Wednesday, March 06, 2019

More on the Bulgarian Wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicle tender...

via Shepard Media.
Despite continuous delay in Bulgarian tender for new armoured vehicles, a number of potential bidders have confirmed their commitment to the procurement programme.

After failing to meet the January 2019 deadline for sending out RfPs in the tender for 150 new wheeled armoured vehicles, Shephard now understands that the acquisition programme will eventually be launched by the end of 2019.

‘This year will also be launched the project for the acquisition of new infantry combat vehicles for the establishment of Battalion Battle Groups within a Land Forces Mechanized Brigade’, confirmed the Public Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Bulgaria in an official reply to Shephard.

Bulgarian defence minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, had announced in local media that more paperwork needs to be done to prepare the final RfP document for the new wheeled vehicles.

Despite the ambiguities surrounding Bulgarian vehicle tender, a number of potential bidders remain optimistic about the future of the procurement programme and confirm their commitment to Bulgarian army’s modernisation efforts.

‘This tender is in our focus since the very beginning and with all our respect to the decision of the Ministry of Defence of Bulgaria, we shall be following the developments in due course. The decision does not change the fact that Bulgaria is particularly important for Otokar, where Otokar vehicles are already serving successfully in the region since early 2000s’, said Serdar Gorguc, Otokar’s general manager a statement to Shephard.

At the same time Birgitta Selonen, chief communications officer at Patria stated, ‘Patria is interested in taking part in the Bulgarian tender and is prepared to work on a strong proposal once the RfP gets out. As of today Patria does not recognize any significant impact on its plans in case of possible delay’.

Other companies showing interest in the Bulgarian tender, including General Dynamics European Land Systems and Nexter, were not able to provide comment at the time of writing.

The Bulgarian Army has a long time requirement for 150 wheeled, armoured vehicles - including 90 wheeled IFVs and 60 support vehicles – which eventually will equip three combat battalions of the mechanised brigade. However, the procurement programme, which was approved by Bulgarian authorities almost a year ago and has an estimated budget of approximately Bulgarian Lev 1.020 billion ($609 million), is still in the making and raising concerns over the final outcome of the acquisition. 
Shepard Media has been KILLING IT lately.  Maybe its cause they've been writing about stuff I'm interested in, but the team over there has really gotten back on track after a big time lull.

As far as the Bulgarian tender?  It seems to be following the latest trend.  Special Ops forces seem to be expensive to maintain for some of these armies, Light Infantry is deemed to be ineffective in a conventional fight and heavy armor is a maintenance nightmare for these users.

So that leaves medium weight forces as the latest hot thing.  Remove tracks from those forces and get almost the same capability on wheels and you have a force that can pretty much fight both low and high intensity combat.

Is this the reality? 

I don't know, but it does seem to be the thinking.

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