Optimal winch concepts for military applications

18 August 2020 (Last Updated September 21st, 2020 15:45)

ROTZLER winches are used in a wide variety of defense vehicle systems, including heavy-duty transporters, recovery, and towing vehicles.

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ROTZLER winches are used in a wide variety of defense vehicle systems, including heavy-duty transporters, recovery, and towing vehicles.

Other vehicle systems, such as light armoured wheeled vehicles or armoured engineering vehicles, are also equipped with system solutions from ROTZLER. Performance, flexibility, safety, and the optimal use of the available space in the vehicle are important factors when choosing the right winch system for the respective carrier vehicle.

The application of the system is of prime importance for the selection of the ideal winch.

In the case of recovery and towing vehicles or a recovery tank, this is almost exclusively for the recovery of vehicles that have been damaged or got stuck. On both types of vehicles, this is solved with a single winch.

With heavy-duty transporters or light armored engineering vehicles, the task is more complex and the requirements on the winch system are therefore manifold. We explain key criteria why heavy-duty transporters, or armoured engineering vehicles are equipped with a twin winch system.

The single winch

Single winches are mostly used for pure recovery applications. Whether used as a self-recovery winch in a truck or an armoured wheeled vehicle, or as a main recovery winch in a recovery and towing vehicle or in a recovery tank, the pulling force is always matched to the respective application and the vehicle weight.

The self-recovery winch usually has a pulling force of 70kN to 120kN. In logistic vehicles it is often executed as a drum winch. Based on higher requirements a tactical vehicle, it is normally equipped with a TREIBMATIC. For recovery and towing vehicles or recovery tanks, the TREIBMATIC with pulling forces between 200kN and 500kN is usually the product of choice.

Twin winches on heavy-duty transporters

Twin winch systems on heavy-duty transporters are used for pulling damaged vehicles safely and in a controlled manner onto the flat-bed trailer, as well as for precise unloading from the low loader. Accurate and safe positioning of the load is required, which is only possible with two winches.

By pulling crosswise with both winches, the load can be precisely controlled and positioned. This enables a broken-down, damaged vehicle to be loaded onto the flatbed trailer, even if the flat-bed trailer is not perfectly positioned towards the load.

While unloading a low-loader when an unfit to drive tank must be pulled off the low-loader, the twin winch has several advantages. With the help of a redirection pulley at the tail of the low bed, the tank is pulled from the low loader with one winch, while the other winch secures the load. This is particularly important if the defective vehicle is pulled over the tipping point of the low loader and there is a risk that it will slide off the low loader in an uncontrolled manner without a brake winch.

Twin winches in supporting vehicles

In special purposes vehicles, such as light armored engineering vehicles, twin winches are mostly used to tear down barriers and barricades or to clear them out of the way.

Both winches can be used simultaneously to tear down a blocker and process two different tasks, which significantly reduces the operating time, especially for operations that do not require full pulling force.

Such specialised applications also require special functions on the winches. The TREIBMATIC twin winch system in the light armored engineering vehicle Kodiak, for example, allows the rope to be pulled out with the vehicle at a speed of up to 250 m/min. The complete usable rope length of the system of 200m can therefore be fully pulled out in less than a minute. Long rope lengths provide a great advantage, especially for the varied and often complex work that must be carried out with an armored engineering vehicle.

As with the heavy-duty transporter, controlled pulling of the load away from the carrier vehicle is also possible. With the aid of a deflection roller, one winch pulls the load away from the carrier vehicle, while the second winch secures the load. This function significantly extends the range of applications. Barriers can not only be torn in the direction of the carrier vehicle, but also away from it, in a controlled and safe manner. The flexibility of the system can make many operations much easier.

Twin winch systems not only offer the operator significantly more flexibility, but also easy handling. If you compare a large single winch, such as the TREIBMATIC TR 650 in the Buffalo recovery tank, with a twin winch system with 2 TREIBMATIC winches type TR 080, such as those used in light armored engineering vehicles, this difference becomes very clear.

The task decides whether one or both winches are used. The rope weight, as well as the weight and size of the accessories, are of course significantly lower for a single winch in a twin winch system than for one winch with a high pulling force. This rope can easily be pulled out to a certain length and attached to the load by the vehicle crew.

In addition to handling advantages for the operator, a winch system with two winches offers benefits for the manufacturer of the vehicle itself. A certain flexibility in the positioning of the individual winches, especially with the very flexible TREIBMATIC, can have a positive influence on the weight distribution in the armored vehicle. This flexibility also allows optimisation when positioning all components. For example, an advantageous centre installation of a crane or an excavator arm can be achieved on a vehicle, which is difficult to achieve with a single main recovery winch.


Winches today must meet a wide range of requirements that go far beyond simply providing pulling force. Different vehicles and different tasks not only require different pulling forces, but completely different rope lengths, winch concepts and functions.

The winch therefore becomes an integral part of the entire vehicle. Today, it is not just about mechanical integration. The operation of the winch and data communication with the vehicle is also an integral part for optimal use. Only these specially designed winches with perfect integration into a vehicle allow to meet the high requirements, especially of today’s recovery and engineering vehicles.