Faced with the prospect of invasion from the Japanese during World War 2 (1939-1945), Australia was forced to look to its own industry to shore up limitations of its stock of fighting equipment. This was the case with aircraft, small arms and armored vehicles which produced several notable ventures from local participants. In the latter, the "Rover" Light Armored Car (LAC) was developed with some haste and pulled from available stocks of Ford Canada 3-ton military trucks. Ruskin Motor Bodies was commissioned to apply a basic armored superstructure to the chassis and the LAC was born.
Design work began in 1941 and the Ford trucks on hand were the F60L and F60S 3-ton models. The armored superstructure was as basic as could be, featuring angled surfaces for ballistics protection against small arms fire (but little else). The 4x4 leaf-sprung wheeled arrangement was retained and the operating crew numbered five - driver, vehicle commander, two dedicated machine gunners and a radioman - in cramped fighting conditions. The superstructure held forward viewports for both driver and commander with hatches seen along the lower sides of the hull for entry-exit. Additional hatches were seated over the driver and commander positions. Buried headlamps in the bow provided lighting in low-light environments.
Armor protection reached 16mm thickness and armament was one 0.303" Vickers machine gun usually coupled with a 0.303 BREN Light Machine Gun (LMG). Power was served from the original Ford V-8 gasoline engine developing 95 horsepower.
In the end 238 of the design were produced in all and service entry was had in 1942. However, manufacture ended in 1943 owing to the fact that the Aussies now benefitted from a surplus of army equipment originating from U.S. factories. As such the LAC was never to see combat service in the Grand War and was relegated to training on Australian soil.
The effort produced two distinct variants - the "Mk 1" at 5.2 tonnes (40 built) and the "Mk 2" at 5 tonnes (198 built). These were built atop the Ford F60L and F60S chassis respectively so the Mk 1 was slightly longer at 20 feet against the Mk 2's 18.3 foot length. Width and height were equal in both designs, 7.6 feet and 7 feet respectively.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Design, of typically lightweight nature, providing onroad/offroad capabilities for the scouting or general security roles.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
20.0 ft 6.1 m
7.5 ft 2.3 m
6.9 ft 2.1 m
11,464 lb 5,200 kg
5.7 tons LIGHT
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Rover LAC (Light Armoured Car - Aust) production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
1 x Ford V8 engine developing 95 horsepower.
49.7 mph (80.0 kph)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Rover LAC (Light Armoured Car - Aust) production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
1 x 7.7mm (0.303") BREN Light Machine Gun (LMG)
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
2,500 x 7.7mm ammunition (if equipped with MG).
Rover LAC - Base Series Name
Rover Mk.I - Using F60L Ford truck chassis; 5.2 tonne weight; 40 examples completed.
Rover Mk.II - Using F60S Ford truck chassis; shorter overall length; 5 tonne weight; 198 examples completed.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.