Bundeswehr, the German federal defence and procurement agency, has ordered eight Wiesel 2 vehicles worth €54m from Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall.

The Wiesel 2 will support command operations, evacuations and transport ammunition. The contract also has an option to acquire two additional vehicles in future for another €7.5m.

Part of Rheinmetall’s highly mobile mortar combat system, the air-portable Wiesel 2 has been specially designed for infantry and airmobile operations. It will replace manually operated Tampella-type mortars. The complete system can be airlifted by the CH-53 cargo helicopter or Transall C-160.

The Wiesel 2 accommodates three crew members with protection against ballistic threats and NBC agents.

The vehicle uses a ‘hide, hit, run, hide’ strategy via the lePzMrs mortar track, which allows the vehicle to evacuate its fire position within 15 seconds of completing a fire mission. The system is ready for action in 60 seconds and can fire up to three rounds within 20 seconds.

the vehicle can also function autonomously by linking the individual vehicle systems into a unified information network to aid its ability for quick fire power.

The new 120mm mortar ammunition can hit targets up to 8,000m away. Its terminal phase-guided munitions enhance its performance with smoke and infrared illumination rounds planned for future upgrades.

The vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in 2011.