Photo Information

In a lot at Fleet Support Division Barstow, 18 Mercedes-Benz ?G-Wagon? 290 Interim Fast Attack Vehicles sit idle after the unit that was utilizing them disbanded. The vehicles have been at FSD since May of this year and will remain in place until another unit requires them.

Photo by Cpl. Jeremy Gadrow

FSDB stores Marine Corps Fast Attack Vehicles

3 Aug 2006 | Cpl. Jeremy Gadrow Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow

The M-151 Multi Utility Tactical Truck was a tough, dependable jeep for its time. However, with changing times come changing tactics, terrain and mission requirements. After long, the MUTT just wasn’t cutting it anymore. In 1999 the Marine Corps discovered a need for a fast attack vehicle, which could easily be transported by helicopter and still be powerful enough to navigate through rough terrain.

What they found was a modified version of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon (short for Gelandewagen, or cross-country vehicle) dubbed the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle. A vehicle that was never officially offered in the United States, but very popular with off-road enthusiasts, some of the vehicles pulling in over $100,000 when sold, according to information provided by Virginia Kindred, supply technician at Fleet Support Division Barstow, where the vehicles are stored.

The Marine Corps acquired 62 of the IFAVs; 24 went to the I Marine Expeditionary Force in Camp Pendleton, Calif., 24 went to II MEF Camp Lejeune, N.C., 12 of them went to III MEF on Okinawa, Japan and two were retained by Marine Corps Systems Command for configuration management.

However, in May of this year, 18 of the vehicles made their way from Camp Pendleton to Fleet Support Division Barstow.

The vehicles were being utilized by a special operations group in Iraq, and were sent here after the unit disbanded, said Kindred. It is unknown at this time when the vehicles will leave Barstow, or where they will go as they are scheduled to stay here until another unit requires them.

The vehicles were developed specifically for the military in a joint venture by DaimlerChrysler and Washington D.C.’s Advanced Vehicle Systems. These two companies came together to create a vehicle that would suit the needs of today’s modern combat environment.

“Our company looked at all of the various off-road vehicles that met the operational requirements, and we felt that the Gelandewagen had the best chance of fulfilling all of the requirements,” said Kevin Shusko, AVS vice president of training and logistics. “We made a lot of modifications to the vehicle to support the Marine Corps mission.”

Some of the modifications include a larger engine, air conditioning, an automatic transmission, half-doors and an integrated light armor kit.

Unlike the M-151, originally designed in the late ‘50s, the IFAV has a 156 horsepower turbo-charged diesel engine, capable of propelling the vehicle at speeds of up to 96 mph and enables the vehicle to climb terrain with a grade of 80 percent or less. It also allows the vehicle to run at a more efficient level netting 18 to 22 miles per gallon. A large step up from the 12 mpg that most tactical vehicles get.

The vehicle also supports a range of weapon systems including everything from a 249 squad automatic weapon to an M2 .50 caliber machine gun to a tube-launched optically-tracked wire-guided missile system.

In today’s combat environment, surprise attacks from the enemy and improvised explosive devices can occur at any time. The Marine Corps needed a vehicle with the speed, power and toughness of armor to help save lives and, if possible, repel the enemy. This is exactly what it got with the “G-Wagon.”