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Rheinmetall unveils Armoured Breaching Vehicle Keiler NG at Eurosatory

17th June 2024 - 08:01 GMT | by Christopher F Foss in Paris

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Armoured Breaching Vehicle Keiler NG clearly showing Pearson Engineering Full Width Mine Plough deployed at front and Rheinmetall Denel Munitions Plofadder Mine Clearing Line Charge container at rear. (Photo: Rheinmetall)

Mine-clearing system has been designed to meet the requirements of the German Army and has been based on operational experience in Ukraine.

The Rheinmetall Armoured Breaching Vehicle (ABV) Keiler NG (New Generation) is among the new armoured vehicles being unveiled at Eurosatory this year.

The original Keiler, still deployed by the German Army, is based on a modified M48 tank chassis and fitted with a flail-type mine-clearing system mounted at the front of the boat-shaped hull.

A total of 24 were supplied to the German Army by the then MaK (today Rheinmetall) and the last of these was delivered in 1998.

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The ABV Keiler NG has been designed by Rheinmetall using company funds and based on feedback from operational experience in Ukraine, as well as meeting the potential requirements of the German Army to replace its aging M48-based Keiler.

According to a representative of Rheinmetall: “Complex obstacles in Ukraine, including minefields, have to be breached at speed and this is what the new ABV Keiler NG has been designed to do.”

The latest ABV Keiler NG is based on the Kodiak Combat Engineer Vehicle (CEV) currently in production for the German Army who has placed a contract with Rheinmetall covering the supply of 44 units with first deliveries set for 2025.

Consequently, a large part of the system has already been officially tested.

Mounted at the front of the two-person hull is the Pearson Full Width Mine Plough (FWMP) and at either side at the rear is the Pearson Pathfinder Clear Lane Marking System (CLMS).

Mounted on top of the rear rack are two Rheinmetall Denel Munitions combat proven Plofadder Mine Line Charges (MICLICs) and each of these can clear a minefield 160m long and 9m wide.

In the centre of the hull at the front is the hydraulically operated crane which is traversed to the rear when not required. This can be used to rapidly replace the FWMP by a dozer blade to clear battlefield obstacles.

In addition, the vehicle is fitted with a Magnetic Signature Duplicator (MSD) which can initiate electronic mines at a safe distance.

For higher survivability, the ABV Keiler NG is fitted with additional advanced armour over the front and sides, ROSY electrically operated smoke grenade launchers and a Rheinmetall Natter remote weapon station (RWS) typically armed with a 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun.

In a typical mine-clearing operation the ABV Keiler NG would halt just outside of the minefield. The Plofadder would then be launched across the minefield and detonates with the overpressure clearing most of the mines.

The ABV Keiler NG enters the thus prepared minefield and then clears the remainder of the mines using its WMP. As it moves forwards, pennants are fired into the ground to show following vehicles a clear path through the mine field.

According to Rheinmetall: “A minefield 250m in depth could be cleared by this system in between 6 and 10 minutes. This is a low-risk solution as all elements have already been proven.”

There is also a potential growth for the ABV Keiler NG which could include an active protection for enhanced crew survivability, remote control operation or a fully automated capability for breaching operations and subsequent recovery.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems

M48

Christopher F Foss

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Christopher F Foss


Christopher F Foss is an internationally recognised authority on armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and other weapon systems, …

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