Rheinmetall Landsysteme hands over the first of 74 anti-mine reinforced IFVs
December 18th 2002 proved to be a major milestone in our ongoing efforts to make life safer for the soldiers of Germany's Bundeswehr: this day witnessed the official handover of the very first reinforced MARDER 1 A5 infantry fighting vehicle to the German Army, modified to provide highly effective protection against landmines. The technology employed is unrivalled worldwide, setting a new standard in IFV crew protection.
With our forces deployed in more and more in world trouble spots like Kosovo, in which large areas of territory have been mined, there was an urgent need to reinforce the already fielded MARDER 1 A3 with contemporary, mission-oriented anti-mine features. As one of the world's leading makers of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH was assigned the task of finding a fast and effective solution. In record time – just five months after the contract was signed – the project has proved a complete success.
The procurement contract was awarded after extensive trials demonstrated the effectiveness of the retrofit in providing excellent protection against landmines, as well as its full compatibility with the operational requirements of the vehicle, whose tactical versatility has in no way been impaired by the resulting technical modifications. Developed by Rheinmetall Landsysteme, this pioneering protection concept will enable the Bundeswehr's existing fleet of MARDER infantry fighting vehicles to be retrofitted in order to counter the heightened threat to troop safety posed by current operations in conflict zones. The order will generate volume of roughly €88 million for the period 2003 to 2005; production will take place at the company's Kassel location.
The retrofit is based on a combined anti-mine protection approach that guards the vehicle not only against the effects of conventional blast-type mines, which operate based on pressure, but also from mines that produce explosively formed projectiles when detonated. Apart from additional armour, the retrofit entails a raft of technical modifications. For example, the vehicles are being equipped not only with a reinforced underbody, but also with new running gear in order to compensate for the weight of the additional armour. In order to protect the occupants of the fighting compartment, all components previously mounted to the floor will now have to be mounted elsewhere. Thus, the seats will now be attached to the walls of the vehicle and equipped with special footrests.
Rheinmetall Landsysteme is a leading supplier of wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles and NBC reconnaissance systems, as well as offering a comprehensive range of protection concepts. The company, which has plants and facilities in Kiel, Kassel, Unterlüß and Augsburg, is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall DeTec AG of Ratingen, the defence technology arm of Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG. The approximately 8,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles supplied thus far by the company – including the Fuchs, Wiesel and Luchs – provide ready proof of the experience, exceptional know-how and technological lead enjoyed by Rheinmetall Landsysteme.
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