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Series IIa 'Pink Panther'

In 1968 The MoD bought 72 Series IIa 109's, officially known as Truck, General Service, 3/4 Ton, or FV 18064, which they had adapted for use by the British Army's Special Air Service (SAS) in the desert. These vehicles were designed for long distance reconnaissance and special operation missions. Previously they had been using the 88 inch Land Rover for their operations and in the late 1960s they were looking for a bigger load carrier. In 1968, Marshalls of Cambridge were commissioned to convert a 109 inch Land Rover for desert duties. Four fuel tanks allowed a capacity of 100 gallons to be carried. Heavier duty chassis, springs, sand tyres, guards to the diffs and a specially mounted spare wheel were also fitted. The doors and windscreen were removed. Equipment included a general-purpose machine gun, anti-tank weapon, rifles, grenade holders, smoke canisters and navigation equipment such as a theodolite and compasses. When fully loaded with fuel, weapons, and other kit, the vehicle weighed in excess of 3 tonnes. They were delivered in standard bronze green, but many were repainted in a hand-mixed pink colour, which at that time was believed to be the best camouflage in the desert. Hence they soon became known as ‘Pink Panthers’ or 'pinkies'. Although the Series IIa version is the most famous, similar vehicles based on the Series III 109 inch, 110 and Defender have also been used. In the Both Gulf Wars the 110 versions proved invaluable, as they even outperformed the specially equipped Hummers. So much so, that the US Rangers have also procured 110 / Defender based vehicles for a similar role. The nickname of "pinkies" stuck on them even though the new ones are no longer painted in that colour.

SAS Pink Panther

Pink Panther
SAS IIa Pink Panther.

Desert Patrol Vehicle
Desert Patrol Vehicle
A more modern version of the Pink Panther.

Display at the Gaydon show 2008

US Army Ranger Special Operations Vehicle (RSOV)

The Ranger Special Operations Vehicle is a Land Rover design that was introduced after the first Gulf War. Produced by Land Rover's SVO (Special Vehicle Operations), the RSOV was designed as a rapid defensive fighting platform, similar to the British Army's WMIK. The RSOV is used not as an assault vehicle, but as a method for rapidly applying forces to key locations in the battlefield. Impressed with its capabilities, the US Rangers bought 60 vehicles and dubbed them the Ranger Special Operations Vehicle. Designed with a crew of three in mind, the RSOV carries a driver, gunner, and Leader/gunner. It has a top mount that can be used to mount one of five different weapons (M-60, M240, M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun, Mk19 grenade launcher). There is also a mount for a machine gun in the passengers side seat and capabilities to carry AT-4 or RAAWS (Ranger Anti-Armor Weapon System), which is the 84mm Carl Gustav recoilless Rifle.

The Rangers have three main types of RSOV, the weapons carrier, Medical vehicle, or Communications vehicle. As a weapons carrier it can carry up to 8,000 lbs and six fully armed Rangers. Based on the 110 Land Rover Chassis, the RSOV is powered by a four cylinder turbocharged engine with plenty of power and torque for hauling loads around the battlefield. It is compact enough to fit inside a CH-47 Chinook (as well as European EH-101 helicopter) and C-130 Hercules cargo plane and can be sling-loaded underneath Chinooks or Blackhawks.

US Army Rangers RSOV
US Army Rangers RSOV.

US Army Rangers RSOV

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