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John Deere M-Gator

All-terrain vehicle


The M-Gator is a combat-proven all-terrain vehicle designed to decrease soldiers labor

Entered service 1997
Configuration 6x4
Seating 2 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight (curb) 750 kg
Payload capacity 570 kg
Length 2.74 m
Width 1.52 m
Height 1.1 m
Engine Yanmar diesel
Engine power 18 hp
Maximum road speed 30 km/h
Range ~ 250 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.2 m
Trench ~ 0.3 m
Fording ~ 0.5 m


   The John Deere M-Gator is an all-terrain vehicle intended for military use. Basically it is a militarizes version of commercial John Deere Gator ATV. Originally these vehicles were designed to serve on farms, ranches and worksites for various utility jobs. The militarized M-Gator is painted in camouflage and equipped with carrying tray on its hood, rifle brackets and has some other changes. It was adopted by the US Army in 1997. First M-Gators saw combat in 1997 and 1998 in Bosnia. These ATVs were used by Medical Brigade for casualty evacuation. This vehicle was to designed to decrease soldiers labor. Troops would put their gear onto the vehicles to lighten their loads. This ATV was widely used for utility work for transporting supplies and equipment. Later this vehicle was widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan. US Army operates around 4 500 of these ATVs. Some of these vehicles are being procured through individual units' operational budgets. Now the M-Gator is also in service with US Marine Corps, Belgium, Brazil and Canada.

   It is a small, mobile and capable all-terrain vehicle with 6x4 configuration. In concept it is similar to M274 Mechanical Mule. The M-Gator has a rugged heavy-duty design with reinforced frame. It carries a crew of two. Vehicle can carry up to 570 kg of useful payload. There is a front cargo tray and reconfigurable cargo box-bed at the rear. Sides and tailgate can be dropped to form a larger cargo area. The M-Gator is used to carry cargo in the field. It can support airborne operations. For casualty evacuation it can hold two litters on the rear deck. This ATV can tow light trailers or artillery pieces. US Military also use Gator ATVs with 4x4 configuration.

   The M-Gator A1 is an upgraded version of the original M-Gator. It has some improvements, more powerful engine and is equipped with roll-over protection. The M-Gator A2 is equipped with a heavy-duty truck-style frame and reconfigurable cargo box. This model is suitable for hauling, towing and hill-climbing. The M-Gator A3 is an improved variant based on the field experience gained from the A1 and A2 models.

   The John Deere M-Gator is powered by 854cc Yanmar three cylinder diesel engine, developing 18 hp. The upgrade A1 model has an engine uprated to 20 hp. The same engine is also found in other Gator vehicles. Vehicle can also run on JP-8 jet fuel. Engine is coupled to continuously variable transmission, which offers better fuel economy and eliminates shifting gears. Vehicle has good cross-country mobility over all kinds of terrain.  It is a more nimble off-road than the HMMWV. Run-flat tyres and self-recovery winch are optional.

   The M-Gator can be carried internally and externally by helicopters. It will fit inside Chinook and Osprey. Also this vehicle can be airdropped.

   Chinese airborne units also use a very similar vehicle with 6x4 or 6x6 configuration. It might be a clone of the John Deere M-Gator.

   There is also an R-Gator unmanned ground vehicle. It was developed by John Deere and iRobot. This all-terrain vehicle is capable of autonomous operations, such as waypoint following and following dismounted infantry soldiers or vehicles with obstacle avoidance. It can be controlled remotely from a laptop. The R-Gator can be even used for reconnaissance role in hostile situations.







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