The first TBT 8×8 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) for the Romanian Land Forces are expected in Romania in 2018, with their integration with the national industry to be identified later on, Defence Minister Gabriel Les said Friday.
“It is quite possible that the first APCs will start coming in next year. We will seek a manner in which to integrate them with the national industry. At least in the first stage, they will be assembled in Romania on a special assembly line. As I was telling you previously, acquiring the technology as soon as possible is very important to us,” Les said Friday at the Valahia University of Targoviste, where Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu, on a working visit to Dambovita County, attended a meeting with the university’s management, local officials and business leaders.
Les added that, on the other hand, the government’s ruling programme clearly states a wish to help integrate the Romanian defence industry. About the type of APC to be built, Les said it is in line with the current NATO operation requirements, designed by the land forces.
“We are talking about protection made up of at least three plus cannons of at least 30 mm in diameter and other matters that in the end have to do with army endowment,” said Les.
Also attending the meeting was Economy Minister Mihai Tudose who said there are at least two large defence companies interested in entering a partnership with Romania for the implementation of a project for the building of the 8×8 wheeled armoured fighting vehicles.
‘This is a complex matter that somehow has to do with an interministerial strategy and a governmental strategy, some supreme umbrella. As we speak, there are at least two defence companies interested in know-how transfers and developing a production line in Romania. The interest meets the requirements of the Romanian Army. We are also developing, especially at Moreni, this kind of business I have mentioned, depending on the Romanian Army’s demands. This is where we are now. The money is in the Defence Ministry’s budget, the APCs have to be purchased and what is left is for Army specialists to say what and how; we are determined to work together to secure the know-how transfer and the integration of the Romanian industry in the making of this new product and also its repairing and long-term maintenance, and even provide a regional maintenance centre, why not,” said Tudose.
Asked to name the companies interested in the project, Tudose said Rheinmetall and General Dynamics.