Rheinmetall receives first order under Dutch framework agreement


Rheinmetall has received an order for illumination and smoke/obscurant shells from the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) as part of a massive ammunition framework agreement between Rheinmetall and the Dutch armed forces, which could be worth up to 500 million euros.

Rheinmetall said the Netherlands will take delivery of the projectiles in mid-2023 under a double digit million euro contract, which encompasses the supply of 155 mm illumination rounds. This includes the M1808 Base Bleed and M1809 Boat Tail projectiles as well as smoke rounds (RH1901 Base Bleed und RH1902 Boat Tail). These will complement the high explosive shells already fielded by the Dutch military.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) in South Africa will be responsible for some of the rounds, with Rheinmetall in Germany manufacturing the smoke boat tail and base bleed ammunition.

The contract announcement comes after an international project team from Rheinmetall Denel Munition and Rheinmetall Waffe Munition of Germany carried out a live fire demonstration several weeks ago at the Alkantpan proving ground in South Africa. Dutch officials were able to witness online the successful qualification and 40 kilometre range certification from their offices in the Netherlands. Final qualification testing took place between 30 August and 3 September.

Besides the smoke/obscurant and infrared illumination shells, Rheinmetall also presented its new RH141 projectile at Alkantpan. Newly engineered, this insensitive high explosive round is designed to be fired from the L60 howitzer, which is now under development. The L60 will be able to fire low-cost standard projectiles (boattail; base bleed; V-LAP) more than 80 kilometres.

Rheinmetall in the last several months successfully qualified 155 mm Illumination IR (infrared) and Smoke/obscurant shells. It said the 155 mm Assegai IR illumination shells allow artillery batteries to illuminate the battlefield, enhancing the reconnaissance and detection capabilities of state-of-the-art night observation devices. The 155mm smoke/obscurant projectiles use Rheinmetall smoke/obscurant technology. When fired from the already fielded 155 mm L52 howitzer with modular propelling charges already in service, the illumination and smoke/obscurant projectiles attain a range of 40 kilometres. Using the special top charge increases the range by a further 15 percent.

Late last year, RDM announced it was part of a massive ammunition framework agreement between Rheinmetall and the Dutch armed forces. The framework agreement envisages annual call-offs of around €50 million, meaning that total volume could come to €500 million.

The framework agreement encompasses the supply of 35 mm medium-calibre ammunition for infantry fighting vehicles, 40 mm ROSY smoke/obscurant cartridges, and a family of 155 mm artillery ammunition, with Rheinmetall Denel Munition involved in 155 mm production.