The West German designed and developed Spahpanzer Luchs ("Lynx") was an 8x8 wheeled, multi-role armored vehicle appearing during the Cold War years. Design work was led by Daimler-Benz beginning in 1968 to which the Luchs then entered service with the West German Army in 1975 in the ight armored and armed reconnaissance role. It superseded the Schutzenpanzer SPz 11-2 Kurz tracked armored vehicle is the same role and manufacture was handled by Thyssen-Henschel (now Rheinmetall).
The Luchs proved a 21.5-ton vehicle with an overall length of 7.7 meters, a width of 3 meters and a height of 2.8 meters. Its standard operating crew was four personnel including a driver, commander, gunner and loader/secondary driver. Primary armament was a capable 20mm Rheinmetall Mk 20 Rh202 autocannon fitted to a fully-traversing traversing turret, the turret itself found atop the hull roof. A 7.62mm MG3 machine gun was also mounted on the turret's right side. NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection for the crew was standard. One unique quality of the Luchs was its rear-facing driver's position, this being secondary to the primary position found at the front-left of the hull. This special arrangement allowed the vehicle to conduct a "quick getaway" without having to turn itself completely around, saving precious minutes of escape. The Luchs was also fully-amphibious by design and could tread water at speeds of 10 kmh through waterjets fitted at the hull rear.
Power for the Luchs vehicle came from a single Daimler-Benz OM403A 10-cylinder turbocharged gasoline-fueled engine of 300 horsepower. An alternative diesel-fueled engine arrangement could increase output to 390 horsepower. Hydraulic suspension was afforded to all eight wheels as was driving power. All axles were steerable and the wheels held a "run flat" capability. Operational ranges reached 730 kilometers with road speeds in excess of 90 kmh.
The Luchs line received a modernization beginning in 1986 to keep its battlefield effectiveness in line with technological developments by the enemy - namely that of the Soviet Union, now residing conveniently across the West German border in East Germany. Modifications to the original Luchs design included the addition of Night Vision (NV) and InfraRed (IR) support, producing the Luchs A1 mark. The subsequent Luchs A2 brought about use of all-new communications equipment.
Despite its effectiveness, the Luchs line of vehicles were eventually replaced itself within the inventory of the reborn German Army by the more modern "Fennek" 4x4 light armored reconnaissance vehicle of German-Dutch origination.
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