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Wiesel 1
Wiesel120mm2.jpg
Wiesel 1A1 MK with 20 mm autocannon
Type Armoured weapons carrier
Place of origin Germany Germany
Specifications
Weight 2.75 tonnes
Length 3.55 m
Width 1.82 m
Height 1.82 m
Crew 2 or 3

Primary
armament
Varies
Secondary
armament
Varies
Engine 2.1 L Audi 5-cylinder in-line turbo-diesel with intercooler and direct injection
85 hp (64 kW)
Power/weight 31 hp/tonne
Suspension torsion bar
Operational
range
200 km
Speed 70 km/h

The Wiesel Armoured Weapons Carrier is a German light air-transportable armoured fighting vehicle, more specifically a lightly-armoured weapons carrier. It is similar to historical scouting tankettes in size and form.

The Wiesel was used in several of the Bundeswehr's missions abroad (UNOSOM II, IFOR, SFOR, KFOR, TFH, ISAF).

Contents

History

The Wiesel was developed for the German Army to meet a requirement for an air-transportable light armored vehicle for use by its airborne troops, as the infantry of the German Bundeswehr, especially airborne infantry, was considered unprepared to successfully fight enemy main battle tanks (MBT) in the 1970s. The requirements were that the vehicle should fit in common NATO transport planes and could eventually be air-dropped. It should be able to fight infantry as well as enemy tanks or aircraft. Porsche produced some prototypes of the future fighting vehicle for the Bundeswehr in 1975, but the Bundeswehr stopped the project in 1978 due to lack of funds. Nevertheless Porsche did not stop development because of interest from other countries.

The Wiesel was finally introduced as new weapon system for the Bundeswehr with deliveries beginning in the late 1980s. The vehicle was named Wiesel ("weasel") because of its small size and agility, which make it very difficult to detect on the battlefield.

Configuration

Depending on the exact configuration, the length is about 3.55 meters, the height 1.82 meters, and the width 1.82 meters. At only 2.75 metric tons, it weighs less than the armored variant of the U.S. Humvee military light truck. The engine is a 64 kW Audi 2.1-litre diesel engine giving a top speed of 70 km/h (45 mph). The Wiesel can ford 0.5 m deep and cross a 1.2 m trench. It is manufactured by Rheinmetall AG.

The chassis is made of steel armour and can resist the common 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm small arms ammunition. Air dropping the vehicle from a plane with parachutes was tested, but was not successful; four test-vehicles were destroyed. Nevertheless, the Wiesel can easily be flown in by transport helicopters, a single CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter can fly in two at once, and common transport planes can carry four or more Wiesel vehicles.

Variants

Various versions of the Wiesel exist, with different weapon configurations including machine guns, antitank missiles, and anti-aircraft missiles.

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Wiesel 1

A Wiesel 1A1 TOW
  • Wiesel 1 Aufklärung: reconnaissance
  • Wiesel 1 ATM HOT: anti-tank vehicle fitted with HOT missiles
  • Wiesel 1 ATM HOT Variant 1: fitted with UTM-800 turret
  • Wiesel 1 Radar: fitted with RATAC-S multi-purpose radar
  • Wiesel 1 ATM TOW: anti-tank vehicle fitted with TOW missiles
  • Wiesel 1 ATM TOW Resupply: cargo carrier fitted with racks for TOW missiles
  • Wiesel 1 BTM208: fitted with a SAMM BTM208 turret armed with a MG3 and a M2HB machine gun
  • Wiesel 1 MK20: fire support version with a Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 20 mm cannon
  • Wiesel 1 MK20 Variant 1: Uprated with new sight
  • Wiesel 1 MK25: 25 mm armed version

Wiesel 2

LeFlaSys Radar, AFF
Wiesel 2- in the Ozelot anti-air version of LeFlaSys
Ozelot with camouflage

The Wiesel 2 is a stretched version of the Wiesel 1, with a fifth roadwheel. The engine was changed to a 1.9l Volkswagen in-line four-cylinder turbo diesel with direct injection and intercooler, giving 109 hp coupled to a ZF automatic transmission. Generally bigger, faster and stronger with advanced features for the protection of the crew such as enhanced armour, and an air conditioning system which protects the crew from biological/bacteriological and chemical weapons.

  • Wiesel 2 BF/UF (LeFlaSys Command): air defence unit command post
  • Wiesel 2 AFF (LeFlaSys Radar): fitted with air defence radar
  • Wiesel 2 Ozelot (LeFlaSys Launcher): fitted with air defence missile launcher
  • Wiesel 2 Ozelot (LeFlaSys Launcher Variant 1): retrofitted with box-type launchers
  • Wiesel 2 Ambulance
  • Wiesel 2 APC: 2 + 4 crew armoured personnel carrier
  • Wiesel 2 Command: battalion command post
  • Wiesel 2 mortar: 120mm mortar
  • Wiesel 2 mortar Variant 1: mortar version with external supports
  • Wiesel 2 Argus: reconnaissance
  • Wiesel 2 Carrier: ammunition resupply
  • Wiesel 2 Pioneer: combat engineer reconnaissance
  • Wiesel 2 Primus: reconnaissance and fire control
  • Wiesel 2 ATM HOT: anti-tank vehicle fitted with HOT missiles
  • Wiesel 2 SYRANO: Robotic system for the French Army

Operators

  •  Germany has ordered 343 Wiesel 1s and 179 Wiesel 2s (148 delivered)
  •  United States ordered seven Wiesel 1s

References

  • Trewhitt, Philip (1999). Armored Fighting Vehicles. New York: Amber Books. p. 102. ISBN 0-7607-1260-3.  

External links


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