COLOGNE, Germany — German tank-maker Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is developing a tactical bridge-launching capability for its Boxer vehicle that the company hopes to sell to its growing customer base.
Executives still consider the module an internal prototype, with more testing planned in the coming months. But the premise of a bridge-launching capability in forces lighter than the heavy, tracked vehicles mostly used for that job today could garner interest, they said.
The German military, Lithuania, the Netherlands, the U.K. and Australia are current or soon-to-be operators of Boxer fleets. The vehicles were developed in a joint venture with Germany’s Rheinmetall.
The rides are modular by design, consisting of base chassis that can be combined with payloads for troop transport, command and control, combat, or medical evacuation, for example.
The new module will be able to deploy two types of bridges: a heavy variant that spans 14 meters and can carry 80 tons, and a longer version of 22 meters certified for 50 tons.
Those weight limits are sufficient for heavy battle tanks and the slightly lighter infantry fighting vehicles, respectively.
KMW officials had planned to debut the new development at the Eurosatory expo in Paris, France, last month before organizers canceled the event due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next chance to display the bridging module for would-be clients will be the U.K.-based DVD2020 conference, sponsored by the British Ministry of Defence, in November, according to the company.
Modifications needed to operate the bridging module with the base version of the Boxer include a new drive output for siphoning power from the main engine to the hydraulic arms used to push the bridge from the vehicle to the ground, officials explained.
Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.