ATVS Help Armed Forces Climb Harsh Terrain in Search of the Enemy

    MINNEAPOLIS--May 21, 2002--With search and destroy missions being carried out in the mountains of Afghanistan as recently as last night, the Allied Forces' fighting tactics have had to adapt to some of the world's most rugged and unpredictable terrain. Intelligence and mobility have become key factors in the conflict, causing Allied Forces to look for alternate means of transportation to replace massive tanks, Humvees and other ground systems. The one ground vehicle that has seen substantial action is the same vehicle millions of Americans use every day for hunting, farming and weekend trail riding - the all-terrain vehicle (ATV).
    "The ATV has taken us off the roads and out of the deserts and enabled us to get into the mountains where the enemy in Afghanistan is hiding," said Special Operations expert and former Airborne Ranger, Gary Linderer of Festus, Mo. "The Army has always looked for ways to enable troops to cover a lot of ground and open terrain. The need for that has never changed."
    ATVs are practically tailor-made for navigating the rugged terrain of Afghanistan as American troops pursue Taliban and Al-Queda forces from cave to cave. Nearly 100 Polaris ATVs have been shipped overseas for military use since the Sept. 11 attacks. The latest Polaris machine to be tapped by the U.S. military for support in Operation Enduring Freedom is the Sportsman 700 Twin. Each vehicle is outfitted with military gear at a central staging area in the U.S. before being deployed to Afghanistan.
    Compared to mules and horses, which are commonly used to climb the narrow, rocky mountain trails of Afghanistan, the Sportsman 700 Twin is a powerhouse, able to cover the harsh terrain with speed and agility. With the largest displacement engine of any 4x4, its suspension and high ground clearance make it an ideal vehicle for the unforgiving topography. The Sportsman 700 was also named "ATV of the Year" by ATV Magazine for 2002.
    "We've been developing better and stronger ATVs since 1985, and it's good to know our machines are contributing to the war on terrorism," said Bennett Morgan, general manager, ATV division. "Our products have always been ideal for hunters and farmers, but we're very proud to know the military is using them with great success in Afghanistan."
    Throughout time, armies have constantly strived to find the best, most versatile vehicles for battlefields, reconnaissance missions and transporting troops and supplies where they're needed, and U.S. war vehicles have undergone a drastic evolution. Pack mules, horses and other beasts were used in the Spanish American War. The military then turned to bicycles in World War I and motorcycles in World War II.
    "The military likes ATVs because of the vehicle's durability and its ability to negotiate rough terrain and get around in narrow areas. The ATV is probably the ultimate step in the military's evolving options for one-man transportation vehicles," Linderer said. "Outside of individual flying machines, I can't imagine anything better for going where man was not designed to go."
    Beyond ATVs, the U.S. government also has used Polaris watercraft and snowmobiles for military training exercises and homeland security initiatives since the Sept. 11 attacks. Based in Medina, Minn., Polaris has a distribution facility in Vermillion, S.D., a sub-production plant in Osceola, Wis., and a production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Another production facility in Roseau, Minn., employs nearly 1,800 of the community's 2,500 residents.
    Information about the complete line of Polaris products is available from authorized Polaris dealers or from the Polaris home page at www.polarisindustries.com.
    Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, Victory motorcycles, and the Polaris RANGER for recreational and utility use. Polaris is the largest snowmobile manufacturer in the world, and one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of ATVs and personal watercraft. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris(TM) apparel, accessories, and parts available at Polaris dealerships. Consumers can also purchase apparel and accessories around the clock online at www.purepolaris.com. The Polaris Professional Series, a line of heavy duty Workmobiles(TM) targeted at lawn and landscape companies, equipment rental companies and construction operations, marks Polaris' expansion into the commercial equipment marketplace.
    Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange and Pacific Stock Exchange under the symbol "PII," and the company is included in the S&P SmallCap 600 stock price index.

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