Belgian army to replace Unimog 1300L and Volvo N10 with 879 trucks

On January 17, 2020, the Belgian Council of Ministers authorized the Ministry of Defense to purchase 636 light trucks and 243 heavy trucks with armored cabs to replace its Unimog 1300L and Volvo N10 (6x4 and 6x6) respectively, a process planned for spreading from 2021 to 2026. The rest of the Volvo N10 heavy logistics trucks will be replaced over the period 2026-2030.

Belgian army to replace Unimog 1300L and Volvo N10 with 879 trucks 1
Loading of a Volvo N10 Fassi (fitted with a hydraulic crane) at the Vissenaken Barracks, 27 Aug. 2009 (Picture source: Alain Henry de Frahan)

The Directorate General of Material Resources (DGMR) published on its Twitter account the information that "The Council of Ministers gives the green light to the purchase of 636 light trucks and 243 heavy armored trucks to replace the Unimog Cargo and the Volvo N10 ". Only about 50 Unimogs will be kept for training purposes. This decision having been taken, the specifications relating to the two future types of trucks to be acquired can be drawn up, then followed by the invitation to tender. In total, more than 276 million euros are planned by the Defense for the purchase of light trucks and heavy trucks with armored cab.

Belgian army to replace Unimog 1300L and Volvo N10 with 879 trucks 2

Unimog 1300L of the Belgian Air Force fitted with window protections. The Belgian armed forces had bought 1,800 Unimog 1300L tactical trucks (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Notice that it won’t mean the total disappearance of the Unimog in the Belgian army since the Special Operations Regiment will keep Unimog-based vehicles, possibly event beyond the replacement of its current Jacam by another Unimog-based truck.

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Unimog JACAM of the Belgian Special Forces Regiment (Picture source: Army Recognition)

 When the Belgian army decided to replace its Unimog S404 in the early 1990s, the German engineers of the Gaggenau plant claimed it was impossible to meet all the specifications imposed for the new truck but Yves Radermecker, then in charge of this file at the Lambert company, Belgian importer of the Unimog trucks, stated it was and he succeeded thanks to the renowned “Belgian system D”! He also told at the time that this Belgian army market saved Unimog which was in financial deep trouble.

The Volvo N10 market raised some bitter comments at the time of its attribution, as the cab was too high for many army hangars in which the new truck model was to be parked but the Volvo plant was near the Defense minister’s place, which raised unpleasant suspicions. The truck quality was never disputed, though.