Combat Utes for the Army?

Polaris MRZR. This is the four seater model pictured at the Bangkok defence show in 2015. Polaris was hoping they will get more regional sales after they sold ten to PDRM that year. Malaysian Defence.picture.

SHAH ALAM: Back in 2015, Malaysian Defence reported that the police has acquired Polaris MRZR light tactical all terrain vehicle or combat buggies for use in ESSCOM. Apart from a picture in the Star newspaper about the combat buggies during that time, I have no idea what had happened to these vehicles some 10 years on.

The MRZRs are in use with the US forces and 40 other countries usually by special forces or airborne units. In US service, the MRZRs are

fitted with counter unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS), high-energy laser systems, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, tactical aviation ground refuelling systems, and expeditionary command and control systems. It is also equipped with direct-fire weapons, autonomy packages, and communication equipment.

. For more go here.

The latest variant of the four seater version of the Polaris MRZR light tactical all terrain vehicle. Polaris.

Russia has also procured thousands of similar vehicles for use in its war in Ukraine, though they bought the China Desert Cross 1000.3 combat utes. Unlike the MRZR with two or four seats variants, the Desert Cross can carry three soldiers and a load bed.
Desert Cross 1000-3 buggy being used asa farm vehicle in the US.

Malaysian Defence has now been told by industry sources that the Army also intend to procure some 100 combat buggies for use by its forces to augment the scramblers in reconnaissance platoons. The extra capacity of the combat utes will allow scouts to carry more equipment. Both the MRZR and the Desert Cross, Malaysian Defence was told are expected to be offered for the competition.
Polaris MRZR in combat mode. Polaris picture.

Despite their all-terrain capability, the combat utes cannot be driven on public roads. This means the Army units issued with them need to put carry them in trucks for operations unlike the scramblers which can self-deployed.
Soldiers from 4th Mek Brigade putting an assault boat into a three tonne truck for a flood relief mission in January 2021. BTDM

This is similar to the employment of combat boats in the past where they are manhandled into trucks to get to the destination. Only recently, the Army procured trailers for its combat boats.
7 RRD soldiers hitching a boat on its trailer to a three-tonne truck at their camp in Mentakab, Pahang in December 2023. 7 RRD.

— Malaysian Defence

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12 Comments

  1. Just the thing recce elements need; including 10 Para’s Pathfinders. For that matter it makes sense for ATGW teams to have them.

    I’m just curious as to how loud they are.

  2. TD still in this high mobility phase acquisitions for recon asset. Yet to see anything serious on isr or target acquisition drones.

  3. I thought Hulu would be happy since he been pushing Polaris Dagor for quite some time

  4. Hasnan – ”yet to see anything serious on isr or target acquisition drones.”

    The list is a long one and cash is scarce. Where do we start? With arty? Armour? Thousands of DJIs to be issued at battalion level? Loitering munitions to complement existing direct fire weapons? Air defence? A token EW capability?

  5. Just don’t use them in direct combat. I have seen reports on YouTube that the Russians have been using the Desert Cross to ferry troops in an assault!

  6. Polaris DAGOR is not a UTV/buggy.

    Size comparison of Polaris MRZR and DAGOR
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GImsT5zakAAIgve.jpg

    I am for the DAGOR (for 10 PARA) as it can carry 9 person + weapons ring = a transport 1 whole infantry section (malaysian army = 8 soldiers), and fit into the C-130
    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GImpzZsacAAU0jq.jpg

    But it costs USD150 thousand each. If we can use the Hilux CHAMP chassis (said to have similar chassis as Hilux Revo but sells for RM61 thousand each), and fit the same features of the DAGOR (ie can carry 8-9 soldiers within the same size envelope) and can be had around RM250k, i am all ears.

    as for this recce requirement, 4 person crew is enough, with 2 of them able to dismount and use the electric bikes. While the other 2 crew remain with the vehicle and operate the optical mast.

  7. I still don’t geddit. Since we already have the Cendana SOV, that can be the basis of a recon vehicle variant. It keeps the logistics and maintenance job simpler and keeps Cendana in business longer.

  8. still don’t geddit. Since we already have the Cendana SOV, that can be the basis of a recon vehicle variant. It keeps the logistics and maintenance job simpler and keeps Cendana in business longer.(Hasnan)
    You forget …MinDef is a minefield of competing officers and officials eager to make a fast buck from anyone anywhere!

  9. ”4 person crew is enough, with 2 of them able to dismount and use the electric bikes. While the other 2 crew remain with the vehicle and operate the optical mast.”’

    It would totally depend on the operational circumstances thus I wouldn’t prematurely apply the ”enough” claim and will the said vehicle be fitted with any mast? We are talking about recce elements as part of a forward screen as opposed to a recce/observation vehicle with optronics which would be operated further back

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