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Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks expands defense portfolio

Zetros off-road truck available in two versions with four axles and all-wheel drive from 2025

Off-road truck Mercedes-Benz Zetros 8x8 The Zetros 8×8 offers a payload of up to 25 tonnes and is powered by the 12.8-litre inline six-cylinder OM 460 diesel engine with Euro V design and up to 510 hp. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks)

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, part of Daimler Truck Holding AG, will launch the Zetros off-road truck with four axles and all-wheel drive (8×8) in two versions from 2025. The Zetros will be available as a two-axle, three-axle or four-axle vehicle and, on request, with a new option for a protected driver’s cab.

The Zetros 8×8 is the result of a major order (see below) from the Canadian Department of Defence, which will see more than 1,500 vehicles delivered over the next few years. The unit measures 11.15 m L x 2.60 m W x 3.70 m H and is powered by the 12.8 l OM 460 inline six-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 265 to 376 kW (360 to 510 hp) and a maximum torque of up to 2,300 Nm. It is coupled to an Allison 4500 SP automatic transmission.

The 8×8 vehicle variant has a payload of up to 25 tonnes. A hook lift system with a front spreader is installed for quick loading and unloading of containers. The longer vehicle frame increases the available space on the body, enabling it to be used for a wider range of tactical and logistical requirements.

Off-road, drivers benefit from the large slope and ramp angles as well as the vehicle’s fording ability. According to Mercedes-Benz, the Zetros is equipped with a fording ability of 1.50 m as a special feature for driving through water and high off-road capability. Switchable longitudinal and transverse differential locks can increase traction and maneuverability depending on the driving situation. The tire pressure control system enables tire pressure to be adjusted while driving when driving through sand and mud.

Mercedes-Benz Zetros truck with protected cab With the special cab armour, the new optional protected cab protects the driver and crew in the vehicle from ballistic fire or landmines. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks)

The Zetros 8×8 is offered in two variants. The first variant has two axles at the front and two axles at the rear, with the two front axles being steered. The second variant has a steerable front axle and three rear axles. The last of the three rear axles is steered to reduce the turning radius. Both variants will be available as a tractor unit and as a carrier vehicle.

The new “protected cabin” option protects the driver and crew in the vehicle from ballistic fire or landmines through special cabin armor, according to the company. The protected cabin is already available for the Zetros 6×6 and can be ordered on a project-specific basis for the entire product range of the Zetros high-terrain series from 2025.

Production of the Zetros 8×8 will start at the same time as the protected driver’s cab ex works. Vehicles with a protected driver’s cab will be delivered directly from the Wörth factory.

“With the new Zetros 8×8, customers get a robust and highly mobile logistics vehicle with a large payload for military use,” says Franziska Cusumano, Head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks. “In the future, they will also benefit from being able to purchase the Zetros with a protected driver’s cab from a single source. And all of this is, of course, Made in Germany.”

Off-road truck Mercedes-Benz Zetros 8x8 The Zetros series serves as the common vehicle chassis. Other consortium partners supply mission modules, trailers, vehicle armor and system integration. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks)

Canadian Order

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks will produce over 1,500 Zetros logistics trucks for the Canadian Department of Defense. The Canadian Armed Forces plan to use the vehicles for off-road transport of goods and personnel.

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, Marshall Canada, Soframe, Manac and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) form the commissioned consortium “The Power Team”. The five companies are working together to implement the contract to modernize the Canadian logistics fleet as part of the “Logistics Vehicle Modernization” (LVM) project, Mercedes-Benz announced.

The Zetros model range will serve as a common vehicle chassis and will be produced in Wörth am Rhein. Marshall Canada will manufacture a range of interchangeable 10- and 20-foot mission modules that can be mounted on the trucks. Manac will supply various trailers, while Soframe will be responsible for armouring the vehicles. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) will act as the main integrator in the procurement project.

In total, the Canadian Department of Defense will receive over 1,000 light Zetros (two-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 4×4) and around 500 heavy Zetros (four-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 8×8).

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