Despite considerable interest in the Wiesel by units such as the 82nd and 101st the manufacturers of the Wiesel seemed strangely uninterested in American sales. This article indicates that unlike the larger M113 the Wiesel cannot be airdropped. In retrospect the Wiesel would probably prove to be too lightly armoured to face RPG equipped forces and therefore serve in more of a transport than a combat role
On Mike Sparks' page on the M113 in combat there is an interesting comment by a SOF sergeant that a light tracked armoured vehicle would be useful for SOF use. He proposes a "mini-gavin" that will fit inside a helicopter and have ceramic armour and a Hybrid diesel electric drive.
In fact such a vehicle that fills the mission is available "off the shelf", -the Wiesel 2.
It doesn't have ceramic armour or HDE drive, but these can be added once available. I've already suggested that a modern version of the Ontos based on the Wiesel would be a useful system for Special Forces, so having a APC based on the same body would also simplify maintenance. As well as 106mm recoilless rifles a STOAT could also mount FFARs, Javelin and Stinger missiles, and would probably be armed with a .50 HMG or Mk-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher.
Wiesel also fills lots of roles a full size APC is not needed for: RSTA, FIST, SAM or ATGW team carrier
|In one of his articles on Cavalry and Armoured Expeditionary forces Ralph Zumbro suggests that a force of ACAVs would prove very useful for small scale conflicts and Operations other than War. |
For parts of the world were the likelyhood of tank opposition is low a light tracked cavalry unit is more than enough armour. .50 HMGs, 30mm ASP cannon and Mk-19s give the unit considerable firepower and weapons such as Javelin, AT4, AT8 and Stinger can be fired from the top hatches.
Such a force based on Wiesels does suggest itself. The APC version of the Wiesel 2 should be capable of mounting a pair of GPMGs and a .50 HMG, 30mm ASP cannon or Mk-19. Inside the vehicle there would be room for Javelin missiles that can be fired from the top hatch to meet any tank threat. Equipment should also include a revolver Grenade launcher and a 60mm commando mortar. Provision for firing the latter from the vehicle should be included.
At least one HMMWV based cavalry squadron could convert to Wiesels. TOW and 120mm mortar versions already exist.
Rangers could also do with having at least a company of Wiesels to fullfill their role as a strategically deployable raiding force.