German defense contractor Rheinmetall has been contracted to modernize a further 21 Bergepanzer 3 armored recovery vehicles for the Dutch Army, bringing them up to the latest standard.
This is the second phase of the Dutch Bergepanzer modernization and follows the first one, for which an order was awarded in April 2019. The initial contract was for the modernization of four Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo ARVs.
Starting immediately, Rheinmetall will completely overhaul another 21 Bergepanzer 3, extending the service life of the combat support vehicles that were developed on the basis of the Leopard 2 chassis – through to the year 2040. The Dutch armed forces will take delivery of the first vehicles at the beginning of 2021.
Modernization work will take place at Rheinmetall locations in Kassel, Germany as well as in Ede in the Netherlands. It will include a complete overhaul of the individual armoured recovery vehicles and a new digital operating concept; the installation of advanced visualization technology; mission packages featuring ballistic and mine protection; and new battlefield recovery equipment together as well as a universal transport platform. Also included in the contract are technical documentation, training and other services.
New force protection features both on and in the vehicle will keep the crew extremely safe from modern battlefield threats. Visualization systems, digital operating elements and command systems will support the crew while carrying out their tasks.
Furthermore, new battlefield recovery equipment will boost the vehicle’s tactical effectiveness. It will be transferred to the rear section of the vehicle. This will let the crew hook up to a damaged Royal Dutch Army vehicle such as the Bushmaster, Boxer, CV 90 infantry fighting vehicle, PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer, Leguan bridge-laying tank, Kodiak combat engineering vehicle or the Leopard 2 main battle tank without having to leave the safety of the fighting compartment, before towing it from the battlefield at high speed in forward gear.
In addition, the modified version of the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel ARV will feature a flexible-use universal transport platform mounted on the rear section of the vehicle.
As recently as December 2018, the Bundeswehr contracted with Rheinmetall to modernize its fleet of Bergepanzer 3 vehicles, ensuring they remain a match for current and future operational scenarios. Similar mission configurations are in service with the armed forces of NATO member Canada as well as Sweden.