Hellenic Army received the first batch of Marder 1A3 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from the German government on 17 October as part of a series of agreements to transfer 40 of the IFVs to the Hellenic Army in exchange for Greece supplying 40 of its BMP-1 tracked IFVs to Ukraine. Greece was scheduled to take delivery of 10 Marders around 21 October. The statement was in response to a parliamentary question submitted on 5 October by member of parliament George Tsipras on the timeline for the exchange agreement with Germany and raising concerns that the transfer of Hellenic Army materiel to Ukraine would result in defence capability gaps.
The Marders are being delivered to Greece under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the Hellenic Ministry of National Defence and the German Federal Ministry of Defence on 16 September. Under the terms of the MOU, Germany will cover the costs of transporting the Marders to Greece and will also furnish ammunition for the vehicles’ 20 mm MK 20 Rh 202 cannons and spare parts, as well as provide training for Greek crews. A further batch of 10 vehicles was expected to arrive in Greece by the end of November. The Marders supplied to Greece will originate from Rheinmetall’s stocks of surplus vehicles.
The Marder 1A3 tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) that Hellenic Army received from Germany as part of the Ringtausch (Multilateral exchange) concept are an upgraded version of the Marder (meaning “marten” in German) family of vehicles. Armor protection upgrades, hatch rearrangement for the infantry section, suspension reinforcement, a new braking system, gearbox change, and turret reconfiguration were among the modifications made to Marders as part of the A3 upgrade program, which began in 1988. A more powerful engine for the vehicle was also planned as part of the upgrade program, but it could not be implemented due to budget cuts at the time.
The Schützenpanzer Marder 1 is a German infantry fighting vehicle designed for use with the German Panzergrenadiere units (mechanized infantry specialized). Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon, which is mounted in the small two-man turret and can fire either armour-piercing or HE rounds. Mounted coaxially to the left of the cannon is a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun. These vehicles can also be outfitted with MILAN anti-tank guided missiles as an option. The vehicle, which weighs 35 tons, can transport three crew members and six soldiers in the rear troop compartment. These IFVs can travel at 65kph and have a 500-kilometer range thanks to an MTU MB Ea-500 six-cylinder liquid-cooled diesel engine that produces 600 horsepower.