Land Rover’s new Defender has been put through its paces under the watchful eye of all-terrain experts from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the latest stage of its global testing programme. The prototype vehicle recently visited the IFRC global fleet base at Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, ahead of its public debut later this year.
Land Rover engineers demonstrated the Defender’s on- and off-road capabilities before the IFRC’s fleet experts took to the wheel to test the vehicle for themselves on the region’s desert sand dunes and the twisty tarmac of Jebel Jais highway.
The test in Dubai coincided with the renewal of Land Rover’s global partnership with the IFRC – a relationship that dates back 65 years, to 1954, when the first specially adapted Land Rover entered service in the region as a mobile dispensary.
This year marks the humanitarian organisation’s centenary as it celebrates 100 Years of Hope. Over the next three years, Land Rover will support disaster preparedness and response initiatives in locations including India, Mexico and Australia.
Ilir Caushaj, the IFRC’s Team Lead for Global Fleets and Logistics, said: “The Red Cross supports millions of people in crisis every year, working in almost every country in the world. We operate in some of the most hard-to-reach places on earth, often working in very difficult terrain, so our teams have to be able to cope with anything. That’s why we’re proud to have partnered with Land Rover since 1954, and to be putting their new Defender to the test, as together they help us reach vulnerable communities in crisis, whoever and wherever in the world they are.”
The IFRC fleet experts tested the Defender in soft sand among the rolling dunes of the desert, where the prototype model shrugged off the steep ascents, demanding side slopes and blind crests.