5 augustus 2006

The AIV Questions asked & answered

The AIV program was launched in the new millenium to replace the ageing YPR and M113 tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Armored Personnel Carriers with wheeled armored vehicles using a 8x8 configuration (4 wheels on each side of the vehicle). AIV stands for Armored Infantry Vehicle.

During the competition the SDP Pandur II; GIAT VBCI; IFOM Centauro; MOWAG Piranha IIIC and Patria AMV participated using a OTS procedure. OTS stands for Off the Shelf (also known as COTS). This meant the vehicle had to have been sold to other States before, thus Belgium couldn't not be the launch customer for the vehicle. This is probably the reason why the more technologically advanced MOWAG Piranha IV was not offered or accepted in the competition.

Another implication of the OTS procedure is that the vehicles are not tested by the MoD. The constructors have to deliver all relevant testresults concerning the vehicles and weapon systems which are then checked by the MoD and on that information a decision is taken.
This means that we're buying vehicles that exist on paper.

The Piranha IIIC won the competition against Patria's AMV. Patria filed a complaint against the Belgian State twice without a positive result. Weight issue's and the fairness of the competition are important elements of complaint, third element is the OTS requirement. I've been looking around and posted several blogarticle regarding this written in Dutch. To me it seems that the AMV is superior than the Piranha IIIC and that in a direct competition the AMV should have won. It was deemed too expensive, but it wasn't that much more expensive than the PIIIC and seemingly has a lot more potential than the Piranha IIIC.

Why do I find the AMV superior? It has a larger payload capacity (10t vs 8.5t) and more growth potential than the Piranha IIIC. The Piranha IIIC enhances the Gross Vehicle Weight capacity of the Piranha III vehicle to 22t, on paper.

Meanwhile in the last pressarticle that was published in a Belgian Newspaper it was revealed that the Minister of Defense refuses to answer questions relating to the risen issues of the AIV program. According to the article the Minister of Defense doesn't really want to answer those questions in order not the give any further arguments to Patria...which still has a case against the Belgian State pending.

So, in the beginning of July 2006 it was time to take the bulls by the horns and ask some questions direclty to the two competitors. I mailed Patria Oy (FI) and MOWAG (CH) to ask some questions and receive some answers relating to the Armored Infantry Vehicle bought by the Belgian armed forces. I told both parties that I will publish my Q's and their Answers fully and unedited first and later on publish an end article using the information. I also told them that I would not reveal the identity of the people responding, furthermore I was not going to pass on questions to each side and keep them strictly apart. To this day only one company replied: Patria Oy (after a couple of days). MOWAG never replied.

Questions asked and answers received from Patria Oy concering the AIV Program:

Why has Patria filed complaints against the Belgian State regarding the AIV program?

It should be clear to everyone Belgium is the first country
in the world to purchase Piranha IIIC vehicles designed
upto 22 tons (PIIIC22).Such a vehicle has not been acquired by
any other nation and therefore mustbe designed.
it is not a mature product. However, the evaluation procedure
of the AIV-tender has been based on an existing Piranha IIIC,
which is designed to a maximum weight of 18,5 or
at maximum 20 tons (PIIIC20). In our opinion, this is wrong.
The evaluation should have been based on the maturity of PIIIC22
and not PIIIC20, which, we believe, does not even exist.

In a press article the weight of the AIV was adressed, based on what calculations did this happen? And how much would some of our vehicles approximately weigh?

The Belgian MoD has admitted in their official communications,
that the Maximum Combat Weight of the contracted Piranhas
is 22 tons. We believe, that the weight of the PIIIC22 purchased
by Belgium will even exceed 22 tons by 1 ton, when equipped withh
all the payload caused by the 90 mm turret, soldiers,
equipment and other payload items determined by the
AIV-tender documents.

In De Standaard (newspaper) Mister Seppo Marin said that
the 90mm CMI Mk.8 was nearly imposed.Which system would Patria Oy have offered to replace the CMI Mk.8 canon? What difference would it have meant (price, performance).
Can the AMV bearmed with the Oto Melara Hitfact 120mm? Which weapon systems did Patria offer on its AMV for the entire AIV program? How was the CMI Mk.8 imposed?

The 90mm CMI Mk.8 was the most competitive system for the
AIV-tender for any competitor and therefore the proposals
of Patria and Mowag were based on this system.
The customer would have also accepted 105 mm calibre systems,
which satisfy the requirements.
One of such systems is OtoMelara Hitfact, which can be
equipped with 105 mm cannon as well.

The AIV program is a 700 million € deal,I seem to remember reading that Mister Marin was surprised by that vast amount for the Piranha IIIC. Am I correct?
If so, how much would the acquisition of the AMV for the AIV program (242 vehicles) have costed (roughly) with the CMI Mk.8 and with analternative for this gun.

The announcement of the contract value was a suprise to Patria,
because the value of the contract should be clearly smaller
and only including the first fixed batch of 138 vehicles.
The announced value of the contract seems to include optiona orders,
which should not have been contracted yet. In our opinion the
contracted value should be clear, but the announcement is not clear.

Did the other companies involved with the AIV program have any comments?

We cannot make comments on behalf of other interested parties,
but we know, that there have been some reclamations
from other parties as well regarding the AIV-procedures, which,
according to our knowledge, have not resulted in any juridical


At 5/8/06 18:02, Blogger Luc Van Braekel said...

What is this all about? Guns? Tanks? Jets? Helicopters? Oh, I see, obviously some kind of military vehicle. A tank?

What is an "OTS requirement"? What does "the AIV program" mean?

At 6/8/06 14:33, Blogger David Vandenberghe said...

Alright, I'll spank you for this.

At 6/8/06 17:12, Anonymous Anoniem said...

I must admit, I hope this is some kind of viral marketing; first you don't know what they're talking about, so then you have to sit there and be all curiuous ;)).

So yes, eagerly waiting the surprise answer as well. Please make a follow-up post, would be much appreciated.


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