On Sunday the Brazilian Navy confirmed their signature of a bilateral defence contract between the Brazilian Ministry of Defence and Daimler AG. The contract, to be managed by the Brazilian ministry of defence’s own procurement system, will oversee the purchase of 90 UNIMOG 5000 utility vehicles from Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz. The UNIMOG 5000 delivery will include the provision of after-market services including the supply of maintenance, spares, training and associated literature. The vehicle’s will be manufactured at Mercedes-Benz’s Worth-Am-Rhine truck plant in the Rhineland-Palatinate and will be composed of troop, cargo, fuel and water tank transportation configurations. On arrival the UNIMOG 5000 utility vehicles will be integrated into the Brazilian Navy’s naval infantry component, known in Portuguese as the Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais (CFN). The acquisition of the vehicles is part of the PROADSUMUS programme, which seeks to equip the CFN with the latest generation of defence equipment. The programme, of which the UNIMOG 5000 deliveries are but a part, envisions future deliveries of heavy machine guns, anti-armour weaponry, all-terrain vehicles, anti-aircraft systems, logistics vehicles and command & control platforms. The programme is to be active from 2020 – 2041 and is aimed at constructing a comprehensive expeditionary capability for Brazil’s Naval Infantry Corps. The delivery of the UNIMOG 5000s will occur between 2021 and 2027 placing the completion of the contract within the programme’s twenty year lifespan. The contract comes after the signature of a similar deal Thursday last week, to acquire twelve Oshkosh Corporation Joint Light Tactical Vehicles also for the same project.
The UNIMOG 5000 is the latest instalment in the seventy two year old UNIMOG vehicle family. The family had its debut in 1948 and has been sold under the Mercedes-Benz brand ever since. The product line was first proposed by Albert Friedrich and Henrich Rosler in the wake of the Second World War as an agricultural vehicle, optimized for performance in the road scarce deep European countryside of the immediate post-war environment. The UNIMOG 5000 continues this off-road tradition through an impressive array of all terrain features. All-wheel drive provides heavy duty traction capabilities and dual axel differential locking enables full power transmission, granting a maximum gradient climb capability of 100%. The all-terrain abilities of the UNIMOG 500 extend to a fording capacity, through the use of a roof level air intake pipe complete with water proofed internal assemblies to prevent water damage to vital component. The fording infrastructure allows the vehicle to be submerged up to 1.20m in depth. The all-wheel drive continues the platform’s adaptive nature, allowing the operator to select between four wheel drive and rear wheel drive switching effortlessly between off-road and on-road optimization. The off-road abilities of the vehicle are further improved through the inclusion of a 490mm ground clearance, to allow for obstacle avoidance. The vehicle’s stability is maximized through the addition of a 3.9m wheelbase within the UNIMOG 5000’s axel configuration. The platform is powered by a Mercedes-Benz OM 924 LA turbocharged diesel engine producing 214.5hp linked to a 180 litre fuel tank. The engine’s power grants a speed limitation of 65 mph. The vehicle’s total base weight comes in at 12,500kg and a height x length x weight distribution of 2.7 x 6.0 x 2.3m.
The UNIMOG product line’s military applications were rapidly discovered by European militaries throughout the post-war period, staring with the Swiss Army. The UNIMOGs soon found their way into the French and German armies, whilst remaining in Swiss service until 1989. Daimler AG the current owner of Mercedes-Benz brand is based in Stuttgart in the German state of Baden-Wurttemberg and is currently led by CEO Ola Kallenius. The company employed nearly 300,000 people as of the beginning of 2020 and entertains an ownership composition primarily formed from private investment firms which own 60.4% of shares and private individuals owning 20.1% . Significant foreign interests in the firm include Chinese company’s, Tenaciou3 Prospect Investment Ltd coming in at 9.7% and the BAIC Group at 5%. French automotive producers Renault and Nissan each own shares amounting to 1.54%. The company’s foundation came out of a merger between Benz & Cie and Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft in 1926. The merger resulted in the foundation of Mercedes-Benz which has been involved in defence production since the 1930s before a hiatus in the post-war period, returning to supply military customers through its truck production arm from the 1960s. The performance of the UNIMOG product line and 1974’s Neue Generation series solidified the firm’s growing reputation for providing military logistics solutions into the 21st century. The completion of this month’s contract between Daimler and the Brazilian military will allow Brazil’s navy to continue its path to becoming a military power in the South American region. The contribution to Daimler’s truck manufacturing facilities in Germany are also welcome in an economically unstable time.