A consortium of German manufacturers, Rheinmetall, Diehl Defence and Hensoldt, have won the contract to develop a Boxer-mounted anti-aircraft weapon system for Germany, based on the IRIS-T missile, they announced on 25 January 2024.

While the project title suggests the provision of a short- and very-short-range effector, language from the consortium indicates that medium-range targets are their priority during the design process. 

The Germany Federal Ministry announced on 19 January that the government had approved €1.23bn ($1.33bn) to develop a prototype that would revive the Army’s anti-aircraft capability in the near range, in response to lessons learned from the war in Ukraine.

The Short- and Very Short-Range Air Defence System Consortium (LVS NNbS) was set up in 2021, and signed a contract with Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) less than a week after the finds were approved. 

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By GlobalData

The new contract for the Air Defence System, Short- and Very Short-Range (LVS NNbS) is worth €1.2bn and divides the funds between the three manufacturers according to Yorkshire, with Rheinmetall accounting for €607m, Diehl for €339m, and Hensoldt for €284m. 

While the contract is for a short- and very-short-range anti-aircraft system, the new weapon will be optimised for medium-range air defence, according to a statement issued jointly by the members of LVS NNbS. The language in the statement refers to this goal as a ‘core objective’. 

Separately, the manufacturer consortium identifies ‘extending the intercept zone to include short-range threats’ as a ‘key objective’, listing it alongside a series of other items concerning networking, integration and interoperability, suggesting that despite the project title referring to short- and very-short range air defence, this area of the interception zone may not be a primary requirement of the system in operational use.

Germany has another system available for short- and very-short anti-aircraft fires, the Skyranger 30, which the Bundeswehr has also taken to mounting on the Boxer chassis. The Skyranger 30 turret has a 30mm machine cannon that is regarded as a highly efficient counter to the proliferation of UAVS and loitering munitions. 

Members of the LVS NNbS highlight networking the prototype missiles system with the Skyranger 30 and MAN 8×8 mounted Iris-T SLM air-defence fire units as a key goal of the new contract, with connection to be procured later.

Other key goals also include integrating the medium-range IRIS T-SLM guided missile.

Individual members of consortium will contribute to development in specific area, with Rheinmetall offering experience with combat vehicles and communication, Diehl finding input through its specialisation in fabricating guided missiles, and Hensoldt introducing its experience with essential radar systems.