German Army Wiesel 1 AWS Fires MELLS Anti-tank Missile During Qualification Trials
German Army Wiesel 1 AWS Fires MELLS Anti-tank Missile During Qualification Trials

German Army Wiesel 1 AWS Fires MELLS Anti-tank Missile During Qualification Trials

A German Army Wiesel (Armoured Weapons Carrier, AWC) light tracked armored vehicle fires a MELLS anti-tank missile during qualification trials. The Armoured Weapons Carrier on the small tracked vehicle looks more modern than that of its predecessors. It is the Wiesel weapons carrier with the new MELLS multi-role light guided missile system – an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The MELLS is replacing the Milan anti-tank missile, and the Wiesel-mouted version will equip infantry, paratroop and mountain infantry units. This system is gradually replacing the MILAN anti-tank guided missile. The MELLS Multi-Role Light Guided Missile System is gradually becoming standard equipment in the Bundeswehr. Now, the agile Wiesel is also being equipped with it.

German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile
German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

The Wiesel 1 Armoured Weapons Carrier (AWC) is a German light air-transportable armoured fighting vehicle, more specifically a lightly armoured weapons carrier, produced by Rheinmetall. It is quite similar to historical scouting tankettes in size, form and function, and is the only true modern tankette in use in Western Europe. The Wiesel was developed for the German Army to meet a requirement for an air-transportable light armored vehicle for use by its airborne troops, as the infantry of the German Bundeswehr, especially airborne infantry, were considered unprepared to successfully fight enemy main battle tanks (MBT). The requirements were that the vehicle should fit in common NATO transport planes and could eventually be air-dropped.

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German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile
German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

The German Armed Forces eventually ordered 343 of the vehicles in 1985. The vehicle was named Wiesel (“weasel”) because of its small size and agility, which make it very difficult to detect on the battlefield. Production of the Wiesel 1 ended in 1993. Depending on the exact configuration, the Wiesel 1’s length is about 3.55 metres (11.6 ft), height 1.82 metres (6.0 ft), and width 1.82 metres (6.0 ft). At only 2.75 metric tons (3.03 short tons), it weighs less than the armored variant of the U.S. Humvee military light truck. The engine is a 64 kW (86 hp) Audi 2.1-litre diesel engine giving a top speed of 70 km/h (45 mph). The chassis is made of steel armour and can resist common 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm small arms ammunition and shell splinters.

German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile
German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

In German service, the Spike LR-2 is known as the MELLS (Mehrrollenfähiges Leichtes Lenkflugkörper-System, Multi-role Light Guided Missile System). The German Armed Forces has placed a new order for the MELLS antitank guided missile system with EuroSpike GmbH, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and its partners Diehl Defence and Rafael. Delivery begins in 2020 and continues through to 2023. The Wiesel 1 with its seven MELLS missiles will be used in future in the infantry, by the paratroopers and the mountain infantry. It is used to protect own troops and to combat tanks, armored and protected vehicles as well as to destroy high-value targets such as radar positions or bunkers. A framework agreement contains an option for the fabrication and delivery of around 100 additional weapon systems

German Army Wiesel 1 AWS Fires MELLS Anti-tank Missile During Qualification Trials
German Army Wiesel 1 AWS light tracked armored vehicle fitted with MELLS anti-tank guided missile. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

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