Austria boosts defense mobility with mass-market Pandur EVO

Austria’s commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities reached new heights with the signing of a contract between the Austrian Ministry of Defense and General Dynamics European Land Systems – Steyr (GDELS).

The deal, the largest in two decades, is worth 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) and provides for the delivery of 225 Pandur EVO 6×6 wheeled armored vehicles and conversion kits serving medical, command and control and anti-tank missions missions.

The crisis in Ukraine prompted Austria to reassess its military spending, with plans to increase it to 1% of GDP, from the current 0.74%. However, this still lags behind neighboring countries such as Germany, which have committed to reaching 2% of GDP. Inadequate spending is hampering Austria’s ability to modernize its military and make new acquisitions.

Domestic production and job creation

Under the watchful eye of Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, the agreement heralds a watershed moment for the Austrian Armed Forces, ushering in a new era of enhanced mobility, protection and operational effectiveness. The procurement, embedded in Austria’s ambitious “Development Plan 2032”, shows the nation’s commitment to military modernization.

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From GlobalData

The investment also has implications for Austria’s economic landscape. With an impressive 70% value creation within Austria, the domestic production of Pandur EVO vehicles promises to protect and create jobs in more than 220 local companies. Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner confirmed the dual importance of the acquisition, emphasizing its role in maintaining Austria’s borders and nurturing the country’s industry.

The significance of the agreement extends beyond immediate defense needs, with production of the Pandur EVO contributing to sustained economic growth. Martin Reischer, CEO of GDELS-Steyr, underlined the company’s commitment to promoting high-value partnerships in the Austrian industrial sector. Incorporating new vehicles into production enhances military capabilities and creates new highly skilled jobs, further revitalizing the local economy.

GDELS President Antonio Bueno welcomed the procurement decision as a testament to the performance and versatility of the Pandur EVO family. Bueno expressed pride in the partnership between the company and the Austrian Armed Forces. The reliability and adaptability of the Pandur EVO has cemented its position as a trusted asset among military forces worldwide, with more than 850 vehicles deployed across nations.

Evolution of Austria’s military mobility

According to GlobalData’s “Austrian Defense Market 2023-2028“, it says, the Austrian Army purchased 34 Pandur EVO armored personnel carriers between 2019 and 2020. The choice of the Pandur EVO resulted from the Austrian Army’s familiarity with the Pandur MTPz, which was acquired in 2003.

As production ramps up at GDELS’ Steyr facility in Vienna Simmering, the nation’s position as a center of excellence for wheeled and wheeled military mobility is set to be further strengthened. The predecessors of the Pandur EVO have served faithfully since 1996.

In the face of evolving security challenges, Austria’s investment in the Pandur EVO is a strategic imperative, but it is also a testament to the nation’s resilience and proactive approach to national defense. With the wheels of production in motion, Austria is ready to face the complexities of modern warfare with confidence and determination.

In other recent developments in Austrian military modernization, Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles has extended its contract with the Austrian Army, facilitating the delivery of up to 300 trucks from the HX family of vehicles. This four-year contract extension, worth more than 300 million euros ($328 million), is part of Austria’s “Development Plan 2023” to modernize its military forces, with an emphasis on mobility improvements.

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