Spanish MoD selects Piranha 5 8x8 armoured vehicle personnel carrier vehicle 40110152

Defence & Security News - (Spain)
Spanish MoD selects Piranha 5 8x8 armoured vehicle personnel carrier
The Spanish Ministry of Defence has selected the GDSBS Piranha 5 8x8 vehicle for the Vehículo de Combate sobre Ruedas (VCR) or Wheeled Fighting Vehicle programme. General Dynamics Santa Barbara Systems, SAPA and Indra were asked to submit their offer for an 8x8 vehicle. Their project will be financed by the MoD with EUR89.29 million in the 2015-2017 periods.

Upon the completion of this R&D phase, the companies will have manufactured six prototype vehicles, which will be evaluated before any contract is awarded. The VCR programme aims to replace the BMR, VEC, VCZ armoured vehicles and some of the M-113 currently in service with the Spanish Army. If the Piranha 5 is finally selected, an initial batch of up to 400 units would be ordered under a EUR1-1.5 billion tender, whereas the total requirement is for almost 900 ones. Full production is expected to start from 2018.

The Piranha 5 is the youngest member in the Piranha family of vehicles that was revealed in 2010. It is better protected due to its all-welded steel armour V-shaped hull and allows the integration of an add-on composite modular armour as well. It can also receive turrets for all kinds of operations, including remote-overhead weapon stations or even those with a 120mm gun. Its crew is comprised of three people and it could carry an additional eight. The 30-ton vehicle is powered by an MTU 6V199 diesel engine, which gives a maximum speed of 100 km/h and a range of 550 km.

The Piranha 5 was selected last April by the Danish Army in order to replace the M-113 armoured personnel carriers. Denmark plans to procure a total of 206 vehicles, although the total number could rise up to 450 in the future.

The decision of the Spanish Ministry of Defence to ask General Dynamics Santa Barbara, SAPA and Indra to submit a common offer gives a glimpse on the ministry’s effort to strengthen through consolidation the country’s defence industry, inline with the December 2013 Strategy for the Future of the Spanish Defence Industry document.

It is estimated that it is unlikely for the government to invest EUR89.2 million for a programme that will not finally lead to a successful bid, especially when an export license and permission for changes at the initial design have been asked. Therefore, the MoD and the industry are looking well ahead into the future, in an effort to further develop the indigenous export capacity.

It is also worth considering the fact that under a consolidation programme, the procurement of the vehicles will enhance the companies’ financial status and the country’s economic restructuring and employment plan.