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 Polaris, along with the M-Gator and other ATVs, have emerged as one of the solutions, providing a small, mobile and capable utility vehicle in the spirit of the M-274 Mechanical Mule.
Polaris Defense supplies two models of 4x4 ATV to the U.S. military. From 2001 to 2007, the Polaris MV700 was the lead model in the Polaris Defense family of gasoline-powered tactical vehicles. The MV800, introduced in October 2007, features the fuel injected, liquid cooled, 760cc, 40hp spark ignition Patriot Engine that runs on JP8, the U.S. military standard fuel, or emergency fuels including gasoline, JP5, or standard diesel.
The MV800 military Polaris differs from civilian models in that steel has replaced plastic materials in the frame and other parts, the ignition is keyless, its tires are low-pressure run-flats, and multiple D-ring lifting shackles are attached.
The innovative engine in the MV800 was developed in partnership with Australian-based Orbital Corporation. The multi-fuel engine delivers almost twice the horsepower of traditional diesel compression engines of comparable size. The MV800 front suspension is MacPherson struts with 8.2 inch (20.8cm) travel while the rear suspension is fully independent, progressive rate with anti-roll bar and 9.5 inch (24.1cm) travel.
Late in 2007, Polaris delivered the MVRS800 multi-passenger utility vehicle, a militarized Polaris Ranger, to the U.S. Army at Fort Campbell, KY. The MVRS800 is powered by the MV800 JP8 multi-fuel engine. The MVRS800 completely sealed power train can ford up to 30 inches of water.