The Spanish marines will equip four (with four options) of the 26 General Dynamics Land Systems Mowag Piranha IIICs they have ordered with the Rheinmetall Lance modular turret system. The company expects the order to be placed in the next few weeks. It is the first contract for the two-man turret developed by Rheinmetall, which is also working on an unmanned remote controlled version of Lance.
The medium caliber turret is designed to be adaptable to different customer requirements for main and secondary armament, optical and electro-optical subsystems and ballistic protection, explained Andreas Reidel of Rheinmentall. At a firing demonstration last week at the company's testing ground in Unterluess, Germany, the turret system was armed with the Rheinmetall 30 mm MK30-2/airburst munition (ABM) gun designed for the Bundeswehr's Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle and 7.62 mm MG 3 coaxial machine gun. The turret was mounted on a Patria 8x8 armored reconnaissance vehicle. MK30-2/ABM is in service with the Bundeswehr and the MK30-2 firing regular ammunition is in service with the Spanish and Austrian armed forces.
The turret consists of an inner ballistic protection cell for the two-man crew, ammunition storage and feeding area, and weapon compartment for the main and secondary armament. The MK30-2/ABM gun has a 3,000-meter range and a rate of fire of 700 rounds per minute that can be reduced to 200 rounds to increase accuracy and reduce wear and tear. During the demonstration, individual rounds were fired rapidly by the MK30-2/ABM, including in a "string of pearls" of five rounds at 50-meter intervals between 300-500 meters.
The commander's Stabilized Electro-optical Sighting System (SEOSS) panoramic sight from Rheinmetall gives Lance the same capability day and night of a main battle tank, according to Thomas Zierke of Rheinmetall. The turret's completely digital stabilization and laying system and a slaved drive system allow target engagement whether the vehicle or its target are moving or stationary, giving Lance a high first hit probability, Rheinmetall officials said. The basic turret configuration includes a 76 mm smoke grenade launching system, which was also fired during the demonstration.
Lance has room for the integration of an anti-tank guided missile system like the Rafael Spike, as well as a sniper detection system or laser radar receiver for added survivability. The turret's modular architecture allows the integration of an embedded training system.
Photos: Nicholas Fiorenza