Being shown for the first time in Asia at Indo Defence 2014 (Outside Hall A) is the Marder Evolution from Rheinmetall. Using independent research and development funding, the German company has developed the Marder Evolution specifically for the export market.
Marder Evolution draws on experience from well over 2,000 Marder 1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) built for the German Army, which have been constantly upgraded. The latest version is the Marder 1A5A1, which was developed for deployment in Afghanistan.
With the downsizing of the German Army, large numbers of Marder 1 IFVs have become surplus to requirements and Rheinmetall has purchased a significant number for potential overseas sales, either refurbished or upgraded to enhance their operational capabilities. Indonesia took delivery in late 2013 of its first two vehicles, with a total of 42 to be supplied. The first export customer for the refurbished Marder 1A3 IFV was Chile.
Marder Evolution is being marketed in a number of configurations including an armoured personnel carrier as well as an IFV. Enhancements include an upgraded MTU diesel powerpack, upgraded torsion bar suspension, air-conditioning system, enhanced ballistic and mine protection and a 300mm raised roof line extending to the rear to provide greater interior volume.
The IFV version would typically be fitted with a roof-mounted remote weapon station, such as the Norwegian Kongsberg Protector armed with a stabilised .50 M2 HB machine gun. The crew is provided with special blast-attenuating seats that are not attached to the floor for a higher level of survivability.
There is considerable flexibility in the Marder Evolution to meet different user requirements, such as cameras for situational awareness over 360° and a battle management system that can be provided by Rheinmetall Defence Electronics.
In addition to being used as the basis for an IFV, the hull of the Marder Evolution can be employed for more specialised roles, for example as ambulance, command post or mortar carrier.
The vehicle can also be fitted with heavier turrets and weapon stations, such as an Oto Melara three-person turret armed with a 105mm low recoil force rifled gun coupled to a computerised fire control system.