Home > Features > Evolution of the Schutzenpanzer MARDER 1 ~ Pt2

Evolution of the Schutzenpanzer MARDER 1 ~ Pt2

Since its official introduction in 1971, the Schützenpanzer MARDER 1 AIFV (Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle) has been the main weapon system of Germany’s Panzer Grenadiers.

Carl Schulze continues, in this second part of his report: Between 1989 and 1998 a total of 2,097 vehicles were upgraded to Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3 standard, with the main aim of the upgrade being the improvement of armour protection. The vehicles were fitted with spaced steel add-on armour, stronger torsion bars and a new hydraulic dual-circuit brake system. Gear ratios of the final drives were changed to increase mobility and the rear fighting-compartment roof was given a new layout, now featuring only three hatches.

The Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3 features increased armour protection – by 1998 a total of 2,097 vehicles had been modified to A3 standard [© CS]

Other modifications included a new heating system for the rear fighting compartment, the integration of storage compartments in the rear ramp, installing of storage bins along the vehicle sides, fitting of a larger driver’s hatch and terminating of the firing ports. The coaxial MG was also moved to the left side of the turret.

From 2000 onwards, 68 Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3 AIFVs were converted into Marder 1 A3/VB-Trp (Vorgeschobener Beobachter Trupp or, observation post vehicles) and issued first to the mortar companies of the Panzer Grenadier battalions and from 2003 to the Forward Observers of the artillery battalions. As part of this conversion, the vehicles were fitted with the Zielortungsgerät TZG 90 mobile target detection system, the militarisierter Rechner, tragbar Model 86 (MRT 86) fire control computer, and the Precise Lightweight GPS Receiver 95 (PLGR 95).

This Marder 1 A3 AIFV of Panzerlehrbrigade 9 was seen during Exercise IRON TAURUS 2010 at the Altengrabow Training Area [© CS]

Between 1998 and 2000, a total of 27 Marder 1 A3s were converted into Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A4 Führungspanzer für Bataillonskommandeure, or Command Post Vehicles for Battalion Commanders, variants. These vehicles featured an improved communications suite that incorporated the SEM 93 radio with integrated cryptographic technology. As with the Marder 1 A2 previously, Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3s were also converted into Fahrschulpanzer Marder 1 A3 driver training vehicles.

In 1999 Panzer Grenadier assets belonged to the German combat forces that were among the first troops of the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) to enter the former Yugoslav province. The Kosovo deployment marked the first ever operational deployment of the Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3.

The Marder 1 A3 is powered by a 6-cylinder MTU MB 883 Ea-500 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 441kW at 2,200rpm and allowing it to reach a top speed of 65km/hr [© CS]

In 1999 German Panzer Grenadiers equipped with the Marder 1 A3 belonged to the first NATO forces entering war-torn Kosovo [© CS]

Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5
While the Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A3 was not deployed with the German IFOR and SFOR contingents to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the encountered mine threat in the country triggered a certain degree of mine awareness with Germany’s military planners. This resulted in the upgrading of 74 Marder 1 A3s to Marder 1 A5 standard, in order to improve their mine protection, between 2002 and 2005.

The Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5 features a mine protection kit that substantially improves the survivability of its crew in the case of a mine strike [© CS]

Most important modifications were the installation of a mine protection belly plate, reinforcements to the corners of the hull, a false floor and covers over weld seams. The vehicles were also fitted with new armoured side skirts, a spall liner and new fuel tanks featuring explosion protection technology. The frame with the seats was now decoupled from the floor and the seats fitted with safety belts and footrests.

As part of the vehicle’s new storage concept, all equipment previously mounted in brackets on the floor was moved elsewhere to prevent the kit from becoming secondary projectiles in the case of a mine strike. Three storage boxes were mounted on top of the hull.

Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5 crosses a war bridge constructed out of M3 Amphibious Bridging and Ferrying Equipment vehicles [© CS]

The running gear of the vehicles was also upgrade in order to allow it to deal with their increased weight. Additionally, the vehicles were fitted with new Type 1028 double-pin tracks manufactured by Diehl Defence Holding GmbH.

From 2003 onwards Marder 1 A5 Schützenpanzers served with the German KFOR contingent in Kosovo and from late 2006 onwards with the German ISAF contingent in northern Afghanistan.

From late 2006 onwards the Marder 1 A5 saw action with the German ISAF contingent in northern Afghanistan – this vehicle was seen in February 2011 [© CS]

Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5A1
Despite the fact that the Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5 proved itself right from the beginning of its Afghanistan deployment, it soon became clear that additional improvements were required.

The Marder 1 A5A1 features a Raumkühlanlage air-conditioning system and the Schutzausstattung CG-12 electronic RCIED countermeasure system plus MMT mobile camouflage system [© CS]

In October 2009, it was therefore decided to fit ten Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5s with a Raumkühlanlage air-conditioning system and the Schutzausstattung CG-12 electronic RCIED countermeasure system, under an Urgent Operational Requirement programme.

These vehicles were also fitted with the Mobile Multispektrale Tarnausstattung (MMT) mobile camouflage system, a variant of the Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System (MCS) manufactured by Saab Technologies AB in Sweden. The number of vehicles to be modified later was raised to 35. The first Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5A1s were fielded in Afghanistan in December 2010 and in the end 25 were deployed in total.

Rear view of a Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5A1 seen in Afghanistan in 2012 – note the air-conditioning system system on the left at the rear [© CS]

On the 2nd June 2011 one of the vehicles was destroyed by an massive IED some 36km south of Kunduz. In the incident, the driver was killed and five other crew members were badly wounded. From mid-2013 onwards the Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5A1 variants were redeployed to Germany as part of the drawdown of ISAF.

Footnote: Surplus Marder 1 A3s have so far been sold to Chile, Indonesia and Jordan.

Technical Data: Schützenpanzer Marder 1 A5A1

  • Crew: 9 soldiers (commander, gunner, driver and six dismounts)

  • Length: 7.767m (including air-conditioning unit):

  • Width: 3.38m

  • Height: 3.225m (to top of warning beacon)

  • Track width: 2.62m

  • Width of tracks: 500mm

  • Ground clearance: 428mm

  • Dimensions of rear ramp: 1.08m x 1.08m

  • Hull: Welded, rolled homogeneous steel armour

  • Add-on armour: Spaced armour made of rolled homogeneous steel armour

  • Gross vehicle weight: 38,500kg

  • Combat weight: 37,400kg

  • MLC class: 42

  • Maximum forward speed: 65km/hr

  • Maximum reverse speed: 65km/hr

  • Gradient: 60%

  • Slope: 30%

  • Vertical obstacle: 1m

  • Trench crossing: 2.5m

  • Operational road range: 435km

  • Operational off-road range: 190km

  • Engine: MTU MB 833 Ea-500 6-cylinder, turbocharged diesel unit developing 441kW at 2,200rpm

  • Transmission: Renk HSWL 194 hydro-mechanical gearshift, steering and pivot transmission with four forward and four reverse gears

  • Running gear: Six pairs of road wheels, one idler wheel, four return rollers and one drive sprocket per side

  • Track: Diehl Type 1028 A double-pin tracks with replaceable rubber pads; 84 track links per side

  • Suspension: Torsion bars of 56mm diameter, hydraulic shock absorbers and hydraulic bump stops

  • Brake system: Hydraulic dual-circuit brake system and mechanical/hydraulic parking brake

  • Fuel tank capacity: 630 litres

  • Armament: 1x 20mm MK 20 Rh 202 DM 6 Maschinenkanone automatic cannon, 1x coaxial 7.62mm MG3, 1x smoke grenade discharger system and 1x MILAN ATGW system

¤ Latest upgrade to Marder 1 A5:- Rheinmetall Integrates MELLS into Marder IFV

This Marder 1A5A1 seen in 2017 is fitted with perimeter protection introduced in 2013 for the hatches in the roof of the rear fighting compartment [© CS]

From 2000 onwards, 68 Marder 1 A3 AIFVs were converted into Marder 1 A3/VB-Trp observation post vehicles, one of which can be seen here [© CS]

As part of the conversion to Marder 1 A3/VB-Trp the mount for the TZG 90 mobile target detection system was fitted to the commander’s cupola [© CS]

Schützenpanzer Marder 1 – German Army Inventory 2018*

349x Marder 1 A3 (armoured infantry fighting vehicle)
33x Marder 1 A3 Beobachter Trupp (observation post vehicle)
15x Marder 1 A3 Fahrschulpanzer (driver training vehicle)
14x Marder 1 A4 Führungspanzer für Bataillonskommandeure (battalion command post vehicle)
39x Marder 1 A5 (armoured infantry fighting vehicle)
34x Marder 1 A5A1 (armoured infantry fighting vehicle)

*Source: Gepanzerte Fahrzeuge der Bundeswehr 2018, by Ralph Zwilling, Tankograd Publishing ~ www.tankograd.com

Article © Carl Schulze 2018 – Images © Carl Schulze unless noted.

This Marder 1A3 was operating in the role of Yellow Forces advancing on NATO eFP defenders in Eastern Estonia about 10km from the Russian border during Exercise KEVADTORM ’17 [© Bob Morrison]


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