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The Ford Ranger’s recent return to U.S. shores has been of interest in the States, but it’s easy to forget this midsize truck actually entered global markets several years ago. It’s the best-selling pickup in Europe, and UK-based Ricardo reckons it could have a military application. As such, the automotive-focused upfitting company created this rough-and-ready militarized version of the Ranger for potential use as a defense, security, or rescue vehicle.

How does one turn a Ranger into a battlefield machine? Actually, it’s much like building a cool off-roader. Ricardo upgrades the suspension for better durability and increased ride height, and a beefy set of tires help with grip in areas where roads don’t exist. The brakes are upgraded, and an extensive set of skid plates cover all the sensitive areas underneath. Up top, there’s basically a big roll cage on the open bed, and Ricardo also offers a rollover protection system, though details on what all that entails aren’t mentioned.

Gallery: Ford Ranger Military Demonstrator By Ricardo

From there, modifications take a decidedly different path. For instance, that roll cage on the bed also has provisions for a ring-mounted weapons system – otherwise known as a massive machine gun – and the Ranger’s floor gets thick armor. The glass is naturally bullet-proof, and to help offset the extra mass, Ricardo fits lightweight front and rear bumpers. Under the military-spec olive skin is an upgraded electrical system that can better accommodate things such as complex radio communication gear, and it also has EM shielding.

As for power, Ricardo doesn’t mention any specific upgrades to the Ranger’s standard engine or gearbox. In the European market, that means a 210-horsepower (157-kilowatt) 2.0-liter turbodiesel provides the motivation, and while it may sound a bit weak, this small Ford mill pumps out 369 pound-feet (500 Newton-meters) of torque. Power is routed through a 10-speed automatic.

Ricardo’s upfitted Ranger is just a one-off demonstrator at this point, but it certainly casts Ford’s popular mid-sizer in a very different light.

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Ricardo demonstrates militarized version of Ford Ranger 2019

  • Ricardo has produced a highly versatile and cost-effective general service defence adaptation of Ford’s iconic Ranger product, Europe’s best-selling pickup 
  • The demonstrator is ideally suited as a flexible application, general purpose utility vehicle for defence, policing, security and rescue services roles

Ricardo has a longstanding and well-deserved reputation for the creation of high quality, cost-effective special vehicles for the world’s armed forces, based both on bespoke concepts and on the adaptation of existing automotive platforms to meet the required level of robustness and in-field serviceability. The company was responsible, for example, for the design and construction of a fleet of WMIK light attack Land Rovers and the all-new Foxhound vehicles, both of which are in successful ongoing use by the British Army.

Ricardo’s modification/adaptation demonstrates a militarized adaptation of Ford’s Ranger product, to show how this workhorse of industries from construction to agriculture can offer a highly cost-effective multi-role transportation product for defence and other security-related applications. The general service Ranger concept created by Ricardo is intended to be available with a range of powertrain options, including Ford’s powerful and refined 213 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue Bi-turbo diesel powertrain, which produces 500 Nm of torque for excellent load-hauling capability. This is mated to an advanced new 10-speed automatic transmission for easy, economical driving. 

Key features of the adaptation designed by Ricardo include options for a rollover protection system; a ring mounted weapon system, similar to that used in the WMIK; an armoured ballistic underfloor and armoured glass; lightweight but heavy-duty front and rear bumpers; skid plates for the radiator, powertrain and fuel tank; rock sliders and improved wading/fording protection; NATO IRR paint/camouflage and 4-point seat harnesses. In addition, the 24V electrical system is enhanced to provide the power requirements and EMC protection expected of modern defence vehicle applications, and the chassis can be equipped with upgraded springs, dampers, brakes, heavy-duty wheels and all-terrain tyres, offering greater ride height and more versatile towing capacity. In delivering this project Ricardo has worked closely with Polaris Government and Defense, in particular for support in the areas of onboard power management and C4i (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) integration.

“Ricardo is pleased to have created this general service demonstrator based on the Ranger vehicle,” commented Paul Tarry, special vehicles director, Ricardo. “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, benefitting 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. The militarized Ranger that Ricardo has created with the support of Polaris Government and Defense, thus demonstrates the flexibility of this robust and versatile platform – as developed, re-engineered and re-imagined to fulfil multiple defence roles in an effective and very cost-efficient manner.”

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