Rheinmetall and BAE Systems have today launched a new, independent UK-based joint venture for military vehicle design, manufacture and support – known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). Headquartered in Telford in the West Midlands, the joint venture will sustain around 450 jobs across the UK and is well positioned for future growth.
RBSL intends to play a major role in manufacturing the Boxer 8×8 for the British Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme and other strategic combat vehicle programmes, while also providing support to the British Army’s in-service bridging and armoured vehicle fleets.
Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: «This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles. This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future».
RBSL will draw on Rheinmetall’s broader military vehicle technologies combined with the additional capabilities and systems brought to the Joint Venture by BAE Systems’ Land UK business, such as Trojan, Terrier, Warrior, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system. RBSL will have the potential to create hundreds of additional UK jobs, both in Telford and the wider supply chain.
Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new company. He said: «RBSL is a new business drawing on the significant strengths and expertise of both BAE Systems Land UK and Rheinmetall. Our employees in Telford, Bristol, and Washington (UK) have a valuable skill set and extensive experience in combat vehicle engineering. With new orders, we shall be able to sustain these capabilities and expand over the coming years, seeking new opportunities in the UK and overseas».
The new management team that will lead RBSL into the future also includes Carrie White as Finance Director and Phil Simon as Operations Director, both of whom join from BAE Systems.
Regulatory approval for the joint venture was granted on 13 June 2019.
Rheinmetall continues to make steady headway in the world of laser weapons, having recently completed a successful serious of comprehensive trials with a weapon station. In combination with a laser, the weapon station demonstrated its speed and precision in tests conducted in December 2018. The weapon station can be armed with lasers in the 100 kW output power range.
During the tests, which were conducted in Switzerland at the company’s Ochsenboden test centre near Zürich, drones and mortar rounds were successfully engaged at operationally relevant ranges.
The laser weapon station is the latest stage and logical continuation of the process in which Rheinmetall has transformed laser weapon technology into a fully functional weapon system. It consists of four main components: the laser source, beam director with the telescope, and coarse tracker (weapon station).
The mobile weapon station performs the task of mechanically aiming the laser toward the target. Now that a weapon station specially designed to meet the requirements of a laser weapon station has been successfully realized, Rheinmetall has all of the principal assemblies for a future laser weapon system at its own disposal.
The laser weapon station was combined with a beam director – successfully employed in multiple tests – and high-performance Rheinmetall lasers. It is also designed to be combined with a soon-to-be-available 20 kW laser source, likewise made by Rheinmetall.
Equally suitable for ground, air and naval operations, the assemblies are modular and scalable in design, and can be deployed regardless of the threat situation on military platforms of all types.
Among the laser weapon station’s outstanding performance parameters are its extremely accurate mechanical aiming function, coupled with an unlimited, 360° traversing zone and an elevation range in excess of 270°. The system architecture (EN DIN 61508) is closely oriented to the Modular, Automatic and Network capable Targeting and Interception System (MANTIS) air defence system now in service with the Bundeswehr, and thus also offers interfaces for connecting it to higher-echelon air defence systems.
At the end of September, and for the first time, Rheinmetall took part in European Land Robot Trial (ELROB) with its unmanned multi-mission «Mission Master» vehicle. At Europe’s largest exhibition for military ground robotics, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master team entered the fray, taking on a number of competing teams.
Made by Rheinmetall Canada, the cargo version of this versatile vehicle turned in a particularly compelling performance in the «Mule» category.
In all, six teams took part in this competition category. Mules are essentially automated pack animals – autonomous transport vehicles capable of carrying heavy loads and equipment. They had to handle two scenarios.
The teams each had thirty minutes to cover a 1,400-meter-long route with their mule.
During the first run, Rheinmetall impressed the crowd with an impressive performance. Then, following the second, came the gratifying result; despite competing for the first time, the Rheinmetall Mission Master clearly dominated the contest, scoring 3,151 points, twice as many as the robotic vehicle that took second place (1,547 points), and way ahead of the one that came in third (167 points).
The cargo version of the Mission Master was exhibited to a large group of defence specialists for the first time at Eurosatory 2018. Rheinmetall developed this variant to reduce the combat load carried by troops in the field, contributing to faster movement and greater operational efficiency. Rheinmetall’s new robotic vehicle can operate in hazardous, difficult-to-reach terrain, in turn contributing to the survivability and protection of troops deployed in harm’s way.
Moreover, the Mission Master can be networked with advanced soldier systems such as Future Soldier – Expanded System, Gladius 2.0 or Argus. In Rheinmetall’s «System Infanterie», the Mission Master serves as a force multiplier for infantry sections or squads equipped with Rheinmetall’s Future Soldier – Expanded System technology. Fully networked with dismounted combat troops, it not only takes a weight not only off the soldiers’ shoulders, it also relieves the pressure on military leaders.
Characterized by extreme flexibility, the Rheinmetall Mission Master can be quickly configured for a multitude of different missions thanks to modular, easy-to-install build-ons. Its mission capabilities include logistics, surveillance, force protection, evacuation of wounded personnel, firefighting and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) reconnaissance. It can also serve as a radio relay station. Speed, scalable autonomy and proven mobility in all types of terrain make the Mission Master a strong and dependable comrade for small combat units.
The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence Industry and Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Defence, today confirmed that the Rafael Spike LR2 missile will be the anti-tank guided missile that will arm the Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicle.
Under project Land 400 Phase 2, Defence will acquire 211 Rheinmetall Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles which will provide vital mobility, lethality and protection for the Australian Army. The Boxer will be manufactured in Queensland, creating up to 1450 jobs across the supply chain.
The Spike was selected after an independent comparative evaluation of potential missile options for the vehicle was conducted by the Defence Science and Technology Group. The missile will offer long range, light weight, high resistance to countermeasures and higher technical maturity in the anti-tank role.
«The Spike missile is the best anti-tank guided missile for the Boxer», said Minister Payne. «It will give the Boxer the range and lethality it needs to fight and win the land battle».
Varley Rafael Australia has committed to building the Spike LR2 in Australia, employing up to 70 Australians directly with hundreds more in the supply chain.
«This commitment by Varley Rafael Australia is a great vote of confidence in Australian industry, and will bring jobs and high-tech knowledge to Australia’s defence industry», said Minister Pyne.
Coming soon after the contract signing with Rheinmetall for the acquisition of the Boxer, this is the next step in delivering Australia’s future land combat capability.
The Australian Government has announced that the next generation of Army’s combat reconnaissance vehicles will be built by Rheinmetall.
The armoured vehicles will deliver improved firepower, protection, mobility and communication systems to ensure our soldiers can fight, win and survive while operating in an ever-changing threat environment.
Army’s next generation of fighting vehicle will be more capable than any other vehicle Army has operated. These vehicles will have digital warfare and information networking capabilities that will provide operational commanders with advanced knowledge and understanding of the battlefield.
This bigger and better protected armoured fighting vehicle will provide Australian troops with increased firepower and protection on the battlefield in the decades ahead.
The Department of Defence completed a comprehensive tender process over three years, during which the vehicles were rigorously and extensively tested across Australia.
The process was designed to secure the best outcome for Defence. Rheinmetall’s Boxer was assessed as the most capable vehicle for Australia.
As part of the LAND 400 Phase 2 project Rheinmetall will deliver 211 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles with the first vehicles ready for training in 2020.
Rheinmetall’s Boxer will replace Army’s current reconnaissance vehicle, the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) that has been in service since 1996 and seen extensive operational service.
At Eurosatory 2018 Rheinmetall presents its new Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to the international public for the first time. Highly survivable, adaptable to diverse environments, extremely agile, hard hitting, and with huge payload reserves, the Lynx KF41 is a next-generation combat vehicle designed to confront the challenges of the future battlefield like no other.
Most experts agree that land forces will face unprecedented threats on the future battlefield, where emergent technologies have substantially changed the balance of power. Key technologies influencing Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) design for the future include anti-access/area denial systems that reduce the ability to gain and retain air dominance, electronic warfare systems that will deny reliable communications, enhanced artillery systems that restrict freedom of action, and advanced AFV designs that are difficult to defeat with existing systems.
In concert with the technology challenges of future combat, land forces need to be relevant across the full spectrum of conflict, including contributing to peace keeping operations, conducting counter-insurgency campaigns and engaging in general war-fighting against constantly evolving threats in diverse global environments.
It is with these challenges in mind that Rheinmetall has developed the Lynx KF41 family of vehicles and the companion Lance 2.0 turret, resulting in a revolutionary IFV with a level of adaptability, survivability and capacity not seen before in an IFV family.
Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division said, «With the Lynx KF41, the Rheinmetall team has developed a truly innovative next-generation combat vehicle. The breadth of capabilities that a Lynx IFV provides soldiers results in a veritable Swiss Army knife that has unprecedented utility across the full spectrum of conflict. Its modular, adaptable survivability systems allow the vehicle to evolve through life, the high level of mobility will provide battlefield commanders great tactical flexibility in combat, and the diverse effects that the Lance 2.0 turret can generate allow the crew to deal effectively with a wide variety of battlefield situations».
Adaptable. The Lynx KF41 is a complete family of vehicles that utilises a common drive module and a flexible mission kit arrangement to allow any base vehicle to be configured as an IFV, an armoured personnel carrier, a command vehicle, a recovery vehicle or an ambulance. Changing from one configuration to another can occur within eight hours. This system provides significant total lifecycle cost savings due to base vehicle commonality, allowing customers to adjust force structures or develop new capabilities in an affordable and timely manner.
Enhancing the vehicle’s flexibility, the sub-systems of the Lynx KF41 are highly modular and adaptable. The Lynx KF41 features a digital backbone with a generic open architecture that allows easy integration of new mission systems, while the entire survivability system is modular and upgradable to allow the vehicle to cope with the highly adaptive threats faced on the battlefield. Different survivability kits are available for peacekeeping situations, counter-insurgency operations in urban terrain, and mounted combat against a peer. No other vehicle can adapt to diverse environments across the full spectrum of operational challenges like the Lynx KF41 can.
Highly Mobile. The Lynx KF41 features the latest generation of propulsion technology with an 850 kW (1,140 hp) Liebherr engine and a proven Renk transmission. A flexible suspension system has been developed by Supashock, an Australian company, meaning the Lynx can be configured to carry various mission kits and survivability packages without compromising mobility. When configured for mounted combat operations with the Lance 2.0 turret and a survivability package suitable for peer-on-peer combat, the Lynx KF41 weighs approximately 44 tonnes/97,003 lbs. In this configuration it provides class leading mobility due the high power-to-weight ratio of 26 hp/t, while still leaving up to six tonnes of reserve payload for future growth.
Survivable. The modular survivability systems of the Lynx provide unprecedented flexibility for customers to cope with the wide variety of threats faced across the spectrum of conflict. The ballistic and mine protection packages can be easily exchanged, even in the field if needed, while the full spectrum of threats have been taken into account, including roof protection against cluster munitions. The Lynx KF41 with Lance 2.0 has been designed not only for passive and reactive systems, but also for an active protection system to defeat rocket-propelled grenades and antitank guided missiles.
Hard hitting. The Lance 2.0 turret is the next generation of the in-service Lance family and has been developed to improve its suitability for an IFV. Lance 2.0 has various enhancements that provide a troop of Lynx KF41 vehicles with a very high level of organic capability, thus allowing the troop to have a disproportionate effect on the battlefield. The Lance 2.0 features enhanced protection for critical subsystems against kinetic and fragmentation threats, improving system survivability during close combat. The next enhancement is the integration of the new Wotan 35 electrically driven cannon that fires Rheinmetall’s proven and in-service 35×228 mm ammunition family. Lastly, the Lance 2.0 has two flexible mission pods fitted to the left and right of the turret that allow installation of a variety of sub-systems to give the turret a specialist capability. Examples of customer-selectable mission pods include dual Rafael Spike LR2 ATGMs, non-line of sight strike loitering munitions, UAVs or an electronic warfare package.
The Lynx KF41 and Lance 2.0 once again show Rheinmetall’s capabilities as a world-leading company in the fields of security and mobility.
Successful air defence demands a holistic approach. This is why Rheinmetall – Europe’s foremost maker of military systems and equipment – wants to supply the German armed forces with a path-breaking solution encompassing the whole complexity of ground-based air defence. Here the Düsseldorf-based high-tech group is cooperating closely with America’s Raytheon.
Rheinmetall’s plan calls for networking all relevant sensors, effectors, platforms and C4I assets into a single, scalable, system of systems. This will create a highly effective, modularly scalable and flexible air defence system covering the Bundeswehr’s full mission spectrum.
Short- and very short-range air defence
The phasing out of the Roland and Gepard mobile air defence systems leaves the Bundeswehr with very limited capabilities in the area of short- and very-short range air defence, or SHORAD. Rheinmetall’s lightweight air defence system ensures that this capability is maintained through to 2025.
Effective SHORAD – NNbS in German military parlance – requires a total system concept, one which is capable of neutralizing incoming rockets, artillery and mortar rounds – the so-called RAM threat – as well as bringing down unmanned aerial systems, especially in the low, slow, small (LSS) subset, e.g. quadrocopter drones. Finally, the system has to be able to deal effectively with conventional aircraft flying at close range. As an experienced SHORAD supplier, Rheinmetall’s proposal calls for a mix of automatic cannon and guided missiles, and in the nearby future augmented with high-energy laser weapons.
Tactical air defence systems
Over the next few years, the Bundeswehr will be utilizing the Patriot integrated air and missile defense for defence e.g. against tactical ballistic missiles. Rheinmetall is Raytheon’s national partner for evolving Patriot in Germany.
A phased upgrade from the current Patriot Config 3+ system to next-generation (NextGen) status will meet the future requirements for a long-range ground-based air defence system.
Even in the concept phase, the systemic approach embodied by Rheinmetall SHORAD and the Patriot NextGen meets the requirements for comprehensive, adaptable, modular air defence, enabling a single-source approach covering all aspects of air and missile defence.
Patriot is in the backbone of integrated air and missile defense for six NATO nations and eight other partner countries, making it globally interoperable. A multinational solution, it significantly lowers lifecycle costs thanks to a common threat database and modernization costs shared across the 14-nation partnership.
Scalable tactical C2 design
Rheinmetall envisages a flexible, role-based command and control architecture for its ground-based air defence system. The scalable tactical operation centre concept with flexible C2 architecture enables optimized force composition in line with the given specific operational task.
«VSHORAD» army programme
Complementing the German Air Force capabilities of ground-based air defence, the German Army has articulated the demand for an organic air defence capability against microdrones, to be available for NATO-VJTF 2023. The operational demand envisages a wheelmounted air defence vehicle protecting units in the very short range from aerial threats during deployed operations. Here, Rheinmetall can offer a market-ready system. Future utilization and integration of those VJTF 2023 components into the SHORAD system is assured, thus representing sustained investment.
Rheinmetall has integrated the state-of-the-art MELLS (MEhrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörper Systems – Multi-role Light Missile System) antitank guided missile into the Marder 1A5 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Following successful conclusion of the study phase, the Bundeswehr subsequently ordered 44 MELLS retrofit kits, which were delivered in December 2017. In the meantime, a total of 35 vehicles have been equipped with the new missile system integration kit. The modernized Marder 1A5 is now able to utilize the MELLS, a German acronym standing for «multirole-capable light antitank missile system». This retrofit contributes to the combat effectiveness of the Bundeswehr’s mechanized infantry units and thus to the credibility of the Federal Republic of Germany in international security contexts.
At the end of 2016, Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (www.BAAINBw.de) awarded Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH a contract to study ways of integrating the MELLS into the Bundeswehr’s tried-and-tested IFV, which will be reaching the end of its service life in the foreseeable future. Thanks to the MELLS, the Marder IFV now has a new, highly effective antitank capability.
Under a development contract – with the help of two sample vehicles –Rheinmetall examined among other things the extent to which oscillation due to movement of the vehicle and the resulting vibration behaviour would have to be taken into account when integrating the MELLS. The results formed the basis for a modified storage concept, enabling transport of the launcher and missiles in the infantry fighting vehicle. The project was conducted during the first half of 2017. The high point came when the vibration-stressed missiles were successfully fired from the IFV.
Rheinmetall has accumulated massive expertise in all aspects of the Marder. The weapons system first rolled off the assembly lines of Rheinmetall’s forerunner in Kassel. Extremely reliable and battle-tested, the Marder is destined to remain an important workhorse of Germany’s mechanized infantry for several years to come. Rheinmetall is currently looking at ways of integrating the MELLS into the 1A3 and 1A5A1 versions of the Marder as well.
The German Bundeswehr has contracted with the Rheinmetall Group to supply expanded capabilities and additional equipment for the Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The Koblenz-based Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded the project management company an order for a comprehensive expansion package with a gross value of €260 million (€218 million without VAT). In addition to this comes optional retrofitting with further components, for which €108 million (including VAT) has been allocated. A member of the defence consortium tasked with developing and producing the Puma, Rheinmetall’s share in the current order comes to €115 million (€97 million without VAT); commissioning of Rheinmetall within the consortium will take place in the next few weeks.
These expanded capabilities will further enhance the infantry fighting vehicle’s combat performance in a number of areas as well as providing improved possibilities for training.
Specifically, the expansion package includes among other things the development of a new Turret-independent Secondary Weapon system (TSWA) for the Puma; the installation of advanced visualization and display technology; and the provision of new training resources.
The TSWA system will significantly strengthen the vehicle’s battlefield performance and especially its self-defence capabilities. Remotely controlled from the vehicle’s rear fighting compartment, it is an unmanned weapon station mounted on the rear section of the vehicle rather than on the rotatable turret. This means that threats can be addressed even at very close quarters without having to use the main armament, which is especially important in urban terrain, significantly enhancing crew protection. The TSWA fires 40-mm lethal and non-lethal (e.g. tear gas and flash-bang) ammunition with a maximum range of 400 metres/1,312 feet.
The new order includes sample integration, readying the system for full-scale production and fabrication of three TSWA prototypes. The actual serial production order, in which the entire Puma fleet will be retrofitted with the weapon system, is expected to come in 2023.
In the visualization domain, the Puma’s will be upgraded to meet current standards, with the current black and white monitor and accompanying optics being replaced by a state-of-the-art, high-performance colour displays. This will provide the vehicle commander and gunner with a high-resolution, highly detailed view of the surrounding terrain and the current tactical situation. It will also open up greater possibilities for reconnaissance and target engagement. A new infrared searchlight mounted on the rear of the vehicle will enhance the driver’s night vision capability. Just awarded, the development order includes sample integration of the visualization technology into three vehicles, with exercise of a subsequent series production option envisaged for 2020.
Another order encompasses additional training resources for the operator of the Puma turret, one of the IFV’s most technically sophisticated subsystems. Separate turret training systems, consisting of the serial turret and the upper section of the Puma’s hull, will in future enable the commander and gunner to train with no need for the actual vehicle. Maintenance personnel can practise repair and assembly procedures in a highly effective, highly realistic manner. This relieves the pressure on scarce resources as well as cutting costs, as it avoids tying up the vehicle hardware and results in less wear and tear. This way training can be conducted in a much more flexible way.
Delivery of the turret trainers is to take place during the 2019-2023 timeframe. The order includes eleven new turret trainers as well as the upgrade of an existing system, which will in future give the Bundeswehr a total of twelve systems, or two per battalion. Specifically, they will be deployed at all German mechanized infantry bases as well as at the Bundeswehr training centres in Aachen and Munster.
The Puma infantry fighting vehicle is the most advanced system of its kind worldwide. When it comes to combat effectiveness, mobility, Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) capabilities and situational awareness, it sets new standards. Along with modular, high-performance protection, the Puma possesses a unique degree of battlefield lethality and is fully capable of taking part in network-enabled operations. Roomy enough to carry nine troops, this state-of-the-art IFV can be airlifted to the area of operations in an A400M military transport plane.
The Puma is currently being introduced into the German Army. Delivery of all 350 vehicles, which began in June 2015, is scheduled for completion in 2020. The first units are now undergoing training in the use and operation of the Puma system.
Two of Europe’s most respected defence companies, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, have joined forces to manufacture and market the RS556 modular assault rifle. This German-Austrian cooperation project adds a key item to Rheinmetall’s growing array of infantry products.
The RS556 is based on the highly regarded STM556, which Steyr Mannlicher first unveiled in 2012. Outstanding modularity characterizes this easy-to-use, future-proof 5.56-mm × 45 cal. weapon.
Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher are offering the RS556 assault rifle as a jointly produced product, made in Germany, with a German valued added share of 60%. Among other things, the two partners thus have their sights set on the German market. This innovative weapon is a possible candidate for the new «System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr»: the German armed forces intend to replace their standard G36 assault rifle with a more advanced system starting in 2019.
Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher each have well over a century of experience in developing and manufacturing infantry weapons. The RS556 project underscores both companies’ commitment to supplying military and security services around the globe with reliable, future-proof, state-of-the-art systems and equipment.
Featuring an adjustable short-stroke gas piston system and rotating bolt, the gas-operated RS556 is based on the tried-and-tested Steyr Mannlicher AUG, or Universal Army Rifle, a design concept that has proven itself in decades of service on every continent.
With a 16″ barrel (406 mm) and a fully loaded, 30-round magazine, the RS556 weighs around 4.2 kilograms, just over 9 pounds. The adjustable-length light-weight stock clicks into seven different positions, meaning that operators can adjust the RS556 to match their individual equipment profile in optimum fashion.
In a matter of seconds and without tools, the hammer-forged barrel can be easily exchanged. This means that the RS556 can be readily modified for various missions.
A number of standard barrel lengths are available (14.5″, 16″, 18″ and 20″); however, customer-specific barrel and rifling lengths can be easily created.
The RS556 features several standard and optional NATO accessory rails with receiver systems designed in accordance with MIL-STD-1913, STANAG 2324 and STANAG 4694. This means that the weapon can be fitted with various optics and night observation devices or laser light modules. A 40mm grenade launcher can also be mounted on the new assault rifle. Moreover, the RS556 is compatible with Rheinmetall’s modular «Future Soldier – Expanded System» (IdZ-ES), and can also be connected to other soldier systems.
A special breech system with an emergency operation feature ensures that the weapon always functions reliably even in extreme operating conditions, e.g. in severely hot and cold environments.