The Australian military Land-Rover Series 3 Fitted For Radio variant
closely resembled the previous Series 2A variant. Certainly the scooped
out tailgate is identical to the Series 2 and 2A variants. This scooped
tailgate was to allow radio operators to easily enter and exit the rear
of the vehicle without the need to open the tailgate, but still keep
items in teh vehicle while in motion. Pairs of batteries were mounted
on sliding racks in vented lockers on each side of the Land-Rover, directly
behind and below the bulkhead behind the front seats. One side was the
spare set and there was a power distribution box fitted to enable switching
between the battery pairs and terminals. In regard to the more obvious
radio fittings, the aerial mounted differently and the style of mount
carried through to the Perentie 110 FFR variant. Inside the rear of
the FFR there was a battery power distribution box behind the left hand
or passenger front seat and up to four radio tables behind the front
Take your pick of the following sets: AN/GRC-106, AN/PRC-47, AN/VRC-46,
AN/VRC-49, AN/GRC-160, AN/GRC-125, GRC-F2/F4. Different sets were fitted
for different jobs, different ranges and different frequencies. Artillery
instilations varied from armoured corps ones for example. When in storage
FFR vehicles have no radios mounted. The radios were drawn from stores
seperately and installed in the vehicle.
- AN/GRC-106: This unit is a large HF unit, mostly used by
armoured units and HQ elements. It almost touches the roof of the
vehicle and mounts to two base, shock mount, 83016 which in turn bolt
to an MT-3140 which then bolts to the radio table.
- AN/PRC-47: It is not known how this radio unit was mounted
in the vehicle as it was predominantly used as a manpack radio
- AN/VRC-46 and 49: These radios are based around the RT-524
radio mounted onto a MT-1029 radio mount which in turn bolts to the
radio tables. In the VRC-49 there are 2 RT-524's which are linked
to form a repeater with one recieving, and the other transmitting.
- AN/GRC-125: This is a vehicle mount for the AN/PRC-25 manpack
radio. The GRC-125 also had the elements on board to use it as a manpack
again. This is connected to an AM-2060 power supply, which is in turn
attached to an MT-1029 and bolted to a table.
- AN/GRC-160: the GRC-160 is the same as the AN/GRC-125, however
mounts the later AN/PRC-77 radio, which was an updated PRC-25 with
channels at 1.2 the frequency increments, giving double the number
- GRC-F2/F4: The F2 was an australian built radio instaleld
into these vehicles.
Most of these radios can be bought from Europe and the United States,
and no licence is required to own them, however to operate them many
require Amatuer Radio Licences. And beware, they are quite expensive,
with RT-524's and PRC-77's fetching as much as $600 USD. The PRC-25
and PRC-47 are not assought after by collectors, and as such do not
attract the same values. The sheer size of the GRC-106 sees prices reach
$1000 USD plus.
A AN/GRC-160 (on left) and GRC-F2/F4 (on right) in Phill's FFR.
Antenna base AB625-GRC in place
BATTERIES & ELECTRICAL SYSTEMS
There were essentially two seperate electrical systems in the Series
3 FFR. A regular 12V system for the vehicle systems such as vehicle
battery, lights, indicator, windscreen wipers and so on. This system
was charged by a normal altenator. Then there was a 24v system for the
radio system. this had a seperate loom, seperate generator, and seperate
batteries. the 24v batteries were the ones that were mounted in the
side vented lockers unique to the FFR. This system was charged from
a nato standard 28V, 100A generator.
The generator is very heavy and requires two hands and a strong back
to lift. It is commonly fitted to large trucks, APC's and other nato
standard armoured fighting vehicles. It was mounted on the driver side
of the motor on a special bracket which mounted this and relocated the
altenator. The generator mounts to the bracket via 2 large bands bolted
around the generator. The Generator has a 3 pin plug at the rear to
connect it to the power distribution box, as well as the rest of the
There was also different battery installations for each radio type.
For more details see EMEI G235-1, but below is thecaqpacity of the batteries
fitted depending on radio type installed. These batteries are 12V units
connected in series to produce the required 24v DC.
- GRC-F2, AN/GRC-160 and AN/GRC-125 used a 60 AH Dynapack.
- AN/PRC-47, AN/VRC60 and AN/VRC-49 used a 100 AH battery
when used alone, or in combination with any group 1 radios.
- AN/GRC-106 used a 200 AH battery when used alone or
with any group 1 or 2 radios.
The Batteries live in the vented lockers on the side of the vehicles.
In these lockers there is a variable clamp to hold the battery down.
This is an M8 1.25 thread (for those that need to replace the wingnuts).
The Series 3 FFR has 4 antenna mounts bolted to the rear tub of the
vehicle. normally the AS-1729 antenna consisting of an MX-6707 base
and AS-1720/VRC and AT-1095/VRC antenna sections is what is fitted to
the vehicles. These are quite common on US softskin vehicles as well
as US armoured vehicles and can readily be bought from the US and Europe.
However antenna mast base AB652-GRC could also be fitted using an antenna
To maintain battery charge when the FFR was 'in-field' operating as
a base station or a relay station for signals the engine was continuously
run at a fast idle for hours at a time. Therefore the cooling systems
for both the engine water and engine oil had to be very reliable. Care
had to be taken to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning to personnel whilst
the engine was idling. But what to do with the toxic not to mention
hot exhaust gases? A FFR parked for an extended period in spinifex grass,
dry scrub or even deep leaf litter with a hot exhaust system presented
a fire hazard... so caution had to be exercised when setting up a sig
post and concealing it everytime, everywhere, whether the crew was just
fresh out on exercise and eager... or whether the crew was severely
fatigued from a week's round-the-clock operations.
The exhaust noise muffler was large and fitted east-west under the
front bumper. This mod required a strange looking reversed exhaust.
An EMEI was later released to retrofit the FFRs with a mini brush bar
bolted on the low section of the normal brushguard to provide some protection
to the front mounted muffler.
In the back is where the FFR really differed. 4 radio tables and 2 single
radio operator seats as well as a storage box against the bulkhead with
a seat on top of it differentiated the FFR from it's GS cousin which
just had four 2 person bench seats. These were essentially shortened
2 person seats. The number and configuration of tables and seats varied
in actual service, with some mounting 2 person seats and less tables
and so on.
To assist station concealment at night an interior canvas curtain
was unrolled as well as a set of canvas window covers. In night operations
the station interior was lit in red light with the option of white light.
This was provided by an overhead switchable dual colour interior lamp
attached to the centre hoop for the canvas roof. The 'operators/cargo
lamp' appears to be a standard Hella or similar brand square two colour
lamp. Its red one side and clear on the other side. The red side of
the lamp is orientated toward the front of the interior. The lamp is
mounted to a flat sheet of aluminium with a toggle switch mounted above
and adjacent to the centre hood bow. The switch allows the light to
be turned to ON -white/ OFF /ON -red. (from P. Hastings) . Although
not an official modifications, REMLR was told by an ex Sigs operator
that it was common for a second fume curtain to be fixed in place to
stop any light escaping the tub area of the vehicle. Another unofficial
modification was a length of PVC pipe zip tied to the canopy hoops on
one side to carry the antenna sections whilst in transit to avoid any
damage to them.
The series 3 FFR is mostly civilian parts, however there are some items that were specifically Military. Some of these bits are hard to get, like the radio 28v generator, and other parts easy, like the battery locker latches.
The list below has some parts that we know how to get a hold of!!
- Battery Locker Latch: These are known as "Budget latches". The same part is used on the Perentie 110, and possibly the 2a Ambulance side lockers. These, and the keys for them, can be purchased from UES (Universal Enginering Supplies)
- Hinge for the battery lockers: Again, these are a fairly standard item, in this case referred to as a piano hinge. Again, these can be purchased from UES.
- Radiator Cap: These can still be purchased from Land Rover as part number STC4735. A number of older part numbers also refer to the same part, RTC3610, GRC118, 564713 and 509767. Naturally this applies to all series 3 models fitted with the 6 cylinder motor.