The German government has awarded a contract to Rheinmetall to provide an additional 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to Ukraine, the company announced 11 September.

The Marder is a versatile and battle-tested vehicle that is expected to enhance Ukraine’s defensive capabilities and contribute to its ongoing efforts to reclaim sovereignty over its territory. 

The announcement comes as Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR), on 10 September, stated that Ukraine will continue its counteroffensive operations into late 2023, without halting for adverse weather conditions. 

A release from Rheinmetall in June 2023 stated that the company could deliver ten infantry fighting vehicles per month, up to a total of an additional 60 vehicle, and that work was already underway on the refurbishment of Marder 1A3 systems previously owned by the Bundeswehr. According to the company, Rheinmetall began restoring infantry fighting vehicles in Spring of 2022 at its own expense. 

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The company reiterated its statement on the rate of delivery on 11 September without change. At a rate of ten vehicles per month, the new contract for 40 vehicles established in August would be complete in December.

The Marder is an infantry fighting vehicle capable of carrying six soldiers in addition to a crew of three. The main armaments are a 20mm automatic cannon, a 7.62mm general machine gun, a 7.62mm rifle, and a Milan anti-tank guided missile system that is soon to be replaced with the MELSS multi-role lightweight anti-tank guided missile system. The hull is welded steel capable of protecting personnel from up to 20mm and 25 mm armour-piercing discarding sabots fired from a range of 200m. 

Currently, 40 Marder systems have already been donated to Ukraine by Germany. Following from an initial donation of 20 Marder IFVs of existing Bunderswehr stock in March 2023, another 20 Marders were later secured in a June contract described as having a “lower-two-digit  million euro range” according to Rheinmetall. This contrasts with latest order of 40 Marder IFVs, with Rheinmetall estimating the value it describes as “worth a high double-digit million euro amount”, that was secured in August. 

Germany provided a €110m ($121.9m) contract to Rheinmetall to extend the service of the MArder IFV in December 2019 and supply 78 conversion kits, and then in October 2020 to deliver 170 Spectus II driver night observation devices for the Marder fleet, representing two new updates to a platform design that has seen more than 50 years of service and upgrade within the German military. 

Additional reporting by Richard Thomas.