The Weekly Wire: GPS Dispatch 1.11.16
In a long-discussed move, Poland announced that it had signed a contract for the modernization of 128 Leopard 2 tanks to the 2e4 Polish standard—squeezing in the deal in the last days of 2015. The contract was officially awarded to Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and is reportedly worth PLN 2.415 billion (USD605.7 million). It represents an impressive long term accomplishment for the Polish Armament Inspectorate at the end of the calendar year. By completing the contract in 2015, Poland is able to offload 25% of the contract’s value into the remaining assets of the previous budget. The official notice of the upgrade program has been a long time coming. Poland purchased the 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army back in 2002, with plans to eventually upgrade them. In 2013, the Polish Army ordered 14 additional Leopards, as upgrade talks picked up steam. The current deal calls for the initial 128 tanks to receive improved turrets, chasses, and tank simulators, with expected completion by 2020. An option also exists to upgrade the additional 14 tanks purchased in 2013.
The French procurement agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), didn’t take much of a holiday break this year, signing two important deals leading into 2016. Pleased with the way that the helicopter has performed in active missions over Africa, the DGA ordered an additional six NH90 TTH helicopters, bringing total French NH90 orders to 74 aircraft. 44 of the helicopters, produced by Airbus, are expected to be delivered by 2019. The extra order is part of updates to the 2014-19 multiyear defense law ordered by defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. In another big deal, the French DGA awarded a contract for nearly 450 Special Forces vehicles to Renault Trucks Defense. Due to heavy use in overseas deployments, French Special Forces vehicles are in immediate need of replacement. Renault will deliver 241 light vehicles and 204 heavy variants to the French military. French Special Forces will be in their new rides soon – the first 25 are expected to be delivered in 2016.