2014/11/13

Newest plans for more GTK/MRAV/Boxer purchases

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Die Bundeswehr plane die Beschaffung von 131 Radpanzern des Typs Boxer, von dem die Bundeswehr bereits mehr als 200 Stück besitzt, berichtet die "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ/Dienstag) unter Berufung auf Industriekreise. Der Auftrag für die achträdrigen gepanzerten Transportfahrzeuge belaufe sich auf 620 Millionen Euro. Allerdings sei die Bestellung noch nicht beschlossen.
"Deutsche Panzerbauer haben Auftrag der Bundeswehr in Aussicht"
FAZ, 4.11.

GTK Boxer prototype
620 million for 131 armoured lorries with gold plating.
4.73 million per armoured lorry with gold plating.
That's € 0.59 million per seat for a dismounting infantryman or an equivalent share of a module.

Do you know what else costs this much per seat?
9 passengers
774 kph speed
3,300 km range
€ 5.1 million (€ 0.57 million per seat)

Those € 5.1 million are the starting point for negotiations. You could surely buy 131 of those for much less than € 5 million each. Well, the Bundeswehr would certainly not; it would gold-plate it till it can barely fly any more and then pay at least € 15 million each.

There are plenty people who look at the vehicle and are impressed. Impressed by all the 'capability' which had been loaded on it (even DPICM protection!). Some are concerned as well - concerned about the cross-country mobility and restrictions concerning bridges.

A look at the hardware alone is nonsense. This is much too expensive; the gains in protection over simple armoured trucks are nowhere near justifying the extra fiscal, logistical and manpower effort. This vehicle is supposed to deliver light infantry (Jäger), and mostly so on administrative marches. It's not even a combat vehicle. It's an omnibus without windows with paranoid protection standards.

There's no reason whatsoever why the Jägertruppe should have a single such vehicle.Why them, only for marches - not for combat? Great many other troops would need to do administrative marches in war zones as well, and this sure is no general standard of protection. Most others move in soft or modestly up-armoured trucks.

Germany doesn't want the insane expense of up-armouring all army vehicles to such a high level, for sure. What's the rationale for giving such vehicles to the Jägertruppe? The one branch that is supposed to be the  one with nature, one with environment, foot-mobile even in difficult terrain.
Not long ago our generals were convinced the Jägertruppe needs to be more oriented towards woodland and combat in settlements, now it's getting equipped with gold-plated lorries that make the then-unusually expensive Fuchs look like a budget solution. Business Jet-level expenses for a rifleman's mobility.
And they're not even the branch that's ticketed to be the fast-moving one.

This insanity and waste of taxpayer money should be stopped. The German army has lost its way; it's lost in the labyrinth of gold plating tunnel vision. The ministry's agency for procurement of military matériel needs to be disbanded in light of this and other failures - and all its executives need be banned form ever having any influence on public spending again.

Instead, this particular planned purchase appears to being pushed by claims that we need this bollocks to counter the nowadays more aggressive Soviets Russians. Bollocks enabled by hysteria. As if these transport vehicles were able to justify their price in Eastern Europe. The means-ends connection doesn't seem to be interesting to people any more, nor is fiscal prudence.

S O
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9 comments:

  1. Be realistic. This is not about the BW, it is about Rheimetall. This Company has lost a lot because of the sanctions against Russia. Look at their Shares!
    Now Rheimetall gets a Little present from the government, thats all. This is not about the Jäger (Light Infantry), not about the Military, it is a hidden indudustry grant, that is all.

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    1. Rheinmetall and KMW both have civilian branches, and can transfer engineers and workers between branches if necessary.

      The annual turnover of Rheinmetall is about 5 billion, and it holds about 2/3 of the shares of the Boxer producing joint venture. That would be about 400 million in turnover, likely distributed over 4-5 years. That would be a relatively small and almost certainly not critical support even if we assume 50% profit. The German government shall not have any specific interest in Rheinmetall shareholders making profit.

      BTW; ARTEC is a GmbH; a limited company. It could crash entirely and Rheinmetall would survive.

      The government could infuse equity capital through newly-issued preferred shares if it wants to keep critical companies alive. To purchase grossly overpriced buses is no responsible policy action. It's a giveaway to random shareholders.

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  2. SO,

    Your point is about extravagant defense spending, but can you please comment about the effectiveness of Boxer?

    Is the base vehicle sound in concept, design and execution?

    Can the vehicle be revised to eliminate excess, or is it fundamentally flawed?

    GAB

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    1. It's in my opinion a good example for diminishing marginal returns, and having that concept in mind helps:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diminishing_returns

      For the first 50,000 you get road mobility for a squad

      Add 50,000 and you'll have some off-road capability, though you'll still despise drainage channels and most fences.

      Add 50,000 and you get some bullet and fragmentation protection.

      Add 4.5 million and you'll have mine protection, a spall liner and DPICM protection - but won't have the budget for more than a few hundred vehicles any more.


      The tires and exterior mirrors may be salvageable for a worthwhile design.

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  3. The Boxer has basically two major problems:

    - demands for the vehicle (german: Anforderungsprofil) are off
    - availability was not considered

    While I am impressed about the engineering in this thing and what we can build by now, the Boxer is just a vehicle where the planning went wrong. It is an armoured transport so what should it do?

    1. transport a squad from a to be as effective as possible (drive, swim, low fuel consumption)
    2. offer reasonable (!) protection
    3. can be transported easily via train (or maybe even plane)
    4. offer some form of self defense (optional)

    As Sven already said, with a rather small budget you get points 1 and 3 done
    with a decent cost. As soon as you add many more gadgets inevitably the weight and size go up and limit those two points. The boxer has just this problem. It is too heavy and too big. The vehicle was designed to offer protection against irregular troops like the taliban and reduce casulties (bad press! booh!). The German army has slowly been transformed from a national defense force into a smaller force consisting of a pool of units which are sent into other countries from time to time. This concept is a whole different debate (check articles on this blog), but let's assume the Boxer
    was constructed for this purpose. Even then it has a paranoid level of protection.

    Being protected against bomblets and such is overkill. Irregular forces like the taliban (and they are rather well armed compared to others) dont possess such weapons. In a regular conflict the Boxer is a transporter, not a frontline
    fighter. It should not face tanks, IFVs and such stuff. If so, errors were made
    on the command level and then no protectin will help. I would also assume that in a conflict against a modern country you would not drop bomblets on APCs but rather other stuff. So in conclusion we added a system to the vehicle with doubtable benefit but with a huge addition to weight and cost which also impedes other qualities. And this vehicle is full of this stuff.

    Making a plan and then cutting back the package is normal for most design processes. There is your big fail right there. CHeck out the russian BTR90, it is much more focussed and thus costs a third.

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    1. I remember but one military "modular" platform concept which had much more modules than platforms and thus actually went beyond a mere vehicle family. It's the Danish naval module concept which obviously recycled old if not obsolete naval weapons.
      I don't remember any actual module+platform procurement project coming close to meeting the theoretical promise of modular concepts.

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  4. In my opinion the Boxer is a excellent verhicle and the real problem is only, that it is used in the wrong place. The Boxer would be the perfect plattform for the Combat Support Troops for the Heavy / Mechanized Units of the BW.

    For example as an Sucsessor for the M113. The Boxer could be easily used as an Mortar Carrier with an 120mm Mortar, it could be very easily combined with the Italian Draco System (or with a version of MANTIS combined mit LFK NG), it could be used for a GSI Squad and so on even as plattform for Artillery.

    http://www.janes.com/images/assets/631/39631/Boxer-tested-with-AGM.jpg

    Because of its modular concept, it could perfectly supplement the Leopard and PUMA Tanks in the Heavy Brigades.

    So the problem is only the use as an Light Infantry Carrier in the IdZ (Infanterist der Zukunft) System and the concept of the Infantry-Mothership which is of cause nonsense. But that speaks not against the Boxer as a vehicle, it is the fault of the current German doctrine that it is used in a wrong role at the wrong place.

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  5. I agree, the modular system is very interesting and has its uses. BUT: what kind of vehicle do you actually need for which type of unit. Lets say the heavy infantry stays in its IFV (Sven showed the problems of IFVs, but the doctrine won't change there soon). Light infantry, Jäger in the German army fight on foot, not in cooperation with a vehicle. Thus they basically just need a transport vehicle with some protection. I am not sure if you really need mine protection and other types of armor on such a vehicle. Reduce the features and focus on the task then the Boxer might become a reasonable vehicle.

    Using it as mortar and the like would again be overkill in my eyes. What is important for a mortar? The mortar itself. Put it on a cheap truck or trailer to gain mobility. For the units requiring firing support it is not important of the mortar shot was fired from a hole in the ground or a 6million euro vehicle as long as it hits the target. Mortars need to be used in certain numbers. 6 million per mortar is crazy.
    About putting artillery on it: i am not sure what this car can do what a Panzerhaubitze 2000 can't. But I am no expert there.

    To sum it up, I like the modularity a lot because it reduces logistical problems. And you can make great use of that (medical version, transporter, ABC, troop transport, etc). But the car itself must be cheaper. Because it should not be too close to the front. Most IFVs can rip thrpugh its armor with their autocannons, man-portable atgms do the same. This vehicle needs to be bulletproof to infantry-based firearms and that's it. Keep it cheap, easy to maintain and easy to mass produce. And check if you really need it for every task or if a even simpler vehicle would do considering that intelligence about hostile movements is your best protection.

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    1. @mandulis: I do not see the reason why Light Infantry (Jäger) must have transport vehicles with some protection. But if, the Boxer is the absolutely wrong vehicle for them even with reduced features. It is insufficient to focus on the task, because the basic concept of the Boxer is already against this task.

      In modern warfare alle rear echelon forces are vulnerable to the core through NLOS Fire and enemy tropps that infiltrated the rear or that has let your "front"troops pass by. This is especially true for hybrid warfare. So what is necessary for a 120mm Mortar? Mobility and Protection (against artillerie, infantry and so on) to avoid and/or survive an enemy attack against the rear echelon. The same is true for all the other possible Versions - they would supplement the german heavy/mechanized troops very perfektly as an successor for the M113 (Panzermörser etc). But in den Light Infnatry (the BW want to equip even the mountain tropps with boxer) it is the wrong vehicle from the core.

      So the Boxer ist in my opinion not expensive, it is only in the wrong place, complementing the wrong troops. The Boxer should be a vehicle oft the Panzergrenadiere, not oft the Jäger.

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