Rheinmetall Defence has been awarded a contract for the delivery of additional Gladius soldier systems to the German Army for use in Afghanistan.
Under the terms of the €84m deal, Rheinmetall will manufacture and supply around 60 systems to equip 60 infantry sections having a total of 600 soldiers.
The order forms an option to the original €50m contract received from the German Federal Agency for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) for supply of 30 systems to equip 300 troops in June 2012.
Originally called Infanterist der Zukunft (IdZ 2), or Future Soldier, Gladius has been designed to enhance overall operational effectiveness of German infantry units, while also improving survivability of individual soldiers.
The system brings a ten-man infantry section and vehicle into a network-enabled operational loop, comprising reconnaissance, command and control components and weapons to enable exchange of information and situational awareness sharing, which serves as basis for planning and conducting operations.
Equipped with a GPS and inertial navigation system (INS) and magnetic compass, the system provides dismounted soldiers with access to all relevant data about the tactical situation and position of friendly forces, as well as mission and system status in the battlefield.
In addition to preventing detection in visual and infrared spectrums, the system also provides enhanced protection against biological and chemical agents, as well as extreme climatic conditions.
Scheduled to be supplied in two lots with each featuring 30 systems, the first set will arrive in mid-2013, followed by the second in late-2013, well in advance to the planned deployment of the army's next two contingents to Afghanistan.
The army is currently taking delivery of the systems from a 2012 contract, which will be used to train troops until June 2013, prior to their actual deployment to Afghanistan later this year and in 2014.
Image: The Gladius soldier system of the German Army. Photo: courtesy of Rheinmetall Defence.