Denmark selects Piranha V, halts artillery buy

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Denmark has selected the GDELS-MOWAG Piranha 5 to replace its M113 armoured vehicles. Source: GDELS-MOWAG
Key Points
  • The GDELS - MOWAG Piranha 5 has been selected for Denmark's M113 replacement competition
  • Denmark has also opted to halt its planned purchase of a new 155 mm self-propelled artillery system
Denmark has selected the General Dynamics European Land Systems - MOWAG Piranha 5 8x8 to be its new armoured personnel carrier (APC), the Danish Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 30 April.

The move marks an end to the largest armoured vehicle competition in Europe, and sees an 8x8 triumph in a fascinating contest that had pitted two schools of armoured vehicle design, wheeled and tracked, against each other.

In Royal Danish Army service the Piranha 5 will replace the M113 series of tracked APCs.

Additionally the MoD announced that it would be suspending its planned acquisition of a new 155 mm self-propelled artillery (SPA) system.

Denmark will purchase a minimum of 206 Piranha 5s, with the number potentially rising to 450, although the MoD stated that "the exact number will be determined at a later date."

Speaking of the selection, Danish Defense Minister Nicolai Wammen said: "I am very pleased that ... Piranha 5 has been a winner of the tender on new armoured vehicles for the defence. Our current armoured personnel carrier has served the Army well for many years, and will continue some time yet, but with Piranha 5 we have found the armoured personnel carrier that can best solve the defence tasks of the future."

For the Danish requirement the Piranha 5 had competed in trials against one other 8x8, the Nexter Systems Véhicule Blindé de Combat d'Infanterie, and three tracked offerings: the FFG Flensburger Protected Mission Module Carrier G5, BAE Systems Armadillo and General Dynamics European Land Systems - Santa Barbara Sistemas ASCOD 2. According to the MoD, the selection of the Piranha 5 was made "after thorough examination and evaluation of suppliers' offers and testing of the vehicles".

The decision to halt Denmark's artillery procurement programme comes as a result of a need to reassign funding to repair one of its AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin helicopters, which crashed in Afghanistan in October 2014. Although the helicopter was only reported to have toppled on its side while attempting to land near Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan, the helicopter was reported to have suffered extensive damage in the process. According to the MoD, "whether the helicopter can be rebuilt or must be replaced, there will be a three-digit million expense" - at least DKK100 million (USD15.1 million).

"Against this background, there was agreement … to annul the tender and delay the purchase of new artillery for the army, which [will] help to create financial flexibility", the MoD stated.

The new 155 mm/52-calibre artillery system was intended to replace the Forsvaret's M109A3 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, with 21 SPA's planned to be purchased. Three offerings had been competing for the requirement: the Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder tracked system, Nexter Systems' wheeler CAESAR systems, and Elbit/Soltam Systems' Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) SP artillery system.

According to the MoD, Denmark is now looking to "explore possibilities to rent or borrow modern artillery from another country" as a stop-gap measure until the country is again able to look to purchase a new SPA system.

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