Wednesday, April 13, 2016

First Boxer Cargo delivered...

The Koninklijke Landmacht (Royal Netherlands Army) has taken over the first Boxer cargo vehicle on the 8th April of 2016. This is the fourth of the five versions ordered by the Dutchmen.

Boxer Cargo vehicle, photo from Artec by ESUT
The Boxer Cargo can transport up to 2500 kilograms (5511 lbs) of load under very high armor protection. The Dutch Army has ordered a total of 27 Boxers in the Cargo configuration among the 200 vehicles of their first batch. A crew of three (commander, driver and gunner) operates the Boxer Cargo. The mission module of the Cargo variant has a usable transport volume of 14 m³.

Honestly, let's be real. What sense has a heavy armored, mine-resistant cargo vehicle? What type of cargo needs to be protected against bomblets and light/medium types of top-attack ammunition and is required on the battlefield?
MAN truck with AMAP-B armor and ADS active protection system
With the exception of high value medical equipment, optronics or electronics, there is nothing what seems to require the additional protection provided by a Boxer vehicle. Then one also has to ask the question, how likely a larger amount of this equipment is needed directly at the frontline (otherwise the armored protection of the Boxer wouldn't be needed) and in what quantity (smaller quantities can be carried by other vehicles or within Boxer APCs, larger quantities will be too much for a Boxer Cargo variant). Protection of cargo can be provided by armored containers, so there should be no need to armor the whole vehicle plattform.
Mine-resistant belly plates, additional balllistic protection and even active protection systems are available for larger trucks. Rheinmetall & MAN have shown their uparmored truck solutions on different exhibitions like Eurosatory 2012. The Integrated Armour Cabin (IAC) and Modular Armoured Cabin (MAC) concepts from Rheinmetall provide driver and gunner/commander of a truck with heavy armor protection, while the cargo bay can be armored with a lower protection level. Other companies have come up with similar solutions.
British MOD version of MAN truck with net and slat armor against RPGs
The Koninklijke Landmacht seems to have very odd requirements and might not be very efficient with distributing funds among multiple different vehicle programs. After downsizing the CV9035 fleet (and making sure that no applique armor is fitted during training, in order to reduce the fuel consumption) and decommissioning the Leopard 2 tanks (the negative impact of this has been slightly equalized by letting a Dutch unit joining the German Army), one simply has to be astonished or shocked by the decision of introducing the Boxer Cargo into service.

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