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During an official ceremony at the company’s facilities in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, held on 17 May 2017, General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag (GDELS-Mowag) handed over the first serial PIRANHA 5 (8x8) wheeled vehicle to the Danish Army.

A contract between GDELS and the Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistic Organization (DALO) for 309 PIRANHA 5s was signed in December 2015 and announced to the public in January 2016. PIRANHA 5 competed with such vehicles as the wheeled VBCI 8x8 (Nexter System), the tracked PMMC G5 (FFG), and the tracked CV-90 ARMADILLO (BAE Systems Hägglunds).

Denmark also tested the ASCOD 2 tracked vehicle, offered by GDELS Santa Bárbara Sistemas. During the initial phase, two other companies were invited to submit their proposals: namely, Patria Land Systems (AMV 8x8) and Artec (BOXER 8x8). Ultimately, they did not attend the field trials, which started in early 2013. The winner was selected by Denmark in May 2015.

Copenhagen has not ruled out the possibility the order could increase to 450 vehicles in total in the future. The Danish PIRANHA 5s will be assembled in Switzerland. Only a small portion of works, mainly on sub-components, will be carried out in Denmark. In 2013, GDELS-Mowag signed a cooperation agreement with Falck Schmidt Defence Systems. Welding of the first PIRANHA 5’s hull started in April 2016. The company’s assembly line moved to new facilities in Tägerwilen in February 2017. Weld and paint shops will following 2018. GDELS-Mowag confirmed that new facilities enables the production of the vehicles at a higher rate (a goal is to achieve 6 vehicles monthly for the Danish Army).

The main deliveries are scheduled to last until 2023. By the end of 2017, GDELS-Mowag will deliver four vehicles in total. Danish PIRANHA 5s will be firstly send to the US for testing in harsh desert conditions (trials planned for summer 2017). In late 2017, the vehicles will be send either to Finland or Norway for trials in winter conditions.

During an official ceremony it was confirmed by the Danish Army that the first PIRANHA 5s will join operational service starting from 2018 and 2019. It is planned that a first batch will be composed of 14-15 vehicles in two variants: Infantry carrier and command post. In early 2019, the Danish Army wants to get all remaining versions expect a mobile 120mm mortar. This variant is planned for fielding in late 2019.

During the ceremony, GDELS presented several other vehicles, such as EAGLE and DURO. Both families are composed of two variants: 4x4 or 6x6. DURO provides, according to the company “payload capacities from 3.5-6.5t  and offers a large load capacity with the different function modules. These include NBC, Reconnaissance, Ambulance and Armored Personnel Carrier. Depending on the mission role, 4x4 and 6x6 versions are available in a chassis/cab configuration only, or with the function module. The cabin is available in armored or non-armored configurations.”

EAGLE is a utility vehicle: its latest version (EAGLE 5) was ordered in May 2013 by Germany (176 vehicles), and in May 2017 by Denmark (36 vehicles).

Robert Czulda

 

 

 

Copenhagen has ordered vehicles in six variants: Standard infantry carrier, command post, medical vehicle, engineer vehicle, mortar carrier (120mm), and repair vehicle. All are based on the same basic hull. The total contract value, according to an official statement by GDELS-Mowag, is approximately U$600 million. The company’s officials have confirmed that, “the PIRANHA 5 programme is of biggest importance for GDELS-Mowag.” (All Photos: Robert Czulda)

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