|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Infantry fighting vehicle|
In September 1992, Thyssen Henschel (which has now become Rheinmetall Landsysteme and part of the Rheinmetall group) completed the first prototype of a new family of tracked armoured fighting vehicles which has been given the company designation R 495.
This family of AFVs has been developed specifically as a private venture and is already being marketed to a number of countries.
The R 495 has a typical combat weight of 26 tonnes. To reduce total life cycle costs, proven and production components have been used in the design of the R 495 wherever possible.
Although some design work was carried out in 1989-90, the decision to go ahead and build a complete prototype was only taken in October 1991. The first prototype was in the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) configuration, was built in just 11 months and, following the official roll-out at Kassel, started automotive trials.
In addition to the IFV, Rheinmetall Landsysteme is proposing that the chassis could be used for a wide range of roles including anti-aircraft, anti-tank, ambulance, command post vehicle, reconnaissance, recovery, light tank with 105 mm turret and armoured personnel carrier.
Although development and construction of the prototypes of the R 495 has been undertaken in Germany, Rheinmetall Landsysteme is offering this for the export market on technology transfer/co-production basis.
The Rheinmetall Landsysteme R 495 has been marketed to a number of countries but, as of September 2003, there had been no sales. It could also be manufactured under licence overseas. Description
The hull of the R 495 is of all-welded steel armour construction to which additional layers of spaced steel have been added for increased battlefield survivability. The additional passive armour is in modular sections that two men can change in the field very quickly using simple tools. Spaced armour is fitted to the top of the hull to provide protection from top attack weapons.
The driver is seated at the front left and has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the left rear with three integral day periscopes, one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for driving at night.
The powerpack is mounted to the right of the driver and consists of an MTU 183 TE22 diesel coupled to a modified ZF LSG 1500 fully automatic transmission.
The IFV has a three-man crew consisting of driver, commander and gunner and seven infantrymen seated either side of the hull facing each other, four on the left and three on the right.
The infantry can rapidly dismount via two doors in the rear of the hull that open outwards with each of these having a new spherical observation device combined with a firing port. Over the rear part of the troop compartment are two circular roof hatches.
Each infantryman has an individual seat complete with a seat belt and the seats can be adjusted so that a total of four men, two each side, can sleep at any one time.
The prototype of the R 495 was fitted with an Italian Oto Melara power-operated turret armed with a 25 mm Oerlikon Contraves KBA cannon and a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun. The 25 mm cannon is fully stabilised and day and night sights are fitted as standard. The turret has the commander on the left and the gunner on the right. The commander is provided with a roof-mounted stabilised sight that can be traversed through a full 360º. Mounted either side of the turret is a bank of four 76 mm electrically operated smoke grenade launchers firing forwards.
More recently the R 495 has been fitted with the new private venture German Rheinmetall Landsysteme (previously known as KUKA) 30 mm E4 two-man power-operated turret armed with a Mauser MK 30 mm cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun.
The suspension of the R 495 is the torsion bar type. Each side has six dual rubber-tyred roadwheels with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear and three track-return rollers. The first, second, fifth and sixth roadwheels have hydraulic shock-absorbers and the double-pin tracks are from Diehl.
Standard equipment includes digital electronics, a video monitoring system for the infantry, consisting of a TV camera mounted in either side of the hull with a single TV monitor inside, explosion-proof diesel fuel tanks, an NBC system and spall liners.
One of the key requirements of the R 495 is that it should be fully air-transportable in a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with just the armour skirts removed. Variants
Using the same basic chassis and automotive components, a wide range of variants can be developed, some of which are mentioned under Development.
This was completed late in 1993 and made its first appearance at the Eurosatory 94 exhibition held in June 1994.
The second prototype has five roadwheels either side and has been fitted with a Krauss-Maffei Wegmann one-man cupola armed with a 12.7 mm M2 machine gun that can be aimed and fired under complete armour protection. Mounted either side of the cupola is a bank of four electrically operated 76 mm smoke grenade dischargers firing forwards.
In addition to the crew of two (commander/gunner and driver) it can also carry eight fully equipped infantrymen in the rear troop compartment.
The powerpack consists of the MTU 183 TE22 diesel developing 600 hp coupled to a ZF LSG 1500 fully automatic transmission. Other features are similar to the first prototype of the R 495.
The second prototype of the TH 495 has been tested in Malaysia. This version of the TH 495 has a combat weight of 21.6 tonnes and is 5.97 m long, 2.84 m wide and has an overall height of 2.39 m. As with other members of the R 495 the actual weight and height, and therefore power-to-weight ratio does depend on the armament system installed. When armed with the 12.7 mm M2 machine gun 800 rounds of ammunition are carried.
Late in 2001, it was revealed that Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH had proposed its private venture R 495 full-tracked armoured fighting vehicle family to meet the UK Army requirement for its Future Rapid Effects System (FRES).
It is considered unlikely that the UK will adopt the R 495.