Bundeswehr Keeps Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Shape

Bundeswehr Keeps Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle in Shape

The Marder infantry fighting vehicle is currently still the main weapon system of the German Army Panzergrenadier (mechanized infantry) armored infantry. To maintain its full potential until the end of its service life, the Bundeswehr (German Defence Forces) plans to invest around 27 million euros in a new thermal imaging sight. On October 7th, the budget committee of the Bundestag gave the go-ahead for this. The Bundeswehr wants to buy 244 new thermal imaging sights, accessories and spare parts for the Marder infantry fighting vehicle. For a total of around 27 million euros, the thermal imaging sights are being procured, adjusted accordingly and integrated into the vehicles.

The new device is a variant of sighting devices that are already used in the remote-controlled light weapon station 200 and in the Fennek scout cars of the the Joint Fire Support Teams of the artillery. The Panzergrenadiers have been relying on the Marder infantry fighting vehicle since 1971. But essential spare parts are no longer available for the thermal imaging target device currently in use, so it has to be replaced. It has been modernized and adapted to current requirements. With thermal imaging aiming devices, targets are well recognized in the dark and even in poor visibility. For the night combat capability of the armored personnel carrier, modern thermal imaging sights are essential.

The modernized Marder 1A5 is now able to utilize the MELLS, a German acronym standing for “multirole-capable light anti-tank missile system”.

By June 2023, all infantry fighting vehicles should have been fitted with the new thermal imaging sight. If the new Puma has not yet reached the necessary operational readiness by then, the Marder is also ready to take over the tasks of the Puma in the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force ( VJTF) 2023. Given the advanced age of the current Marder IFVs, and because the world market does not offer any vehicle comparable with the specifications to which the Puma is built, the acquisition of the new vehicles was unanimously voted for by the budget committee of the Bundestag. The German Army will use €500 million to modernize 40 Pumas by 2023 with more effective weaponry.

The Marder (German for “marten”) is a German infantry fighting vehicle operated by the German Army as the main weapon of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through to the present day. Around 2,100 were taken into service by the German Army in the early 1970s, but the vehicle in its German variant was not sold to any foreign militaries. Developed as part of the rebuilding of Germany’s armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design. Around 2,100 were taken into service by the German Army in the early 1970s.