Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific (MBAuP) has today inked a deal with the Australia Defence Force for the supply of 1200 G-Class cross-country vehicles. Formally code named ?Land 121?, but more commonly referred to as ?Project Overlander?, the deal will see the ADF begin the lengthy process of replacing its tactical fleet of 'four-bies' and 'six-bies'.
Fifty technical and engineering specialists from Australia, Germany, and Austria have been involved in the five years of work required to successfully complete the tender process and secure the ADF's signature on the dotted line.
The first G-Class off-road vehicles will arrive in 2009, which happens to coincide with the 30 year anniversary of G-Class production, and will continue on through to 2014 at the least. A dedicated factory in Graz, Austria, will build and ship the vehicles which will come in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations.
Varley, based in Newcastle NSW, will provide the range of modules and cargo platforms that will bring the total number of supplied vehicle variants up to nine unique configurations across range.
In addition to the vehicle contract, Mercedes has also signed a 30-year service/parts/support agreement which will run for an initial 15 years and provide an option for extension based on the ADF's requirements. All up the entire deal is worth approximately AUD$350 million.
The original Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-roader was first unveiled in 1979 and was designed predominantly with heavy-duty off-road terrain in mind. Initially known as the G-Wagen, which is short for ?gel?ndewagen?, or ?cross-country vehicle?, the all-terrain wagon has, over the many years of its production life, been adapted to ever-changing customer requirements in the civilian and military worlds.
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 power-train technologies, proven in the toughest off-road applications.
Exceptional off-road performance coupled with excellent towing abilities and balanced handling characteristics have resulted in the G-Class enjoying an extraordinarily long production career, which now stands at 29 years. With the Australia Defence Force now having jumped on the wagon, so to speak, the G-Class is set to become a familiar sight in its 'Aussie khaki' defence livery.