The Canadian military has reportedly been testing a stealth snowmobile prototype, dubbed Loki, after the god of Norse mythology.
The highly secretive project uses a hybrid electric snowmobile and soldiers have conducted "informal tests" on its speed, power and noise level.
“These experiments compared Loki against commercially available snowmobiles already in use, testing a wide variety of the snowmobiles’ characteristics, including speed, towing capacity, endurance, mobility, usability, and of course, noise emissions,” says the heavily redacted report, acquired under the Canadian Access to Information Act.
“The prototype must be at least nearly as capable and reliable as a standard internal combustion snowmobile, while providing a significant noise reduction,” the Department of National Defence report said.
For clandestine military operations in the Arctic, "it is not enough for a snowmobile to operate quietly," the report said.
The project, begun in 2011, so far has a price tag of $620,000.
“I don’t see a whole lot of evidence that criminals and terrorists are scooting around Canada’s North on snowmobiles and that we have to sneak up on them,” said Michael Byers, a former federal New Democratic Party candidate who teaches international law at the University of British Columbia.
Byers said he’s not sure whether military officials have an accurate picture of Canada’s actual needs, adding that they may just be having fun with high technology.
“I can’t help but wonder whether they’ve been watching too many Bond movies," Byers said.