Aussies to craft 100 Boxer heavy weapon carriers for Bundeswehr

The Australian branch of Rheinmetall Defense is preparing for what could be Australia’s largest export deal ever. The main focus of this monumental transaction is the production and delivery of 100 Boxer heavy weapon-type carriers, destined for the German Army, or the Bundeswehr. 

Boxer CRV achieved operational capability in the Australian Army
Photo credit: Rheinmetall

This extraordinary deal is supported by a remarkable investment of approximately 2.7 billion euros [$2.9 billion]. The contract in total encompasses 123 vehicles, however, 100 of these are marked for production within the “land down under”. As revealed by Nathan Poyner, the Managing Director of Rheinmetall’s Australian division, we can anticipate the first Australian-made Boxer vehicles to roll out as early as 2026.

About Boxer

The Boxer is a versatile armored fighting vehicle developed by the international consortium, ARTEC GmbH, based in Germany. The versatility of this platform sets it apart as it can serve in numerous capacities, most notably as a substantial weapon carrier. 

An examination of the Boxer’s dimensions reveals a robust, high-performance vehicle suitable for heavy-duty assignments. The length, width, and height measurements are approximately 7.93 meters, 2.99 meters, and 2.37 meters respectively, reflecting its impressive stature. Depending on the specific configuration, the Boxer’s combat weight fluctuates between 24 to 36.5 tons. 

What sets the Boxer apart is its modular design which is in line with current combat demands. This design facilitates the replacement of damaged parts and customization as per specific mission requirements. Furthermore, it houses state-of-the-art protection elements, including adaptable armor that can be upgraded to defend against various threats. 

UK to get extra Boxer MIVs, 600 kW MTU engine will power them
Photo credit: KMW

The Boxer’s pack

The Boxer is powered by a robust MTU 8V199 TE20 diesel engine that generates a maximum of 720 horsepower. This engine, coupled with the advanced suspension system, allows the Boxer to reach speeds of up to 103 km/h on roads and up to 10 km/h in water. 

The Boxer pack’s more than just power and protection; its operational range is equally impressive. With an exceptional maximum road range of about 1,050 kilometers without needing to refuel, it offers extended mobility. Adding to its adaptability, it’s air-transportable and can be swiftly airlifted using an A400M aircraft. Also worth noting, the Boxer can navigate water bodies with its dual propellers contributing to its amphibious characteristics. 

The selection of weapons available for the Boxer is determined by its current configuration. As a heavy weapon transporter, it can hold an array of weapon systems, spanning from anti-tank guided missiles to automatic grenade launchers and heavy machine guns. In addition, its vehicle turret can be equipped with multiple sensors and targeting systems, enhancing its overall combat capability.

The German Boxer program

Rheinmetall’s Center of Excellence for Military Vehicles, based in South East Queensland, will be responsible for the production of German Boxers. This state-of-the-art facility already employs more than 650 experts skilled in vehicle assembly, armaments, and intricate electronics for Australia and its global allies. 

British Boxer AFV gets a 600kW MTU engine and a higher electric load
Photo credit: Defence Guardian

Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, expressed his delight over the enhanced strategic defense cooperation between Germany and Australia. He attributed the success of the Australian German Boxer program to Rheinmetall’s enduring commitment to product innovation and sophisticated manufacturing within Australia, which, in his opinion, has significantly bolstered global security efforts. 

Besides assembling 211 Boxer vehicles commissioned under Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 project – including 133 CRV variants equipped with a manned digital Lance turret – Rheinmetall also maintains the Australian Army’s expansive HX truck fleet of over 2,900 vehicles. Additionally, the company provides the MASS Multi-Ammunition Soft-Kill System for the Royal Australian Navy, manages defense training program operations, and has successfully supplied over 200 HX trucks to the New Zealand Defense Force.

Boxer operators

UK to get extra Boxer MIVs, 600 kW MTU engine will power them
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Currently, the Boxer multirole armored fighting vehicle, alternatively known as the Boxer heavy weapon carrier, is employed by four countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and Lithuania. Germany boasts the largest fleet of these vehicles, possessing approximately 405 in their armory. The Netherlands isn’t far behind, with a fleet of around 200 Boxers, while Lithuania maintains a relatively smaller number, with an estimated 88 vehicles. 

Moreover, the Boxer has piqued the interest of the United Kingdom in bolstering its defense system. The UK Ministry of Defense has announced its intention to procure 500 of these formidable vehicles. 

Conversations are also underway with other nations that have expressed interest in the heavy-duty Boxer carrier. These nations include Slovenia and Indonesia, although the exact numbers they intend to procure remain undisclosed. Of course, we must bear in mind that these numbers are prone to change, as they’re dictated by factors such as budget allocations, the ever-changing landscape of strategic defense requirements, and the unpredictability of political decision-making.

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