Armor: April 20, 2002


Germany is set to move to its next generation of infantry fighting vehicles, the Schutzenpanzer-3. This is a 32-ton armored personnel carrier with a externally-mounted cannon (type not yet selected, likely to be in the 35mm range as it must penetrate enemy APCs at 2,500m). The cannon is also to fire a type of bursting ammunition to deal with troops in the open, and should be able to force helicopters away at 3,000 meters. The 32-ton limit is imposed by the future A400M air transport. The basic 32-ton "level one" vehicle is protected against 30mm projectiles across a 30-degree frontal arc and against shoulder-fired anti-tank rockets in a 60-degree arc. Extra armor can be added to produce the level two vehicle, which weighs 40 tons and is protected from 30mm sabot rounds through the 60-degree frontal arc and against shoulder-fired anti-tank rockets across a 90-degree arc. In extreme cases, more armor could be added to produce the level three vehicle. This weighs 45 tons and requires some preparation to have the external mounts modified to accept the larger armor blocks. This provides protection from 40mm shells across the frontal 60-degree arc, and against 30mm shells across the forward 90 degree arc. The vehicle will carry a driver, commander, gunner, and eight infantrymen. The engine will be at the front to provide more protection. There is a classified "defensive system" to block wire-guided anti-tank missiles. Drive will be electric rather than mechanical, and the vehicle will make extensive use of electronic systems, data links, and battlefield awareness systems. The first production lot (350 vehicles) will equip five battalions plus training units and maintenance float.--Stephen V Cole


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