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With the order of over 500 boxers by the British Ministry of Defense in December 2019, the Armored transport vehicle (GTK) Boxer on the way to one of the most successful cars of the last 20 years in the 8 × 8 (Boxer) class.

On the International Armored Vehicles Conference (IAV) in London representatives of the European procurement agency OCCAR EA and the manufacturer ARTEC progress and prospects have shown the project. The NSPA has explained how the Boxer User Group supports the operation of the vehicles.

The boxer was one of only three vehicles on during the IAV Conference. (Photo: Heiming)

Production

Manufacturer of the boxer is the ARTEC, a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, who has delivered for the previous three user Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania recently, the 539th vehicle. Production of 91 vehicles for Lithuania is completed at the turn of the year 2020/2021. Of 2 Los Boxer (131 vehicles) for the Bundeswehr are around 60 passed to the user. The last vehicle of the second batch is expected in mid-2021st

On the production lines takes the Australia orders under the aegis of Rheinmetall always more space. After delivery of the first boxer in September 2019 a total of 25 fully manufactured in Germany and shipped as kits for final assembly to Australia. From 2021 onwards, significant portions of the boxers are produced by partner companies in Australia.

For the UK boxer is currently selected may participate industry. The first contract was recently signed with WFEL. Soon the production of the five proof vehicles to be from mid-2022 tested by future users and released for serial production begins in Germany. About 60 percent of production takes place (KMW subsidiary WFEL) at locations in Telford (Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land) and Stockport. Beginning in 2023 the first production car to be passed. The 528 ordered Boxer will run to 2031 the troops.

British soldiers test the Boxer (Photo: Rheinmetall)

Among the currently known prospects for other boxers are in addition to some Eastern European countries including Germany and the Netherlands. The Bundeswehr has yet unquantified and unspecified need for vehicles eg for infantry combat and the short-range air defense, to be potentially covered the period from 2023 to 2027. The Netherlands have indicated that the existing equipment with 200 boxers sufficient either quantitatively or qualitatively, and could take place in the foreseeable future restocking. Britain had in the original requirement demands are a range of more than 1,000 boxers. If the procurement requirements to be met roughly as shown, the production capacity could be utilized for this decade and the volume of production could total in excess of 2,000.

Boxer concept

Unique feature of the boxer is the division into driving module and interchangeable mission modules. This is a foundation of flexibility, which is manifested in the increasing number of different mission modules.

driving module

The drive modules that were part of the first boxers have been provided as part of the Afghanistan mission, among others with stronger armor and mine protection. The driving modules constitute the entire vehicle technology for the boxer ready to drive and suspension as well as mechanical and electrical interfaces for the reception and the operation of the mission module.

With the same for all boxers driving modules, it is possible to achieve a uniform utilization of the fleet, by driving modules are replaced by boxers with high mileage to drive modules with low mileage. In this way exercise could also pre-used / to ensure that no planned maintenance is payable for vehicles used in the near future. During long-term repair the operational drive modules for the currently most urgently needed skills (Mission Module) can be used.

The boxer was delivered in the original version (A0) with a gross weight of 36.5 tons and a 530 kW MTU diesel engine (MTU 8V 199 TE 20). Due to the changed threat and first findings from the operation assessment of the mine protection has been strengthened under the sink and in the wheel arches. improve a new driver's vision system and the partial Umverstauung of equipment (eg tow rope) the working environment of the military road user. Changes in cooling air and exhaust system help to reduce the signature. With these changes, the version name evolved to A2. This configuration is standard in the armed forces today. All vehicles will be retrofitted to this state.

For Australia, the total weight was increased to 38.5 tons. This required reinforcements on the axes, and as a consequence new wheels and more sustainable tires. This version of the drive module could A2 + are called.

The UK-boxers are the first with a 600 kW diesel engine (MTU 8V 199 TE21 same as in Ajax scout) equipped and approved for a total weight of 38.5 tons. Internally out the driving module under the version A3. Appearance indicator is, inter alia, the above-mentioned new rim and tire combination. The specific power increases to 15.6 kW / tonne (A2: 14.8; A2 + 13.8).

mission modules

The mission modules are protected cabin volume of 14 m³ to 17.5 m³ for crews and systems are available which are equipped mission specific to the military requirements. Depending on the count have so far about twenty different versions in use, constructed or in production.

introduced Mission Modules (Selection)
• Transport of passengers
• command / leadership
• Wounded Transport
• infantry combat
• Driving School

The outer dimensions of the mission modules are fixed, only the canopy can vary in height (such as for transporting the wounded vehicle of the Dutch). A front opening allows the trapdoor to the driver. Hatches, exit, seats and instrumentation are mission-specific. OCCAR has referred to a modular mounting system (MOTS products primarily COTS /) are in the elements in the categories of protection, sensors, effectors, C4I, and configuration examples of internal space and the outdoor area can be used to rapidly mission-specific modules generated.

The Boxer for UK will have a special feature. For the mission modules (excluding ambulance) will be Missionskits with which a more detailed adaptation to the task at hand is possible.

The success of the concept of mission modules demonstrated by the fact that new ideas / receivables are presented for the realization of further skills based on the Boxer of the user side again. These include

  • Reconnaissance and observation with stabilized platform (Joint Fire Support)
  • qualified air defense, including against UAV and helicopter (Short Range Air Defense) and
  • Infantry fighting manned tower and medium caliber gun (Heavy weapon platform).

The ARTEC consorts present the military customer suggestions for mission modules have been designed in part as a functional demonstrators, the military in evaluating claims.

  • remote howitzer 155 mm (remote controlled howitzer, RCH 155). A further development could be ready from the 2027th
  • Rocket launchers to supplement / replacement MARS
  • mortar carrier
  • ammunition transporter
  • Short-range air defense gun
  • Laser weapon system to defend against drones and artillery shells
  • Bridge laying vehicle with iguana or GECKO bridge

With the only previously developed outside the ARTEC mission module FFG has vehicle manufacturing company a vehicle for retrieval and field repair presented.

Collaborative operational support

The three boxers nations have set up a boxer Support Partnership to NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). A main task is the material management. According to the aggregated need procured the NSPA spare parts centrally and makes them the nations are available. The joint management reduces the number vorzuhaltender parts (and thus the use of capital) and reduce procurement costs through bulk prices. If necessary, the nations urgently needed spare parts can "borrow". The technical team coordinated configuration management and provides logistical and technical data.

perspectives

After a long lead time, the boxer has blossomed with its modular concept into a success story. With four user countries and other aspirants in Europe can from a European showcase project will benefit from the non-European customers such as Australia. The flexibility of the concept opens the users new possibilities for the realization of abilities.

38.5 tonnes deadweight driving module is not yet exhausted. So there is enough growth potential exists for future requirements.

Gerhard Heiming