Czech IFV tender – requirements might change shortly before the final phase

Czech IFV tender – requirements might change shortly before the final phase
21 / 05 / 2020, 10:00

Well-informed sources tells us that in the acquisition project of tracked IFVs, the technical requirements are being or have been further modified, this time the changes concern the active protection system. The original requirement proved to be too expensive, so the army and thus the Ministry of Defense are reducing them to fit into the planned budget. And this is just one year after the massive explanatory campaign, when the army tried to convince us with decisive statements that it knew exactly what it wanted and needed, and that it could not function without it. The reality is different: as usual, the assignment needs to be adapted to economic possibilities.

When the Ministry of Defense published requirements for its new tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles vehicles at the end of March 2019, there were discussions about the required number of transported soldiers (six are enough for most armies, the Czech Army needs eight, because it also wants to transport specialists or two four-member teams) and about the requirement of the manned turret, which was completely new, it contradicted the previous statements, at least in the sense that the soldiers cautiously admitted that both solutions had their advantages and disadvantages, and in general the trends and largely the intention to obtain a vehicle that would best protect the crew. However, the requirement for the manned turret became one of the uncrossable parameters, which meant that PSM withdrew from the competition with its modern vehicle PUMA, equipped with the unmanned tower, and which the Czech Army repeatedly tested in previous years without saying it actually categorically required different solution.

See also: 16 Uncrossable Requirements for the new Czech Tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles

Among the sixteen so-called uncrossable requirements, we find at least K5 ballistic protection level, explained by the emphasis on crew and troops protection, as well as the requirement of active protection: "For maximum crew safety, it is today necessary to equip the modern vehicle with active protection. It is the standard of all advanced armies. In practice, it is the destruction of enemy ammunition before its impact on the vehicle itself. It is therefore the elimination of three hits to one point at 360​​° around the entire vehicle. We have advanced technologies to thoroughly examine this requirement and thus protect soldiers iside the tracked IFV from being hit by the enemy."

The general motto that accompanied the campaign, which the military has since used to justify all acquisitions, was: "We are the Army, we know what we want." Although the requirements may be disagreed for various reasons, we would expect them to be final and truly uncrossable, and that there is a detailed, elaborate solution behind the general wording - that the military simply knows exactly what it wants and why.

However, we learned that it is in the area of ​​active protection that the technical parameters should be changed again, because the originally required solution proved to be too expensive. If this is true, it is a further questioning of the decisive claim supporting the acquisition of the Ministry of Defense that "this is what the soldiers want," and the "uncrossable" requirements are not entirely uncrossable. Ministry was asked whether the information about the change in requirements was true. The ministry completely avoided direct answer:

"The design of the public contract ‚Tracked Infantry Figthing Vehicle and its modifications – purchase‘ was prepared, among other things, so that in the phase of submission and assessment of preliminary bids of suppliers, which is still not completed, some partial changes and adjustments to technical parameters were possible. Such partial adjustments, based on negotiations with potential suppliers, would be based primarily on economic advantage and, of course, would also respond to developments and new trends in the introduction of this type of technology into the armed forces, especially our allies. If they occur, the individual potential suppliers will first be informed of these adjustments and invited to react, after which the media and the professional public would be openly and transparently informed."

See also: Czech IFV tender - new requirements and controversies

However, "economic advantage" should rather be read as "we don't have enough money", and in the same light the reference to "new trends", in the truth that the requirements will in fact be less demanding than originally envisaged.

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