Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This song by Janis Joplin, recorded in 1970, already addressed the human desire to own quality items, including a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. To enforce this kind of desire and to take advantage of it, Daimler invited clients and the media to the Mercedes-Benz Defence Vehicle Experience (DVE).

The event’s agenda included briefings and live demonstrations of logistical and tactical wheeled vehicles at the company’s test site near Karlsruhe in southern Germany.

Defence Vehicle Experience

As was explained by Marcus Ernst, MBS’ Head of Sales Defence & Industrial Business, one objective of the event was to draw attention to the company’s service portfolio. The company is present in 85 countries, 39 of which had sent delegations to attend the Defence Vehicle Experience 2019 presentations. Mercedes-Benz Defence Vehicles can refer to more than 210,000 vehicles sold for military applications and 5,000 global service locations. According to statistics presented by the company, the military ground vehicle market has been on the rise since 2014 and is expected to continue with a growth rate of 7% until 2035.

A second objective, obviously, was to take advantage of the event to introduce innovations and draw attention to proven and new products.


As far as innovations are concerned, MBS may the announcement that the modular structure of the AROCS, the successor of the ACTROS series, constitutes a kind of baseline configuration for all heavy off-road vehicles of MBS. Against this background, another interesting feature presented was the integration of Voith’s auto retarder with the AROCS heavy logistic vehicles. The auto retarder enables the driver to control forward and backward movements – as well as standstill – of the vehicle with the accelerator only and without having to shift gears, thus a major advantage if it comes to manoeuvring in challenging environments.


The major highlight of the event was the introduction of the New Generation ZETROS (NGZ) family of bonnet-type trucks, laid out for transport logistics in tough and challenging terrain. The 40-tonne off-roader has been specifically designed for operations in markets with a high proportion of off-road use. It can be equipped with engines up to a power of as much as 375 kW (510 hp) as well as 2,400 Nm of torque. It has a permanent all-wheel drive system and, compared to the first generation series, It features numerous detail improvements, including easier access to the cab or a re-designed instrument panel. It has a 35° angle of approach and a fording capability of up to 800 mm.

Just as before, the NG ZETROS remains available in Euro III and Euro V variants for markets with poor fuel quality and thus finds its principle markets in regions like the Middle East, Africa or Latin America. According to the company the NG ZETROS can be used in all climate zones of the world.

FGA 9.5 Special Chassis

The 9.5 t chassis was developed with a focus on civilian applications and technically it is oriented towards the chassis of the all-terrain UNIMOG model series U 4000. Proven components from the UNIMOG are used for the all-wheel drivetrain, including the engine, transmission, transfer case and coil-sprung portal axles with differential locks, integrated in the torsion-free ladder-type frame. To provide an example. the 9.5 chassis on display was equipped with the OM 924 engine with a displacement of 4.8 litres and an output of 160 kW (218 hp), in a choice of emission rating Euro V or Euro III.

The chassis is supplied with a platform which contains all the interfaces and controls for driving the vehicle, including the steering wheel, brake and accelerator pedal and cockpit. Prepared electrical and mechanical interfaces such as a torsion-free 3-point body mounting and a compressor for climate control of the body area facilitate easy and fast integration of cabs for the occupants or other bodies. The numerous optional equipment items include an increased fording depth of 1,200 mm, an increased alternator output of 205 A, a four-channel tyre pressure control system and tail lamps in LED technology.

Jürgen Hensel