In March 2018 Australia ordered 211 German Boxer armored vehicles for $3.4 billion. Most are CRV (Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles) models but some will also be configured for ambulance or command and control duties. The contract includes a full logistic package as well as tech assistance in setting up a Boxer assembly operation in Australia. The first 25 vehicles arrive assembled but all the rest will be produced under license in Australia.
The Boxer began in 1999 as a joint British- German effort to create armored utility vehicle for their forces. In 2001 Netherlands joined the program but then in 2003, Britain withdrew from the program to develop another design on their own. In 2006 both the Dutch and Germans agreed to buy 472 Boxer vehicles (200 for the Dutch and 272 for Germany). In 2008 Boxer successfully completed trials with the German Army and in 2011 five Boxers were used in Afghanistan (where none were lost).
The Boxer itself is an eight-wheeled armored vehicle is operated by a crew of three along with eight passengers and weighs from 25 to 33 tones (depends on the version). Moreover, it’s air transportable by the new A400M. Its design is modular for maximum flexibility. Every chassis can be equipped with different snap-in modules for different purposes like infantry carrier, command vehicle, ambulance, supply carrier, IFV and so on. These modules are interchangeable and can be added or removed in less than an hour.
The modular armor is ceramic and is attached to steel hull with fastening bolts. This design allows quick replacement of damaged modules or easier upgrade when new armor technology develops. Moreover, the vehicle has triple hull floor for better protection against anti-tank mines. For survivability, front armor can withstand 30mm autocannon rounds, while the all-round protection can withstand 12.7mm fire. This is accompanied by lowered radar, thermal and acoustic signatures which are making it harder to detect. To ensure sufficient mobility the vehicle is fitted with a new high power 700 horsepower diesel engine which gives sufficient a power-to-weight ratio.
Boxer armament can be configured to suit specific national requirements of every country. Available weapons selection is pretty wide from light remote controlled gun stations, turrets with autocannons up to even low recoil 105mm and 120mm guns. For example, German Boxers have a remotely operated gun mount with a 40-mm automatic grenade launcher, the Dutch ones are equipped with a 12.7-mm machine gun while the Lithuanian variant uses Israeli unmanned turret with a 30mm gun, coaxial 7.62 mm machinegun and Spike LR anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) with a range up to 4,000 meters. The Australian CRV variant will use "classical" LANCE 30mm two-man turret fitted with 30mm MK-30-2 autocannon together with Spike LR ATGM. The Australian win is another export success for this European made wheeled IFV, which now has over a thousand Boxers on order or delivered. -- Przemysław Juraszek