Gibbs Humdinga amphibious truck sailing toward production

The Humdinga will soon be coming to the rescue.

Gibbs Amphibians has signed a deal with a Singapore defense contractor and commercial vehicle builder to put its supersized amphibious vehicle into production for use in emergency response and disaster relief efforts.

ST Kinetics will produce the vehicles under license for sale in Southeast Asia, which is laced with waterways and often suffers the type of flood-related natural disasters that the vehicle is particularly suited for.

Looking like a police boat on wheels, the 3-ton 4x4 has a mid-mounted turbo-diesel engine that can propel it to highway speeds on land and over 30 mph on water. It is the only truck capable of exceeding 9 mph on water, according to Gibbs.

It is driven by a water jet system powered by the engine when it’s afloat, and it features a unique hydraulic wheel retraction system – based on the one Gibbs uses on its Quadski ATV-sized amphibious recreational vehicles -- that pulls all four wheels out of the water for reduced drag. The transformation between land and water modes takes just a few seconds.

The Humdinga was engineered to carry six people and a payload of 1,653 pounds, but it can be reconfigured to accommodate various combinations of cargo and passengers. The company has also developed a larger vehicle called the Phibian, which has twice the capacity of the Humdinga.

Gibbs says it has several other partnerships in the works that it will announce at a later date, but ST Kinetics will likely be the first to put the Humdinga into production.