, the other telescopic sights) need to be on the roof. There is no need for a gunner up top in a gunner's turret with all the high up weight and instability that causes. The gunner can be sat in the cabin with the rest of the crew and fire and aim the gun from below. Think of a submarine periscope in terms of turning and aiming the gun, although the gunner would remain seated in one position if he (or she) views the gun camera views on a LCD display. Push buttons to change camera view and push button to fire. For reloading "the periscope" can come down to allow the gunner to reach the gun to reload in safety. 2 or 4 guns, medium machine guns can be up top and because there is no armour up there, it could work out with a lower centre of gravity than one gunner with an armoured turret. Of course an armoured passenger trailer would have guns of its own as well. There is no reason why passengers cannot always carry a handgun which takes up no space. That and cover from fixed guns should be sufficient I would have thought. Sure I could imagine a scenario when you'd really like to fire a guided missile the second you open the passenger door. Well you still could do that and carry weapons inside in a smaller cabin if you were not carrying a full load of passengers. MRAP armoured passenger trailers In fact, why not have an armoured trailer with a V-shaped hull (or two V-shaped hulls for a catamaran trailer) and carry some of the passengers there? Then you could really reduce the weight of the MRAP - a much smaller front cabin, much less volume needing protecting in the front vehicle, spreading the weight across more wheels. I think the armoured passenger trailer idea is a winner, catamaran or no catamaran and it is a concern that existing MRAPs don't use this concept already. Stablisers for MRAPs OK so that is the problem and there is an obvious vehicle modification to counter the roll-over problem which is to fit stabilisers, adopting the same concept employed in a child's bicycle. The simplest and cheapest way to do this would be have bolt on stabilisers which could be partially unbolted to fold up when not required while driving on good flat roads but where the additional width of the stabilisers would cause problems, such as when travelling along narrow roads, needing to negotiate dense traffic such as in urban roads. The high-tech and expensive solution would be stabilisers which fold-up or deploy automatically using hydraulics at the touch of a driver's button. However, when you compare the expense of a good solution to the expense of lives lost by MRAP rollovers then it is a small price to pay. OK that idea is adapting the existing MRAPs but here is an idea for a completely new design of MRAP. The catamaran tank - an MRAP which doesn't roll over! A catamaran - the inspiration for a twin-hulled armoured vehicle The catamaran tank or catamaran MRAP or catamaran armoured vehicle or catamaran armored vehicle - you heard it here first! One idea I have for a completely new design to counter ground-blasts yet retain stability would be a double-hull or catamaran tank. To explain, let us describe most simply the current MRAP vehicle design as an M-shape, looking at the vehicle from the front or the rear, with a high middle, and a V-shaped hull, armoured to deflect the blasts. Well the concept of the catamaran tank is to replace the M-shape with something more like a Y''Y-shape which is a lot wider for stability and so may not be so good in narrow streets or traffic admittedly. The central double quotes in the Y"Y-shape represents a line of strong blast-chimneys up through the middle of the vehicle, from front to rear, which some of the blast could go up without splitting the vehicle in two. This twin-hull, double-hull MRAP would give two distinct cabins on the left and right of the vehicle and however high you need the vehicle to get distance from a ground blast then make the Ys bigger and so further apart which keeps stability. The leg of the Ys could have blast ventilation holes so that blast gas under the vehicle can escape to the sides as well as up the central chimneys. The more ways the blast gas can escape from under the vehicle the less force the blast will apply against the vehicle itself. The bottom of the Ys could be either wheels or tracks depending on what ground conditions you are designing the vehicle for and need to cope with. This dear forum members is the catamaran tank - my idea and you heard it here first. Copyright © Peter Dow, 26th July, 2010. Considering the wheeled version of the catamaran tank only for now. My proposal is that the left and right sides while separated are 4 wheeled vehicles which you can drive independently, call those "half-vehicles" Y-sides. The Y-sides are tall and narrow and even less stable than an MRAP while separated but loading and unloading on and off transport and manoeuvring the sides in position to connect together the stability is sufficient. Then, when you come to bolt the two Y-sides together there are a number of choices as to how wide apart the left and right hand Y-sides are fixed. I'll type in some figures so you can see what I mean. Say, the separated Y-sides are 4 feet wide. Well for example, the connecting bars or tubes could hold the left and rights Y-sides together separated by these example widths: 1 foot, Y1Y so the total width is 4 + 1 + 4 = 9 feet - no wider than a Cougar MRAP and so as stable as todays MRAPs and narrow enough for urban roads and traffic. 4 feet, Y4Y so the total width is 4 + 4 + 4 = 12 feet, the same as an M1 battle tank, good for country roads, stable but narrow enough to get across most bridges no problem. 8 feet, Y8Y so the total width is 4 + 8 + 4 = 16 feet, super-stable for open cross country off road where the extra width is no problem for crossing bridges or fitting on roads because there are no roads maybe nothing more than a dirt track of uncertain width itself, maybe nothing but rough ground and rivers need to be forded or not crossed at all and then the extra stability is purely a bonus with no disadvantage of extra width.