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US SOCOM and Marine Corps test new Polaris MRZR Alpha 6x6

5th May 2024 - 18:00 GMT | by Andrew White in Tampa

Polaris’s MRZR Alpha 6x6 is undergoing testing by US SOCOM and the Marine Corps, exploring its enhanced capabilities in logistics and precision fires across various US locations.

An undisclosed number of Polaris Government and Defense MRZR Alpha 6x6 vehicles have been purchased by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) and Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) as part of a test and evaluation programme, company officials have confirmed.

Speaking to Shephardahead of SOF Week 2024, a company official confirmed MRZR Alpha 6x6 vehicles had been delivered to USSOCOM’s Program Manager - Family of Special Operations Vehicles (PM-FOSOV) in January to support ‘continued evaluation and experimentation’.

PM-FOSOV will use their vehicles to help inform future requirements,’ the official said before confirming the MCWL is also ‘actively experimenting with implementing new capabilities using the platform in the areas of logistics and precision fires’.

Neither USSOCOM nor Polaris were able to provide specific details regarding test locations and dates. However, defence sources informed Shephard that evaluation had taken place at sites in the south-west and mid-west of the continental US in addition to the participation of the new MRZR variant at USSOCOM’s Ground Mobility Rodeo, held in April at the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC).

At SOF Week last year, PM-FOSOV officials first disclosed plans to consider an ‘Expanded Cargo Vehicle (3-axle/6x6)’ capability in 2023. No further details were released at that time.

Defence sources also confirmed to Shephard that evaluation of the 6x6 was already underway with the MCWL at Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Dahlgren in Virginia, with evaluations also planned with Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in the coming months. The USMC also received its MRZR Alpha 6x6 in January.

The news follows the disclosure of the Minnesota-based company’s development and manufacture of the extended wheelbase prototype vehicle in June 2023.

Polaris’s family of MRZR lightweight tactical assault vehicles have until now comprised 4x4 designs, gaining significant popularity around the world, particularly with special operations forces who use them for special reconnaissance, direct action and ‘fly and drive’ missions.

Discussing the design of the two-seater 6x6 variant, the company official declared: ‘A third axle and short wheelbase have a positive impact on mobility, decreasing the contact pressure per tire for enhanced performance in soft soil, mud and bogs.

‘Additionally, the vehicle’s rock crawling capability is improved. The MRZR Alpha 6x6 maintains top speed and air transportability and will have more than 90% parts commonality with the base MRZR Alpha.’

Polaris initially selected to design and manufacture the 6x6 platform to optimise ‘heavier systems and payloads like mobile mortar systems, command and control, UAS/drone launch, counter-UAS and others’.

The 6x6 variant, which is just 11 inches longer than its 4x4 predecessor, features an additional 3,000lbs in payload availability over the 4x4 Alpha platform already in service with US SOF and US Marines.

Similar to the 4x4, it can also be carried as an internal load on board V-22 Osprey tiltrotors.

In a separate but related effort, company officials have introduced two new export power variants of the MRZR Alpha 4x4 that increase the export power capabilities from 1kW at 12V to 1kW up to 5kW at 24V while stationary or on the move to support the operation of these power-hungry solutions.

The 6x6 was showcased at Modern Day Marine at Marine Corps Base Quantico and again at SOF Week, equipped with an MSI pedestal launcher; BAE Systems’ APKWS; and additional rockets on board.

The Polaris official declared the platform could also support a variety of other solutions, including L-MADIS (Light Marine Air Defense Integrated System), Common Aviation Command and Control System (CAC2S), and NOTM (networking on the move).

Andrew White


Andrew White

Andrew is a former editor of Digital Battlespace and Unmanned Vehicles magazines. Andrew joined Shephard …

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