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Land Rover Wolf
Land Rover Wolf in British military service
Place of origin  United Kingdom
Weight 1.60 tonnes
Length 4.55 m
Width 1.79 m
Height 2.03 m
Crew 2+6 passengers (GS version (General Service)).

12.7mm heavy machine gun
7.62mm general purpose machine gun
Engine Land Rover 300 Tdi engine
111 hp (83 kW)
Power/weight hp/tonne
Suspension Wheel 4×4
510 km
Speed 160 km/h

The Land Rover Wolf is a military utility vehicle in service with UK Armed Forces and the Dutch Marine Corps. The vehicle is famous for being the primary utility vehicle of the British Army.

The term Wolf was a project name used by Land Rover to cover the British Army's recent range of vehicles. The name is not officially used by the MoD but adopted by soldiers as a generic term. The project designations were MoD: Higher Specification (HS) or Land Rover Ltd: eXtra Duty (XD) and there are 23 variants.[1] The term "Wolf" should not be confused with the militarised Mercedes Geländewagen based "Wolf" marketed by Rheinmetall Defence.

Truck Utility Light/Medium

The Wolf is a UK MoD bespoke militarised version of the Land Rover Defender. Designated in service as Truck Utility Light or Truck Utility Medium (TUL/TUM) High Specification (HS), the TUL was based on the shorter-wheelbase Defender 90, whilst the TUM was based on the Defender 110. The Wolf carries a variety of crews, equipment and communication and information systems for commanders depending on role.

Some Wolf Land Rovers are winterised and waterproofed: a snorkel allows the vehicle to wade through water up to windscreen level and an engine fluids heater is fitted to pre-warm the engine – along with the other modifications to enable the vehicle and crew to operate in extreme conditions. Other modifications are made for operations in tropical environments. The Royal Marines operate a special deep-wading version for amphibious assaults. Fitted with a 'periscope' snorkel, waterproofed electrical systems and instruments, and prepared with grease and graphite lubricant on practically every moving part, these versions can run with the entire vehicle submerged if needed. The tailgate is held open by struts to allow water into the vehicle to prevent it floating away, and to allow water to rapidly drain after reaching the shore. In training exercises the vehicles are operated in depths so that the driver's head and shoulders are clear of the water.

Alongside the HS/Wolf programme the MOD ran a design project for a new battlefield ambulance vehicle, known as Project Pulse. This was also won by Land Rover with a version of the ultra-long wheelbase Defender 130. Whilst not officially a 'Wolf' the 130 ambulances (with bodies by Marshall Aerospace) used the same chassis and transmission upgrades, identical drivetrains and the same Defender-based front bodywork.

Weapons Mount Installation Kit

A variant of TUM is the Weapons Mount Installation Kit (WMIK, pronounced ‘Wimik’) for use as reconnaissance and close fire support vehicles. WMIKs are manufactured jointly by Land Rover and Ricardo Vehicle Engineering and feature a strengthened chassis and are stripped down, fitted with roll cages and weapon mounts. Typically the vehicle will carry one 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun, 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) or on occasion the MILAN ATGM, on the rear ring-mount, with an additional pintle mounted GPMG on the front passenger side. In late 2006, the MoD announced it was purchasing 40 new belt-fed Automatic Lightweight Grenade Launchers (ALGL) made by Heckler and Koch (HK GMG) that can fire up to 360 grenades per minute with a range of up to 1.5 km.; they are to be mounted on WMIKs in Afghanistan.

Land Rovers from 16 Air Assault Brigade preparing for an evening raid near Basra, Iraq.

The vehicles have become a symbol of British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In keeping with their hearts and minds philosophy they were chosen for patrol duties instead of armoured fighting vehicles such the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle. Following a spate of incidents, there has been concern that the unarmoured nature of the Wolf exposes the crews to excessive danger, and they are being supplemented by more heavily armoured vehicles such as the Vector and Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicles.

The Land Rover is also being supplemented by the now British built Pinzgauer and Alvis Panther in some utility and liaison roles and the new Supercat MWMIK due to a shortfall of WMIKs. There are reports[2] that some of this equipment may have to be sold at below cost once operations in Iraq are completed as the Treasury has refused to cover the cost of replacement. In Afghanistan "an average of one of these vehicles a week" is being lost, and with replacements often arriving late; a "fifth of the fleet" of WMIKs is currently "damaged or has been destroyed by enemy fire".[3]


British Army WMIKs operating in Iraq.

Vehicles based on the Wolf were proposed for requirements raised by Canada and the USMC but not selected. Other nations' service Land Rovers are visually very similar, particularly Italy's, but are in fact based on the Core Model (military) Land Rover Defender which does not include the Wolf chassis enhancements and other features. The Wolf is currently in service with the Croatia, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Civilian usage

A fleet of Wolf-specification Defender 110 Hard Top models were built for the proposed Land Rover TransGlobal expedition in 1998. These vehicles were essentially arctic-prepared military models (with 24-volt electrics, convoy lighting, military-spec air intakes, internal insulation and the standard Wolf chassis and suspension upgrades) combined with expedition gear such as winches, a roof rack, roof-mounted tent, roll cage etc. A hydraulic power take-off system was also fitted, intended for powering the vehicles across the Bering Straight on catamaran rafts.[4]

The expedition was cancelled only days before the planned departure date, and most of the fleet were auctioned off to the general public. These distinctive vehicles (as well as their high level of equipment, they are painted in the TransGlobal's gold livery) are desirable expedition vehicles, and several have been used on long-range trips by private owners including Land Rover's own Fifty 50 challenge and the Lone Wolf Transglobal Expedition.[5]

Wolf as used by German government agencies.

Small numbers of ex-military Wolfs have also entered the civilian market. These are usually examples that were crash-damaged in military service and auctioned off, to be rebuilt by their new owners.

In 2003 the German government placed an order for a fleet of Land Rover Wolf vehicles for security and law enforcement forces. The fleet consisted of high capacity pick-ups, vans and station wagons. All fleet vehicles were ordered in Bonatti Grey with white roofs (last batch vehicles had grey roofs) and the electrical systems were kept to a minimum with all luxury items such as electric windows, heated seats, radar detector omitted for simplicity. Vehicles were supplied as a mixture of 12 and 24 volt FFR variants, their powerplants being either the standard Td5 turbodiesel engine, or some 3 Litre BMW units. The contract was cancelled in late 2004 after the German government opted for one with Mercedes Benz who supplied their G-Class "Gelandewagen" in various forms, and a small number of these last batch vehicles were imported and immediately sold-off to the private market.

See also


  1. Ex-Military Land Rover Association
  2. Smith, Michael (2 October 2004). "Army forced to sell Land Rovers bought for Iraq". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2004-11-25. Retrieved on 2010-08-12.
  3. "'Lack of vehicles' in Afghanistan". BBC News (online) (2 May 2007).
  4. "Land Rover Global Expedition". Max Adventure. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16.
  5. Lone Wolf Transglobal Expedition website

External links

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