|Manufacturer:||Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Nuclear/biological/chemical reconnaissance vehicle|
Even more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, nuclear, biological and chemical warfare agents remain a serious, even growing threat. In particular, the increasing propagation of biological and chemical agents cannot be ruled out due to their relatively easy production compared to nuclear agents.
Moreover, the growing industrialization presents a considerable threat potential. To be able to react quickly and appropriately to ROTA- events, i.e. release other than attack, leading to the emission of whatever hazardous materials is a vital task for military leaders as well.
Terrorism is another growing threat to populations, forces and territory, as well as to international security. Therefore, the ability to reliably and quickly detect the covert release of NBC warfare agents and other toxic substances even
under difficult conditions has become increasingly important in recent years and will gain further importance in the future.
Being one of the leading manufacturers of highly mobile NBC Reconnaissance Systems (NBC-RS) for military NBC defence and civil disaster control since many years, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH offers a broad range of products related to NBC defence tasks. The following article gives a brief overview of Rheinmetall's various products that can be used either as individual systems or in combination in a NBC Reconnaissance unit.
To sufficiently tackle such a multi-facet threat a multi-level network of appropriate integrated NBC Reconnaissance Systems is necessary. Such networks to detect and identify current and potential NBC threats are currently being installed by many armies worldwide as part of their NBC Defence Forces.
These NBC Defence Forces support all the other combat units in repulsing of nuclear, biological and chemical warfare agents. With the help of their integrated NBC Reconnaissance Systems, they are able to assess the engagement of NBC warfare agents and the extent of nuclear, biological or chemical contamination in order to warn the endangered troops.
By the TPzl - FOX / FUCHS, the forces can dispose a powerful armoured wheeled vehicle, which can either serve for the transport of personnel and material, as a command vehicle, as an armoured carrier for special suites or as an armoured detection and reconnaissance vehicle.
TheTPzl-FOX/FUCHS stands out for the following characteristics:
- High mobility and manoeuvrability on road(max. 105 km/h)and off-road
- Large operating range (approx.800 km) and high payload
- Amphibious capability (approx.10 km/h) at a high degree of amphibious safety
- Basic ballistic protection from 7.62 mm AP, optionally up to 14.5 mm plus additional mine protection
- Modern NBC protection for the crew
At present, the large NBC-protected interior and the high payload of the TPz1-FOX/FUCHS enables the integration of 18 different suites for a remarkable variety of military missions. The extensive use of assemblies, wear and tear parts of the series production of commercial trucks results in a cost-effective maintenance and repair.
As a carrier of a NBC Reconnaissance Suite the TPzl-FOX/FUCHS has impressingly proven its extraordinary reliability and versatility not only in the USA and Germany and in international missions during the past years. Apart from the German Army, the armed forces of the USA, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway and Saudi Arabia are using modified versions of the TPz1-FOX/FUCHS as highly 4 mobile NBC Reconnaissance Systems. In total, more than 250 of these systems in service throughout the world have proven their capabilities and reliability.
The task of the NBC Reconnaissance Forces of quick and large area NBC reconnaissance requires a highly mobile vehicle offering extensive and reliable analytic capabilities. The NBC Reconnaissance System (NBC-RS) FOX/FUCHS is designed and fielded in accordance with the tactical deployment requirements of the NBC Defence Forces. Extensive combat effectiveness improvements have been carried out for adaptation of the NBC-systems to today's improved mission requirements (biological reconnaissance FOX /FUCHS). In the field of NBC reconnaissance, the NBC-RS Reconnaissance System FOX / FUCHS enables a significant increase in performance by reduction of the reconnaissance time, gaining significant results including the sensitive battlefield data allowing to feedback these information for use in Command and Control Systems.
The continuous upgrade and development process carried out by Rhemmetall Landsysteme GmbH is understandable by the evolution oftheNBC-RS FOX/FUCHS family and their operational improvements since introduction.
All NBC-R5 FOX/FUCHS have as common equipment:
- Radiological dose-measuring meter with two external sensors (N-detection)
- Mass spectrometer for C-warning and detection
- Double wheel sampling system DWSS
- NBC marker set and the NBC sample unit (N+C)
- Vehicle orientation system
The carrier vehicle FUCHS itself with the spetial NBC tail and all-common NBC over-pressure system for crew protection is also common to all wersions.
The Basic German NBC-RS-FUCHS is equipped with:
- ASG-1 device for radiological measurements, which includes two external sensors
- C-detection unit including the mass spectrometer MM-1 with integrated probe head
- Double wheel sampling unit
- NBC marker and sampler unit
The Saudi NBC Reconnaissance System FUCHS is currently in a status like this basic German NBC-RS FUCHS.
A first operational combat efficiency improvement (KWS) led to the following changes:
- The radiological device was supplemented by the dose rate meter MAB-500
- A personal dose meter EDW-150 and a surface contamination measurement device MicroCont were added
- C-warning and detection mass spectrometer was expanded by the gas chromatograph (GC-Equipment), consisting of the furnace and the sampler unit
- Integration of a weather station
- CDPU with software
(usable forthe commander and surveyor)
- Air-condition unit
The American variant, the NBC-RS-FOXwas activated in 1989/90. With the beginning of OD5 (Operation Desert Shield) the American Army used 65 German FUCHS vehicles (XM93-M93). The FUCHS version was adapted by Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH to the US Army mission profile within a short period of time to allow the system to join the war of liberation of Kuwait.
Today 123 NBC-RS FOX vehicles serve successfully within the US Army and the US Marine Corps.
To adapt the system to changed requirements Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH is currently improving the NBC-Reconnaissance Suite of the NBC-RS FUCHS furthermore.
The existing radiological device is replaced by a modern one (with two external sensors) to expand the measurement ranges of the device itself. This system gains the following improvements:
- GC Equipment additional totheMMl-Mass-Spectrometer
- Weather station mounted on top of a mast
- GPS-receiver and a civil navigation system
- An infrared night vision system and a cable winch unit adapted to the carrier
- Microsoft compatible hardware with software "NBC-lnspector" was integrated forthe first time
- An existing simulator unit for the training of the crew was adapted to the MLI status
The Netherlands variant of the NBC Reconnaissance System FUCHS has been started to be converted from its previous "ELOKA"-Suite (i.e. Electronic Warfare) to bear the most modern NBC-Reconnaissance Equipment, almost identical with the UK variant.
As soon as any irregularities are detected during this monitoring, samples are collected from the environmental air and passed into the vehicle for further examination. Additional samples can be taken from the ground and from water.
Since an online-detection or even remote sensing of biological warfare agents analogous to the identification of chemical agents by a mass spectrometer or by use of additional optical remote detecting devices is not expected to be available or in an useable technical status in the near or mid-future and since the different types of biological agents (bacteria, virus, toxins) require specific methods of identification, the biological analysis has to be carried out by means of laboratory activities and by use of an extensive set of equipment. This can be realised by an additional system, the Biological Reconnaissance System (BIO-RS FOX/FUCHS).
The concept of such a vehicle provides continuous monitoring of the external air with respect to an increase of the concentration of particles in a size range, which is significant of biological agents.
Moreover, such a system will allow detecting molecules characteristic of biological agents, which may appear in the environment of the BIO-RS FOX/ FUCHS, by a mass spectrometer analysis.
The following sample processing and the identification of existing biological agents is carried out in a completely sealed analysis chamber with glove ports, a so-called microbiological isolator, which allows the operator to work completely separated from the infectious material. Genetic as well as immunological methods are used for the identification of the biological agents in the collected samples. The following pictures show the first integration step of the Biological Reconnaissance System within the BIO-FOX/FUCHS.
The NBC Field Laboratory consists of the following subsystems:
- Radiation and HazMat (Hazardous Materials) Analysis Lab Shelter
- Biological Analysis Lab Shelters
- Chemical Analysis Lab Shelter
- Command and Sampling Vehicle
This concept ensures the laboratory's worldwide operation as well as its immediate transport by aircraft, ship and on one's own truck.
This shelter can identify and quantify all types of radiation which were released due to war activities, attacks, disaster or accidents and which may endangerthe life orthe health of the soldiers. Moreover, the detection of dangerous or warfare agents are carried out in the frame of setting up bases and camps. At the place of deployment, the unit supplies data forthe evaluation of the threat situation regarding environment protection, industrial safety and radiation protection as well as forthe secure dealing with hazardous substances.
Command and Sampling Vehicle
The command and sampling vehicle serves the commander of the unit as a platform and passes the samples for examination to the NBC Field Laboratory ortakes additional samples fora possible reference analysis.
The identification of biological warfare agents and other infectious material in the battlefield is a mission carried out by the two biological analysis lab shelters. Forthis purpose, the samples taken byNBC-RSFOX/FUCHSorthe lab's own sampling units are examined forthe existence of the biological analysis lab shelters are operated slightly below atmospheric pressure. Thus, any spill of contagious material will be prevented. Among others, bacteria, bacterial spores, rickettsias, virus as well as toxins can be identified.
In addition to the mere identification of chemical warfare agents on the battlefield, the chemical analysis lab shelter is in charge of all detailed chemical analytic examination and identification of unknown substances, which are detected in the places of deployment. Included are all tasks in the field of biological warfare agents (bacteria, virus, and toxins). Methods used for identification are e. g. ELISA, PCR, GC/MSaswell as HPLC. To protect the environment against the release of infectious material, environmental protection and measurement of hazardous substances as well as the proof of biocide, heavy metals as well as "Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC)" and other inorganic harmful substances.
The NBC prediction software enables the detailed analysis of the data of NBC warfare agents, hazardous substances and weather, which were measured by mobile NBC Reconnaissance Systems. By using suitable methods of calculation, it permits the prediction of the distribution of harmful substances and warfare agents. The results are presented in various formats by means of digital maps. The use of tactical symbols as well as the making of NBC reports is done in accordance with NATO standards ATP45 (B).
One field of application of the software are so-called "ROTA" events (Release Other Than Attack), such as leakages in nuclear power stations or other nuclear factories,
damages on radioactive or toxic storage material or accidents in the chemical industry. On the other hand, the prediction of radioactive fallout after the detonation of a nuclear weapon according to the DNAF model is also possible. In addition, the algorithms can be used forthe calculation of the contamination after an attack by chemical weapons. Such a prediction in case of the local release of radioactive substances due to a ROTA event is shown on the next picture.
The contamination, which had been spread from a known source, was calculated fora defined time. The shaded grey colouring and the borderline indicate zones of different endangering.
A prediction in case of the release of chemical warfare agents is shown on the next picture.
The temporal progress of the warfare agent cloud in the environment of the source location can be predicted and endangered areas can be warned in due time and be evacuated if necessary. Permanent R&D activities are constantly updating software package to the need of changes in tactical and strategically military demands and are easy to be upgraded in existing hardware systems.
The carrier vehicle TPz1- FOX/FUCHS offers the following innovation potential for future modifications:
- Adjustment of mine protection (currently introduced to the German Army) with an increase of ballistic protection by addon armour; a protection against 14.5 mm armour-piercing bullets has already been realised for the TPz 1-FOX/FUCHS
- Installation of a performance-improved power pack; the engine performance of 320 kW has already been tested for the FUCHS
- It is possible to considerably increase the permissible total weight by use of nine-ton axles
- Networking of all suitable components of the carrier vehicle with the data bus
In respect of the NBC Reconnaissance suite, further innovation potential can be identified:
- The US variant of the NBC-RSFOX/FUCHS shows that it is possible to integrate a remote chemical agent monitor in the vehicle. In other versions, the required space is also available so that the installation can be done a short time after the selection of a suitable unit.
- Moreover, the extensive digitisation and complete networking of all processes in the NBC Reconnaissance System FOX / FUCHS is considered desirable.
- The introduction of the BIO-RS FOX/FUCHS will extremely expand the capabilities of NBC Reconnaissance Forces world-wide.
- Newly integrated Command and Control Systems and additional software update packages for prediction of chemical or nuclear contaminated areas will perfectly improve the performance of the NBC Reconnaissance Systems.