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Rheinmetall has presented the Bundeswehr with the company’s initial complete concept for the third generation of the IdZ-ES (Future Soldier-Expanded System). The presentation showed the initial results of a study contract awarded as recently as March this year, aimed at examining and evaluating potential improvements to the IdZ-ES units already in service.

The complete concept will reveal potential implementation risks, cost drivers and the degree of maturity of a mission-oriented system. It will serve the Bundeswehr as the basis for preparing solution proposals for procurement of a 3rd-generation IdZ-ES. The study is to be complete by 30 May 2022; depending on the outcome, there could be another significant contract for Rheinmetall, as the Bundeswehr has a continuing need for advanced digital soldier systems.

The study encompasses seven work packages in the core and peripheral systems. These, of course, include the C4I functions which, among other things, are being examined regarding planned conformity with the Digitised Land-Based Operations (D-LBO) programme. Also being taken into account are the subsystems clothing, protection and load-bearing equipment; optics and optronics; and the links to ground vehicles and aircraft, as well as weapons and aiming devices. Intermediate reports on the individual topics are to be submitted on 22 November 2021 and 30 May 2022. During the contract study, test and trial samples will be fabricated. Rheinmetall Electronics is serving as general contractor in the project, with numerous companies participating as subcontractors.

The study contract is based on two current design evolutions: the IdZ-ES 68 platoon system, and the System Panzergrenadier. Consisting of the IdZ-ES VJTF and the new, enhanced version of the PUMA IFV, the System Panzergrenadier will be deployed by NATO’s spearhead formation, the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force VJTF 2023, which will be furnished by the Bundeswehr – the system was declared “ready for action” by the supreme commander of the German Army in March.

IdZ-ES continues to evolve – at a very high speed. (Image: Rheinmetall)

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