With the introduction of the Leopard 2 , the need to modernize the recovery components of the tank units also became apparent. This development was necessary because the requirements for a recovery tank brought the recovery tank 2 to its limits due to the higher weight of the Leopard 2 and other vehicles .
As a result, the MaK company ( Rheinmetall Landsysteme since 1992 ) developed the Panzer 3 "Buffalo" recovery vehicle on the chassis of the Leopard 2 with the aim of using as many components of the base vehicle as possible.
In the years 1992 to 1997, 75 vehicles were manufactured for the German Armed Forces, with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann as the general contractor for the Leopard 2 platform supplying significant parts. Another 25 vehicles with the designation Bergingstank 600 kN Buffel went to the Dutch army.
In 2012, armored recovery vehicles of the Bundeswehr for use in Afghanistan were retrofitted with the SPECTUS (“SPECtral Technology for Unlimited Sight”) driver’s viewing device from Carl Zeiss Optronics. The system, which can be used as a forward or reverse camera, gives the driver a better view with full armor protection thanks to a thermal imaging camera and the residual light intensifier camera arranged in parallel.