Surprise on the Marder 1A3: They carry a 3rd generation thermal gunner sight!

From Savvas D. Vlassis

More than satisfied, the three-member committee of Greek officers who visited Rheinmetall’s facilities in Unterluss returns tomorrow, in order to inspect the reactivated Marder 1A3 armored vehicles.

As expected, the first 5 vehicles on which the relevant work has already been completed were found to be in excellent condition. These are carried out to date at a rate of almost one vehicle per week. The Greek officers had the opportunity to see the progress at this level as well, as well as to tour the German Army’s armored support line, as well as the TOMA KF41 Lynx production line.

What pleasantly surprised the GES committee, however, was the finding that 3rd generation thermal gun sights are being installed on the Marder, and not the outdated Zeiss-Eltro Optronic WBG-X, which are carried in the 1А3 version. The latter, a representative sample of 1990s technology, ceased to be produced in 2015 and today seriously lag behind newer samples!

As of 2020, the German Army has awarded a contract to Rheinmetall Electronics for the supply of 260 Saphir 2.6 MK thermal sights to be installed on 244 existing Marder 1A3s, as part of a €27 million contract. The MK version of this particular thermal camera is specifically configured for the Marder, which ensures an increased distance for observing, locating and identifying targets, thanks to the increased resolution of the thermal sensor. As the thermal camera is an in-house product, on the Marder 1A3s being re-energized at Unterlusch, Rheinmetall is installing newly manufactured cameras.

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The specific upgrade with the cooled Saphir 2.6 MK thermal camera on Marder 1A3s intended for the Hellenic Army means that the vehicles carry a newer generation, therefore higher performance, gunner thermal camera than even the top-of-the-line Leopard 2 HEL tank, with thermal camera OPHELIOS!

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