VIENNA – The Swiss army orders a number of Mercedes-Benz G-Class 300 CDI off-road vehicles.

The G-Class beat three rival contenders in the evaluation and tough tests conducted by armasuisse, the Swiss army's competence center for procurement and technology.

The decision made by armasuisse will be submitted to the Swiss Parliament for ratification as part of an arms program.

The 4-seater SUV will account for 75% of the planned procurement volume for the G-Class models, with the chassis variant for shelter-type bodies making up the remaining 25%.

The vehicles will be powered by a 3.0L V-6 diesel OM 642 producing 184 hp, which will be mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Neither Daimler nor armasuisse says how many vehicles are to be purchased. But Daimler says the new off-roaders will gradually replace the 4,189 Puch 230 GE vehicles that still are in service with the Swiss army. The number of vehicles to be shipped to Switzerland over several years may be similar to that figure.

For the Swiss defense force the decision for the G-Class means it will not have to change to a completely unknown vehicle, as it already has used the G-Class for more than 20 years.

The Puch 230 GE actually is an older version of the G-Class then sold under a different brand.

The background: The G-Class was co-developed by Austria’s Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Daimler. Since the start of production the vehicle was manufactured at Steyr-Daimler-Puch in Graz, Austria, a plant which later became Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik.

In the past Daimler’s Austrian partner had the right to sell the G-Class in its own distribution network and under its own Puch brand in Austria, Switzerland, Eastern Europe and Nigeria. Therefore the vehicles now used by the Swiss army are badged as Puch.

Last year Magna Steyr manufactured 9,850 Mercedes G-Class vehicles.