More Mobility Concepts – Over Wheel Tracks

Following on from our recent discussion vehicle mobility this is a video mini-series looking at how vehicle designers approach the need for mobility. The need for extreme mobility in adverse conditions has delivered some extremely interesting solutions that go beyond the traditional wheels v tracks debate.

It is generally accepted that for serious mobility, especially where low surface compaction or high tractive force is needed, tracks are superior to wheels. Another generally accepted fact is that tracks have higher running costs, create more vibration, are noisier and have higher fuel consumption.

Various FRES studies seemed to draw the same conclusions and there are some interesting (although quite old) research papers on the web;$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/eng8171

But, there are a number of technologies and designs that have and are chipping away at these assumptions, wheels and track technology does not stand still.

We all know about the Supacat ATMP and BAE BVs10 Viking but these are the more unusual and mostly civilian solutions.

If these don’t wet your appetite then head over to Unusual Locomotion

Over Wheel Tracks



Prowler Tracks





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February 16, 2012 7:41 pm

The Soviets tried to use tracks over the tires of two rear axles on a certain armoured recce vehicle and on medium trucks. Afaik they were dissatisfied with both, and a point can be made that if there was ever a need for such a solution, it was pre-CTIS, pre-affordable 8wd Raputista Russia during WW2.

It may be one of those ideas which stay intriguing for generations, but fail in practice.

February 16, 2012 9:29 pm

I’m disappointed.
I had wondered if Over Tyre Tracks on a 6*6 or 8*8 might be a useful conversion in no time and for little cost, allowing the best of both worlds: rapid transit to theatre with near-track quality mobility (if required) once there.
Sven: presumably technology and materials have improved, but not enough?

February 17, 2012 6:56 pm

My access to Russian sources is poor, I never really found out what was the problem with their attempts.
Advances in technology rather favour wheels-only, due to CTIS, radial tyres, standard all-wheel drive…

One important factor during the 50’s to 90’s was the great road network and firm soil in most of Central Europe. Nobody really needed to be able to fight in Northwest Russian swamps, and the now paved Russian and Ukrainian road network solved the Raputista problem as well.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
February 28, 2012 4:00 pm

Those “eco tracks” just look like snow-chains for tractors, not impressed at all. The types like Prowler Tracks and Solideal are very similar to what everyone was talikng about in the original thread. Sven, I beleive you were referring to the BA-10 heavy armoured car, where tracks were put over the rear wheel pair (ir was a 6×4 vehicle) turning it into an impromptu 1/2 track.

The problem with all theser solutions is that the flxible side walls on tyres make the tracks easier to throw when doing violent manoeuvres. Also, imagine bogging down while under fire, and having to be the poor sod who fits the temporary tracks!

As to the efficacy of part tracked vehicles, look at the Opel Maultier (and the rather more well known SdKfz series).