|Manufacturer:||Henschel Wehrtechnik GmbH|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Following extensive trials with 8x8 armoured amphibious reconnaissance vehicles built by the Joint Project Office and Daimler-Benz, the latter was selected to meet the requirements of the German Army.
In December 1973, Rheinstahl Wehrtechnik (now Henschel Wehrtechnik) was awarded a contract worth DM300 million for 408 vehicles. First production vehicles were completed in May 1975 and the first vehicle was officially handed over to the German Army in September 1975; production continued until early 1978.
In the future, the Spahpanzer Luchs is expected to be supplemented in the German Army by Fennek (4 x 4) currently under development to meet the requirements of the German and Royal Netherlands armies.
The all-welded steel hull of the Luchs provides the crew with protection from small arms fire and shell splinters.
The hull and turret are immune, over their frontal area, to penetration from 20 mm projectiles.
The driver is seated at the front of the hull on the left side and is provided with a single-piece hatch coverthat opens to the right. There are three periscopes in front of the driver's hatch cover, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for night operations.
The Rheinmetall TS-7 turret is located in the centre of the hull and has spaced armour for improved protection. The commander is seated on the left and the gunner on the right, both with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. Both the commander and gunner are provided with a PERI-Z-11 A-1 periscope for aiming the 20 mm cannon, and a total of 12 periscopes. Turret traverse and weapon elevation/depression are electrohydraulic and can be operated by the commander or gunner. The fire-control system includes an azimuth indicator.
An entry door is provided in the left side of the hull. The fourth crew member, the radio operator/rear driver, is seated to the rear of the turret on the left side facing the rear and is provided with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the right. There are three periscopes in front of the cover, the centre one of which can be replaced by a passive periscope for night operations.
The engine is behind the turret on the right side and access is by a large oblong hatch that opens to the right. The engine compartment, cooling and exhaust systems are separated from the fighting compartment by gastight welded bulkheads. The engine compartment is fitted with an automatic fire extinguishing system. The complete power pack, consisting of the engine, transmission, air filter, oil cooler and parking brake, can be removed as a complete unit and run outside the vehicle. The cooling system is at the back of the hull and the exhaust outlet is at the very rear of the hull.
Power is transmitted from the engine to a four-speed hydraulic torque converter and then via a distributor gear with differential locks to the wheels. The Luchs has the same speed in both directions.
The suspension consists of four Daimler-Benz rigid axles with differential locks which are supported by longitudinal bars, with bogies for all axles. Each wheel station has a vertical coil spring and a hydraulic shock-absorber. All eight wheels are steered but for road use the front four wheels only are normally used.
The Luchs is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by two Schottel steerable propellers located under the rear of the hull, one on each side. These are powered by a PTO on the main transmission via a bevel-type distributor gear. Before entering the water a trim vane is hydraulically erected at the front of the hull and the bilge pumps, two in the fighting compartment and one in the engine compartment, are switched on.
In 1982, it was announced that a total of 423 sets of thermal night vision equipment would be purchased for the Luchs, 63 sets in 1984 and 120 per year in 1985, 1986 and 1987. With the introduction of the thermal night vision equipment the infra-red searchlight was removed from the left side of the turret. When fitted with the thermal night vision equipment the vehicle becomes the Luchs A2.
Standard equipment includes a preheater for the cooling liquid, engine oil and transmission oil and a preheater for the batteries. The NBC system can also be used for ventilating the vehicle when all the hatches are closed.
The Luchs is armed with a 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 cannon which is also installed in the Marder 1 ICV. This cannon has dual feed and the empty cartridge cases and belt links are ejected externally to the right of the turret.
A Rheinmetall 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun mounted on a skate mount over the commander's hatch can be used for both ground and anti-aircraft defence. Four 76 mm smoke grenade dischargers are mounted either side of the turret.
Production complete. In service with the German Army.