Rheinmetall Unveils New Lynx Combat Support Vehicle

Rheinmetall as presented its newest addition to the Lynx family of armoured fighting vehicles (AFV): The Australian designed and manufactured Lynx Combat Support Vehicle (CSV).

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On October, at an event at Rheinmetall’s Australian Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, the German arms manufacturer and largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, unveiled the vehicle.

Rheinmetall Managing Director, Gary Stewart, said that the Lynx CSV is the most sophisticated and capable armoured vehicle ever to be designed and built in Australia, and based on a version of the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). “The Lynx CSV was designed by Australian engineers and manufactured at MILVEHCOE using Australian steel and our industry network of more than 100 partners. It is uniquely Australian as a ‘work horse’ vehicle, even taking on the distinct function of a ute [Australian slang for a pick-up like vehicle],” he said. “The Lynx CSV is a game-changer for armies and would enable soldiers to complete a range of missions while fully protected. With the CSV, soldiers can perform recovery, repair, manoeuvre support and support logistics using a vehicle with similarities to the existing Lynx IFV.”

The vehicle features onboard fuel capacity to support refuelling other vehicles in the field; a roof top mounted crane capable of lifting more than five tonnes, allowing it to pull other vehicles utilising the crane; an interchangeable power pack; and excavation attachments including a clam shell bucket and rock breaker. It is armed with a modular remote weapon station that can be configured with a range of weapons and ammunition from 7.62mm, 12.7mm up to 40mm grenades.

The Lynx family began as a private development by Rheinmetall, who unveiled the first iteration, the KF31 at the Eurosatory defence exhibition in June 2016. The KF41 variant was unveiled publicly at the Eurosatory defence exhibition in June 2018. The KF41 is a slightly larger and markedly heavier variant, but both can be configured for a variety of roles that include command and control, armoured reconnaissance, surveillance, repair, recovery or ambulance operations as well as an IFV configuration. In the latter, the Lynx is equipped with a Lance 2.0 turret with a 35mm autocannon and coaxial 7.62mm machinegun.

The first customer to the Lynx was Hungary, who signed a contract for the acquisition of 218 vehicles for more than $2 billion in September of last year. Out of these, a first batch of 46 Lynx is to be constructed in Germany and delivered by early 2023, with the remainder manufactured in Hungary. The Lynx is also under consideration by the Czech Army, where it is competing with BAE’s CV90 and General Dynamic’s ASCOD. The vehicle, or more likely a modified version based on it, is also still under consideration in the United States’ Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program. This program aims at replacing the Bradly IFV among other platforms and currently considers digital concept designs by Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, and American Rheinmetall Vehicles. Those designs will inform the Abbreviated-Concept Development Document (A-CDD) expected to be published in the first quarter of fiscal 2022.

The Lynx is also a contender in the Australian Land 400 program, specifically its phase 3. Land 400 is a comprehensive armament program, aiming at replacing Australia’s fleet of ASLAV (a modified LAV-25) and M113AS4, in various variants. The program has been officially described as the largest and most expensive procurement program in the history of the Australian Army. With a total value of between $15.48 billion, it covers the acquisition of 611 armoured vehicles over 15 years. Its second phase covers the replacement of the ASLAV, which has begun in earnest with the acquisition of Rheinmetalls Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) earlier this year. The third phase is the replacement of the M113AS4 and a fourth phase covers the acquisition of an integrated training system. The full Phase 3 requirement is understood to comprise 400 IFVs made up of 281 turreted platforms and 119 non-turreted variants, although most reports continue to refer to “up to 450” IFVs. In this third phase, the Lynx competes with Hanwha Defense Australia’s (HDA’s) AS21 Redback. Currently, both vehicles are undergoing evaluation by the Australian Army.

By Kevin Klemann 

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