Exclusive: Rheinmetall Secures Billion-Euro Armored Vehicle Contract

Rheinmetall, a -based company, recently bagged an order for an additional 123 Boxer armored vehicles, commanding a whopping 2.7 billion euros. Initially intended as European cooperation, the Boxer combat vehicle program took a surprising turn.

The program was supposed to involve France, , Germany, and the Netherlands, but the withdrawal of France and UK set a different course. It led to the birth of the French VBCI [Infantry Fighting Vehicle]. Eventually, ARTEC [ARmoured vehicle TEChnology] consortium took the lead on the project. The consortium brought together Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles, and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles Nederland.

Deployment of Boxer vehicles

Between 2013 and 2018, the Dutch army welcomed 200 units of the Boxer armored vehicles. In contrast, the Bundeswehr, Germany's army, boasted 405 units as of June 1, 2021, with 256 of them in the troop transport version. The Boxer vehicles also piqued the interest of several countries, including the UK, , and notably .

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Australia manifested its interest by placing an order for 211 vehicles in the reconnaissance version for its LAND 400 Phase 2 program. Winning the Australian contract required Rheinmetall to agree to a substantial industrial transfer. As a result, most of the vehicles for the Australian Army will be built in Brisbane, Queensland.

Cooperation between Australia and Germany

The German Ministry of plans to collaborate with Australia to acquire an additional 100 Boxer vehicles. These new additions will replace the Wiesel 2 tracked armored vehicles that have been in service with the Bundeswehr since the 1980s.

In light of this plan, the decision of Australia to go with South Korean Hanwha's AS-21 Redback over Rheinmetall's VCI KF-41 Lynx as a replacement for its American M113 armored vehicles does not pose a hindrance to the cooperation.

After obtaining approval from Bundestag, the Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) granted a contract to Rheinmetall for an additional 123 Boxer vehicles. Worth 2.7 billion euros, this contract is pegged on the CRV version developed specifically for Australian needs. The manufacturing of these vehicles will take place in Brisbane, as decided in July 2023.

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The Boxer CRV version

This particular version of the Boxer features a Lance 2 Block II turret. The turret is armed with a 30 x 173 mm MK30-2 gun, a 7.62 x 51 mm machine gun, and Spike anti-tank missiles. Operational readiness services are also part of the contract.

Deliveries for the new order are expected to commence in 2025, with the first 19 vehicles. The remaining 103 vehicles are set to be delivered by 2030.

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