The MAN KAT1 was a family of high-mobility off-road trucks developed by MAN SE for the German army.

Class Vehicle
Type Transport
Manufacturer MAN SE
Production Period 1976 - 1981
Origin Germany
Country Name Origin Year
Germany 1976
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Austria View
Belgium View
Estonia View
Germany View
United States of America View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
MAN SE 1976 1981 9110 View

In 1962 the Bundeswehr planned to replace its fleet of vehicles, which still stemmed from the time the army had been founded. It wanted amphibious two-, three- and four-axle vehicles in the 4 to 10 ton payload range. Because a high degree of new development was necessary, the German federal agency for defence technology and procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung, BWB) found itself unable to accept the responsibility for a decision but suggested the bidding companies form a common development bureau and agree on one unified project.

Two years later in 1964, the "Common Bureau of the German Utility Vehicle Industry" (Gemeinschaftsbüro der deutschen Nutzfahrzeugindustrie) was formed under the leadership of MAN. The manufacturers Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz (KHD), Büssing, Krupp and Henschel were also on board.

On 12 August 1964, BWB drafted the second generation requirements. Specification of the next generation called for mostly standard commercial vehicles with unlimited cross-country mobility, amphibious, with permanent all-wheel drive, low-pressure run flat tires, a steel cab, NBC protection, a multifuel engine and a minimum service life of ten years.

Because procurement costs would have run too high and NATO established a new standard, the amphibious, NBC and multifuel capabilities were subsequently cancelled and requirements re-drafted. Payload of the twin-axle version was increased to 5 t, fording depth specified to 1,200 mm, bed height raised to 1,650 mm, and air cooled Deutz V8 engines with and without turbocharger as well as 14.00 R 20 size tires were specified. However, even this "trimmed-down" version was too expensive for comprehensive procurement. After further deliberations it was decided to procure a smaller number of the specialized, newly developed high-mobility trucks and supplement them with a number of near-standard trucks. This meant the army procured altogether six different new truck models, initially three of them in the high-mobility off-road category.

On 4 December 1975, the Bundeswehr and MAN signed the procurement treaty about the delivery of the special military trucks, now split even further into two more categories. The first Kategorie I-MAN, the 10 t mil gl, was delivered on 29 November 1976.

The original intention was to build a family of logistics vehicles which could carry full loads across severe terrain whilst keeping up with modern main battle tanks.

The first model produced was 8x8; 6x6 and 4x4 variants followed.

The original KAT1 evolved into the MAN SX.[3] A few ex-military MAN KAT1 vehicles are released onto the second-hand market in Germany.

The US Army and the US Air Force operated 4 variations of the 8x8 model under the designations M1001, M1002, M1013 and M1014.

General characteristics

Introduced as the mil gl (for "militarisiert geländegängig" - military, cross country mobile), the MAN Kat1 series is used by all branches of the Bundeswehr. Militarization includes a full blackout lights circuit completely separated from the standard lights, a military instrument layout with blackout option, an emergency stop switch to cut electrical power, a roof hatch with rotary machine gun mount, and rifle brackets. The vehicles are category I (KAT I) special military developments, and as such fully cross-country mobile.

The KAT I vehicles of the 5 t, 7 t, 10 t payload classes belong to the second generation of Bundeswehr vehicles (Folgegeneration), and the KAT I A1 designated vehicles belong to the "expanded second generation" which also includes a 15 ton version. KAT I vehicles have undergone a complete overhaul in the mid-1990s to extend their service life by another ten years.

Category I A1.1 vehicles (KAT I A1.1) like the 15 t mil gl "Multi", supporting the "Wechselladersystem Multi" multi mission container system, belong to the third generation and have been developed further but are still military special developments.

The vehicles are widely known as the "5-, 7-, 10-, 15-Tonner", which denotes their military payload class (maximum load). "Tonner" has developed into Bundeswehr jargon for "truck".


All trucks of the series share a modular design. They have a torsionally rigid box-section frame with highly mobile axles linked to the frame via coil springs. The engine is mounted inside the forward-control cab, which is separated into a driver and engine compartment by a firewall. As a distinctive feature, the engine is located to the rear of the driver compartment instead of beneath it. This way, the total height could be kept below 2.9 m, which means the trucks can be transported on standard railway flatcars. The characteristic, cut-away corners of the otherwise box-shaped cab ensure compliance with the railway loading gauge. The cab of the first batch does not tilt forward for maintenance because the vehicles were still based on the amphibious prototypes. The tilting cab was only introduced with the second batch in the mid-80s. The engine powers the front and rear axles via a torque converter, semi-automatic transmission and a transfer case. In the first batch KAT I, these components form a single, special unit. The later KAT I A1 series uses cheaper mass-produced, standard truck components. At the same time, this allowed to raise the number of gears from six to 16, and the theoretical top speed from 90 to about 130 km/h. This in turn led to much lower engine speeds at the usual top speed of 80 km/h, lowering fuel consumption. Vehicle voltage is standard 24 Volts. The tow hitch is a standard NATO coupling suitable for towing trailers even in difficult terrain, although they must be equipped with the matching lunette ring.

For self-defense, the vehicles have a swiveling machine gun mount for the Rheinmetall MG3.

For the extraterritorial deployment of the Bundeswehr, some vehicles were fitted with an additional modular armour (modulare Schutzausstattung, MSA) to increase crew protection. Some new 3rd generation vehicles have the so-called vehicle protective equipment (Fahrzeugschutzausstattung, FSA) which is part of the vehicle design and factory-installed.

Type 8x8, 6x6, and 4x4 off-road trucks
Place of origin Germany
Service history
Used by West Germany, Belgium, Austria, USA, Estonia
Production history
Manufacturer MAN SE
Produced 1976-1981
Number built 9110 (approx)
Engine MAN diesel
Suspension wheeled

End notes