Meet the Kiwi-designed amphibious military vehicle

Kiwi companies have joined forces to build a boat that works on land and sea. Could it be the amphibious vehicle of the future?

Let’s be real: when we think of amphibious vehicles, we tend to think of either U.S. Navy SEALs or something Sir Richard Branson might have sitting around in his back yard. But guess who’s designed a product that can help super-spies or the super-rich do their thing? Kiwis. 

Surprised? Don’t be.

Auckland-based Blender Design has teamed up with another Kiwi outfit, Sealegs, for a new Amphibious Enablement System (AES) that allows boats to operate on land as well as in the water.

Known as the Sealegs System 100, it works for boats up to 12 metres long or weighing up to 6,500 kilogrammes. So, something about the size of a whale.

Ok, so that’s a bit larger than the boats a person might normally take for a fishing trip on Lake Tekapo. But for customers who need – or want – a ship of such size, the Sealegs System 100 might be the type of thing on their wish list.

Even if only used for the occasional trip on the water, the thing looks pretty sweet. Coming on board for the project for developing the system in 2013, Blender was responsible for the visual design, as well as the functionality of elements like the decking layout, dashboard, cockpit, cabin, seating, flooring, and accessories. Some of those specific elements include the Hydraulic Folding Radar Arch – which holds all the electronic communications equipment and lights on the vessel – along with the Hydraulic Retractable Boarding Ladder, which can come out with the push of a single button.

Sure, that sounds pretty spiffy. But is it really, well, worth it? Sealegs boasts clients from around the globe – including the NZ Coastguard, Thai Navy and Malaysian fire and police departments – so you be the judge.

But one thing we’ll judge right now: it looks pretty cool.