Caliber: 5.56x45mm NATO
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length (stock collapsed/extended): 10″ barrel: 686 / 785 mm; 14″ barrel:
Barrel lengths: 10.5″ / 267mm; 14.5″ / 368mm; 16.5″ / 419mm and 20″ / 508mm
Weight: 3.31 kg w. 10.5″ barrel, 3.5kg w 14.5″ barrel
Rate of fire: 700-900 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds

Following the revision of the OICW Block 1 / XM8 program, the Heckler & Koch company decided to enter the US military and law enforcement markets with the alternative design, which, in fact, looks quite promising. Based on the experience, gained during successful upgrade program of the British SA80 / L85A1 program, HK decided to cure the existing M16 rifles and  M4 carbines from most of their problems, inherent to this 40-years old design. The key improvements, made by HK, are their patented short-stroke gas piston system, borrowed from HK G36 rifle. This system replaced the direct gas system of standard M16 rifle, so no powder residue will remain in the receiver even after long shooting sessions. The “new” gas system also is self-regulating and will work reliably with any barrel length. Other improvements include new buffer assembly, improved bolt, and a cold hammer forged barrel, as well as free-floating handguard with integral Picatinny-type rails. Originally developed as a “drop-in” upper receiver assembly for any standard M16/M4 type lower receiver, HK416 is also available as a complete weapon, with HK-made lower receivers. Current (late 2005) models include carbines with 10.5″ and 14.5″ barrels, and 16.5″ barreled carbine and 20″ barreled rifle will be added later.

Another interesting development, which is apparently based on the upscaled HK416 design, is the HK417 – the 7.62x51NATO rifle that combines AR-15/M16 type ergonomics, layout and handling with improved reliability of HK-made and designed gas piston system. This rifle probably will use HK G3-type magazines. If the rumors about HK417 are true, the 5.56mm HK416 / 7.62mm HK417 combination will be a direct rival to the newest FN SCAR system.

HK416 is a gas operated, selective fired weapon of modular design. It uses short-stroke gas piston that operates the 7-lug rotating bolt. Receiver is made from high grade aluminium alloy. Combination-type safety / fire selector allows for single shots and full automatic mode. Hk416 retains all M16-style controls, including last round bolt hold-open device, rear-based charging handle and magazine release button on the right side of the magazine well. HK416 is fitted with four Picatinny rails as standard, and may accept any type of sighting devices on STANAG-1913 compliant mounts. It also can accept modified HK AG36/AG-C 40mm grenade launcher, which is clamped directly to bottom rail. Buttstock is of typical M4 design, multi-position telescoped.

Heckler & Koch HK33

June 19, 2008

The HK33 is a 5.56 mm assault rifle developed in the 1960s by West German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH (HK), primarily for export. Capitalizing on the success of the G3 design, the company developed a family of small arms (all using the G3 operating principle and basic design concept) consisting of four types of firearms: the first type, chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO, second – using the 7.62x39mm M43 round, third – the intermediate 5.56x45mm caliber and the fourth type – chambered for the 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge.

The HK33 series of rifles were adopted by the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB), the armed forces of Thailand and Malaysia where they were produced under a license agreement. The rifle was also license-built in France by MAS, and in Turkey by MKEK. The HK33 is no longer marketed by Heckler & Koch.

Variants

The HK33 is available in several configurations: the HK33A2 (fitted with a rigid synthetic stock), an accurized variant known as the HK33SG/1 (with a telescopic optical sight and improved trigger analogous to the one used in the G3SG/1), HK33A3 (with a telescoping metal stock), the HK33KA3 carbine (barrel reduced in length to the base of the front sight post also equipped with a folding metal stock; the short barrel cannot be used to launch rifle grenades or attach a bayonet) as well as the compact HK53 carbine, which features a short, 211 mm barrel, a forearm derived from the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun and a telescoping stock or a receiver endplate cover (later models also received an open-style flash hider).

An Ecuadoran Marine armed with an HK33E rifle.

The HK13 light machine gun was also built based on the HK33. It is fed from either box or drum magazines (the latter has a 100-round capacity), has a quick-change heavy barrel for sustained fire, shrouded with a sheet metal heat guard (replacing the synthetic forearm) and a 2-point bipod adapter.

Heckler & Koch also make a semi-automatic only variant of the HK33A2 for the civilian shooting market designated the HK93.

The rifle is disassembled into the following components for maintenance: the receiver, stock with return spring and trigger pack with pistol grip. The trigger groups can be swapped out to meet the user’s specific mission requirements. HK offers several different trigger assemblies: a three-shot burst fire control group with selector lever/safety (selector settings: “0” – weapon is safe, “1” – single fire, “2” – 2-round burst or “3” – burst, 3-rounds; the selector lever is ambidextrous); a “Navy” trigger unit (three settings: safe, semi and full auto fire) and a four-position trigger group (selector settings: weapon safe, single fire, 3-round burst and automatic fire).

Type    Assault rifle
Place of origin     West Germany
Service history
Used by    See Users
Production history
Designer    Heckler & Koch
Manufacturer    Heckler & Koch, MAS, MKEK
Variants    See Variants
Specifications
Weight    3.65 kg (8.05 lb) (HK33A2)
3.98 kg (8.8 lb) (HK33A3)
3.89 kg (8.6 lb) (HK33KA3)
3.05 kg (6.7 lb) (HK53)
Length    920 mm (36.2 in) (HK33A2)
940 mm (37.0 in) stock extended / 735 mm (28.9 in) stock collapsed (HK33A3)
865 mm (34.1 in) stock extended / 675 mm (26.6 in) stock collapsed (HK33KA3)
755 mm (29.7 in) stock extended / 563 mm (22.2 in) stock collapsed (HK53)
Barrel length    390 mm (15.4 in) (HK33A2)
332 mm (13.1 in) (HK33KA3)
225 mm (8.9 in) (HK53)

Cartridge    5.56x45mm NATO
Action    Roller-delayed blowback
Rate of fire    750 rounds/min (HK33A2)
700 rounds/min (HK53)
Muzzle velocity    950 m/s (3,117 ft/s) (HK33A2)
880 m/s (2,887.1 ft/s) (HK33KA3)
750 m/s (2,460.6 ft/s) (HK53)
Effective range    100 to 400 m sight adjustments
Feed system    25, 30, 40-round detachable box magazine
Sights    Rotary rear aperture drum, hooded foresight

Puma (IFV)

June 19, 2008

The Puma is a German infantry fighting vehicle, currently in the pre-production stage. It will replace the aging Marder IFVs, from 2010 through 2020. Governing company is PSM Projekt System Management, a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme. The Puma is one of the best-protected IFVs, while still having a high power/weight ratio.

Project history

The Puma (formerly also named Igel and Panther) started as a follow-up project to the German mid-90s “NGP” project (Neue Gepanzerte Plattformen, “New Armored Platforms”). Its aim was to collect ideas for a common base vehicle that could be used for a variety of tasks including that of the APC, IFV, air defense and replacing/amending the MBT in the frontline combat role. The NGP project was ended in 2001.

The lessons learned were incorporated into the new tactical concept named neuer Schützenpanzer (“new IFV”) in 1998. In 2002, the German army (Heer) placed an order for the delivery of five pre-production vehicles and their logistics and training services at the end of 2004. On November 8th 2007 a budget of €3 billion to acquire 405 Pumas was agreed upon.

Other nations pursue similar developments emphasizing commonality, modularity and rapid deployability based on a comparable doctrine which was also a subject of discussion within NATO. Examples of these are the American FCS vehicles, the British FRES and the German-Dutch Boxer MRAV.

Armament

The primary armament is a Rheinmetall 30 mm MK 30-2/ABM (Air Burst Munitions) autocannon, which has a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and an effective range of 3000 m. There currently are two ammunition types, directly available because the autocannon features a dual ammunition feed. One is a sub-calibre, fin-stabilised APFSDS-T (T for tracer), designed with high penetration capabilities, mainly for use against medium armoured vehicles. The second is a full-calibre, multi-purpose, Kinetic Energy-Timed Fuse (KETF) munition, designed with the air burst capability (depending on the fuse setting) of ejecting a cone of sub-munitions. Both ammunitions can be chosen differently from shot to shot as the weapon fires from an open bolt, that means no cartridge is inserted until the trigger is used. The ammunition capacity is 400 rounds; 200 ready to fire and 200 in storage.

While some may deem the 30 x 173 mm calibre to be too weak for future conflicts, it is necessary to say that the small caliber (for example in comparison to the Bofors 40 mm gun mounted on the CV9040) offers major advantages because of a much lower ammunition size and -weight and the large number of rounds ready to fire (the CV9040 offers only 24 shots per magazine). Ultimately, the usefulness also depends on the tactical doctrine the vehicle is used according to in combat.

The secondary armament is a coaxially mounted 5.56 mm HK MG4 machine gun with an approximate rate of fire at 850 rounds per minute and an effective range of 1000 m. The ammunition capacity is 2000 rounds; 1000 ready to fire and 1000 in storage. While this again is a smaller weapon than the western-standard of using a 7.62 mm caliber MG as secondary armament and may lack power in certain situations, it again offers advantages because it has a higher practical ROF and the crew can use the ammunition in their individual firearms as well. In situations where the lower penetration of the 5.56 mm rounds is an issue, the high ammunition load of the main gun enables the vehicle crew to use one or two main gun rounds instead. Nevertheless, the gun housing can host the 7,62 mm MG3 also.

To combat main battle tanks and infrastructure targets such as bunkers, the German Puma vehicles will be equipped with a turret-mounted EuroSpike Spike LR missile launcher.

In addition to the usual smoke-grenade launchers with 8 shots, there is a 6-shot 76 mm launcher at the back of the vehicle for close-in defence. The main back door can be opened halfway and enables two of the passengers to scout and shoot from moderate protection.

Protection

From the ground up the Puma was designed in a way to easily accommodate additional armor. It was initially planned to offer three protection classes which are wholly or in parts interchangeable. The protection class A is the basic vehicle, at 31.5 tons combat-ready weight air transportable in the A400M. Protection class C consists of two large side panels that cover almost the whole flanks of the vehicle and act as skirts to the tracks, a near-complete turret cover and armor plates for most of the vehicle’s roof. The side panels are a mix of composite and spaced armor. It adds about 9 metric tons to the gross weight. Originally, there was also a protection class B designed for transport on railway. However, it became obvious that class C lies well within the weight and dimension limits for train/ship transportation, thus the whole class B was scrapped.

According to this concept, a group of 4 A400M aircraft could fly 3 class A Pumas into a theatre, with the fourth airplane transporting the class C armor kits and simple lifting equipment. Subsequently, the Pumas could be ready in armor class C within a short time.

The basic armour can resist direct hits from 14.5mm Russian rounds, the most powerful HMG cartridge in common use today (and up to twice as powerful as the western de facto standard .50 BMG cartridge) and is said to defeat simple hollow charge warheads. The front armour is at least able to withstand 30mm AP projectiles. In protection class C, the flanks of the Puma are up-armored to about the same level of protection as is the front, while the roof armor is increasingly able to withstand artillery or mortar bomblets.

The whole vehicle is protected against heavy blast mines (up to 10kg) and projectile charges from below while still retaining 450mm ground clearance. Almost all equipment within the cabin, including the seats, has no direct contact the floor, which also adds to crew and technical safety. All cabin roof hatches are of the side-slide type which make them easier to open manually, even when those hatches are obstructed by debris. The exhausts are mixed with fresh air and vented at the rear left side. Together with a special IR-suppressing paint, this aims at reducing the thermal signature of the IFV.

Another crew safety measure is that the main fuel tanks are placed outside of the vehicle hull itself, mounted heavily armored within the running gear carriers. While this may pose a higher penetration risk to the tanks, it is unlikely that both tanks will be penetrated at the same time, enabling the vehicle to retreat to a safer position in case of a breach. There is also a collector tank within the vehicle to secure steady fuel flow which may act as a reserve tank in case of a double tank breach.

Type    Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin     Germany
Specifications
Weight    31.5 tonne, 43 tonne maximum weight with add-on armor
Length    7.4 m
Width    3.7 m (uparmored)
Height    3.1 m
Crew    3 + 6
Ground clearance 450 mm
Fording depth 1.5 m

Armor    modular
Primary
armament    30 mm MK30-2/ABM autocannon; 200 rounds/min rapid shot, 700 rounds/min fully automatic
Secondary
armament    5.56 mm HK MG4 machine gun; Spike LR anti-tank guided missile; 76 mm grenade launcher; Smoke-grenade launchers
Engine    MTU V10 892 diesel
800 kW (1073 bhp)
Power/weight    25,4 kW/tonne
Suspension    hydropneumatic
Operational
range    600 km
Speed    70 km/h

Marder (IFV)

June 19, 2008

The Marder (German for “marten”) is a German infantry fighting vehicle operated by the German Army as the main weapon of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through the present day. Developed as part of the rebuilding of Germany’s armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design. While it does include a few unique features, such as the fully remote machine gun on the rear deck, it is overall a simple and conventional machine with rear exit hatch and side gun ports for mounted infantry to fire through. Its successor, the Puma, is under development.

The government of Greece (as of 2007) due to budget problems postponed negotiations with the German army for the purchase of 500 Marder vehicles, following the development of Germany’s new Puma IFV. The vehicles were previously used by the German Army and are to be retired.

Development

Development of the Marder ran from January 1960, when the first development contracts were issued, to 7 May 1971, when the first production vehicles were given to the German army.

The vehicle was intended to be an improvement over the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30. The main requirements were:
A capacity of 12 infantrymen.
A more reliable 20 mm cannon.
The infantry must be able to fight from within the vehicle or dismounted.
Protection from Nuclear, Biological and Chemical weapons.

Initially development contracts were awarded to two groups of companies the Rheinstahl group (Rheinstahl-Hanomag, Ruhrstahl, Witten-Annen, Büro Warnecke) and the second group comprising Henschel Werke and the Swiss MOWAG company. This resulted in the production of seven prototype vehicles. A second set of eight prototype vehicles were built between 1961 and 1963. Development priority was then switched for a while to the development of the Jagdpanzer 90 mm Kanone.

In 1967, after military requirements were fininalized, a third and final set of ten prototypes were built. Final development work was completed by the Rheinstahl group, and 10 pre-production vehicles were built and completed troop trials with the German army between October 1968 and March 1969. In May 1969, the vehicle was officially named the “Marder 1” and in October Rheinstahl was chosen as the prime contractor.

The first production Marder 1 was handed to the German army on 7 May 1971. Production of the vehicle continued until 1975, with 2,136 vehicles being completed.

In 1975 the Milan missile was first adapted to be fired by commander from his open hatch, and between 1977 and 1979 Milan missiles were fitted to army vehicles.

A number of upgrade programs were carried out, that included fitting night vision equipment and a thermal imager, as well as upgraded the ammunition feed to the 20 mm cannon.

The A3 upgrade program began in 1988, with Thyssen Henschel being awarded a contact to upgrade 2,100 Marder 1 A1/A2 series vehicles to A3 standard at a rate of 220 a year. The first upgraded vehicles reached the German army on 17 November 1989. The modification package included:
Improved armour weighing 1,600 kg intended to protect against the 30 mm 2A42 cannon on the Russian BMP-2. The armour also provided additional protection against cluster bomblets.
The hatches over the infantry compartment were re-arranged.
Suspension was reinforced, a new braking system was installed, the gearbox adjusted. The heating system was replaced with a water based heating system.
Turret was reconfigured.
Total weight is now 35,000 kg.

Armament

A Marder 1 A3 fires its 20 mm cannon in an exercise.

Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon mounted in the small two-man turret which can fire either armour-piercing or HE rounds. Mounted coaxially to the left of the cannon is a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun. The turret has 360 degree traverse, and can elevate from -17 degrees to +65 degrees at a rate of 40 degrees per second while traversing at a rate of 60 degrees a second. Early Marders up to and including version 1A1 had a second MG3 mounted on the rear deck in a remote controlled pod. Typically 1,250 rounds are carried for the 20 mm cannon, along with a further 5,000 rounds for the MG3.

On current models since version 1A2, a MILAN anti-tank guided missile launcher can be attached to the turret to provide enhanced anti-armour capabilities. Typically six missiles are carried inside the vehicle.

There are four (two per side) gun ports which can be used by mounted infantry to provide additional fire against attacking infantry targets. Only Marder 1A1 and 1A2 had been equipped with this. Marder 1A3 and above do not have gun ports due to an extra layer of amour and outside storage boxes.

Six 76 millimeter diameter smoke grenade dischargers can create a visual and infra-red blocking smoke screen.

Type    Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin    West Germany
Service history
In service    1971-present
Used by    Germany
Specifications
Weight    28.5 t (Marder 1)
30.0 (Marder 1A1)
33.5 t (Marder 1A3)
Length    6.79 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
6.88 m (Marder 1A3)
Width    3.24 (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
3.38 m (Marder 1A3)
Height    2.98 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
3.015 m (Marder 1A3)
Crew    3+7 (Marder 1)
3+5-6 (Marder 1A1, Marder 1A3)

Armor    Welded steel, protection up to 20 mm APDS
Marder 1A3 onwards – spaced welded steel up to 30 mm APDS
Primary
armament    20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon
MILAN ATGM launcher
Secondary
armament    7.62 mm MG3 machine gun
Engine    MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine
600 hp (441 kW)
Transmission    RENK HSWL 194
Suspension    Torsion bar
Ground clearance    0.45 m (Marder 1, Marder 1A3)
0.44 m (Marder 1A1)
Fuel capacity    652 l
Operational
range    520 km (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
500 km (Marder 1A3)
Speed    75 km/h (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
65 km/h (Marder 1A3)

The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei AG, now Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), of Munchen, Germany. The Leopard 2 is a successor to the successful Leopard 1.

The Leopard 1 was first produced in 1963 by Krauss-Maffei for the German Ministry of Defence and more than 6,000 vehicles have been exported to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and Australia.

The successor to the Leopard 1, the Leopard 2, was first produced in 1979 and is in service with the armies of Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Spain, with over 3,200 produced. The Finnish Army is buying 124 and the Polish Army 128 used Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany. In August 2005, Greece placed an order for 183 used Leopard 2A4 and 150 Leopard 1A5 tanks from German Army reserves.

In November 2005, an agreement was signed for the sale of 298 German army Leopard 2A4 tanks to Turkey. Deliveries are planned from 2006 to 2007. In March 2006, Chile signed a contract for the acquisition of 140 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army. The first was delivered in December 2007.

The Leopard 2A6 includes a longer L55 gun, an auxiliary engine, improved mine protection and an air-conditioning system. The German Army is upgrading 225 2A5 tanks to 2A6 configuration, the first of which was delivered in March 2001. The Royal Netherlands Army upgraded 180 of its 2A5 tanks to 2A6 configuration, the first of which entered service in February 2003. In March 2003, the Hellenic Army of Greece ordered 170 Leopard 2 HEL (a version of the 2A6EX). 30 are being assembled by KMW, the remainder by ELBO of Greece. The first locally built tank was delivered in October 2006.

Spain has ordered 219 Leopard 2E (a version of the 2A6 with greater armour protection), 16 recovery tanks (CREC) and four training vehicles. The first 30 are being built by KMW and the rest are being license-built in Spain by General Dynamics, Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDSBS). The first tank was handed over to the Spanish Army in June 2004 and deliveries should complete in 2008.

Another variant is the Leopard 2(S), which has a new command and control system and new passive armour system. 120 Leopard 2(S) have been delivered to the Swedish Army. Deliveries concluded in March 2002.

In December 2006, it was announced that Singapore is to buy 66 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army, plus 30 additional tanks for spares. The tanks will enter service with the Singapore Army in 2008.

In April 2007, Canada purchased up to 100 Leopard 2 tanks from the Dutch Army and leased 20 Leopard 2A6M tanks from the German Army. KMW delivered the first of the leased 2A6M tanks, which has been upgraded with improved mine protection and slat armour, in August 2007. The tank was deployed to Afghanistan later in August 2007. The Dutch army retains a fleet of 110 2A6 tanks.

In October 2007, Portugal purchased 37 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Dutch Army, to be delivered 2008–2009.

LEOPARD 2A6 MAIN BATTLE TANK – SPECIFICATIONS
Crew 4
Weight 62 metric tons
Length 7.7 m
Width 3.7 m
Height 3.0 m
Armament 1 x Rheinmetall 120 mm L55 smoothbore gun
1 x coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun
1 x 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun
Maximum speed 72 km/hr
Maximum range 500 km
Powerplant MTU MB 873 multi-fuel, 1500 hp
Transmission Renk HSWL 354
Gunner’s sight Rheinmetall Defence Electronics EMES 15 with thermal channel and laser rangefinder
Commander’s sight Rheinmetall Defence Electronics PERI-R17A2 with thermal channel

Fuchs

June 16, 2008

TPz (Transportpanzer) Fuchs (fox) is an armoured personnel carrier developed by Daimler-Benz and built by Thyssen-Henschel (now Rheinmetall Landsysteme) in 1979. It was the second wheeled armoured vehicle to be fielded in the Bundeswehr. It is used for various different tasks including troop-transport, engineer-transport, bomb disposal, NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) reconnaissance and electronic warfare. By mixing and matching the different models and retrofit kits, today more than 90 different combinations are possible, 32 of which have so far been produced. The TPz Fuchs is thus also referred to as a “retrofit platform”.

The vehicles engine is a Mercedes-Benz Model OM 402A V-8 liquid-cooled diesel with an output of 320 hp. It has a max speed of 105 km/h and a range of 800 km. Fuchs is 7.33 m long, 2.98 m wide and 2.37 m high. It weighs 18.3 tons with the capability to carry additional 6 tons in equipment. The 6×6 APC is characterized by high performance over all terrains and low noise. Its rear-mounted propellers and 360° turning range, enable the vehicle to take water obstacles in its stride at up to 10km/h.

Armament

The TPZ Fuchs can be equipped with up to three Rheinmetall MG3 general purpose machine guns, one of which is mounted on a manually controlled turret. Fuchs’ of the Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, Panzergrenadiers (mechanized infantry), the Franco-German Brigade, the mountain infantry and the Jäger (rangers) of the German Army are also armed with MILAN anti-tank-guided missiles (in this configuration max. two MG3s can be mounted).

Improvements over the years

The vehicle’s ability to withstand high-performance, armour-piercing ammunition fired not only from small arms but also from lightweight carriage-mounted machineguns, as well as shrapnel (e.g. from artillery rounds), and to augment its protection against anti-personnel and antitank mines had to be improved.

Due to the weight and volume restrictions they had to use advanced armour materials to meet the protection specifications. Compared to equally effective steel or aluminium alloy armour, modern armour materials enable weight savings of 50% or more.

The modular armour protection system used in the TPz Fuchs encompasses six harmonized, complementary elements which in part operate in coordinated fashion:
add-on armour mounted to the exterior of the vehicle housing;
anti-mine protective plating in the wheel cases;
reinforced bullet-proof windows;
reinforced bullet-proof visors for shielding the window exteriors;
spall-lining of all interior surfaces of the vehicle compartment, and
a shielded gun mounting (except on the medical vehicles).

Type    Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin     West Germany
Service history
Used by    Bundeswehr
Production history
Manufacturer    Thyssen-Henschel
Produced    1979-present
Specifications
Weight    18.3 t
Length    7.33 m
Width    2.98 m
Height    2.37 m

Primary
armament    Up to three Rheinmetall MG3
Secondary
armament    MILAN anti-tank guided missile, smoke grenade launchers
Engine    Mercedes-Benz Model OM 402A V-8 liquid-cooled diesel
320 hp
Payload capacity    6 t
Suspension    6×6
Operational
range    800 km
Speed    105 km/h
10 km/h (in water)

Fennek

June 16, 2008

The Fennek, named after the fennec (a small species of desert fox), or LGS Fennek, with LGS being short for Leichter Gepanzerter Spähwagen in German (Light Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle), is a four wheeled armed reconnaissance vehicle produced by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems. It was developed for both the German Army and Royal Netherlands Army to replace their current vehicles.

History

In April 2000, the prototype vehicle finished field trials and in December 2001 a combined order was placed. 410 were ordered by the Royal Netherlands Army (202 reconnaissance, 130 MRAT (medium range antitank) and 78 general purpose versions) and 216 by the German military (178 reconnaissance, 24 combat engineer, 10 Joint Fire Support Teams and four artillery observer versions). Germany plans an overall purchase of approximately 300 Fenneks. The first vehicle was delivered to the Netherlands in July 2003 and the first to Germany in December of the same year. Deliveries will continue to take place until 2008.

The Dutch SP Aerospace company, which produced the Fennek for the Dutch military, was declared bankrupt in August 2004. A new company called Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems (DDVS) was created to continue the production of the vehicles for the Royal Netherlands Army.

Specifications

The Fennek has four wheels with selectable two or four wheel drive. It has a Deutz diesel engine producing 179 kW, giving it a top speed of 115 km/h. Tire pressure can be regulated by the driver from inside the vehicle to suit terrain conditions.

Various weapons can be fitted, such as a 12.7 mm machine gun for the Dutch reconnaissance version, a Rafael Spike anti-tank missile on the Dutch MRAT version or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (HK GMG) for the German vehicles. The Royal Netherlands Army also placed an order at the Turkish company Aselsan for 18 Raytheon Stinger surface-to-air missile launchers to be fitted on the Fennek.

The vehicle is protected all-round against 7.62 mm rounds and additional armour can be added if the mission requires. The air conditioning system provides protection against nuclear, biological and chemical warfare and the crew compartment is protected against anti-personnel mines.

Operational record

Both Germany and the Netherlands have deployed Fennek reconnaissance vehicles to Afghanistan in support of ISAF. On November 3, 2007 a Dutch Fennek was hit by an improvised explosive device killing one and wounding two other occupants. The vehicle and its crew were taking part in an offensive operation targeting the Taliban in the province of Uruzgan, Afghanistan.  In another incident a German Fennek was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Its hollow charge jet penetrated the vehicle through the right front wheel rim, passed through the vehicle and blew the left door off the hinge. Thanks to the spall liner the crew sustained only negligible injuries.

Specifications

Type    Armoured car
Place of origin     Germany,  Netherlands
Weight    9.7 tonnes
Length    5.71 m
Width    2.49 m
Height    1.79 m
Crew    3

Primary
armament    HK GMG 40 mm grenade autocannon (German version), M2HB 12.7 mm machine gun (Dutch versions)
Secondary
armament    Not applicable
Engine    Deutz diesel
239 hp (179 kw)
Power/weight    24,6 hp/tonne
Suspension    Selectable 4 wheel drive
Operational
range    860 km
Speed    115 km/h