Polaris’ UTV Tank Patent Is Actually an Old Military Design

By automotive-mag.com 5 Min Read

I was gobsmacked after finding Polaris’ UTV tank patent last week. The concept left me daydreaming about the possibilities for when the company would put it on sale. If Polaris put it on sale. Imagine all the places you could go…

But over the weekend, I found out that this patent and design isn’t new. At least, it isn’t new for Polaris and the Canadian military. 

A couple eagle-eyed readers both on RideApart and Reddit said I should look into something called the Polaris Rampage. And folks, the patent I reported on last week and the Rampage is nearly identical and we’ve got a lot to talk about. So let’s get into it. 

The Polaris Rampage is pretty much a carbon copy of that patent I told you about last week, though it was brought out eight years ago in 2016. And the project, i.e. the Rampage, was developed in conjunction with Polaris Defense—the company’s defense contracting arm—and the Canadian military to develop a “Twin-Track Fully-Suspended Amphibious Terrain Vehicle,” according to Recoil

The magazine, which has a wealth of information on the Rampage, goes on to state that, “The Canadian military needed a small and agile vehicle that could handle dirt, sand, mud, water, snow, and ice, even in sub-zero Arctic conditions. Polaris drew on its experience developing wheeled vehicles and snowmobiles, and delivered.” At the time, the Rampage prototype was powered by a 1000cc RZR engine and could hit 60mph—I speculated as much based on the patent’s images and statements, too. And it also featured a steering wheel that could “control the rotation of its dual tracks, and it can rotate 360 degrees on its own axis,” i.e. perform tank turns. 

Where it slightly differs from the patented version I reported on, however, was the original concept was fully enclosed, and featured a heated cabin to handle arctic conditions. It also had charging ports for electronic equipment including radios, laptops, and more. There were other variants that hewed closer to the patent, though.

At the time, Polaris stated, “Polaris Off-Road Vehicles continue to display the prowess of innovation, is leading the way in off-road vehicle engineering and is providing capable vehicles for climates such as the North Pole and Arctic. A workhorse, the Polaris Rampage is still a prototype that could become the ultimate off-road vehicle for the next generation.”

And it did see some use, as the Rampage was deployed to support an exercise called “Canadian Operation Nunalivut in the North Pole” around the same time as its public release. What I haven’t been able to find out, however, is if it ever saw anything else outside that first deployment.

It was driven by a single media outlet, however, as Dirt Trax TV got the lone test and found it absolutely bonkers, as you’d expect a scaled-down tank with UTV roots. You can watch the test footage above, but it makes me desperately want to try one out. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to soon.

But then nothing, nada, zilch for the last eight years, as little has been said about the Rampage since that initial debut. That is until last week.

Now it seems that the Rampage might be coming to the civilian market and looking pretty much the same as that original military version. Again, the big difference between the original and the patent is that the cabin isn’t enclosed. But given Polaris’ stacked accessories catalog, you might just need to option a few creature comforts to complete the look. 

So what do you think? Are you ready to drop some of your hard-earned cash on a former military project? Let us know in the comments below!

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