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The service life extension of more than 70 Marder armored personnel carriers of the Bundeswehr has made further progress in the past few months. All conversion kits for the new MELLS anti-tank guided missile have already been delivered, as the Rheinmetall manager in charge, Tim Taudin, explained last week at the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the use of the tank in Munster. Part of the fleet has already been converted, said Taudin. MELLS replaces the aging missile system Milan.

According to the manager at the Freundeskreis Panzergrenadiere e. V. and Rheinmetall, the Hensoldt Spectus vision system has already been integrated into the Marder 1A5A1. Spectus combines an optical image with that of a thermal imaging camera. The sighting package also includes a rearview camera for the driver. According to Taudin, the material for the A3 marten is already being supplied.

Modernisierung des Schützenpanzers Marder im Plan
Marder armored personnel carrier, with scaffolded MELLS, photo: Carl Schulze

As part of the modernization, the armored personnel carrier will receive a new fire warning and extinguishing system from Kidde Deugra, which is essentially based on the system already introduced in the Puma. The previous first-generation thermal imaging device from the 1980s will also be replaced. After an investigation by the Defense Technology Agency and a comparison test, the client decided in favor of the Saphir 2.6 MK device from Rheinmetall Electronics, according to Taudin. The series material is on the way.

Modernisierung des Schützenpanzers Marder im Plan
Pre-production vehicle of the Marder armored personnel carrier (Photo: Archives KTS II / III)

In addition, the martens planned for retrofitting will receive a new six-cylinder engine from Liebherr. The previously used Renk gearbox will be retained, said Taudin. In order to make it compatible with the new 550 kW engine (750 hp), the manufacturer has reinforced it, cleared it of obsolescence and "minimally digitized" it. The solution of the anti-aircraft tank Roland is used for the lateral transmission. This tank with surface-to-air missiles used a modified Marder chassis and was used in the German Armed Forces from the 80s, but has since been retired.

Modernisierung des Schützenpanzers Marder im Plan
Rheinmetall's PzGren system, photo: Rheinmetall

The marten also gets a new cooling system. According to Taudien, the previous top fans will be replaced by three fans on each side. The equipment supplied by Mahle is designed as a suction cooling system, said the Rheinmetall manager. In addition, Rheinmetall has integrated various radio configurations for the new battle management system. Taudien explained that this primarily required re-stowage. The development is almost complete. In addition, the martens receive the chain already used by the Puma.

In addition to the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of Chile, Jordan and Indonesia also use the marten as a combat vehicle for the infantry. The Chilean army has equipped a total of three battalions with the vehicle, as the Chilean military attaché explained during the event. As of 2009, the South American country had received around 170 martens in configuration 1A3. The battalions were deployed in the north of the country, where sand and the harsh underground caused problems for the filters and chains, said the Chilean officer. Overall, however, the experience with the tank was very good.

With 73 vehicles, Jordan is now the second largest user outside of Germany. According to Rheinmetall, 50 martens were delivered to Indonesia. The company itself still has around 250 1A3 martens in its portfolio.

lah / 10/28/2021