Krauss-Maffei Wegmann has commissioned HENSOLDT Optronics to supply 188 performance-enhanced observation and reconnaissance systems (Beobachtungs- und Aufklärungsanlage, BAA II NL) as part of the service life extension of the Dutch FENNEK for almost €75M, HENSOLDT said in a statement. The Netherlands is having its reconnaissance vehicles, which were introduced in 2006, modernised in order to extend their service life until at least 2034.
In the course of the modernisation, the number of units will be reduced from 365 to 340. The “forward observer” and “tactical air control party” versions will be dropped and “command post”, “driving training vehicle” and “mortar carrier” versions will be created.
Dutch FENNEK Variants
The number “Light Reconnaissance and Surveillance Vehicle” (LVB) and – introduced after 2017 – “Fire Support Team” (FST) versions increase by two to 185 with 138 LVB and 47 FST. These are the only two versions equipped with the BAA II NL. The elevatable observation and reconnaissance system – the central element of these versions – receives cameras with higher resolution and may be operated in extended mode. The YellowKite camera is optimised into a day vision/near infrared camera with colour vision and gets a near infrared (NIR) cut filter as well as a digital output. The entire BAA can be operated on a tripod up to 40 m away from the vehicle.
Automatic motion detection also supports the user during longer missions. The image fusion function combines the data from the thermal imaging camera and the CCD camera into a fused image. A laser rangefinder can be used to determine the distance to targets and terrain points. Laser illuminators and laser pointers are used to mark targets for engagement, such as by laser-guided missiles.
For self-defence, the 12.7 Minimi-MG, a new LAZ 400 thermal imaging camera will be installed, doubling the combat distance for precise firing. The smoke-throwing system will be mounted in a movable position and can work all around. Automatic motion detection supports the user even during longer missions. The image fusion function combines the data from the thermal imaging camera and the CCD camera into a fused image.
The two FENNEK variants with BAA II NL are the last to be converted in the programme with delivery to the troops planned for the period 2024 to 2027. After that, the refurbished FENNEKs will be available without technical and operational restrictions until the end of their service life.