The Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support, announced on 17 April that it had certified the use of the Mehrrollenfähige Leichte Lenkflugkörpersystem (multirole-capable light anti-tank missile system: MELLS) on the Marder infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).
MELLS, the Bundeswehr’s designation for Spike LR, is immediately ready for operations on the Marder, the BAAINBw added.
The certification was marked during a ceremony at the base of Panzerlehrbrigade (Armour Demonstration) Brigade 9 in Munster, northern Germany, on 16 April. The brigade will lead the NATO Response Force’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2019. MELLS is replacing the MILAN anti-tank guided missile in German Army service and will equip 35 Marders for the VJTF.
Brigadier General Thorsten Puschmann, head of the BAAINBw’s combat department, said it took a year-and-a-half to adapt, procure, install, and test MELLS for the Marder and “make it a real threat for opposing tanks until its end of service in 2025”. The study phase was conducted by Rheinmetall during the first half of 2017 under a BAAINBw contract awarded the year before. The study was followed by a Bundeswehr order for 44 MELLS retrofit kits to equip 35 Marder 1A5s.
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