Brian Willison | | 0 comments
Here at SuperATV, we’ve always said that everything we make is built for battle. But what you might not realize is that “built for battle” isn’t just a clever tagline—it’s an assertion that we take pretty literally. That’s why we were asked, along with a handful of other companies, to help give nearly 250 Marine UTVs an extensive overhaul in 2020.
The US Marine Corps has utilized Polaris Government and Defense vehicles since 2017. Polaris is the USMC’s make of choice because these vehicles can easily be transported by military aircraft (like the MV-22 Osprey and CH-53E Super Stallion), and because they’re small and agile, allowing Marines to easily and quickly get to remote areas that can’t be reached by foot or with larger vehicles.
Polaris’ tactical vehicles are designed for a variety of military uses, from maintenance and security to combat to search and rescue missions. Since the Marine Corps purchases these vehicles commercially, though, they don’t always have all of the features they need.
But that’s all changing in 2020.
Harsh Conditions Call For Serious Upgrades
Even the strongest military vehicles have a hard time standing up to the harsh conditions where Marines conduct missions. According to a spokesperson for PEO Land Systems—the office responsible for the acquisition and sustainment of military ground vehicles—these UTVs regularly receive “extended exposure to extreme elements such as high heat, freezing cold, saltwater/sea spray, and varying fuel quality.”
In other words, these vehicles go through some pretty brutal abuse on a very regular basis. And that was the catalyst that prompted some serious machine upgrades heading into the near year.
Some of the major vehicle upgrades include:
- New lightweight aluminum floorboards to replace the stock plastic floorboards, provided by Thunderhawk Performance, Inc.
- Improved clutch kits and environmental protection covers to shield Marines from rain and sun, provided by Polaris
- New tires from BF Goodrich complete with run-flat inserts from TireBalls
- Kits including turn signals, a horn, and a rearview mirror, provided by SAIC
One of the greatest requirements when traversing such rough terrain is having bulletproof suspension. These vehicles need to be able to support the Marines in almost any environment, most of which involve traveling over rocks, debris, and unexpected obstacles on a daily basis. These conditions often lead to bent or busted control arms, which result in the vehicle getting sidelined. Obviously being sidelined isn’t an option for the Marine Corps, so when they started thinking about upgrading these vehicles, they knew that something stronger than anything else on the market was needed—something built for battle.
That’s where SuperATV comes into play.
The Search For Strong
So how exactly did SuperATV become a player in this game? To explain our involvement, we need to back up for a second and talk about our new Government Sales Division. This team worked extremely hard to earn a GSA Multiple Award Schedule, which led to us being placed in a pool of manufacturers tested by the USMC for a chance to work on the Marine UTV upgrades. After some communication between our dealer team, a group of USMC engineers, and the contracting agency in charge of finding the replacement control arms, SuperATV was in the running.
The design process on our end was fairly smooth, due to the fact that we didn’t have to create anything from scratch. SuperATV had already secured an MRZR with the intention of creating a full, flip-down windshield for it. But during this R&D process, we decided to branch out and see what other parts we could develop for our military. It only made sense to start with what we already had on hand and try out some of our existing parts on this machine.
After collecting tons of data, we realized that we did indeed have the necessary parts right here in front of us. The military vehicles in question—diesel-powered Polaris MRZRs—utilize A-arms that match up perfectly with the ones we make for the 2011-2014 RZR XP 900.
For the next several months, the USMC engineers and contracting agency analyzed our product for durability. They were looking for control arms that would blow all others out of the water with their dependability, longevity, and brute strength. It was these characteristics, along with our unbeatable customer service and unmatched lifetime warranty, that ultimately made them conclude that SuperATV’s A-arms are the strongest, most durable product out there.
One of the best parts about all of this (in our opinion) is that, like we mentioned earlier, we didn’t have to start from scratch or redesign the wheel when called to provide something strong enough for our Marines. The SuperATV A-arms they’re using aren’t customized or unique in any way—they’re the exact same A-arms we sell to customers like you. If that doesn’t prove that our products truly are military grade, we don’t know what does.
Serving Those Who Serve
This has been a pretty exciting venture for us, but by no means is it the first time we’ve been able to help out those who serve our country. In the past, SuperATV has outfitted several machines for first responders and military training facilities. A variety of our parts go to the US Forest Service, local police departments, the Bureau of Land Management, and, of course, the US Armed Forces—just to name a few. We have proudly supplied these organizations with everything from portal gear hubs and windshields to turn signal kits and brake lines.
More recently, SuperATV worked alongside the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department here in Indiana to outfit one of their machines with parts that help them respond more effectively in areas where off-road travel is required.
So as we said, this wasn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last time we’ll tackle projects like this. The SuperATV team is always open and willing to help our armed forces and first responders. We have the abilities and resources to design, manufacture, and offer a variety of parts quickly and efficiently, and we intend to continue using these resources to support the men and women who serve.
So the next time you start to wonder who can give you the most trusted, top-quality parts in the off-road industry, look no further. SuperATV’s military-grade parts are strong enough for our soldiers, so you know they’re strong enough for you, too.