One vehicle synonymous with the military operations around the world is the Land Rover Series II and III and Defender (90 SWB or 110 LWB).
The all-terrain 4×4 vehicle was first produced in 1948, based upon a design spawned from the Willys / Bantam Jeeps of WWII fame (designer Maurice Wilks).
The UK design initially used aluminium for much of the construction, which led to the Land Rover’s reputation for longevity and resistance to corrosion in even the toughest conditions.
Land Rover is now owned by Tata Motors of India, who bought both Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford in 2008. What effect this will have on military supply contracts for new vehicles, or replacement parts, is not known. Land Rovers are manufactured at the Solihull plant, near Birmingham in the UK.
Military Land Rover light utility vehicle
The Land Rover Wolf 4×4 military vehicle is used as a light utility vehicle and has been adopted in a number of guises and body styles including fire engines, excavators, communication vehicle, ambulance, a lightweight model for air transport, snowplough, and six-wheel drive, amphibious and track-propelled versions.
The vehicle is in use by the UK military as well as a number of related commonwealth forces, the Italian Forces and has also been used by the US Army in Korea and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan (the SAS have used the Series IIA and Series III for long-range desert reconnaissance in Iraq – Pink Panther).
The Land Rover Wolf 4×4 has been regarded as a reliable workhorse for the British Army (also used for the RAF mountain rescue); and although there are now moves to replace it with alternatives, it is still very much in use. The UK forces vehicles are based on the Series and Defender models and commonly use the 2.5l four-cylinder 300TDi engine (111hp, 83kW), which is simple to service and is not electronically controlled.
Land Rovers are commonly used for patrol duties in Iraq and Afghanistan but because of the possibility of roadside attack, bombs and mines they are now being replaced in this duty by light armoured vehicles (although they are still a useful recon and utility vehicle).
Land Rover military modifications
Modifications for military use include heavy-duty suspension, modified upgrade brakes, 24V electrical system, snorkel, black-out lights, Power Take-Off (PTO) shafts, winches, convoy lights, sun compass, electronic suppression for ignition system, blackout curtains, and weapons mounts for special equipment and small arms, such as machine guns, recoilless rifles and more recently with a Heckler and Koch automatic grenade launcher.
The Land Rover Wolf 4×4 military vehicle is a custom design currently in use by the British Forces and the Dutch Marine Corp.
The vehicle is based on the Defender 90 and 110 designated Truck Utility Light (TUL) and Truck Utility Medium (TUM) respectively. There are 23 versions and the specification is designated for military use as extra duty (modifications for winter and tropical duty).
The TUM long-wheelbase version has a weapons mount and is designated as the WMIK (Weapons Mount Installation Kit) developed by Ricardo Vehicle Engineering. Land Rover and Ricardo outfit these vehicles with strengthened chassis, roll cage, weapons mounts (rear door, passenger side at the front, suitable for 7.62mm GMPG, 12.7mm heavy machine gun, MILAN ATGM and also the H&K GMG grenade launcher).