The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has received the first prototype Mercedes Benz G-Wagon vehicles from the Defence Materiel Organisation’s project Land 121 Overlander.

Australian Defence Minister Greg Combet said the new G-Wagon would include detachable unit-specific modules designed for specific tasks that include munitions transfer, field ambulances or troop carriers.

As part of the contract, a total of 1,200 Mercedes Benz G-Wagons and 315 specialist modules will be delivered ready for operations.

Under the $50m contract, the modules will be manufactured by Varley in Hunter Valley where they will also undergo quality assurance, verification and validation testing.

Testing is expected to be complete by late August 2010 and the first delivery of operational G-Wagon vehicles is scheduled for 2011.

The military G-wagon is not armoured, but can be equipped with armour modules by replacing body panels to protect the crew against rifle fire or grenade fragments.

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The vehicle has three military variants – basic light utility vehicles, command and reconnaissance models and the military police version.

The project Land 121 Overlander is a $4.6bn multiphased project to provide a fleet of 7,000 vehicles, modules and trailers, and the associated support to enhance the combat capability of the ADF.