The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The governments of the UK and Germany signed a contract in November 1999 for the collaborative development and initial production of a family of next-generation armoured utility vehicles.
The programme was known as the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) in the UK, and as the Gepanzertes Transport-Kraftfahrzeug (GTK) in Germany.
In February 2001, the Netherlands signed a memorandum of understanding to join the programme. The Dutch programme is called the Pantser Wiel Voertuig (PWV). In December 2002, it was announced that the vehicle would be called the Boxer.
Industrial group ARTEC GmbH consisting of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme from Germany, and Stork of the Netherlands is the prime contractor for the programme.
The programme is being managed by the European Armaments Agency, Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR). Stork PWV became part of Rheinmetall in March 2008.
In July 2003, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced it would withdraw from the programme to pursue a new national programme, the future rapid effect system (FRES). The MoD required a lighter more easily deployable vehicle.
The MoD announced its plans to re-join the Boxer programme in April 2018 for its Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme.
Boxer MRAV prototypes and development
The UK, Germany and Netherlands were each to receive four prototypes and a first batch of 200 vehicles. The first prototype, in German APC configuration, was rolled-out to representatives of OCCAR and participating nations in December 2002 and the first Dutch prototype, a command post version, was completed in October 2003.
A contract was signed in November 2004, between OCCAR (for Germany and the Netherlands) and ARTEC, for the bilateral continuation of the development programme. A total of 12 prototype vehicles have been built and are undergoing industry trials.
ARTEC presented a bid to OCCAR for the first production batch of 400 vehicles in November 2005, which was rejected on grounds of cost.
The Dutch announced in February 2006 that it would launch a new competition for the requirement. However, in May 2006, ARTEC submitted a revised bid for the Boxer.
In July 2007, Boxer was one of three vehicles that took part in trials (the ‘Trials of Truth’) for the utility variant of the UK Army’s FRES.
The General Dynamics Piranha V was provisionally selected for the requirement in May 2008, although in December 2008 the preferred bidder status was withdrawn.
Requirements and variants of the internationally-built military vehicle
In June 2006, the Dutch Parliament approved procurement of 200 Boxer vehicles (58 ambulance, 55 command post, 41 engineer, 27 cargo and 19 cargo / command versions). In December 2006, Germany approved the procurement of 272 vehicles (135 armoured personnel carrier, 65 command post and 72 ambulance variants). A production contract was signed with ARTEC on 19 December 2006.
Boxer successfully completed user trials with the German Army in January 2008. In September 2009, the first deliveries of series production Boxer vehicles were made to the German and Dutch Armies. Deliveries of Boxer vehicles to the Dutch Army were completed between 2011 and end of 2016.
In August 2011, Germany deployed five Boxer MRAVs to Afghanistan. In December 2012, Germany deployed six Boxer Ambulance vehicles to Afghanistan. German Army received 65 Boxer Command Post vehicles by December 2012.
The 200th Boxer series vehicle was delivered to OCCAR and the Royal Netherlands Army received the first Boxer vehicle in August 2013.
In June 2014, the Royal Netherlands Army received the first of 52 Boxer Ambulance vehicles ordered by the Defence Material Organisation.
The Royal Netherlands Army received the first Boxer Command Post vehicle in July 2015. It currently operates 29 Boxer Armoured Engineer Group Vehicle (GNGP) variants.
In December 2015, OCCAR (for Germany) and ARTEC signed a contract for delivery of 131 Boxer vehicles to the German Army during 2016-20. ARTEC was awarded a contract by OCCAR for delivery of 88 Boxer vehicles to the Lithuanian Army in August 2016. The first two Boxer driver training vehicle variants were delivered in December 2017.
Two contracts have been signed with OCCAR for the Boxer programme in February 2017, which will be added to the German fleet.
In June 2017, ARTEC received a contract from OCCAR to retrofit 246 Boxer vehicles to the A2 built-standard through 2023.
The Slovenian Ministry of Defence ordered 48 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in different versions in March 2018. The vehicles are scheduled to be delivered by 2020.
In August 2018, Rheinmetall won the A$3.3bn ($2.36bn) contract from the Australian government for 211 Boxer advanced wheeled armoured vehicles fitted with Lance 30mm turret. The delivery of these vehicles will take place between 2019 and 2026.
Boxer replaces M113 and Fuchs Tpz 1 vehicles in the Germany Army and YPR and M577 vehicles in the Royal Netherlands Army.
The Boxer design provides 8×8 armoured personnel carrier and command vehicle versions and allows for the development of other variation models using the same base vehicle. The ambulance version can accommodate six seated or three stretcher casualties. Boxer provides the capability to operate in both high-intensity conflict, as well as in relief and humanitarian operations.
Design, features and armaments of the multirole armoured vehicle
The design is based on a modular structure selected to provide maximum flexibility for multipurpose operations. The vehicle incorporates a high level of standardisation and uses commercially proven automotive components. The 8×8 vehicle provides a load capacity of up to 8t and has an internal capacity of more than 14m³.
Mission modules, which fit into the base vehicle, provide static battlefield installations to suit each nation’s specific requirements, including headquarters, medical units and logistic centres.
The modules incorporate a primary safety cell with a triple floor. The base vehicle operates independently from the modules. Units are air transportable. The modules are interchangeable in less than one hour.
The weapon station is reconfigurable to suit the specific national requirements and the module for mission specific equipment is replaceable within one hour. German vehicles are armed with the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Type 1530 Gun Mount, with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
Dutch vehicles can be fitted with the Thales Nederland Twister remote-controlled weapon station, which includes the Albatross third-generation thermal imaging sight.
Under an order placed in January 2008, Dutch vehicles will be fitted with the Kongsberg Protector weapon control system, as well as fitted to US Army Stryker vehicles, armed with a 12.7mm machine gun.
Protection and mobility of the Boxer family of armoured utility vehicles
The basic shell is made of high-hardness steel. Modular armour is sandwiched between the vehicle cell and the steel coat, with all three elements secured by fastening bolts. Currently the modular armour, which includes top attack protection, is a specialised ceramic mix.
The modular design allows future generations of armour technologies to be fitted in place of current designs by simple slab replacement. The hull is designed to beat blast mine attacks by shaping the blast away. In addition, a double-lined hull soaks up critical blast deformation.
The vehicle’s thermal acoustic and radar signature management capability is at the forefront of armoured vehicle stealth technology and provides a low signature.
The vehicle is fitted with a 530kW MTU engine, linked to an Allison automatic transmission. Permanent eight-wheeled drive, all-round independent suspension and central tyre inflation system (CTIS) gives an optimal road and cross-country mobility.
A road range of more than 1,000km, combined with a very smooth and quiet ride, provides an unaided operational deployability unmatched among in-service armoured utility vehicles.
|Mass||24,000 kg (standard); 36,500 – 38,500 kg (combat)|
|Length||7.93 m (26 ft 0 in)|
|Width||2.99 m (9 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.37 m (7 ft 9 in) (baseline vehicle)|
|Crew||Varies by role. In APC configuration – 3 + maximum of 8|
|Armor||AMAP composite armour|
|various, depends on configuration|
|Engine||MTU 8V199 TE20 Diesel rated at EURO 3
530 kW (711 hp) in A0/A1/A2 and 600 kW (805 hp) in A3 (see text for full details)
|Power/weight||16.1 kW/t (max weight @ 530 kW))|
|1,100 km (684 mi)|
|Maximum speed||103 km/h (64 mph)|
- Australian Army – 211 vehicles on order, with deliveries expected until 2026. Vehicles to be delivered under the Land 400 Phase 2 program.The first of 25 Boxers – 13 multipurpose and 12 turreted reconnaissance variants – that are being manufactured in Germany through to 2021 to meet an early Australian capability requirement for familiarisation and training, was formally handed over to the army in September 2019. Before delivery the Boxers are being modified locally with Australian-specific communications and battlefield management systems and fitted temporarily with the Kongsberg Protector RWS that previously equipped Australian ASLAVs deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Production of the balance of 186 platforms – a mix of reconnaissance, command-and-control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, and battlefield repair and recovery variants – will begin in late 2022 at RDA’s AUD170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE). Nearing completion at Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane, this will be Rheinmetall’s biggest facility outside Germany and represents the largest single infrastructure investment to be made by the company in its 131-year history. To reduce integration risk, fitting the Australian-designed and produced Electro-Optic Systems R400 Mk 2 RWS to the 133 turreted reconnaissance variants is not expected to begin until after domestically produced 30 mm Lance turrets become available from the MILVEHCOE facility, probably sometime in 2023. For the selection process, in the overall evaluation protection received a higher priority than lethality, lethality had a higher priority than mobility, and mobility had a higher priority than sustainability or C4ISR considerations.
- German Army – 403 vehicles, deliveries until 2020. The first German order consisted of 272 drive modules and 272 accompanying mission modules encompassing 125 APCs, 72 armoured medical treatment vehicles, 10 driver training vehicles, and 65 command vehicles.
- Lithuanian Land Force – 91 vehicles, deliveries until 2021. Lithuania will receive Boxer in A2 configuration, 89 as variants of the baseline IFV configuration, plus two driver training vehicles. The IFV breakdown is: 55 IFV squad leader, 18 IFV platoon leader; 12 IFV company leader; 4 IFV command post. A single IFV will be used for maintenance training. The first two vehicles (driver training configuration) were delivered to Lithuania in December 2017. The first two Boxer in IFV configuration were delivered on 25 June 2019 and at this time the Lithuanian MoD stated that 15 vehicles would be delivered to Lithuania in 2019, and that all 89 IFV variants would be delivered by the end of 2021. In Lithuanian service these vehicles will be known as IFV Vilkas (Vilkas being Lithuanian for wolf). and in June 2019 the Lithuanian MoD stated that 15 IFV Boxer/Vilkas would be delivered to Lithuania in 2019, and that all 89 IFV variants would be delivered by the end of 2021.
- Royal Netherlands Army – 200 vehicles, deliveries from 2013 until 2018. The last Dutch Boxer was produced in July 2018. Variant breakdown following a 2016 contract modification was 12 cargo, 92 engineer (subsequently converted 12 of the 92 to Battle Damage Repair (BDR) configuration), 36 command post, 8 driver training, 52 ambulance.
- British Army – 528 vehicles from 2022. Following an announcement on 31 March 2018 by the UK government that it was re-joining the Boxer programme, the UK government announced on 3 April that Boxer had been selected by the British Army to meet its Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement. On 19 July the UK MoD disclosed its intent to order between 400 and 600 Boxer with options for a further 900, leading to a potential maximum procurement of 1500 vehicles. If procured, the first vehicles are due to enter service in 2023. As a result of the UK’s intended larger order and its return to being a program partner, an option to build and export Boxer from the UK will be explored. In January 2019 Rheinmetall announced that subject to government approvals the company would buy a 55% share of UK-based BAE Systems’ land business for £28.6 m. The joint venture (JV) is called Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and is headquartered at BAE’s existing facility in Telford, Shropshire. On November 5, 2019, it was announced that a £2.3 billion deal for more than 500 Boxer armoured vehicles had been signed. There will be four variants,for a total of 528 units. Deliveries will start in 2023.
- Algerian Army – production under license will reportedly start in 2020, with 500 units to be produced by 2023.
- Slovenian Ground Force – In February 2018, the Slovenian Ministry of Defence selected the Boxer as the base vehicle around which to form two new mechanised infantry battlegroups. The procurement was to proceed through OCCAR and a ‘kick off meeting’ was held on 13 March 2018. The actual contract was expected to be signed Q4 2018 and the first series vehicle was planned to be delivered end of 2020. It was reported in early 2019 that Slovenia’s accession to OCCAR alongside a contract for the vehicles had been suspended, the MoD deciding to conduct a new tactical study, this likely to affect the procurement of 8×8 wheeled armoured vehicles.