Croatia’s New APCs: AMVs, RWS and Export Opportunities
Many European countries are currently in the process of acquiring wheeled armored personnel carriers, from former East-Bloc nations replacing their old Soviet BTRs, to NATO countries buying lighter and less protected equipment as replacements for their tanks, to new European states looking for road-mobile and affordable armor. Recent contracts in in Europe have tended to involve competitions between 3 key competitors: General Dynamics subsidiaries MOWAG (Piranha) and Steyr-SSG (Pandur), and Finland’s Patria Oyj (AMV).
Croatia’s finalists were Patria’s AMV and GD Steyr’s Pandur II. Croatian defense writer Igor Tabak helped DID reveal exactly what happened, as the AMV became a key component of Croatia’s future forces. That contract even led to development of ancillary systems for the global market, and is close to landing export orders for Croatian firms…
A Win for Patria Oyj
Croatia’s orders involve 126 “BOV” 8×8 vehicles, delivered in at least 3 variants: Armored Personnel Carrier, Ambulance (BOV-Sn), and Logistics (BOV-Log). Most of the vehicles will be produced by Djuro Djakovic in Croatia. Remote-Controlled Weapon Stations, which allow the crew to use advanced day/night optics and fire from inside the vehicle, were added to Croatia’s order later. A partnership between Norway’s Kongsberg and Djuro Djakovic will supply standard M151 Protector 12.7mm systems, while co-developing an MC-RWS 30mm version that has been offered for export.
A Croatian media report claimed that a EUR 200 million contract to deliver 126 Armoured Vehicles to the Croatian Army has been awarded to Patria’s AMV, with the vehicles built by Djuro Djakovic Special Vehicles in Slavonski Brod. The report added that GD Steyr’s Pandur II had oil leaking problems and one punctured tire during the tests. That report could not be confirmed by Croatian defense write Igor Tabak, who has been on the scene at the tests. What can be confirmed is that Finnish firm Patria Oyj won the order.
The export angle makes this a larger win for Patria, and is already paying dividends in Kuwait. Patria has won some of these European competitions, including a large 690-vehicle contract in Poland, 84 AMV orders so far from Finland that include 24 breech-loading 120mm AMOS twin-mortar variants, and an order from Slovenia that was reduced somewhat. It has also lost competitions to Steyr in The Czech Republic (199 Pandur IIs for $1 billion), and Portugal (260 Pandur IIs for $482 million).
Patria Oyj is owned 25%/75% by the Finnish State and EADS, and its AMV has been in serial production since 2004. Steyr is now a subsidiary of General Dynamics Land Systems.
Contracts & Key Events
Nov 11/13: Tactical Report says that the Kuwaiti Defence Ministry is going ahead with the 8×8 wheeled Infantry fighting vehicles project, to equip mechanized brigades of the Kuwaiti Army. There’s no independent confirmation of a specific pick yet. Source: Tactical Report, “Kuwait Defence Ministry, Patria AMV and 8×8 IFVs”.
June 20/13: Exports? Djuro Djakovic Holding’s modified Desert AMV variant is a finalist in Kuwait’s competition for wheeled APCs. The firm has sent one of its Patria AMV 8×8 carriers to Kuwait for testing, along with Kongsberg’s MCRWS 30mm remote weapon station, which is produced in Slavonski Brod.
As it happens, Kuwait is already a customer, with over 150 of the Croatian firm’s M-84 (heavily modified T-72) tanks serving as their secondary armored force since the early 1990s. An AMV pick would also create commonality with fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member the UAE, which already fields a modified variant of the vehicles via a direct buy from Patria Oyj. Sources: Djuro Djakovic & Kongsberg Brochure [PDF, English] | Djuro Djakovic, “Djuro’s Patria AMV 8×8 heads for Kuwait” | SeeNews, “Croatia’s Djuro Djakovic in last round of Kuwaiti APC tender – media”.
May 17/13: Weapons. The Croatian government signs an HRK 112 million (about $19.1 million, excluding VAT) contract with Djuro Djakovic group for M151 Protector 12.7mm remote-controlled weapon stations, which will equip Croatia’s AMV APCs.
Djuro Djakovic group has signed a cooperation agreement with Kongsberg to this effect, while working on joint development and commercialization of a medium-caliber 30mm RWS. Sources: MoRH, “MORH i Djuro Djakovic potpisali ugovor vrijedan 112 milijuna kn”
May 3/13: Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic and Minister of Defence Ante Kotromanovic visit the “Colonel Predrag Matanovic” base/ barracks, and attend a demonstration involving AMV vehciles in APC, medical (BOV-Sn) and logistics (BOV-Log) variants, along with the local storage and workshop facilities. The Prime Minister pronounces himself pleased with the overall situation, and explicitly links both the new basing infrastructure and AMV vehicles to Croatia’s desire for a smaller but professional army. Sources: MoRH, “Premijer Milanovic i ministar Kotromanovic u petrinjskoj vojarni”.
2007 – 2012
Feb 17/09: Framework agreement. The Croatian government signs a framework agreement with Djuro Djakovic Special vehicles in Slavonski Brod, covering required weapons and special equipment for the base 8×8 AMC APC. They also sign an agreement regarding the modernization of Croatia’s M-84 tanks. Sources: Croatian MoRH, “Potpisan sporazum o sustavu naoruzanja i specijalne opreme za bazna oklopna vozila AMV 8×8″.
Jan 22/09: +42. Patria announces that Croatia has picked up its option for another 42 vehicles, bringing the total order to the originally-envisaged 126.
No price was given, but this is half the number of vehicles in the original order, and half of that amount would be EUR 56 million.
42 more ordered
Oct 11/07: Patria and Djuro Djakovic Special Vehicles as consortium partners, and the Croatian Ministry of Defence, sign a EUR 112 million agreement covering 84 Patria AMV 8×8 vehicles to the Croatian Army. Deliveries are scheduled to start before the end of 2008, with all deliveries complete by the end of 2012. In Patria’s release, Mr Bartol Jerkovic, President of Djuro Djakovic Special Vehicles (DDSV) said:
“DDSV’s experience and know-how in main battle tank (MBT) production and modernisation has been recognised by the Croatian Government and our strategic partner Patria as a good basis for establishing of Croatian competence centre for AMV 8×8 vehicle production. Using Patria Technology Transfer, the vehicles will be manufactured by the Consortium DDSV-Patria. Additionally, DDSV will be responsible for specific mission equipment production and final integration as well as after-sales activities.”
Aug 8/07: Patria Oyj announces the State Committee’s proposal for selection of Patria AMV 8×8 as the preferred vehicle for Croatia’s armoured vehicle program. They do not mention the 6×6 vehicle requirement. Final contract negotiations are ongoing, and are expected to be concluded by the end of 2007.
Aug 2/07: What’s going on? Croatian defense writer Igor Tabak explains exactly what’s going on to DID. The government board sent its recommendation to the government of Croatia on August 1st, followed by a discussion within the Croatian government the next day, and a decision announced by Croatian Minister of Defence Berislav Roncevic.
For the 84/126 vehicles in the 8×8 category, Croatia will buy the Patria Oyj AMV 8×8 version. While Minister Roncevic still declined to name the exact price, he stated that the Patria AMV will cost Croatia around EUR 42 million euros less in its basic configuration, climbing to EUR 57.5 million if one factors in ancillary equipment offered by the competitors. Patria also offered a superior industrial offsets package, with well-specified offset deals that could be valued as high as 150% of the price (of that, 35% as direct offset deals). GD Steyr, meanwhile, declared offsets amounting to 100% of the price (of that, 25% as direct offset deals). A contract is expected to be finalized no later than Nov 30/07.
Patria was also the sole bidder for the remaining 42/126 6×6 vehicles. This category was not originally in the government’s announced plans, and only appeared in the actual tender several months ago. Despite this advantageous position, Patria’s bid was rejected. According to Roncevic, the Croatians found the terms financially unsatisfactory.
Going forward, there are 2 unresolved issues. One is the 42 vehicle 6×6 Armored Personnel Carrier requirement. Will Croatia simply cut that number from the buy, come to a broader agreement that includes 6×6 APCs before December 2007, or hold a renewed competition? The second issue involves weapons stations, which Tabak reports will not be part of Croatia’s initial buy. He adds that there has been talk about local production partner Djuro Djakovic Special Vehicles developing a weapon station of its own, in cooperation with unspecified foreign partners. A number of pre-qualified foreign-made manned and unmanned turrets are also available for Patria’s AMV.
Patria’s AMV picked
July 31/07: Not yet. Igor Tabak writes DID to say that the July 23/07 selection report is premature:
“Our defence minister Roncevic issued a demati of that story on the same day – reported mostly on the next day (on 24th of July) – in it, the Minister stated that the government’s board on IFV should get together sometimes this week and get a decision ready for the government of Croatia. There was talk of public release of the bid’s winner sometime during the autumn … there was talk of early October …
No official details were issued on the actual rest results … so not a word on the problems mentioned…
But bear in mind that, so far, there has been a whole range of stories on defects of all sorts. Patria has a MUCH better marketing effort in Croatia, so it is hard to say if there is any merit to those stories, or if it is pure propaganda. I couldn’t yet reach the actual experts from the MoD to try verifying any of it and I didn’t see the defects myself. As only a part of the testing procedure was open to the public everything is possible (the press was kept on a distance of at least 5-10 meters, so we could easely miss a minor oil leak, the tire problems were not visible).”
July 23/07: Winner? A Croatian media report claims that a EUR 200 million contract to deliver 126 Armoured Vehicles to the Croatian Army has been awarded to Patria’s AMV, with the vehicles to be built by Patria and by Djuro Djakovic special vehicles in Slavonski Brod. The report adds that GD Steyr’s Pandur II had oil leaking problems and one punctured tire during the tests.
There has been no independent confirmation yet from Patria or Croatia’s MoD. Hat tip to reader Pedro Lucio for the pointer.
July 9/07: Croatian defense writer Igor Tabak informs DID that testing has started in Croatia:
“…our APC bid has 4 vehicles involved … Patria AMV 8×8, Patria AMV 6×6, Steyr Pandur 2 8×8, and MOWAG Piranha 3 8×8. After last week’s static testing (began on 09.7; Piranha vehicle arrived on the 11th), this week the dynamic tests will be conducted by the Croatian Ministry of defence & Djuro Djakovic Special Vehicles Co.”
He’ll be attending the dynamic tests on an invite from the Ministry of Defence, described in this MoD release.
Feb 9/07: Finalists. Croatia’s “Armoured Combat Vehicle Project Committee” met; with the requirements defined, a decision was made to solicit final and binding offers from Patria (AMV) and Steyr Damlier Puch (Pandur), including required industrial offsets. The bilingual tender documentation will include both 6×6 and 8×8 combat vehicles; once delivered, the companies will have 60 days to evaluate it and submit. Testing will follow. See Croatian release at Defense-Aerospace.