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US special ops clinches deal for cutting-edge ATVs

September 3rd, 2015 at 8:30 PM

Who doesn’t love an all-terrain vehicle? U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is no exception.

Last week Medina, Minn.-based Polaris Defense announced that it is supplying the U.S. military with more all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

The company has been supplying its MRZR ATVs to SOCOM for three years – and now special forces are getting their hands on even more.

The new order is for MRZR 2 and MRZR 4s.  The MRZR2 is an ideal variant to carry two operators and the MRZR 4 can carry four, or even six, depending on the configuration.

Related: The laser cannon that kills drones

Ultra-light vehicle mobility will continue to be a  key capability for U.S. special operations missions.

The five-year MRZR 2 and MRZR 4 contract is worth $83 million, according to Polaris Defense, which started delivery last month.  The new contract also includes contractor logistics support.

“These are extremely configurable platforms, providing operators the ability to quickly prepare for missions even in the most extreme terrain,” said Polaris Defense General Manager Rich Haddad, in a press release. “MRZRs provide extreme mobility SOF can count on, that deploys in tactical air, providing maximum flexibility.”

What’s cool about it?


These SOCOM ATVs feature on demand advanced all-wheel drive.  When more traction is needed, the vehicle automatically engages all four wheels and can automatically revert back to two-wheel. This advanced tech translates into more power when an operator needs it on a mission and also less general wear and tear on the vehicle.

Related: Meet the JLTV: Part-tank, part-ultimate off-road racing machine

Both variants also reach about 60 mph maximum speed with 88 HP engines that have been designed for extreme performance in the toughest terrains. The vehicles have fantastic throttle response and acceleration.

The MRZR 2 can carry 1,000 pounds while the MRZR 4 can carry 1,500.

They also have standard features like a winch, aircraft tie-downs, large cargo boxes and fold-down rollover structures for operator protection.

To ensure maximum agility, the ATVs are built with a low center of gravity. In part, this is achieved by cunning placement of key components like the engine. The vehicles also have keyless ignition, which makes it easy to jump in and go.

The smooth, highly responsive electronic power steering can help reduce fatigue for operators that have to drive for very long periods.  The roll cage has a smart design that provides protection, but can be quickly and easily removed without tools.

Related: Lockheed Martin developing U-2 spy plane successor, report says

Important for keeping a low profile, the vehicle can black out instantaneously. The white light on the vehicle can be immediately shut off by just one switch – there’s also the option to use infrared on the vehicles.

And very cool, the MRZRs can arrive by air since their easily transported by CV-22 tiltrotor military aircraft.

The highly-mobile off-road MRZR can be configured lots of different ways to adapt for specific mission requirements while downrange.

MRZRs are in service in more than 20 countries supporting the U.S. and allied forces, according to Polaris Defense.

Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at or follow her on Twitter@Allison_Barrie.

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