Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks expands defense portfolio

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

Mercedes-Benz Zetros 8x8 off-road truck The Zetros 8x8 offers a payload of up to 25 tons and is powered by the 12.8 L OM 460 six-cylinder inline, Euro V diesel engine rated up to 510 hp. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks)

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, part of Daimler Truck Holding AG, has introduced the Zetros off-road truck with four axles and all-wheel drive (8x8) in two variants from 2025 onward. The Zetros will be available as a two-axle, three-axle or four-axle truck and, on request, with a new protected cab option.

The Zetros 8x8 is the result of a major order (see below) from the Canadian Ministry of Defence, under which more than 1,500 vehicles will be 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 six-cylinder inline, Euro V diesel engine rated 265 to 376 kW (360 to 510 hp) and with maximum torque up to 2,300 Nm. It is paired with an Allison 4500 SP automatic transmission.

The 8x8 vehicle variant has a payload of up to 25 tons. A hook lift system with a front spreader is fitted for fast loading and unloading of containers. Available body space is increased due to the longer vehicle frame, allowing use for a wider range of tactical and logistical requirements. 

Off-road, drivers benefit from the vehicle’s large slope and ramp angles and fordability. For water crossings and high off-road mobility, the Zetros comes with a 1.50m fordability as a special feature, Mercedes-Benz noted. Engageable longitudinal and transverse differential locks can increase traction and maneuverability depending on the driving situation. The tire pressure regulation system allows tire pressure to be adjusted on the move when driving through sand and mud. 

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

The Zetros 8x8 will be 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. In the second variant, there is one steerable front axle and three rear axles. The last of the three rear axles is steered in order to reduce the curve radius. Both variants will be available as a tractor unit and as a carrier vehicle.

With the special cab armoring, the new protected cab option protects the driver and crew inside the vehicle from ballistic fire or landmines, the company said. The protected cab is already available for the Zetros 6x6 and will be available to order on a project-specific basis for the entire product range of the Zetros high-terrain series from 2025 onwards.

The start of production of the Zetros 8x8 coincides with the protected cab ex works. Vehicles with a protected cab will be delivered directly from the Wörth plant.

“With the new Zetros 8x8, customers get a robust and highly mobile logistics vehicle with a large payload for military use,” said Franziska Cusumano, head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks. “In future, they will also benefit from being able to obtain the Zetros with a protected cab from a single source. And all of this made in Germany, of course.”

Mercedes-Benz Zetros 8x8 off-road truck The Zetros model series will serve as the common vehicle chassis. Other consortium partners will provide the mission modules, trailers, armor for the vehicles and system integration. (Photo: Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks)
Canadian order

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks  will produce more than 1,500 Zetros logistics trucks for the Canadian Department of National Defence. The Canadian Armed Forces plans to use the vehicles for the off-road transportation of goods and personnel.

Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks, Marshall Canada, Soframe, Manac, and General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) make up the commissioned “The Power Team” consortium. The five enterprises are working together to implement the order for the modernization of the Canadian logistics fleet as part of the “Logistics Vehicle Modernization” (LVM) project, Mercedes-Benz stated..

The Zetros model series will serve as the common vehicle chassis and will be produced in Wörth am Rhein. Marshall Canada will produce a range of interchangeable 10- and 20-ft. mission modules capable of being mounted onto the trucks. Manac will provide different trailers, while Soframe is in charge of the armor for the vehicles. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada (GDLS-Canada) will serve as prime integrator in the procurement project.

In total, the Canadian Department of National Defence will receive over 1,000 light Zetros (two-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 4x4) and approximately 500 heavy Zetros (four-axle vehicles with all-wheel drive, 8x8).

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