$135m spent on new fleet of trucks for NZDF

By Heather McCracken

A new fleet of trucks costing $135 million has been bought for the New Zealand Defence Force.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman yesterday announced the 200 trucks would replace old Unimog and heavy Mercedes trucks.

The new vehicles would carry more people and equipment, and be fitted with armour and weapons to protect crew.

"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 is $113 million, with the balance of the cost made up of armour protection kits, weapon mounts, personnel modules and specialised military equipment.

The cost also covers spares, logistics support and training.

Five training vehicles will arrive soon to allow drivers and mechanics to be trained before the main fleet arrives.

All of the new trucks will be in New Zealand by the end of 2014.

The new fleet represented a capability leap forward, said vice chief of Defence Force Major General Tim Keating.

"These are modern trucks that will perform well on the modern battlefield," Major General Keating said.

"We operate in demanding environments, whether it is in support of humanitarian disasters or in armed combat, and we need reliable support vehicles."

As well as the normal troop- and equipment-carrying roles for the vehicles, some will be fitted with specialised equipment, including winches and cranes, and pallet- and container-handling equipment.

The trucks are being made by European military supplier Rheinmetall MAN.

- APNZ

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