This vehicle was built at the Solihull factory and rolled off the production line on the 25th March 1983. It officially entered RAF service on the 6th July of the same year.
This particular vehicle was part of a batch of 45 FFR RHD vehicles funded by the USAF for the RAF Regiment. The ‘window hard-top’ was a model not sold on the civilian market in the UK for tax reasons and as a result, the vehicle is on the rarer side within the Land Rover community.
Powered by the reliable standard 2.25ltr petrol engine but with a 24v electrical system, the vehicle featured dual fuel tanks (one under each seat) and a hand throttle, to set the idle RPM when in use.
Upon entry to the service, it was given the registration 18-KA-14.
Little is known about the vehicle in its initial service, but we do know that in 1987 it was allocated to RAF West Raynham Supply Sqn and quickly passed onto 66 Sqn RAF Regiment, also based at RAF West Raynham.
66 Sqn was a Low Level Air Defence (LLAD) squadron using the Rapier Missile System. The exact role of 18-KA-14 is unknown, but it was likely used as a communications platform or stand-in tractor to tow the Rapier missile system trailer or additional missiles.
18-KA-14 remained on the Sqn until it was allocated for disposal. We know it was allocated on the 26th September 1993 before officially leaving service on the 13th January 1994.
66Sqn RAF Regiment Summary:
66 Sqn was activated at RAF West Raynham on 1 July 1983 and equipped with USAF purchased Rapier all weather Blindfire Short Range Air Defence SHORAD system. The Squadron was tasked with the air defence of USAFE bases RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath and was assigned to HQ 6 Wing RAF Regiment, working alongside both 19 and 20 Squadron. 66 Sqn won the Lloyds Cup the trophy for the being the top shooting Squadron within the RAF Regiment in 1987.
66 Squadron RAF Regiment was disbanded with HQ 6 Wing RAF Regiment in 1994 when the USAF withdrew funding for the USAF Rapier Force as a result of the ending of the Cold War.
18-KA-14 has had a full and demanding life and currently, it shows. Having retuned from being on loan to Bruntingthorpe with The Buccaneer Aviation Group, she’s in need of some Shackleton Aviation Group care and attention; mechanically and aesthetically. We aim to equip it with its radio table and the racking it originally came with. It will be used to tow our Houchin and Nitrogen Gas Trolley.
There is also scope to use it as a Ground Power outlet for WR963 itself. Time will tell!