The Danish Army will be the first to deploy GDELS Piranha 5; this 8x8 is here pictured in the armoured personnel carrier version, which will replace Danish M113s. (GDELS)
most of the Freccia that will equip the first Italian Army Medium Brigade, the “Pinerolo”, with the exception of command posts and reconnaissance vehicles, which requirements have evolved and are thus in advanced development phase. In Q2 2016 the first tranche of vehicles aimed at forming the second medium brigade should be ordered, financial considerations permitting. Unveiled in 2010 at Eurosatory the Piranha 5 bagged its first successes in 2015 when Spain and Denmark announced the choice of the last 8x8 iteration of the well known vehicle family launched many years ago by then Mowag of Switzerland, now pert of General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS). In September Spain filed the first contract for such vehicle, albeit only a research and development and risk reduction one worth 89.2 million Euro, assigned to the “UTE VCR 8x8” temporary joint venture formed by Santa Barbara Sistemas, part of GDELS, Indra and Sapa, the two latter companies being responsible respectively for the electronic architecture and communication suite and of the powerpack unit. This shows the aim of having an all-Spanish product, which will then be proposed also on the export market. The R&D contract, financed by the Ministry of Industry, will run for three years, and includes the production of five prototypes. Known as VCR (Vehículo de Combate sobre Ruedas), the vehicle will be thoroughly tested by the Spanish military, which will then take a decision about a possible initial production in 2018. Although the move makes it very likely that by the end the Ejercito de Tierra will get the Piranha 5, the R&D contract is not binding for the Spanish MoD, which might also decide for other solutions. Spain has thus gone for a fully national solution, discarding the offers by Nexter for the VBCI and by the Italian CIO, the consortium between Iveco DV and former Oto Melara, for the
Freccia, both vehicles having bee combat tested in Afghanistan. With its 30 tonnes combat weight (although 33 tonnes might be reached) and 13 tonnes payload, the A400M transportable vehicle should be assembles at the GDELS plant in Seville while the chassis should be produced in the Trubia plant. According to our information the Spanish Army might not fully exploit the available payload, aiming at a 25-26 tonnes combat weight, thus leaving a considerable growth capacity. Part of the vehicles should be provided in the armoured personnel carrier version, fitted with an RCWS armed either with a 7.62 or a 12.7 mm machine gun, an infantry fighting vehicle version with a 30 mm turret also armed with Spike antitank missiles being also foreseen; it is to note that at its first appearance in 2010 the Piranha 5 was fitted with a Kongsberg 30 mm turret, GDELS proposing armament up to 120 mm calibre guns. The Spanish requirement should be for 300 to 400 vehicles, the number of 340 being currently the one more credited. Although the first contract came from Spain, the first country that will field the Piranha 5 in its Army will be Denmark, as the contract signed on 15 December 2015 is a production one, and will bring to the delivery of 309 vehicles from 2018 through 2023. The Danish contract is not only the first full success for the Piranha 5, but also marks the shift from tracks to wheels of another country, the participants to the bid that were short-listed being evenly split, the Armadillo (a derivative of the CV-90) from BAE Systems Hägglunds and the PMMC G5 from FFG representing the “tracked party” while Nexter’s VBCI and GDELS Piranha 5 represented the “wheeled party”. The contract was signed with GDELS-Mowag by the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistic Organization (DALO), and includes six different variants of the vehicle, infantry, EDR - Eurosatory 2016 Supplement
In this special Eurosatory 2016 supplement, Paolo Valpolini discusses both wheeled and tracked armoured vehicles.