Airborne elements have traditionally always been forced to fight battles by being lightly armed and armored when heading into contested spaces. As such, much though by warplanners has always been given to outfitting this infantry type with serviceable equipment useful in their light-minded role. One facet of this thinking became lightweight, dimensionally compact vehicles to serve in the support role until the arrival of the main fighting force. For the West German Army during the Cold War period (1947-1991), the Porsche / MaK Wiesel ("Weasel") Armored Weapons Carrier (AWC) became such a product, developed as an air-transportable solution due to its compact size and relative lightweight status. The AWC, ordered in 1985 and introduced in 1989, continues to serve the modern German Army today (2017).
The Wiesel series involves a crew of two or three depending on configuration and two major variants of the Wiesel ultimately emerged - the original "Wiesel 1" and follow-up "Wiesel 2". The Wiesel 1 is the original model of 1989 and powered by the Audi 5-cylinder inline turbo-diesel of 86 horsepower. The first mark was evolved into various battlefield forms including dedicated reconnaissance, Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier (TOW missile support), a remote-controlled Route-Clearance System (RCS) vehicle, and the MK20 sporting the Rheinmetall MK 20 Rh202 20mm automatic cannon in a turret configuration.
The Wiesel 1 was further a part of various experiments involving the vehicle including a cargo hauler, machine gun carrier, ATGM carrier with HOT missile support, radar carrier and a model outfitted with the heftier 25mm autocannon - but none of these were adopted.
The Wiesel 2 (developed by MaK, now a part of Rheinmetall Landsystemes) is a dimensionally larger version driven by the more powerful Volkswagen Straight 4 turbo-diesel of 109 horsepower. This model first appeared in 1994 and sports a running length of 4.78 in length with a height of 2.17 meters and a width of 1.87 meters. The increase in length has added a new roadwheel to each side of the vehicle and the hull has also been raised for improved ground clearance. Weight is near 10,500lb.
Like the Mark 1, the Wiesel 2 has been evolved to fulfill a variety of needed battlefield roles including command post, engineering vehicle, reconnaissance vehicle, Command and Control (C2) vehicle, weapons carrier, radar carrier and the like. Prototypes of this mark have included a small Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), ambulance, remote-controlled vehicle, recoilless gun carrier, resupply vehicle, and ATGM carrier (HOT missiles).
The Wiesel 2 entered service in 2001. Both versions are air-transportable by medium-lift helicopters or medium-class fixed-wing transports. However, it is not an air-droppable system as four pilot vehicles were lost testing this capability during trials.
The German Army has taken on a stock of 343 Wiesel 1 forms and 179 Wiesel 2 forms. It has used these in various peacekeeping endeavors throughout the world.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Traverse bodies of open water under own power with / without preparation.
✓Anti-Tank / Anti-Armor
Base model or variant can be used to track, engage, and defeat armored enemy elements at range.
Support allied ground forces through weapons, inherent capabilities, and / or onboard systems.
Can conduct reconnaissance / scout missions to assess threat levels, enemy strength, et al - typically through lightweight design.
General utility-minded design to accomplish a variety of battlefield tasks, typically in a non-direct-combat fashion.
Special purpose design developed to accomplish an equally-special battlefield role or roles.
15.7 ft 4.78 m
6.1 ft 1.87 m
7.1 ft 2.17 m
9,557 lb 4,335 kg
4.8 tons LIGHT
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Rheinmetall Landsysteme Wiesel 2 production variant. Length typically includes main gun in forward position if applicable to the design)
1 x Volkswagen Straight-4 turbo-diesel engine developing 109 horsepower.
43.5 mph (70.0 kph)
124.3 mi (200.0 km)
(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the Rheinmetall Landsysteme Wiesel 2 production variant. Compare this entry against any other in our database)
Variable: Vehicle can be configured to support 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns as well as Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) launchers and 20mm/25mm autocannons.
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Dependent upon armament fit.
Wiesel - Base Series Name
Wiesel 1 - Model of 1989 evolved into armed and unarmed forms.
Wiesel 1 Aufklarung - Reconnaissance Vehicle
Wiesel ATM TOW - TOW missile carrier
Wiesel MK20 - Fitted with 20mm Rh202 series autocannon.
Wiesel 1 RCS - Route-Clearance System vehicle.
Wiesel BTM-208 - Proposed mark; BTM-208 series turret with 12.7mm HMG fitted.
Wiesel ATM HOT - Proposed mark; HOT missile carrier.
Wiesel ATM HOT V1 - Proposed mark; UTM-800 series turret.
Wiesel 1 Radar - Proposed mark; Radar carrier
Wiesel MK25 - Proposed mark; fitted with 25mm autocannon.
Wiesel 2 - Model of 2001; dimensionally larger / heavier system with extra roadwheel.
Wiesel 2 LADS - Air Defence vehicle
Wiesel 2 ADCP - Air Defence Command Post vehicle
Wiesel 2 ADWC - Air Defence Weapons Carrier vehicle.
Wiesel 2 AMB - Ambulance
Wiesel 2 ENG - Engineering vehicle
Wiesel 2 CP - Command Post vehicle
Wiesel 2 AMS - Advanced Mortar System mortar carrier (120mm).
Wiesel APC - Proposed 6-man APC model
Wiesel 2 "Argus" - Proposed Reconnaissance platform.
Wiesel 2 Carrier - Proposed Resupply vehicle
Wiesel 2 "Primus" - Proposed Reconnaissance and Fire Control vehicle.
Wiesel 2 ATM HOT - Proposed HOT missile carrier.
Wiesel 2 "SYRANO" - Proposed unmanned vehicle
Wiesel 2 RMK 30 - Proposed gun carrier with RMK30 30mm recoilless gun.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.