Driving in the Desert – Extreme Vehicles for Extreme Terrain

Whether for exploration, military purposes or simple adventure, the desert is one of the most challenging places to drive. The sandy terrain combined with extreme heat and a lack of resources means you need a special type of vehicle. We’re used to this at Prestone – we once spent 15 months testing our coolant in the Sahara to ensure it excels in extremes.

Here we take a look at some other vehicles designed to excel in the extreme of the desert.

Desert Patrol Vehicles

Desert Patrol VehicleDuring the Gulf War, the US Military used Desert Patrol Vehicles during combat, including Operation Desert Storm. These fast, lightly armoured buggies allowed Navy SEALS to move quickly and easily across the desert at speeds of up to 80mph, and could travel over 200 miles between fuel stops. The traveling distance could also be increased to 1000 miles by adding an additional fuel tank.

With their open sides and hefty tyres, the buggies are light enough to move easily on sand. The open cabin means drivers aren’t enclosed in a hot space which would require air conditioning – instead they can let the movement of air cool them as they whizz across the hot desert.

The Desert Patrol Vehicle can also be loaded with a range of artillery, such as the Mark 19 40mm machine gun and the Browning .50 calibre heavy machine gun. These features make it perfect for scouting and reconnaissance missions in difficult terrains, and during the liberation of Kuwait City in 1991, Navy SEALS could be seen on the televised footage driving their DPVs through the city’s streets.

The Desert Hawk

Desert Hawk Shadow Hawk VehicleShadow Hawk’s Desert Hawk provides a more complete driving experience (with sides and windows), and a whole host of specially designed features make it an exciting and powerful off road vehicle. All its components have been specially chosen to handle extremes of heat, speed and terrain. The brakes, for example, are a derivative of the clutch so they don’t use friction for stopping, which means they won’t overheat. The engine has PVD coatings to prolong its life and make it more efficient. The large tyres will roll easily over difficult terrain, and when you’re inside the night vision cameras will help you navigate your surroundings in darkness.




Written by Kat Morris