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Hesse acquires 26 new Unimog for disaster relief.

In order to respond appropriately to climate change-related disasters such as forest fires or floods in the future, the Ministry of the Interior of Hesse has acquired a total of 26 highly off-road capable Unimog U 5023 vehicles one for each district. But behind the name Unimog lies more than pure power. The impressive off-road characteristics of the U 5023, paired with a wide range of body options and interfaces, create enormous flexibility: something that is becoming indispensible in modern disaster response.

Adaptation is essential.

In a world that finds itself reeling from the effects of climate change over and over again, the disaster response sector is facing a mammoth task. It has to respond to a wide range of emergencies – from forest fires to floods. To this end, multifunctional emergency vehicles are crucial.

The flood disaster in the Ahr Valley in the summer of 2021 dramatically highlighted this. Not only there, but also in other places in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate, the flooding caused devastating damage.

In Hessian disaster relief, there is an urgent need for multifunctional emergency vehicles. The local Ministry of the Interior, for Safety and Homeland Security has commissioned the provision of a high-mobility Unimog U 5023 to each of the 21 counties and five independent cities – 26 in total. As disaster protection response equipment vehicles (GW-L KatS), the new Unimogs are intended to contribute to being able to respond appropriately to future crisis scenarios.

Flexible and extremely off-road-capable vehicle concept for fire service and disaster relief in Hesse.
26 multifunctional Unimogs are now in operation with the Hessian Disaster Relief.
In the event of flooding, the Unimog can wade through rushing floods up to 1.2 m deep.
The powerful front winch of type HPC HY K5/B FW.
From forest fires to floods: The modular design allows the Unimog to be adapted to its operational area in the shortest possible time.
Among the famous Unimog features are the portal axles with very high ground clearance.
Rescue from 1.2 m deep floodwaters: Unimog with an evacuation module including 8 seat belts, basket stretcher, roof hatch, ladder.
The flood protection swap module is the rolling toolbox with the standard loading of a GW-L HW.
Flexible and extremely off-road-capable vehicle concept for fire service and disaster relief in Hesse.

Reaching the source of the fire.

Providing effective aid – even under extreme conditions. That’s what makes the Unimog. “Highly off-road-capable Unimogs are built so robustly that firefighters can get as close as possible to the scene of the incident to prevent worse from happening”, explains Hajo Brunsiek, Segment Manager for Fire Service Vehicles at Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks.

In the event of forest fires, emergency services can usually reach up to the source of the fire. This is made possible by the ex-works heat protection package, which protects the Unimog against damage by covering all the important cables with a special sheathing.

In the event of a flood, the Unimog can even drive into coursing floods up to 1.2 m deep. The famous Unimog features – all-wheel drive with differential locks, portal axles with very high ground clearance, extreme torsional flexibility and a low centre of gravity – make this multifunction vehicle almost unstoppable. And all this with a respectable permissible gross vehicle weight of 14.5 t.

However, the greatest advantage of the Unimog for the Hessian Disaster Response department is the combination of off-road capability and high flexibility.

A bunch of emergency services vehicles in one.

The vehicle concept of the 26 GW-L KatS was implemented together with Eggers Fahrzeugbau GmbH, a certified Mercedes-Benz Unimog Expert Partner. The Unimog is characterised by a modular design that makes it possible to adapt it to its field of application in the shortest possible time. This means that the Unimog can not only be used in fires and floods, but also as an evacuation vehicle or – with a platform and loading crane – as a powerful logistics unit.

 As a vehicle manufacturer, we want to
enable many different uses.

Hajo Brunsiek, Segment Manager for Fire Service Vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks

In addition to a trailer with evacuation and flood protection module from Goebel Fahrzeugbau, mobile disaster responders can also rely on a forest fire protection module using fire protection technology from Görlitz. An HPC HY K5/B FW front winch and a platform from Eggers Fahrzeugbau are also available.

With the permanently installed PK 12 501 SLDA Palfinger loading crane behind the cab, the integrated ISO container mounts and the special logistics trailers (SDAH-L), it is also possible to quickly change modules off-road – where swap body vehicles can no longer get to, as Hajo Brunsiek points out.

“From a technical point of view, as a vehicle manufacturer, we want to enable as many different uses as possible so that emergency services are able to provide aid flexibly and with full confidence in the properties of the vehicles being used on site”, explains the firefighting expert from Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks.

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Equipped and trained for emergencies.

The multifunctional vehicles will be stationed in all 26 districts and urban municipalities in Hesse. In this way, the Ministry of the Interior is ensuring that all municipal fire service departments have access to the Unimog's special capabilities, with this vehicle taking national and international disaster relief to a new level.

The emergency services at the respective sites are familiarised with the options and special features of off-road operation with the Unimog in special training courses. Unimog general distributor KBM Motorfahrzeuge GmbH & Co. KG from Limburg is also involved as a project partner of the Federal State of Hesse.

Project implemented with Unimog general distributor
KBM Motorfahrzeuge GmbH & Co. KG

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