Top-of-the-line tactical law enforcement

6. December 2022

Featuring superb protection, this unique all-terrain vehicle assures exceptional operational effectiveness in critical situations. No wonder Germany’s public order police units are equipped with the Survivor R, which will soon be part of the German Federal Police fleet as well. And now the special response vehicle is starring in RTL’s long-running TV series “Alarm for Cobra 11.”

And action! Actor Erdogan Atalay, his colleague Nina Kronjäger and extras along with the Survivor R during filming for “Alarm for Cobra 11.”

A roar of engines and flashing blue lights; doors burst open, stun grenades fly. A dark-blue armoured vehicle pulls up, tyres screeching; armed officers jump out and charge forward: “Police! Freeze!” This exciting scene shows what Rheinmetall’s Survivor R protected special response vehicle can do, but it is not taken from real life. It’s a clip from the film “Unversöhnlich” (Unforgiving), part of RTL’s hit series “Alarm for Cobra 11”, starring Erdogan Atalay as Detective Chief Inspector Semir Gerkhan.

Fiction and facts

Nowadays, most TV crime shows bear little resemblance to the everyday reality of police work. But the Survivor R is ready for action whenever it looks like things might get dicey – for example, when officers have to arrest particularly “violent counterparts” – officialese for crooks – or rescue people in dangerous environments.

Over three meters high, the Survivor R is one of the most imposing vehicles in the police fleet.

German federal and state police agencies have traditionally been equipped with specially protected vehicles – known as “Sonderwagen” or “SW” for short – for operations like this. Most law enforcement agencies still use the Sonderwagen 4. But this tried-and-trusted vehicle, developed at the end of the 1980s, is getting a bit long in the tooth, leading Germany’s federal police agency and state-level public order police units to look for a replacement. The Survivor R was selected in a Europe-wide call for tenders starting at the end of 2021. The procurement agency of Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry has ordered 55 of the all-terrain, protected multipurpose vehicle in different variants for the German Federal Police and the public order units of Germany’s state-level police forces, with an option to purchase further units. In a first step, Rheinmetall and its cooperation partner Achleitner will supply two sample vehicles, which will undergo extensive trials, including full certification of the protection features. Delivery of the production vehicles is expected to begin in 2023 and to be complete by 2026. Final assembly and transfer of the production vehicles will take place at Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH in Kassel.

The large doors of the Survivor R allow the crew to mount and dismount quickly, even when wearing protective equipment.

A proven success in multiple German states

While the procurement process moves forward at federal level, special ops units of the State Police of Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony and one other federal state as well as state law enforcement agencies in Austria all already deploy their own variants of the Survivor R. Its 4×4 MAN chassis, 340 metric horsepower engine, and high torque ensure excellent manoeuvrability, even in difficult terrain. The vehicle’s monocoque armoured steel cab, optional protective ventilation system, and other technical features provide superb protection from gunfire, bombs, and toxic gases. The extremely versatile Survivor R has already proven its mettle in numerous operations, protecting police officers on one occasion when a criminal suspect fired on their vehicle.

The film crew checks the footage – and decides if a scene needs to be repeated.

In late summer 2022, Rheinmetall hosted its first Survivor R User Day. This forum allows the company to collect information based on operational experience and incorporate this feedback into ongoing development of the product. Users reported back on their experience in using the Survivor R in day-to-day police operations and discussed various equipment configurations. The programme included test drives of variously configured Survivor R vehicles. The attendees were full of praise for the enhancements to the vehicle system, such as the new automatic transmission and other equipment features. They also had the chance to ask questions and discuss technical aspects with Rheinmetall employees from the Sales, Project, Development, Customer Service, and Service departments.


Of course, the users reserve the right to keep private such exclusive insights into how they use the Survivor R from day to day — whereas anyone can tune in and watch the Survivor R on TV.

“Alarm for Cobra 11: Unforgiving” – the plot
Semir Gerkhan (Erdogan Atalay) and Vicky Reisinger (Pia Stutzenstein) take on a criminal organization from Belgium that kidnaps people and tortures them in truck container prisons. The highway patrol detectives from “Alarm for Cobra 11” must work with the Belgian police to find out where the prisons are located. When the head of the criminal organization retaliates, Semir and Vicky get drawn into a war that has been going on for years between organized crime and the police in Belgium. “Unforgiving” premiered on 20 October 2022 on RTL+.

Pictured here talking to lead actor Erdogan Atalay, Rheinmetall employees Patrick Franke (l) and Pascal Hoffmann (r) supervised the Survivor R during the “Alarm for Cobra 11” shoot.
Pascal Hoffmann replaces the real number plate with a fictitious one for the film shoot.

Technical data for the Survivor R (basic version)
Crew: Up to 11 people
Top speed: 100 km/h
Power: 250 kW (340 metric horsepower)
Torque: 1,250 Nm at 1,200–1,800 rpm
Emissions class: EURO 6
Drive configuration: Permanent four-wheel drive
Locking differentials: 3 x 100%
Chassis: MAN TGM 18.340
Maximum authorized mass: 17,000 kg
Available payload: 1,500 kg
Length: Approx. 6,860 mm
Width: Approx. 2,510 mm
Height: Approx. 3,250 mm
Optional equipment: Dozer blade, ladder, multipurpose turret system, weapon station, CBRN protective ventilation system

Impressions Survivor R

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