Category: Defence Industry
Graz, Austria/Melbourne -- Germany`s Mercedes-Benz delivered on Oct. 29th 2009 the first of 1,200 specially made G - Class offroad vehicles to the Australian Army.
The new purpose-built cross-country vehicles will replace the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) existing tactical vehicle fleet. Their entry into the Australia’s military is the result of a large-scale project by the ADF, internally coded as ‘Land 121’ but more commonly referred to as ‘Project Overlander’.
Only one year to the day the ADF signed contracts for the supply of the vehicles, the first 11 prototype units were handed over in the G-Class assembly plant in Graz. Head of Mercedes-Benz Cross Country Vehicles Divison Axel Harries led the ceremony attended by Brigadier David O’Brian of the Australian Army, the Australian Ambassador to Austria His Excellency Ambassador Michael Potts and the General Manager of major Australian sub-contractor G.H. Varley.
The Overlander Project sees the replacement of all existing Australian military field vehicles and trailers with up-to-date modern versions, making it one of the ADF’s largest peace-time projects. The contract will see the delivery of 1200 Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-road models, supplied in a number of variants. These include three- and five-door station wagons in 4x4 configuration, 4x4 cab-chassis utility vehicles, and purpose-built 6x6 models in both single- and dual-cab chassis. It also includes a specialised 6x6 surveillance and reconnaissance version.
Mercedes-Benz has employed New South Wales-based engineering firm G.H. Varley to provide a range of transport modules that will be fitted to many of the G-Class vehicles. These will serve a range of functions, including ambulance, command post, personnel carriage and general cargo.
The vehicle handover marks an important milestone in Project Overlander. An exhaustive tender process culminated in the signing of the historic contract in October last year. Today marks the start of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-roader’s Australian military service, bringing with it a strong 30-year in service record.
Mercedes-Benz has a long history of supporting the Australian Defence Forces with field vehicles. For example, LA911B fire tankers were put into service with the ADF in 1978 and the unmistakeable Unimog off-roader commenced service in 1981. More recently, Mercedes-Benz coaches, vans and heavy-duty Actros 8x8 trucks have joined the ADF’s ranks. The well-proven G-Class is the latest addition to this list.
The legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Class (G is short for ‘Geländewagen’ which means ‘cross country vehicle) was first unveiled in 1979 and was designed with heavy-duty off-road terrain in mind. Ever since it has been adapted to changing customer requirements in the civilian and military markets. It boasted outstanding off-road capabilities right from the outset, but its all-terrain prowess has been continuously improved through the addition of cutting-edge electronic controls and powertrain technologies, proven in the toughest off-road applications. Its exceptional performance off the beaten track, its excellent towing capacity and balanced handling characteristics have resulted in the G-Class enjoying an extraordinarily long production career, which now stands at 30 years.
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