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The Swiss Army is looking for a successor to the light reconnaissance and support vehicle (LAUF) introduced in 2007 for its special forces. On February 3rd, the Dutch company Defenture delivered a LAUF 20 prototype to the Swiss procurement authority armasuisse. The prototype will be tested extensively in the coming months to determine whether it meets the functional requirements of the Swiss Armed Forces and to determine the final configuration.

LAUF 20 is based on the Groundforce vehicle GRF, which Defenture developed according to the needs of the special forces of the army and navy of the Dutch armed forces and which was introduced into the troops as a Vector terrine vehicle from 2017.

The GRF is built on a chassis with a particularly strong central support. Together with a 160 kW diesel engine, six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive and control, and seats for four or five people, the vehicle has a total weight of less than five tons. Depending on the integrated protection, up to 2.2 tons of this are available as a payload. The payload includes the personal (infantry) equipment of the crews, communication and reconnaissance equipment, weapons, other mission equipment and, if necessary, additional protective elements. The weapon mounts on the roll bars are designed for weapons in calibers from 5.56 mm to 12.7 mm. With external dimensions of 5.1 mx 1.8 mx 1.9 m, the vehicle can be transported in a helicopter (eg CH-47 Chinook) or in an ISO 20 “container. The vehicle, which is well motorized with 32 kW / ton, can reach a top speed above the permitted 130 km / h.

Prototyp LAUF 20 an die Schweiz geliefert
The serval from Rheinmetall, Photo: Rheinmetall

The prototype for Switzerland contains a number of changes according to the specific requirements of the Swiss Army (e.g. the integration of various client communication devices), which Defenture was able to implement in a short time thanks to the modular construction principle of the basic vehicle. For Defenture, Switzerland is the first customer to whom GRF could be exported.

The LAUF pending replacement is technically largely identical to the Serval Reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle (AGF), which is used in the Bundeswehr Special Forces Command. The AGF, based on the Mercedes-Benz G model, was introduced into the German armed forces in 2003 and is also about to be replaced. The Bundeswehr has also considered the GRF for the successor vehicle.

Gerhard Heiming