AMPV: Rheinmetall and KMW point the way with a trendsetting joint development project
Rheinmetall Defence of Dusseldorf and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann of Munich have launched a joint programme to develop a highly protected new vehicle family in the 5- to 9-ton weight class.
The first prototype of the four-wheel drive Armoured Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV) systems was presented to government and military officials in Berlin in June 2009.
A second prototype is set to be finished in October this year followed by in-house and army trials. The first version of the AMPV, a 9.3-ton patrol vehicle, will be ready for serial delivery by 2011.
Responding to the Bundeswehr’s current GFF (“protected command and role-specific vehicle”) procurement programme, Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann have developed a family of GFF 1/2-class vehicles that fully complies with user requirements. The two defence contractors are financing the development project on their own.
The objective of the joint project is to supply the armed forces of Germany and other nations with a vehicle that sets an entirely new standard for mobility, modularity, payload and protection technology; and to safeguard and promote certain technologies vital to German national security.
AMPV vehicle family
The vehicle family encompasses two type series. The agile AMPV 1 is the smaller of the two, and makes an ideal liaison vehicle. A higher level of protection and a heavier payload are the primary characteristics of the bigger AMPV 2. However, the entire vehicle family is based on standardized engineering principles and technologies.
Both type series feature a patrol vehicle with an unprotected floor in the rear section, and an equipment kit carrier with a safety cell extending all the way to the rear of the vehicle.Also planned is a special patrol version of the AMPV1 that can be airlifted in a CH53 transport helicopter.
Protection and mobility are the driving forces behind the AMPV
Two of the world’s best-known suppliers of land systems, KMW and Rheinmetall both bring extensive experience from previous programmes to the AMPV development project.
The highly protected vehicle cell is an autonomous armoured steel structure with a spall liner, while the reinforced undercarriage and reinforced cell structure offer optimum protection against landmines and IEDs. Moreover, add-on armour modules make sure that the various vehicle versions receive the required level of ballistic protection.
Drawing on past experience, the designers of the AMPV family have equipped the vehicles with a robust, high-performance running gear, independent wheel suspension, outstanding spring deflection and high ground clearance – all specifically designed with military requirements in mind. These engineering principles are borrowed from the Boxer programme. Special combat wheels with run-flat tyres assure continued mobility even in critical situations.
A powerful 3.2-litre diesel engine with an output of 200 kW guarantees excellent performance in all conditions. The vehicles all feature permanent four-wheel drive as well as automatic transmission and automatic differential lock management, relieving the strain on the driver.
The AMPV1 and AMPV2 are both extremely compact, and differ only slightly in height, length and wheelbase.
All vehicles in the AMPV family consist largely of identical components; the workstations in the fighting compartment are also identical, ensuring uniform operation. The advantages in terms of simplified logistics and training are readily evident.