WASHINGTON — Polaris Industries is unveiling its newest light tactical vehicle — the MRZR Alpha — for the first time at London-based defense show DSEI this week.

The MRZR, first introduced in 2012, has been sold to the U.S. military and over 50 allied forces worldwide. The MRZR Alpha has a new chassis, which provides a larger and more durable foundation, but is still transportable by a V-22 Osprey tiltrotor or an H-47 cargo helicopter, Jed Leonard, vice president for government and defense at Polaris, told Defense News in a Sept. 10 interview ahead of the conference.

The vehicle has a high-performance, 118-horsepower turbo-diesel engine and an off-road tuned automotive 8-speed transmission, according to a company statement. “This provides 220 ft-lbs of efficient torque,” which translates to improved off-road capabilities, including in deep sand.

MRZR Alpha has increased exportable power capability, more cab space and more configurability opportunities, according to Leonard. It can accommodate 2,000 lbs of payload, compared to the smaller MRZR, which can accommodate up to 1,400 lbs of payload.

The Alpha comes in a four-seat or two-seat configuration.

Though the Alpha version shares a name with the MRZR, it also has similarities to Polaris’ other well-known vehicle — the DAGOR, according to Leonard.

The MRZR Alpha is based on need and feedback from customers like U.S. Special Forces, which was among the first to buy the Alpha in spring 2020. The Marine Corps is also under contract to procure the Alpha for its off-road utility vehicle.

Leonard said U.S. special operators have received the vehicles and are in the testing and evaluation phase prior to fielding.

Polaris has chosen DSEI for its global launch to pursue European sales. Once the show wraps up at the end of this week, the vehicle on display will stay in Europe for demonstrations to interested customers, Steve Canner, company manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Defense News in the same interview.

Canner said the market in Europe is promising.

“What we have seen is a very positive pattern of countries and different forces using MRZR gas, then they have transitioned and gone to MRZR Diesel as a natural progression,” Canner said.

Polaris said current MRZR customers in Europe include Austria, the U.K., Denmark, Norway, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia and Slovakia.

But the company views the Alpha vehicle as an addition to MRZR fleets, not a replacement, he said. “We see Alpha sort of fitting in between and giving that air transportability element that MRZR-D has, but moving close to the capabilities of the DAGOR platform,” Canner said.

Across Europe, there is a great deal of future force planning taking place at the moment, he noted.

“So we’ve been engaged very much with that in various different countries,” he said. “As they start moving away from the heavier, armored platforms, they’re seeing that the battlefield scope is turning more to a light tactical platform. They’re not needing to go to those bigger platforms to get things like exportable power that they needed to before.”

Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.

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