|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Still under development, the Gefas protected vehicle system is a pioneering new tactical vehicle concept. Modular in design and offering excellent protection against hostile fire and landmine blasts, the Gefas is intended for a variety of military missions. The vehicle system essentially consists of three main building blocks: the axel element, the powerpack unit, and the main body. Depending on the specific configuration, the Gefas can serve as a command vehicle, an armoured personnel carrier or weapons platform. Moreover, its building block modularity greatly facilitates logistics and guarantees maximum operational flexibility.
- Suitable as a platform for the future SysFla air defence system
- High tactical and strategic mobility
- Unique protection against ballistic weapons and landmines
- Rapid repairs thanks to modularity and simple interface design
- Can be easily expanded into a 6x6 or 8x8 vehicle
The GeFaS Advanced Protective Vehicle System is being developed as a private venture by Rheinmetall Landsysteme who has considerable experience in the design, development and production of wheeled and tracked armoured fighting vehicles.
A full scale mock up of the 4 × 4 version of GeFaS was shown at the Eurosatory defence equipment exhibition held in Paris in mid-2006.
Development of the GeFaS vehicle is being carried out at the RLS facility in Kiel and Kassel where the RLS vehicle research and development activities are concentrated.
Design work on GeFaS commenced in 2003 with the green light for the go ahead for full scale development being given in 2005.
RLS are the overall design authority but a number of other contractors are also involved in the programme including IBD (passive and active armour), ESW (drive packages including electrical power generating system), MTU (diesel engine), Renk (components and control electronics), STW (electric motors) and Timoney (axles and suspension).
GeFaS is being developed as private venture by RLS in response to emerging requirements for a vehicle with a very high level of crew protection from a wide range of battlefield threats.
This will include not only conventional small arms fire and shell splinters but also improvised explosive devices (IED), various types of anti-tank mine and rocket propelled grenades (RPG).
In conventional military operations AFVs normally have the highest level of protection over the frontal arc but today attack can come through a full 360 degrees which means that existing vehicle protection levels are no longer adequate.
This has lead to the rapid fielding of vehicles with a much higher level of protection against unconventional threats as well as the upgrading of in-service vehicles.
GeFaS is being developed as a complete family of wheeled vehicles that will have a very high level of crew survivability through a full 360 degrees against a wide range of threats.
This is achieved by having the crew compartment, or citadel, in the centre of the vehicle with the wheels at the extreme ends of the vehicle.
The citadel is provided with appliqué armour that can be changed as the threat evolves or as new technology becomes available.
If the vehicle does run over an anti-tank mine then the main force of the explosion will be taken by the wheels and suspension rather than the crew compartment.
The crew compartment has a new V shaped hull design so that any mine blast is not contained but is vented upwards. The 4 × 4 model will have seats for six people, driver, commander and four crew members seated two abreast. The seats are a new design and not anchored to the floor.
Bullet proof windows provide a high level of protection as well as situational awareness. External stowage containers are provided for crew equipment with the upper part of the citadel also being well sloped inwards.
The external stowage containers help to minimise the space required within the vehicle as well as helping to absorb some of the blast energy of mines and IED.
In front of the crew module is the diesel-electric propulsion module with the main engine being a MTU 4R 890 4-cylinder diesel developing 410 kW.
This is a version of the same engine that powers the new German Army Puma IFV. The electrical energy generated also powers the electric motors located in the axle modules. On-board batteries allow the vehicle to be run with the main engine shut down for short distances.
The front and rear axle modules, which are identical and compatible, are steered to allow the vehicle to operate in confined spaces encountered in urban operations. Turning radius is being quoted as only 6.8 m. A central tyre pressure regulation system is fitted as standard as is an NBC/air conditioning system.
The double wishbone suspension has been developed by Timoney of Ireland who have considerable experience in suspension design and development for a variety of wheeled vehicles. The tyres are fitted with run flat devices and a central tyre inflation system is fitted as standard. This allows the driver to adjust the tyre pressure to suit the terrain being crossed.
The 4 × 4 vehicle will typically be fitted with a remote-control weapon station armed with a machine gun or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. This will enable targets to be engaged with the crew under full armour protection.
According to RLS, the GeFaS will be able to withstand the explosion of a 150 kg IED detonated close to the vehicle. It will also provide protection against the highly effective TMRP-7 anti-tank mines, Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP) and optional RPG-7 attack.
The vehicle could also be fitted with a high-power electromagnetic (HPEM) system to prevent the radio-controlled detonation of IED.
Electro-optical sensor systems with downstream image processing for mobile target detection and tracking will ensure timely recognition of hostile threats.
Laser optical sensors linked to smoke/obscurant effectors reduce the risk of sniper attacks before the enemy fires a shot according to RLS.
It is expected that the 4 × 4 version will have a maximum combat weight of about 17 tonnes of which 1.5 tonnes will be payload. This will allow two vehicles to be transported in an A400M transport aircraft.
The first GeFaS (4 × 4) is being regarded as a concept demonstrator to show potential customers the overall possibility of the complete system.
RLS is currently studying a whole family of GeFaS vehicles and these will include 6 × 6 and 8 × 8 models. All of these will share a number of common sub-systems, for example axle modules. These modules will be held together by a small number of module connectors.
All elements are connected by a data bus that provide the crew with considerable amount of information as well as the state of all key sub-systems. Mission management, navigation and communications would depend on mission requirements.
This feature is claimed to reduce overall life cycle costs (for example procurement and running) as well as making the vehicle easier to maintain.
Typical roles of the GeFaS include being fitted with hard and soft kill weapon systems, reconnaissance, command and control, convoy protection, carrying supplies as well as being fitted with a variety of battlefield sensors.
The full range has a gross vehicle weight from 12.5 up to 20 tonnes in the 4 × 4, 6 × 6 and 8 × 8 configurations which can be increased up to 25 tonnes with a trailer.
The system can also be used for air defence radars which would comprise three axle modules. Because the power module is positioned behind the main module, space is provided to mount a 12 m radar mast.
The company will use a version of this chassis as its entry in the German Army competition for a replacement for the current Gepard twin 35 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft gun system.
This would feature a 4 × 4 basic vehicle coupled to a 4 × 4 rear carriage fitted with, for example, the Oerlikon Contraves Skyranger 35 mm air defence turret.