The TPz (Transportpanzer) Fuchs (“Fox”) is an armoured personnel carrier originally developed by Daimler-Benz but manufactured and further developed by the now Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV). It was developed in the 1970s following the trend given by the Soviet BTR family, Swiss Piranha or French VAB. Fuchs was the second wheeled armoured vehicle to enter service with the Bundeswehr (West German Military) and it can be used for tasks including troop transport, engineer transport, bomb disposal, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical reconnaissance and electronic warfare. Specifications asked for a vehicle which presented the perfect balance between protection, mobility and carrying capacity. For that, engineers designed a relatively long hull, with integral 6×6 drive, amphibious, NBC protection, characterized by a single large one-piece windscreen.
RMMV and its predecessors manufactured 1,236 Fuchs 1, mostly for the German Army. Further development of the design resulted in the Fuchs 2, first shown in 2001. Algeria is the main operator of the The enhanced Fuchs 2 vehicle today with some 1,200 in service, tailored to its needs thanks to a joint venture for a local production. These are followed by the specialized vehicles of the US Army (123 M93 Fox) and UK (11 UK MLI Fox), the Netherlands (23), Saudi Arabia (36) or Venezuela (10). The American M93 Fox (translated from “fuchs”) was recognized as an excellent specialized chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance vehicle and therefore chosen by the US Army in the 1980s from similar specs in the German Army.
The hull of the Fuchs is constructed of all-welded armoured steel. The driver sits at the front on the left, with the vehicle commander to his right. There are doors for both driver and commander. The door windows and windscreen have metal shutters that can be closed up. When closed up, the periscopes fitted in the roof of the vehicle to the front of the driver’s hatch allow visibility out of the cabin. The commander has a circular roof hatch. The troop/cargo compartment is at the rear of the vehicle and is 3.2 m long, 1.25 m high and 1.5 m wide at its widest point. On the Fuchs 2 the roof height has been raised by 145 mm for greater internal volume. Two assisted doors are fitted at the rear, although on Fuchs 2 a ramp is an option. There are three or four hatches in the roof of the troop compartment.
Normal amphibious payload for Fuchs 1 is 4000 kg, but depending on configuration and protection options, up to 5,000 kg of cargo can be carried on land. Fuchs 2 has a maximum payload of 6000 kg.Motive power for the Fuchs 1 is provided by a Mercedes-Benz Model OM 402A V8 12.8-litre water-cooled diesel engine developing 320 hp, this coupled in a powerpack set-up to a six-speed planetary gear torque converter transmission. The 1400 R20 tyres are of the run-flat type. On land maximum speed is 105 km/h and operational range is 800 km. The Fuchs was designed as an amphibious vehicle, water propulsion provided by two four-bladed propellers mounted one either side of the hull at the rear. Maximum water speed is approx. 8 km/hr. For steering, the propellers can be swivelled through 360°.
Armament varies according to mission requirements but for Fuchs 1 can consist of a 7.62 mm Rheinmetall MG3 general purpose machine gun mounted over the commander’s position. Vehicles of the Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion, Panzergrenadiers mechanized infantry, the Franco-German Brigade, the mountain infantry and the Jägers of the German Army have previously been fitted with the MILAN anti-tank guided missile, but these are no longer in service. All vehicles have six 76 mm grenade dischargers mounted to fire forwards. Vehicles deployed to Afghanistan were equipped with a GMG grenade launcher or an M2 Browning heavy machine gun instead of an MG3.