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29 Oct 08. Australia’s Minister for Defence, The Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, today witnessed the signing of a $350m contract with Mercedes-Benz to supply 1200 new G-Wagons to the Australian Defence Force. The signing ceremony took place at the Land Warfare Conference in Brisbane.

Minister Fitzgibbon said the two-tonne, all terrain vehicle came highly endorsed, with around 60,000 vehicles currently in use by defence forces in Canada, Austria, the United States, Germany and Singapore.

“Today’s contract is an important milestone for the Government’s $4.6bn, Land 121 – Project Overlander, also the Army’s largest project,” he said.

Land 121 is the most ambitious project ever undertaken by Army and will, over the next decade, deliver a fleet of 7,000 vehicles and supporting modules and trailers to meet the current and future demands of modern warfare.

The G-Wagon represents a new capability for Defence and will provide enhanced levels of mobility and operational functionality.

“The first vehicles delivered will be the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, the lightweight and light capability segment of Land 121 and will progressively replace the current fleet of Land Rovers some of which have been in service since the 1980s.”

Minister Fitzgibbon said the Government was confident it had the best vehicle for the job.

“Earlier this year we undertook four months of rigorous compliance testing in authentic conditions to ensure the capability of the vehicle matched the requirements of the project,” he said.

Six different types of G-Wagon will be acquired by Land 121 with the majority going to Army units. The range includes: a 4×4 general purpose station wagon, two 4×4 cargo variants, a 6×6 cab chassis variant, a 6×6 dual cab truck, and a specialist 6×6 surveillance and reconnaissance vehicle.

The new military vehicles will feature detachable unit-specific modules designed for tasks including munitions transfer, field ambulances and troop carriers, reducing the need for purpose built vehicles and increasing the logistical flexibility of the fleet.

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