The decision to declare the tender for the purchase of the new armoured Army of Earth (a first phase of the 345 vehicles per 2.083 million) delayed at least a year in the program, according to military sources. It was planned that the contract of the VCR 8x8 Dragon would be signed before the end of the year, but the Defense rejected the only bid, submitted by Santa Barbara Systems (SBB), the property of the american General Dynamics, alleging that he did not meet the requirements of the Technical Specification (PTT) or in the execution period, or the number of prototypes and vehicles or in the order of manufacturing configurations.
The minister of Defence in functions, Margarita Robles, has already announced that it will take the program to “public tender”. This implies, according to the sources consulted, which will convene a new contest. What is not clear is whether it will be open and may be submitted by any bidder; or restricted to those companies that are previously invited by the Defense. What does seem likely is a repeat of the formula of the competition negotiated without publicity with a single bidder, after the recent fiasco.
If there is a short list, say the sources consulted, it is logical that the same form part of the Boxer German, the Freccia Italian, the Homeland Finnish and the VBCI French, in addition to the Piranha of Santa Barbara, making it compete between themselves to the main european models.
The problem for Defence is that it has already spent 92 million euros in the development of five technological demonstrators which have been based on the platform of the Piranha. Although these demonstrators, that should have been delivered last July and will not arrive until may of 2020, have had numerous problems, can not throw overboard what is spent on them.
If you choose to increase the budget or reduce the requirements of the program, the Government will give you the reason to Santa Barbara, which was considered impossible to implement them without assuming excessive risk; if you choose another model, you will lose at least a part of what you have already invested. In any of the cases, the Army will not be before 2022, its first armored operating.
Updated Date: 30 December 2019, 03:00