German company IABG demonstrates GSD LuWa new Light Air-transportable Armoured Fighting Vehicle


On 14 October 2021, the current status of the GSD LuWa (Light Air-transportable Armoured Fighting Vehicle) research and technology (R&T) project was presented to the German Ministry of Defence (BMVg) and the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) at the general contractor IABG (Industrieanlagen Betriebsgesellschaft) in Lichtenau, Germany.
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The new GSD LuWa Light Air-transportable Armoured Fighting Vehicle in live demonstration. (Picture source IABG Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH)


Guests were the group leader K5 of the BAAINBw, the heads of division Equipment IV 2 and Planning II 5 of the BMVg as well as the Slovenian defence attaché. On this occasion, IABG demonstrated the GSD LuWa in special driving situations, live firing, and the blast test of a sample of the vehicle hull.

As a product-neutral general contractor on behalf of the BAAINBw, IABG thus achieved a further milestone in the project, which has been running since April 2020. The aim of the project is to investigate concepts and technologies for a possible successor system to the Wiesel 1 weapon carrier. Despite the difficult, pandemic-related boundary conditions, the GSD LuWa (Light Air-transportable Armoured Fighting Vehicle) was successfully implemented on schedule and commissioning commenced after only 17 months of intensive project work. The German companies ACS and FFG as well as Valhalla Turrets from Slovenia were integrated into the project as project partners.

The GSD LuWa is intended to investigate the behavior of technologies in a system of a systems framework. This applies in particular to those technologies and subsystems that involve novel approaches and promise the highest possible degree of requirement fulfilment, but at the same time still carry development risks. These include a 27-millimeter autocannon to increase the combat range and weapon effectiveness, a diesel-electric hybrid drive for the silent running mode, and a split and levellable tracked undercarriage for helicopter loading and emergency running. All requirements are to be demonstrated under the boundary conditions of a weapon carrier that can be airlifted into the CH-53 medium transport helicopter. On the one hand, this allows the feasibility and system compatibility to be assessed at an early stage and thus the functionality of the above-mentioned subsystems and concepts to be examined. On the other hand, IABG contributes to consistent and transparent requirements engineering from the beginning of the project.

The GSD LuWa contains not only the actual vehicle with a weapon system but also a crew compartment demonstrator and a so-called digital twin. With this combination, IABG was able to help capture the existing operational know-how of the previous Wiesel crews and make it usable for the further steps in the armament process. Furthermore, the ergonomics, as well as the technological and tactical capabilities of a successor system, were evaluated and optimised.

This serves to prepare the upcoming solution proposals of the BAAINBw, to gather the necessary facts and figures for a selection decision, to reduce risks, to increase the innovation progress and the operational value of the future system, and to set the course for the realisation of a later series.

The GSH LuWa could replace the Wiesel light air-transportable armoured fighting vehicle in service with German army airborne troops since the late 1980s. The GSH LuWa is based on a tracked chassis consisting of two-track independent suspension each including three road wheels and one return-roller. The 4 track layout is to improve survivability against mine strikes etc, lose a track and can keep going, each track is individually powered by an electric motor.

The layout of the GSH LuWa is very unique and the whole vehicle has been designed to be small in size with lightweight allowing the vehicle to be easily airdropped. The hull of the vehicle is equipped with two large bullet-proof windows at the front and one additional small window on each side, offering a 180° view for the crew. The vehicle has a crew of two and is equipped with a remotely operated weapon station manufactured by the Slovenian company Valhalla Turrets which is armed with one 30mm automatic cannon able to engage targets at a maximum firing range of 3,000 m. The 30mm cannon is able to fire a wide range of ammunition types as well as the APFSDS-T (Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) round that provides ample armor penetration against current and future battlefield threats.


German company IABG demonstrates GSD LuWa Light Air transportable Armoured Fighting Vehicle 925 002
Wiesel light air-transportable armoured fighting vehicle armed with one 20mm automatic cannon. (Picture source Wikimedia)


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