The Romanian Army’s mechanised forces modernisation plan maintains its momentum with the induction of new armoured vehicles and the planning for the procurement of additional ones. GlobalData’s Aerospace and Defense practice had the opportunity to communicate with the Romanian Ministry of Defence with regards to three major programmes: the Piranha V, the new IFV and the future of the Agilis platform.
Towards the end of June, the first lot of the Piranha V wheeled armoured vehicles was handed over at the premises of the local industry partner UMB SA (Uzina Mecanică Bucureşti), where they will undergo a series of final manufacturing quality testing before they enter into service with the Romanian Army. As the ministry informed us, the lot is comprised of 30 vehicles in the APC and six vehicles in the command post variant and that the factory is currently producing the first batch of 94 Piranha V vehicles, as the follow-up contract has not been signed yet. Up to now, the Romanian MoD has initiated payments of €111m.
Furthermore, the Romanian Army is planning the procurement of IFVs, which according to the MoD, they will allow the country to allocate forces in Nato’s operational structures. The programme is expected to be formally initiated in 2022 as long as there will be no changes in the budget. So far, the service has finalised the concept study in order to formalise the specification criteria that will lead to the selection of a new platform. Different IFV options are available but none of them is considered to have a clear advantage over the rest.
Finally, the Romanian MoD has provided us with more clarity on the AGILIS project. The army was planning to acquire the armoured vehicle, with amphibious capabilities, developed by the joint venture between Rheinmetall and Uzina Automecanica Moreni. However, although the joint-venture was signed in 2016, there hasn’t been any substantial progress so far. According to the officials, the programme is in the substantiation phase. The decision on whether the AGILIS or another platform will be procured, will be taken in the future and the programme will run after the conclusion of the Piranha V APC deliveries.
In 2017, Romania initiated a modernisation plan that would be concluded in 2026, enabled by an increase in defence spending to 2% of GDP, which is expected to amount to $5.950bn in 2021 according to GlobalData’s country analysis.
However, the process might be lengthy, as the MoD faces hurdles in its reorganisation and procurement processes. At the same time, although procurement covers around a third of the budget, the ministry has a large number of costly programmes to implement, which include the acquisition of vessels, missile and air-defence systems, helicopters and fighter aircraft to name a few. In this environment, the leadership will have to set its priorities, as the current process would probably cause delays on the acquisition and delivery plans.