New IFVs Top Priority for Bulgaria's Land Forces inventory
The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has commented that its request for new wheeled combat vehicles is one of the most important projects for the recapitalization of the country’s Land Forces inventory, writes Shephard Media.
On 5 August the country’s MoD forwarded an RfP to four pre-selected bidders in a tender set to deliver 90 8x8 wheeled IFVs - armed with a 30mm gun, a 7.62mm machine gun, and anti-tank guided missiles.
The tender has an allocated budget of BGN 1.464 billion ($830 million).
In addition, the tender calls for 60 more support vehicles (equipped for reconnaissance, command and control, medical evacuation and other support roles), which could be offered on 4x4, 6x6 or 8x8 chassis.
According to tender requirements, Sofia expects the first wheeled IFVs to be delivered within 12 months of contract signature.
The offer submission deadline is set at 31 October 2019. Krasimir Karakachanov, the Bulgarian defense minister, told the local press that an industry winner should be selected by 20 December, while the contract is expected to be inked in early 2020.
The Bulgarian MoD told Shephard that the 150 vehicles set to be purchased under this project are considered to be enough only for attaining an initial operational capability of the four battalion battle groups, while additional vehicles will be ordered at a later stage.
The RfP has been forwarded to a shortlist of four bidders - ARTEC of Germany, Patria of Finland, Nexter Group of France and General Dynamics Land Systems – MOWAG (GDLS) of US/Switzerland.
Previously, Turkey’s Otokar and Italy’s Iveco – Oto Melara had expressed an interest in participating in the tender, but the Bulgarian MoD decided against their inclusion. The service confirmed that only four companies were shortlisted following a technical analysis of their products, approved by the Bulgarian government.
GDLS explained to Shephard that the company is going to submit an offer, but declined to provide further details about the wheeled combat vehicle models intended to be proposed to the Bulgarian military. The company used to promote in Bulgaria its Piranha V, outfitted with the Elbit Systems UT30MK2 unmanned turret.
Patria declined to provide comment on its plans for participation, explaining only that there is a tender in progress. The company was promoted to the Bulgarian military its AMV XP model, outfitted with the Rafael Samson Mk II turret.
Nexter and ARTEC did not respond to a request for information about their plans for participation. Both companies have promoted the VBCI and Boxer models respectively to Bulgaria.
In order to trim down the project’s overall price, the Bulgarian MoD has relaxed its requirements for the support vehicles, making possible the use of cheaper platforms. GDLS, however, declined to reveal details on its support vehicle offer, only noting that the company has a large portfolio of wheeled platforms.
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