News - Mercedes-Benz - G-Class
Army G-wagon test fleet reports for duty
Mercedes-Benz delivers nine prototype G-class vehicles to ADF under $130m contract
5 Feb 2010
By TERRY MARTIN
MERCEDES-BENZ has delivered a fresh batch of prototype purpose-built G-class all-terrain vehicles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for continued testing and evaluation ahead of the first wave of production models due in 2011.
After handing over two units to the ADF last October at a ceremony at the manufacturer’s plant in Graz, Austria, where the uniquely specified cross-country vehicles are being built, Mercedes-Benz has now made the first ‘local’ deliveries of nine G-class models.
Part of a $350 million deal to supply a 1200-strong tactical fleet under the banner ‘Project Overlander’, the latest batch includes four-wheel drive station wagons, 4WD cab-chassis units, and six-wheel drive units in both single-cab and dual-cab chassis configuration.
As GoAuto has reported, Mercedes-Benz won the contract to supply the ADF in November 2008 after five years of negotiations. In addition to the supply of vehicles, which is contracted to run until at least 2014, the deal includes a contract for service, parts and support that will run for 15 years, with an option to extend.
Newcastle-based engineering firm Varley will supply a range of specialist ‘transport’ modules to be fitted to many of the vehicles, such as ambulance, command post, personnel carriage and general cargo. Mercedes-Benz will also provide an armour-kit that can be fitted when required. In addition to the G-class contract, Mercedes-Benz also supplies and supports the ADF with Unimog cross-country trucks, Actros 8x8 fuel tankers, buses and vans.
The company said it recently participated in the ADF’s trial of medium and heavy trucks, during which the army tested a range of Mercedes-Benz trucks including the latest armoured Unimog, four- and six-wheel variants of the Zetros truck and an armoured 8x8 Actros.
The latter was apparently nicknamed ‘Optimus Prime’ – the animated ‘Transformer’ character – by Canadian soldiers on deployment.
“Mercedes-Benz is confident it can meet all the requirements of the Australian Defence Force with its comprehensive military vehicle range, and its extensive Australian support base,” the company said.
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