US Army Land Rovers? Yep, there was such a thing.

1993. Rangers prep their Ranger Special Operations Vehicles for lift by the 160th SOAR.

And then, they haul ’em.

Around this time, Group was developing the GMV, an SF-ified unarmored HMMWV, but we did use COTS Land Rovers in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were considerable advantages to the RSOV over the GMV — it could carry more people and stuff (the HMMWV is very large, but it’s badly designed from a trash-hauling standpoint) and it could fit on the roads and bridges in the real world, not the massive structures HMMWVs require.

Before the RSOVs, they had Chenoweth-built sand rails. Good off-road mobility, but as temperamental as a Lamborghini, and without much on them that was .mil standard (even the fuel, as the .mil went all-GP8).

Of course, it’s hard to beat a Toyota Hilux when you need a low-profile, dependable vehicle. Most US military vehicles are made by companies that do exclusively government contracts, and that therefore have no accountability and no reason to produce a reliable or maintainable product. So most US military vehicles suck.

Funny Land Rover story: the Aussies left their LRs behind for the Afghan military, as cheaper to buy new than to ship these back to Oz. But the Afghan National Army never got them — the various nabobs in the MOD parceled them out to family members and tribesmen, and every single one of over 100 Land Rovers (IIRC) was off the ANA books in under 24 hours.

It was one of our first windows into how dry-rotted with corruption the Hamid Karzai government, and especially the MOD of Fahim Khan, was.

7 thoughts on “US Army Land Rovers? Yep, there was such a thing.

  1. Eric

    In Feb ’03, while loading up to deploy to OIF, there were rows of brand-new Toyota pickups lined up on the airstrip. We were told not to ask – I figure the statute of limitations is up on that one.

  2. Tim, '80s Mech Guy

    Supposedly Socom sent guys to the local dealerships and bought ALL the 4×4 Tacos, loaded them on planes and off they went. Find a Guardsman who is a Toyota mechanic put his, or her ass on orders and you are in biddness.

    1. Boat Guy

      While there are SOME differences a Taco is more or less a HiLux
      I had a 2000 Land Cruiser on an assignment that featured a 4.2 litre in-line six cylinder diesel. Fantastic machine! If I could get that engine in my current Taco I’d be one happt boy.

  3. Medic09

    Hilux rocks. Actually, most Japanese 4WD pickups rock.

    Inside Israel, we used Peugeot ‘tenders’ in my time. But in Lebanon that was a giveaway, so we got Datsun trucks and sometimes Toyotas (IIRC). The Japanese trucks were great. Rugged, intended for hard use and poor maintenance. Just raise the ground clearance a bit, and off you go! Nothing fancy, but they got the job done fairly cheaply; and you could always find a way to fix them. Sometimes super-specialized is not the best choice in the real world.

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