Bulgarian armored vehicles procurement gains new momentum

Following the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence’s announcement that it is assessing offers from GDELS and Patria for new armored vehicles;

Stelios Kanavakis, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the decision:

“This is an important milestone for the program as it gains new momentum after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bulgarian Army’s mechanized units will have the opportunity to upgrade to NATO standards and enhance its armored capabilities at the eastern borders. It is also important for Patria (AMV vehicle) and General Dynamics Land Systems Europe (GDELS) (Piranha 5) as they move ahead of major competitors such as Nexter and ARTEC.

“The contract is for 150 wheeled vehicles, in the infantry fighting vehicle and armored personnel carrier variants, according to GlobalData’s armored vehicles market data. The total value of the contract is expected to be at $875m. The Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) announcement revealed that the two proposals will be evaluated and the vehicles will be field tested, before the committee decides whether to proceed with one of the two platforms and signing a contract at the beginning of next year or canceling the tender.

“This is an opportunity for both Patria and GDELS to expand their footprint in the European market. Since 2018, when the tender was announced, all the competitors established partnerships with the local industry in order to gain a competitive advantage. Patria’s AMV has already been selected by Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia and Poland, while GDELS’ Piranha 5 has recently won contracts in Denmark, Spain, Romania and Switzerland. Patria has so far been very successful in Eastern Europe and that could be beneficial for Bulgaria in becoming part of a pool of countries with the same platform, thereby aligning its MRO procurement in the future and creating economies of scale.”

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