Germany Still Can’t Give Up Its Marder Infantry Fighting Vehicles After Half A Century –
On the powerplant side, a new six-cylinder Liebherr engine is being installed, this providing 750 horsepower compared to 600 horsepower for the original MTU engine. The existing gearbox is being beefed up and updated to accommodate the new engine.
Among the other new features are a new battle management system including radios, and new tracks, again the same as used on the Puma.
The end result is an armored vehicle that belies its advancing years. After all, the Marder was among the first generation of IFVs, which emerged from sweeping changes in mechanized warfare in the 1950s.
Development of what became the Marder began in October 1962 with development contracts calling for an armored vehicle with a capacity for 12 infantry (later reduced to 10, and finally to six or seven) who could fight from within the vehicle or dismounted, a 20mm caliber cannon, plus nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection.
The first production Marder was handed over to the German Army in May 1971 and deliveries continued at a high tempo, with around 3,000 vehicles in operation by 1975. Initially, none of these were for export, the Marder instead filling out the West German Panzergrenadiere (mechanized infantry) units during the Cold War.
The vehicle gained a reputation for its good balance of armor protection and cross-country mobility, which allowed it to keep pace with Leopard 1 and Leopard 2 main battle tanks as part of a combined-arms team. Indeed, the design of the Marder proved highly influential in general, and the U.S. Army’s Bradley IFV, for example, has many features in common.