Fennek JSFTs for Germany
KMW’s Fennek has a simple mission: see, but don’t be seen. Accordingly, Fennek is designed to combine a low height profile with low infrared, radar, and noise profiles. Its 3-man crew can be sustained in the field for 5 days in the field via carried supplies, and a 1,000 km range plus C-130 transportability make this 11-tonne vehicle very mobile. GPS/INS navigation removes the need to ask for directions, and some versions add a full moving map display. Its biggest asset, however, is an advanced set of surveillance electronics that include thermal imaging, a CCD day-vision camera, and laser range finder with optional targeting laser, all packed into a sensor head that can extend up to 3.3m/ 10 feet – or operate on a tripod up to 40m from the vehicle. Other systems carried on board can include ground sensor equipment (BSA), a radiation detection system, and in future mini UAVs or the remote-controlled mobile sensor system (MoSeS).
Fennek serves with both Dutch forces (incl. AD command, SWP air defense with radar and Stinger missiles, and MRAT anti-tank team variants) and the German Bundeswehr (incl. artillery observer variant, deployed to Afghanistan with the ADLER II’s artillery guidance system and multiple digital data links). A recent EUR 31.3 million ($46.5 million) deal means that a new variant will soon be on the scene, as Germany’s Ministry of Defence has contracted for 10 new FENNEK Joint Fire Support Team (JFST) vehicles. Fennek JSFT will be bought by both Germany and the Netherlands, and offers advances on the artillery observer variant by including more advanced sensors, along with the necessary datalinks, electronics, and systems to act as both an artillery observer and a forward air controller (FAC) or a tactical air control party (Dutch, TACP). The vehicles will be delivered by 2009.
While Fennek vehicles offer some protection from small arms fire and mines, and can be fitted with exchangeable add-on armor modules, its need for low height limits the level of mine resistance that can be designed in. A Dutch Fennek recently highlighted that vulnerability, when it hit a mine that killed one crew member and injured the other 2. KMW release | Product page.