I Dream of Geniepanzer: Swiss Order 12 Leopard-2 Engineering Vehicles
In its 2006 armaments programme, the Swiss parliament approved the procurement of 12 “Geniepanzer” armoured engineer and mine-clearing vehicles for the country’s Armed Forces, using the chassis of surplus Pz87 (Leopard 2) tanks. A CHF 95 million (currently around $76 million) procurement contract has now been signed by the procurement agency Armasuisse and Thun-based RUAG Land Systems, covering 12 carrier vehicles, plus 12 AEV(Advanced Engineering Vehicle) modules and 6 mine-clearing modules. The vehicles will be multifunctional, and it will be possible to set them up for AEV or mine clearance missions within a very short time. Ruag is partnering with Germany’s Leopard tank co-producer Rheinmetall AG, and the vehicles were to be delivered to the Swiss armed forces in 2010-2011.
As it happens, deiveries didn’t start until the end of 2011…
The Geniepanzer/ Kodiak AEV-3
The Geniepanzer, also known as the Kodiak for international sales, will be equipped with a high-performance hinged arm excavator, a bulldozer system with innovative cutting and tilt angle settings, and a double-winch system consisting of two 9 tonne/10 ton capstan winches. When combined and deployed in multiple traction mode, these provide a pulling force of up to 62 tons.
Thanks to a quick-release coupling, the excavator bucket can be exchanged for a number of other devices, including a hydraulic hammer and a universal-gripper. All of these tools are electro-hydraulically controlled and can be operated by the driver with two joysticks, giving the Kodiak a wide range of military and civilian/disaster related uses.
As an alternative, the dozer blade can be swapped for a full-width mine plough, and the vehicle can be fitted with signature-duplicator and lane-marking units. This turns the Kodiak/Geniepanzer into a high performance minefield-breaching system.
The Kodiak’s anti-landmine protection technology features correspond to those of the latest generation of Leopard 2 MBT, and it will also carry a 12.7mm/ .50 caliber machine gun and a smoke grenade launcher for protection.
Contracts & Key Events
Dec 23/11: RUAG begins late deliveries to the Swiss armed forces. The firm says that:
“Delivery of the units to the Swiss Armed Forces was delayed to iron out problems with the power shovel hydraulics that surfaced during endurance tests under extreme military operational conditions. The system was optimised jointly by Rheinmetall and RUAG and successfully subjected to a battery of tests involving other components.”
This will be comforting to the Dutch and Swedes, who have also ordered the vehicle.
Jan 10/07: RUAG and Rheinmetall announce the contract, and have set up a consortium to develop, market and manufacture the “AEV-3 Kodiak” for use by other Leopard 2 customers across Europe and beyond. Thanks in part to the great DeutschePanzerSchlussverkauf, the Leopard 2 and its variants have been bought by Germany, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, and Turkey. See also RUAG release | Rheinmetall release | Gratuitous LEGO BPz-3 video.