Rheinmetall has been awarded a contract by the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) to replace the obsolete thermal imaging aiming devices on the Marder infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) with state-of-the-art Saphir 2.6 MK devices. This contract forms part of an effort to extend the service life of the Marder IFV and maintain the vehicle’s combat readiness.
The Saphir 2.6 MK (MK: Marder configuration) has been specially developed for the Marder IFV by Rheinmetall Electronics and will be used for reconnaissance and target engagement. The core technology is also used elsewhere by the Bundeswehr and other armies, and this will allow synergies with regard to procurement and operation. A total of 260 equipment kits will be delivered in 2022 and 2023, and the scope of delivery includes extra devices for stockpiling as well as related accessories for use by the troops.
The new devices will significantly improve the observation range and round-the-clock reconnaissance quality of the vehicles, due to enhanced detector resolution and state-of-the-art display technology. Advanced image processing software allows full performance to be achieved under any operating conditions.
Rheinmetall will be manufacturing the thermal imaging aiming devices entirely in Germany, with the aid of numerous subcontractors such as AIM Infrarot-Module GmbH of Heilbronn, a Rheinmetall affiliate.
The Bundeswehr intend for the German mechanized infantry units to use the Marder for several more years, and in addition to these new thermal imaging aiming devices, the vehicle has also been integrated with the MELLS multirole lightweight guided missile system and a new driver’s night vision device. The armies of a number of other nations also continue to rely on this robust, battle-tested infantry fighting vehicle.