Sunday, January 14, 2018

Marders to Jordan (part 2)

The German company Rheinmetall announced on the 13th December 2017 that the Kingdom of Jordan is set to receive a second batch of 25 second-hand Marder 1A3 IFVs, that were originally operated by the German Army. The delivery of the vehicles will start in the first quarter of 2018. A first batch of a total of sixteen Marder 1A3 IFVs was already handed over to the Royal Jordanian Army in December of 2016.

Marder 1A3s of the first batch delivered to Jordan
The Marder 1A3 is an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) currently in service with the armed forces of Chile, Germany, Indonesia and Jordan. The Argentinian military operates the TAM family, which is based on the Marder design. The Marder IFV is armed with a 20 mm MK 20 Rh 202 gas-operated autocannon with a maximum rate of fire ranging between 800 and 1,000 rounds per minute. As secondary armament the vehicle is fitted with a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun and a launcher for the Milan anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). The Marder's propulsion is provided by a liquid-cooled MB 883 V6 engine from MTU, which delivers 600 horsepower at 2,200 rpm. It is coupled to a semi-automatic RENK HSWK 194 transmission. The Marder 1A3 has a combat weight of about 33.5 metric tons and reaches a top-speed of 65 kilometres per hour (km/h). Its spaced armor provides all-round protection against fire from 12.7 and 14.5 mm heavy machine gun, while the frontal arc is protected against medium calibre ammo including 30 x 165 mm armor-piercing ammunition. The Marder 1A3 is not fitted with an underbelly armor plate for protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Royal Jordanian Army is receiving the German-made IFVs as part of a military aid, which was started by the Federal Republic of Germany in the last two years in an attempt to improve the stability of the region by enabling the militaries of some Middle Eastern countries to fight better against insurgents and terrorists. Aside of a first batch of Marder 1A3 IFVs, Jordan also has received 600 RGW-90 hand-held recoilless guns, surveillance equipment, 56 vans and 70 trucks. Like the first batch of Marders, the second one was also ordered by the German government, rather than being ordered by Jordanian officials. Rheinmetall states that the contract - awarded in October 2017 - has a total value of more than €17 millions and includes completely refurbishing the vehicles to a (near) mint condition, painting them with a desert camouflage pattern (understood to be similiar to the single-tone "desert yellow" used on many US combat vehicles), spare parts, ammunition and tools, technical documentation aswell as support and training for the crews and local maintenance personnel.
Originally it was planned to deliver all 50 Marders meant for Jordan until end of 2017. There currently is no official explanation for the delay, it might however be related to politicians having troubles allocating the budget for the deal or the negotiations with Rheinmetall taking longer than expected.

An upgraded Marder 1A3 could be fitted with additional armor, an unmanned turrets and a more powerful engines.
There are a number of upgrade possibilities to enhance the protection, firepower and mobility as well as options to reconfigure the Marder to another role. The Marder can be used as APC, light/medium tank, tank destroyer, surface-to-air missile carrier, fire support vehicle, command post vehicle, ambulance vehicle, fire-fighting vehicle and as mortar carrier. Different upgrade paths such as the Marder CCV and the Rheinmetall Lynx infantry fighting vehicle have already been mentioned in the blog post regarding the first transfer of Marders to the Royal Jordanian Army.