Germany has placed an official contract with military vehicle manufacturer Rheinmetall for the delivery of new Kodiak armored engineering vehicles for the German Army.
The €295 million (approx. $356M) contract is for the delivery of 44 Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiaks that would partially replace the Pionierpanzer 2A1 Dachs vehicles, which have been in service since 1989.
Rheinmetall announced the contract after the Budget Committee of the German Parliament approved the project in April this year.
According to the company, the first system is due to roll off the assembly line in 2023, with delivery to be complete by 2029. The order also includes services related to training and logistics necessary for commissioning and in-service support.
Known in German as the Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak, the vehicle is based on the Leopard 2. The Kodiak is already in service in Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Singapore. The same countries also augment their Leopard 2 fleets with the Büffel/Buffalo Bergepanzer 3 armored recovery vehicle – another member of the Leopard 2-based family of fighting vehicles.
Powered by a 1,100-kW engine, Kodiak is capable of keeping up with today’s high-mobility combat formations. Furthermore, a newly developed force protection package makes it one of the best-protected systems of its kind.
The vehicle has a three-part excavator arm centrally mounted at the front, which offers the advantage of giving the crew a better overview during excavation work. It also allows the vehicle to operate in narrow confines while enabling maximum reach with minimal dependence on the orientation of the vehicle.
The Kodiak also features a bulldozer blade with adjustable cutting and tilt angles. If required, all of the exchangeable tools – including optional mine-clearing equipment not ordered by the Bundeswehr – can be loaded onto multi-hook lift changing pallets, a standard item of Bundeswehr equipment.
Mounted at the front of the vehicle, the winch system is equipped with two capstan winches that can be used independently of each other.
During daylight hours as well as in conditions of limited visibility, six cameras mounted on the excavator system, the bulldozer blade and the front and rear of the vehicle support the three-person crew while on the move or conducting combat engineering operations. The cameras make it possible to change tools and carry out combat engineering operations without exiting the vehicle.
For self-defence, the Kodiak is equipped with a 76mm smoke/obscurant grenade launcher as well as a remotely controlled “Natter” weapon station. Developed by Rheinmetall, the weapon station can be armed with either with a machinegun (7.62mm x 51 or 12.7mm x 99 (.50 BMG) or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
Besides its prime function as a mainstay combat engineering system, the Kodiak can of course also be utilized in a disaster relief role. Last year, the Dutch armed forces deployed the Kodiak and the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo to fight forest fires and other wildfires on the German-Dutch border in early summer.