Those fortunate enough to witness the event were overjoyed that the concept with all its technical highlights had been implemented within such a short period of time and that the latest generation of Fuchs (Fox) armoured transport vehicles would now be available to the German armed forces. Recently, Rheinmetall Defence's Vehicle Systems business unit (Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH) handed over to the Bundeswehr the first of a total of 21 transport vehicles with IED and improved mine protection.
Dr. Stefan Nehlsen, head of the product department for command and multipurpose vehicles at Rheinmetall Defence: "This system gives our soldiers the maximum possible protection against various types of threat and is therefore the safest of its kind." The improved vehicle incorporates an enhanced IED protection concept and offers mine protection against heavy anti-tank mines, the level of protection now having attained the maximum level possible. "Combined with the ballistic protection, this now gives a balanced level of all-round protection."
The speed with which the project was implemented from the initial preliminary investigations through to development, qualification and production up to final roll out of the first Fuchs vehicle with IED and mine protection is quite remarkable. Based on version 1 of the Fuchs armoured transport vehicle, a new improved variant including IED protection was implemented within less than three years. Version 1 was already distinguished by reinforced axles, modified brakes and running gear as well as substantial improvements to the mine protection system. The additional increase in payload, coupled with further stowage containers, has enhanced the mission effectiveness of the vehicle even further.
IEDs (improvised explosive devices), i.e. booby traps and incendiary devices (e.g. car bombs) pose a considerable threat in modern-day scenarios so that further improvements were essential.
Initial planning activities in connection with the Fuchs got under way in the 1970s, in other words, at a time when this type of threat was not really relevant. Today, some 30 different variants (kits) of the Fuchs armoured transport vehicle exist, ranging from the standard transport vehicle, ambulance vehicle, radio command vehicle to the NBC reconnaissance vehicle. The latter has turned out to be a particular export hit.
Overall, more than 1,200 vehicles have been manufactured and are deployed around the world. Says defence expert Nehlsen: "The many different vehicle applications necessitated not only modifications to the basic vehicle but also called for modernizations of the different variant kits."
Wolfgang Henrich from the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) praised the remarkable all-round protection of the vehicle and was particularly pleased to note that the basic vehicle has been particularly well received in technical expert circles. "The Fuchs has set new standards and is a blueprint for an entire vehicle class. Rheinmetall Defence has put its heart and soul into this project," said Henrich.
"A challenging project like this one cannot be quantified," remarked Lieutenant Colonel Johann Kappl from the Army Logistics Center in Schleswig Holstein. Kappl drew particular attention to the high quality of the work on the Fuchs vehicle with IED protection and thanked those involved in production, especially as considerable pressure had been exerted in view of the tight schedule.
The limited amount of time available up to project completion was due to the requirements of the Bundeswehr which has voiced a growing need for IED-protected vehicles on foreign missions to protect its soldiers better. With the protection-enhanced Fuchs armoured transport vehicles, the German armed forces now have a vehicle that fully meets requirements applicable to current missions abroad.
Source: Safest vehicle of its kind now on duty
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