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U.S. Marine Corps' G-Wagen

The Diesel Mercedes Ifav That Replaced The Gasoline Jeep

Jason Thompson
May 1, 2010
The United States is one of the many nations around the world now using the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen for military purposes. In the late '90s, the Marine Corps replaced the M-151 (Jeep) with what it is now using in Iraq and Afghanistan: the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV). The IFAV is based on the '97 to '01 DaimlerChrysler model 290 GDT. Since this truck runs on diesel, it poses less of a risk of fire than the gasoline-powered Jeep. The IFAV is powered by the Mercedes OM 602.983 five-cylinder turbodiesel engine featuring a Bosch VE rotary injection pump.
Photo 2/7   |   diesel Power may 2010 Military Power g Wagen Wheels
The truck has three driveline lockers and solid axles front and rear. The IFAV's best defense is its strategically placed armor, lightness, and maneuverability. The 11/2-ton IFAV is just the right size, since it offers large amounts of cargo capacity while still being able to fit in the CH-53D helicopter. It seems like the IFAV is too big for the V-22 Osprey because the Marines are testing an even smaller, lighter, and less-armored vehicle known as the ITV built by American Growler.
Photo 3/7   |   A Marine IFAV (Interim Fast Attack Vehicle) is loaded on a CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter aboard the USS Essex amphibious assault ship.
There are two schools of thought regarding military vehicles. Some say it's better to have a rolling fortress with armor able to withstand heavy incoming fire and large mines. The opposite strategy is to be really light, maneuverable, and connected with the environment. The former uses overwhelming force while the latter uses stealth, surprise, and intense firepower as a defense.
Photo 4/7   |   An IFAV is part of a special-operations-capable convoy leaving Kandahar Army Air Field in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom April 2004. Notice the dash-mounted 5.56 M249 (SAW) and rear-mounted Browning .50-caliber M2 machine gun. The weapon in the lead image is a TOW (tube-launched optically tracked wire-guided) missile launcher.
MIL-Spec: Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV)
Built by: Magna Steyr for Mercedes-Benz
Model: Type 461 290 GDT G-Wagen
Engine: Mercedes-Benz OM602.983
Type: Inline five-cylinder, 10-valve, and turbocharger
Displacement: 2.9L
Compression ratio: 19.5:1
Power: 120 hp at 4,000 rpm
Intake: Intercooler
Injection: Mechanical Bosch rotary VE with electronic controls and direct injection
Angle of approach: 36 degrees
Angle of departure: 27 degrees
Maximum tilt angle: 54 degrees
Ground clearance: 81/2 inches
Front Suspension: Solid axle mounted with control arms and wishbones, gas-filled shocks, coil springs, and hollow rubber springs
Rear Suspension: Solid axle mounted with control arms and wishbones, gas-filled shocks, coil springs, and hollow rubber springs
Tires: 235/85R16 BFGoodrich M-Ts
Armor: AmorWorks (Fast Attack Vehicle) package
transmission: Four-speed automatic


Defense Visual Information Center
United States Marine Corps