The HX 81 SaZgM 70t mil is a 9.15m-long unprotected heavy-duty semi-trailer tractor used by the German Army. Credit: Rheinmetall.
Rheinmetall will deliver a total of 137 SaZgM 70t mil trucks to the German Army under a framework agreement signed in 2018. Credit: UndateableOne/Wikimedia Commons.
The SaZgM 70t mil truck can transport heavy armoured vehicles such as the Leopard 2 main battle tank and the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer. Credit: Sonaz/Wikimedia Commons.

The HX81 SaZgM 70t truck, also known as Elefant 2, is an unprotected heavy tractor trailer with a 70-tonne (t) payload capacity serving the German Army. It belongs to the HX family of heavy transport vehicles developed by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV), a joint venture between Rheinmetall (51%) and MAN Truck & Bus (49%).

The SaZgM 70t military trucks are intended to strengthen the German Army’s capability to transport heavy armoured vehicles such as the Leopard 2 main battle tank and the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer over long distances under challenging conditions and difficult terrains.

The use of SaZgM 70t trucks for logistics and tactical missions involving heavy combat vehicles will also complement Germany’s leadership of Nato’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2023.

Orders and deliveries

The German Army will receive 137 SaZgM 70t mil trucks worth up to €122m ($138.4m) under a seven-year flexible framework agreement signed between the German Bundeswehr and Rheinmetall in 2018.

The first unprotected Elefant 2 heavy-duty transporter was delivered in 2019, followed by the delivery of 31 more vehicles in 2020, which concluded the delivery of the first batch of 32 vehicles worth approximately €28.5m.

Rheinmetall had supplied a total of 80 SaZgM 70t mil trucks to the German Army as of April 2023.

The German Bundeswehr awarded a €50m contract to Rheinmetall to supply the remaining 57 HX81 SaZgM 70t mil trucks in May 2023. The trucks are scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2024.

More than 4,000 military trucks from the HX family have been delivered to the German armed forces since 2018.

HX81 SaZgM 70t truck design and features

The SaZgM 70t 8×8 unprotected heavy-duty military truck is based on the HX81 all-wheel-drive transport platform. It can serve as a semi-trailer or tank transporter and complements the protected Mammut heavy-duty transporter supplied by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles.

The HX81 military truck measures 9.15m long and features a four-seater driver’s cab for accommodating a driver and three passengers. The cab can be equipped with Rheinmetall’s protected integrated armoured cabin solution to provide a high degree of protection to military personnel.

The transporter weighs 27t after the installation of an armoured cab. It can haul different trailers with a useful load of 73t. The truck’s permissible gross train weight is 130t. It is designed to transport modern main battle tanks in rough terrain conditions.

The vehicle features a low-torsion ladder frame for heavy off-road use. It is equipped with sturdy steel bumpers to ensure the necessary levels of reliability. It also features long and wear-free rubber-mounted springs and large shock absorbers and stabilisers for crew comfort.

Winch system aboard HX81 SaZgM 70t mil

The HX81 SaZgM 70t mil heavy transport vehicle is equipped with a Rotzler double winch system, with each winch having a pulling strength of 20t.

Providing a combined maximum tractive force of 40t, the winch system allows the truck to tow vehicles onto the trailer.

Engine and performance

The HX81 SaZgM 70t mil truck is powered by the robust MAN D2868 turbocharged, eight-cylinder diesel engine with a power output of 500kW.

The versatile all-wheel-drive truck can reach a maximum speed of 89km/h and conquer steep inclines with gradients of up to 60%. It has a driving range of 800km.