The Marine Corps has officially started fielding its new Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle (ULTV), Polaris’ [PII] MRZR Alpha platform, the service said on Wednesday.

Marine Corps Systems Command said it has also achieved initial operational capability with the ULTV, adding it’s a “significant milestone” in the ongoing Force Design 2030 modernization effort.

Marine Corps’ Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle. (Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo.)

“Fielding the ULTV serves as a signal that the Corps is keeping in stride with the ambitious roadmap laid out in Force Design 2030,” Col. John Gutierrez, portfolio manager for Logistics Combat Element Systems, said in a statement. “This new capability will ultimately help forge a more agile and resilient Corps—one which is empowered to overcome the evolving complexities of modern warfare.”

Polaris was awarded a seven-year, $109 million in May 2020 deal to deliver the MRZR Alpha to the Marine Corps for ULTV as well as for U.S. Special Operation Command’s Light All-Terrain Tactical Vehicles (LTATV) program (Defense Daily, June 5 2020).

“We are honored to play a part in the U.S. Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 modernization and their fielding of our Polaris MRZR Alpha, the new Ultra Light Tactical Vehicle,” Nick Francis, vice president of Polaris Government and Defense, said in a statement. “Our expertise in off-road vehicle development, engineering and manufacturing provides exceptional value and capability to our military customers and allows us to produce highly modular vehicles that can meet the demanding mobility and reliability requirements of expeditionary forces like the U.S. Marine Corps. The U.S. Marine Corps has always been at the forefront of air-transportable ultra light tactical mobility and we are privileged to work with them.”

The MRZR Alpha for ULTV is replacing the Marine Corps’ Utility Task Vehicle (UTV), also built by Polaris, which the Marine Corps said has “reached the end of its lifecycle.”

The Marine Corps said the new ULTV will “enhance infantry, reconnaissance, and logistics mobility and sustainability, providing the modern warfighter with an advanced, lightweight solution tailored for operations in an anti-access/area denial environment” and can support missions ranging from “logistical support and casualty evacuation to command and control and electronic warfare missions.”

Initial vehicles went to the First Marine Expeditionary Forces’ (MEF) 1st Battalion, 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton in California and the Marine Corps said it will continue rolling out ULTVs throughout the MEF into August, which will then be followed by additional fielding events.

Polaris has said previously the new MRZR Alpha platform features an expanded payload capacity, improved chassis, an 8-speed automotive transmission and an 118 horsepower turbo-diesel engine that “provides 220 foot-pounds of efficient torque” (Defense Daily, Sept. 1 2020). 

The Marine Corps noted the ULTV can also be internally transported in an MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E and CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters.