Visit Olive-Drab.com's sister site for
over 7,500 free military vehicle photos!
M-Gator Military Utility Vehicle
In the mid-1980s, when the U.S. military adopted the HMMWV and phased out the M-151 jeep, the last of the 1/4 ton jeeps, a capability gap was created for light capacity tactical vehicles. The M-Gator, along with the Polaris and other ATVs, has emerged as one of the solutions, providing a small, mobile and capable utility vehicle in the spirit of the M-274 Mechanical Mule.
The John Deere M-Gator Military Utility Vehicle, an adaptation of the popular civilian Deere Gator tractor, was designed exclusively for and is available only to military organizations, with the U.S. Army as the primary customer.
M-Gator 6x4 Utility Vehicles have been used extensively in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom for basic missions including transporting supplies. The M-Gator has supported airborne operations and drop zone recovery with the 82nd Airborne Division and at Fort Bragg, NC, and served on the front lines supporting the XVIII Airborne Corps' artillery. See also this Business Week article about the M-Gator.
M-Gator 6x4 Military Utility Vehicle
The 6x4 M-Gator Military Utility Vehicle has a three cylinder, 18hp water cooled diesel engine that will run on either diesel fuel or JP8. M-Gator has a continuously variable transmission that eliminates shifting. The multi-position, heavy-duty cargo box has fold-down sides and tailgate plus a power lift. The M-Gator can reach speeds up to 18 mph on its low-pressure all-terrain tires.
The M-Gator is 108 inches long, 60 inches wide and 43.6 inches high. (The A1 is 70.6 inches high with the ROPS extended.) The weight of the M-Gator is 1,450 pounds, including fuel and fluids. Maximum payload for the M-Gator is 1,400 pounds including two passengers.
M-Gator Features and Variants
Early purchases of the M-Gator by the U.S. military were COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) vehicles, meaning that there were few if any modifications from the civilian Gator as sold to the public by John Deere. Many of these were field modified to add military features such as brush guard and hood tray. As numbers increased, a formal program of military modifications was adopted, including:
In addition to the M-Gator, the U.S. Military has procured COTS Trail Gator models in 6x4 and 4x4 configurations (photos, below).
The M-Gator A1 includes safety enhancements such as a 20hp engine, a foldable ROPS (roll-over protection system) and seat belts plus new functionality with a standard litter carrier rack. An optional 3000lb winch can be front mounted.
M-Gator airdrop is covered by FM 4-20.108, Airdrop of Supplies and Equipment: Rigging Military Utility Vehicle (M-Gator), 29 June 2001.
M-Gator Safety Concerns
The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) released Safety of Use Message (SOUM) 03-006 warning of the danger of serious injury or severe vehicle damage if drivers ignore the warnings in the commercial off-the-shelf John Deere technical manuals. In accordance with the SOUM, M-Gator users should adhere to the following limitations:
In addition to SOUM 03-006, the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg Memo 25-50, Master Policy No. 73, Fort Bragg Safety Policy on Utilization of the Utility Vehicle M-Gator, states, among other directives, that passengers may not ride in or on the vehicle's cargo areas, and that drivers must be licensed and have their qualifications to drive the M-Gator annotated on an OF 348.
Thanks to Dan Parmley Jr. of Tactical Vehicle Depot and mvdataplates.com for help with this page.
Find additional photos and hi-res versions of the John Deere M-Gator Military Utility Vehicle at the Olive-Drab Military Mashup:
John Deere M-Gator Photo Gallery
John Deere Trail Gator in Military Use