It is now official: Marine Corp infantry units will be getting ATVs this January. The total number of vehicles will be 144, with a cost of about $2.5 million. The vehicles will be the Polaris MRZR-D all-terrain vehicles; each infantry regiment will get 18 of the new vehicles.
The vehicle can operate on diesel or JP-8 fuel. Each is small enough to fit into the MV-22 Osprey; they are unarmored, however. Each can carry four Marines, and requires only one driver.
The vehicles will allow ground troops to carry more supplies, ammo, move faster, and can be used to move casualties.
Marine Corps regiments can expect delivery to begin in late January, and the completion date for deliveries is April. The Corps also has the option to purchase more, it desired. It is not clear yet if other non-infantry units will get the vehicles later.
The ATVs were evaluated by the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, the Corps’ experimental unit. Reports say that the vehicles were received warmly and were able to perform well under a variety of conditions.
The new vehicles should not be confused with the ITV (internally transportable vehicle) that the Corps purchased in the past. A total of 411 of those vehicles were bought by the Corps and are used for reconnaissance purposes as well as for towing the 120mm mortar. Reports say that the Corps do not plan to buy any more of those particular vehicles.
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments published a report earlier this month stating that the Marine Corps would benefit if they purchased more of these types of vehicles that can fit inside the Osprey.
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