Germany and Netherlands sign €1.9 billion contract for Rheinmetall Caracal airborne vehicle

On 11 July 2023, Germany and the Netherlands signed a €1.9 billion framework contract with Rheinmetall for the acquisition of 3,058 Caracal air assault vehicles. The contract, spanning several years, allocates 2,054 vehicles to Germany and 1,004 to the Netherlands.
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Rheinmetall Caracal air assault vehicle on Eurosatory 2023 (Picture source: Army Recognition )

In the initial phase, a firm order has been placed for 1,508 vehicles worth approximately €870 million. Germany is utilizing a special fund established last year for the reequipping of the Bundeswehr to finance this procurement project. We already told you about the Caracal on Army Recognition on 5 April 2023.

The decision to acquire the "Deployment System Airmobile Platform" stems from the need to enhance national and allied defense capabilities due to the current tense security situation. The German and Dutch armed forces, with their close collaboration and similar requirements, have engaged in this bilateral procurement project.

The Caracal is an air assault vehicle based on the commercial off-the-shelf chassis of the new G 464 series from Mercedes-Benz, ensuring a proven platform. Developed through a collaboration between Rheinmetall, Mercedes-Benz AG, and Armoured Car Systems GmbH, the Caracal is a 4x4 all-wheel-drive vehicle designed to meet the needs of airmobile formations and special operations forces. For air transport, up to two vehicles can be carried inside HTH CH-47F and CH-53K helicopters or underslung.

In terms of performance, the Caracal can reach a maximum on-road speed of 140 km/h, handle a 60% gradient, and have a 30% side slope. It has a fording depth of 700mm, a climbing ability of 330mm, and a trench crossing capacity of 500mm. With dimensions of 4,350mm in length, 1,810mm in width, and 1,850mm in height, it has a gross vehicle weight of 4,900kg, an air-transportable weight of 4,400kg or less, and a payload capacity of 1,500kg. The vehicle is also equipped with ABS and ESP systems. The delivery of trial models is scheduled for the first quarter of 2024, with series production commencing in early 2025.

The final assembly of all German and Dutch vehicles will take place at Rheinmetall's plant in Ede, the Netherlands, and at VDL Special Vehicles B.V. in Eindhoven, their designated partner company. This dual assembly approach enables increased production while contributing to value creation in the Netherlands.

The partnership between Germany, the Netherlands, and Rheinmetall demonstrates their commitment to strengthening defense capabilities and ensuring the readiness of armed forces in the face of evolving security challenges.