Royal Marines can now be deployed on raiding operations with their fast lightweight vehicles from the US Marines’ Osprey MV-22 tiltrotor aircraft after a successful trial in Australia.

For the first time a UK Polaris MRZR was loaded onto the unique Osprey aircraft as 40 Commando prepare for major joint exercises in Darwin, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Fitting the MRZR onto the Osprey ultimately ensures Commandos can continue to operate seamlessly with the US Marines around the globe, wherever needed.

The turbocharged MRZR 4×4 can travel up to 60mph and enables Commandos to move fast, strike deep and get out before the enemy know what’s happened.

Coupling that with the ability to load onto the Osprey, means Royal Marines can be landed behind enemy lines, carry out raids and withdrawn quickly by the US Marines Corps.

Corporal Ben Fletcher was at the wheel, carefully reversing the MRZR onto the Osprey, with inches to spare on either of the vehicle.
The MRZR can also fit in the back of the Commando Merlin helicopter – the primary marine carrying aircraft of the Commando Helicopter Force, which are also deployed in Australia for the multinational exercise – named Predators Run.

The vehicles will be used on Predators Run – which takes place throughout the rest of July and into August, as Commandos carry out training with 1 Brigade of the Australian Army – which is being overhauled to have more of a focus on amphibious operations – the US Marines and other regional partners such as the Philippines and Timor.

The UK involvement is spearheaded by 40 Commando, which is at the center of a task group – known as Littoral Response Group (South) – that is designed to bring the punch of the UK Commando Force to bear in the Indo-Pacific.

Two large support ships, RFA Lyme Bay and RFA Argus, are at the center of LRG(S), carrying the personnel, vehicles, raiding craft, and aircraft needed for complex Commando Operations.

The two hulking ships left the UK last year, initially operating in the Eastern Mediterranean as the Israel-Hamas conflict unfolded – eventually delivering humanitarian aid – before sailing east of Suez in early 2024.

After a maintenance period, the Australian exercise becomes LRG(S)’s first major action of their Indo-Pacific deployment, with Predators Run proving that the task group is able to operate effectively with regional allies.

Ultimately, LRG(S) is designed to be a regular presence in the Indo-Pacific, bolstering the work of patrol ships HMS Spey and Tamar in the region and standing by to react to crises.

The same can be said for sister task group – Littoral Response Group (North), which, with 45 Commando as its spearhead, is held at readiness to deploy in Northern Europe, including the Baltic Sea and Arctic.

Lyme Bay arrived in Darwin last week to offload 40 Commando and their vehicles, including Viking Armored Vehicles and the MRZR.
Argus carries an air group of Commando Merlin helicopters from 845 Naval Air Squadron.

After arriving last week, 40 Commando have been completing preparations for Predators Run, including training and skills sharing for Charlie Company’s Mortar Troop with Australian counterparts at Robertson Barracks, a major Australian Army base located in Holtze, an outer suburb of Darwin.