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Benz inks army deal

Specialised: The G-class will be locally modified to carry nine different rear body configurations for the ADF.

ADF signs $350 million contract for new fleet of Mercedes-Benz G-class off-roaders

3 Nov 2008

MERCEDES-BENZ has finally signed-off on a $350 million contract with the Australian Defence Force that it has been working on for five years.

The deal with the ADF will see Mercedes supply 1200 specially-developed G-class cross-country vehicles between 2009 and at least 2014, but the contract extends well beyond that time.

Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific said the contract includes a “30-year strategic agreement” with the ADF as well as a contract for service, parts and support that will run for 15 years, with an option to extend.

Developed through the involvement of 50 technical and engineering specialists from Australia and Europe under the ADF’s Land 121 vehicle tender (also known as Project Overlander), the 1200 G-class off-roaders will be built in Graz, Austria in both 4x4 and 6x6 configuations.

Nine rear body variants will be supplied and delivered for the vehicles by Newcastle-based engineering giant Varley, which has been involved in defence contracts since the early 1980s.

The first deliveries to the defence forces in 2009 will coincide with the 30th anniversary of the G-class, which was known originally as the G-Wagen or ‘Gelandewagen’, which means cross-country vehicle.

It was developed from the outset for the military world and has long been popular around the globe because of its uncompromised off-road ability and ruggedness, although ‘civil’ models have always been available - including a version powered by a supercharged 5.4-litre petrol V8, the G55 AMG.

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