On World Land Rover Day (April 30), the next-generation Defender reached a development milestone as its prototype fleet managed to hit a landmark 1.2 million kilometres.

To mark the occasion, Land Rover will send a specially-camouflaged prototype Defender to go field-testing with its global conservation partner, Tusk Trust. The prototype will be tasked with towing heavy loads, wading through rivers and carrying supplies across difficult terrain in the 14,000-hectare Borana Conservancy in Kenya to support vital conservation work.

When the new Defender makes its first debut later this year, prototypes would have passed more than 45,000 individual tests in extreme environments. These include 50-degree heat of the desert, the sub 40-degree cold of the Arctic, as well as altitudes of up to 10,000 feet at the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

That’s not all, as the off-roader also had its on-road dynamics fine tuned at the Nürburgring facility in Germany and all-terrain capabilities tested on the muddy roads of Eastnor, UK, the rocky trails of Moab in Utah, and the sand dunes of Dubai.

The upcoming Defender is designed and developed at Gaydon in the United Kingdom, which is the home to Land Rover’s design, engineering and testing facilities. Production of the model will take place at the company’s new manufacturing facility in Nitra, Slovakia.

For now, details about the Defender are limited, but we do know that there will be two wheelbases offered. The model will likely use the MLA platform, with air suspension reportedly being available as well.