International Operation Name: Operation MERCEDES
International Mission Name: Operation MERCEDES
Mandating Organization: Government of Canada
Region Name: Asia
Mission Date: 15 March 2004 - 15 September 2004
Mandate: To deliver the new Mercedes- Benz G-Class vehicles to the Canadian contingent with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan
Narrative: In August 2003, 2000 Canadian soldiers deployed to Afghanistan as part of Canada's contribution to the International Security Assistance Force, given the Canadian name Operation ATHENA. Initially the troops deployed with the Iltis vehicle; however, it was recognized even before the force deployed that this vehicle was not only getting old, but also that it provided minimal protection against mine strikes, which were a great threat in Afghanistan. Canada signed a contract in October 2003 with Mercedes-Benz for 802 of the Gelaende Class (G-Class) wagons, later exercising its option and increasing the order to 1,159 vehicles.
The mission to get the new G-Wagons to the troops of Op ATHENA was named Operation MERCEDES. The CF received and then shipped the G-Wagons from the Mercedes-Benz plant in Graz, Austria to Afghanistan. The first 18 arrived on Friday, March 5th, 2004, delivered by a rented Russian Antonov cargo transport. Over the next nine days, an additional 42 arrived by road move. These featured armour plating, bullet-resistant windows and a grenade-proof roof. A further 24 were received on 15 September. These were the command and control variant with a turret-mounted machine gun that gave the force additional support. In 2005 and early 2006, an additional 86 G-Wagons were delivered to Kandahar.
5 March 2004
Photo: Cpl Chris Connolly, Op Athena Roto 1
The first 18 of 60 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon landed at Kabul's airport on Friday, 5 March 2004. The G-Wagons will replace the aging fleet of Iltis vehicles used by Canada's Army.
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