The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) have awarded Rheinmetall a contract worth around €110 million (approx. $121.9M) for work on extending the service life of the Marder infantry fighting vehicle.
In order to maintain the operational readiness of this tracked vehicle, the drivetrain of 71 Marder 1A5 vehicles will be replaced.
During the 2020-2023 timeframe, Rheinmetall will be supplying the German military with a total of 78 conversion kits as well as vehicle tool kits and special tools, logistical support, an initial store of spare parts, and training and instruction.
The service life extension will maintain and expand the capabilities of the Marder, which the Bundeswehr first fielded in 1971.
As a first step in replacing the drivetrain, a new powerpack will be installed in all of the vehicles, which will boost the Marder’s engine output from 600 to over 750 HP. The new powerpack will significantly enhance the vehicle’s responsiveness, according to the company.
The Marder fleet has already undergone significant modernization, after the MELLS multirole lightweight antitank guided missile system was recently integrated into various versions of the IFV. Additionally, a new driver vision system, a thermal imaging aiming device and a fire detection and extinguisher system have also been ordered. Series contracts have already been awarded for parts of this service life extension, with performance upgrades now reaching the troops.
The upgrades will allow the Marder to serve for several more years, even though the Bundeswehr is currently taking delivery of the last of 350 Puma infantry fighting vehicles intended to replace it.