After some twenty years in service with the Dutch Koninklijke Landmacht, the service life of the Dutch FENNEK reconnaissance vehicles is being extended with a Mid Life Update (MLU) The Dutch procurement agency the Defensie Materieel Organisatie (DMO) has signed a contract with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the upgrade of 322 FENNEK vehicles. A total of €447M has been budgeted for the thorough overhaul, the integration of the new observation and reconnaissance systems (BAA II NL) and that of the Command, Control, Communications, Computers & Intelligence (C4I) system. Furthermore, functionalities in the areas of protection, firepower, mobility, training and maintenance will be improved. The revised vehicles are scheduled to rejoin the force between 2022 and 2027.
The work is being carried out in Germany by KMW and in the Netherlands by the partner companies Van Halteren Defence and Nedinsco in cooperation with the Materieellogistiek Commando Land (MatlogCo) of the Army. The FENNEK reconnaissance vehicle is a binational German-Dutch development, of which 222 vehicles in three versions have been delivered to Germany and 410 vehicles in five versions to the Netherlands since 1997.
Thanks to its low silhouette and good signature management, the light reconnaissance and surveillance vehicle can carry out reconnaissance missions while remaining largely elusive to enemy reconnaissance. High mobility and good protection contribute to the crew’s efficiency and endurance.
A characteristic equipment feature is the observation and reconnaissance equipment BAA, which can be raised on a mast up to 1.5 m above the vehicle roof. If required, the BAA can also be deployed up to 40 m away from the vehicle. The equipment supplied by Hensoldt has a daylight camera, a thermal imaging camera, a laser rangefinder and a laser target illuminator. The observation head weighs about 29 kg and can be rotated indefinitely as well as tilted in the range -30 degrees to 70 degrees.
For the use of new reconnaissance and communication elements, the FENNEK will get an electric architecture and receive adjustable racks to supply and accommodate actual and future C4I. Three alternators supply the required electrical power to a 230-volt network, among other things. The elevatable observation and reconnaissance equipment – the central element of the reconnaissance vehicle – receives cameras with a higher resolution and may be operated in the extended state. The new designation is BAA II NL. A new LAZ 400 thermal imaging camera will be installed for self-defence with the 12.7 mm Minimi MG, doubling the combat range for accurate firing. The smoke-throwing system will be mounted in a mobile way and can work all around.
With the MLU, the number of FENNEKs in use will be reduced to 340 with 322 to be subjected to the MLU. The 18 examples equipped with the STINGER anti-aircraft missile (SWP) will be left out and the previous seven variants will become nine as the Forward Artillery Observer (VWWRN) and Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) models disappear. New variants are created for Command and Control (C2), as well as the Mortar Variant (MR) and driver training. The FENNEKs equipped with with the SPIKE MR anti-tank missile will receive a missile system with increased range (see variants table below).
KMW is the prime contractor for the MLU. By combining several work packages, the vehicles only have to be pulled out of the troop once. According to the work plan, the mortar variant (MR) will be the first to be delivered from Q1 2022. The FENNEK for general services (AD) and for driver training will follow a year later. In Q2 2023, delivery of the anti-tank vehicles (LRAT) and C2 vehicles (VCP and CO) is scheduled to begin. From mid-2024, the numerically strongest basic variant (LVB) and from the beginning of 2025 the vehicles for the Fire Support Teams (FST) are to be delivered. The MLU is to be completed by 2027. The use of the revised FENNEKs without technical and operational restrictions is planned until at least 2034.
|Combat weight||10.4 to|
|Crew||Three (commander, driver, gunner)|
|Armament||Grenade machine gun 40mm|
|or Machine Gun 12,7 mm resp. 7,62 mm|
|Length / width / height||5.58 m / 2.55 m / 2.29 m|
|Propulsion||Deutz 6-cylinder Diesel, 177 kW|
|Top speed||120 km/h|
|Protection||Composite armour, Level 3 (STANAG 4569)|
Variants and quantities of FENNEK used by the Dutch Army
|Variant||Quantity before MLU||Quantity after MLU|
|LVB (Light Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle)||144||138|
|VWWRN (forward artillery observer)||45||0|
|TACP (Tactical Air Control Party)||8||0|
|AD (General Services)||63||33|
|FST (Fire Support Team)||39||47|
|MRAT/LRAT (Medium/Long Range Anti-Tank) *)||48||46|
|SWP (Stinger Weapon Platform)||18||18|
|VCP (Forward Command Post)||–||4|
|CO (Command Post)||–||8|
|DTV (Driving Training Vehicle)||–||10|