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Marines integrate upgrades to off-the-shelf UTVs

By Christen McCurdy
Marines integrate upgrades to off-the-shelf UTVs
Jason Engstrom, center, a Utility Task Vehicle engineer with Program Executive Officer Land Systems, reviews planned upgrades for the vehicles in Quantico, Va., Dec. 4. Photo by Ashley Calingo/U.S. Marine Corps 

Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps announced Wednesday that its Utility Task Vehicles are undergoing safety and performance upgrades.

"We bought the vehicle as a [commercial-off-the-shelf] solution, so it's not going to have everything we want right from the factory," said Jason Engstrom, lead systems engineer for the UTV at PEO Land Systems, in a Marine Corps press release.

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The changes underway include high clearance control arms, new run-flat tires, floorboard protection, a road march kit, a clutch improvement kit and an environmental protection cover.

Mechanics discovered control arms were getting bent due to rocks in areas the Marines were driving, and sticks were puncturing the floorboards.

The UTV team is also adding covers for driving on hot days and upgraded tires inspired by the offroad racing industry.

UTVs, which the Marine Corps began using in 2017, are equipped with minimal armor to allow infantry to carry ammunition, equipment, provisions or injured personnel. Each UTV is about 12 feet long and can carry up to four Marines or 1,500 pounds of supplies. The vehicles can also fit inside Marine Corps aircraft, like the MV-22 Osprey or the CH-53 helicopter.

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