PhotogaleriesSpähpanzer 2 LUCHS gallery 2019-02-172022-09-27 Javier (SpPz-2 image). The development of the SpPz-2 Luchs was made by Porsche as a commissioned work for Daimler Benz taking as reference the famous Sd.Kfz-234 of the WWII from which it maintains its 8×8 layout. In addition, the series was manufactured at the Thyssen-Henschel facility in Kassel. (SpPz-2 image). The SpPz-2 Luchs was designed for easy maintenance and the engine and transmission can be changed at once, all together. This vehicle has many mechanical components equal to those of the TPZ-1 Fuchs. With its entry into service, it replaced the M-41 light tanks and the Hotchkiss SPz-11.2 in the Bundeswehr Reconnaissance Battalions. (SpPz-2 image). The Luchs had 4 crewmembers with the peculiarity that radio operator was sitting backwards in the rear, in a driving position similar to the forward, and could drive the vehicle backwards if necessary, as in the Swedish Strv-103 turretless battle tank. The Luchs reached the same speed forward that backwards, something unique. (SpPz-2 image). The SpPz-2 was a unique vehicle in many aspects and its engine was multi-fuel type, so it could be fed with diesel and gasoline indistinctly. The transmission was usually applied to only two axes, although below 30 km/h could be applied to all four, an especially useful capacity for soft and muddy soils. (SpPz-2 image). Luchs had infrared night vision for the entire crew as standard equipment, which were replaced in 1986 by a thermal camera for the gunner. The vehicle was extremely quiet and very difficult to detect even a few meters which made it very effective in information gathering missions. (SpPz-2 image). The SpPz-2 entered service being fully amphibious and had two adjustable propellers in the rear, although this capacity was lost in 1986 due to the increase in weight after the extensive modifications made. The vehicle had a NBC protection system to be able to operate in contaminated environments. (SpPz-2 image). The Rheinmetall TS-7 turret housed the commander and the gunner, who operated a 20mm Rheinmetall Rh.202 gun with 475 projectiles, 375 stored in the turret and 100 in the hull. It also had a 7.62mm MG-3 machine gun installed on a rotating stand on the roof for anti aircraft defense. (SpPz-2 A2 image). All Luchs received a small modernization package between 1980 and 1983 when they received improvements in the radio equipment and a double tape feeder for the gun, being designated since then as SpPz-2 A1. Also, from 1985, when all fleet received a major updating, resulted in the variant SpPz-2 A2. (SpPz-2 A2 image). During the 1985’s major modernization, SEM 25/35 and AN/GRC 9 radio systems were replaced by modern XK-405 and SEM 80/90 radio equipment. In addition, the infrared/white light night vision system was replaced by a modern thermal sight and observation system. (SpPz-2 A2 image). Despite being an excellent vehicle, it was too expensive for potential customers, so only the German Army had it in service. It had several elements specially designed for the harsh German winters as preheater for the batteries, the transmission oil or the coolant. (SpPz-2 A2 image). The gun was feed by a dual system that allowed to easily change the type of ammunition. They had armor-piercing, explosive incendiary and illuminating rounds, and usually carried about 375 explosive projectiles and 100 armor-piercing rounds. (SpPz-2 A2 image). The Rh-202 gun had a theoretical maximum range of 7,000 meters, but the effective range was about 2,000 meters. It could shoot up to 880 rounds per minute and the elevation ranged from -15º to + 69º. (SpPz-2 A2 image). The Luchs were distributed among the “Panzeraufkläurungbatallion” or Armored Reconnaissance Battalions of the Brigades and Armored Divisions within the Bundeswehr replacing the M-41 light tanks and the SPZ-11.2 Kurz armoured vehicles, much less effective for reconnaissance tasks. (SpPz-2 A2 image). This heavily camouflaged Luchs would be virtually undetectable to the eye and to the ear thanks to its studied noise reduction. Normally, reconnaissance patrols consisted of two vehicles. (SpPz-2 A2 image). In 1995, NATO decided to send the IFOR or “Implemantation Force” to Bosnia-Herzegovina to implement the Dayton Peace Agreements. Germany sent a contingent formed by Luchs A2 vehicles belonging to the Pz.Aufkl.Btl.5. (SpPz-2 A2 image). German mission within the IFOR extended from December 1995 to December 1996 and during this period the Luchs A2 carried out patrol and convoy escort missions. In December 1996 the functions of IFOR were transferred to the new SFOR or “Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina” and the German contingent continued with escort and surveillance missions until December 2004. (SpPz-2 A2 image). In addition to the IFOR and SFOR missions, SpPz-2 also served with other German contingents within the KFOR missions in Kosovo or within the EUFOR mission, again in Bosnia-Herzegovina. (SpPz-2 A2 image). The Luchs were removed from service in 2009, when it was replaced by the smaller and lighter Fennek 4×4. In the last stage of service some vehicles carried GPS navigation equipment and an additional radio.