Rheinmetall will be equipping the Dutch military’s Fennek wheeled armoured reconnaissance vehicle with a new gun carriage-adaptable aiming device. The new device, the Lafettenadaptierbares Zielgerät 400, or LaZ400 for short, will replace the vehicle’s existing thermal imaging system, significantly enhancing the Fennek’s reconnaissance and target engagement capabilities. An order to this effect for 246 devices has been awarded to Rheinmetall Electronics through Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the Fennek general contractor. The order is worth around €36 million, including value added tax. Due to be delivered through to 2027, the devices will be fabricated at the Rheinmetall Electronics plant in Ismaning in Bavaria.
The Lafetten¬adaptierbares Zielgerät 400 retrofit forms part of the Dutch military’s Fennek midlife upgrade programme. The Dutch armed forces will mount the LaZ400 on the vehicle’s 1530-type gun carriage. The new sensor system will supersede the thermal imaging device currently in use. Already used in the Bundeswehr’s FLW200 remotely controlled weapon station, the LaZ400 is a tried and tested system. Its colour daylight sensor, thermal imaging sensor and laser rangefinder enable outstanding reconnaissance performance around the clock as well as precise engagement of targets. Now official, the current order will bring the number of LaZ family devices now in use to over 2,700. The order underscores once again Rheinmetall’s exceptional expertise in the world of advanced electro-optical sensor technology.
The Fennek, named after the fennec (a species of small desert fox), or LGS Fennek, with LGS being short for Leichter Gepanzerter Spahwagen 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.It was developed for both the German Army and Royal Netherlands Army to replace their current vehicles.The Royal Netherlands Army ordered 410 (202 reconnaissance, 130 MRAT medium range antitank and 78 general purpose versions) and the German Bundeswehr ordered 222.
The Fennek has four wheels with selectable two or four wheel drive. It 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.