Elmet, the Romanian subsidiary of Israel’s Elbit Systems, is to supply unmanned turrets, remote-controlled weapon stations (RCWS) and SPEAR mortar systems for the Romanian Armed Forces’ Piranha 5 8×8 armoured vehicles, Elbit Systems announced on 2 March.

The follow-up order is worth USD 120 M (EUR 113 M) and provides for the delivery of the components over the next three years, the company said.

Under a January 2018 contract worth USD 930 M a joint venture between General Dynamics European Land Systems – Romania (GDELS-RO) and Romania’s Uzina Mecanică Bucureşti (UMB) is producing 133 of a total 227 Piranha 5 wheeled armoured vehicles ordered by Romania. The first 94 vehicles have been manufactured at GDELS-Mowag in Switzerland and were delivered by the end of 2022 after final assembly in Romania. Production of the vehicles in Romania started in November 2019, with their delivery scheduled over the next few years.

Elbit’s UT30 MK2 turret mounted on a Romanian Piranha V APC. (Elbit Systems)

On 13 February 2023 the Romanian Ministry of Defence requested the procurement of an additional 150 Piranha 5s in an order valued at USD 674 M. In addition to a number of Piranha 5 variants, special training equipment is also to be procured.

According to Elbit, the UT30 MK2 turret to be supplied by Elmet is an unmanned 30 mm light turret that integrates weapon systems, fire control systems, sensors and display systems to enhance combat power, situational awareness and target acquisition capabilities. The SPEAR system, according to Elbit, is a computer-controlled, automatic 120 mm vehicle-mounted mortar system especially designed for highly mobile platforms. It is derived from the widely used CARDOM mortar system.

Gerhard Heiming