Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation MERCEDES

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

5 March 2004
Kabul, Afghanistan
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.

International Information

International Operation Name: Operation MERCEDES

International Mission Name: Operation MERCEDES

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name: Asia

Location: Afghanistan

Mission Date: 15 March 2004 - 15 September 2004


To deliver the new Mercedes- Benz G-Class vehicles to the Canadian contingent with the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan


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.