German defense company Rheinmetall announced it would deploy a service and logistics center for Western-type armored equipment in Romania, just 17 km from the border with Ukraine, in the city of Satu Mare. The arms giant said this center would specialize in providing service for British Challenger 2, German Leopard 2 main battle tanks, Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and Fuchs armored personnel carriers.
Fuchs looks quite interesting among the other items on the list since Germany hasn't supplied them to Ukraine yet. But it looks like the decision is already on the way because otherwise it looks strange to mention this vehicle in the announcement.
Read more: Germany Building Another Center to Repair Western Equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Now in Romania
For reference, neither Romania nor any of its neighbors in the vicinity operate Fuchs. And the issue of sending them to Ukraine has already been raised before, in July 2022, but Christine Lambrecht who chaired as the Minister of Defense of Germany back then, found a reason not to give Fuchs to the Ukrainians despite Bundeswehr willing to decommission these 40-year-old vehicles for good.
If our assessment is correct, Rheinmetall's announcement foreshadows another reinforcement to the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with another type of Western combat vehicle on the eve of a counteroffensive campaign that is expected this spring.
Fuchs can perform the role of a 'wheeled armored taxi'. They will add to the Finnish XA-180 – similar vehicles in terms of both the role on the battlefield and configuration, which have been in use by Ukrainian soldiers since autumn 2022.
According to The Military Balance 2022, Germany had 359 Fuchs vehicles of all variations in service as of the beginning of last year.
The base version has no MRAP anti-mine protection but ensures safety from small arms fire. It has an MG3 without protection for the gunner. In 2000, the Afghanistan warfare experience prompted the modernization of 270 Fuchs to the 1A8 standard: it featured an armored shield for the MG3 gunner, additional ceramic elements on top of armor, mine-resistant seats, external view cameras; undercarriage and engine were upgraded.
In August 2021, Rheinmetall received a €250 million order from the German Ministry of Defense on the modernization of an unidentified number of Fuchs APCs up to Fuchs 2 standard by 2023. The main improvement is the Strike Shield active protection system against all known anti-tank missiles.
Read more: Intelligence Says Ukraine’s Defense Forces to Launch a Counteroffensive in the Spring of 2023