**Contracts & Key Events Sept 2/08: General Dynamics announces a EUR 64.6 million ($102 million) contract from the Spanish Government to supply 100 RG-31 Mk5E vehicles for the Army: 85 standard personnel carriers, 10 Ambulances, and 5 Command Post variants. The contract calso calls for integration of Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) turrets, and ongoing support. General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas, as prime contractor, will provide program management, engineering and logistic support. BAE Systems Land Systems OMC of South Africa will supply the vehicles as a subcontractor to General Dynamics. Work under the contract is expected to be completed by 2009, but the contract includes an option for a 2nd phase of 80 more vehicles that would involve some manufacturing in Spain June 27/08: The Spanish Council of Ministers announces their approval of a EUR 75 million contract for 100 RG-31E MRAP vehicles. The contract includes RAFAEL’s Samson family of remotely-controlled weapon stations, as well as vehicle logistics support in theater in Afghanistan and Lebanon. The government says that it hopes to have 40 vehicles delivered by year-end, with the balance to follow in 2009. The releases and reports mention that the delivery schedule is still being negotiated, and a formal contract with General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas hasn’t been signed yet. Reports expect a contract in July 2008, though defense minister Carme Chacon is currently away on maternity leave. Reports also indicate that the compressed delivery schedule is likely to limit Spanish industrial participation, and lead to a greater percentage of the vehicles being manufactured abroad. June 25/08: An Infodefensa story covers the fact that spain has’t been able to deploy its Iveco MLV Lince light MRAP vehicles in Afghanistan and Lebanon. Apparently the contract award in March 2007 did not include enough spare parts given Afghanistan and Lebanon’s harsh conditions. Operational evaluation also revealed that the machine gunner up top did not have adequate protection, and the defence ministry is reportedly looking for a firm to undertake that work. Perhaps they might wish to look into American front-line innovations like the Chavis Turret, which could also be retrofitted to Spain’s VAMTAC Hummer derivatives. June 23/08: The Partido Popular’s Congressional Defence Committee spokesman Beatriz Rodriguez-Salmon demands that the Ministry of Defence “accelerate” the purchase of MRAP vehicles, which had been approved by the Council of Ministers in November 2007. Europa Press. May 14/08: Spanish defense and security bloggers renew their public campaign for MRAP vehicles, which have been promised since September 2007, under the slogan “MRAPs Para Nuestros Tropas Ya! Complacency Kills. Ni Una Baja as.” (‘MRAP for our troops now!. Complacency kills. No more Deaths’). Europa Press crosses the campaign over into mainstream media with a June 10/08 story. April 26/08: The Spanish government’s BOE site announces a EUR 24.7 million/ $38.5 million contract with Iveco to deliver 80 new 4×4 MLV/ Lince vehicles. See also Feb 15/08 entry. Feb 21/08: Europa Press reports that BAE OMC’s RG-31 Mk5E has won the second phase of the Spanish MRAP competition, for a squad level vehicle. The report says that 100 fully-equipped vehicles will be ordered, at a cost of about EUR 100 million ($150 million). The RG-31 Mk5E is a larger version of the RG-31 in service with a number of militaries and with the UN, and is also one of the USA’s Category II MRAP vehicles, with 610 ordered to date. Spain’s General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas will be the vehicle integrator, and armament will include RAFAEL’s Samson remote weapon system that can be fired from inside the vehicle. Europa Press reports that RAFAEL’s Golan vehicle came in 2nd in the Spanish evaluations, though the criteria were unspecified. KMW’s Dingo-2 reportedly came in 3rd. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2008, and end in 2009. Feb 15/08: Spain’s council of Ministers approves the acquisition of another 80 Iveco MLVs. Iveco Spain has already delivered 10 under the 40-vehicle December 2007 order, and the rest are expected before April 2008. This second set of 80 vehicles will be delivered throughout 2008, at which point the 120 vehicle requirement for mine-resistant patrol vehicles will be complete. Government release. Dec 18/07: The Spanish Goverment’s Official Bulletin confirms the purchase of 40 IVECO MLVs for EUR 12.4 million, which is less than the budgeted amount. There is no news concerning accompanying IED jammers or remote control weapons stations, and reader Pedro Lucio informs us that the first 10 MLV are now in Spain. Nov 14/07: Europa Press reports that Spain has selected Iveco’s MLV for its EUR 14.4 million, 40 vehicle rush order, joining fellow customers in Belgium, Britain, Italy and Norway. The Spanish armed forces already use Iveco trucks in transport roles. See “Norway Rush-Orders Mine-Resistant Iveco MLVs” for more details re: the Iveco MLV and its system of mine protection, which goes considerably beyond the standard v-hull approach. The vehicles have yet to be fully tested on the battlefield, however, as deliveries are just beginning from the Iveco Defence Vehicle Division in Bolzano, Northern Italy.
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