The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has taken delivery of an additional medium heavy operational vehicle (MHOV) from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia.

Delivered during a ceremony at Trentham Military Camp, near Wellington, the new vehicle is the last of 194 MHOVs to be supplied by Rheinmetall to NZDF under a $113m deal signed in April 2013.

The 4×4 6t (HX60), 6×6 9t (HX58), and 8×8 15t (HX77) MHOVs are scheduled to replace the NZDF’s ageing fleet comprising Unimog and heavier Mercedes trucks, which have been operating for nearly 30 years.

New Zealand Army chief major general Dave Gawn said the MHOVs represent a major leap forward in capability and technology for the NZDF.

Gawn said: "Across a range of employment contexts, the MHOV offers us a significantly enhanced logistics and movements capability as a land force for the future.

"Further to the normal troop and equipment carrying roles, additional vehicles are fitted with winches and cranes, which will enable fully independent operations."

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"The MHOV offers us a significantly enhanced logistics and movements capability."

Featuring high-capacity electrical systems, air conditioners, and Euro 4 emissions compliant engines, the MHOVs offer increased carrying capacity for cargo and supplies and are also fitted with bolt-on armour kits and weapon mounts, providing greater crew protection and self-defence.

Transportable through the HMNZS Canterbury’s side ramp, the fully deployable HX58, HX60, and HX77 variants can also be loaded on and off the vessel using landing craft.

The NZDF has supplied four HX60 models and a HX77 carrying a gap crossing (Bridge) system to Australia, through HMNZS Canterbury for participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

The MHOVs are expected to be fully introduced into the NZDF service by December 2017.

Image: The new medium heavy operational vehicle offers greater crew protection and self-defence. Photo: CROWN copyright 2013.