Marder (IFV)

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Marder 1
Marder1A3.6.jpg
A Marder IFV
Type Infantry fighting vehicle
Place of origin  West Germany
Service history
In service 1971–present
Used by Bundeswehr
Production history
Designer Rheinmetall Landsysteme
Designed May 7, 1971
Manufacturer Rheinmetall Landsysteme
Specifications (Marder 1)
Weight 28.5 t (31.4 short tons) marder 1A1/A2 33.5 t (36.9 short tons) marder 1A3 37.4 t (41.2 short tons) marder 1A5
Length 6.79 m (22 ft 3 in)
Width 3.24 m (10 ft 8 in)
Height 2.98 m (9 ft 9 in)
Crew 3+7

Armor Welded steel, protection up to 20 mm APDS DM43 from 0 m and 25 mm APDS from 200 m (220 yd)
Main
armament
20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon
MILAN ATGM launcher
Secondary
armament
7.62 mm MG3 machine gun
Engine MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine
600 hp (441 kW)
Power/weight 21.1 hp/tonne
Transmission RENK HSWL 194
Suspension Torsion bar
Ground clearance 0.45 m (18 in)
Fuel capacity 652 L (143 imp gal)
Operational
range
520 km
Speed 75 km/h (47 mph)marder 1A2 65 km/h (40 mph) marder 1A3

The Marder (German for "marten") is a German infantry fighting vehicle operated by the German Army as the main weapon of the Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) from the 1970s through the present day. Developed as part of the rebuilding of Germany's armoured fighting vehicle industry, the Marder has proven to be a successful and solid infantry fighting vehicle design. While it does include a few unique features, such as the fully remote machine gun on the rear deck, it is overall a simple and conventional machine with rear exit hatch and side gun ports for mounted infantry to fire through. The Marder is currently being replaced by its successor, the Puma.

Around 2,100 were taken into service by the German Army in the early 1970s, but the vehicle in its German variant was not sold to any foreign militaries. As the German Army began to retire older vehicles, the Chilean government agreed to acquire 200 Marders; the government of Greece has considered the purchase of 450 retired vehicles in the past. Argentina uses a simplified and locally produced variant, the VCTP, and has a number of vehicles based on that platform constructed by Henschel and built by TAMSE.

Development[edit]

Development of the Marder ran from January 1960, when the first development contracts were issued, to 7 May 1971, when the first production vehicles were given to the German army.

The vehicle was intended to be an improvement over the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30. The main requirements were:

  • A capacity of 12 infantrymen.
  • A more reliable 20 mm cannon.
  • The infantry must be able to fight from within the vehicle or dismounted.
  • Protection from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

Initially development contracts were awarded to two groups of companies the Rheinstahl group (Rheinstahl-Hanomag, Ruhrstahl, Witten-Annen, Büro Warnecke) and the second group comprising Henschel Werke and the Swiss MOWAG company. This resulted in the production of seven prototype vehicles. A second set of eight prototype vehicles were built between 1961 and 1963. Development priority was then switched for a while to the development of the Jagdpanzer 90 mm Kanone.

In 1967, after military requirements were finalized, a third and final set of ten prototypes were built. Final development work was completed by the Rheinstahl group, and 10 pre-production vehicles were built and completed troop trials with the German army between October 1968 and March 1969. In May 1969, the vehicle was officially named the "Marder" and in October Rheinstahl was chosen as the prime contractor.

The first production Marder 1 was handed to the German army on 7 May 1971. Production of the vehicle continued until 1975, with 2,136 vehicles being completed.

In 1975 the Milan missile was first adapted to be fired by commander from his open hatch, and between 1977 and 1979 Milan missiles were fitted to army vehicles.

A number of upgrade programs were carried out, that included fitting night vision equipment and a thermal imager, as well as an upgraded ammunition feed to the 20 mm cannon.

Around 1985 the designation was changed to Marder-1 (until then it was simply Marder) since a follow-up IFV was under construction. Since the new vehicle should be the partner of the Leopard-II just like Marder was the companion to the Standardpanzer/Leopard I, it was named Marder-2 and the older vehicles re-designated.

The A3 upgrade program began in 1988, with Thyssen-Henschel being awarded a contact to upgrade 2,100 Marder 1 A1/A2 series vehicles to A3 standard at a rate of 220 a year. The first upgraded vehicles reached the German army on 17 November 1989. The modification package included:

  • Improved armour weighing 1,600 kg intended to protect against the 30 mm 2A42 cannon on the Russian BMP-2. The armour also provided additional protection against cluster bomblets.
  • The hatches over the infantry compartment were re-arranged.
  • Suspension was reinforced, a new braking system was installed, the gearbox adjusted. The heating system was replaced with a water based heating system.
  • Turret was reconfigured.
  • Total weight is now 35,000 kg.

Description[edit]

A Marder 1A3 from the rear, with the ramp lowered

The hull of the Marder 1 is all welded steel, giving protection from small-arms fire and shell fragments with the front of the hull providing protection from up to 20 millimeters APDS rounds. Later variants had increased protection up to 30mm APDS, in response to the 30 mm autocannon armed BMP-2 and the development of top attack cluster bomblets.

The Marder is a relatively conventional design, with the driver sitting at the front left side of the hull with the engine to his right. The driver has three day periscopes mounted in a hatch that opens to the right. The center periscope can be replaced by a passive night vision device. Behind the driver is a seat for a single infantry man. In early version of the Marder this infantry man had a hatch which opened to the right and a periscope that could be rotated through 360 degrees; this hatch was removed in the 1A3 variant onwards.

In the center of the hull is the two man turret, which holds the commander on the right and the gunner on the left. Only the commander is provided with a hatch. The commander has eight day periscopes for all round observation and the gunner has an additional three. The primary sighting system is the PERI-Z11 sight which has either 2x or 6x optical magnification. From version 1A2 on, there was an additional thermal sight with 2x and 8x magnification. To the rear of the turret is the troop compartment, which can hold six infantry men, sitting back to back facing outwards along the center of the hull.

The Marder is capable of fording in up to 1.5 meters of water unprepared, and can be fitted with a kit allowing it to ford water up to 2.5 meters deep.

The Marder is powered by an MTU MB 833 Ea-500 six-cylinder liquid cooled diesel engine which develops approximately 600 horsepower at 2,200 rpm. The cooling radiators are mounted at the rear of hull either side of the exit ramp. The engine is coupled to a Renk four speed HSWL 194 planetary gear box with four forward and four reverse gears. The transmission also provides steering and braking via a stepless hydrostatic unit which transmits power to two drive units mounted at the front of the hull. The vehicle carries 652 litres of fuel, giving it a road range of around 500 kilometers. Early Marders could achieve a road speed of 75 km/h in 4th gear, but the extra armour of later vehicles reduced this to 65 km/h.

The Marder is propelled by a Diehl track which can be fitted with rubber road pads. The drive mechanism consists of six rubber tyred road wheel with a drive sprocket at the front of the hull and an idler at the rear. Three return rollers are also fitted. The suspension is a torsion bar system, with additional hydrostatic shock absorbers fitted to the front two and last two road wheels.

Armament[edit]

A Marder 1 A3 fires its 20 mm cannon in an exercise.
A Marder 1 A5

Primary armament is the 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 autocannon mounted in the small two-man turret which can fire either armour-piercing or HE rounds. Mounted coaxially to the left of the cannon is a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun. The turret has 360 degree traverse, and can elevate from -17 degrees to +65 degrees at a rate of 40 degrees per second while traversing at a rate of 60 degrees a second. Early Marders up to and including version 1A1 had a second MG3 mounted on the rear deck in a remote controlled pod. Typically 1,250 rounds are carried for the 20 mm cannon, along with a further 5,000 rounds for the MG3.

On current models since version 1A2, a MILAN anti-tank guided missile launcher can be attached to the turret to provide enhanced anti-armour capabilities. Typically six missiles are carried inside the vehicle.

There are four (two per side) gun ports which can be used by mounted infantry to provide additional fire against attacking infantry targets. Only Marder 1A1 and 1A2 had been equipped with this. Marder 1A3 and above do not have gun ports due to an extra layer of armour and outside storage boxes.

Six 76 millimeter diameter smoke grenade dischargers can create a visual and infra-red blocking smoke screen.

Variants[edit]

A Marder 1A3 fires a Milan missile during an exercise.

The Marder 1A3[1] is the currently most common version of this system, and is in service with the German Bundeswehr, the Marder 1A4 differs from the 1A3 only by the use of a cryptography-capable radio-set. Newest version of the Marder is the Marder 1A5 with advanced mine protection. Only a small number of this variant is in service.

The Marder served as the basis for Thyssen-Henschel's medium tank design which became the TAM for Argentina. A simplified version of the Marder is also employed as an infantry fighting vehicle, mortar carrier and rocket launcher by the Argentinian Army, realising most of the versions originally planned for the Bundeswehr and later abandoned due to costs and/or the availability of cheap alternatives like the M106 mortar carrier. The Marder is also used as a carrier for the Roland air defence system. The Kanonenjagdpanzer and Raketenjagdpanzer 2 started development as part of the Marder family but were realised based on the second batch of prototypes using different engines etc. The Kanonenjagdpanzer built for Belgium are a hybrid between the original Bundeswehr version and Marder parts. Some 4–6 test models of a 120mm mortar on a Marder chassis were built and at least one is in use as a firefighting vehicle at the WTS Meppen. Tests with an AAA tank were performed but the high weight of the system resulted in a switch to the heavier Standardpanzer chassis, resulting in the Gepard AAA system. At least one first or second generation prototype was equipped with the 110mm artillery rocket system that later became the truck-mounted LARS system.

During Eurosatory Show 2012, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH offered two further upgrades as part of the Marder Evolution family. The Marder APC features a new M151 Protector remotely controlled weapon, replacing the original Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon, ballistic protection comparable to STANAG Level 4+, and mine protection comparable to Level 3a/3b+. The top deck has been lifted to enable improved ergonomics and uses a 600 hp MTU MB883 diesel. The Marder Medium Tank features a rifled, stabilized 105mm Oto-Melara gun in a new turret.[2]

A prototype of the experimental Marder 2.
  • Marder 1 (1971–)
    • Marder 1 with Milan: a Milan launcher was fitted to all Marders between 1977 and 1979.
    • Marder 1 A1(+) (1979–1982): dual feed for 20 mm cannon enabling choice of ammunition, night vision equipment including image intensifiers and a thermal imager. Infantry capacity reduced to five. Applied to 674 vehicles between 1979 and 1982.
    • Marder 1 A1(-) (1979–1982): as A1(+) but without thermal imager. 350 vehicles upgraded to this standard.
      • Marder 1 A1A3: a Marder A1 with SEM 80/90 cryptographic radios.
    • Marder 1 A1A as 1 A1 but without any passive night vision equipment. 1,112 vehicles upgraded to this standard.
      • Marder 1 A1A4: a Marder A1A with SEM 80/90 cryptographic radios.
    • Marder 1 A1A2: a converted Marder 1 with A1 turret and A2 chassis
      • Marder 1 A1A5: a Marder A1A2 with SEM 80/90 cryptographic radios.
    • Marder 1 A2 (1984–1991): Between 1984 and 1991, all German Marder 1s were upgraded to A2 standard, this included substantial modification of the suspension, fuel tanks, cooling system and water-jet cleaning system. Additionally a new sighting system was installed. The infrared search light equipment was removed, and all vehicles were fitted with thermal imagers except for the 674 A1(+) vehicles, which already had them.
      • Marder 1 A2A1: a Marder 1 A2 with SEM 80/90 cryptographic radios.
    • Marder 1 A3 (1988–1998)
    • Marder 1 A4: a Marder 1 A3 with SEM 93 cryptographic radio.
    • Marder 1 A5 (2003–2004): Additional anti-mine armor and completely remodeled interior in order to avoid blast and shock injuries to the crew when hit by a mine. Applied to 74 Marder 1 A3s only.
      • Marder 1 A5A1 (2010-2011): Equipped with air conditioning system, jammer for IED-protection and multi-spectral camouflage.[3] In December 2010 ten vehicles were brought to this standard, further 25 to be upgraded by August 2011.

Users[edit]

Combat service[edit]

With the first unit delivered in summer 1971, the Marder IFV remained untested in combat for 38 years until July 2009 when they defended a German combat outpost against the Taliban in Chahar Dara district of Afghanistan's Kunduz Province, killing and wounding scores. Since then, the Marders have been involved in heavy fighting several times. The vehicles have proved to be extremely useful and have been praised as a great tactical asset by German troops.[8] However, the crews have been subject to great physical stress as none of the vehicles are equipped with air conditioning systems.[9]

In June 2011, a German Marder was destroyed near Kunduz by a 200 kg IED, killing one soldier and injuring five others.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]