Greece receives the first 6 Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles from Germany

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Greece received the first six of 40 Marder 1A3 type tracked armored infantry fighting vehicles expected from Germany. These vehicles were delivered to Greece under the German Ringtausch (multilateral exchange) concept. According to the statement of the Greek General Staff on this subject, “Marder 1A3 vehicle models will continue to arrive in the coming period. It is a program that aims to increase the strength of our army in war and to strengthen cooperation between armies.

Following a meeting between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the European Union (EU) Leaders’ Summit in Brussels on May 31, it was decided that 40 Greek “BMP-1” type VCIs would be sent to Ukraine and that Greece would in turn receive 40 “Marder” IFVs from Germany. The Greek Ministry of Defense and the German Federal Ministry of Defense quickly worked out the details so that the agreement could enter into force as soon as possible. But to prevent its defenses from being weakened, Greece had requested that the German IFVs arrive first before delivering their equipment to Ukraine.

In this regard, N. Panagiotopoulos, the Greek Defense Minister, responded to the complaints of the member of SYRIZA (a left-wing political party in Greece), Giorgos Tsipras, to the General Assembly of the Greek Parliament about the weakening of national defense in the Aegean islands following the transfer of “BMP-1” type IFVs to Ukraine. He said the exchange would be simultaneous, leaving no void in the Greek defense. The Minister of Defense said that the Marder 1A3s delivered by Germany are in much better condition and are newer than the BMP-1s which will be sent to Ukraine, reiterating that Greece does not face a security vulnerability in because of its support for Ukraine.

On the other hand, following his meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on October 19, 2022Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced that shipments of BMP-1 IFVs from Greece to Ukraine had begun. Dmytro Kuleba said in a statement, “It is very important that the long-awaited shipment of BMP-1 armored infantry vehicles from Greece to Ukraine has already begun. Soon they will arrive in our army and immediately strengthen the combat capability and defense capabilities of our country,” he said. The Foreign Minister also said that Ukraine expects continued cooperation with Greece in military assistance. Dmytro Kuleba, noting that their priority is to strengthen air defense, said: “Greece knows our request and will deal with it.

The Marder 1A3 Tracked IFV that Greece received from Germany under the Ringtausch (multilateral exchange) concept are an upgraded version of the Marder (meaning “marten” in German) family of vehicles. Armor protection upgrades, rearrangement of hatches for the infantry section, reinforcement of the suspension, a new braking system, change of gearbox and reconfiguration of the turret were among the changes made. to Marder VCIs under the A3 upgrade program, which started in 1988. A more powerful engine for the vehicle was also planned under the upgrade program, but it could not be put into implemented due to budget cuts at the time.

A German soldier taking cover behind a Marder 1A3 IFV during an exercise / From Bundeswehr-Fotos / Copyright: (CC BY 2.0)

These vehicles are 6.88 meters long, 2.9 meters high and 3.38 meters wide and will be delivered to the 4th Corps in Western Thrace once their integration into the Hellenic Armed Forces is complete. The vehicle, which weighs 35 tons, can carry three crew members and six soldiers in the rear troop compartment. These IFVs can travel at 65 km/h and have a range of 500 kilometers thanks to a liquid-cooled MTU MB Ea-500 six-cylinder diesel engine that produces 600 horsepower. Marder 1A3 IFVs are armed with a Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 20mm autocannon mounted in a defensive turret and a 7.62mm MG3 machine gun mounted coaxially to the left of the gun. These vehicles can also be fitted with optional MILAN anti-tank guided missiles.

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