At DSEI 2021 Rheinmetall and its joint venture company, Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), have unveiled a demonstrator Boxer with an 81mm mortar mission module, to showcase the expanded capability and growth potential of the Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicle family. The project has been an opportunity to demonstrate the versatility of the Boxer platform, and its ability to satisfy a range of customer requirements. The prototype mission module was developed and built in the UK, delivered by an experienced team of engineers and specialists at RBSL’s manufacturing facility in Telford, drawing on the skills and technology shared with Rheinmetall.
The mortar capability, combined with Boxer’s battle-proven design, also provides a valuable opportunity for UK exports – driving prosperity for the UK. The prototype uses an 81mm mortar weapon system (MWS81), supplied by Rheinmetall, to demonstrate an indirect fire capability for Boxer crews. The system can fire High Explosive (HE), Smoke, Illumination and other 81mm ammunition, with a fullyautomated aiming sequence. The system is also compact, providing increased storage space for ammunition in the vehicle.The MWS81 is semi-automatic, ensuring minimal mechanical movements and therefore safer performance and higher rate of fire.
The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The governments participating in the Boxer program have changed as the program has developed. The Boxer vehicle is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (armoured vehicle technology) industrial group, and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). To date, approximately 1,200 vehicles, in more than 20 different configurations, are under contract by Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK.
The British Army is already procuring over 500 Boxer vehicles under the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme awarded in 2019. The contract was awarded, via OCCAR, to Artec GmbH – a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). Much of the fleet will be manufactured by UK companies, RBSL in Telford and WFEL in Stockport, supported by a nationwide supply chain that will create and sustain c.1000 jobs. Welding on the first MIV prototype vehicles began at Rheinmetall’s plant in Kassel in June 2021, with delivery of Rheinmetall and RBSL’s portion of the vehicles due from 2023.