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Why the trusty Land Rover is still vital to the Army after 74 years



Watch: Why the trusty Land Rover remains a key Army vehicle.

It has been a sturdy servant of the British Army for more than 70 years.

The Land Rover has been a vital part of the force since it first came into service in 1949.

Simple, dependable and a workhorse of the British military, it’s a vehicle that still has a key role to play after all these years.

Many other more sophisticated vehicles have come and gone in that time, but it remains a key part of the Army’s fleet of vehicles.

Major Donald Urquhart from 154 (Scottish) Regiment Royal Logistic Corps said: “They are used in liaison roles as communications vehicles, transport vehicles.

“Currently they are used very much in a training role for deploying and operations. On operations, we generally try and go for an armoured vehicle, so these are training platforms normally carrying radios and command posts.

“In summary why they’re good for the job currently, they’re very, very basic and straightforward. These vehicles are still very successful because they don’t have any electronics on them.

“There’s no electronic control unit so a very straightforward to fix and that’s probably the biggest single strength.”

The Land Rover is durable, reliable and simple to maintain

The vehicle’s simplicity has been a big part of its longevity in service – something that can be fixed easily and is not too complicated.

However, the soldiers need to know what they are doing to use the Land Rover properly.

The Army tests the skills needed to use these vehicles to their full potential every year in Scotland.

For more than 30 years, Exercise Mudmaster has been putting the Land Rovers and their drivers through their paces.

Exercise Mudmaster Off-road drivers from the Army have been testing their skills
Military and civilian drivers have been practising their off-roading skills on Exercise Mudmaster in Scotland for over 30 years

Officer Cadet Rhona Duncan from Aberdeen Officer Training Corps said: “I’ve always been interested in Land Rovers from a young age.

“If you know it drives properly – it can go everywhere.

“The Mudmaster off-road driving exercise helps with learning all the gearings and when to use low-range, high-range, all the different gears.

“If you’re able to use them effectively and you’ve practised it before then you’ll be more likely to be able to carry out your operations effectively and you’ll be able to know when things might go wrong and mitigate that happening.”

British Army Land Rovers in a trial to test electric power on UK military vehicles
The British Army have been testing out electric powered Land Rovers (Picture: Babcock).

The Land Rover was inspired by the military jeeps of the Second World War, but was initially designed for farming and industrial use.

But with some changes, these vehicles became a key part of the force and after seven decades of service they are still valued by the soldiers who use them today.

Lieutenant Tim Johnston from 157 (Welsh) Regiment RLC said: “They are a great platform for training. Great off-road and easy to repair. 

“All soldiers have been trained in basic training how to use the vehicle off-road and Mudmaster offers a great opportunity to put those skills to use and develop them further for operations.”

The Land Rover, with a few modifications over the years, has been a constant in the British Army.

It’s a simple and durable bit of kit that is difficult to replace – even after 74 years.

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