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Dutch ditch Mercedes-Benz air assault vehicle deal

19th November 2021 - 13:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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11 Airmobile Brigade (pictured on exercise) would have been a major recipient of the 12kN air assault vehicle. (Photo: Netherlands MoD)

Will Germany come to the rescue after the Netherlands had to cancel a contract for 515 air assault vehicles?

The Dutch MoD on 18 November announced the cancellation of a contract with Mercedes-Benz Netherlands for 12kN air assault vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz Netherlands had won a contract ahead of competition from Defenture and Jankel in October 2018 for 515 vehicles but the MoD noted in an 18 November statement that the programme ‘was already facing delays’ and the company ‘cannot fulfil the contract’.

Mercedes-Benz was to develop G-Class 300 CDI vehicles to fit in a Chinook or underslung. ‘In addition,’ the MoD noted, ‘the vehicles had to be able to carry sufficient cargo and also be sufficiently protected against, for example, artillery threats. This complex combination of factors turned out not to be feasible for the supplier.’

The MoD held talks with Mercedes-Benz to explore potential solutions but it stated that ‘this was not possible within the financial agreements made’.

After giving the contractor a final opportunity in October 2021 to confirm it could meet the requirements of the contract within the agreed price, the MoD decided to terminate the deal.

Mercedes-Benz had been due to start deliveries of the new 12kN vehicles in 2021, in three variants: combat (329 vehicles), logistics (144) and casevac (42).

With the termination of the 12kN deal, the Netherlands is left with a gap to fill for its 11 Airmobile rapid light infantry brigade that operates within the German Rapid Forces Division.

The MoD stated that it ‘is entering into talks’  with a view to joining the German Bundeswehr Airborne Platform programme, a tender for which is expected in 2023. However, this would see initial deliveries only in 2027.

‘In the intervening period, the Airmobile Brigade must continue to have vehicles at its disposal,’ the MoD admitted, adding that it is ‘investigating the possibilities for this and will provide more clarity about an interim solution before the end of the year [2021]’.

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