After more than 30 years in service, the Bundeswehr is planning to phase-out Wiesel, its air-transportable light armoured weapons carrier. Available in several different configurations, the Wiesel was a practical and utility-minded solution for the different battlefield and peacekeeping roles.
Looking for a worthy replacement, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has tasked the Bavarian analysis and test engineering giant IABG to deliver an overall system demonstrator for the future airmobile weapons carrier (GSD LuWa). Project goals included examining the feasibility of innovative approaches and technologies for the Wiesel's successor, including the first application of 27 mm autocannon on a land platform, a diesel-electric hybrid drive and a split tracked undercarriage. A major requirement was retaining the air transportability for the LuWa.
IABG has formed a project partnership with VALHALLA TURRETS taking over the engineering and manufacturing of the demonstrators for LuWa's remote-controlled turret. Supported by its project consortium, consisting of engineering and manufacturing service providers from the Slovenian Defence Industry Cluster, VALHALLA TURRETS has successfully delivered two demonstrators to IABG in less than 15 months. Having completed the demonstrators within schedule under difficult pandemic conditions proves the organisational competence of the Slovenian contractor.
VALHALLA has engineered a compact, low-profile turret measuring less than 400 mm in height to accommodate the requirements for transportation in the CH-53 helicopter and to avoid detection on the battlefield. Remotely controlled from within the safety of the hull, the turret features a Rheinmetall BK-27 27x145 autocannon for increased range and firepower. For this application, VALHALLA had to design both a new cradle with an integrated recoil system and a dedicated ammunition feed system. The turret is ready for secondary armament including a machine gun, smoke grenade launchers, loitering missiles, additional electronic systems etc.
Featuring a two-axis optical sight with day and night channels, the turret provides good situational awareness to the commander. The turret also features a cutting-edge fire control system, also developed in Slovenia.
Following the system integration, IABG and the Bundeswehr have been conducting extensive tests and verifications, yielding excellent results for the new turret. VALHALLA has also supported the client in the preparation of a digital twin to support further evaluations and streamlining of ergonomics, tactical and technical capabilities of Wiesel's successor.