The Council of Ministers has today approved the award of a contract for the acquisition of 80 additional armoured vehicles, at a cost of 25 million euros, implemented by the Minister of Defence, José Antonio Alonso.
These 80 new vehicles will be fitted with a high degree of ballistic and anti-mine protection that will improve the security and safety of their crews against possible terrorist attacks in their operational theaters.
This follow-on order completes the initial purchase of 120 vehicles, as part of the Armed Forces Equipment Renewal Program, and includes ambulance (advanced life support) variants with the same level of armour protection.
Last December, the Ministry of Defence, as authorized on Nov. 2 by the Council of Ministers, ordered an initial batch of 40 vehicles. Iveco Espana, which won the tender, has already delivered 10 of these vehicles, and the remaining 30 are to be delivered by April. The latest 80 vehicles whose purchas was authorized today will be delivered by the end of the current year.
With these acquisitions, the military units tasked with international peace missions will be equipped with squad vehicles offering the required level of protection against small arms, mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
575 Vehicles by 2010
The Armed Forces Equipment Renewal Program calls for an investment of 321 million Euros and the acquisition of 575 vehicles. The replacement of the armoured vehicles currently in service with the armed forces is required because of the new operational scenarios that require military units with high transport capabilities, self-defense and substantial protection.
This plan is being implemented in three phases. During the first phase (in 2007/2009), 220 armoured vehicles are being acquired to begin replacing the BMRs, VAMTAC and ANIBAL now in service, at a cost of 143 million euros. The plan funds the acquisition of 120 squad vehicles (4-5 passengers) to be delivered in 2007-2008 and 100 platoon vehicles (8-10 passengers) that are to be available by the end of 2009.
During the second phase (2009-2010), the defense ministry will invest 178 million euros to acquire another 355 armoured vehicles, including 275 squad vehicles and 80 platoon vehicles. Deliveries are planned gradually by 2010.
Finally, the third phase will see the acquisition of new-generation, 8x8 vehicles. The ministry is considering acquiring these vehicles through an international cooperation program, or alternatively through the selection of a technology-leading company that will be capable of integrating the latest R&D advances and transferring them to national industry.
This new generation of vehicles, with elevated defensive capabilities and substantial combat capabilities, will be designed as multi-purpose vehicles. They will be modular, with interchangeable mission modules, so as to allow them to reconfigure for a variety of battlefield roles, such as troop transport, cargo transport, ambulance, etc.
The vehicles now in service, most of which entered service in the early 1980s, have been substantially upgraded in terms of their security, communications and power-trains. Although they remain technically excellent, the Ministry of Defence considers it necessary to improve as much as possible the equipment of the armed forces.
The acquisition by batches, as set out in the armed forces’ vehicle renewal plan, offers the advantage of being adjusted to industry’s production capabilities.