PETALING JAYA: It appears that despite signing the deal with FNSS for the chassis of the AV8, Deftech may be in danger of not making the deadline to produce a prototype by year end.
Why? The normal malady affecting our defence deal of course.The pulling and tugging.
If we thought that the design has been frozen (FNSS chassis, Denel 30 mm turret, Mercedes engines and communications/electronic Sapura Thales) apparently its not.
Denel, truth be told, is in danger of losing the turret deal. It appears that the Army and consequently, Deftech, is dithering over the turret for some of the AV8 variants, specifically, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
As for the reason is hilarious and at the same time defamatory (and could be totally untrue), I will refrain from putting it down here. Lets just say its not about the price issue.
In hot pursuit for the deal are FNSS and Italian Oto Melara. Both are offering their very own 30 mm turrets for the AV8. Oto Melara, through its Marketing and Sales regional manager Luca Lonoce, at a press conference on Apr 21, 2011, confirmed that it is in talk to sell its 30mm Hitfist turret, similar to the one fitted on the Rosomak (the Polish made AMV). Oto Melara is also offering the same turret fitted with ATGM launchers. The company is also offering the land-based version of the 76/62 SR gun to be integrated on the AV8, although it is “wishful thinking” according to Lonoce’s boss, Ulderigo Rossi.
The PC was held to announce Oto Melara collaboration with local company, Genting Etika Sdn Bhd to become the authorised service centre for Malaysia and the region. As for the SGPV/LCS project, Oto Melara is offering the 76mm gun with the Strales system (RF guidance and DART ammunition) a much cheaper option for CIWS application, according to Lonoce. As for the AV8 deal, according to Rossi, Genting Etika is in the lead to be its partner for the project.
FNSS, according to the buzz, is also hoping to persuade the Army to choose the Sharpshooter turret, already in use with the Adnans. It was the Sharpshooter turret that was fitted on the Pars when it was tested back in 2006.
There are other turret makers (the usual suspects) on the prowl for the same contract, I am told but Oto Melara and FNSS seemed to be leading the pack with Denel getting left behind fast. What next you may ask? Another engine to replace Mercedes and another company to replace Sapura Thales? Stranger things had happened before…..
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