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The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded the Rheinmetall joint venture company Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) a contract to modernise the British FUCHS/FOX armoured reconnaissance vehicle fleet and supply an associated training simulator in a contract worth over €17.5m. Under the terms of this deal, RBSL will eliminate obsolescence and upgrade the systems in the vehicles with the latest generation of sensing capabilities. Rheinmetall Landsysteme will be drawing on comprehensive technological support from of its centre of excellence for NBC systems technology in Kassel.

As part of the programme, an international team of engineers from RBSL and service technicians from Rheinmetall Landsysteme will implement a new, comprehensive service concept. This concept comprises technical support, spare parts supply, repair measures, maintenance, training and development services. The implementation is coordinated at the RBSL plant in Telford and supported by British suppliers. The modernisation now ordered will significantly increase the technical conformity and thus the interoperability with the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) detection systems of NATO partners. The vehicles will also provide the British Army with an advanced ability to detect CBRN threats.

Long serving

The FUCHS/FOX NBC armoured reconnaissance vehicle is a highly protected 6×6 wheeled vehicle with integrated detection equipment for detecting threats from CBRN warfare agents. The Bundeswehr uses the TPz 1 A8A7 variant, which has improved protection against devices such as mines and IEDs. The reconnaissance vehicles introduced in 1988 can detect nuclear and chemical contamination, a purpose for which they are equipped with a radiation detector, a miniaturised mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph. Only samples of biological warfare agents can be taken and analysed in other facilities. The vehicles of the Bundeswehr were modernised in the mid-1990s with new radios, navigation devices and a sensor mast. The British Army received 11 examples from Bundeswehr stocks 30 years ago for CBRN reconnaissance in the Gulf conflict.

Gerhard Heiming