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The Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) has awarded Rheinmetall Defence, as prime contractor, a contract to manufacture and supply thermal imaging equipment for the MARDER IFV. The SAPHIR 2.6 MK thermal imaging aiming device (MARDER configuration) has been developed by Rheinmetall Electronics and is specially designed for the MARDER IFV. It is manufactured entirely in Germany in cooperation with numerous suppliers to ensure long-term expertise for German security interests. The core technology is already used in large numbers by both the German Federal Armed Forces and other international customers. This results in synergies in the procurement and operation of the equipment.


The modern SAPHIR 2.6 MK generation of equipment makes it possible to considerably improve the observation range and reconnaissance quality by day and night, due to the higher resolution of the detector and a modern display technology. Modern image processing software from the SAPHIR family ensures the full performance of the components under all conditions. Together with the integration of the multi-role capable Light Missile System MELLS and new MARDER night vision systems, there will be considerable tactical advantages for the soldiers in their dangerous missions by day and night in the future.

MARDER vehicles have been transferred from the surplus of the German Armed Forces to Chile, Indonesia and Jordan, for whom the SAPHIR 2.6 MK thermal imaging target could also be an important element in maintaining operational readiness.

Learn more about vehicle optics and vehicular situational awareness in ESD 1/2020 – the International Armoured Vehicle (IAV) focus issue.

Gerhard Heiming