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What Next after Landrover

Desert Hawk UAV Launch

A Guest post from Andrew B

Although I have no military background I take a keen interest in procurement especially where vehicles are concerned.

I have been a been a Police Traffic Officer for some 20 years and I’m a self confessed  petrol head. I’ve also seen how the procurement of Police vehicles has changed during this time. With many good decisions some poor ones the service is now faced with similar constraints to the military and the same limited budget.

An avid follower of this site for some time I’ve taken a keen interest in the various posts.

I’ve been looking at potential replacements for the long standing Land Rover now that the Defenders days are numbered due to emission regulations and Euro NCAP crash testing.

Defender ends production 2015

Looking at a replacement vehicle of this weight and size there are a number of considerations. Over the years light commercial vehicle design has changed beyond all recognition. Today they are equipped more like cars than vans. The addition of Air bags, Air conditioning, electric windows and increased crash survivability has had a considerable impact and has increased their weight and size.

The knock on effect is that the legislation in relation to vehicle weights have not changed.

The vehicles now have much greater unladen weights which has seen the payloads diminish. The modern 3500kg van now has a payload of under one tonne yet is available with high roofs and long wheel bases. I regularly find these vehicles being driven in excess of there permitted weight. It is not uncommon to find vehicles being driven at almost double their design weight.

Driving licence regulations have also changed and without taking a separate specialist test a newly qualified driver is unable to drive anything over 3500kg.

Like the military this change in regulations has had a big impact on the Police service.

Almost every new recruit must take a separate category C1/ D1 test.

In such large organisations this additional training is not such an issue. But it does come at a cost.

So we return to the Land Rover.

Under the current owners, India’s Tata, Land Rover are now very profitable with their  current product line up. The Evoke has been such a success that they can not build  enough of them. A replacement Discovery and Freelander is imminent and a prototype Defender has been previewed.

Defender DC100

It looks unlikely that a replacement for the Defender will be made and if they do I suspect that they will be reluctant to build a military version due to production capacity and what in real terms is a small part of their business.

Alas I suspect that we will have to look at an alternative, so while we are at it why not start to think outside the box.

So what do we look at?.

We can no longer expect our personal to jump into the back of a 4 tonner or Land Rover.

They need to have proper seats and restraint systems.

Gone too are the days of taking un armoured vehicles into theatre. But we simply can’t justify using the likes of Foxhound for training and running around on base.

The General Service Role

I propose that we use commercially available vehicles for the General Service role and retain the Big toys for operations.

There are a number of ways to do it.

  • The most obvious is a like for like replacement. The MOD would most likely spend time and money demanding an evaluation then ask for changes to the standard spec before buying it then keeping it for years.
  • The next would be to select a Commercial off the shelf vehicle keep it for a finite period of time and sell it on while there is some value in it.
  • Another would be to buy a limited number of vehicles. Then use a Hire contract to acquire any additional Car, Van or 4×4 that is appropriate for a short term purpose.

There are a number of militarised vehicles that are show potential

The Rheinmetall Volkswagen Amarok M

The size of the vehicle is good it will also take a Euro Pallet between the wheel arches.

We all know how important these are!

Rheinmetall Volkswagen Amarok M
Rheinmetall Volkswagen Amarok M

Achleitner Geson

Achleitner also have an interesting vehicle again based on the Amarok called the Geson. Available in Double cab or single with a cargo box its able to seat upto 6.

Achleitner Geson
Achleitner Geson

Ovik Cameleon

Oviks previously developed an interesting vehicle called Cameleon a modular mission vehicle with an interchangeable hook lift cargo module.

I understand sales haven’t been great and it’s perhaps a little too complex for every day use but interesting.

Oviks Cameleon
Oviks Cameleon

Ovik Crossway

It looks like its discontinued the Cameleon to concentrate on the Crossway family of vehicles which by the look of them are aimed squarely at the Land Rover.


Oviks Crossway 6x6
Oviks Crossway 6×6
Oviks Crossway 4x4
Oviks Crossway 4×4

Available in 4×4 and 6×6 they have a range of payloads.

But we still have the problem of payloads!.

Another type of vehicle I think is worth considering is the next size up.

A Van

Iveco Daily 4×4

There are a number a COTS options the first being the Iveco Daily 4×4.

Iveco Daily
Iveco Daily


Available in both a 3500kg and 5000kg versions the choice would have to be the latter to get some kind of
usable payload. It’s also available in single or double cab Ofen considered a mini Unimog.

Oberaigner 6×6

The next choice of would be Oberaigner.

An Austrian engineering and automotive production firm who provide the all wheel drive know how for Mercedes.

Oberaigner 6x6
Oberaigner 6×6

They offer a range of vans, pickups and double cabs all based on Mercedes Sprinter.

The jewel in their crown especially where payload is concerned is the 6×6 Sprinter.

This vehicle has the loading height of a standard Sprinter but with it’s twin rear axle the maximum weight is 7000kg. This gives a payload of the best part of 4 tonnes.


Finally there is Mercedes. Offering a range of all wheel drive military vehicles from the G Wagon through the Sprinter to the Unimog.

Double Cab Pickup

The next option is the Commercial off the shelf option, something that is a general purpose vehicle a bit like a car.

I’m a personal fan of the Double Cab pick up. This strikes a great balance between passengers and cargo, and keeps the two separate which is infinitely safer in the event of a collision.

It’s the Japanese that seem to have had this market for a number of years. Just about every insurgent loves his Toyota Hi Lux.

With most manufacturers having plants in the UK we could insist that they are built here by any of them who win the contract. However I suspect the cost of setting up a production  line in the UK would add to the cost.

My preferred option is to keep within the EU.

It appears that there is an increase in Double cab 4×4 Commercial vehicles being introduced across the MOD fleet.

Ford Ranger
Ford Ranger

Ford had a reasonably large order last year for their Ranger.

A very impressive vehicle off road which I had the opportunity to drive at DVD. Even more so when I discovered it was a brand new vehicle with road tyres. It performed admirably against some serious terrain. But sadly not built in the EU.

The Next option is for a Mixed fleet of outright purchase and Hire when necessary.

Again the Ford Ranger gets my vote for purchase. I’m not a huge fan of hiring in when needed. The Hire firm are in business to make a profit. For them to have a guaranteed level of availability would push up costs. Returning a vehicle with even minor damage will get charged at considerable cost. It would all come down to a good contract negotiation.

My proposal is a fleet of of Double Cab pick up trucks built to a utilitarian specification.


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129 Responses

  1. Really interesting article, thanks Andrew. While there will always be a place for light utility vehicles I wonder how to guarantee that these aren’t used outside the wire in future conflicts? I can see a steady backslide (perhaps I’m unduly pessimistic) where protected vehicles are in short supply and these are used inappropriately simply because they’re available.

  2. A good article, I have seen the army using double cab (Toyotas?) vehicles on their security patrols.

  3. If I understand correctly the Ovik Chameleon is an Iveco Daily 4×4 with unspecified mods (maybe just the runflats and bigger alternator noted on the website) – the real focus of that design was the stuff on the rear deck, not the vehicle itself. Although Ovik have listed many 4×4 utility type vehicles on their website based on commercial platforms, some more modified than others.

  4. Holland is replacing the otherwise excellent Mercedez Benz G-wagon “MBs” (RNLA and RNLAF) and selected Land Rover Defender 110XD WWs (Marine Corps) with 1,667 Volkswagen Amarok DC “Double cab” 103kWs; primarily in the non-combat support/training role but will still be deployed during “permissive operations abroad”. Project should complete around 2015-ish.

    Maintenance will be outsourced to a civilian dealer (Pon, one of the largest in Holland) to cut costs. The Amarok will be modified with military radio, lashing points, gun-racks and painted green, but will still be a very “basic” civilian model.

    This represents the low-end wheeled support vehicle, with the high-end filled by the armored Fennek 4×4, Bushmaster 4×4 and even Boxer 8×8.
    Still unclear which vehicle is going to replace the armed MB’s in the airmobile weapon companies; mounting a Gill (“Spike”) ATGW and .50cal HMG/7.62 GPMGs these companies need a vehicle light and sturdy enough to be airslung and dropped by helicopters.

    One of the candidates was this Renault “Hummer” type, but the project’s status is unclear.

  5. A good post, although I have a couple of questions:
    With the multi role vehicle (protected) coming into service (eventually) is there a need to replace the Landrover? Did we take up the option of 400 more Panthers? Would leasing something like the Ranger or VW be a better option for use in the UK training areas?

  6. Nice article, Andrew. Thank you.

    My choice would definitely be Mercedes-Benz. The militarised diesel G-Wagen is a deeply impressive piece of equipment. They just go on and on.

    Actually, I think that Tata will not disappoint. The need for a Land-Rover replacement is firmly established, but so is the requirement for a protected vehicle, MRV-P. I think it would be easy to develop a family of vehicles around a common platform together with the ability to add modular armour packages depending on the threat.

    I’d love to see Tata partner with someone like Ricardo or Supacat to engineer such a vehicle. I think it could be a world beater. I don’t think that manufacturing capacity is an issue either, I’d simply get someone like Babcock to produce it. Of course, it could also be assembled in low costs markets to help keep costs down. Such a vehicle would certainly have export potential.

    I think one thing that is going to radically change the military utility vehicle market is hybrid electric drives. The work that Mercedes has done with Tesla should yield more robust, and longer lasting batteries. As car manufacturers look beyond lithium polymer batteries to new chemical solutions, perhaps a breakthrough will occur within the next decade. Even without that, as the cost of oil exploration rises as we’re forced to look for it in more difficult to access areas, and as oil supplies generally start to dwindle, the economic case for hydrogen fuel cells will become more compelling. Within 10 years, we should see viable new drivetrains.

    Since the USA is doing much research in the hi tech space, maybe we will buy a GM or Lockheed Martin vehicle?

  7. Firstly you have to ask what tasks you want this vehicle to do. Can we see unless we are in an all-out war for survival in anybody being let out in enemy areas in a soft skinned Land Rover equivalent ? Personally I think the answer is a definitive no. The days of driving in a Land Rover to fight are over.
    Thus the light units that use the Land Rover need to upgrade to Foxhound, Husky, Panther take your pick as an IED protected vehicle capable of operating in the modern battle space. I would suggest if we are looking at a high number long term purchase then we insist on UK manufacturing and try to standardise on one. Then look to replace the lightly armoured Pinzgauer’s as well as they are not protected enough maybe with Couger/Mastiff etc . Thus all troops deploy in IED and light weapons protected vehicles. The public and thus the politicians will demand nothing less after the Snatch fiasco.
    For other uses in low threat environments and for using every day to learn off road driving I would suggest a purchase of bog standard 4×4 pickup truck, a Ford or VW makes little difference fitted with proper off road tyres and rims. Thus all training and transport can be done in low cost vehicles whilst cutting down the hours used on the more expensive vehicles listed above. Have them on contract maintenance whilst in the UK to cut down maintenance costs. All troops should be trained to “C” standard so they can drive any of the vehicles above, it only adds a week to vehicle training and can be added on to basic training as a normal driving test is now.
    Land Rover are not interested at all in any form of Commercial or Defence Defender replacement. They make their money in high end luxury vehicles, even the DC100 was a life style vehicle not a commercial model. The days of Land Rover being a tough adaptable vehicle are gone, the only bright spot for the private Defender Driver is the number of ex MOD vehicles about to come on the market as the MOD replaces them.

  8. Andrew B wrote: “I’ve been looking at potential replacements for the long standing Land Rover now that the Defenders days are numbered due to emission regulations and Euro NCAP crash testing.”

    I think it is the emissions that are the biggest problem of the two. AFAIK so long as the Defender remains in production largely as it is it isn’t required to pass up to date crash testing. If they design a new one it will have to. Further to that, a vehicle isn’t required to do well in Euro NCAP but manufacturers do like their vehicles to not be slated as death traps.

    Emissions could possibly be tackled with micro-hybrid technologies such as this from Ricardo. A small turbo charged engine with kinetic energy recovery on the turbo, which charges a small bank of super capacitors which in turn are used to power an electrically driven super charger. The super charger is used to compensate for turbo lag. The combination produces the same power and throttle response of a larger engine but with significant fuel savings.

  9. Really good article. Personally, I’d probably favour the MB G-Wagon, in a mix of 4×4 and the new Aussie-inspired 6×6 version. I’d really love to see the following:
    – MB G-Wagon 4×4 & 6×6 for utility roles, with a basic armour kit (just basic protection, not a new Snatch!)
    – Eagle V 4×4 & 6×6 for the MRV(P) role, in a multitude of variants, ideally replacing a lot of the existing fleet.

    Possibly even add the similarly DURO based YAK, which shares a lot of commonality with the Eagle family. The Eagles in 6×6 can be used as gun tractors, Command Posts, ambulances, open bed resupply vehicles, recovery vehicles etc… The Eagles should be able to do quite a few of the CVR(T) based roles, i.e. replacing Samaritan, Sultan, some Spartans, the Shielder mine dispenser (just stick Volcano dispensers in the bed of a 6×6 Eagle).

    In effect, the idea would be to have a ‘light’ fleet and ‘medium’ fleet, using G-Wagons and Eagles, probably in many of the same roles, dictated by the need for armour protection.

    We can always use civilian sourced pickups in the C-vehicles fleet. We could even clean up some of the mess of C-vehicle types, to use, for example, an Amarok for light roles, and dictate all the trucks need to be Iveco Trakker based. This would give us a fairly clear structure, with a sort of A-vehicle fleet (Eagle Vs) for higher threat areas, B-vehicle fleet (MB G-Wagons) for support roles and C-vehicle fleet (Amarok and Trakker) for use at home or permissive environments.

    In an ideal world, if we could get Rheinmetall to finish developing the RMK-30 recoilless 30mm cannon, it would be really useful. It gives a better level of firepower than a normal 30mm (e.g. Bushmaster), in a very light and compact mount. Imagine being able to use the Eagle V as a basis for our own equivalent of the Dutch-German Fennek family, with cannon armed versions, missile versions etc, as the light end of the scout role… Maybe even add a mortar carrier, like the Thales Scorpion, which was shown mounted on a cheap pickup truck at the AAD 2012 show. It is basically an automated 60mm or 81mm mortar system with precision laying etc… If we could stick an automated 81mm mortar on the Eagle Vs, that would be a pretty attractive option.

    If we fielded a family of Eagle V based scout vehicles, they could be used to replace some of the existing CVR(T) family, for the roles where a 40-ton scout is just a bit too big… You should be able to easily airdrop a few Eagles, but a 40-ton FRES scout, not so much!

  10. This subject has come up on the Austin Rover Website for discussion recently.

    When I was a teenager I had set my heart on owning a Series Land Rover (never did in the end), I would buy Land Rover Owner International every month and read through every detail.

    This was around the mid-90’s, I remember many articles and leaks from Sources within the company talking about the imminent announcement of the Defender replacement. It never happened with the BMW then Ford sale of the company and they kept on running the Defender more as a lifestyle vehicle.

    Problem was the military where starting to really need bigger stuff and the civilian utility sector was starting to realise that a custom 2WD van was more then adequate for most needs and if they really did need a 4WD there were alternative cheaper to buy, maintain and run options from other companies.

    Land Rover have effectively pulled out of the utility market now and focussed on the lifestyle and luxury market instead with the Defender slogging on whilst it sill makes them money and it complied with regulations.

    With the Defender going soon expect residual prices to go up even further.

  11. Good post

    However a lot of the comments subsequently do not deal with the reality that most Landrover in UK service never saw a shot fired in anger. And have increasingly become a mechanical joke reliability wise.

    They trundled around bases, ranges, ports and airports. ‘Marshalled’ convoys on the M6 etc. They carried loose kit, maintenance teams for everything from tanks to coffee grinders, random groups of soldiers, uncle Tom Cobly and all.

    They are not ‘fighting’ vehicles.

    A simple trip down to your Toyota or whatever dealer, with a cheque book and an order for 7000 at £15,000, would I suggest produce the discount of the century!

    (Why our police forces don’t get together and do this nationally I have no idea).

    Spend grand on lights and a basic coms fit and I bet they will even do them in Nato green if we ask nicely.

    Then we can get them serviced on private contract all over the country at local dealers like the police and several other countries armed forces do.

    Job Done.

    £112,000,000, capital cost over say 3 years
    Rolling contract, dispose of after 3 years- back to trade
    £350,000 a year maintenance bill.

    Rinse wash repeat.

    Move on to next procurement issue….

    But no:-

    Firstly there will be something peculiar to the British solider that means that the cab won’t be right.
    British equipment won’t fit.
    A vehicle famed for it’s reliability and durability under the most extreme of civilian conditions; (that finished land-rover for a generation in Australia), wont be reliable enough after ‘tests’.
    a comparative study must be done that will take so long that by the time we order the manufacture will have a new model out.

    Just buy the F**king things and if they turn out to be shit:- then hey ho in 3 years time buy some different ones from Izusu, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, or whatever.

    You could even weld up a ‘technical kit’ to slot in the back if you want to play Dessert warriors like WIMK. Hell in most third world countries you could buy them in situe and leave the chassis cab there when you left.

    The look at foxhound for the tough stuff

  12. Personally I think we should go for a Hi-Lux. Affordable, reliable and every time we followed the yanks for a romp around the desert we’d come back with more than we started with and loads of spares at no cost to the tax payer :P

  13. Picking up from here
    “”This was around the mid-90′s, I remember many articles and leaks from Sources within the company talking about the imminent announcement of the Defender replacement. It never happened with the BMW then Ford sale of the company and they kept on running the Defender more as a lifestyle vehicle”
    , a couple of years earlier I was outside the UK and read the announcement that Landies would be replaced with an initial order of 3000-ish G-wagen derivatives.

    Why does the outside of the UK matter? Because it was a motor enthusiast type of publication, but still cited v military like criteria foe the choice: like a wider wheelbase, so with more weapon systems on top, wouldnot sink in the sandso easily… Where would that combination have occurred? Well, a v different turn, vehicle-wise came around, eventually.

  14. Another advantage to Ixion’s approach is that if the vehicles are close to the end of their working life, you can unload them into the civilian sector without much problems if they looked like commercial vehicles. They’ll slip into the used vehicle market without anyone giving them a second glance.

    We replaced the LR Defender with these

    And no, you don’t do stupid things like bringing them into Afghanistan. Home use only, unless your home IS Afghanistan or Iraq.

  15. All Ixion has done is describe the current “white vehicle fleet”; the MoD has a 10 year contract with Lex.

  16. X

    Fine just extend it to a’green fleet’

    job done!
    What Worries me is one can write a spec for an entire foxhound based army requirement for 7000 or so vehicles- fantasy fleet (of whatever colour) which is totally unaffordable. AND unnecessary.

    There will always be a need for ‘Liaison’ vehicles in biggish numbers. i just do not see them as needing
    14X20 tyres
    heavy duty commercial components akin to 4 ton trucks
    all round independent suspension etc etc etc.

    When most of them will drive a patrol round a fence perimeter on an air base, or run in front of MAN on the M6 etc etc. Hell most don’t even need 4X4.

  17. I’m guessing one of the unusual aspects of MOD ownership, and the reason why so much of the kit is kept for a very long time, is the low rate of use the vehicles seem to suffer. The average commercial truck might cover best part of half a million miles in its first three years of work (at which point it would probably be sold); the average car mileage is supposed to be in the 10k to 15k miles per year. These sorts of mileages are what commercial lease deals would be structured for. I don’t know but I’d guess the average mileage for military Landies in the UK would be in the hundreds/low thousands per year? Either then the lease runs for the nominal 3 or 4 years and has a relatively modern vehicle to shift into the used vehicle market but with stupidly low mileage, or the lease is run for a longer period to get to a sensible mileage (twelve years? Fifteen? Twenty?) by which time the mileage is about right for moving the vehicle on but it is a seriously out of date vehicle and possibly obsolete.

    Which raises another issue with ruthless application of a COTS approach; spares availability is a function of the global market, not the MOD contract. Anyone tried to buy a Ford Sierra diesel differential lately? The Sierra is now 20 years old, was one of the worlds biggest sellers at the time, spares all gone. Keeping COTS fleets for the length of time the military have in the past kept vehicles for would have supportability issues. So COTS means vehicles would need to be changed long before MOD had ‘their money’s worth’ out of them.

    Finally there is the Procurement impact. I recall the days where MOD had fleets of Escort estate cars. Bought to a unique MOD spec (please correct if this is wrong) of normally aspirated diesel engine, no radio, no carpet, cheapest seat covering, no headrests, black paintwork, steel wheels with no trim, no decorative brightwork. On the civilian market they would have been the most undesirable cars going. Quite the opposite to the Police forces that changed to mid spec silver cars for their patrol vehicles purely because they had better resale residual value. But I can’t imagine MOD buying current 4×4 utility vehicles in Gucci spec and metallic shades even if the high residual value means the cost of ownership is low.

  18. Landies are dear to my heart and I love them (had a 200tdi 90 for a bit), but they are uttter, utter shite. Driving a GS (Non Wolf/Turbo) Landie on the motorway is like being in a biscuit tin with a vibrator and a hair dryer.

    The question isn’t really “What should we replace them with?” but “What do we need them for?”. As most people have pointed out, the days of CO’s Land Rover or FFR comms dets are over. Current risk culture just will not allow soft skinned vehicles like that anywhere remotely fighty.

    So any possible replacement isn’t really going to need NATO switchgear, convoy lights, CES and all that other milspec clobber. If we’re not doing radios then we can probably do away with the 24V electrics too.

    That leaves us with a Diesel 4×4. But how often is the fleet is actually used off road? We need a good hard look at our usage patterns (love a bit of evidence-based decision making, me) to see what we really need.

    Much as I hate PFI’s and the current Pheonix hire car contract, I suspect that a lot of journeys could be done with hire cars. The more utilitarian stuff would best be covered by a double cab pickup with enclosed load bay. I’m not even convinced you’d need weapon racks necessarily (Replace rear middle seat with cargo area/rifle racks?).

    Oh, and a roll cage, for the H&S angle. Though the worst terrain it would face should just be cutting about a training area. I don’t think we need a vehicle capable of more than that. Whether REME or a contractor service them would also need to be looked at, hard.

    Hilux in NATO green with some UK workshare would fit the bill nicely. But we will need a full and open tender “due to the level of competition in the marketplace”. And I would not want to write the requirement for that one…

  19. Mercedes is looking to end G-wagon production as well for the same reasons as the defender. Impressive though it is it is still a 70s 4×4. Like land rover the have re-engine it to get it through emissions tests but it still can not pass the crash testing (the pedestrian part being the problem). The flying brick shape does nothing for the MPG so damages its range making it expensive to own. The civilian sales will soon stop so military sales is all that is keeping it in production. Buying military spec G-wagons is also probably the most expensive option. All rather time limiting

  20. @ IXION

    If it is any comfort I don’t think all the white fleet are actually white. :)

  21. I think crew-cab 4×4 van is a better buy than crew-cab 4×4 pick-up because legroom (still cramped but less cramped. Um cramped in a different way.)

  22. How about Transit vans? They come in FWD, AWD and RWD, high/med/low roof, short/med/long wheelbase and also chassis cab variants. They meet Euro engine specs and presumably are decent in crash tests being modern. Seem to be quite happy on motorways at various speeds too.

    Minibuses for troop carriers. Box vans for mobile workshops, communications cabins, etc. You could really push this to ridiculous lengths too – recce wagons could be anonymous looking vans with significant internal armouring and equipment, short range missile batteries installed on tipper bed pickups, special forces in urban spaces operating Q-ship style standard looking vans but with door gunners hiding inside… Very A-team.

  23. Transit Vans are the fastest vehicles on the planet as well. At least when driven by blokes on their mobiles in the fast lane near junction 12…

  24. Gareth, nice idea, but it really opens up a can of Geneva Convention worms. We already have non-uniformed combatants but if even conventional military starts using vehicles that can’t be differentiated from normal ones, how long will it be before regulations start stating that you need to paint them a specific colour?

  25. As for open tender.

    Seating for 4 fully equiped troops.
    Payload area 1.1Ton NATO tow hook.
    Deisel engine.
    COTS only in production design.
    Civilian maintenence services. Available near main forces basis.
    Job done.

    There are only about 7. or so companies who can bid for that.

    Each bidder has to put up 5 test vehicles.

    Give them to random squadies to trash and then ask them which one they want.

    In reality the running costs will all be much of muchness.

  26. Given Britain’s disastrous balance of payments, any new UK AF light vehicles need to be British made. Autocar magazine did a few sketches of a new fantasy Defender replacement, looked like a beefed up Discovery. The idea was that it would be suitable for emergency & armed services + civilians going into extreme places like the Australian outback. You would design it from the start in armoured & unarmoured versions. Frankly if the march of the makers is to be real, then UK gov should provide a seedcorn grant for design. Tata had to change their plans for Jaguar. First they just wanted to build large luxury sedans for America. Then the market changed & so they are about to launch the small XE saloon. Same with Land Rover. A tough workhorse used by armies/police & rescue, is marketing gold, that rubs off on the rest of the range.

  27. Forgot to say, that the Ford Transit is now made in Turkey, but the new Vauxhall Vivaro is made in Luton.

  28. These days what sells Land Rover’s lesser model is is their connection to Range Rover. I can’t see Land Rover going after the utility market again once Defender has gone. If Land Rover were part of a larger group then it might be possible, as VW have done, but with the current structure I would be very surprised to see something.

  29. JH

    Absolutely not!

    By all means buy something made in UK but not some special military type thing.

    The thing is we dont need this to be anything special. So why pay for it?

  30. x – nattering to a couple of Jag/LR folk, their view was that the company is working flat-out making stuff for the civilian market; no capacity spare for a military vehicle run. I got the impression that their perception of what makes a good military vehicle and what makes a desirable vehicle for private ownership had diverged over the years such that a single vehicle couldn’t do well in both markets (and the civilian market is so much more lucrative).

  31. @ Chris

    I was surprised that VW moved into the pick-up market considering the range of models available from Asia. But at least they have the technical depth (vans and off the shelf 4wd systems) to make the move as part of a large automotive only group. JLR is too small.

  32. Why the facination with landrover as a company?

    They make luxury recreational 4x4s. Its like asking ferrari to knock up a 10 ton truck.

    They have picked a route that makes them millitarily pointlees. Stick with a modern commercial. Manufacturer.

  33. @ IXIION

    Because LR has made vehicles for the British Army since 1949 and it has been for the most part a good relationship.

    As a kiddie I thought Santa Claus travelled the world in SIIA FFR…………….

  34. X

    Rolls Royce made armoured cars.
    BSA made motorbikes.
    Bedford supplied trucks..

    No one suggests we ask them.

    BTW I love land rovers.

  35. Personally I have sympathy with the LR argument that the needs of the military and the desires of the private owner have diverged too far. For the military the ideal must be tough, reliable, good payload good mobility and quickly repairable (as in made mobile again) by the vehicle crew if something breaks. For the private owner the ideal would be the right image, right style, comfortable space for parents and children, loaded with gadgets, on-road performance, economy/low CO2, quiet, cheap to have serviced, low insurance.

    The modern vehicle has become a mobile IT network with blue teeth and kid’s DVD players and GPS-integrated automatic repair van call-out systems all encased in swoopy grey plastic trim panels stuffed with airbags and pollen filters. VW’s cars for example have electronically controlled parking brake, anti-roll-back lock-up in the transmission, an interlock that applies the brakes when a door is registered open, automatic switch-on/off of lights and wipers. What exactly was wrong with a handbrake handle and manual wiper/light switches? And I will bet the failure rate of the door-open sensor is higher than the failure rate of the door latch. But hey; all these gadgets impress the buying public apparently (I must be in the minority that sees them as built-in unreliability at large extra cost).

    All this guff that is added to make the product more alluring to Joe Public is at best irrelevant to the military user; the raft of ECUs nailed up behind nice close-fitting plastic trim panels and the hugely complex wiring harness to connect ECUs with sensors and actuators makes the vehicle mostly unrepairable without 1) the right diagnosis PC, and 2) a van full of spare ECUs, sensors and actuators and a wiring harness repair kit. Underneath all the flashy ‘lifestyle’ add-ins, there will be a tin vehicle with an internal combustion engine and some form of (probably) mechanical driveline and mechanical suspension. The underlying basic vehicle has changed little since the demise of non-independent suspension in the 70s. It is the application of (mostly unnecessary) electronic control to all the basic mechanical items that has removed the option for field repair by vehicle crew.

    So I tend to agree with the men from LR; the simple basic workhorses that would best suit the military are quite different from the glitzy over-automated IT-stuffed lifestyle statements that the public want to buy. And considering the sales potential for these two very different approaches, you can see which the high volume manufacturer will choose to produce.

    It does however leave a niche for a focused company to fill, providing tough no-frills work vehicles to the military, farming, forestry and emergency service sectors?

  36. TD – JCB? I’m sure they could, but they will still be sore from the lack of take-up of their last attempt at a bigger-than-ATV utility vehicle:×4-being-developed-by-jcb/ That was a very big vehicle (bigger than photos suggest) based on their FasTrac 4×4 tractor. So not only big but with quite a complicated set of mechanics underneath. However, if they were to scale the vehicle down from Unimog to Transit size and fit simple adequate running gear built to their rugged standards? Surely a winner.

  37. Chris


    The problem is that I think your wrong about autotechnology.

    It is true that good old suck squeeze bang blow has not changed in principle but in fact modern engines are hugely more durable and reliable than the engines of the 80′ or even early 90’s.

    In part because frankly almost all engines that leave the factories now are what the old hot rodders would call’ Blueprint’. That is are so accurately machined that the basic engine off the line produces the same power and torque and is as smooth as if it had been hand made and dynamically balanced. This applies to transmissions and drive line components as well. You teach the robot to do it right and the robot does it right every time.

    Also the electrikery is not all superfluous. Electronically controlled engine management means not only better fuel consumption and emissions but by giving the engine only what fuel it needs when it needs it, hugely increases reliability, as the products of incomplete combustion do not find their way into the oil, and localised thermal stress is almost eliminated. Indeed radiators on modern diesel vehicles are smaller not just because of increased cooling efficiency, but because the engines are now so thermally efficient. This means that many even domestic cars are not worn out at 250,000 miles. Are so reliable that in effect they break down at almost historically insignificant levels.

    I ran an automatic Izusu pick up for 3 years, with a surprising amount of off- road, and put 80,000 miles on it, including a lot of high speed motorway work. 1 thing broke- a brake calliper snapped in half- the brake on that wheel still somehow worked it just felt funny. I got 35 ish mpg out of the auto box and went everywhere at (ahem) mile per hour.

    This is only going to get better- I replaced it with a santa fe that did 50 (I will repeat that), 50 MPG! if you treated it gently. A 2 ton 190 hp 4×4 – 120 mph an 0-60 in less than 10 secs. if you talked to an auto engineer of the 1960’s he would call that fantasy performance. commercial reality will make that only improve. hybred drive will not come because of govt inspired secret projects, it will come when Toyota make it work commercially and produce a 100mpg pick up, with 1litre engine. and a 7 year warranty

    Now like you I could do without the bells and whistles. but remember Toyota and Nissan slaughtered landrovers sales in Africa and Australia where reliability and off road performance matter. And they did it with aircon and electrically adjustable seats! because a lot of it does not actually go wrong, and makes the cars piss easy to drive.

    BTW insurance has come down for most vehicles now because they are no designed to be repaired much easier body wise.

    I repeat, for war we need warfighting vehicles (sorry TD). then you are into Foxhound etc.

    For what we do with our landrovers, we need commercial 4×4’s anything else will
    Be humongously expensive per vehicle.
    Be mechanically obsolescent in 5-10 years as engine technology moves on.
    require a dedicated spares and repair network and trained soldiers to do it.

    All so the range master can get around or the RMPs patrol the base?

    I am sorry but the day of the ‘big hammer or little hammer’ tool box are over.

    Buy off the shelf enjoy the aircon and er.. chill.

  38. Britain cannot live on borrowing forever. Unless we tackle the trade gap, there will be precious little money for Defence, NHS, Education or public sector pensions, in the coming decades.
    If Land Rover only made one vehicle, then they would be wise to stick to a Chelsea Tractor/luxobarge. However, they make the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Discovery, Freelander, Evoque & Defender. What I am talking about, is a replacement for the Defender, that is even tougher. Something you can take into the Australian outback & get you back alive. Having a vehicle that tough in the range is good advertising. Other companies have to pay for Formula 1 or Le Mans Racers, to get that image. A City trader in his Range Rover will like the tough association of seeing a new Land Rover in a warzone or distributing aid where no one else has got yet.

  39. I’m with the Toyota Hilux 4×4 2.5diesel in basic HL2 trim
    Notice the large number of reassuringly large number of ‘Not Available’s ‘
    Don’t give them to many (if any choices) or the will drag out procurement for ever.
    (Re the 24v requirement a simple plug in Industry grade DC 12V to 24V step-up converter in will provide the necessary)×4-4dr/specifications/51890
    They are everywhere as someone noted above so spares and people to fix them be it Cyprus , Belize , Bahrain etc were we have regular bases .

  40. “Can we see unless we are in an all-out war for survival in anybody being let out in enemy areas in a soft skinned Land Rover equivalent ? Personally I think the answer is a definitive no. The days of driving in a Land Rover to fight are over.”

    I disagree – if it’s a peacekeeping/ military assistance/ policing type of role, there will definitely be a need for vehicles which are light enough to cross bridges, narrow enough to make it through alleys and up mountain tracks, and not terrifyingly fighty-looking. Maybe that wouldn’t count as “enemy areas” – fair enough – but it’s still an operational requirement.

  41. @Chris – you’re not the only one that hates all the useless modern gubbins. I have an electric handbrake in my Passat and it’s the most needlessly over-complex ‘feature’ i’ve ever seen. One of the previous owners spent £900 getting it fixed once!

    I’d never heard of the Amarok, but as it’s made by VW Commercial vehicles they sell it in quite a stripped-down basic model. So I suspect the commercial variant of a consumer vehicle is the way to go. If they were specced right (robustness, reliability, maintainability), they may have some resale value for enthusiasts- see how many GS Lannies Withams flogs for several grand apiece. Ex-military vehicles can be a good buy, as many are low mileage and have been serviced reguarly. Of course you can also get one from a lazy unit or that’s been ragged around by squaddies.

    @x – I wouldn’t say double-cab pickups are particuarly lacking in leg-room. I think vans may be overkill – we have combis and mini-buses already. The important thing is to have a locking, covered load bay. Removeable cover optional.

    IXION – I like your “Trials of truth” idea. Throw a couple of each contender at the CSS Trials & Development Unit and have them thrashed for as long and in as many environments as we can afford. The TDU will soon thin the herd.

    One of the most important factors is cost of ownership. I was at Westdown Camp (Salisbury Plain HQ) last year, and estimated 50+ hire 4x4s in the car park. I know on the Pheonix contract, you’re looking at ~£80 per day for one of those (probably less for such a long-term high-volume commercial hire), but that’s still a fair wodge of cash. Green fleet is probably unattractive and not used because of all the red tape and costs associated with it. If we’re gonna buy a big new fleet of something we need to make ‘green’ affordable again, and useable by others (civvies, contractors etc.).

  42. Personally I don’t see the need to replace the Landrover with something we own. Why not have a commercial contract like we have with the C vehicle fleet which guarantees an ‘x’ amount of cabs for ‘x’ type roles for a yearly fixed price? we could run the landies into the ground in Kenya and if we deploy where we see a need buy in some utility vehicles for the deployment or have the same arrangement we have for the C vehicle fleet and the company provides.

    That way you will only get bog standard commercial vehicles that are economical to run and keep, because it is a private company that are paying for them.

  43. All this has got me wondering why Land Rover never made the Discovery in the same varieties they make the Defender. It’d eat too much into Defender sale? The only commercial version is a van.

    Discovery doesn’t seem all that popular with specialist manufacturers either. You certainly get versions laden with kit for fire, medical or police roles but they are mostly the bog standard van or passenger version with lots of storage in the back. The only current Discovery special vehicle I can find is the 6 wheeled SUV 600 from Supacat. The Discovery 2 would be my preferred shape though.

  44. @ IXION

    You asked, “Why the facination with landrover as a company?”

    I replied within the context of this being a UK defence discussion sit, “Because LR has made vehicles for the British Army since 1949 and it has been for the most part a good relationship.”

    Nowhere did I advocate Land Rover building a vehicle for the MoD. Actually I have said here,

    “These days what sells Land Rover’s lesser model is is their connection to Range Rover. I can’t see Land Rover going after the utility market again once Defender has gone. If Land Rover were part of a larger group then it might be possible, as VW have done, but with the current structure I would be very surprised to see something.”

    @ A Different Gareth

    A couple of reasons. The American/Asian pick-up is quite a recent entrant into the UK commercial market. The pick-up here wasn’t much of a success, perhaps because of the rain? Ford had their lovely Cortina and Sierra based P100 which died a death when Mondeo was introduced (to be replaced with an odd Transit with odd moulded plastic sides.) And in modern-ish times Austin Morris / BL offered Minor and Marina pick-ups. VW sold the Caddy in a pick-up variant here too and Skoda the Favorit. Even the van based pick-ups aren’t as the seem. All the main manufacturers offer chassis cabs and the pick-up “body” was some thing resellers sold as an added extra. Only Nissan with their Cabstar offered an “off the shelf” pick-up. Where pick-ups were needed in off-road environments the Land Rover rained supreme and many lived really hard lives. Even though the cost of LR body panels has risen they will still cheaper than equivalent Disco panels. On the back of 4×4 fashion wave of the 80s overseas manufacturers were able to establish commercial product lines much more easily. Those products were well proven with all the kinks ironed out, a Discovery pick-up even given LR’s commercial success (a good portion of which was due to outside suppliers just using LR chassis cabs and nothing really to do with LR proper) would have been a fresh product. Further there was also some concern that there would be negative effect on the marketing of the base vehicle. The police using a RR or a Disco for motorway patrol work is a validation of its road worthiness by experts; a Disco pick-up with a broken head light and a ton of the rubble in the back doesn’t do much for the product image of a Chelsea tractor.

  45. Dear @ a

    I agree in the real world we used to live in you would patrol in a small unarmoured vehicle for that task.
    However no PM is going to stand at the dispatch box and say “whilst traveling in an unarmoured Land Rover soldier A was killed by an IED” (which was made in the kitchen sink with a receipe taken from the internet) because
    1. He would be public slaughtered in the polls.
    2. The mission would be scrapped as unsafe and the clamour of “bring our boys home or equip them with tanks” would be so loud you would hear it in Paris.
    3. Land Rover realy and I mean realy don’t won’t their name associaed with UK cock ups. Whilst trying to build a brand in China etal.
    4. Whilst trying to do that job would be impossible driving a tank.
    5. We are out of the “Police action” or “rebuilding communities” role for a very long time after Iraq and Afganistan.

    The least you would do that in would be a Husky or Panther and yes we would come in for the same critcism that the Americans get for using Humvees. But what would be good for the job and an acceptable risk has changed and the level of acceptable risk is now much lower.

    For the type of low intensity stabilisation work the British Army needs more Panther/Husky etc. Any unit that is tasked to take a Land Rover in to any form of “shooting” situation as light infantry needs to have eithr a Panther/Husky or Jackal. Going into any hostile situation in a Land Rover or even a MAN GS etc is just not going to be acceptable to the General Public and hence to the politicians.

    Now if they are prepared to pay to have enough of these vehicles is another thing, and for all other genreal purpose jobs such as escorting Tank Transporters or Convoys of MAN soft bed trucks or driving around Salisbury plain etc then a good old crew cab 4×4 does the job a lot better. So as I said if you want it to fight pick something armoured if its doing anything else off the shelf commercial designs are fine.

  46. Slightly Agricultural said “I wouldn’t say double-cab pickups are particuarly lacking in leg-room. I think vans may be overkill – we have combis and mini-buses already. The important thing is to have a locking, covered load bay. Removeable cover optional.”

    I would. Sorry. I would rather be sitting upright with my knees level with my hips (like a minibus) than my hips slightly lower than knees (like a car) especially if I was wearing bulky clothing.

    The trouble is with discussion is we are not sure of what we are talking about. The Army’s LR purchase used to be mostly LWB vehicles for all intents and purposes two seater (forget the middle seat) and side facing seating in the rear. You not going to get a modern equivalent and comply with safety legislation. The Army doesn’t need as many. They aren’t going to see action, probably. Just because we are after a cheaper vehicle doesn’t mean we should go for the obvious option a la crew-cab Hi-Lux or Dacia Duster. For basic tasks such as patrolling or moving about a range their are lots of options; police version of Freelander for example But for anything more I would suggest something the size of Iveco Turbo Daily. You don’t have much space in the back of “car like” 4×4 as you would think; well at least my experience would suggest such. My experience of working in utilities suggest you can never have too much space. I have already mentioned ergonomics. In terms of living in and with the wagon this beats a LR 110 SW to a cocked hat and isn’t much dearer if it all,×43-W.jpg

    As good off road? No. But careful driving with realistic expectations of how far you can go and need to go and it would be OK for about 90% of the time.

  47. Really pleased with the comments and opinions so far.

    I am all for fully Armoured and Protected vehicles for operations the more the better. But with Foxhound costing best part of £1M a unit it not justifiable to use it as a run around.

    Buy something off the peg that can be used for a few years get it serviced by a contractor like BT Fleet or Babcock Critical Services.

    I’m not such a fan of leasing as there has got to be a profit for the leasing Firm.

    Land Rover aren’t in the running for a number of reasons.
    There are not many on many Police fleets due to previous poor quality. Our early TD5 Discovery was back in the dealer under warranty within a week for a new gearbox.

    They are also expensive compared to the Mitsubishi Shogun which has pretty much taken over as a utility or the BMW X5 where a Performance capability is required. Now that truly is an impressive vehicle but not on my list for this post.

    I like the Supacat SUV 600 but as its based on the Discovery that is soon to end its life, its successor is rumoured to be based on the Range Rover. Don’t ask the price its huge.

    What I think is required is a run around thats as basic as possible but COTS.

    I like the Amarok, its got the widest cargo box and will take a pallet side ways between the wheel arches. is European built in Hannover. Its a VW group company as is MAN.
    Buy some, Test them, if they are any good buy loads Put a hard top on it paint in green. Put a 24V Converter in it.
    If its no good Buy the Toyota or Ford.
    But lets not have a MOD special bespoke vehicle that will cost a fortune, save that for the operational kit

  48. So that’s settled then. No competition required. A COTS buy of VW Amarok; except… HMG will want UK build & support, so MOD will need to write a spec for it and select a UK company that MOD believe capable of such a complicated vehicle, let’s say BAE? Then this company would need to run a study to see how close the German-built pick-up matches the MOD spec and develop a proposal to migrate the vehicle design to compliance – that shouldn’t take more than 5 years to do; thereafter the standard German pick-ups can be shipped to BAE where the vital changes would be undertaken (replacing the VW engine with an MTU version; more complex all-wheel-drive system with active torque vectoring and 27 position diff-locks; replacing the weak steel body panels with pressed titanium panels that are stronger and lighter; an increased size pick-up deck for growth potential; ECUs recoded from scratch to meet Def Stan 00-55 (Software Safety); runflat tyres; full suite of situational awareness cameras; and the electrical system completely redesigned to meet Generic Vehicle Architecture standards). Unfortunately due to the slightly higher than expected development and modification costs, the original 1600 vehicle order would need reducing slightly to maybe as many as six. And of course the project will be hailed a brilliant success by all involved.

  49. @X – I’m happy to amicably disagree with you on this one, as I can totally see where you’re coming from. The Daily looks like a capable platform – a Mini Unimog as you said. But;
    In terms of living in and with the wagon this beats a LR 110 SW to a cocked hat
    absolutely, but why would anyone ever have to live in it? If we take the fighty part out of the GS fleet it just becomes a glorified runaround. Typical use as I see it would be; “Cpl Bloggs, drive up to Y and pick up X thousand 5.56 & 7.62 blank from the stores. Then run it down to the CSM at Z. Give him a ring when you get there and he’ll tell you where on the area they are. Here’s your paperwork, tap one of the lads to go with you”.

    The kind of things Lannies get now because you need something that can carry more load than a car, in a vaguely safe/legal fashion and then cut about gravel or dirt roads on a training area better than a van to get where they need to go. At no point should you be living in it. A Daily could carry more, true, but is a van chassis overkill for something that will spend most of its life on the road? As I’ve said, we need a really hard look at the Green/White fleet balance. Not just buying a load of vehicles because “we’ve always had Lannies”. Carting around small loads of hazardous materials (e.g. munitions) is probably a prime example where you should really have a Green fleet vehicle. (Not that it ever seems to stop people using Combi-Vans…)

    We could end up with very, very few Lannie replacements, a greater reliance on hire cars for general runabouts and most of the money spent on MRPV or whatever the latest wheeze is called. (Dropshorts will need something new to tow their toys).

  50. @ Slightly Agricultural

    Without going bespoke their is no easy option, if going bespoke is an easy option. I have a lot of LR experience and I know a good deal about vans. The current AWD Transit is a wonderful motor but the Daily, not just because it is the next class up, is a better motor. There are lots of good pick-ups and cheap 4×4 SWs out there that will do most of the job; but for working out of, moving equipment in, and living out of I would go bigger. Not that the Daily is a big wagon.

    @ Chris


  51. “The kind of things Lannies get now because you need something that can carry more load than a car, in a vaguely safe/legal fashion and then cut about gravel or dirt roads on a training area better than a van to get where they need to go.”

    Sounds like a modern ATV by Kawasaki / JCB / Jon Deere / whoever can do that job. Most have a half ton payload, can tow a trailer up to a ton in weight and tackle any sort of dirt track at least as well as a HiLux. Will cost a lot less to buy and run too . . .
    Of course they’d be absolutely useless if you want to drive from Salisbury plain to Fulford.

  52. @ IXION

    I see you said, “ACMAT?” and left it their didn’t you.

    I like their VLRA Command Car model. Bastille Day. Big parades. Super. :)

    Sort of vehicle the HAC would buy for their towing their guns about the place. Back in the 80s they used to have some lovely Lightweights, the Pinzgauers don’t look quite right to me. I suppose they are small and that’s what is needed. But……..


    compared to……..

    I don’t know.

    Sorry again.

  53. Here is Acmat’s English site if you too lazy to read French…… :) ;)

    The more I read the more I think we have found a winner.

    Do I get a VLRA Command Car as commission? No? Oh. :(

  54. @ IXION

    Heck I will ask them for one for you too. You didn’t forget them after all. :)

    @ Kent

    Those few inches all round sure make American pick-ups a bit more comfy. And these would fit between the Iveco Daily I have been banging on about and the “European” sized pick-ups here.

  55. @Peter Arundel – ATV’s are probably quite practical for range duties and what not, but obviously not really roadworthy. This is what i’m saying – journeys often involve a lot of travelling on public roads, so something a bit more fuel efficient that a Defender would be good. Especially as it would have to meet all the Euro emissions bollocks.

    I think an F150 would give them palpitations! That, and as the MT Staffy that trained me on Lannies said “The most dangerous weapon you can give a Soldier is a vehicle”. He thought the turbo in the Wolf was too much power, the V6/8 in that Ford would proably finish him off too!

  56. @ Slightly Agricultural

    Come now the MoD would want a special version of the F150 powered by a more modest engine (preferably not a Ford!) and limited to 70mph that would cost more than the standard model to buy and probably to develop cost more than the diesel bill for the entire fleet for its entire lifetime if they had stuck with the original engine. :) ;)

  57. x – ref ALTV – you have to wonder what ACMAT does to the base Navara pick-up other than fitting steel wheels, a sumpguard and the slab bodywork around the front?

  58. ahh the F150, i remember we used to get them every time we went stateside, great fun to drive :) the MTO would of course try and stamp out any fun with mountains of pointless paper (all of them seemed to be the same!) completely ignored of course and then take the keys for the weekend and go out and about. i always liked it them the best in comparison to the dodge or chevvy that we used to get from time to time as well. i think if we got fleets of them, i think MT sections across the land would be busy!

  59. @ Chris

    When I look at ACMAT i see the reveres of LR SV the latter takes a civilian vehicle to adapt it whereas ACMAT is built for military needs from the get go. As we both know there are a surprising number of companies out there that adapt vehicles for a wide of variety of markets. For me it all depends who the primary user is going to be. If it is some MoD civil servant plodding around an airfield or a range then buy a civilian vehicle. But if it is a uniformed personage and there is a chance the vehicle may deploy then go for a vehicle that is designed for military user from the get go. Why spend money on having something adapted when you get the adaptations off the shelf. It is a small buy after all. French equipment is tough and quite basic. As I said above I am fond of the Daily. Both the ALTV and VLRA families gives options that are as close to an off the shelf LR post 2015 as we are going to get.

    EDIT: That is not to say I don’t acknowledge the commercial content in the ALTV.

  60. x – I see one of two rational routes to providing a sensible fleet of vehicles.

    1. Buy COTS; as is; no mods allowed and change the fleet every 3 years. Support by use of dealer network. As simple a deal as buying milk from the nearest corner shop.
    2. Buy proper military focused design; support by REME; keep until worn out or no longer needed.

    I don’t know which ends up cheaper over 25 or 30 years, but the COTS buy is simple and fuss-free. Lease them for all I care. But don’t start adding comms, ECM, lumpy tyres, mine protection, armour, driver night vision system, gun racks and and and. Light duty commercial civil pick-ups for simple peacetime hoofing about. The reason for the three year refresh is to avoid support issues of running old vehicles; shortage of spares, specialist repair shops etc. This is Ford/Nissan/VW pick-up territory.

    If going for military then bite the bullet and get something designed specifically for long term ownership where long term support is treated seriously by the manufacturer. Modify whatever is necessary because they would be in service for the duration of whatever role is assigned. REME will not be phased by a set of IR lights and night vision kit. REME wouldn’t be precious about NVG compatible indicators and illumination being fitted. Or a PTO driven winch. Or a BV. All the things the lease company would get rattled about on a fleet of tin trucks that were due for the civilian market in a few months time.

    What I think is worst of both worlds is a pseudo-military vehicle made on this year’s commercial pick-up chassis. Particularly if the manufacturer is not interested in buying a large stock of spares to counter obsolescence. You wouldn’t expect to lease specialist vehicles on short terms; so they would be in service long after the civilian base vehicle production is over. What spares are still available for RB44?? Based on a 1970s Dodge/Renault van so nothing likely to be available from the manufacturer, although rumour has it the Chinese bought the tools and are busy making them still… So for me the idea of an ACMAT based on a 2008 Nissan pick-up, or a Supacat based on a Bowler that is in turn based on the humble Landie leaves the long term support capability a bit weak.

  61. @x, @Slightly Agricultural, @topman – I was thinking about the SVT Raptor version with the 6.2 liter V-8 having 411 horsepower and 434 ft/lbs of torque! It comes in green, too, with blacked out bumpers, grill, etc. :D

  62. @ Kent

    Since we all seem to be getting our own vehicles, I’ll have one to zoom around the airfield as my personal wagon :)

  63. @ Chris

    Exactly what spare parts are you interest in? You start with SMMT rules and work on from there. The advantage of computerised tracking of parts is that you know what wares out and adjust accordingly. The advantage of going with a vehicle with a chassis is if you need to you can re-engine it without too much difficulty or replace axle sets. There is no reason why a vehicle from Acmat would become not viable within a decade. How do you select components for your bespoke and ensure that it can match the availability of spares? How better off would the MoD be buying a vehicle with an engine from one of the large independent engine manufacturers over and against a vehicle with an engine from vehicle builder? Everything needs spares.

  64. @ Topman

    You can have a command car like everybody else is having and be happy about it me lad. :)

    @ Kent

    Don’t encourage Topman he is at that difficult age………. :)

  65. @ x

    No wouldn’t do at, I mean for a start how many hotel car parks would it fit in? The F150 will be fine, I’ll cope ;)

  66. For no particular reason I would like to see a very lightweight Foxhound. Without the need for mine protection it can be made from lighter materials, run on smaller tyres to improve handling , have a more square sided passenger box and additional side doors. The skateboard chassis design looks quite adaptable too.

    With a bit of arm twisting and taxpayers money you could maybe end up with something suitable for civilians too. Call it the Force Protection Defender and have it assembled by Land Rover.

    x said: “The police using a RR or a Disco for motorway patrol work is a validation of its road worthiness by experts; a Disco pick-up with a broken head light and a ton of the rubble in the back doesn’t do much for the product image of a Chelsea tractor.”

    That and the cost difference you pointed out have made sense to me. Thanks for the reply.

  67. @x

    Just thinking idlely, unsurprisingly we have loads of white fleet, very few green fleet I’d say 95/5% on most units. Back in the day, we did have many green fleet, slowly they all went. Now the army is somewhat different but I wonder how much could be saved by buying more vans etc?
    Funny you should mention Iveco as a good van, very few about (in the RAF). The vast majority are Transits or Vauxhalls. The last Movanos were pretty awful however the lastest versions are much better. The Transits seem to be the best hard wearing and realiable. Good point made about the pick up versions we have a requirement for lots of ‘flatbeds’ nearly all are coach built outside the factory.
    I think the worst vans we had were LDV Convoys, still had those until well into the 2000’s awful things, chronically unrelaible. We even got the last version of the Modus again bad they kept cutting out, not sure what specifically was wrong with them. Binned off quickly I think after LDV went bust.

  68. x – the bigger (or armoured) ACMAT I see as military vehicles throughout. Its the smaller one that (as I noted before) is evidently a Nissan in a matt green party frock that I would have concerns over. I grew up when vehicles were simple mechanical things with just enough wiring to run lights and wipers and spark-plugs. Almost any component could be replaced by something of equivalent function if the original was obsolete (many could be dismantled and ‘fettled’ back to life anyway). Move on a few decades and components are much more complicated, made in such a way that dismantling is terminally destructive, the wiring is measured in kilometers not yards, and if any component of equivalent but not identical function is fitted the ECU will not function. At all. So its not the pressed steel chassis or the cast aluminium suspension components or the cylinder block that would be a problem, but the instrument cluster circuit card or the mass airflow sensor or the ABS actuator or the differential to 4WD ECU harness that would be the things that kill the vehicle.

    An example. Scruffy 911 is in dock (again) this time because it seems to have a confusion in its transmission ECU. The courtesy car I have is a 15 or so year old one-time expensive Audi estate with a V6 diesel engine. It’s seen better days but for the most part seems sturdy and good for a few years yet. It was however almost scrapped because the instrument panel developed a fault. The fault prevented the immobiliser from being disabled; the instrument panel was no longer a spare held by the dealer (would have cost more than the car value anyway); the amount of work needed to dismantle the fascia to get to replace the instruments would again cost more than the car’s value. I assume, since the car is mobile again, that a ‘fix’ was found for the immobiliser that bypassed the errant part. Vehicles are stuffed full of unique gadgets and gizmos that all need to work to keep the ECUs content; any one duff item, no matter how cheap and unnecessary it might be, can render the vehicle immobile. If that one cheap part is no longer available then the vehicle becomes scrap (or spares).

  69. @ A Different Gareth

    You are welcome. Land Rover-ing was my main hobby for years so I know a little about the company.

    As for lightweight Foxhound no I can’t see that happening. Imagine a soldier being killed while driving over an IED or being shot at or whatever in that vehicle and interested parties seizing on the fact that there was a better armoured version. Better all round if there is a clear division between vehicles and the tasks they are expected to perform.

  70. Quite seriously the Saudi’s bought a couple of hundred of those truly bonkers Lamborghini vehicles: –
    (Or Truck utility head-bangers for the use of as I believe they were called).

    Most got seriously stuffed as the ability to 130 mph up the side of a big sand dune, was too good to be ignored- until you arrived at the top of the sand dune at warp speed and shot of the top…. The vehicleorder was not repeated- something about medical bills….

  71. Chris.

    The thing is if we buy a shit load of hiluxes (hiluxi)? And get shot after 3 years: – who cares about electrical faults 10 years down the line. Anyway within the 3 years it would be a warranty issue for Toyota.

    Looking to buy some specialised military thing just seems totally ott.

    Acmat vlra for units that really need a soft skin field car ok. But how many really need it?

  72. @ Chris

    I have SIII Lighteweight your 911 is a zillion generations head of my Landy. I used to buy Peugeot Rallye cars because I hate electronics.

    Let us say we build a bespoke from the get go: Will it have a 2.25 carburettor engine sans electronics? No whatever you buy will have electronics; even the simplest engine these days comes with electronics. Where will you spares be in 10 years time? Transmissions (sometimes) come with electronics, same problem. I don’t take for a moment you advocating are complete bespoke vehicle, you mean rattling the parts box and seeing what pops out. Brakes these days come with electronics; same problem. Do I buy a a few thousand platforms like ACMAT that is based on a vehicle that sells in 10s perhaps 100s thousands and pick up a stock of spares early? Or do a buy on off vehicle and risk using an engines that hardly anybody else buys spliced to a transmission that hardly anybody buys all for low end utilitarian tasks? We have both mentioned RB44 and that is exactly what we want to avoid. ACMAT seems a good balance.

    @ Topman

    I love Transits but the Daily is just a bit more rufty tufty. The small Daily’s aren’t much bigger than Transits really. They just benefit from being based on a larger vehicle.

    Once I gave up trying to drive an LDV Convoy; my fault for letting somebody else book the minibuses. The idea of one with a Rover V8 engine is stuff of nightmares. I do have a soft spot though for the Pilot because of its Sherpa origins.

    I like vans. The world is split into two camps those like vans and those who see them as things for tradesmen. Saying that I have never owned a van of my own………. :(

    Vehicle form factors are interesting. My dad has always had estates. As a kiddy I could never understand why the police didn’t do similar to carry all their kit. Doesn’t say much for whomever buys police vehicles around the country that it took them so long to catch on.

  73. Given our dire financial state, made in UK please. Unarmoured Blighty runabouts could be Nissan Qashqai, Honda CR-V or the basic spec LR Discovery. If you need more room then the Vauxhall Vivaro van. All UK made. If you want something armoured, how about the TATA LAMV? 5.55m long, 2.5m wide, 8 tons. Blast & ballistic protection. TATA own Land Rover, so perhaps a UK made Land Rover version?

  74. x – its a matter of complexity I think. I agree the gnarled fingers of software delve into all sorts of stuff once simple and mechanical, but can be done with light touch or heavy. One of the sensors on the 911 went tech so the garage substituted an appropriate value resistor in its place because it was well known in the earlier cars the only thing the ECU registered from that sensor was its presence; it had no effect on running unless it failed in which case the ECU went grumpy. For other parts of the world the sensor actually affected running but not here. Clearly as the car runs just fine without it it is unnecessary. I have heard much the same about strange swirl vanes in BMW diesel inlet manifolds – plastic paddles attached to servos that wobble them around a bit. There is a kit available to remove them; cars without the vanes do not behave any differently (although may have fractions of a percent worse economy), but if the vanes remain there is a risk they can break off and go through the engine with all sorts of potential damage attributed. Another bit of computerised gadgetry that is unnecessary. I would expect then that someone engaged in the procurement of an engine for military use would select not only the robust and durable, but one with a minimalist set of sensors, no waffly gadgets, a long projected production run, decades of support provision and so on. Simple is good. Sophisticated* is bad.

    In my concepts at the moment there is a commercial modern diesel engine. It is there because it provides the right sort of power in the right sort of size, and because there was a sufficient volume of data on the web to allow me to create a reasonably accurate 3D model of engine and ancillaries. It would not be the right engine to use in the deliverable product precisely because its a modern commercial design that in the three years since I selected it has probably been declared obsolete within the manufacturer’s design office. However I have made contact with a company developing an engine of similar size and power specifically for the military and OEM market, with the aim to keep the same basic engine in production for a decade or two with support extending way out beyond the end of the production run. This would be by far the better solution in my case; the engine manufacturer was quite keen to be part of my project if it took off.

    All of the above refers to military custom build. Vehicles to be entered into service for the long haul.

    I entirely agree with IXION and many others here that for general runarounds the answer is to buy/lease a set of moderately tough 4x4s and change them every 3 or 4 years. But they have to be COTS – bog standard showroom spec unmodified COTS.

    *In one of my early jobs I came across a fellow who kept a Victorian dictionary in his desk, which he would leaf through over lunch looking to see what familiar words meant a century before. He was particularly entertained by the definition of “Sophisticated” which the Victorians knew to be a very bad quality: “Unnecessarily complicated; adulterated; inelegant; bastardised.”

  75. @Chris – love the quote, reminds me of how Obama’s critics described him (scathingly) as ‘eloquent’.

    Nice to see one of the main options discussed as being ‘Buy COTS; as is; no mods allowed’. Easier said than done of course. @John Hartley I know you’re looking at the broader economic situation, but it’s tough to buy British – a lot of British firms *have to* ‘add value’ with various bespoke features as the manufacturing is commoditised overseas and they can’t compete. It’s the design and integration where money is made.
    But I admit, my experience is not in the auto industry.

    Really good post, and good discussion.

  76. @ Chris

    As I have said for running around airfields and large areas of defence estate then yes a standard commercial leasing arrangement. But for anything that might move out of the UK then something more substantial is needed even if that something in of itself is based on a commercial design. So I have been saying COTS too. My question is just how many truly green vehicles are needed? I will not have said that I am pushing expensive unnecessary purchases just for the sake of Gucci fighty kit.

    Modern engines can run for a millions of mile with long service intervals; the days of rebores every 10k or so miles have long or the whole vehicle collapsing before 100k have long. Going for a large under stressed engine coupled with a well cooled automatic box is the way to go. Good driving technique and solid maintenance keeps a vehicle on the road. We buy cars these days with galvanised bodies and painted by robots to standards far in excess of those of human hand and eye yet we (many) want to throw it away after three years. The main problem with electronics is that they are bespoke instead of being open. The machine itself doesn’t care what generates the controlling signal as long it arrives (or doesn’t) at the right time. The big thing in IT at the moment is virtualisation; not that it is new. Software pretending to be various hardware devices. That is nut that needs to be cracked. Getting away from manufactures’ sealed boxes. Systems that replace commercial ECU or are ECU for bespoke builds are available.

  77. Australian Defence Force is replacing its Land Rovers with G-Wagons (mostly for army with some to go to the RAAF). Essentially a COTS/MOTS buy but with some specialised versions for Australia including a 6×6 version shown here:

    Total buy is for 2,146 G-Wagons, a large number with interchangeable specialist modules, and 1,799 two wheel and four wheel trailers.

    Variants include a 6×6 reconnaissance version to replace the Landy 6×6’s as used by the SAS in Iraq and Afghanistan and by Norforce (reservist patrols across Australia’s top end).

  78. I don’t know how many vehicles we are talking about purchasing here. But in terms of green vehicles it can’t be much than 2000 if that.

    The idea of the British Army fielding Boxer and G-wagen is too much to bare…………

  79. @X

    As I said earlier the opportunity for a new generation replacement for the Defender was lost in the 90’s.

    I remember the articles about the replacement in the 90’s within the specialist Land Rover press was monthly, there were interviews and leaked design images. It was always “the announcement of the replacement is just around the corner or at the next major car show”.

    It never happened and the Defender slogged on becoming less competitive year by year. The opportunity was squandered.

  80. I would have thought that the only chance of a ‘Land Rover’ being made for British forces would be if Tata used JLR design resources to create a cheap version that they built in India for the Indian mass market and Indian army (that has to be a big enough contract surely??)

  81. @ ChrisM

    The Defender is being scrapped because of EU regulations.

    Tata used to sell, still sell, a pick-up designed by a British company.

  82. Interesting information about the Australian G Wagen. Can’t help but thinking that it’s aimed at operational use not just for back home or non conflict roles.

    Can’t see Tata making anything special for the UK too expensive for a one off.
    I also heard that a senior Indian army officer visited the Ford stand at DVD and he too was impressed with the Ranger.

  83. The Defender made by Santana in Spain was (is? if still in production) better than the original: gear box lifted out of Disco and a double roof for heat insulation.

  84. @ ACC

    Santana is gone I think. That Defender of which speak actually sat on leaf springs. Lovely motor, iffy build quality, but no worse than the original……..

    @ Andrew B

    But mostly only operational in Australia. For all our talk of IEDs it takes time for an “insurgency” to gain momentum. The trick is to get out before outstaying our welcome. Mines laid by uniformed forces are different matter. And that takes me back to my point about buying a green vehicle……..

  85. @X

    Santana Motor was closed in 2011, a rather sad story of ill-conceived decisions. By the 1990’s a major part of Santana production was Suzuki 4×4. Suzuki owned a share of the company and updated the the factory with new machinery and took over the support and distribution network. In 1995 Suzuki decided to disinvest from Santana and the factory was sold to the Andalusia government for one Peseta. A licence agreement was signed with Suzuki to allow Santana to still produce their designs and continue to use the support and distribution network.

    In 2006 Santana signed a co-development agreement with Iveco to develop new products. This led to FIAT-Iveco in 2008 announcing the intention of buying Santana. Santana then broke off its relation with Suzuki in 2009, this was a disastrous decision as Suzuki had the support and distribution network. Suzuki stopped supporting all the cars built by Santana to their designs. This left a huge number of owners high and dry unable to get their cars serviced by the dealerships. There was a crash in confidence and sales rapidly dwindled.

    Eventually in 2011 the government of Andalusia who were still the owner closed the factory.

  86. @Andrew B
    Interesting information about the Australian G Wagen. Can’t help but thinking that it’s aimed at operational use not just for back home or non conflict roles.
    Possibly (especially the SF types) but then “back home” use in Australia calls for proper 4×4’s a lot more than here in Blighty!

    Good chance to see how they get on with them though, and blag a test drive. Especially as they’ll be comparing with Landies.

  87. Kent – spent a week being chauffed around Kenya in what I thought was a Landcruiser FJ45/7 station wagon but it was I am sure a 6 cylinder diesel. Wiki says there was no such thing. So either it was petrol (gasoline) and sounded like a diesel, or it was the later FJ50/5, or it was a local mod. Whatever, it was tough and mostly reliable and even when it broke* it carried on, so as much as I would want to say it wasn’t up to Landie standards, I can’t – there really wasn’t anything to complain about. Apart from teeny tiny setscrews holding the driveshaft to the wheel hub.

    *These screws being the breakdown – the rear halfshaft (UK speak) driveshaft (US speak) started to leave the vehicle when the last of the teeny-tiny screws sheared. The driver was using rear wheel drive to save a bit of fuel; suddenly no matter which gear he selected it produced no drive. When we stopped the shaft was a foot out from the hub (very Bond and the screws burred over so they couldn’t be removed/replaced by the roadside. So the disconnected shaft went behind the seat, an oily rag was stuffed in the hole in the hub, the transmission set to 4WD and off we went for the last hundred or so miles back to Nairobi, being pulled along by the front wheels without any drama. In my direct experience probably the most fundamental breakdown that’s happened with the least actual effect on the journey. My opinion of the early Landcruisers went up a lot on that trip.

  88. @ kent,
    My neighbour in Spain has had one of those parked nearby for the last twenty years… Of course it is older; older than the photo you posted as the body forms )n it are more rounded.

    @ Chris,
    Being connected with ghe automotive industry, you surelyknow about the local mods… At one time , the only BMW in mass production and with a V8 was made in S. Africa. With an American V8; talk about insults… But it was a good one, anyway.

  89. Aussie Special Op Command brought Supacat HMTs (4×4 and later 6x6s) to replace a mix fleet of Land Rovers (SRV 4×4, LRPV 6×6) and Unimog under Project REDFIN. SF in Afghanistan used Bushmaster vehicles in place of Landies in Afghanistan post 2006 due to the IED problem. The advantages of an open top vehicle was a downside in the more mountainous region of Uruzgan.

    As for Aussie G-wagons, Land Rover didn’t compete in the replacement program (Japanese vehicles built in Thailand rule the off road and commercial markets). Furthermore, many of the contractors supplying vehicles accessories for the ADF do a lot business with the mining industry. With the ADF buy, Mercedes Australia has openly stated that they want to start domestic civilian G-wagon sales to farmers and mining companies.

  90. In South Africa you used to be able to buy a Landy with a straight six BMW diesel engine.

    The Supacat 6×6 looks like a lash up. If I were designing a “light” space frame 6×6 it would be a 2+2+2.

  91. x – I presume by 2+2+2 you mean three equally spaced axles? Can’t be done with the HMT configuration – between axle 1 & 2 is the engine, auto box and transfer case. The only way to mount equally spaced axles is to leave one unpowered and fit it with very different suspension.

    TMV did put together a 6×6 with equally spaced axles, by choosing to lift the driveline above the suspension (and the armoured pod above that). It is a tall vehicle, as anyone that has stood next to it would remember:

    Its a long time since anyone designed a proper military 6×6:

  92. Distributing the sprung weight evenly across a light structure has to be better. A quite like 4+2 6×6 for bigger vehicles; if anything takes out the front wheel the rear wheels hopefully would be out of the blast and would be able to support the vehicle for towing. Not saying the centre wheels have to be powered just there for support a la BDRM-ish with diffocks to push across obstacles (no rails scraping etc.) and clear brows.

  93. With Land rover and Tata now linked it might be worth looking at what Tata already make and start UK production of something suitable with some appropriate modifications
    Tata Sumo, Tata Xenon and the Tata Light Specialist Vehicle (LSV) all being suitable for the jobs.

  94. x – the Army needs Tin Snail pick-ups! Can you imagine one laden with soldiers trying to look tough and scary making its way as fast as it could (25mph?) towards the enemy? Wars would collapse without a shot being fired for helpless laughter…

    The designer (not founder/owner) of Africar also designed the HMT for Supacat (and the ATMP if memory is right) – pretty nifty with suspension designs and unconventional ideas. Worth noting here as mentioned before the choice of watercooled Citroen GS engine was not ideal – it was to be replaced with a more suitable lump later – and on test it made it to the top of the Atlas mountains with several stops to cool down and have more water tipped in the radiator, only to find a 2CV burbling over the top having made the climb without any difficulty. Africar deserved a better fate, but as many in the vehicle engineering field find out there are many really good designs abandoned because the industry and the customer set are blinkered to ‘the way its done’.

    This same designer has dabbled in the suspension of my fine (wheeled) vehicles so their off-road manners should be pretty good. I understate…

  95. @ Chris

    No I was just saying their were other options beyond mass market 4WD that had proven ability to cross difficult country (admittedly not for too long distance) and would be acceptable daily drivers and be light enough to perhaps be moved two at a time under Merlin or perhaps at a stretch one up under Wildcat.

    I judge a person’s engineering “nouse” on what they have to say about 2CV………….

  96. That last picture reminds of a story one of my electrical engineering lecturer’s told us , he designed radios and on reading the specs for a new field radio (this was the 1950’s when did this) the gee rating puzzeled him ,the ones he did for aircraft he could understand @ 7g+ but why an army radio ? The reply he got from his liason was when the MC open fire on your convoy the radio exits the back of the lorry with a large help of a size 11 boot. He went off happy with this answer .

  97. x – 2CVs are brilliant quirky Gallic creations with capability far in excess of what would be expected from the component parts. I couldn’t possibly own one. I rate the humble Beetle highly too (the original, obviously) as a tough no-frills machine. This at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed: On its hind quarters there is a K2K sticker – the only other vehicles bearing these were the motorbike of Chris Short and the support Landcruiser – K2K stood for Kabul to Kennels, where the Kennels is the Goodwood clubhouse; the run from Astan to Sussex was done to support Mission Motorsport. It has been well advertised that motorbike (and support 4×4) made the journey, no comments to confirm or deny the Beetle completed the same challenge, although its quite believable a 55 year old Beetle with minimal preparation would be up for such a jaunt…

  98. I did not think that you could be interested by small French vehicles, here a video of some vehicles that we produce. It lasts 8 minutes. I don’t know if you’ve already seen this one.

  99. For RT to nip about the power paddock ☺
    Warrior is meant for rough power. With a LS3 engine and Mast Motorsport ECU, the Warrior will unleash his 500 bhp through its heavy duty lockable axles. The 44” wheels with bead lock aluminum rims will hover over any terrain and will give a good use to all that power. TheWwarrior is used for off-road – extreme class competition or simply for extreme off road exploration with all adrenaline involved. For at least 50 m, the acceleration can match any advanced sports ca,r but a performance handling requirse a proper technique because of the rear steering, special transfer case and suspension which have special off-road setups. Like all Ghe-O Motors prototype,s Warrior has a cage designed with safety in mind, five point safety belts that can save the pilot from any tumbling. There are many option which can be tailored to pilot requirements even if the Warrior pass the test of time and build its own ecosystem

  100. I’ve just come back from a morning at Bovington and saw the Ovik guys there with their new 4×4 and 6×6. I have to say – bloody impressive vehicles. Built just around the corner from Bovvy. They’re delivering vehicles to a good number of customers now, including armoured to UK police. The 4×4 goes up to 5.4 tonnes and the 6×6 7.5 tonnes allegedly. That’s well over 3 tonnes payload. I gotta say.. I was kinda blown away.

  101. A fair few questions raised and ideas offered but if I’m honest, it doesn’t look at the problem of comms platforms. (I’m an ex infantry signaller with the Coldstream Guards) we need something as close as possible to the Defender, both long wheel based and short wheel. The 110 included. With the Bowman secure digital comms platform fitted to each vehicle (mostly long wheel but smaller platforms in the 110’s for officers etc) In the long wheel based you’ve got vehicle commander and driver/signaller and it’s rare you’ll have passengers in the back unless you’re stationary as the comms platform takes up space and weight. Most of the kit we had when it was the old Clansman radios we had in the wagon but now we HAVE to pull a trailer for kit, food, water cp equipment etc etc. So we need something that’s up to the task, and Rangers etc just won’t cut it. Maybe more panzgauers or Mercedes but Mercedes will not be a bargain.

  102. Pinzgauers, not panzgauers. Also, just to follow up on Ian Hall’s comments the double cabs are not used by the military but the civilian security hired by the MOD. Not at all practical for infantry units on exercise providing comms for infantry battalion in Canada etc.

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