The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The nations participating in the Boxer program have changed as the program has developed. The Boxer vehicle is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (armoured vehicle technology) industrial group, and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). ARTEC GmbH is based in Munich; its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) on the German side, and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland B.V. for the Netherlands. Overall, Rheinmetall has a 64% stake in the joint venture.
A distinctive and unique feature of the vehicle is its composition of a drive platform module and interchangeable mission modules which allow several configurations to meet different operational requirements.
Other names in use or previously used are GTK (gepanzertes Transport-Kraftfahrzeug; armoured transport vehicle) Boxer and MRAV (multirole armoured vehicle).
|Type||Armoured fighting vehicle|
|Place of origin||Germany/United Kingdom/Netherlands (further details in main text)|
|Used by||See Operators|
|No. built||500 as of January 2019|
|Mass||24,000 kg (standard); 36,500 – 38,500 kg (combat)|
|Length||7.93 m (26 ft 0 in)|
|Width||2.99 m (9 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.37 m (7 ft 9 in) (baseline vehicle)|
|Crew||Varies by role. In APC configuration – 3 + maximum of 8|
|Armor||AMAP composite armour|
|various, depends on configuration|
|Engine||MTU 8V199 TE20 Diesel rated at EURO 3
530 kW (711 hp) (has increased – see text)
|Power/weight||16.1 kW/t (max weight @ 530 kW))|
|Suspension||independent double wishbone coil (8×8)|
|1,100 km (684 mi)|
|Speed||103 km/h (64 mph)|
The Boxer is an eight-wheeled multirole vehicle, which at the time of its development easily dwarfed most contemporary vehicles with its size. With a combat weight of 33 tonnes it was also about 10 tonnes heavier than many of its contemporaries. In recent years the size/weight differences between Boxer and its contemporaries has reduced considerably, with Boxer quoted to have a combat weight of 36,500 kg in 2016, while vehicles such as ST Kinetics‘ Terrex 3 had a quoted combat weight of 35 tonnes, and Nexter‘s VBCI, Patria‘s AMV and General Dynamics‘ Piranha V all weighing in around the 32 to 33 tonne mark. Current combat weight of the Boxer is quoted as up to 38.5 tonnes.
Boxer consists of two key elements: the platform/drive-line (the drive module) and the removable mission module.
The platform/drive module has the driver located front right, with the power pack to the left. The MTU/Allison powerpack can be replaced under field conditions in about 30 minutes and can, if required, be run outside of the vehicle for test purposes. Boxer is full-time all-wheel drive, the front four wheels steering. Suspension is double-wishbone coil springs, independent all round. Tyres are either 405/80 R 27 or 415/80 R 685, and a central tyre inflation system and run-flat inserts are fitted.
The mission module is a key (and unique) feature of Boxer, it allows the vehicle to be rapidly changed to meet different operational requirements. Boxer mission modules are pod-like units that are fitted to drive modules to form a complete mission variant vehicle. Mission modules are attached by four points and can be swapped within an hour under field conditions. The driver can access his compartment through the mission module or in an emergency via the large single-piece power-operated hatch above this position.
Mission modules ordered by Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands include:
- Ambulance (Germany and Netherlands)
- Armoured personnel carrier (Germany and Netherlands)
- Battle damage repair (Netherlands)
- Cargo (Netherlands)
- Command post (Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands)
- Engineer group (Netherlands)
- Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Lithuania)
The Netherlands Boxer order originally comprised 60 command post, 52 ambulance, 27 cargo, 53 engineer group and eight driver training vehicles. In May 2016 the order was amended to include 92 engineer group, 12 cargo and 36 command post, totals remaining 200. 12 of the 92 engineer vehicles will now be converted to battle damage repair configuration.
The initial German Boxer order comprised 125 armoured personnel carriers, 72 ambulance, 65 command post and 10 driver training vehicles. All 131 vehicles from the second order will be in a new configuration of the armoured personnel carrier (Gepanzertes Transportfahrzeug) and in A2 configuration.
Other module options are numerous and further details of many of these can be found elsewhere in this text. In brief, options include a 155 mm/52-calibre gun. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has developed the 155 mm/52-calibre Artillery Gun Module (AGM) as a private venture. KMW has also fitted a Boxer IFV variant with a further development of the unmanned turret originally developed for installation on the Puma AIFV; this in production for the German Army. Rheinmetall’s Boxer IFV is fitted with their Lance two-person turret armed with the Rheinmetall Mauser MK30-2 air bursting munition (ABM) dual-feed stabilised cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial MG. Rheinmetall has also fitted a Boxer with a 20 kW high energy laser (HEL) system with the 5 kW/10 kW HEL integrated in the rear mission module. Boxer is also the probable platform of the German army’s future SysFla anti aircraft system, incorporating the LFK NG missile and the MANTIS gun system. On 4 June 2018 Rheinmetall announced that at Eurosatory 2018 the company would show a Boxer fitted with the Oerlikon Skyranger air defence system.
Most Boxers are equipped with a remote weapon station for self-defense. Dutch vehicles are fitted with the Protector M151 RWS from Kongsberg fitted with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. German vehicles are usually fitted with the FLW-200 from KMW, which can be fitted with either a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun, a 12.7 mm M3M HMG or a 40 mm GMW automatic grenade launcher. The FLW-200 has dual-axis stabilization and incorporates a laser rangefinder and a thermal imager. As possible firepower upgrade KMW has developed the FLW-200+ and presented it mounted on top of a Boxer APC at Eurosatory 2012. The FLW-200+ allows the usage of a 20 mm autocannon like the Rheinmetall Rh 202 with 100 rounds loaded at the gun. The RWS is two-axis stabilized and is fitted with a CCTV camera, thermal imager and laser rangefinder.
Lithuanian Boxers will be fitted with the Israeli-made RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II RCT turret, mounting a fully stabilised Orbital ATK Mk 44 30 mm dual-feed cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial MG, and Spike-LR missiles. The turret will be fitted with an independent commander’s sight with both commander and gunner provided with thermal and daylight channels.
Australian Boxer CRVs will mount the Rheinmetall LANCE 30 mm two-man turret, fitted with the Rheinmetall Mauser MK30-2/ABM [air-bursting munition] dual-feed stabilised cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial MG. Turret traverse is all electric through a full 360° with weapon elevation from -15° to +45° with the latter useful for urban operations. A Rheinmetall computerised fire-control system is installed, which allows stationary and moving targets to be engaged with a high first-round-hit probability while the host platform is moving. The gunner has a Rheinmetall Stabilised Electro-Optical Sighting System (SEOSS), which typically has day/thermal channels and an eye-safe laser rangefinder. The commander has a Rheinmetall SEOSS panoramic sighting system, which allows hunter/killer target engagements to take place.
Boxer has also been shown fitted with the Oerlikon Skyranger air defence system turret. This is armed with Rheinmetall’s 35mm x 228 calibre Revolver Gun, this having the option of a dual ammunition feeding system that allows the operator a choice of two types of shell. It would primarily fire the 35 Advanced Hit Efficiency And Destruction (AHEAD) ammunition, which although optimised for the air defence role is highly effective against ground targets including lightly protected vehicles. The secondary nature would be Frangible Armour-Piercing Discarding Sabot (FAPDS) ammunition. The gun has a cyclic rate of fire of 1,000 rounds a minute, with a typical aerial target being engaged by a burst of 20 to 24 rounds.
The Boxer is constructed from rolled all-welded steel armour to which the AMAP-B module-based appliqué armour kit can be fitted as required by mission threat estimates. AMAP-B modules are taken from the IBD Diesenroth AMAP modular armour package and are fitted to the vehicle with shock absorbing mountings. Exact details of Boxer protection levels have now been classified. According to ARTEC, the vehicle will withstand anti-personnel and large anti-tank mines of an undisclosed type under the wheel, platform or side attack. It has previously been stated that Boxer’s baseline armour is all-round resistant to 14.5 mm armour-piercing ammunition in accordance with STANAG 4569 Level 4. To increase survivability in case of armour penetration, the crew compartment is completely covered by an AMAP-L spall liner. The spall liner stops most of the fragments of the armour and projectile brought about by hull penetration. To further enhance crew protection, the seats are decoupled from the floor, this preventing the shock of a mine-detonation being directly transmitted to the crew. The roof armour of the Boxer is designed to withstand artillery fragments and top attack weapons such as bomblets fitted with a High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead. The Boxer drive module A1 (as designated by the German BWB) is an upgraded version of the baseline A0 version of the Boxer drive module, with the primary difference being the installation of a mine protection package fitted to the belly and wheel stations of the vehicle. The vehicle is fitted an additional armour package focused on protecting against side and underbody blast threats. This consists of the AMAP-M and AMAP-IED packages. An unspecified electronic countermeasure (ECM) system was also fitted to counter IEDs. These changes result in a 1,058 kg weight increase for the A1 over the baseline A0 APC variant. For the A2 Boxer protection is reported to have been increased further.
The power pack of Boxer consists of a MTU 8V199 TE20 diesel developing (originally) 720 hp and coupled to an Allison HD4070 fully automatic transmission with seven forward and three reverse gears. The 8V199 TE20 engine is a militarised further development of the Mercedes-Benz OM 500 truck engine, modified by MTU to produce increased power via changes to the turbocharger, fuel injection and cooling systems. To maintain mobility levels at increased operating weights, the 8V199 TE20 is now available developing either 734 hp (540 kW) or 815 hp (600 kW). The powerpack can be replaced under field conditions in approximately 20 minutes. The vehicle is fitted with three fuel tanks containing a total of 562 litres, divided between a 280-litre front tank, 238-litre rear tank, and a 44-litre reserve tank.
Boxer has full-time 8 × 8 drive with differential locks on all axles and the front four wheels steer. Tyres are 405/80 R27 Michelin XML on German and Dutch Boxers, with the Land 400 prototypes being fitted with 415/80 R 685 Michelin XZL 2, these having a 500 kg per wheel greater load rating than the XML and being more ‘all-terrain’ in design than the rocks/mud-optimised XML. A central tyre inflation system (CTIS) is fitted, and run-flat inserts allow for 30 km travel at up to 50 km/h in the event of a flat. Braking is provided by Knott pneumatic ABS on all wheels with main braking power actuated on the front two axles. Suspension is of the fully independent double wishbone type with coil springs. Boxer can be transported in the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter.
The German and Dutch base vehicles are virtually identical, the mission modules the only significant difference.
Dutch variants (with relevant other user notes)
- Boxer CP (Boxer Command Post) — The Command Post variants of Boxer are used for command and control in theatre, acting as a centre for tactical communications. Secured communication, displays for situational awareness and instruments for network-enabled warfare are key characteristics of this variant. The vehicle offers room for four workstations connected via local area network to the Battlefield Management System (BMS) and the Theater Independent Army and Air Force Network (Titaan). The crew consists of driver, commander/weapon operator, two staff officers, one staff assistant and one additional crew member.
- Amount ordered: 36
- Boxer AMB (Boxer Ambulance) — The Boxer AMB replaced the YPR-765 prgwt variant of the AIFV (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle) casualty transport. It can accommodate seven casualties that are seated or three lying down on stretchers, or one of the following combinations: three seated and two lying down, or four seated and a single casualty lying down. The crew consists of driver, commander and a single medic. The Dutch AMB differs from the German medical treatment vehicle variant despite similar and often confused designation usage with the Dutch vehicle being an MEV to the German vehicle’s medical treatment role.
- Amount ordered: 52
- Boxer GNGP (Boxer Geniegroep) – The Boxer GNPR is an engineering and logistics support vehicle and will be deployed for the transport of troops and engineer group equipment. It provides seating for six dismounts with space available for their personal equipment and an additional separate stowage section for munitions. It may be deployed as a support vehicle with other units or used for independent assignments such as route clearance, or as a protected work location during mine clearance or demolition operations. The Boxer GNGP replaces the YPR-765 prgm/PRCO-C3 variant of the AIFV (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle). The Royal Netherlands Army will now convert 12 of the 92 GNGP vehicles to Boxer Battle Damage Repair (BDR) configuration. The BDR variant is able to accommodate the special equipment, tools, expendable and non-expendable supplies needed to carry out diagnoses, maintenance and minor repairs if required. Crew consists of an engineer commander, driver, observing commander, gunner, and five engineers.
- Amount ordered: 92 (12 to be converted to BDR configuration)
- Boxer Cargo (Boxer Cargo) — The Boxer Cargo replaces the YPR-765 prv variant of the AIFV (Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle). It is equipped with a special loading floor to secure cargo during transport and can transport a maximum of two standard one tonne army pallets (max. load 2,5 t). The interior design of the vehicle allows adaptation as necessary for different kinds of missions. For conducting peace-keeping missions or other peacetime operations the set of vehicle equipment can be changed and tailored to suit as required. Crew consists of commander/gunner and driver.
- Amount ordered: 12
- Boxer DTV (Boxer Driver Training Vehicle) — This variant is equipped with a training module. The driver sits in the conventional driver’s station and the instructor is seated in an elevated position in the driver training cabin. Active occupant protection is designed to protect the crew sitting exposed in the driver training cabin. In the event of a roll-over accident, the instructor and upper occupant seats are electronically retracted into the Driver Training Module. In normal use, the instructor can monitor the trainee driver via a duplicated control and display unit and override gear selector, brake and accelerator pedal of the driver’s station. Steering override is available as an option. Crew consists of a trainee driver, instructor, plus up to two additional trainee passengers.
- Amount ordered: 8
Other variants including prototypes, concepts and developmental platforms
- Lithuania (Vilkas/Wolf) — Lithuania will receive three main Boxer variants, these designated IFV Squad, IFV Platoon and IFV Company Commander. All will be fitted with the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II RCT turret, mounting a fully stabilised Orbital ATK Mk 44 30 mm dual-feed cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial MG, and Spike-LR missiles. A range of turret options were bid including the unmanned LANCE turret from the PSM Puma IFV, however the selected vehicle mounts the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Samson Mk II RCT armed with a 30 mm cannon, 7.62 mm co-axial MG, and Spike-LR missiles. The Platoon and Company Commander variants vary by mission fit primarily in the areas of additional voice and data communication equipment as well as modified BMS. Two driver training vehicles are also included in the order.
- Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) — Boxer CRV is a development of the Boxer designed to fulfil the Australian LAND 400 Phase 2 requirement. It mounts the Rheinmetall Defence Lance modular turret system (MTS) fitted with the MK30-2/ABM cannon. Other variants being developed for Australia are an Ambulance, a Command & Control, a Joint Fires, a Surveillance, and Repair & Recovery variants.
- Boxer JODDA — Boxer JODAA (joint operational demonstrator for advanced applications) is a technology demonstrator used by the German Army and Rheinmetall Landsysteme to carry out R&D studies around potential Boxer improvements. It is based on the Boxer armoured medical treatment vehicle variant and is regularly refitted for a range of purposes and roles.
- Boxer IFV Demonstrator/RCT30 — Boxer IFV Demonstrator is a technology demonstrator used by Rheinmetall Landsysteme to demonstrate, market, and test the company’s preferred configuration for an IFV variant of the Boxer platform. Boxer RCT30 IFV is a technology demonstrator used by KMW for the same purposes. The vehicle mounts the unmanned Rheinmetall RCT, the latest development of the turret fitted to the German Army’s PSM Puma IFV. The turret is installed on the forward part of the rear Boxer mission module and armed with the stabilised Orbital ATK Armament Systems 30 mm MK44 dual-feed cannon with option of a coaxial 7.62 mm MG. On top of this is the KMW FL 200 RCWS armed with a 12.7 mm MG that can be replaced by a 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm MG or a 40 mm AGL. It was stated that an alternate primary armament, the Mauser MK30-2 ABM dual-feed 30 mm cannon could be installed if requested.
- Boxer Armoured Recovery Module (ARM) — The Boxer ARM is a repair and recovery mission module developed by FFG to provide Boxer users with an intimate recovery and maintenance capability as well as an operational means to mount mission modules onto drive modules.
- Boxer RCH155 — Boxer RCH155 mounts a version of the KMW Artillery Gun Module (AGM). This is a further development of the PzH 2000 155 mm 52-calibre artillery system. The system was developed to meet potential requirements of export customers as the wheeled platform has greater strategic mobility than tracked and heavier PzH 2000-type systems. It has been confirmed that initial firing trials have taken place.
- Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehcile (MIV) — Four Boxer variants are currently proposed for the UK’s MIV requirement, these being Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Protected Mobility (MIV-PM), Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Command and Control (MIV-CC), Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Ambulance (MIV-A), and Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Repair and Recovery (MIV-REC). These are expected to be broadly similar to existing Australian, Dutch or German variants.
- Boxer WFEL bridging module concept — The Boxer WFEL bridging module concept is a variant designed by WFEL and KMW as a private venture, to meet the need to integrate the Leguan bridging system onto medium-sized vehicles. The concept model is expected to fit onto the standard Boxer without the need to design a new platform. The concept model is expected to launch a 14 m span bridge with the potential of a 22 m span bridge which is yet to be designed.
A prototype Boxer seen in 2004. Production deliveries were scheduled to commence in 2004, but numerous design changes combined with political problems delayed production until 2008
German Army Boxer in ambulance configuration. The German and Dutch base vehicles are virtually identical, mission modules and fitments the only significant difference.
German Boxer with FLW-200 remote weapon station
From the rear, a German Army Boxer fitted with a FLW 200 RWS
Dutch Army Boxer in command post configuration – 36 of which were ordered
Driver training variant of Boxer being transported by a Faun SLT Elefant HET
Lithuanian Army Vilkas (Boxer) IFV.
Boxer is currently being offered to meet the UK’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement.
- Germany: German Army – 403 vehicles, deliveries until 2020.
- Lithuania: Lithuanian Land Force – On December 11, 2015 Lithuania decided to buy 88 Boxer armored vehicles armed with Israeli RAFAEL Samson Mk II enhanced survivability multiple weapon stations. The order, worth €385.6 million, was placed on 22 August 2016 and will run from 2017 to 2021. In Lithuanian service these vehicles will be known as IFV Vilkas (Vilkas being Lithuanian for wolf). The Lithuanian MoD announced on 18 July 2018 that the country’s first two Boxer infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) prototypes had entered trials in Germany.
- Netherlands: Royal Netherlands Army – 200, deliveries from 2013 until 2018. The last Dutch Boxer was produced in July 2018.
- Australia: Australian Army – 2 vehicles delivered as of mid-July 2019. 209 vehicles are still on order under the Land 400 Phase 2 program (with the option for an additional 11 ambulance variants). Final deliveries are expected during 2026
United Kingdom: British Army – Following an announcement on 31 March 2018 by the UK government that it was re-joining the Boxer programme, the UK government announced on 3 April that Boxer had been selected by the British Army to meet its Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement. On 19 July the UK MoD disclosed its intent to order between 400 and 600 Boxer with options for a further 900, leading to a potential maximum procurement of 1500 vehicles. If procured, the first vehicles are due to enter service in 2023. As a result of the UK’s intended larger order and its return to being a program partner, an option to build and export Boxer from the UK will be explored. In January 2019 Rheinmetall announced that subject to government approvals the company would buy a 55% share of UK-based BAE Systems‘ land business for £28.6 m. The joint venture (JV) would be called Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and be headquartered at BAE’s existing facility in Telford, Shropshire. If successful, the JV will have a positive effect on the MIV procurement. On November 5, 2019, it was announced that a £2.8 billion deal for more than 500 Boxer armoured vehicles had been signed. There will be an initial 5 prototypes, followed by 523 series vehicles for a total of 528 units. Deliveries would start in 2022.
Artillery Gun Module
The Artillery Gun Module (AGM, Artillerie-Geschütz-Modul) is an air-portable self-propelled howitzer designed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It is based on technology used in the German Army Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) system, to provide more air portable self-propelled artillery, transportable by Airbus A400 aircraft.
German soldiers with 4th Battery, 131st Artillery Battalion carry out a fire mission with self propelled howitzers (PzH 2000).
The system is fully autonomous, the crew sitting in the cab, with similar performance to the PzH 2000, but with reduced cost, crew levels and weight. The AGM uses the PzH 2000 ballistic fire-control computer with integrated NATO Armaments Ballistic Kernel and the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Artillery Command and Control System. It is a modular system, the gun module can be fitted on a tracked or wheeled chassis. Costs can be reduced by fitting it to a users suitable chassis of choice. Current development vehicles use a MLRS chassis. A vehicle independent auxiliary power unit (allowing the gun to be used with the carrier engine shut down) and an inertial reference unit with a Global Positioning System (GPS) connection are fitted. During trials in 2006, a demonstrator vehicle fired a volley of ten 155 mm rounds in 2 minutes and 19 seconds with a crew of two being seated in the fully armoured protected cab.
A further development of the AGM was revealed in 2008 as the Donar 155mm self-propelled artillery system. The system uses a modified ASCOD 2 IFV chassis with a newer, more efficient two-man turret with a fully automatic ammunition loading and handling system.
In April 2014, KMW decided to integrate the AGM onto the Boxer armored vehicle, with the system making an appearance at Eurosatory in June 2014. The Boxer has to prove it can deal with recoil forces without stabilization, but stabilization concepts can be added if needed to retain shoot and scoot and 360 degree firing capability. The Boxer-AGM system could be used as an upgrade option for countries with existing boxer fleets. Test firings are scheduled for late 2014.
As of 2019, firing trials with the turret traversed front and to its sides were carried out at WTD 41 proving ground and were successful without the use of stabilizers. The trials also demonstrated the ability to fire an 8-round burst and redeploy under 90 seconds, and carry out multi-round simultaneous impact missions. The combination of the Boxer vehicle with AGM became known as Remote Controlled Howitzer 155 (RCH 155) due to the turret module being remote controlled. Additionally, a remote weapons station with a .50 caliber machine gun has been fitted on the roof.
Boxer RCH 155mm self-propelled gun.. With a fully automated FCS and loading system it only needs a crew of two.
Boxer is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (ARmoured vehicle TEChnology) under the overall management of the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). Artec is owned by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles GmbH (RMMV) and Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Nederland B.V. (formerly Stork).
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