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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

14 June 2016

Eurosatory 2016: Rheinmetall Unveils Hard-Hitting New Solutions

At Eurosatory 2016, Rheinmetall is highlighting its role as a high-tech group dedicated to meeting two of modern humanity’s fundamental requirements, security and mobility, at the Rheinmetall Pavilion, #D211 – D261. Among much more, Rheinmetall is showcasing a 130mm L/51 tank gun, an independently developed demonstrator for the main armament of a future generation of main battle tanks (MBT).

PUMA IFV with IDZ. (All photos: Rheinmetall)

Formed at the beginning of 2016, the Vehicle Systems division is one of the world’s most robust organisations for tactical land mobility. Its product portfolio ranges from trucks and wheeled armoured systems to heavy tracked fighting vehicles: Rheinmetall’s new LYNX combat vehicle, the first of what is intended to be a new family of tracked armoured vehicles has been unveiled today at 1000h at their pavillion. The LYNX is on display is configured as an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).  Just last year, Rheinmetall formally transferred the first PUMA IFV to the Bundeswehr. Developed by an industrial consortium, the PUMA is on show at the PSM booth. Rheinmetall as carried out overhaul and upgrade programmes for a number of LEOPARD 2 user nations, and is also supplying several countries with the Bergepanzer 3 armoured recovery vehicle and the KODIAK armoured engineering vehicle, both of which are based on the LEOPARD 2. Rheinmetall’s MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator, is also on show at Eurosatory 2016. Present in Paris, as well, is the BOXER multirole wheeled armoured vehicle, likewise the product of a defence consortium. Highly mobile and extremely well protected, the 8x8 platform has proved itself not only in Bundeswehr operations in Afghanistan. The BOXER’s modular architecture, consisting of drive and mission modules, make it the perfect answer for a wide range of operations. A wheeled armoured reconnaissance variant of the BOXER was Rheinmetall’s entry in the Australian Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle competition. Among other products featured at Eurosatory is the protected 4x4 protected AMPV, developed and produced in cooperation with another major defence contractor. Two versions of the vehicle are on display at Eurosatory: The PEGAZ variant proposed for a project of the Polish Armed Forces; and the RMMV SURVIVOR, configured for a law enforcement role. The division’s logistic vehicles are displaying an HX 77 and HX 2. Rheinmetall supplies the protected driver’s cab and crane compartment for the Liebherr G-BKF protected recovery crane vehicle.

Liebherr G-BKF protected recovery crane vehicle

The Electronic Solutions division specialises in air defence systems, soldier systems, command and reconnaissance technology, fire control systems, sensors and naval systems. Serving customers around the globe, Rheinmetall is a leading supplier of cutting-edge air defence technology. The group is able to network the most diverse sensors and effectors into highly effective systems. These are able to instantly detect even incoming rockets, artillery and mortar shells (RAM) or very small UAVs, reliably neutralising them with maximum economy of force. At Eurosatory 2016, Rheinmetall is presenting SKYNEX, its new concept for a fully networked, future ground-based air defence system. Also on view for the first time is the remotely controlled, network-capable Oerlikon Revolver Gun Mark 3. Tracking and sensor units such as X-band radar, electro-optical sensors and electronic warfare components can be integrated into the 35mm platform. This enables rapid, autonomous engagement of externally assigned targets. Likewise celebrating its world premier at the Rheinmetall stand is the Remote Controlled Lightweight Missile Mount (RCLM), largely made of carbon, able to be integrated into practically any military vehicle, and is particularly suitable for launching short-range surface-to-air and ground-to-ground missiles.

Remote Controlled Lightweight Missile Mount (RCLM)

Furthermore, Rheinmetall is a major producer of soldier systems, supplying customers with solutions tailored to meet their individual needs. Two outstanding examples are the Future Soldier – Expanded System (IdZ-ES, dubbed GLADIUS by Rheinmetall), which lets the Bundeswehr integrate its infantrymen into the network-enable warfare loop, and ARGUS. Currently in the qualification phase, the latter has been selected by the Canadian Forces for the Integrated Soldier Systems Project (ISSP).

Just recently, the Bundeswehr awarded Rheinmetall a contract to modernise the German Army’s Combat Training Centre (GÜZ), which the group operates. Soon, troops there will be able to sharpen their urban warfare skills in “Schnöggersburg,” an extremely realistic new training environment. At Eurosatory, the Simulation and Training business unit’s LEOPARD Gunnery Skills Trainer forges a link between simulator technology and “Weapons and Ammunition” division.

Rheinmetall’s Weapons and Ammunition division ranges from pyrotechnic signal flares to high-energy lasers. Among its key capabilities are infantry ammunition, automatic cannon like the PUMA IFV’s airburst-capable MK30-2 ABM, the globally acclaimed 120mm smoothbore gun of the LEOPARD 2,and a new family of mortar ammunition, as well as artillery rounds and propelling charges. Rheinmetall’s airburst expertise merits special mention. With time-delay 40mm x53 airburst ammunition (ABM), the round is programmed by an infrared signal from the fire control/aiming unit as it leaves the barrel. The rounds are timed to detonate at an exactly determined distance above the target zone, making them highly effective even when engaging targets concealed behind cover. Rheinmetall uses its proprietary AHEAD airburst technology in the medium-calibre ammunition it manufactures for automatic cannon designed for an air defence role or as the main armament of IFVs. The ABM round is programmed at the muzzle as it leaves the barrel. As opposed to programming during ammunition feeding, this has the advantage of calculating the exact initial velocity of each round fired, which in turn is taken into account when programming the point of detonation. This results in greater probability of a direct hit as well enhanced overall effectiveness. In the case of Rheinmetall’s time-delay tank ammunition, programming of the 120mm x 70 HE Temp. DM11 takes place after loading. The system modifications necessary for this (a programming kit) can be easily retrofitted into any main battle tank equipped with a 120mm smoothbore gun and a modern fire control computer.

Rheinmetall is currently working on a number of other forward-looking technologies. On the one hand, plans are well underway to improve the combat effectiveness of the group’s 120mm tank gun; while on the other, work is proceeding on a future generation of 130mm tank main armament.

Rheinmetall’s new high-energy laser (HEL) effectors have already been successfully tested on land and maritime platforms, shown at Eurosatory 2016 integrated into the aforementioned SKYNEX air defence system.

For more information please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #06/2016, available at the show in hall 6, stand #B197; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.