The Combat Directorate (K) with its three project divisions and their branches comprises the BAAINBw expertise for land-based air defence, guided missiles for ships and aircraft, dropped ordnance, antitank defence (K4), armoured combat and transport systems, bridges and crossing equipment (K5) as well as artillery, infantry and engineer systems (K6).
The general task divisions Economic and Technical Affairs (K1) and Economic and Legal Affairs (K2), which are each also subdivided into five branches, support the three project divisions in performing tasks in the field of project and in-service support management and research and technology.
The K Directorate is supported by the Directorate Staff (KAS) and the Directorate Controlling (KAC) elements.
The Economic and Technical Affairs Division (K1) supports the Directorate in all in-service support-relevant, logistic, technical and defence technological matters that affect more than one project. In addition, it is responsible for planning and realising all research and technology activities in the field of land-based weapon systems. Branch K1.1 is the central armament, in-service use and logistics element for the Combat Directorate. This comprises all cross-sectional tasks in the fields of armaments management, in-service use and logistics of Directorate-specific defence materiel. In addition, the task spectrum of K 1.1 also includes ensuring the operational and functional safety of defence materiel, in particular ammunition safety and central tasks as regards the use of ammunition. Another important task is the functional supervision of the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Protective and Special Technologies (WTD 52) in Oberjettenberg (Bavaria) and the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91) in Meppen.
Branch K1.2 deals with innovative system technology-related investigations on land-based platforms. One of its main tasks is the modelling and assessment of ammunition effects against ground, air and ship targets as well as the assessment of risks for civilians as well as own and friendly forces.
The increasing need for protecting vehicles and their crews against current threats is met by extensive technological studies, in particular with regard to active protection systems.
The optimisation of existing mobile platforms and the design of future ones is enhanced by concepts of future-oriented IT system architectures, including network centric operations (“systronics”).
Branch K1.3 is responsible for fuse technology projects and for the documentation of Directorate-specific projects. The latter are supported by materiel documentation. State-of-the-art technology is used in the preparation of Interactive Electronic Technical Documentation to support the users. In addition, K1.3 initiates and conducts R&T studies on fuse technology.
Joint Fire Support (JFS) is defined as the joint ability to provide mutual fire support to the tactical level of Army, Air Force and Navy assets as well as to Special Forces across all dimensions of the area of operations. Branch K1.4 implements JFS coordination elements like the Tactical Data Link Interface Team Module and the Joint Fire Support Coordination Group (JFSCG) and is responsible for the overall coordination of all JFS elements.
Research and technology (R&T), system technology activities as well as international cooperation tasks are pooled in Branch K1.5, which takes charge of these matters for the entire Combat Directorate. Among others, K1.5 handles and coordinates all fields of technology within its responsibility. The main focus is on protection, ground vehicles, autonomy, weapons, ammunition, missiles and rockets, extended air defence and the soldier as a system.
Findings from studies are fed back directly both into the project work during the realisation phase and into the work performed during the analysis phase. In addition, K1.5 represents BAAINBw in international R&T bodies.
The five branches within the K2 Division for Economic and Legal Affairs are in charge of public procurement, contract management and contract award for the Combat Directorate. These branches prepare, conclude and manage contracts for the individual projects as well as contracts that affect more than one project within the Directorate’s area of responsibility. This includes contracts on the in-service phase of defence materiel.
Furthermore, the contract branches support the projects by concluding national and international agreements. Moreover, by way of administrative assistance for foreign nations which have acquired Bundeswehr materiel from the Federal Republic of Germany, contracts with German industry are concluded and managed. Branch K2.1 is mainly responsible for spare parts supply and repairs as well as R&T and supports the Bundeswehr Technical Centers WTD 52 and WTD 91 in contractual matters. Branch K 2.2 predominantly supports the projects of Division K5; Branch K 2.3 supports those of Division K4 and Branch K 2.4 those of Division K6. Branch K 2.5 is specialised in matters of pricing regulations for public contracts and in charge of negotiating prices with contractors.
Division K4 Land-based Air Defence, Guided Missiles for Ships and Aircraft, Airdropped Ammunition, Antitank Warfare is the Directorate’s centre of competence for guided missiles.
Branch K4.1 deals with antitank systems, aircraft-based guided missiles engaging targets on the ground and airdropped ammunition (guided and unguided bombs). In the field of antitank defence, the projects PARS 3 LR, MELLS, the weapon system WIRKMITTEL 90mm as well as the light weapon system WIRKMITTEL 1800+ constitute essential activities. At present, the MELLS project focuses on follow-on procurement and the introduction of a new weapon system. MELLS will replace the MILAN and TOW systems by 2021. The weapon system WIRKMITTEL 90mm will combine some capabilities of shoulder-fired antitank missiles as well as of bunker busting weapons and short-range antitank guided missiles. The light weapon system WIRKMITTEL 1800+ will enable operational forces to employ a precise, long-range weapon also in mobile operations and in dismounted combat while avoiding duel situations.
The essential tasks in the field of aircraft-based guided missiles are the product improvement of the HARM system, the routine basic repair of the TAURUS system and the management of the Laser Guided SIDEWINDER and the Dual-Mode BRIMSTONE projects, thus fulfilling the requirement of short-range powered effectors for the TORNADO and the EUROFIGHTER.
Current projects in the field of dropped ordnance are the Guided Bomb Units (GBU) -54 and GBU-48. The air-to-surface role of the EUROFIGHTER weapon system has been successfully realised by the GBU-48. This capability is supplemented by the Mk-83 TIP bomb body, a system used to counter hardened targets with reduced collateral damage potential. Fielding is scheduled to start in 2020. In order to significantly increase sustainability, a supplementary procurement of precision bombs for the EUROFIGHTER is currently being prepared.
The main focus of the tasks of K4.2 is currently on the ship-based missile systems RAM, ESSM, HARPOON and RBS 15 and the future-oriented activities for a new generation of long-range guided sea/land target missiles and an active self-defence system of submarines with missiles that can be fired from the submarine. Within the scope of the RAM project, the RAM Block 2B version is currently being developed. This successful bilateral cooperation with the US dates back to 1976. The development of the ESSM Block 2 missile is currently part of a multinational cooperation with eleven partner nations. Following the decision to build another five K130 corvettes, the number of RBS15 Mk3 is to be increased by a supplementary procurement in accordance with the demand. Within the scope of a bilateral cooperation project with Norway, the German Navy’s future long-range guided sea/land target missile is to be realised on the basis of the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which is in use in the Norwegian Navy, as an armament system for the MKS 180 and for the NOR and DEU frigates. In preparation of the mutual further development of the NSM in accordance with harmonised requirements of both navies, activities within the scope of a risk assessment phase are currently being performed. Realisation and in-service use activities (materiel maintenance) are required in almost every project.
Branch K4.3 deals with aircraft-based missiles for the engagement of air targets. Currently, this concerns the projects METEOR, IRIS-T, AMRAAM and SIDEWINDER. METEOR is implemented within the context of a European cooperation led by Britain. In 2016, the first METEOR missile arrived in a depot in Germany. Also in 2016, an implementation arrangement was concluded in which six nations participate and which regulates the joint use of the missile. The procurement will continue until 2019; in view of the small numbers procured so far a supplementary procurement will be prepared from 2019 onwards. According to current plans, the integration of the Meteor missile into the EUROFIGHTER weapon system is to be completed in 2019. The IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile is currently in use. The project was implemented as a German-led cooperation programme in which six nations participate. Considerations for a further development that is based on threat development have already begun.
Branch K4.4 deals with the PATRIOT projects and products, the Surface-to-Air Missile Operations Center SAMOC as well as the mobile threat simulators POLYGONE. The focal point of the PATRIOT project is the in-service support for a system that has been fielded in the Bundeswehr a long time ago and to handle the associated challenges concerning the elimination of obsolescence effects as well as necessary adjustments to new operational scenarios. The planned changes to the US core system will provide the German PATRIOT weapon system with the capabilities to counter present and future threats until it is being replaced by the future TLVS air defence system. Moreover, the modifications to the communication system will ensure interoperability with partner nations during exercises and on deployments. The Surface-to-Air Missile Operations Center (SAMOC) project presents similar challenges. The particular feature of SAMOC is the capability to connect individual systems and higher combat operations centres and to establish a common operational picture. POLYGONE is used to manage different Russian air defence systems; some of them have been adopted from the East German Army. These systems are used to train German and allied aircrews in electronic warfare.
Branch K4.5 deals with short-range surface-to-air weapon systems. These include the Mantis NBS C-RAM system and the light air defence system (with the STINGER missile), which are both in use. In addition, the Branch manages the new armaments projects Air Defence System for Protection in the Short Range and Very Short Range and Weapon Laser for Naval Platforms.
Division K5 Armoured Combat and Transport Systems is divided into the following branches:
The main responsibilities of Branch K5.1 are the upgrade of altogether 104 LEOPARD 2 main battle tanks (MBT) to the latest LEOPARD 2 A7 variant as well as the implementation of a product modification in order to maintain the operational readiness of another 101 LEOPARD 2 MBTs. This measure includes the preparation of a uniform operating concept as well as the elimination of obsolescence effects. Additionally, the Dutch-German command and control capability will be established for all MBTs of 414 Tank Battalion while an active protection system will be implemented for a part of the fleet.
Branch K5.2 deals with the PUMA Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) taking into account the special requirements for availability in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2023 as well as the service life extension for the MARDER AIFV.
K5.3 Heavy Weapon Carriers/Armoured Transport Vehicles is responsible for the BOXER multi-role armoured vehicle and the FUCHS armoured transport vehicle. Current tasks include the delivery of the second lot of 131 BOXER armoured personnel carriers, the preparation of new variants as well as the second lot for the product enhancement of the FUCHS armoured transport vehicle. With this second lot, another 96 vehicles will be upgraded, in particular with regard to their level of protection.
The main focus of work of Branch K5.4 has been on dealing with the extensive in-service support tasks of the FENNEK weapon system. An essential element is the realisation of further 30 FENNEK Joint Fire Support Team (JFST) vehicles. Furthermore, the Branch develops measures to extend the service life of the WIESEL 1 fleet and works on an Airmobile Weapon Carrier system and function demonstrator as a replacement for the WIESEL 1 from 2025 on. Similar measures are conducted in the field of Bundeswehr Hägglunds oversnow vehicles. The regeneration of the Hägglunds Bv206D has been initiated and a concept for extending the service life of the Hägglunds Bv206S until 2035 is being prepared.
The task spectrum of Branch K5.5 comprises bridges, ferries, footbridges and boats and also the systems which are closely linked to them in terms of functional dependencies, namely systems designed to improve the trafficability of soils like the folding trackway. One particular feature of this Branch is that it also calculates and determines the Military Load Classes (MLC) of Bundeswehr vehicles. The Assault Bridge – Armoured Bridging System, which is to replace the BIBER armoured vehicle-launched bridge that has been in use for more than 40 years, has already been presented. Apart from quickly being used in service in the context of VJTF 2019, another focus in the realisation of the project is on close cooperation, especially with our European partners. As part of the reversal in material trends, a supplementary procurement is currently planned until the equipment level in the Army is complete and geared towards its tasks.
Branch K5.6 focuses on establishing the organisational and technical prerequisites for bilateral cooperative measures with France with regard to the future Main Ground Combat System (MGCS), which is to replace the main battle tanks LEOPARD 2 and LECLERC from 2035 on. Upon signature of the pertinent intergovernmental agreements, the joint Franco-German project team is scheduled to be established in Branch K5.6 in the second half of 2019.
Division K6 deals with small and large calibre guns of the Bundeswehr, including their corresponding ammunition.
Branch K6.1 is tasked with the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, the 105mm saluting gun, the MARS rocket launcher and the mortars as weapon systems for indirect fire support.
The large number of individual measures for maintaining and expanding the capabilities of the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer will ensure the in-service use of the system until 2040 and beyond.
For the MARS II weapon system, which will remain in service until 2035, obsolescence management and the development of new fire control software constitute the emphasis of work conducted by this Branch.
The 120mm mortar system installed in the WOLF and M113 carrier vehicles will remain in service until 2030. At present, the fire control computer is replaced and the last partial series is converted to support the firing of the new generation mortar ammunition.
For the introduction of a 60mm mortar system, a comparison test of COTS products will start in 2019.
Concurrently with tasks related to the in-service phase, plans for successor and supplemental systems are being prepared in close cooperation with the Bundeswehr Office for Defence Planning.
Branch K6.2 is responsible for personal and small-arms weapons, their ammunition and sights, pyrotechnics and smoke agents, hand grenades and the ammunition elements of nonlethal weapons.
The current focus of this Branch is the regeneration of the Bundeswehr’s range of small arms. This includes the Bundeswehr assault rifle project as a successor for the G36 rifle and the general pistol project as a successor for the P8 pistol.
The new MG5 machine gun, the G95K assault rifle and the G29 sniper rifle for Special Forces as well as the upgrade for the G22 sniper rifle are already being delivered.
Branch K6.3 is divided into the four subaras Medium-Calibre Weapons, Base Mounts, Medium-Calibre Ammunition and Naval Ordnance. Focal points of the medium-calibre weapons subarea are the preparation and implementation of upcoming supplementary procurement projects for the heavy machine gun and the automatic grenade launcher.
The service life extension of the MARDER AIFV requires that the Mk20 machine cannon is manufactured again.
As far as gun mounts are concerned, the integration of the MG 5 into various gun mounts, the supplementary procurement of the remote-controlled light weapon station and various project-related product modifications and supplements (e.g. for training purposes) need to be managed.
The Branch realises and manages medium-calibre ammunitions with 12.7mm, 20mm, 27mm, 30mm and 40mm cartridges and various lethal mechanisms.
In 2017, all naval weapons with a calibre between 27mm and 127mm were consolidated in Branch K6.3 in a naval gun systems cell. This cell focuses on the product improvement of the naval recoilless gun (MLG 27) and it further supports the MKS180, F125 and K130 (2nd lot) projects, which are to be equipped with calibre 12.7mm, 27mm, 76mm and 127mm ammunition.
A main focus of Branch K6.4 is the protection of Bundeswehr soldiers in theatre against improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
The FUCHS KAI ATV project improves the capability of mechanised explosive ordnance and IED disposal from a protected position, in particular in the vicinity of roads and infrastructure (buildings, bridges). At present, the first systems are at the Bundeswehr Technical Centers for compliance demonstration. After successful completion the delivery of the series systems is scheduled to begin.
Branch K6.5 deals with large-calibre ammunition for the Army and the Navy. In addition to conventional unguided ammunition, the introduction of guided gun ammunition is to achieve the capability of a precise engagement of medium-range targets.
In addition to standard ammunition, the small-calibre INS/GPS-guided VULCANO ammunition for the 127mm weapon system is to be procured for the tactical fire support of Frigate 125 from sea to land. The connection of Frigate 125 to the ADLER Command, Control, Information and Weapons Control System will then also enable joint fire support.
As far as the Army’s capability of point target engagement is concerned, the VULCANO 155mm GPS/SAL (Semi Active Laser) is intended for use with the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer.
At present, both ammunition types are undergoing a qualification process.
Team of authors BAAINBw.