Smart trucks have capabilities tested in Talisman Sabre

Image credit: Corporal Tristan Kennedy

The latest generation of trucks for the Australian Army have been tested under combat-simulation conditions at Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.

The trucks, made by Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia are augmented with Australian-made trailers, delivered by Haulmark Trailers Australia.

Additionally, local manufacturers including G.H. Varley, Holmwood Highgate, RPC Technologies, Sea Box International, Thales Australia and Penske Commercial Vehicles will all form part of the supply chain.

These newer trucks will replace the Australian Army’s 30-year-old fleet of Unimog, Mack and S-Liner trucks.

During Talisman Sabre, the smarter trucks are having their networked, protected and multimodal capabilities tested.

“You can have a HX77 configured for fuel, water, stores or with a flatrack for general tasking,” said Lieutenant Colonel Dan Turner.

Via their connection to digital communications equipment, the trucks can more effectively supply soldiers and teams.

“We have both protected HX77s and 40Ms in my replenishment team, which have proven to be pretty capable over the terrain that we have been going over,” said Major Luke Tindale.

The entire Land 121 project is worth $3.4 billion and will deliver thousands of vehicles between 2018 and 2022.

In phase 3B, the Rheinmetall MAN 40M, HX77, HX81 and 45M Heavy Recovery Vehicle have been supplied to the Australian Army.

“The other key strength is the protected capability. A third of the fleet is now armoured, which provides it the ability to deploy into a threat environment. Previously, our fleet was not armoured, which restricted their employment on operations,” said Turner.

For private Dannika Joyce, the new trucks provide much greater ease of use in the field.

“The other key strength is the protected capability. A third of the fleet is now armoured, which provides it the ability to deploy into a threat environment. Previously, our fleet was not armoured, which restricted their employment on operations,” said Joyce.