As part of another backfill activity commissioned by the German government, Rheinmetall is supplying Marder 1A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles to Greece. The first units of these Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles were presented as part of the parade of the Hellenic Armed Forces on the occasion of the national holiday on October 28th in Thessaloniki. The vehicles provided are overhauled Marder 1A3 from former Bundeswehr stocks. These Marder 1A3s have been repaired at Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH at their own expense since spring 2022 at the Unterlüß site so that they are ready for immediate use.
The first vehicles were loaded on October 11 at the Rheinmetall site in Unterlüß and transported to Greece. The Hellenic Armed Forces, for their part, are giving Infantry Fighting Vehicles of Soviet design and other military equipment for support to Ukraine and are receiving Marder 1A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles in exchange. In addition to the delivery of the Infantry Fighting Vehicles, an ammunition package, an integrated service package including training services and a spare parts package will also be provided by the Bundeswehr and Rheinmetall. Deliveries should be completed by the end of 2023.
The Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which was developed for the German Armed Forces and is still in use, is one of the most proven weapon systems of its kind in the world. The backfill activity is a procedure developed by the German government to support Ukraine in its efforts against the Russian invasion in cooperation with its European neighbours and NATO partners. NATO partners hand over equipment from former Soviet production to the Ukraine and receive available systems from Western production in return. Rheinmetall is already involved in ring exchanges with the Czech Armed Forces as well as with the Slovak Armed Forces, here with Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks.
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.