DSEI 2023: FFG advances delivery of mine-clearing tanks to Ukraine
Germany's Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschift (FFG) has now delivered eight of the contracted 42 Wisent 1 Mine Clearing Tanks (MCT) for Ukraine with final deliveries expected in 2025.
The MCT is based on a Leopard 1 armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) platform refurbished by FFG and has a gross vehicle weight of 42.6t.
The crew compartment at the front and sides of the hull have been fitted with a new passive armour package develop by the Geke company which is 51% owned by FFG.
This is claimed to provide a high level of protection against mines, ballistic attack and top attack weapons such as bomblets which are becoming an increasing threat in Ukraine.
In order to support the vehicle when mine-clearing operations are carried out, the front section has been modified by installation of a hydraulic gas suspension system called Hydrops which also permits improved cross-country mobility when not mine-breaching.
At the front of the hull is a combat-proven Pearson Engineering Full Width Mine Plough (FWMP) which is raised when travelling and which aims to clear concealed buried mines as well as improvised explosive devices (IED).
If the FWMP is removed, a dozer blade can be mounted instead for recovery operations.
The hydraulically operated crane with maximum capacity of 20t is retained on the right side of the hull and can be used to help the crew mount or dismount the FWMP or other front-mounted equipment, or carry out other battlefield missions.
The interior of the crew compartment has been modernised and new blast attenuation seats are provided for the driver and other two crew members.
The driver is also provided with front and rear colour cameras for improved situational awareness and a large stowage box is fitted on top of the engine compartment.
At present the FFG MCT is not fitted with the Pearson Pathfinder clear lane marking system which fires poles into the clear to allow follow-on vehicles a safe path through the minefield.
In the past FFG has also developed and placed in production ARV and combat engineering vehicles based on surplus Leopard 2 MBT chassis but all of these have now been used up and today KMW supplies brand new chassis to FFG which carries out the conversion work.
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