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Dutch army eyes greater firepower for its Boxers

The Royal Netherlands Army wants to add more punch to its Boxer armoured vehicles. (Dutch Ministry of Defence)

The Royal Netherlands Army has a formal requirement to up-arm its Artec Boxer armoured personnel carriers, Janes learnt at Defence iQ's 2023 International Dismounted Soldier conference in London.

Operated by the army's 13th Light Brigade, the Dutch Boxers were originally procured with the Kongsberg M151 remotely operated weapon system (ROWS), armed with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun (HMG). This is now deemed to be insufficient, and the Dutch army has put forward a formal requirement for the Boxers to be fitted with an automatic cannon of at least 30 mm in calibre. Janes understands that an uncrewed turret solution is being favoured, in order not to impact the existing troop-carrying capacity of the vehicle. A counter-unmanned aircraft system (C-UAS) capability was stated as a ‘nice to have', but not a core requirement at this stage.

Though the Royal Netherlands Army only operates the 35 mm Bushmaster III on the CV9035NL infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), interoperability requirements with the German Bundeswehr will be a prime consideration. The Dutch 13th Light Brigade recently completed its integration with the German 10th Panzerdivision, which operates the Puma IFV armed with the Rheinmetall MK-30 30×173 mm automatic cannon. The same weapon is likely to be fitted on the Bundeswehr's own cannon-armed Boxer variant, known as the Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie (Heavy Weapons Carrier Infantry), which is planned to enter service with units of the 1st Panzerdivision.

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