Eire Buys 15 More Piranha IIIs for EUR 30M
Irish Department of Defence (DoD) and General Dynamics Mowag GmbH signed a EUR 30 million contract for another 15 Piranha III-H 8×8 armored vehicles, with a total value of EUR 36.5 million including VAT. The Piranha III 8×8 is a very close relative of the USA’s Stryker/ LAV III, and it beat Steyr’s Pandur II in the run-off competition. Ireland had originally planned to order 80 vehicles, but later cut the second batch of 40 to 25. This procurement restores the planned numbers, and adds two new variants to the Oglaigh na hEireann. Production will take place at Mowag’s facility in Kreuzlingen, and deliveries will start in February 2007. Payments under the contract will extend from December 2005 to January 2008.
This order includes 9 infantry carrier vehicles. They will be equipped with the same 12.7 mm Kongsberg Remote Weapon Station that is standard issue on the USA’s LAV III M1126 Stryker ICV, whose Iraq experiences were recently covered by DID. Another 6 vehicles will be fitted as infantry fighting vehicles, with a stabilized Oto Melara turret and 30 mm autocannon for heavier firepower on the move. These Piranha IIIs are intended to enhance the ability of Ireland to participate in international operations, and reflect the growing understanding that such forces need increased protection against mines and ballistic weapons. The Minister of Defence has stated that they will be used mainly in the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance roles on overseas missions.