Ricardo unveils military-spec Ford Ranger pick-up

British engineering firm Ricardo has unveiled a military-spec version of the Ford Ranger pick-up, developed in collaboration with specialist vehicle manufacturer Polaris.  

Ricardo, which specialises in developing engines and transmissions but has also developed the Land Rover Wolf and Foxhound armoured personnel carriers, has equipped the Ranger with a range of features aimed at improving safety, fuel economy and durability. 

The most obvious visual difference over the standard model is the addition of an optional external roll cage, which, as with the firm’s military Land Rover, incorporates a circular cut-out at the rear for the mounting of firearms. 

Underneath, the Ranger gains an armoured ballistic underfloor, rock sliders and improved waterproofing, while armoured glass and strengthened front and rear bumpers further improve safety in the event of an impact or explosion. 

Modifications inside include the addition of four-point harnesses for all the seats, while upgrades have been made to the truck’s 24V electrical system to better cope with the demands of military use.

The model is powered by Ford’s twin-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine, paired with a 10-speed automatic gearbox that’s said to enhance fuel economy. Optional suspension, brake system and tyre upgrades are offered as a means of raising ride height and towing capacity. 

Ricardo’s special vehicles director, Paul Tarry, said: “The adaptation of existing and well-proven automotive platforms for defence roles provides an opportunity to deliver a robust, fit-for-purpose and highly cost-effective package that is easy to maintain, benefiting as it does from an established international supply chain of parts and service.

“However, it is also crucial in such adaptations to engineer a solution that meets the exacting requirements of the intended applications; even the most robust of commercially available vehicles is unlikely to meet this threshold without careful, role-specific adaptation of the type that Ricardo is ideally placed to provide.”

Although the firm claims its new Ranger-based model demonstrates that it is well suited for military applications, it has not yet been confirmed that it will enter service.