Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

New lightweight vehicles tested by Royal Marines

23 July 2021
Fast and agile lightweight vehicles have been trialled by Royal Marines as they prepare for operations in which quickly raiding adversary positions and getting out is key.

The American-made Polaris MRZR-D4 is an ultralight 4x4 off-roader that can carry up to four commandos and reach speeds of 60mph for rapid movement across the battlefield. 

It is ideally equipped for raiding missions that Royal Marines are now focusing on as part of their modernisation and restructuring, which will ensure they are ready to counter the threats of a modern era. 

The marines have been trialling these vehicles across the sand dunes at Braunton Burrows in North Devon – a place where the latest amphibious warfare techniques have been worked on since it was used for preparations for D-Day in the Second World War.

Warrant Officer 2 Chris Burge, the commando force’s master driver, said: “Because of the Littoral Strike concept and the transformation of the commando forces, Royal Marines are trialling the light mobility vehicle and with that we are using the MRZR-D4 as a proof of concept.

“Today we are at Braunton Burrows where we do our driver training and with the MRZR-D4 we are currently doing the basic operator courses for the Vanguard Strike Company. 

“The MRZR-D4 is going to be used as an agile, nimble vehicle designed for smaller teams to get across the battlefield. 

“It hasn’t got armour protection, so with that it’s more for manoeuvre and agility than for weapons systems. 

“The guys are loving it. It’s something new and the capability is better than what we usually have. The guys are on the ground now understanding limitations and the capability across arduous and demanding conditions.”

The MRZRs lack the armour and carrying ability of the tracked Viking all-terrain vehicles – the main troop and mortar carriers of the Royal Marines’ Armoured Support Group – but their purpose is to get to enemy positions quicker, and get out faster too. 

The turbocharged diesel vehicle can be used to carry supplies and equipment – like ammunition, water and fuel – for commando missions, but can also be fitted with machine guns and grenade launchers for added firepower. 

It can be used for quick attacks and withdrawals, but also for logistical resupply and casualty evacuation and also helpful is that it can fit in Chinook helicopters, meaning marines can be dropped quickly to their location with the MRZR. 

This vehicle is being assessed for its usefulness as commandos begin to operate in small teams of up to 12, moving quickly across the battlefield to hit enemy infrastructure – like radar or missile installations. 

Royal Marines have recently experimented with swarms of drones to support these missions.

An array of autonomous systems operated underwater, on the water, in the sky and over land to help Royal Marines Commandos as they carried out training raids on a number of complex ‘adversary’ positions in Cumbria and Dorset.

The uncrewed systems were used on missions at the Electronic Warfare Tactics facility at RAF Spadeadam on the border with Northumberland and off the south coast in training areas around Lulworth Cove and the Defence BattleLab.

The marines have also recently rolled out the small all-terrain CanAm 6x6 vehicles to move mortars and their crews rapidly around the battlefield, avoiding detection and bring down a hail of fire and fury on enemy positions.


Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.