The Registry Of Ex-Military Land-Rovers Au, NZ, etc Australian Military Land-Rover Fleet Info Collection

 Royal Australian Army Fleet

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After a period of absolutely zero Series 1 info, some photos and stories are emerging from "old 'n bold" ex-servicemen of the Australian Army...

  • An Australian Army vehicle appraisal team used a 1948 ¼ ton GS Land-Rover ARN 153-952 for an extended period, covering 100,000+ miles in service from 1949 to the late 1950's. It was chassis R862994 (80inch wheelbase, 6.00x16 tyres, silver chassis). The success of 153-952 surely must have helped when the Series 2 Land-Rover underwent Army Design Establishment tests for the 1958 supply contract. (More details at ANZACsteel website).

  • Another ¼ ton GS Land-Rover, ARN 107-678, was factory fitted with a Rolls Royce engine and also appraised. This 1950 model Landy was chassis R06104333 with RR engine B40DB558. (The Australian Army's Austin Champs used the same engine).

  • Some UK MOD 88inch G.S. units were in use by the RAAF at Queensland Air bases in the 1950's...

  • One or two early Land-Rovers were modified and upholstered for ceremonial use by the Australian Army...

  • REMLR hears that some dark blue 107inch utility body Land-Rovers were used at the R.A.N. Diving Ctr, Port Jackson...

  • Some UK MOD 88inch G.S. units accompanied the early A-bomb testing in South Australia... and got buried out there with all the other stuff...

  • The New Zealand Army used Series 1 units extensively at a time when the Australian Army used the Austin Champ (1950's). The New Zealand Army initially used Series 1 units in their Vietnam War effort.


According to archives, a series of vehicle tests were carried out to select new vehicles for the AMF in the late 1950s. The Army Design Establishment (ADE) went to work to prepare reports helping to determine which vehicle manufacturer recieved the supply contracts. The ADE files sighted to date refer to "Project V50" and/or "Combined Services Vehicle Specification N° 3 of 19 June 1957." The dates of the actual vehicle tests date from 6 May 1958 and the ADE evaluative test process went on for over 12 months; eg., the Jeep CJ-3 report (finalised and submitted by the ADE OC to AMF HQ) is dated June 12th 1959. The tested environments were abbreviated as "hot-wet" and "hot-dry". Those references imply the summer of December 1958 through February 1959 as being the make-or-break trial when all the vehicle company exec's must have been more than a little nervous. Big money was at stake.

Land-Rover's Solihull factory began turning out the new "Series 2" (or "Series II") design in April 1958, ten years to the month after the first public display of the Land-Rover in Amsterdam 1948. The new model Series 2 of April 1958 had a new wider style/look (designed by Rover's David Bache) and a new engine in the case of the long wheelbase units.

Information from a Australian Military Equipment Profiles publication lists the Series 2 "Australian Army appraisal unit" as chassis number 142800001 - ie '142' is code for 'RHD Export' assembled at Solihull ('143' code would be RHD CKD) and '8' refers to the year 1958, s/n is number '00001'. This Land-Rover was rushed from the Solihull assembly line and transported by ship to Australia -ASAP- to be tested along with other 4x4 ¼ ton vehicles by the Australian Design Establishment.

Aallowing for six weeks on the sea, that Series 2, the first ever seen in Australia, arrived in Port Melbourne around the end of May 1958 and was handed over for testing as soon as possible - by May 1958 the "Project V50 tests" had already been underway for a month at the ADE 'TPW' bush circuit near Melbourne:

"...the Trials and Proving Wing (TPW)... around "Mount Charlie", a cross country circuit used to test vehicles outside the Commonwealth property at Monegeeta." (John Bamford)

This 1958 'Regular' 88inch 4 cylinder Land-Rover, ARN 107-671 (Commonwealth plates C67999), with it's English canvas top and transparent rear windows, went on to win the AMF testing contest between five manufacturers for the supply contract. Rover Australia was also obligated to follow some mods and Australian manufacturing content required by the Government. (More details at ANZACsteel website). The delivery of CKD Series 2 ¼ ton 88inch and 109inch units from Solihull UK followed quickly: the earliest arrivals were the 88inch short wheelbase units, as per Contract number 104337 (issued in November 1958). They are all dated 16.12.58 and were delivered 'in-service' in early 1959. They were all CKD export models with '143' prefix chassis numbers.

The earliest 'Long' 109inch units to arrive in Australia later on (newly released as a Land-Rover model world-wide) were fitted as field ambulances according to the latest research from Mike Cecil (author of Australian Military Equipment Profiles):

The success of the Ambulance protoypes led to further variants being built and the increase of orders for Land-Rovers. The variants to follow were the mobile wireless stations (F.F.W.), the Fire Fighting appliances and the Field Workshop units.

How many Series 2 units were supplied to the AMF? Well, the Land-Rover Australia 50th Anniversary booklet and the LRA website quotes a Series 2 total of 1,150 units. The same total was reported in the October 1999 issue of Land Rover Magazine. The December 1988 issue of Overlander magazine states that the first Series 2 88inch was delivered in March 1959 and that the first Series 2 109inch was delivered in November 1959.

However, Australian Army Registration -provisional- data from the B.B.B. shows that:

  • A sum total of 1,841 Series 2 Land-Rovers 'enlisted' with the Australian Army.
  • Short wheelbase 88": ~1221
  • Long wheelbase 109": ~620
  • More details - see REMLR's B.B.B. files

Air Force and Navy Land-Rover information has not yet been uncovered.


The December 1988 issue of Overlander magazine states that the first Series 2A 88" was delivered in June 1963 and that the first Series 2A 109" was delivered in 1964. It does not discuss the numerous modifications made to the standard 2A design to suit AMF requirements.

Australian Army Registration -provisional- details from the B.B.B. shows that:

  • A sum total of 4737 Series 2A Land-Rovers 'enlisted' with the Australian Army.
  • Short wheelbase 88": ~1010
  • Long wheelbase 109": ~3727
  • More details - see REMLR's B.B.B. files

The last or 'late' Series 2A 109" models purchased are dated 9/1971 with the headlights in the wings (same as Series 3).

The December 1988 issue of Overlander also provided a combined total for Series 2 and 2A purchased by the AMF. It stated that the total was 6,626 units supplied in both 88" and 109" types between "16.12.58" and "9/71". Allowing for the fact that the Australian Army definitely purchased some replacement chassis (for repairs), the Overlander figure could be about right. The B.B.B. files, digitised between late 2003 and early 2005 show a total of 6578 Series 2 & 2A Land-Rovers purchased between "16.12.58" and "2/72".)

Air Force and Navy Land-Rover information has not yet been uncovered.
The NZ Army purchased surplus (used) Series 2A Australian Army units after the Vietnam War. more NZ info


58 RHD 101's were produced between 1976 and 1978 by Land-Rover for the British Aircraft Corporation. The BAC supplied the Rapier Missile system to the Australian Army which was used by a number of units. 16 Air Defence Regiment were the primary users towing Rapier units, or rapier storage trailers. Vehicles also had rapier storage racks fitted in the rear of the vehicle. The RAEME Training Center and School of Artillery also had 101 Land Rovers.

The secretary attended an early 1990's auction at Holsworthy Army Base in NSW to see the release of a smashed Perentie 4x4 ($15,500), 12 or so Series 2A / Series 3 109" units ($3000 to $4,000), and about 15 Forward Control 101" units ($9000 - $13,000 I think). At their release the 101s carried no Rapier parts and appeared as per G.S. "standard" (all had the front and rear operable PTO winch). Other units have been privately imported into Australia on top of this 58 units.


In April 1977 delivery of Series 3 Land-Rovers to the Australian Army began. The vehicle's construction and mechanical specifications were essentially the standard Australian 6 cylinder petrol 109" Land-Rovers. The earliest Series 3 delivery we have listed is April 1977 and the latest Series 3 delivery we have listed is March 1981. The total number of these Series 3 six cylinder petrol units was reported in the December 1998 issue of Overlander as being 2,280 (divided into 1,500 G.S. and 780 F.F.R.)....

The Overlander report proved incorrect when archived information became available mid-February 2004. It turns out there were:

  • 2,303 Series 3 Australian Military Land-Rovers produced in total.
  • 1,345 Series 3 'G.S.' 6cyl 109" Military Land-Rovers manufactured (from February 1977 to February 1981)
  • 918 Series 3 'F.F.R.' 6cyl 109" Military Land-Rovers manufactured (from May 1978 to April 16 1981),
  • 40 Series 3 'Maintenance Vehicles' (Workshop Trucks) 6cyl 109" Land-Rovers manufactured (all in a week during February 1981).

All Series 3 Military Land-Rovers were 109" wheelbase and all with petrol 6 cylinder engines. Interestingly, no Series 3 Station Wagons were listed. Wagons were imported fully assembled and didn't have much to with the 'Assembly Line' as such... and no Series 3 Ambulances appear in the L.R.A. info either. The Series 3 supply contracts were completed by April 16 1981. The numbers of Landys rolling off the 'Assembly Line' per day varied a lot; some days 6, some days 12, and some/most days 8 military Landys were assembled. The only other definitive variant in the Series 3 lineup were some GS vehicles which were converted for line laying duties, described as Fitted For Line (FFL).



he number of vehicles supplied to the Australian Defence Force is a tad vague... One source of the muddle is that the R.A.A.F. use Perenties as well as the Army. Another factor to cinfuse things is purchases of what appear to be new SRV units in 2006, however these may be refurbished 4x4 vehicles.

The original JRA press release circa October 1988 told of the progress of the JRA contract to supply "2500 4WD units and 400 6WD units" valued at roughly $130,000,000 (with local Australian manufacturing content set at 50% for the 4WD and 60% for the 6WD). It also mentions the Army had satisfactorily finished "several months of rigorous testing" the Initial Production Vehicles ("IPVs") "supplied earlier this year to various Army units around Australia" and that JRA had "attended to the many points raised by the Army" and incorporated these improvements. No mention of R.A.A.F. units.

.A small news piece in the May 1994 issue of Overlander magazine tells us "The Australian Army has ordered another 270 Land Rovers to supplement its present fleet of 3700 6WD and 4WD Project Perentie models. The additional Landys, which were ordered under the terms of "follow-on buy" options in the original contract, will be used as basic infantry carriers, mainly in Australia's far north. [Norforce?] The original Perentie Project was named after the desert-dwelling perentie lizard and was aimed at finding vehicles with the perentie's legendary agility in trackless terrain, its endurance, and its adaptibility. Project Perentie director Lt. Col. Lee Osborne said, "It made sense to us to continue with Land Rovers because of their advantageous life-cycle costs. Over the life of the vehicle in Army service -up to 20 years or more- the Land Rovers prove to be very economical." The photos accompanying the piece are of two GS units, ARN 48-014 & ARN 48-016. No mention of R.A.A.F. units.

A potted history of Land-Rover in Australia, printed in the January-February 1998 issue of Restored Cars magazine, quotes information that the decision to buy Land-Rovers was made in "mid 1986" and that JRA would, at the completion of the contract, supply a "final tally of 2892 4WD and 588 6WD".

In March 2004 we heard that LRPV 6x6 units in Western Australia have been getting general muscle transplants... (via the grapevine).

In May 2004, when the majority of the Land-Rover 110 and Perentie fleet are exceeding 15 years 'in-service', and some people were thinking that some110 variants would be disposed of, the Army newspaper printed an interesting report and photo:

... [caption] A Land Rover 110 being rebuilt at North Bandiana:

"In the quiet rural setting of Bandiana a team of skilled technicians are continuing a tradition that lasted for more than 50 years... Today the work is conducted by Tenix Defence, who are contracted until 2010 to undertake fourth-line repair work.

"The Co-ordinator of Material Maintenance, Arthur J., has worked at the site for 14 years, and says that most vehicles that come to the workshops are in a pretty poor state of repair. "We virtually build them back to class one standard, so when they go out they're not brand new but as good as new," he said.

"Leopard tanks take about six months to be rebuilt, while M113s take around three months. Artillery pieces and Unimogs normally take six weeks, Macks take about seven weeks and Land Rovers take around five weeks. Supervisor of the B vehicle repair line, Danny G., believes the rebuilding process represents good value for the Army."

In January 2006, when the Iraq and Afghanistan deployments were in the news, one semi-load (3 vehicles) of an unknown supply contract for refurbished/reconfigured Perentie 4x4 110s were spotted being transported from the Adelaide contractor to delivery at the ADF's DNSDC Moorebank Stores. These vehicles are rather obviously for Special Forces, appearing for all the world to be a 4x4 version of the 6x6 LRPV. They were not new chassis. They were wearing late series ARNs. The engines fitted? That's not established, other being diesel of course. They were certainly more extensively equipped than the "Truck, Surveillance, Lightweight, Winch, MC2 [ Norforce, Pilbara, 51FNQ ]".


"Land Rover Australia has agreed to supply 33 custom built Land Rover 110 vehicles for use by the Australian Army. The vehicles will be built in Solihull, England, and are based on a Land Rover Defender 110 which uses the new 2.5-litre, 5 cylinder turbo-diesel (TD5) power unit...

...the decision recognises the increased levels of reliability and durability of a Solihull-production Defender 110, with the new TD5 power unit."

2008 Update: 33 of these vehicles were bought by the Army in 2000, and a further 17 in 2004. They are slated as having a 10 year service life, which is significantly shorter than the Perentie that it serves alongside.




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