German Bundeswehr Orders Eagle IV Patrol & Command Vehicles
The German Bundeswehr’s GFF program plans to replace the core of its wheeled and light tracked combat vehicle fleet with entries from 4 categories: the lightweight 5.3-tonne GFF 1, the 7.5-tonne GFF 2, the 12.5-tonne GFF 3 and a 25-tonne GFF 4 all-terrain utility vehicle.
In November 2008, General Dynamics’ Swiss MOWAG subsidiary announced that its Eagle IV wheeled vehicles had come out on top in one of Germany’s GFF Klasse 2 competitions for “protected Command and Function vehicles.” GFF Klasse 2 reportedly comprises over 5,000 vehicles, to go with an already-awarded contract for the Bv206S tracked all terrain vehicle from BAE and Rheinmetall. This GD MOWAG contract would be followed by additional orders.
The EAGLE IV
Unlike previous Eagle vehicles, this Swiss EAGLE IV machine is not based on the USA’s HMMWV. Instead, it uses a Duro truck chassis to improve its load carrying capacity, and allow the addition of extra armor. The vehicle has a base length of 5.4m/ 17.7 feet, a height of 2.4m/ 7.9 feet, and a width of 2.16m/ 7.1 feet. It carries up to 5 occupants to a top speed of 110 km/h/ 68 mph on the road, handling gradients of up to 60% thanks to its 245 hp Cummins turbocharged diesel engine and Allison 5-speed automatic transmission. Its DeDion axle system has a patented roll stabilizer and permanent all-wheel drive, along with a tire pressure control system. The goal is on-road and off-road mobility.
Mine protection maxes out at NATO’s STANAG 2A standard, however, rather than the higher levels achieved by the Bundeswehr’s larger, blast-resistant Dingo 2. An NBC(Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) overpressure system adds safety, and can function as air conditioning.
The EAGLE-IV is not a true blast-resistant vehicle like KMW’s Dingo. What it does offer is a safer ride than conventional jeeps, like Humvees or the nearly unprotected Mercedes G-Wagen. It also offers strong maintenance commonality benefits for armies who already operate GD MOWAG’s Duro trucks, which serve in the Bundeswehr as the RLS “Yak.”
All vehicles will be jointly manufactured by GD MOWAG in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and General Dynamics European Land Systems – Germany in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The firm also uses a network of German suppliers as subcontractors for various components.
Contracts & Key Events
September 2010: Delivery of the initial 198 vehicles is complete, 3 months ahead of the contract’s delivery schedule. Source.
Aug 25/10: GD MOWAG announces [PDF] 2 additional BWB contracts, covering 70 EAGLE IV vehicles: 60 to the regular fleet, and 10 deployed to support the German Federal Police in Afghanistan. These orders were signed in April and July 2010, and will increase the German EAGLE IV fleet to a total of 288 vehicles by MOWAG’s count.
Nov 5/09: The German BWB orders 20 EAGLE BAT (Protected Ambulance) vehicles, to replace some of the unprotected carrier vehicles currently in service. The EAGLE BAT will accommodate a driver and 2 medical personnel as its crew, and deliveries will take place in 2010. GD MOWAG [PDF].
May 2009: The first EAGLE IV vehicles are deployed to Afghanistan by German forces. Source.
Nov 11/08: Germany’s BWB procurement agency orders 198 Eagle IV vehicles under GFF 2, plus support and spares, with an option for another 474 vehicles. EAGLE IV vehicles will be jointly manufactured in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, and at General Dynamics European Land Systems in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The first delivery batch will comprise 25 protected “Command and Function Vehicles,” used with accompanying shelter modules to create semi-mobile command posts. For self-protection, the vehicles will be equipped with KMW’s remotely controlled FLW 100/200 weapon and surveillance stations. When the other 173 vehicles and support services are included, the order is worth EUR 105.7 million (about $141 Million). GD MOWAG release.
Other rumored GFF-2 competitors reportedly included Iveco & Rheinmetall with a variant of the popular MLV, which has been ordered by Italy, Britain, Belgium, Spain, Norway, and others. If GD MOWAG has indeed won the GFF-2 competition, it may serve to narrow the window for the KMW/Rheinmetall team’s new GFF 1&2 Class AMPV vehicle family. It also adds weight to MOWAG’s entry in the GFF-3 competition, where an up-armored variant of the Duro/Yak is expected to compete with KMW’s Dingo 2. Growing Dingo 2 orders, and its use as a specialty vehicle platform by the Bundeswehr, make it the favorite. With that said, adding more vehicle commonality benefits around Germany’s existing Duro fleet can only improve General Dynamics’ odds.