The Liebherr G-BKF is a high mobility, protected recovery crane developed by Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH for the Bundeswehr. The G-BKF is integrated onto a 8×8 MAN truck system supplied by Rheinmetall. Both armored/protected compartments for the driver and cab operator were supplied by Rheinmetall as well. The G-BKF can rescue and tow the new generation of armoured control and command vehicles, armoured transport vehicles, MULTI FSA (swap body vehicles) and wheeled vehicles. It is also capable of providing tactical infantry cover over long distances, providing repair and handling support as well as deployment for rescue, recovery and emergency aid tasks.
A key focus of the crane is to protect its occupants. Liebherr worked with leading European military technology company Rheinmetall Defence to produce the armoured driver’s and crane cabs. The special driver’s cab was extended by 250mm to provide storage space for the extensive personal protective equipment for the crew and integrate the military communication equipment. The cab features a double-thickness steel bulkhead and special glass offering ballistic protection yet meets all road traffic requirements. The protection has been verified to STANAG 4569/ AEP 55. The crane cab is also armoured with composite panels bolted to a steel bearing structure to reduce weight. The four axle carrier is based on a standard All Terrain crane chassis, with all wheel steer and drive . Despite its weight and size it is said to have excellent off-road properties and manoeuvrability.
In towing mode, vehicles weighing up to 16 tonnes can be mounted on the lift cradle at the rear. An extensive range of accessories allows it to tow almost all German Army wheeled vehicles. Two Rotzler Treibmatik winches are mounted on the rear of the vehicle, and the smaller winch can be moved to the front for self-rescue purposes. The chassis is also equipped with rescue jacks for recovering a damaged vehicle from difficult terrain. Synchronised winching allows a damaged vehicle to be raised slightly whilst being pulled by the other. The G-BKF is fitted with a 20.9 metre main boom which can handle loads of up to 20 tonnes. All the crane’s control functions, the towing device, the two rescue winches and the jacks can be operated either from a protected position in the crane’s cab using the standard controls or from the ground using a standard Liebherr remote controller.
Liebherr uses all its vast experience for designing special cranes for military purposes. Liebherr military cranes are in demand with the army, air force and navy; they have proven themselves all over the world with repair, resupply and engineering units. Liebherr has manufactured more then 800 military cranes with lifting capacities from 10 to 500 tonnes since 1977. The product range extends from standard cranes with additional options to specially developed vehicles for military purposes. Mobile cranes from Liebherr are suitable for both on-road and off-road use. They feature great economy and are very flexible in use. To satisfy special technical requirements and special solutions, Liebherr uses time-tested components which have been used many times on standard cranes.