March 4, 2009
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 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.
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
In service 1971-present
Used by Germany
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
armament 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon
MILAN ATGM launcher
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
range 520 km (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
500 km (Marder 1A3)
Speed 75 km/h (Marder 1, Marder 1A1)
65 km/h (Marder 1A3)
June 18, 2008
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|
|Weight||62 metric tons|
|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|
June 12, 2008
Data for QBZ-95 (QBZ-97 in parenthesizes, where differs from QBZ-95)
Caliber: 5.8×42 mm (5.56×45 mm NATO)
Action: Gas operated, rotating bolt
Overall length: 760 mm
Barrel length: 520 mm
Weight: 3.4 kg unloaded
Rate of fire: ~ 650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity: 30 rounds
In the late 1980s Chinese designers developed a 5.8 x 42 cartridge, apparently designated DBP87, which is claimed to be superior to both the 5.56 mm NATO and the 5.54 mm Soviet. This cartridge develops a muzzle velocity of 930 metres per second from a standard barrel, with a bullet weighing 4.26 gram.
As soon as the ammunition was ready, the PLA began to develop an entirely new and much more modern family of small arms based on the same action. This family, known as QBZ-95 (‘Qing Buqiang Zu’ = Light Rifles family, 1995), was first displayed outside the PLA in 1997, when China took over Hong Kong; it was observed that the Chinese guards were armed with a new, modern looking bullpup rifle. In fact it is one of an entirely new family of weapons, all designed around the same action and bullpup layout, which include the assault rifle, a shorter carbine, a light support weapon (with a bipod, a heavier barrel and large capacity magazine), and a sniper rifle. While being quite similar inside, these guns have different body shapes and cannot be converted from one configuration to another. The QBZ-95 line of weapons is now spreading throughout the PLA, commencing with elite units.
The QBZ-95 is a gas operated, magazine fed, automatic weapon with a bullpup layout. It has a short stroke gas piston and a rotating bolt. The charging handle is located at the top of the receiver, under the carrying handle. The housing is made from polymer, with an integral carrying handle, which holds the rear sight base, and has mounting points for optical or night vision scopes. The ejection port is made only at the right side of the weapon, so it cannot be fired from the left shoulder. Standard sights are of the open type, graduated from 100 to 500 metres. The front part of the barrel in the standard version is left unobstructed, so the QBZ-95 rifle can be used to launch rifle grenades. It also can be fitted with an underbarrel grenade launcher or with a knife bayonet. A compact carbine version, sometimes referred to as the CAR-95, cannot use either a grenade launcher or a bayonet, because of the much shortened barrel. Fire controls of QBZ-95 rifle consist of a trigger and a safety/selector switch, located (quite inconveniently) at the rear left of the receiver, behind the magazine housing. QBZ-95 can fire single shots or bursts.
The export version, QBZ-97, which is chambered for popular 5.56 x 45 NATO ammunition, is internally similar to QBZ-95, but has a different, much deeper magazine housing, which accepts a NATO-standard (M16-type) magazines.
June 10, 2008
By 1985, an intensive research and development program to create a family of what is known to be the Vityaz two-unit CTVs had been completed. This family includes:
? two-unit transport vehicles DT-10, DT-20 and DT-30, with a load-carrying capacity of 10, 20 and 30 tons, respectively;
? two-unit amphibious transporters DT-10P, DT-20P and DT-30P with similar specifications as the regular transporters.
Currently, Vityaz CTVs are in use throughout the whole territory of Russia, as well as in the harsh regions of the Arctic and Antarctica. They are an invaluable part of the transport services for prominent companies such as Gazprom JSC, Rosneftegazstroi, Rosneftegaz JSC, etc. They serve as primary transport vehicles for the personnel who service the extensive oil and gas pipelines throughout Russia, for geologists and scientists who research the dangerous, faraway destinations of Antartica and the Arctic regions. The construction and service industries are also benefiting from the advantages of these vehicles. The DT-30K crane, the DT-30E excavator, refuelling vehicles, mobile workshops, mobile oil refineries, passenger transporters, firefighting vehicles, etc. are mounted on Vityaz chassis. These vehicles are in demand not only in Russia, but throughout the countries of the Middle East and Asia, as well as in North and South America.
Years of operation of these vehicles have proved their reliability and robust design. The vehicle-s design primarily features an unconventional pattern of four active track envelopes providing for large surface contact with the ground for greater stability. In addition to this feature, these ATVs ensures the so called -kinematic method- for turning the articulated tracked vehicle through the -forced folding- of its units. The kinematic method of turn provides a positive tracking force for all tracks during linear movement and while making turns. A combination of the kinematic method of turn and a powerful multifuel engine, along with a hydromechanical transmission, unique track and suspension system with wide band tracks, road wheels with rubber pads, and vertical hydraulic cylinders which allow the two vehicle units to move vertically in relation to each other, make the articulated vehicles with a maximum weight of up to 60 tons more capable in terms of their swamp-, moving sand- loose soil- and snow-going capacity, than any type of single-unit swamp- and snow-going vehicle.
As the two units can be turned relative to each other in the vertical and horizontal planes via hydraulic cylinders or, conversely, can be fixed, the two-unit vehicle can negotiate short (equal to the length of one unit) sections of difficult terrain and such obstacles as ditches and walls and come out of water onto an unprepared bank, ice, or peat.
Owing to their unique design, the Vityaz family of ATVs are capable of operating in conditions impossible for other all-terrain vehicles, for example:
? amphibious return to a mother ship;
? off-road movement with one unit disabled or without one, or even without both tracks of one of the units;
? negotiating ditches and clefts up to 4.0 m wide.
? unloading of a ship offshore if it cannot come close to waterfront (i.e. in the Arctics and Antarctica regions, or in flooded regions, etc.); negotiating waterways in severe ice conditions;
? operation in mountains up to an altitude of 4,000 m.
The DT-10P and DT-30P ATVs are widely used by Russian troops deployed in challenging environmental regions, on islands (for transporting army elements, ammunition, equipment, FOLs and installation of weapon systems). These vehicles are also used by various industries in regions with poor access roads and climatic conditions. They are used to transport various cargoes; deploy digging, forest-working, power, and firefighting equipment; deploy mobile polyclinics and bakeries; transport cranes, excavators, water tanks, etc.; make amphibious unloading of cargoes; tow ships; heave off ships and barges; as well as perform prospecting work on shallow areas of shelf zones.
June 10, 2008
The 2K22M Tunguska-M1 is a Russian tracked combined surface-to-air gun/missile system. It is designed to provide day and night protection for infantry and tank regiments against low-flying aircraft and helicopters in any weather condition. The complete system is designated 2K22M, with the vehicle designated 2S9M.
The cost of the system is reported to be between 8 and 10 million USD.