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Australian Defence Force’s new G-class era begins

G-spot: Mercedes' G-class replaces Land Rover's Defender as Aussie army's preferred mode of transport.

Benz delivers first G-class prototypes to Australian army in decades-long deal

Mercedes-Benz logo3 Nov 2009

By TERRY MARTIN

MERCEDES-BENZ has delivered the first two prototype purpose-built G-class all-terrain vehicles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), 12 months after signing off on the $350 million contract.

As GoAuto reported in November 2008, the Mercedes-ADF deal came after five years of negotiations and, in addition to the supply of 1200 vehicles, includes a contract for service, parts and support that will run for 15 years, with an option to extend.

The ADF will test a range of prototype vehicles over the next 12 months, with deliveries of production models taking place from 2011.

4 center imageVehicle supply is contracted to run until at least 2014, although the deal – which is described as a “30-year strategic agreement” – extends well beyond that time.

The first ‘deliveries’ were made at a ceremony last week at the German manufacturer’s plant in Graz, Austria, where the uniquely specified cross-country vehicles will be built.

As GoAuto reported in 2007, the program is dubbed Land 121 (or ‘Overlander’) and will provide the ADF with field vehicles and trailers that will essentially replace the army’s current tactical vehicle fleet.

Body variants include two-door and four-door 4x4 wagons, 4x4 cab-chassis utilities, purpose-built 6x6 single-cab and dual-cab chassis models and a specialised 6x6 surveillance and reconnaissance version for use in northern Australia.

Newcastle-based engineering firm Varley will supply a range of ‘transport’ modules to be fitted to many of the vehicles, such as ambulance, command post, personnel carriage and general cargo.

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