The first Shaktiman rolled off the production line at the now Vehicle Factory Jabalpur (VFJ) in June 1959.
Shaktiman VFJ 4X4 model was based on an early MAN original design and the first trucks were assembled using components from MAN-AG supplied by Germany.
The Shaktiman 4,000 kg (4x4) truck which is entirely conventional in design is similar to the German MAN 415 L1 AR truck, the main visual difference between the German and Indian vehicle being that the latter has dual rather than single rear wheels.
Vehicle Factory Jabalpur (VFJ) (, is a military motor vehicle manufacturing factory located in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India, functioning under the aegis of Ordnance Factories Board controlled by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India. The company is headed only by an IOFS officer called General Manager (ex officio Additional Secretary to Government of India) who is the Chief Executive Officer responsible for the overall management of the company and is the main judicial authority. VFJ is the sole supplier of B vehicles to the Indian Army.
The production of Shaktiman trucks, Jonga Light Utility Vehicles and Vahan 1 ton began at the Gun Carriage Factory Jabalpur in 1959. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India was present to witness rolling of the first batch of vehicles at GCF. It was shifted to the present location in 1969. It started manufacturing Shaktiman trucks with license from MAN SE of Germany along with Jonga and Vahan 1 ton under license from Nissan of Japan. All three of the above products have been retired and replaced by the new products.
VFJ manufactures and assembles general staff vehicles, logistics vehicles, light armoured vehicles like bullet-proof vehicles, mine protected vehicles and specialist role vehicles such as water bowsers, fuel tankers, field ambulances, tippers, battery command posts, generator sets, light recovery vehicles, field artillery tractors, kitchen containers etc. It also has some variants for civilian applications.
Vehicle Factory Jabalpur has an R&D centre responsible for development of future vehicles and related technologies. It has tie-ups with Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors. Its research partner is Vehicle Research & Development Establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation.
Since VFJ produces defence vehicles, its primary customers are Indian Armed Forces, Central Armed Police Forces, State Armed Police Forces, Paramilitary Forces of India and Special Forces of India which have land based operations. It also supplies vehicles to civilians, government and private organisations.
Prototypen des MAN 630