There are various vehicles in service within U.S. Special Operations Command but the ultimate ATVs are among most popular. SOF ATVs are heavily mobile all-terrain vehicles capable of carrying a significant amount of payload.

The combat-ready Special Forces ATVs gives the ultimate in traction, gripping the terrain to take operators through the corners, whoops and loose sand. It’s the reliable responding combat system especially for long reconnaissance mission which requires power to all 4 wheels.

Polaris MRZR-D4 ATV with operators on board (Photo: Polaris)

You might not be surprised to learn that Marine and Army tactical ground units have been using lightly militarized all-terrain-vehicles (ATVs) for years. But you might raise an eyebrow at the way Marines think of ATVs. While personal four-wheeler might be a treasured possession, the military is ready to blow up its ATVs at any time.

Marines bought a 144 Polaris ATVs called the Utility Task Vehicle (UTV), it is a version of the vehicle already in use by U.S. Special Operations Command, but is designed to be diesel-powered and can run on JP-8 fuel. The Marines bought the ATVs because they can fit inside an MV-22 Osprey, enabling them to be deployed from long distances, to provide logistics support to ground combat units, assisting them to travel and transport supplies quicker and easier than previously on foot. Usually, combat-ready SOF ATVs can carry four troops and have a small cargo bed capable of carrying around 1,500 lb (680 kg) of payload, depends on the version.

SOF ATVs are typically configured with infrared filters over the headlamps for operation with night vision devices and brackets for holding M4a1 carbines. For example, the Polaris RZR 800, is classified as a Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle, or LTATV, due to its side-by-side seating configuration.

Polaris MRZR-D4 ATV (Photo: Polaris)

The U.S. Army’s 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division dropped 10 MRZRs when it jumped into Poland in June 2016 as part of an exercise to test their ability to bolster NATO’s eastern flank against possible Russian aggression.

The MRZR ATV is a very Spartan design. There’s no armor protection. It’s designed to carry extra ammunition, food, water and casualties if necessary.

We are not comparing this to a JLTV or an up-armored Humvee or anything like that. It’s designed to stay off road; it’s designed to enable you to be unpredictable. It’s a mule. It’s designed to be there at the most tactical level.

Photo showing a special forces ATV being loaded onto a Chinook helicopter (Photo: DoD)

Special Operations units have used various ATVs in Afghanistan, many manufactured by Polaris.