Defence Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman today announced the purchase of 200 new trucks for the New Zealand Defence Force.
In a $135 million project, the government is purchasing Rheinmetall-MAN military vehicles to replace the old NZDF Unimog and heavier Mercedes trucks.
“The new NZDF medium and heavy trucks will carry more people and equipment, and will be fitted with armour and weapons to protect the crew, allowing them to function effectively in modern military environments,” said Dr Coleman.
“The same military vehicles are being purchased by the United Kingdom and we have bought them at a great price by purchasing off the same production line as the Brits, achieving an economy of scale.”
“The total cost for the trucks from the production line is $113 million. The remaining balance of the project costs includes armour protection kits; weapons mounts; personnel modules and a range of specialised military equipment,” he said. “It also covers spares, logistic support arrangements, and extensive training packages.”
“The arrival of all the new trucks by the end of 2014 will mean the NZDF can begin working up to a future operational capability which will be a huge step forward in technology and protection from the current fleet.”
“The government’s defence policy is all about investment in the front line and these new trucks are a great example of that,” said Dr Coleman.
“These new trucks are part of an ongoing programme of equipment upgrades, including modernisation of the ANZAC frigates, replacement helicopters for the Navy, and getting our upgraded Orions and Hercules fully into service.”
- The trucks will be used across the whole NZDF.
- Three sizes of truck will be purchased: 6 tonne 4×4, 9 tonne 6×6 and 15 tonne 8×8.
- The 6 tonne trucks have 240Kw engines, while the 6×6 and 8×8 variants have 324Kw engines. All engines are Euro 4 emissions compliant, which is the highest level that still allows efficient operations even if the fuel is of lower quality (such as might be found on operations).
- All trucks are fitted with high capacity electrical systems to future proof them for developments in communications and other electronic systems. They are all fitted with air conditioning to maximise crew efficiency in a wide range of temperatures..
- Variants to be purchased include trucks fitted with winches and cranes to allow completely independent operations, dump trucks, trucks fitted with specialised pallet and container handling equipment, and tractor/semi-trailer combinations to carry heavy vehicles and equipment.
- Specific components, including semi-trailers and dumper bodies, will be made in New Zealand.
- Although the trucks meet military requirements, over 80% of their components are used by civilian MAN vehicles. This commonality will allow for readily available maintenance support to the vehicles.
- Five training vehicles are arriving soon and will allow drivers and mechanics to train and qualify on the vehicles prior to the main fleet arriving.