Project 181
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Original and Reconstruction

The original NBC-Detection vehicle of the Munich County Hazmat Dept. during a training in 1975 (left) and the finished "project 181" VW 181 on the 1st International Firefighter´s Oldtimer Meeting in Regen 2009 (right; Picture by H. Kunert)



NBC-Detection vehicles (german abbreviation: ABC-ErkKW) are equipped for detection and identification of nuclear, biological and chemical threads due to emergencies or warfare in the field of civil defence.

In germany, the first generation of NBC-detection vehicles were ordered from 1972 to 1977. 200 pieces of Volkswagen VW 181 ("Kübelwagen" aka "The Thing") were employed, of which none have remained in active duty till today.

The second vehicle generation followed in 1981/1982, when 286 Volkswagen type 253 vans were ordered by the german ministry of the interior. Today, only a minor amount of this type of vehicle is in active duty in germany´s Hazmat Departments.

Beginning in 1999 the 3rd generation NBC-detection vehicles was delivered to the Departments. This generation featured a Fiat Ducato van and a more complex PC-aided onboard investigation and measurement system. Another significant change included the colour: In contrast to the first and second generation vehicles, which were painted in orange RAL 2004 with black (RAL 9004) bumpers the new vehicles came in the standard fire departments´ dress with a red (RAL 3000) body and white bumpers.

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The equipment used with the first generation of NBC-detection vehicles gives an impression of the level of mobile NBC detection technology in the late 1970s: gamma ray measurement equipment, personal dose meter and alarm dose meter, radiation protection calculation disc, disc for calculating the effects of chemical agents, detection set "60" with sampling equipment and gas test tubes, marking set, detection powder for liquid chemical agents, compass, binoculars, lighting equipment and 4m-band UHF radio.

Find below the original data sheets for all three NBC-detection vehicle generations in german language posted for download:

NBC-detection vehicle generation 1 (VW Typ 181)

NBC-detection vehicle generation 2 (VW Typ 253)

NBC-detection vehicle generation 3 (Fiat Ducato)


The "Project 181" (2003)

One of the first vehicles used in the County of Munich Hazmat Department (ABC-Zug München-Land) in 1974 was a VW 181 NBC-detection vehicle. This vehicle stayed in active duty to the late 1980 and was then sold. In 2003 for the event of 30th anniversary of the Department a vehicle exhibition of all former detection vehicles used by the Dept. was planned.

After no 1st generation detection vehicle could be found in active duty in the region, a team of enthusiasts started to rebuild one by their own from a wrecked 1975 army vehicle. On December 25, 2002 the VW 181 army chassis was bought and rebuild into the original layout of a 1975 civil defence NBC-181 in more than 1000 working hours!

In May 2003 the so-called "project 181" was finished and the reconstructed "181" could be exhibited at the anniversary together with the later generation 2 and 3 detection vehicles. A great thanks goes to Ralf Kurschewitz from Ralf´s VW-Teile, who did not only sell us the raw chassis, but managed to organize nearly all necessary spare and replacemant parts .

And - in first line : A great "Thank You" to all the enthusiastic helpers from the County of Munich Hazmat Department!!!

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23 12 02 Ansicht Korpus
23. Dezember 2002
08 02 03 Korpus
8. Februar 2003
08 03 03 Anhaenger
23. Februar 2003
30 03 03 kuebel
30. März 2003