The ADF’s land capabilities are set for a significant upgrade with the purchase of 1044 additional new-generation medium and heavy trucks, 872 modules and 812 trailers, worth a total of $1.4 billion.
The additional medium and heavy trucks and their associated modules and trailers will facilitate logistics support through the movement of assets and supplies in combat, humanitarian, natural disaster relief and training.
"These modern trucks will be used for a broad range of military contingencies, from resupplying combat operations to supporting the ADF’s assistance to Australian and regional communities after natural disasters such as floods, fires and cyclones, " Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said during the announcement.
“We’ve already got more than 1,000 of these trucks in service and they have proved their value, exceeding user expectations in disaster relief, training and on exercises.
“This project marks the final government approval for the Land 121 Program, which is replacing the ADF’s legacy fleet of ageing vehicles and trailers, many of which are in excess of 30 years old and becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain.”
The trucks themselves will be manufactured on an existing production line in Austria. Australian industry, however, will play a role; Rheinmetall is partnering with a range of domestic companies, including Varley in Newcastle, Holmwood Highgate in Brisbane, and ECLIPS in the ACT to supply the modules and trailers.
“Haulmark Trailers Australia, a trusted and proven Australian Defence industry partner, will manufacture and sustain the trailers for the project," Minister Pyne said.
“Land 121 Phase 5B will sustain over 100 jobs with Haulmark in Brisbane, as well as over 100 more with Rheinmetall, its subcontractors and supply chain across Australia.
“This project presents an exciting opportunity for Australian industry to continue delivery of new-generation capability in support of the ADF.
"Australian industry involvement is in the order of half a billion dollars for acquisition, with ongoing sustainment being carried out by Australian or Australia-based companies.”
Delivery under Land 121 Phase 3A of some 2,146 4x4 and 6x6 unprotected Mercedes Benz G-Wagons was completed in 2016, whilst Land 121 Phase 3B acquired 2,536 trucks and 3,858 modules from Rheinmetall. Land 121 Phase 4 sees 1,100 Hawkei replace the balance of the Land Rover fleet through a $1.3 billion contract with Thales Australia.