Romania partners with German group to make military vehicle for the army
German group Rheinmetall will produce 8x8 armored vehicles for Romania’s military forces in partnership with a local factory. This is one of the most important contracts for Romania’s defense industry in years.
Romanian state-owned auto-mechanical plant Moreni and German military vehicle producer Rheinmetall Landsysteme signed the agreement for setting up the mixed-capital Romanian-German company, on Thursday, November 24. The new company, which is called Romanian Military Vehicle Systems, will manufacture 8x8 armored vehicles for Romania’s Defense Ministry. Each shareholder owns a stake of 50% in the new company.
“We consider it extremely important that we provide the army a transporter manufactured in our country,” said Neculai Banea, state secretary for the defense industry in the Economy Ministry. “This is a key moment in the revitalization of the national defense industry and we hope that mass production of this transporter to start soon,” he added.
One week ago, Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos announced that the Romanian Army would buy armored vehicles produced in Romania through an association with Rheinmetall, a German giant in the defense industry.
Romania’s defense contractor Romarm hasn’t announced yet what vehicle will Rheinmetall produce in Romania. The joint-venture may produce the 8x8 Boxer multirole armored fighting vehicle. The Boxer is currently used by the German and Dutch military forces. In August this year, Lithuania also closed a deal with the group to buy 88 such vehicles worth EUR 390 million, becoming the third NATO country to use it.
According to Rheinmetall, the Boxer is one of the world’s best-protected 8x8 protected vehicles. Moreover, it assures high mobility both on and off road, even in the toughest terrain. Powered by a 530 kW (720 HP) turbo-charged diesel engine, the Boxer has a top speed of over 100 km/h with a combat weight of 36.5 tonnes.
Romania has committed to increase its defense spending in the following years and may be held to its promise as the new U.S. president-elect Donald Trump said during his campaign that he wouldn’t back NATO countries that don’t respect their commitments in terms of military spending.
Romania’s most important projects in terms of defense include revamping and buying ammunition for the navy’s two frigates, buying four new multirole corvettes that will be produced at the Damen shipyard in Galati, and continuing the F16 program.