1. Helicopter Carried Vehicles — Part 1 (Introduction)
  2. Helicopter Carried Vehicles — Part 2 (Motorcycles and ATVs)
  3. Helicopter Carried Vehicles — Part 3 (UTVs and Load Carriers)
  4. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 4 (Medium Wheeled Vehicles)
  5. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 5 (Tracked Utility Vehicles)
  6. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 6 (Multi Axle Skid Steers) 
  7. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 7 (Uncrewed) 
  8. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 8 (Tractors and Trailers) 
  9. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 9 (Engineering Plant and Watercraft) 
  10. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 10 (Weapons and Systems) 
  11. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 11 (Comparisons) 
  12. Helicopter Carried Vehicles – Part 12 (Discussion) 

ATVs, motorcycles and e-bikes are ideal internally carried vehicles.

E-Bikes and Motorcycles

E-Bikes

Folding bicycles such as the well-known Brompton or the less well-known Montague Paratrooper would allow a landed force to move 40-60 km in 4 hours, but another option would be a consumer market folding fat bike such as the £1,000 Danish Hyggebike Vesta

The British Armed Forces have been experimenting with high-performance e-bikes such as the £10,000 Stealth H-52 e-bike from Australia.

They double the range of the simple consumer models and offer much-improved performance on and off-road.

Others, such as the Sur Ron Light Bee and the Talaria Sting have also been tested.

The Zero MMX is in service with the US Marine Corps and has a high top speed of 137kph and an endurance of two hours.

At a lower cost, the £5k Ubco is a 2-wheel drive e-bike with a total payload of 150 kg and a maximum range of 120 km.

The Ubco 2×2 has also been used in Ukraine.

The Robo 2×2 Ultrabike is also worth a look, it has an onboard generator and even a pontoon kit!

The Ultra Bike is optimised for off-road conditions, not on-road speed.

Conventional Motorcycles

More commonly used by special forces now, conventional motorcycles provide another two-wheel mobility option.

Apart from minor modifications such as weapons panniers and lighting, a military enduro bike is not that much different from a civilian enduro bike, and they are widely available from various manufacturers.

Ranges of 300 km are not uncommon, and refuelling takes minutes.

The single-cylinder four-stroke Christini All-Wheel Drive (AWD) Military has been refined over several years, including features such foam filled tyres, GPS, anti-stall automatic clutch and additional protection for vulnerable areas.

All-wheel drive cannot substitute for skill, but it does help a skilled rider.

KTM and Kawasaki have also developed all-wheel-drive motorcycles with different approaches, and hydraulic and mechanical connections to the front wheel.

Addressing this problem of load carriage and terrain accessibility, Rokon has manufactured 2-wheel drive motorcycles for 50 years. With a focus on torque, load carriage, and traction, they are a practical alternative to a quad bike ATV.

Different models are available that substitute a rear seat for a cargo rack, and the tyres can be filled with water or fuel, both wheels are powered and the 200cc petrol engine can tow 900 kg loads.

There is also a longer wheelbase version available that has an extended load bed called the Mototractor and various sidecars and trailers can be used, including a single-track rescue trailer.

The Rokon lightweight single-track-width trailer could be stacked on top of the motorcycle such that it would not consume any additional floor space.

Recently introduced, the Universal Accessory Rail (UAR) is a modular rail system for attaching storage accessories such as ammunition canisters, gun boots, soft storage and toolholders.

The Rokon sidecar can be easily attached using a single quick tun bolt

What makes it attractive, apart from the additional 270 kg payload, is the ability to carry it on top of the motorcycle for transport and then attach it when clear of the helicopter.

Sorry about the cheesy image!

In the same footprint as a quad ATV, it can carry two people and close to 400 kg of stores, it can also tow 900 kg. This is better than a quad ATV.

Compact Scooter

Finally in this section, a comedy niche, the compact scooter!

Although the famous Honda Motocompo and Monkey Bikes are no longer in production, and the Excelsior Wellbike is long gone, the modern-day successor is the Italian-made DiBlasio R7E folding scooter.

With a 50cc engine, it has a range of approximately 120 km, a top speed of 45kph.

They are only of use on well-found tracks or roads, and any carried equipment would be at a minimum, thus requiring a support vehicle.

Non-folding, but still compact, designs are produced in the USA by Coleman Powersports, with seven models in their mini bike range.

Larger than the DiBlasi models, they are heavier, with larger engines and improved performance.

Data Table

VehicleLength (m)Width (m)Height (m)Kerb Weight (kg)Payload (kg)
Hyggebike Vesta (1)0.980.450.7727130
Stealth-H522.110.801.0460110
Sur Ron Light Bee1.860.781.0550100
Talaria Sting1.880.771.0966100
Zero MMX1.981.161.09127159
Ubco 2×21.820.821.0369150
Robo Ultrabike 2×22.100.821.0476150
Typical Enduro2.070.851.10150150
Christini AWD2.010.861.10126150
Rokon Mototractor2.070.800.80100200
Rokon and Sidecar2.071.700.80120400
DiBlasi R7 (1)0.790.350.6132100
Coleman CT2001.450.960.685591

(1) — Folded dimensions

Load Diagrams

The e-bikes and motorcycles could be loaded with a greater density simply by raising them on blocks so that the handlebars could clear the one adjacent. Although they are all approximately 800 mm wide at the handlebars, the e-bikes and Rokon motorcycles have relatively narrow bodies, so this enables better density.

With the folding e-bike and scooter, they could be carried down the centre or stacked three on top of each other as a densely packed load, the images show both variations.

Merlin

Chinook

All Terrain Vehicles (ATV)

Familiar, ubiquitous, in-service, and capable, quad bike ATVs are an easy choice for internal carriage on either Merlin or Chinook.

Royal Marines from 40 Commando, load Land Rovers and Quad Bikes into Chinooks from 27 Squadron. 27 Squadron, although based on HMS ARK ROYAL, operating on the flight deck of HMS OCEAN carrying out loading, and load lifting drills.

There is a huge ‘accessories’ market for quad bikes, trailers especially, track conversions and even hydraulic lifting and earthmoving, this ecosystem of integrators and manufacturers makes quad bikes especially valuable in defence markets.

However, as the image shows below, they don’t fill the space well, at just over a metre, too wide for side-by-side carriage in either a Chinook or Merlin.

ATV trailers are usually about the same dimensions as the ATV itself so as a rule of thumb, one can be substituted for another.

In the plus column, they are easy to load and unload, although trailers are less so.

There are many instances where quads have been used as weapons platforms and the UK company, C4i Systems, markets the Polaris-based C-QUAD, a C4ISR system built on a quad bike, as just one example of using them as something more than the traditional transport role.

In service with the Dutch armed forces, the REEQ ATV from the Netherlands is available in two models, fully electric and hybrid electric, with the latter having a range of up to 1,000 km (although I suspect that is in ideal conditions)

At 750 kg unladen, it is quite heavy for a quad ATV, but it has a relatively large load bed (635 mm x 1,340 mm) that can carry 500 kg.

There are electric quad ATVs available now but the REEQ, with its hybrid power system, has advantages such as allowing it to be used silently, including when static as a small command post.

The enclosure holds power and communications equipment, and the shelter itself.

With the shelter erected around it.

A load bed extender and added axle are available, like a Can-Am 6×6, although it is unclear if the rear axle is driven.

Adding a driven axle to a quad ATV creates a decent load bed size, added passenger seat and larger payload without needing a trailer, the Can-Am Outlander 6×6 is shown below.

The Can-Am Outlander 6×6 has a tipping rear deck, 45 Commando Royal Marines recently trialled them with their mortar platoon.

Royal Marines tested their ability to outfox radar using new all-terrain vehicles to move mortars around Salisbury Plain.

UK allies employ 6×6 ATVs in their airmobile forces, with towed 120 mm mortars, for example.

The F-18 has quite a long heritage, but it is still made in Italy by Fresia.

Although slower than a quad ATV, it can carry 400 kg and tow 500 kg and can be fitted with an electrically operated front lift/implement attachment, and winch that might be useful in many situations.

It is 1,040 mm in width and 1,915 mm in length and provides an additional seat and larger load bed over that of a quad ATV, and with four-wheel steering, they are incredibly mobile.

Click here to look at more videos.

They have also been fitted with a roll bar

Data Table

VehicleLength (m)Width (m)Height (m)Kerb Weight (kg)Payload (kg)
Yamaha Grizzly 3501.991.091.12267210
Reeq ATV2.531.481.40750500
Can-Am Outlander 6×63.201.301.30597318
Reek ATV and Additional Axle3.101.481.40850750
Fresia F-181.991.040.75540400

The two-axle Reeq ATV and Fresia F-18 have the highest load, with the three-axle Reeq ATV having the highest of those listed. The Reeq also has a large load bed and the ability to export power to onboard and offboard devices.

Load Diagrams

The Fresia F-18 is an unexpectedly high performer in terms of packaging density.

Merlin

Chinook


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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lancasterlaw1175

    Would it be possible to lay the bikes down on the floor and cover them with some sort of temporary cover, soft or otherwise?

  2. Think Defence

    Think there are a few different ways you could load them, even racks of some sort, in order to improve packing density. But they might slow donw unloading times though

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