€24 Million for Night Observation Devices
The Bundeswehr has awarded Rheinmetall Landsysteme a further order to modernise the MARDER infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) by supplying over 170 driver’s night observation devices. Worth around €24 million, the order also encompasses logistical support, training and other services. Delivery begins at the end of 2021 and is to be complete by the end of 2022.
The new driver’s night observation device is the SPECTUS II, which fuses the image from a residual light amplifier camera with one produced by a thermal imaging device, improving the driver’s ability to see even in conditions of poor visibility. In addition, the system features a rear-view camera.
Industrial partners include Rheinmetall Technical Publications and benntec Systemtechnik (a Rheinmetall subsidiary). In response to an urgent operational requirement for the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, Rheinmetall previously integrated the system’s forerunner – the SPECTUS I – into the MARDER 1 A5A1 fleet.
In December 2019 the Bundeswehr contracted with Rheinmetall to conduct a comprehensive modernization of part of the MARDER fleet. The current contract could lead to further orders from customers (Chile, Indonesia and Jordan operate the vehicle), as the Bundestag authorised procurement of thermal imaging aiming devices for German MARDERs earlier this month.
Battle-tested and exceptionally reliable, the MARDER will continue to serve German mechanised infantry units as a trusty workhorse for some time to come, even now that the number of new PUMA IFVs in service will soon reach 350.