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The BOXER vehicles of the German heavy Joint Fire Support Teams (JFSTsw) will receive Thales’ Panoramic Above Armour Gimbal (PAAG) for observation and target reconnaissance, acording to a press release from Thales. The company has been contracted by ARTEC, the prime contractor for the development of the JFSTsw, to supply four PAAGs. The systems will be manufactured by Thales UK.

The panoramic vision system has one channel each for a thermal imager and for a high-resolution daylight colour camera, enabling the identification of targets depending on their size in the range band up to four kilometres, Thales writes. The gimbal mounting of the optics on a 360-degree turntable allows the entire hemisphere around the vehicle to be covered. A laser rangefinder can be used to determine the distance to targets and terrain points up to a distance of ten kilometres. The PAAG can be raised over one metre on a mast to extend the field of view without exposing the vehicle and its crew to enemy views.

Observation Components

The crew is assisted in target acquisition by an Assisted Target Detection (ATD) system and in target tracking by an Automatic Video Tracking (AVT) system. The systems are integrated into the PAAG and interact directly with the artillery’s command and weapon engagement system.

The electronic surveillance system is operated entirely from inside the BOXER’s protected cabin. According to Thales, the JFSTs will receive a robust Detection, Recognition, Identification capability with a long range that can be used while on the move, day or night.

In December 2021, OCCAR agreed with ARTEC to develop a prototype JFSTsw on behalf of the German Armed Forces. The prototype consists of one vehicle each for ground-to-ground and air-to-ground tasks and is to be delivered in time for series procurement to be commissioned in 2023. By 2027, a further nine JFSTsw (18 vehicles) are to be available to the force.