|Manufacturer:||Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co.KG - KMW|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Repair and recovery vehicle|
The first component studies for a new armored recovery vehicle (ARV), planned to the maintenance support for the new Leopard 2 which was soon to enter service, began in 1977. On the introduction of the Leopard 2 it soon became apparent that the Bergepanzer 2 A2 ARV (based on the Leopard 1 chassis) would not be powerful enough to provide adequate maintenance support under 24 hour combat conditions, so a development program for a new ARV was launched.
The first experimental vehicle with a similar layout to th Bergepanzer 2 A2 and a wooden mock-up for an alternative internal lay-out, were ready in 1986. Two prototypes were ordered in 1987 and the experimental vehicle built up to the prototypes standard. The three prototypes were delivered in 1988 and underwent intensive tests, and in 1990 an order was placed for 75 Bergepanzer 3 'Bueffel' (Buffalo) ARV for the Bundeswehr and 25 Bergingstank 600 kN Bueffel for the Royal Netherlands Army (RNLA).
MaK Systemgesellschaft mbH in Kiel was selected as the main contractor. Production was shared between MaK, with 55 vehicles built, and Krauss-Maffei, with 45 built.
The Bergepanzer 3 Bueffel armored recovery vehicle is based on the chassis of the Leopard 2. The driver sits on the superstructure front with the commander behind him. Three large doors provide access to the inside of the vehicle. A fire extinguishing and suppression system, an NBC protection system, and deep fording equipment with bilge pumps are provided. For night driving the driver can replace one of his periscopes with a passive night sight. During peacetime the Bergepanzer 3 is operated by a crew of two, although space for a third crew member is provided. The engine compartment is at the rear, and the Bueffel uses the same powerpack of the Leopard 2.
A large crane, with a lifting capacity of 30,000 kg. is installed at the right forward of the vehicle, the jib can be traversed 270 degrees. The crane has an electronic momentum limiter, which constantly calculates jib elevation, vehicle tilt, and load mass to prevent overloading. A Rotzler Treibmatic TR 650/3 winch is installed in the vehicle's forward section with an effective cable length of 180 m (33 mm in diameter) and the capacity to pull up to 35,000 kg, which can be doubled by using a pulley tackle.
A complete powerpack can be carried in a special cradle on the engine deck. The large dozer/support blade at the front is lowered as a support to stabilize the ARV during winching or crane operation. The blade can also be used for obstacle and clearence or dozing operations. The Bueffel is equipped with a suspension lockout system. Electrical cutting and welding equipment is also provided. Further equipment includes various couplings and towbars, rapid connect and disconnect couplings for towing, and a self-recovery system. Armament consist of a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun, primarily used for air defense, and 16 70 mm smoke mortars, with eight fitted in two groups of four at the front and eight in a row at the rear of the vehicle.
Combat weight is 54,000 kg and the Bueffel has a towing capacity of 62,000 kg (MLC 70). Maximum achievable speed is 68 km/h, and 30 km/h in 2nd reverse gear. With a fuel capacity of 1,629 litres, the Bueffel has a maximum range of 650 km on roads and 325 km on across country. The Bueffel is capable of changing the powerpack of a Leopard 2 A4 in about 25 minutes, and with the Leopard 2 A5 about 35 minutes are required. There are 75 Bergepanzer 3 Bueffel being used by the German Bundeswehr, plus 25 in the Netherlands, 14 in Sweden, 16 in Spain, 25 in Switzerland. There more contracts for 12 to Greece, 150 to Korea (where Bergepanzer 3 components - like the crane, dozer/support blade, etc. - are installed on the Korean K1 MBT chassis, resulting in the K1 ARV), 46 to the UAE, and 22 to France (in both the UAE and France cases, Bergapanzer 3 components are installed on the French Leclerc MBT chassis, resulting in the Leclerc ARV). In addition to these, there is an improved version of the Bergepanzer 3 Bueffel, deveoped for the Swedish Army, the Bgbv 120. This model, in comparison with the armoured recovery vehicle BUFFALO, encompass tactical as well as technical improvements. The Swedish armoured recovery vehicle is provided with an improved ballistic protection including an integrated interior liner protection, a reduced IR signature, a command and control as well as a navigation system, a new weapon station (2048 HYM) and a GALIX launcher system for self-protection. Furthermore, the vehicle has a recovery system with rear-view camera for recovery operations under armour protection, an increased crane system working range, a 1.5 t auxiliary winch and an increased tripple pull performance of the main winch (35 t single pull). After intensive and successful trials with the German armoured recovery vehicle BUFFALO in Sweden, the company was awarded the contract for the manufacture of 14 vehicles for Sweden.