At the end of last year Armasuisse, the Swiss defence procurement agency, placed an order with Rheinmetall for 9,640 VarioRay LLM laser light modules. Worth some few tens of millions of Euros, the contract, which also includes accessories, spare parts and training support, foresees delivery taking place between May 2020 and 2022, the company announced on 6 March.
Rheinmetall Air Defence AG is the general contractor for the project, while Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics GmbH is the manufacturer.
Used for detecting, identifying and marking targets, the laser light modules – designated the LLM 19 in the Swiss military – will be mounted on individual assault rifles. Weighing approximately 240g, the VarioRay LLM can be mounted on a MIL-STD 1913 rail on any assault rifle and operated via a trigger cable. Together with the night vision and thermal imaging devices also acquired under the 2019 defence procurement programme, it will give Swiss troops the ability to conduct missions around the clock and in all weather conditions.
Among other things, the VarioRay LLM forms part of Germany’s Future Soldier System-Extended System, or IdZ-ES, used by the Bundeswehr. The British Army, which calls it the Laser Light Module MK3, also employs the system. As it happens, Rheinmetall-made aiming lasers are already in service with the Swiss Army. In 1996, Rheinmetall supplied the Swiss military with the REM096 laser marker. In winning the latest order, Rheinmetall has thus succeeded in keeping the Swiss Army as an important customer for its laser technology.
Rheinmetall offers an extensive portfolio of infantry equipment, including numerous aiming and illumination modules. These were developed in order to enhance the tactical effectiveness of small arms. Among the most recent products is the Variable Tactical Aiming Laser (VTAL) module. This aiming and illumination module is compatible with all standard night vision devices and can be coupled with the separate modular Lumenator weapon lamp, also made by Rheinmetall. Another top-of-the-line Rheinmetall product is Tac-Ray Ballistic, a rangefinder/ballistic computer for snipers.