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New Defender Hits Development Milestone

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Posted On: May 10, 2019 By: Greg Fitzgerald Category: Land Rover News

The New Defender has hit a major development milestone, with 1.2 million kilometers (almost 750,000 miles) covered by the test mule fleet. To celebrate this milestone, and Land Rover's official celebration of World Land Rover Day on April 30th, a more unwrapped photo of the new vehicle was unveiled as part of its partnership with the Tusk Trust in Africa. The next phase of testing will be real-world use by the Tusk Trust in their conservation efforts. Further lightly-camouflaged vehicles were shown with Prince Harry tied into Land Rover's sponsorship of his Invictus Games for veterans.


JLR Invictus Games Partnership

The New Defender will also be built in Slovakia, at the new factory in the city of Nitra. While a blow to the British tradition of the new vehicle, it is expected to help manage costs on what is a bit of a gamble for a company currently in a cashflow crunch, as it is built alongside the Discovery 5, now only built in Slovakia.


Tusk Trust Sponsored Land Rover Defender


The test mules have endured all sorts of testing. In the American West, it tested its performance at altitude in the Rocky Mountains and traversed challenging terrain in Death Valley, Moab, and the Rubicon Trail. Across Europe, various systems were tested, including testing dynamics and Anti-Lock Braking on Germany's famous Nurburgring. In northern Sweden, it was tested in sub-40 degree temperatures (that's the same in Fahrenheit or Centigrade, mind you). In the United Arab Emirates, the Defender was bashed across the dunes to test its capabilities in the hard work of traversing sand in the hot desert.


Land Rover Defender Test Mule In Sweden


Land Rover Defender In The American West


Now the Tusk Trust test will take it to the Borana Conservancy in Kenya, where it will be used in the real world to tow trailers, traverse streams, and traverse the 14,000 hectare/34,500 acre wildlife retreat. This will tie into Land Rover's long-standing support of non-governmental organizations and non-profits, as well as their support of conservation and humanitarian efforts. Over the coming years, Defenders should fulfill this role often, including with Land Rover's partnership with the Red Cross and Red Crescent and their scientific partnerships with the Land Rover Bursary, like this year's expedition to work to eradicate malaria.


Land Rover Defender Traversing Rocky Plateaus


The Defender was also seen in another custom camouflage supporting the Invictus Games. The Invictus Games are the initiative of HRH Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and are an annual sporting event for wounded, injured, and sick war veterans. The 2020 Games will be held in The Hague, Netherlands, and will be prominently sponsored by Land Rover. Whether the Sussexes will be taking delivery of a Defender to tote around their newborn Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor is yet to be seen.

The Duke met participants and organizers at the event site and viewed a prototype Defender. Next year, the Defender will be used in the driving challenges at the Games. He also saw JLR's prototype Mobility Door installed on a Range Rover Sport -- a door that can open and close without having to reach out and grab it.

The New Defender comes ever closer. These partnership camouflages may become more and more common this year, as Land Rover ties its new de facto flagship to its wide array of humanitarian partners. The plus side is that it gives us more and more chances to see the world's most visible camouflaged concept car.

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