The Transportpanzer 1, or Fuchs (Fox), was developed to be an armored amphibious load carrier utilizing commercially available components wherever possible. Following extensive trials with prototype vehicles the main production run was carried out by Thyssen Heinschel from 1979 onwards.
From is origins as a load carrier the fully amphibious Tpz 1 has been modified to meet many other requirements, one being as an APC capable of carrying up to 14 troops seated individually in the load compartment (the German Army limits the number of troops carried to ten). A total of 996 Fuchs armored vehicles of all versions were delivered for the German Army between 1980 and 1986.
As a load carrier the vehicle can carry nearly 3 000 kg of supplies under armor, with this version being convertible to an armored ambulance when necessary. However the Transportpanzer 1 has been adapted for many other purposes. The German Army alone uses the Tpz 1 as a RASIT battlefield surveillance radar carrier, combat engineer carrier, electronic ωλɾʄλɾɛ vehicle (without the amphibious capability), command and communications centre, an explosive ordnance disposal vehicle for the German Air Force, and an NBC reconnaissance vehicle. Other nations use the later variant, including Israel and most of the NATO countries.
The US Army has adopted the NBC vehicle as the M93 Fox and reportedly has over 300 examples.
Other export variants of the Transportpanzer 1 include an 81 mm mortar carrier, a 120 mm mortar tractor, a general purpose armored support vehicle, and an IFV version mounting a 20- or 25 mm cannon in an external mounting on the roof. Customers (apart from the NBC version) include Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands and Venezuela. In 2014 license production of this APC from knock-down kits commenced in Algeria. Initially 120 vehicles will be built for local needs. However up to 1 200 Fuchs 2 APCs might be produced until 2024 for Algerian Army.
The armament carried by the Fuchs varies according to the role and user nation. Most carrier versions are limited to a single 7.62 mm machine gun, but other models may have various 12.7 mm machine gun or 20 mm cannon installations in small turrets of external ωɛλρσɳ stations.
The Transportpanzer 2 is an improved version. It can carry up to 4 000 kg internally without loosing its amphibious capabilities.
RASIT battlefield surveillance radar carrier.
Combat engineer carrier.
Electronic ωλɾʄλɾɛ vehicle (without the amphibious capability).
Command and communications centre.
Explosive ordnance disposal vehicle for the German Air Force.
NBC reconnaissance vehicle. This armored vehicle was adopted by the US Army as the M93 Fox. The US Army reportedly has over 300 examples.
81 mm mortar carrier.
120 mm mortar tractor.
General purpose armored support vehicle.
Infantry fighting vehicle version mounting a 20- or 25 mm cannon in an external mounting on the roof.
APE, a specialized 4×4 amphibious engineer reconnaissance vehicle. It was developed for reconnaissance of rivers and lakes. Its main role was to explore the shored and river bed in order to determine their suitability for deep wading by main battle tanks. Around 90% of its automotive components, including engine and transmission, were identical to those of the Tpz-1 Fuchs 6×6 armored personnel carrier. However the APE was never adopted by the German army and only prototypes were built.
8×8 version of the Fuchs was developed, but it never entered service. Only 2 prototypes were built.