The Fennek, named after the fennec (a species of small desert fox), or LGS Fennek, with LGS being short for Leichter Gepanzerter SpÃ¤hwagen in German (Light Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle), is a four-wheeled armed reconnaissance vehicle produced by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems. The Turkish company FNSS Defence Systems acquired the right for licence production in 2004. It was developed for both the German Army and Royal Netherlands Army to replace their current vehicles. It has four wheels with selectable two or four wheel drive.
The Fennek has a Deutz diesel engine producing 179 kW, giving it a top speed of 115 km/h. Tire pressure can be regulated by the driver from inside the vehicle to suit terrain conditions. The primary mission equipment is an observation package mounted on an extendable mast. Sensors include a thermal imager, daylight camera and a laser rangefinder. Combined with the vehicle’s GPS and inertial navigation system the operator can accurately mark targets or points of interest and pass that data to the digital battlefield network. The sensor head of the observation package can also be removed and mounted on a tripod for concealed operation, as can the control unit from the vehicle should the crew want to use the entire system dismounted.
Various weapons can be fitted, such as a 12.7 mm machine gun for the Dutch reconnaissance version, a Rafael Spike anti-tank missile on the Dutch MRAT version or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher (HK GMG) or Rheinmetall MG3 for the German vehicles. The Royal Netherlands Army also placed an order at the Turkish company Aselsan for 18 Raytheon Stinger surface-to-air missile launchers to be fitted on the Fennek. The launcher in this case is the Stinger Weapon Platform (SWP), with four Stinger missiles intended for mid-range air defence. The launcher can be controlled from on board the vehicle, or else remotely as part of a distributed air defense system. On the Dutch Fennek the primary weapon is the 12.7 mm machine gun.
Both Germany and the Netherlands have deployed Fennek reconnaissance vehicles to Afghanistan in support of ISAF. On 3 November 2007 a Dutch Fennek was hit by an improvised explosive device killing one and wounding two other occupants. The vehicle and its crew were taking part in an offensive operation targeting the Taliban in the province of Uruzgan, Afghanistan. In another incident a German Fennek was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. Its hollow charge jet penetrated the vehicle through the right front wheel rim, passed through the vehicle and blew the left door off the hinge. Thanks to the spall liner the crew sustained only negligible injuries.