When you think of army equipment, you think of menacing tanks with big, badass turrets, sleek aircrafts with homing missiles, and gargantuan navy ships with more firepower than targets to shoot.

But there’s also another side to the armed forces—the side where there’s support and auxiliary units whose sole purpose is not to put holes in things, but to make sure others put holes in things.

And when it comes to the US Navy, there’s this tiny bit of support in the form of a tugboat. Possibly the smallest tugboat there is in the service of the US Armed Forces. And it’s adorable.

When you think of armed forces, you’ll first think of all of the menacing heavy machinery

Image credits: Andrew McAlister

So, the internet has become quite fascinated by what may be the tiniest boat currently in service in the US Navy. And that is the Barrier Boat, also known as the Dozer Boat or the Boomin’ Beaver, depending on who you ask.

It is around 16–19 feet long (though some of its kin can be as big as 40 feet long), making it roughly the size of a Ford F-150, except a bit more powerful than a Ford F-150.

But it’s not just about size and firepower, but also support, like this possibly smallest ship in the U.S. Navy

Image credits: Andrew McAlister

It’s a tug boat that tugs ships and submarines and also performs other in-dock tasks

Image credits: Andrew McAlister

According to Marine Link, this particular mini-tug was built by the company Chuck’s Boat and Drive. It was commissioned by the US Navy to build a bit shy of 40 of these small tugboats to help move ships and submarines and to perform other security duties.

Originally, such tugs were built for the logging industry. It is said that they would have to move 30,000 pounds of logs down rivers. However, the design also turned out to be a handy addition to the US Navy as support vessels.

Despite its size, the tugboat provides some impressive power with its 425-horsepower 10.7-liter engine

Image credits: Nukls

Image credits: Imgur

As it turns out, regardless of tugboat variant, they are equipped with Cummins QSM 11, a 10.7-liter turbocharged inline 6-cylinder diesel engine that can reach around 425 horsepower and 1,800 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to be able to pull a submarine or a vessel that is hundreds of times its own weight.

It’s said to be built with a 1/4 inch steel hull, which increases to 3/4 inch in thickness in key areas around the tugboat because it was initially built for pulling logs and any one of them could damage the hull. Hence, the extra protection.

As it turns out, it’s capable of tugging ships and submarines that are hundreds of times its weight

Image credits: U.S. Navy

Image credits: Pelznickel

The reason why the Navy decided to get these done was because they are more cost-effective than traditional tugs, not only because they require less maintenance and resources, but also less crew.

Besides pulling submarines and ships, one of its duties is also to pull protective barriers surrounding the water portion of the navy base. It’s like opening a gate for cattle to go in and out. And don’t let its size fool you, as it does help tug and navigate nuclear submarines, so it has a particularly important job.

Believe it or not, some of these boats sometimes go on auction, with the latest one being sold for $100k

Image credits: James Almeida

Believe it or not, the US Navy decommissions these boats every once in a while, and there’s one quite recently. It was sold to the highest bidder by means of an auction for US $100,025. So if you’re a miniature tugboat enthusiast, be on the lookout for one in one of these auctions!

What did you think about this? Do you think the US Navy will come up with anything smaller than this? Let us know in the comment section below!