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In a tweet dated June 24th, Inspector Heer, Lieutenant General Alfons Mais, gives a look at the equipment planning for the fighter group. The occasion was his inaugural visit to Jägerbataillon 1 in Schwarzenborn.

blankIn the tweet on his official channel, he reaffirmed the planning of the army to replace the Wiesel weapon bearers (WaTr) that were still in the hunt group with a “combat boxer”.

This vehicle should consist of the driving module of the Armored Transport Motor Vehicle (GTK) Boxer. A 30 mm turret and the equipment with the MELLS (multi-role light guided missile system) launcher are added as armament. In the MELLS equipment, this goes hand in hand with the plans for equipping the Puma infantry fighting vehicle (SPZ) and the extended service life of the Wiesel weapon carrier for the paratroopers. For the airborne force, MELLS replaces the outdated TOW system.

A report from the Army 2019 says: “Infantrymen are mainly on foot with light equipment. In future, the heavily armed armored transport vehicle (GTK) Boxer will also be available to them. (…) The introduction of a heavy weapon carrier, the GTK Boxer with a 30 millimeter machine gun, is intended to open up new tactical possibilities for the infantry due to its long range and firepower. ”

The idea of ​​using the boxer in this way was born a long time ago under the term PuBo (Puma boxer). The idea in the army was to create an armored personnel carrier from parts that had already been introduced, i.e. from the GTK Boxer vehicle module and the Puma SPz tower as a mission module. This would introduce all systems, including training and special tools. For competitive reasons, however, this is not so easy as there are other solutions on the market. In addition to the “PuBo” from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the boxer is also available with a 30 mm Lance tower from Rheinmetall. From Berlin it can be heard that the selection decision had already been made for the Lance Tower. This has not yet been officially confirmed.

In his tweet, the inspector Heer specified the demand with 85 pieces, earlier plans provided for up to 100 vehicles. These should then be used in the 5th companies, the heavy companies of the fighter battalions. At the same time, he asks the Federal Office for Equipment, Infrastructure and Benefits of the Bundeswehr, politics and industry to implement it quickly so that the vehicles for the "Division 2027" are actually available.

Already at the announcement of this armored infantry fighting vehicle as a replacement for the Wiesel weapon carrier, many were wondering how a boxer should replace the weasel because its size and weight make it unsuitable for air landing. The heavy GTK boxer should only replace the weasels of the fighter group, not that of the paratroopers. For the latter, an extension of the service life is carried out and then a new vehicle, the LuWa (airborne weapon carrier), is introduced. A first prototype and demonstrator is currently being developed for this. In addition to the hunters, the 231 Gebirgsjäger Battalion 231, equipped with boxers, is also to receive the new variant.

With the restructuring, the fighter group lost the ability requirement for airborne ability. This makes the weasel a relic of days gone by in the hunting party. The demands for the introduction of new vehicles require completely different options, especially in terms of size and weight. At this point, it should not be assessed whether it makes sense to abandon the requirement for airborne capability. Of course, the boxer offers the hunter group completely different possibilities in terms of penetration and protection. Depending on the scenario, weasels and boxers have their advantages and disadvantages.

If these boxers are already part of the “Division 2027“Should be, the vehicles would have to run into the troops by the mid-twenties at the latest. Thus, the procurement process must start in 2020/2021.

André Forkert