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Mercedes-Benz's Latest: "Protection Class" Armored Vehicles

The German automaker unveils four new vehicles intended for the military.

Mercedes Actros

Mercedes-Benz is muscling into the defense business: Today the German automaker has announced four new, heavily armored models. The concepts will be first shown on June 11th at Eurosatory, a European trade show for the defense industry.

All of the machines are geared toward modern wars, and the need for nimble all-terrain vehicles rather than tanks: The Actros 4151 AK, pictured above, is an eight-wheeled, all-wheel drive "protection class" transport that offers high grade armor against artillery and landmines. (Specifically, level 4 protection against ballistics, which means enough armor to stop a 155mm explosive shell at 30 meters; and level 4b protection against landmines, enough to stop an explosion directly under the vehicle.) Meanwhile, three lighter trucks are also in the works.

Here, the FGA 14.5, a chassis platform that's intended to be customized for specialized use. It's built on MB's G-class SUV's—which themselves were engineered to be modular, so that they could eventually be reconfigured for myriad uses:

Mercedes Actros

And finally, MB is producing two trucks similar to armored Humvees, the LAPV 6.X and 7.X (pictured below), both of which will allow Mercedes investments in modular truck designs to pay dividends via military business. The 6.X is built upon the same modular system as the G-class SUV, while the 7.X uses the system from the Unimog, MB's legendary go-anywhere vehicle. Both are intended to serve as heavy duty recon trucks, with level 3 protection—that is, enough to stop a 7.62mm shell at 30 meters. (In short, don't shoot at these things unless you've got a gun that's too big to carry comfortably.) The German military has already ordered up the 6.X.

Military vehicles are a natural fit for the company—they've already got 5,000 heavy service centers in 160 countries, which means they can send parts and mechanics almost anywhere in the world on short notice.

But you probably won't be seeing these in the U.S. military anytime soon—American armed forces are heavily invested in the Humvee platform, and that means billions and billions sunk into a supply chain that can't readily be re-engineered for another vehicle. (Not to mention the politics of sending a contract for vehicles abroad.)

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  • joshua keener

    I like it. I remember my days in an up armored h1. No matter the manufacturer and how much armor is on it when shrapnel and bullets hit it well let's just say it's a horrifying experience. Plus the pure pucker factor of being in it knowing no matter what your in even a tank crew has their ass puckered. Their all bullet magnets and it does however bring some confidence knowing hey at least it ain't hitting me directly. Sadly we fight wars based on decisions made by people with "personal" interest. 9/11 has controversy behind it. Vietnam also and every war in the future will not be for justice as they are at first or safety or freedom but in a short time people's with their greed and vain pride step in and cause a cluster f of a situation for troops sent in for one purpose then redirected a short way into the conflict to achieve the goals of world leaders. The illuminati and that sort. So war is a conflict of interest between wealthy individuals playing chess with our lives.

  • Dirk Steffes

    Actually, the German military is investing a lot in such vehicles at the moment due to the rising casualties in Afghanistan. The German army is not equipped properly for such campaigns as it came out.

    Dirk Steffes
    Your HR specialist for Bulgaria