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By Julian Nettlefold

17 Jun 08. In spite of the high profile advertisement campaign launched by GDUK to coincide with EUROSATORY ‘Were ready to go’ with a green light, the FRES IPT had other ideas and at the General Dynamics Land Systems Press Conference on Monday hosted by Lutz Kampmann of Mowag, all references to FRES were withdrawn from that conference and the subsequent one the next day was cancelled.

However the overall brief about Piranha III developments and the new Piranha V gave some valuable information as to the way the contract was unfolding.


Lutz Kampmann gave details about the new PIRANHA III HIGH PROTECTION wheeled armored vehicle. This development of the existing PIRANHA III vehicle uses technology developed for the PIRANHA IV vehicle, now discontinued. The PIRANHA IV was developed since 2004 for higher weight applications and was designed at 25 tonnes, up from the 17 tonnes of PIRANHA III. It has been through three development cycles in that time and is in a high state of production readiness, thus providing the backbone for new PIRANHA developments.

This new development provides excellent ballistic and mine protection, while maintaining a substantial payload capacity and outstanding mobility in all terrains. The LEDS active protection system enhances the survivability of the vehicle against omni-directional threats from symmetrical warfare, such as laser targeting, guided and unguided Rocket Propelled Grenades and other stand-off threats.

The PIRANHA III has been sold to Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand,
Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and, in a separately developed solution, as Stryker to the US. It has evolved from 18-22-25 tonnes since 1997.


“Because survivability requirements have evolved very quickly in the last two years we have commenced the next evolution of the PIRANHA, known as PIRANHA V, starting from a baseline of 26 tonnes,” Lutz Kampmann said.

PIRANHA V is now the baseline offering for the U.K.’s FRES Utility Vehicle, using the proven development path and processes of the PIRANHA/Stryker family.

The interim PIRANHA Evolution, designed to demonstrate key elements of the
PIRANHA V, took part in September’s Medium Weight day in Warminster and was displayed by General Dynamics for the Trials of Truth in 2007. Based on a pedigree of more than 9,000 vehicles, PIRANHA V will be the fifth-generation of a very well-proven and admired family of wheeled utility vehicles. It is being developed specifically to meet the UK’s FRES requirements. Its design will benefit from the long heritage of reliable and highly capable platforms that have grown to accommodate increased payloads and increased protection levels of up to 40 per cent over the last 20 years, without compromising reliability or performance. Our experience of managing weight growth gives us great confidence that we will accommodate the 30-year growth potential of 10-15 per cent required for FRES.

Lutz Kampmann said that although PIRANHA V has been designed specifically for the UK, other customers such as Spain are actively considering the purchase of the vehicle. He confirmed that the U.K. will not own the Intellectual Property of PIRANHA V, as some observers thought, but it will be give access to the IP to enable the MoD to develop the U.K. special version in-country, thus conforming with DIS Requirements.

He said that the PIRANHA V prototype will be completed by the end of 2009 and meet and will meet FRES requirements at IOC in 2012. Some observers see this as a tight schedule as VBCI was conceived in 2002 to meet a 2008 ISD. However, as we found out later, there are moves afoot to meet the tight ISD by using existing manufacturing plants and processes and thus the vehicle will not be made entirely in the U.K. but will meet crucial DIS Requirements.

The weight of PIRANHA V section vehicle at IOC, 26 tonnes, is well within the

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