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Light Strike Vehicles

Resembling props from a Mad Max movie, Light Strike Vehicles (LSV) are military dune buggies designed to act as armed scouts and attack vehicles.

LSVs are built to be small and quick - to get in, hit the target and make a rapid withdrawal. LSVs fill the niche between the Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV) or HMT 400 / Jackal and the quad bike. While they can pack a heavier punch than a quad bike, a lack of capacity to carry spare fuel, ammo and other stores is a limiting factor of the range and duration of missions the LSV can carry out.

22 SAS Mobility Troop has had various LSVs in its inventory, in particular, during the 1991 Gulf War. The Regiment had operated / tested LSVs manufactured by British companies Longline and Wessex.


Longline LSV

Longline produced their LSV for the SAS during the lead up to the 1st Gulf war (Operation Granby), in late 1990 / early 1991. The vehicles were rushed into service in the Gulf as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR). The SAS field-tested the LSVs during their pre-deployment desert mobility training.

In the end, the vehicles were found to be unsuitable. Their suspensions were deemed too fragile for the terrain - a good call, it would seem, as several of the more rugged Land Rover 110 s (DPV) eventually suffered broken axles while negotiating the rough ground. The LSVs also had too small a cargo capacity for the extended missions the SAS anticipated carrying out in Kuwait and Iraq. The LSVs, then, did not go to war with the A and D Squadron fighting columns.

The LSV, or Ground Mobile Weapon Platform (GMWP) as it was designated by the MoD, consisted of a tubular metal space frame / roll cage, to which its mechanical components were attached. The vehicle could accommodate 2 soldiers in side-by-side seating. A Vinghog softmount on the roll cage above the passenger station could accommodate a GPMG, HMG, or Milan anti-tank missile launcher. Side storage baskets ran along the sides of the vehicles for stowing stores such as ammo boxes. A spare tire or other stores could be mounted on the bonnet. Sling points on the frame allowed the LSV to be transported by helicopter as an underslung load or secured in the hold of a helicopter.

Various iterations of the Longline LSV existed.

  • The Mk1 was a 2 wheel-drive vehicle with a Volkswagen (VW) 1.9 litre water-cooled petrol engine (from a VW van)
  • The Mk2 was a 4-wheel-drive variant, also with a VW petrol engine. 5 of these were built.
  • The Mk3 had a 4-wheel-drive transmission powered by a VW turbo diesel engine
Longline LSV Related Info:

Wessex Saker LSV

The Wessex Saker was a rear-wheel drive buggy, powered by a Volkswagen 1.6 litre, air cooled, petrol engine. The body was constructed of steel tubing covered with aluminium body panels. It was a 2-man vehicle, with side-by-side seating and the engine at the rear. There were mounts for GPMG / HMG, one at the passenger's station, and another above and behind the seats.

Wessex Saker Related Info:

Post Gulf War, the SAS unloaded their LSVs onto the Green Howards, 24th Airmobile Brigade. It is not publicly known if the Regiment currently have any LSVs in their inventory. The LSV concept is still viable, however, with other militaries still using such vehicles, so it is likely that the SAS either have a small LSV fleet for specific types of mission and/or regularly evaluate any new LSVs that become available.

« special air service - mobility troop

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