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Rheinmetall to Modernise Bundeswehr Soldiers

2,460 IdZ-ES soliders to be equipped by late 2020

The German Armed Force (Bundeswehr) awarded Rheinmetall a contract worth the gross value of €370 million to supply Future Soldier – Expanded System (IdZ-ES) soldier systems to equip 68 infantry platoons. The new systems will be delivered between 2018 and late 2020.

The Bundeswehr has so far procured three lots, a total of 90 systems, each of which is designed to equip a ten-man section or squad. The 68 platoon systems are enough to equip over 2,460 soldiers. Based on what Rheinmetall calls a holistic, total infantry system concept, IdZ-ES integrates infantry and mechanized infantry platoons and their vehicles, serving as base stations, into the network-enabled warfare loop.

The company says special attention was given to the core and helmet system (the latter being manufactured by Hexonia). The battery-powered core computer, worn on the soldier’s back and called the electronic backbone by Rheinmetall, controls all the devices and sensors carried by the soldier via various interfaces. Its principal functions include power supply management, access control and monitoring, the soldier information system for map and situation display, navigation, reporting, exchange of reconnaissance and target data, processing sensor data (e.g. own position, line of sight), operator interfaces and visualisation, as well as system configuration.

The soldier can control the Soldier Command System and communication via a manually operated control and display unit known as the BAG (developed by Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE)). All relevant data concerning current situation, position of friendly forces (blue force tracking), mission and system status are displayed either on the BAG or, alternatively, on an OLED (organic light emitting diode) helmet display, by Challenge.

The modular battle dress uniform can be readily adapted to meet the current environmental and temperature conditions. Other important features include the ballistic body armour (Protection Class 1) with integrated ventilation shirt as well as a modular harness for carrying ammunition, ordnance, the “electronic backbone” and additional equipment. The IdZ-ES protective vest comes complete with chest rig and hip belt; with added ballistic inserts, it offers protection up to German Level 4.

The section or squad leader and his assistant are both issued with an additional leader module consisting of a portable command computer operated via touchscreen. A rifle-mounted push-to-talk button (by RDE in cooperation with partners) enables wireless communication even when the operator leader has raised his weapon. Furthermore, small arms can also be fitted with optical and optronic devices of the latest generation.

Rheinmetall supplies the ARGUS soldier system for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Integrated Soldier System Project and a GLADIUS variant, based on the IdZ-ES, to another international customer. 


For export, Rheinmetall’s Soldier Modernisation solution is the GLADIUS, based on the IDZ-ES, but with extra features, customisable to a possible customer’s specifications. Seen here is an example, displayed at IDEX 2017, with FLIR Systems’ BLACK HORNET Nano UAV and Invisio’s V50 advanced communication system. (Photo: DPM)




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