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The Royal Netherlands Army will modernize their armored recovery vehicles (ARVs). Starting immediately, Rheinmetall will completely overhaul another 21 Bergepanzer 3 Büffel ARVs of the Royal Netherlands Army, bringing them up to the latest technological and tactical standard. This will extend the service life of these tried-and-tested combat support vehicles – developed by Rheinmetall on the basis of the Leopard 2 chassis – through to the year 2040. The Dutch armed forces will take delivery of the first vehicles at the beginning of 2021. This Phase 2 follows a first order awarded in April 2019, when the Royal Netherlands Army contracted with Rheinmetall for the modernization of four Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo ARVs.

Photo: Rheinmetall

“This service life extension will give the Dutch armed forces a reconfigured state-of-the-art ARV with significant growth potential,” Rheinmetall stated. “New force protection features both on and in the vehicle will keep the crew extremely safe from modern battlefield threats. Cutting-edge visualization systems, digital operating elements and command systems will support the crew while carrying out their tasks. Furthermore, new battlefield recovery equipment will boost the vehicle’s tactical effectiveness. It will be transferred to the rear section of the vehicle. This will let the crew hook up to a damaged Royal Dutch Army vehicle such as the Bushmaster, Boxer, CV 90 infantry fighting vehicle, PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, Leguan bridge-laying tank, Kodiak combat engineering vehicle or the Leopard 2 main battle tank without having to leave the safety of the fighting compartment, before towing it from the battlefield at high speed in forward gear. In addition, the modified version of the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel ARV will feature a flexible-use universal transport platform mounted on the rear section of the vehicle. To cite just one example, this can be used for carrying equipment for recovering other vehicles. The new equipment has already demonstrated its effectiveness during deployed operations.”

Dorothee Frank