The history of the iconic Land Rover Defender has been closely associated with the British armed forces that have depended on the vehicle for safely transporting soldiers through some of the toughest combat arenas the world over. After five decades of service, the British Special Air Service (SAS) will be cutting its Land Rover fleet in favor of newer vehicles with increased safety features.
The SAS’s decision to cut the Defender as its primary fleet vehicle coincides with Land Rover’s choice to end production of the current Defender. No replacement has yet been named, but it appears that the SAS will opt for a variation of the Husky vehicles currently used in Afghanistan. It is thought that newer, high-tech vehicles will offer better protection to soldiers, particularly from roadside bombs. The British army has purchased over 200,000 Land Rover Defenders for military use over the past 50 years, coveting the vehicle for its utilitarian capabilities and adaptability to harsh environments. In recent years, the Defender has come under criticism for deficiencies in protecting its occupants from improvised roadside bombs.
“The Land Rover has been the work horse of UK armed forces, but I suspect Afghanistan will be its last operational deployment,” noted a senior Army source.
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