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The marten fighting vehicle of the German mechanized infantry is 50 years old

Half a century ago, exactly on May 7, 1971, the German army officially received the first mass-produced marten fighting vehicles. This took place in simultaneous ceremonies in Kassel and Kiel, the corporate headquarters of the legendary original manufacturers of IFV (infantry combat vehicle), Thyssen-Henschel and Krupp MaK. Both companies have been owned by Rheinmetall since 1999 and 2001 respectively.

At the time of its creation, the main task of the new IFV was to defend the national territory in Central Europe. Together with the Leopard 1 main battle tank, the marten was to play a decisive role in the mobile use of the Bundeswehr. But fate had other plans for the vehicle. During the Cold War, the role of the marten infantry combat vehicle was limited to important exercises carried out by West Germany and its NATO partners to undoubtedly demonstrate their readiness for self-defense. The Leopard 1 has long since disappeared from the Bundeswehr’s inventory.

The same applies to other systems of this bygone era, including the Luchs armored reconnaissance vehicle, the Starfighter F-104 fighter-bomber and the BO 105 and Bell UH-1D helicopters. The marten, on the other hand, proved its worth on missions abroad, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan. As part of the Rapid Reaction Force, he was involved in fighting around Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif. The vehicle is still used by the German army today. But Germany is currently not the only user nation of Marder, the vehicle is also listed in the armies of Chile, Indonesia and Jordan.

During these years, Rheinmetall has gained extensive experience and knowledge in the marten field. On behalf of the Bundeswehr, the company has carried out various measures in recent years to improve combat performance and to extend the service life of part of the German fleet of these vehicles. This includes the installation of an air conditioner in the fighting compartment; new vision equipment for driver, gunner and commander; Integration of the MELLS multipurpose guided missile system; and a new transmission. The marten should remain operational by the end of the decade, thanks to ongoing measures to extend its lifespan.

Proven in battle, it has proven to be extremely reliable. For this reason this armor will remain an important capital of the mechanized infantry troops of Germany for some time, even now that the branch is on the verge of an epochal change: on March 18, 2021 the head of state of the German army confirmed the value for the battle of the “system Panzergrenadier “. The Panzergrenadier system essentially consists of an improved version of the Puma infantry combat vehicle, which is supplied by PSM GmbH, a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and the VJTF2023 version, the Expanded Future Soldier System ( IdZ-ES). , the state-of-the-art soldier system developed by Rheinmetall.

Their mission is to increase the firepower and combat effectiveness of the VJTF 2023, which will be led by Germany. When using the Panzergrenadier system, the formation will be equipped for the first time with a digitized vehicle platform, the Puma IFV, which has been upgraded to VJTF status in addition to a soldier system with digital radio technology. The networking of the soldiers’ sensors and effectors with those of the infantry combat vehicle minimizes the time between target acquisition and intervention in the target. (Antonio Ros Pau)

Photography (Rheinmetall): In the first few years, in the middle of the Cold War, the marten extensively demonstrated its abilities in the mechanized infantry of the Bundeswehr.

The replacement, planned for the end of the decade, will be through the Panzergrenadier system, an improved version of the Puma infantry combat vehicle.

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