Not least because of the Afghanistan mission, the Dingo has become one of the best-known protected vehicles of the Bundeswehr. The project branch at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) responsible for the Dingo is U4.2. Only recently, a delegation from Austria – which is about to procure a total of 58 vehicles for their Armed Forces – was welcomed there.
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Jeroma is the project manager for the Dingo within Branch U 4.2 of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in Koblenz. The class 3 protected command and utility vehicle (Geschütztes Führungs- und Funktionsfahrzeug der Klasse 3 - GFF3) is named after the dingo, a desert dog, while the classification tells the expert more about the vehicle's air-transportable weight, air portability, protection level and usable capacity.
The Bundeswehr has been employing the Dingo for more than 16 years now, mainly on operations abroad. “The project has been strongly influenced by operational requirements,” Lieutenant Colonel Jeroma explains. “We have always been able to quickly respond to changing requirements by implementing adaptations to the vehicle.”
However, this deployment-oriented flexibility comes at a price. “We now have a fleet comprising 26 different variants which, in part, vary considerably in technical terms, the consequence being that there are also varying spare parts requirements,” says the deputy project manager for the Dingo, Lieutenant Colonel Jürgen Nieke.
Both can rely on their project team members when it comes to handling the wide range of variants and the resulting options for action. “Anna Maria Hauröder-Löhr is the 'keeper of knowledge' regarding the spare parts supply for all variants,” as her project manager puts it. Before she came to BAAINBw, she was already occupied with the Dingo in the former German Army Office, and without her the central spare parts supply would be at a loss. TRAR Arno Kulmus keeps up with all finished, current and future product modifications or retrofits and has the detailed background knowledge required for qualified decisions.
The project team is completed by Captain Michael Deesler and TROI Stefan Pauly who, through their work, contribute to the good reputation the Dingo enjoys in the field units. In addition, an employee of a civilian contractor supports the team in preparing and continuously updating the technical documentation.
The main reason for the popularity of the Dingo GFF 3 in the field units lies in the constant evaluation and consideration of lessons learned on deployments. “In Afghanistan, the drivers complained about stubborn dust particles. In response to this, we improved the windscreen washer and installed three high-pressure nozzles,” Lieutenant Colonel Jeroma recalls. Flexible weapon mounting assemblies allowing for secure stowage of different small arms in the vehicle, even if it is hit by blast, were incorporated as well.
The vehicle's hard-won excellent reputation has also spread south of the Alps. The Republic of Austria has decided to procure 58 vehicles. The Dingo team at BAAINBw led by Lieutenant Colonel Jeroma is involved in the procurement process and performs the task of government project management. On 15 and 16 March, an Austrian delegation paid the office in Koblenz a visit in order to make arrangements with their German partners.
At the same time, plans for a new GFF 3 are already being made in Koblenz, too. “In 2025, the oldest Dingo 2 vehicles will be withdrawn from service. Until then, we want to have a follow-on system,” Jeroma outlines the Bundeswehr's intention. In April, the integrated project team for the “GFF 3 follow-on generation” is supposed to commence its work. “It is our goal to again provide the military personnel on operations with a vehicle that supports them in accomplishing their mission and coming home safely.