Liebherr-Werk Ehingen GmbH (Liebherr) delivered the first of 71 protected mobile and recovery cranes to the Bundeswehr in February, the company announced on 1 April. Delivery of the remaining vehicles is scheduled for completion by 2021.
The contract, awarded by the Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support office (BAAINBw) in mid-2017, is valued at about €150 million and covers 38 G-LTM protected armoured cranes and 33 G-BKF recovery crane vehicles. Designed from the outset with a particular emphasis on survivability, all the G-LTMs feature protected driver and crane cabs from Rheinmetall.
G-BKF recovery crane vehicle
Broadly based on the company’s four-axle mobile crane chassis, Liebherr’s G-BKF is a highly manoeuvrable, protected recovery crane vehicle that performs extremely well even in the toughest terrain. Two recovery winches and a wheel lift mounted on the rear of the vehicle make the G-BKF the perfect system for recovering and towing a wide variety of vehicles, including (for example) the German Army’s new generation of Protected Command and Functional Vehicles (GFF), the Protected Mobility Logistic Support Vehicle (GTF), MULTI FSA swap body trucks and a variety of legacy wheeled vehicles – with no need for the crew to leave the safety of the protected driver or crane cabs. The G-BKF can be equipped for recovering vehicles as well as for lifting heavy loads, making it a flexible and economical choice. Sporting a 20.9m telescopic boom, the G-BKF handles loads weighing up to 20t quickly and with great precision.
G-LTM protected mobile crane
Similar in design to the standard civilian model, the G-LTM ordered by the Bundeswehr is a four-axle mobile crane with protected driver’s and crane cabs. Incorporating the latest chassis and engine technology, it performs superbly in all types of terrain. A six-cylinder, 330 kW Liebherr diesel engine with maximum torque of 2,335 Nm gives the G-LTM the power it needs to get the job done. The Bundeswehr order includes 17 vehicles with a counterweight of 8.4t, referring to these as ‘Heavy Mobile Crane Vehicles;’ featuring a counterweight of 22.5t, the remaining 21 vehicles are known as ‘Super Heavy Mobile Cranes.’
Exacting specifications for crew protection
During the tendering process, BAAINBw focused clearly on crew protection. In order to meet the stringent criteria, Liebherr worked together with Rheinmetall, making the Düsseldorf-based company responsible for the protected driver’s and crane cab. The driver’s cab protects the crew from ballistic fire as well as from landmines and improvised explosive devices, while a filtration system keeps the occupants safe from nuclear, bacteriological and chemical agents. The upper cab, likewise produced by Rheinmetall, protects the operator from ballistic threats during crane operations. The cabs are identical for both vehicles.