MRAPs for Austria
Austria has been a neutral power since World War 2, but contingents from its small armed forces are sometimes made available for international deployment. The growing realization that blast resistant vehicles are an essential piece of equipment in any combat zone appears to have finally reached Austria’s priority list, spawning a EUR 104 million (about $138 million) contract for 150 “protected multipurpose vehicles.”
In January 2009, Austria made its vehicle choice. Now, it has made its weapon choice…
Austria’s choice is Iveco’s Light Multirole Vehicle, also called MLV and known as “Panther” in British service or “Lince” (Lynx) in Spain. These vehicles are similar to American Hummers in size and number of occupants, but their higher cost reflects an array of fundamental design differences that are designed to protect their occupants from mine blasts and small arms fire.
The vehicles can also mount a remote-controlled weapon/surveillance turret on the roof, and Austria’s vehicles will be fitted with a new variant of Elbit Systems’ . Around 1,500 of these vehicles are now ordered or in service with Italy, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Norway, and Spain.
Contracts & Key Events
May 18/09: Elbit Systems in Haifa, Israel announces a EUR 25 million ($35 million equivalent) contract with Fiat subsidiary IVECO S.p.A. to supply the Austrian Army with its new 12.7mm ORCWS remote-controlled weapon stations. The systems will equip the new MLVs, and are expected over the course of the next 4 years.
In addition to the standard set of day and night sensors, Elbit Systems’ weapon stations include a Multi-Threat Detection System (MTDS) that can detect, categorize and pinpoint laser and radio frequency Sources. Elbit Systems release [PDF].
Jan 13/09: Austria announces its choice of the Iveco MLV. About 51% of this particular purchase will be “returned” to Austrian firms, either through direct manufacturing of via industrial benefits programs elsewhere. The first Iveco LMV vehicles are expected to arrive in 2009, and they are expected to become operational with the Osterrichs Bundesheer in 2010. Bundesheer release [in German, Austrian dialect].