Ground Warfare

German Armed Forces Receives First Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier from Rheinmetall

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German Armed Forces Receives First Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier from Rheinmetall

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German Armed Forces Receives First Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier from Rheinmetall
German Armed Forces Receives First Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier from Rheinmetall

The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) has taken delivery of its inaugural Boxer sWaTrgInf Heavy Weapons Carrier 8×8 vehicle from Rheinmetall Landsysteme, just a mere three weeks following the contract’s signing. This milestone heralds the initiation of an exhaustive integrated verification testing phase slated over the ensuing months, aimed at scrutinizing the vehicle’s adherence to the Bundeswehr’s Customer Product Management (CPM) standards. The testing regimen encompasses a comprehensive evaluation of the vehicle’s performance metrics, operational parameters, and functional thresholds, culminating in an operational trial. This collaborative endeavor engages the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Utilization of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), prospective troop end-users, and industry stakeholders to promptly identify and rectify any potential shortcomings. The outcomes derived from this verification phase hold pivotal significance in securing authorization for operational deployment within the ranks.

The advent of the sWaTrgInf signifies a momentous leap for Germany’s intermediate military capabilities, with this cutting-edge vehicle, equipped with a 30mm automatic cannon and MELLS anti-tank guided missile system, poised to supplant its predecessor, the aging Wiesel 1. Developed by Rheinmetall for the German Army, the Wiesel 1 has served as a stalwart in the realm of light armored warfare since its inception in the late 1980s, initially tailored for air-transportable support in airborne operations. Over the years, it underwent numerous iterations to fulfill diverse battlefield roles, including variants armed with a 20mm automatic cannon and TOW anti-tank missile system. The acquisition of these vehicles finds support in a bilateral contract inked between Germany and Australia, with the Australian Department of Defense assuming the mantle of the primary contractor, and Rheinmetall Defense Australia (RDA) stepping in as a subcontractor. Valued at €2.7 billion, this contract encompasses the procurement of 123 Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier vehicles, thus marking Australia’s largest military export to Germany to date.

Rheinmetall Landsysteme hands over first Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier to German Armed Forces
Rheinmetall Landsysteme hands over first Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier to German Armed Forces. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

Rheinmetall has emerged as a key supplier of military hardware in Australia, boasting a track record of successful deliveries to the Australian Defence Force, including the Boxer vehicles and support for the HX fleet. The incorporation of intermediate forces into the Bundeswehr’s strategic framework seeks to bridge the chasm between nimble paratrooper units and formidable armored formations, proffering a blend of swiftness and substantial firepower to swiftly counter emergent threats while upholding battlefield resilience. Hence, the sWaTrgInf heavy weapon carrier vehicle epitomizes this paradigm shift by furnishing a platform that harmonizes mobility with potent armaments. The initial tranche of 19 vehicles is slated for delivery by the denouement of 2025, with production scaling up to 25 vehicles per annum commencing in 2026 at Rheinmetall Defense Australia (RDA)’s production facilities, culminating in the handover of the final vehicle in January 2030.

The sWaTrgInf, or Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie, stands as a distinctive addition to the Bundeswehr’s Boxer vehicle family, procured independently of the European OCCAR and the Boxer joint venture ARTEC owing to its linkage with the Australian Boxer CRV program. Derived from the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), co-developed by Rheinmetall and the Australian armed forces, the sWaTrgInf heavy weapon carrier is armed with the Rheinmetall MK30-2 ABM automatic cannon, also employed by the German Puma infantry fighting vehicle. Renowned for its rapid rate of fire and advanced ammunition technology, this cannon furnishes reliability and versatility against a myriad of threats within a range of up to 3,000 meters. Augmenting the cannon and the 7.62 mm turret machine gun, the MELLS anti-tank guided missile system, supplied by Rheinmetall in collaboration with Eurospike, a consortium comprising Diehl Defence and Rafael, bolsters the sWaTrgInf’s anti-armor capabilities. The MELLS system is capable of engaging armored targets at distances of up to 4,000 meters. The Boxer’s driving module has undergone bespoke modifications to bolster its carrying capacity to 38.5 tons through reinforced axles and wheels capable of sustaining higher load capacities, while retaining the MTU 8V199 TE20 diesel engine, generating 720 hp and 2,699 Nm of torque.

The Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier will be armed with the same 30 mm cannon and Multirole-capable Light Missile System (MELLS, Spike LR)
The Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier will be armed with the same 30 mm cannon and Multirole-capable Light Missile System (MELLS or Spike LR). (Photo by Bundeswehr)

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