Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has signed a framework contract with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV) for the delivery of up to 4,000 swap body systems (Wechselladersystem).
Running from 2021 to 2027, the framework contract represents around €2 billion (approx. US$2.4 billion) in total sales volume.
Rheinmetall will initially supply the Bundeswehr with 540 vehicles, under a contract worth around €348 million including VAT.
Of these 540 vehicles, 230 will be protected. Delivery will start early next year, making sure that the Bundeswehr has an adequate number of vehicles in 2023 when Germany takes over leadership of NATO’s spearhead: the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, or VJTF.
The contract announcement came a day after the German federal parliament approved around €13 billion worth of investments into the fleet of MKS 180 ships, radar upgrades for the German Air Force’s Eurofighter aircraft and IT systems.
The protected swap body systems enhance the survivability and sustainment capability of the Logistics Corps, as well as strengthening its tactical flexibility. Unlike the Unprotected Transport Vehicle (UTF), which is also supplied by RMMV, these systems will be predominately deployed in forward operating areas, where, for instance, they will be used for supplying ammunition to frontline combat units, e.g. artillery batteries.
The all-terrain-capable HX 8×8 vehicles can be optionally fitted with a protected cab. Standard features include a hook loader developed by the Hiab company, which can quickly lift and set down the accompanying flat racks. In addition, the vehicles can accommodate an interchangeable platform or a container via the standardized 20-foot ISO interfaces.
Identical operator interfaces and a high degree of commonality and component uniformity with the UTF vehicle family facilitate training, operations and logistics. Since the award of the 7-year UTF framework by BAAINBw in July 2017, 1,250 out of a total of 2,271 vehicles have already been shipped. Most of the principal components – the engines, axles, transmissions and build-ons – are made in Germany; assembly of the vehicles takes place at the RMMV plant in Vienna.