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After several attempts, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence has now issued a Request for Proposal (RfP) for the supply of 150 armoured wheeled vehicles. Following market analysis, the Ministry selected the four European companies ARTEC (Germany), Patria (Finland), Nexter (France) and General Dynamics Land System – Mowag (Switzerland). The deadline for submission of bids is  October 31, 2019 at 17.00 hrs.

The 150 vehicles are divided into 90 combat vehicles and 60 special and support vehicles, which will be procured in two lots to equip three battalion equivalents. While 8×8 vehicles can be used for the combat vehicles, other drive formulas (6×6, 4×4) can also be offered for the remaining vehicles. It is expected that the selected companies will offer their vehicles imported into various armed forces.

The GTK Boxer armoured transport vehicle (manufacturer: ARTEC) has been introduced in Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania with over 500 vehicles. With the second lot for Germany, the order from Australia and the expected order from Great Britain, a total production of well over 1,000 units can be achieved.

The Véhicule Blindé de Combat d‘Infanterie (VBCI from Nexter) is launched in France with 630 vehicles. Negotiations on the export of up to 500 VBCi to Qatar have been underway for almost two years. With VBCi 2, a more powerful but heavier version is ready for series production.

The Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV from Patria) with more than 1,700 units is mainly used in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (mainly Poland with Rosomak). At Eurosatory, Patria presented a 6×6 version.

The Piranha V (GDELS) is the most modern version of the widely used Piranha family. The vehicles are currently being introduced in Denmark and Romania with around 500 units the troop. An order for up to 1,200 vehicles is in preparation in Spain.

In addition to the vehicles, an automated fire control system for a battery with self-propelled mortars, the associated communication and information systems as well as training and simulation equipment are to be procured and the personnel trained.

The total cost of the project is estimated at €750 million. By involving Bulgarian companies in the production, 20 percent of the added value is to be generated in Bulgaria.

An interministerial working group will evaluate the offers and present the results by December 20, 2019. A period of ten years is planned for the implementation of the procurement.

Gerhard Heiming