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The Czech Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently sent out calls for preliminary offers in the long awaited tender for new tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), as one of major armoured vehicles manufacturers in Europe, is expected to make a bid, offering its tested ASCOD platform, which has already been selected by the armies of Austria, Great Britain and Spain in the Ulan, Ajax and Pizarro programs. Czech Army has a requirement for 210 new IFVs, which will replace nearly 200 legacy BVP-2 vehicles, that are currently in service.

The offer, customized in accordance with the Czech Army’s requirements, will feature the ASCOD tracked platform coupled with a selected turret system. During the IDET 2019 exhibition held in May in Brno GDELS presented the ASCOD vehicle integrated with the unmanned UT30MK2 turret from Israeli Elbit Systems, which could be replaced by a manned MT30 system, if the future buyer required so.

During IDET 2019 GDELS’ representatives said that the decision to couple the ASCOD with Elbit’s turret was not a result of a specific Czech Army’s requirement, which probably at that time wasn’t yet formally defined, but rather a result of a successful cooperation with the Israeli partner. However, the manufacturer underlined the fact that it is ready to integrate its tracked vehicle with virtually every manned and unmanned turret system available on the market at the moment.

Essential as it is, the ASCOD platform is not the only part of the GDELS’ offer for the Czech Republic, as the manufacturer makes a strong point about expected benefits for the local defence industry, which might result from the future contract, assuming the Czech MoD decides to select the company as the preferred bidder.

The manufacturer confirms its intention to set up a local production of new IFVs based on the ASCOD design and involve Czech defence companies in the process, which will be executed under the Transfer of Technology agreement. The future contract is also expected to provide constant and uninterrupted supply of spare parts as well as technical assistance and training support for crews and maintenance personnel.

In result of the future agreement, Czech defence companies would also become members of manufacturer’ global supply chain, enhancing their position on export markets by allowing to offer products and services to other users of GDELS’ armoured platforms.

GDELS is one of four manufacturers, which announced their intention to take part in the Czech tender and are now expected to submit preliminary bids. The company will most likely compete with BAE Systems, which offers its proven CV90 tracked vehicle, Projekt System & Management GmbH (PSM) consortium bidding the Puma IFV and Rheinmetall with the Lynx platform.

Michal Jarocki