UK to Part With Pinzgauer Production
In July 2006, “Britain Buying New Land Vehicles for Iraqi & Afghan Theaters” covered the UK’s ongoing acquisition of 3 up-armored vehicles: Force Protection’s v-hulled and mine-resistant Mastiff, Armor Holdings’ up-armored – but not mine-resistant – Pinzgauer Vector trucks, and BAE Systems’ tracked FV430 Mk3 armored personnel carrier. In May 2007, BAE’s $4+ billion acquisition of Armor Holdings brought the Pinzgauer vehicles into its corporate structure as well.
In addition to the ongoing controversies concerning the Pinzgauers’ questionable protection against the #1 threat in theater, BAE Systems also had to deal with the vehicle’s fit into its overall land systems and wheeled vehicle strategy. It would appear that they have now found their answers, on both fronts…
Their answer is to close the Pinzgauer 1 production lines at Guildford and Fareham, with the potential loss of up to 102 jobs. BAE Systems will begin consultation with the employee unions, and seek to redeploy people to other areas of the firm where possible. An outplacement support service will be established for the rest.
Initial assembly of the final Pinzgauer 1/ Vector vehicles for the UK Ministry of Defence’s existing order will continue at Guildford and Fareham, but the vehicles will be completed at another BAE Systems site which remains to be confirmed. Guildford will then become the hub of a Pinzgauer support business for current fleets (the UK and New Zealand), as part of BAE’s successful military vehicle support business generally. That will employ about 25 people. Fareham will simply be closed.
Significantly, the development of the new Pinzgauer 2 vehicle will move to BAE OMC in South Africa, “which has the infrastructure to continue to develop, manufacture and market these light utility vehicles.” What the release does not say is that BAE OMC’s specialty is mine-resistant vehicles. This shift could certainly be seen as a tacit admission that mine protection has become a basic requirement for viable armored troop carrier offerings in the global marketplace. Admitting this outright would cast the UK Ministry of Defence’s Pinzgauer 1 buy in a very bad light, however. BAE release.