Bundeswehr Also Updating Fleet
Rheinmetall announced on 8 October it has won an order – valued at “triple-digit million euros” – from an unidentified international customer for FUCHS/FOX 6×6 armoured vehicles. Delivery is scheduled to be completed in 2018-2020: the contract has special significance for Rheinmetall’s Kassel plant, the vehicle’s birthplace.
To date, some 1,400 vehicles have been built. The armed forces of several nations have multiple variants of the vehicle in their inventories, including an armoured personnel carrier, a mobile tactical operations centre, a field ambulance, and a nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance vehicle. The Bundeswehr has fielded multiple versions since 1979, having deployed over 100 FUCHS/FOX 1 vehicles in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Deriving from it, the FUCHS/FOX 2 is an advanced version of the vehicle, featuring a larger fighting compartment, a more powerful engine, updated running gear, improved survivability and digital vehicle electronics, among other enhancements.
The Bundeswehr is also modernising part of its FUCHS/FOX 1 fleet. The most advanced version, the 1A8, delivers considerably better protection against landmines and improvised explosive devices than its predecessors, coupled with enhanced ballistic protection. Among the principal modifications of the 1A8 configuration are structural changes to the hull, new seating and seat suspension slings in the fighting compartment in order to keep the troops’ feet off the floor, plus reinforced wheel housings, doors and window frames, as well as additional storage compartments and a reinforced exterior. In all, Rheinmetall will bring 272 Bundeswehr FUCHS/FOX vehicles up to current 1A8 standard by the end of 2020.
The company is also offering an even more advanced version of the vehicle, the 1A8 Plus, which has a new drive unit, a new transfer case, a new brake system and an improved steering system as well as monitoring and camera visualisation systems. This makes the FUCHS/FOX 1A8 Plus even more manoeuvrable in off-road terrain and considerably easier to handle. These measures will make it possible to keep the vehicle in service beyond 2030.