When you think of the US military using ATVs in the desert, you might imagine a scene from Star Wars. Well it wouldn’t be that far off as US Special Forces have been using all-terrain vehicles for some time. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the machines are ideal. Now they’re getting new ones.

Minnesota-based Polaris Defense announced last week that it is supplying the US military – specifically US Special Operations Command – with more all-terrain vehicles as part of a 5-year contract. The $83 million dollar contract is for two models and includes contractor logistics support, according to Fox News.

Polaris has been providing ATVs to SOCOM for the past three years, and the new agreement means that more special forces will have access to these versatile machines. The MRZR 2 carries two operators, and depending on the configuration, the MRZR 4 can carry from four to six. On US special operations missions, ultra-light mobility is the major capability need.

The ATVs manufactured for SOCOM have on-demand advanced 4-wheel drive for maximum traction – the vehicles automatically engage all four wheels as needed and can automatically revert back to two-wheel. That creates less wear and tear on the machine: smart tech providing the precise power the operator needs at exactly the time it is needed. 

“These are extremely configurable platforms, providing operators with the ability to quickly prepare for missions even in extreme terrains,” Polaris Defense General Manager Rich Haddad stated in a press release. 

The SOCOM ATVs can reach a maximum speed of 60 mph with 88HP engines designed for reliable performance over tough terrain. They have standard features: winch, aircraft tie-downs, large cargo boxes, and fold-down rollover structures for operator protection. That roll cage is smartly designed to be quickly and easily removable without tools. They have keyless ignitions and are built with a low center of gravity because of clever engine placement. This ensures that the ATV is very agile. ()

These MRZR models have smooth electronic steering, critical in reducing fatigue for operators who may have to drive for long periods of time. And because there are times when they must keep a low profile, the vehicles can black-out instantly: the white light shuts off with a single switch and there’s also an option for infared light. The MRZR has already proven to be adaptable for downrange missions.

Today these MRZR models are an important military tool, already in use in more than 20 countries supporting the work of the U.S. and allied forces.