The Ukrainian army is about to receive a major boost in its capabilities with the arrival of Marder tracked armoured infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from Germany.
The Marder is a 30-ton vehicle that can carry six to seven infantrymen and provide them with fire support from a 20mm automatic cannon and MILAN anti-tank missiles. The Marder can also withstand nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks, and cross water obstacles up to two meters deep.
The German government has agreed to supply 100 Marders to Ukraine as part of its support for the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity amid Russian aggression. The first batch of 40 vehicles is expected to be delivered by April 2023, followed by another 60 by the end of the year. Germany has also trained Ukrainian soldiers on how to operate and maintain the Marders.
The Marder is an old but reliable vehicle that has been in service since 1971 and has undergone several upgrades over the years. It has been used by the German army in Kosovo and Afghanistan, as well as by other countries such as Chile, Indonesia, and Jordan. The Marder is still superior to its successor model, the Puma, which has been plagued by technical problems and delays.
The Marder will complement another type of IFV that Ukraine is receiving from the United States: the Bradley M2. The Bradley M2 can transport nine to ten soldiers and is armed with a 25mm machine cannon, a machine gun, and guided missiles. It can also travel faster than the Marder (65 km/h vs 40 km/h) and has a longer range (400 km vs 300 km). The Bradley M2 can work together with American battle tanks such as the M1 Abrams to counter enemy tanks and infantry.
The delivery of these IFVs will enhance Ukraine’s mechanized infantry units, which are crucial for offensive operations against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The IFVs will allow Ukrainian troops to keep up with their own tanks, secure ground they capture, and engage enemy forces at close range. The IFVs will also increase Ukraine’s deterrence against a possible Russian invasion, which has been looming over the region for months.
Marder infantry fighting vehicle
The Marder infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is one of the most successful and long-serving weapon systems of the German Army. Designed in the 1960s as a response to the Soviet BMP-1, the Marder has been in service since 1971 and has undergone several upgrades and modifications over the years.
The Marder was conceived as a tracked vehicle that could transport mechanized infantry units alongside main battle tanks, while providing them with protection and firepower. The Marder has a crew of three (driver, commander and gunner) and can carry six or seven infantrymen in the rear compartment. The main armament consists of a 20 mm Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh 202 automatic cannon and a MILAN anti-tank guided missile launcher. The secondary armament is a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun.
The Marder has a welded steel armor that can withstand small arms fire and shrapnel. It also features smoke grenade launchers and NBC protection system. The Marder is powered by a MTU MB 833 Ea-500 diesel engine that gives it a maximum speed of 75 km/h on road and 65 km/h off-road. The Marder has a torsion bar suspension system that provides good mobility and cross-country performance.
The Marder has participated in several missions and operations around the world, including peacekeeping in Kosovo, security assistance in Afghanistan and training support in Lithuania. The Marder has proven to be a reliable and versatile IFV that can adapt to different scenarios and threats.
However, after five decades of service, the Marder is reaching its limits and needs to be replaced by a more modern IFV. The German Army has selected the Puma IFV as its successor, which offers better protection, mobility, and firepower than the Marder. The Puma IFV is expected to enter service by 2025.