Algeria expands Fuchs 2 armoured vehicle production

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The Algerian army has expanded its production of German Fuchs 2 wheeled armoured vehicles as part of a long-standing defence cooperation agreement between Germany and Algeria.

Rheinmetall recently confirmed the order for additional Fuchs 2 armoured vehicles, which is worth a three-digit million euro amount.

“An international partner has awarded Rheinmetall an order to supply Fuchs 2 components for producing the wheeled armoured vehicle at a factory in the partner country,” Rheinmetall said in a statement.

“The current follow up orders also include kits for conversion and the supply of spare part packages. Booked in December 2023, the order is worth a figure in the three-digit million-euro range. Delivery of the kits — both for production and conversion — starts this year and will be complete in 2028.”

Rheinmetall added that the production facility in its partner country has seen an increase in added value in recent years as well as investments to ensure high-quality machining, welding and surface treatment. “This long-standing strategic partnership is thus entering a new, promising phase, including the potential export of Fuchs 2 vehicles produced in the partner country.”

The Fuchs 2 is an upgraded version of the original armoured personnel carrier, which entered German service in 1979. The Fuchs 2 features a larger fighting compartment, a more powerful engine, updated running gear, improved survivability and digital vehicle electronics.

The recent order is a part of a broad cooperation agreement established nearly a decade ago between Germany and Algeria. Initially, Berlin had committed to assisting Algeria in the military sector and receiving liquefied gas (LNG) in return, although the energy deliveries never materialised. Nevertheless, the collaboration in the field of armaments was strengthened over the years, with Rheinmetall having established a factory in the southern region of Algeria for the production of Fuchs 2 vehicles.

The components for these vehicles are supplied from Rheinmetall’s German facilities and assembled in North Africa, and the agreement covers a total order of 980 Fuchs 2 vehicles. The recent order from Algeria, while not specified in exact figures by Rheinmetall, is estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

This contributes to the overall business between Rheinmetall and Algeria, which, according to previous reports, is valued at 2.7 billion euors, marking one of the group’s significant foreign orders. Although the production of Fuchs armoured vehicle in Algeria is expected to continue until 2028, it is likely that the collaboration will persist, with the Algerian government contemplating the acquisition of additional vehicles. Among the options being considered is the Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle, a more modern alternative to the Fuchs.

Germany has been providing weapons to Algeria since the 2010s, with several billion dollars’ worth contracts for frigates, trucks, torpedoes and naval helicopters. In 2014, Rheinmetall and project developer Ferrostaal industrial group signed a deal with Algeria for nearly 1 000 armoured personnel carriers and a factory. This agreement was part of a package of arms contracts valued at 10 billion euros. It also included the delivery of two frigates by industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp and the production of military vehicles by Daimler.

Germany and Algeria have maintained a diplomatic relation since the 19th century, when in 1898 the German Empire established a consulate at a time Algeria wasn’t independent. However, in 1965, two years after gaining sovereignty, the country broke off relations with West Germany over the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel. It was only in 1971 that diplomatic relations resumed with West Germany. Decades later, Abdelaziz Bouteflika became in 2001 the first Algerian president to visit Germany.

This ongoing military partnership with a Western European country might become more challenging as on June 2023 Algeria was elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member to serve a two-year term. Its support for the Palestinian cause and bonds with China and Russia, which Algeria refused to condemn during previous UN votes triggered by the Ukrainian war, could further complicate relations with Western partners, especially Germany which remains sensitive and quite unpredictable on military export controls, as shown with the only recently lifted embargo on the Eurofighter for Saudi Arabia.

Written by ADIT – The Bulletin and republished with permission.