Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced the first phase of a project to replace many of the New Zealand Defence Force’s operational vehicles.
“Vehicles that protect our people when they move around in hostile environments are vital,” says Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Our current fleet of vehicles have reached the end of their life and it’s time to replace them.
“Cabinet has approved a project to procure High Mobility Utility Light Vehicles and approved another project to negotiate the purchase of up to 43 Protected Vehicle Mediums.
“For the Light Vehicles, Defence is considering the procurement of the Polaris MRZR, which is a militarised development of the side-by-side All-Terrain Vehicles that are in widespread use across New Zealand.
“This vehicle is highly agile and well proven in military service. It can carry up to four troops and cargo, and can be easily airlifted by aircraft and helicopters. The MRZR will replace current quad bikes and other small vehicles and provide improved mobility, safety and versatility to our rapidly deployable mobile forces.
“The Protected Vehicle Mediums project will give our Army similar levels of capability and protection that our Special Forces currently have with the Bushmaster vehicles already in service.
“For this project Defence is working with the Australian Defence Force and related suppliers to examine whether further cooperation on this class of vehicle is the best way forward for New Zealand. I will bring a firm proposal to Cabinet next year.
“This particular project is to replace the current Armoured Pinzgauers and some Unimogs, which, due to age and lack of protection, are no longer adequate for many operational tasks. We’re looking for vehicles to fill roles such as; troop transport, command and communications, and casualty evacuation.
“These two procurements are the first in a range of projects to replace the unarmoured Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles and all remaining Unimogs that still have an operational role.
“$18.6 million has been allocated for the purchase of High Mobility Utility Light Vehicles, and to undertake trials and risk reduction work to support future Protected Mobility procurements.
“These trials will provide assurance around vehicle performance and ensure that our modern equipment, such as that provided by the Network Enabled Army programme, can be integrated and supported by the vehicles.
“The project was highlighted in the Defence Capability Plan 2019. The Plan represents the Coalition Government’s commitment to ensuring the men and women of the Defence Force have the equipment they need to do the jobs we ask of them, do them with distinction, and come home safe.
“Vehicles are as vital to our troops as uniforms and rifles. Whether it is helping our communities in a time of need, or supporting our global partners in vital peacekeeping operations, these projects will provide the vehicles our service people can depend on,” says Ron Mark.