Rheinmetall has been contracted by the Bundeswehr to conduct drivetrain upgrades for the Marder 1A5 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to extend their service life. Valued at 110 million Euro, the program will see 71 Marders receive new power-packs increasing from 600 to 750 horsepower (compared to the 1088 horsepower of its replacement, the Puma).
The Marder life extension program is seen as supplementary to the delivery and adoption of the Puma, Rheinmetall’s next generation IFV. Rheinmetall noted; “The Marder is set to serve as an important asset of Germany’s mechanized infantry units for several more years, even though the Bundeswehr is currently taking delivery of the last of 350 Puma IFVs intended to replace it.”
The Marder 1 series was originally to be replaced by a proposed Marder 2 platform but the so-called ‘peace dividend’ following the collapse of the Berlin Wall saw the program cancelled and the Marder 1 go through a series of incremental upgrades to maintain capability. The Marder 1A5 is equipped with significantly enhanced armour to counter mine/improvised explosive device (IED) strikes along with a redesigned interior to reduce blast injuries from mines and IEDs. These upgrades have increased the platform’s weight and directly affected drivetrain performance, necessitating the new power-pack.
As we have previously reported, the Marder fleet is receiving the MELLS (Mehrrollenfähiges Leichtes Lenkflugkörper-System) or Spike LR, replacing the legacy Milan along with Rheinmetall delivered upgrades such as a new driver vision system, a thermal imaging aiming device and a new fire detection and extinguisher system.
Rheinmetall commented; “First and foremost, these service life extension measures are designed to eliminate known obsolescent elements in the Marder. Here, individual measures can be supplied as modular conversion kits and – as part of planned maintenance operations, for example- integrated in order to assure ready availability of the vehicles.” The upgraded Marders are expected to form part of Germany’s commitment to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force