Bundeswehr Places Follow-up Orders for Fuchs Vehicles and Heron UAVs

Released on Friday, September 17, 2010
Tpz-1 Fuchs
APC - Armored Personnel Carrier
IED - Improvised Explosive Device
ISAF - International Security Assistance Force
MALE - Medium Altitude Long Endurance
NBC - Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical
SAATEG - System fuer die abbildende Aufklaerung in der Tiefe des Einsatzgebietes
UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
By upgrading the Bundeswehr's fleet of armoured vehicles and making unmanned aircraft available, Rheinmetall continues to make an important contribution to safeguarding German soldiers during deployed operations.

Multi-million modernization of 65 Fuchs/Fox armoured vehicles

By 2012, Rheinmetall will have modernized 65 of the Bundeswehr's Fuchs/Fox armoured transport vehicles, significantly improving their level of protection. The net value of this order comes to roughly €33 million.

The Fuchs/Fox 1A8, more than thirty of which are already deployed in Afghanistan, is currently the best-protected wheeled vehicle in the Bundeswehr inventory. Thanks to its high reliability and excellent off-road performance, the Fuchs/Fox has long been one of the world's most successful and versatile military vehicles.

Compared with its predecessors, the 1A8 version offers substantially improved protection against mines and roadside bombs, both of which constitute widespread threats in Afghanistan.

The upgrade just ordered by the Bundeswehr will significantly expand the operational spectrum of all these Fuchs/Fox vehicles, which come in many variants and have proved indispensable in multiple military missions.

Specifically, 43 Fuchs/Fox armoured vehicles, including APC, command and medevac variants, will be upgraded to 1A8 standard, with the emphasis on improved protection from mines and IEDs. A further 22 vehicles will be reconfigured for new roles such as fire fighting, bomb disposal and mine clearing.

The Bundeswehr currently has a total requirement of 134 Fuchs/Fox 1A8 armoured transport vehicles. Of these, 21 vehicles were already ordered in 2008 in response to an immediate operational requirement (contract value: €13.3 million), while a contract worth €36.6 million was issued in 2009 for retrofitting forty more vehicles. Furthermore, eight Fuchs/Fox armoured NBC reconnaissance vehicles are to be upgraded at a later date.

Rheinmetall to operate the Heron unmanned aircraft for a further two years in Afghanistan

Rheinmetall has been awarded a follow-up contract to make the state-of-the-art Heron 1 unmanned aircraft available to the Bundeswehr for a further two years. The volume of the follow-up order comes to a substantial eight-figure euro amount, and covers the period 23 October 2010 to 22 October 2012.

At the German base in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, the German Air Force operates two different unmanned aerial vehicles, including three Heron 1 aircraft and two ground control stations, which Rheinmetall makes available as part of an operator solution. The system, whose German acronym SAATEG stands for "system for imagery reconnaissance deep in the area of operations", is used for real-time aerial surveillance and reconnaissance throughout the entire area of operations of the German ISAF contingent; it went into operation on 17 March 2010.

The Heron - the first unmanned aerial vehicle ever deployed by the German Air Force anywhere - has since proved highly effective, emerging as an indispensable element of the regional reconnaissance architecture. During flights lasting up to 24 hours, the system's sensors supply important information and make a valuable contribution to protecting military and civilian personnel from attack. The Heron 1 has since completed its first thousand hours of flight time on behalf of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan.

The SAATEG project once again highlights Rheinmetall's role as a highly efficient service provider and competent partner of our armed forces, capable of providing future-oriented financing models and intelligent operator solutions.

In autumn 2009, the Bundeswehr opted for the operator solution proposed by Rheinmetall rather than direct procurement, thus enabling it quickly to bridge an existing capabilities gap at an affordable cost. The contract for the "SAATEG Intermediate Solution" was initially structured to run for 12 months, including an option for a two-year extension, which the Bundeswehr has now exercised.

Within a matter of weeks, Rheinmetall was able to establish a complete maintenance organization in Afghanistan, staffing it with its own personnel. The Heron unmanned aerial vehicle is manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, acting in the capacity of subcontractor. Under this public-private partnership, Rheinmetall is responsible for all service, repair and maintenance activities. Overall operations and control of the aircraft during reconnaissance missions is of course in the hands of German military personnel.

Able to operate around the clock in virtually all weather conditions, the Heron 1 is an unmanned, medium altitude, long endurance (MALE) aircraft used for targeting and damage assessment. With a wingspan of 16.6 metres and a take-off weight of 1.2 tons, this aircraft has an operating ceiling of 30,000 feet. Owing to its satellite data link, the Heron 1 can reconnoitre large swaths of territory, while its imaging radar ensures excellent reconnaissance results even in conditions of poor visibility.

Source: Rheinmetall books follow-up orders for Fuchs/Fox vehicles and Heron aviation systems for the Bundeswehr

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