Jason Engstrom, center, a Utility Task Vehicle engineer with Program Executive Officer Land Systems, reviews several of the vehicles upgrades with Marines at the Transportation Demonstration Support Area aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, Dec. 4, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Ashley Calingo)
After two years of getting knocked around by grunts in the field, the Marine Corps is applying a raft of upgrades to its lightweight all-terrain vehicles to improve safety and performance, including reinforced floorboards and run-flat tires.
Marine Corps Systems Command announced last week that service's off-the-shelf Utility Task Vehicles, based on the Polaris MRZR-D all-terrain vehicle, will receive a series of upgrades "taking inspiration spanning the automotive industry to desert racing" to better accommodate the vehicle's intense operation at the hands of infantry Marines.
Marine special operators are still using the militarized version of a lightweight off-roading vehicle that has reportedly caught fire more than 180 times, killing four people and injuring 30.
Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command has not received any manufacturing recalls on the more than 50 Polaris MRZR vehicles Marine Raiders began using in 2014, said Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney, a command spokeswoman.