The British born manufacturer Land Rover is synonymous with vehicles that are designed for purpose plus strong, reliable, hard-wearing and easily at home with driving off-road in the countryside, as they are in a town. The company's pedigree stretches far back to its launch in 1948, in that time it has made its mark not only in the British motoring industry, but also across the worldwide motoring globe. I'm sure it would be hard to find a country that does not have a Land Rover in residence. The Land Rover is often attached with the tagline "The Best 4x4 by Far".
The Land Rover Defender was inspired by the US-jeep and since then little has changed to the design - giving it true legendary status. It’s easy to adapt to the user’s needs, is very reliable in extreme conditions and has the uncanny ability to go practically anywhere. It is claimed to be the first vehicle to have been seen by a third of Earth’s population. It’s sturdiness and long presence on the continent is also the reason why the Defender is a car that became synonymous with Africa - working its way into the stereotypical image rankings alongside the acacia tree, animal safaris and orange sunsets. Land Rover Defenders have always been associated with African safaris and game viewing and if want to experience the best spots on your safari adventure then a 4x4 vehicle is essential. Many of the most scenic areas, finest game reserves and more pristine coastal areas are only accessible by gravel roads or tracks. This makes a 4x4 vehicle the ideal mode of transport when exploring Africa. The Defender offers rugged reliability and unlimited access to almost every area. The Land Rover Defender is specifically built for over-land and off-road purposes.
It’s exactly what you want when traveling in the remote areas of the world - basic, practical and reliable, yet comfortable and of extraordinary capability. All important components like chassis, suspension, engine and drive train are extremely reliable. Excellent off-road ability. A number of features make the Land Rover Defender the best-off road vehicle, these include excellent suspension travel and overall off-road suspension. A very low ratio 4wd transmission, center diff lock system, Very high ground clearance and approach and departure angles. The practicality of the Land Rover Defender is built for day-to-day hard usage; while to some the square shape may look outdated, it offers excellent load space and good accessibility. A large number of accessories unique to the Land Rover are available due to the shape and practical nature of the vehicle. Fitted long range fuel tanks, rugged roof racks, fender protection plates, a front protection bar and a drawer design load system with storage boxes are just a few extras that can be fitted to Land Rover 4x4 vehicles.
One vehicle popular for military operations around the world is the Land Rover. The Land Rover is one of the most hardy and durable machines a soldier could hope to be sat in. The UK design initially used aluminum for much of the construction, which led to the Land Rover's reputation for longevity and resistance to corrosion in even the toughest conditions. Various Land Rover models have been used in a military capacity, most notable the British and Australian military. British forces have used Land Rovers since the 1950s, as have many countries in the British Commonwealth of Nations. The British Army replaced its Series III fleet with One Tens in 1985, with a smaller fleet of 90’s following in 1986. Both used the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated diesel engine. The Land Rover Defender is air portable, making it suitable for rapid deployment to anywhere in the world.
The Special Air Service (SAS) have used the Series IIA and Series III for long-range desert reconnaissance and affectionately named them “Pink Panthers” or “Pinkies”. Far from being a stylistic choice, the SAS painted their Land Rovers pink - not the most macho of paint schemes but one that was effective at providing excellent camouflage in the desert, especially at dawn or dusk. The Long-Range Desert Group (LRDG) now the more modern SAS found this out when they happened upon a plane that had been shot down during WWII and noticed that the metal had been worn pink after years of exposure to the sand. They also noticed that unless you were really close, the plane was like a giant metal pink ghost and that from a distance it was virtually invisible. So, for desert use they were often painted pink, hence the name.
Military Defender models come in all shapes and sizes. Primarily used as a light utility vehicle that has been adopted in a number of guises and body styles including fire engines, excavators, communication vehicles, ambulance, a lightweight model for air transport, snow plough, and six-wheel drive, amphibious and track-propelled versions. Modifications for military use include heavy-duty suspension, modified upgrade brakes, 24V electrical system, snorkel, black-out lights, Power Take-Off (PTO) shafts, larger fuel tanks, smoke discharges, 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 automatic grenade launcher.
Series and Defender model vehicles have been used by many of the world's military forces, including the US in some limited capacity, following experience with the vehicle during Korea and more recently in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, where US forces found the British Army’s vehicles to be more capable. In Kosovo Defenders where more suited to urban operations when US Rangers found their Hummers couldn’t get through the narrow streets. In 1992 The 75th Ranger Regiment of the United Sates Army adapted twelve versions of the Land Rover that were officially designated the Ranger Special Operation Vehicles (RSOV). The vehicle was a light military vehicle and was based around a Land Rover Defender 110 having different specifications from the British military version.
The SAS pioneered the use of the Land Rovers as a mobile weapons platform. The SAS had used Jeeps to shoot up German aircraft parked on remote desert airstrips during WWII. Post War, they eventually graduated to the new Land Rover Series’ and Defender models. The SAS perfected the art of adapting the utility vehicles into long-range patrol and attack vehicles. The concept was proved in 1991 when during the first Gulf War, the SAS, one of the most hardened and elite military units on earth were asked to go behind enemy lines into the desert to the be the eyes and ears of the Allied forces in Operation Desert Storm. To help them they used military Land Rover 110’s. In the mid-eighties the 110 became the SAS's new Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV). The DPV had coiled-spring suspension, providing for a much more comfortable ride than its predecessors. Whilst still affectionately called 'Pinkies' by the SAS, they sported a more traditional beige camouflage scheme.
In 1994 Land Rover created the Defender XD (extra duty) to replace and complement these vehicles. Powered by 300Tdi engine, the XD has a much stronger chassis, with fiber webbing around the welded joints in the chassis and around stress points to massively increase load capacity. The XD was available both 90 and 110 forms and is known to the British Army as the Land Rover “Wolf”. The “Wolf” is a light military vehicle that is a custom designed and in use by the British Forces and the Dutch Marine Corp. Although the Land Rover Wolf has a similar appearance to a civilian Defender, the Wolf was designed to meet military needs and harsher demands. In 1999 the Weapons Mount Installation Kit (WMIK) was based on the popular military version of the 110 series. The WMIK was designed as a reconnaissance and fire support vehicle. It featured a strengthened chassis; a roll bar cage and a series of weapons mounts for various weapons systems allowing the WMIK to be armed in a range of configurations with 7.62mm machine guns, .50cal heavy machine guns, milan missile launchers and also the H&K grenade launcher. Land Rover WMIKs have been used by British forces in a range of operations throughout the world.
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