The first military vehicle to arrive by sealift at a Mainland Europe Port of Entry for DEFENDER-Europe 20 was a Royal Military Police Defender 110 Hard Top, reports Bob Morrison.
Yesterday, Monday 3rd February, at around 06:00Z the British military sealift ship MV Eddystone berthed at Antwerp Euro Terminal in north-west Belgium and less than three hours later the first British Army vehicle, a Military Police Defender 110 (aka Wolf 110) towing a trailer disembarked.
According to my Unclassified listing of UK Forces Land Rover registrations KG69AA entered service just under 23 years ago, on 12th April 1997 configured as a TUM (Truck Utility Medium) 4×4 FFR (Fitted For Radio) HS (Higher Specification) HARD TOP LHD (Left Hand Drive) and it is clearly still serving in the FFR role with the Royal Military Police on the massive DEFENDER-Europe 20 (DEF20) deployment exercise which will see many of the vehicles arriving in the North sea Ports over the next few weeks travelling as far afield as the Baltic Nations for field training exercises in the spring.
Contrary to some misinformed speculation that the militarised Defender is being withdrawn from UK service, prompted no doubt by the believed recently addressed problems in finding suitable spares for a vehicle fleet which has well exceeded its original 15 year projected service life, the UK Defender 110 TUM HS batch has had it OSD (Out of Service Date) confirmed as extended to 2030. We will endeavour to provide our Land Rover aficionado readers an update on Defender 110 participation on DEFENDER-Europe 20 a little further into the deployment when hopefully our small team has snapped some more examples. (We will also publish a longer article on the Antwerp aspect of this major exercise once we have concluded our research).
[images © Bob Morrison]