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The Slovenian government has decided to withdraw from the Boxer program after receiving an audit report on the “Efficiency of Procurement of 8×8 Wheeled Combat Vehicles for the Slovenian Armed Forces”, according to a statement from the Slovenian Defense Ministry.

It was not until May 11 that the then Defense Minister Matej Tonin signed the procurement contract for 45 GTK Boxer armored transport vehicles worth 343 with the European procurement authority OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d'Armement), despite the defeat in the parliamentary elections held shortly before million euros (ESuT.de hadreported). At the same time, Slovenia was admitted to OCCAR's boxer program with observer status.

According to the concluded contract, the first Boxer should be delivered in 2023, obviously as a proof copy with which the fulfillment of the military requirements is to be checked. The other vehicles should be delivered in 2024 (nine pieces), 2025 (22 pieces) and 2026 (13 pieces).

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The boxer for Lithuania, who is called Vilkas there. Source: MoD Lithuania

The test report

According to information from the Slovenian government, the first invoices for development and operating costs totaling around ten million euros have already been received. Withdrawing from the contract will cause further downtime costs. OCCAR has provisionally estimated costs of 20 percent of the contract value, which would be up to 60 million euros.

The test report by the Ministry of Defense primarily criticizes the incomplete comparisons of the available offers. Because the offers available were insufficient and broken down differently, it was not possible to review the decisions. The investigations were concentrated on the boxer too early. For example, the adaptation of the Patria Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV) by the Polish supplier Wojskowe Zakłady Mechaniczne (WZM) was not checked.

The boxer met the customer's minimum requirements for firepower, ballistic and mine protection, maneuverability and tactical-technical properties.

Based on the information contained in the investment documents, the internal audit believes that in 2018 the most expensive version was chosen. Opting for higher ballistic and anti-mine protection beyond the minimum requirements has resulted in a smaller selection of 8×8 vehicles and consequently a higher price. For these reasons, Internal Audit is unable to render a judgment that the purchase of the Boxer 8×8 APC was economical.

Creation of new battalions

The Slovenian Ministry of Defense is focusing on the creation of a medium combat infantry battalion (MIB) and a medium combat reconnaissance battalion (MAB). According to the ministry, the MIB requires armored personnel carriers, vehicles with 120mm mortars, ambulances, technical support vehicles and command vehicles. According to current assessments, the cost of this would total 1.4 billion euros. The law on “Providing Funds for Investments in the Slovenian Armed Forces” currently only earmarks 609 million euros for this purpose in the period 2021-2026. According to estimates by the General Staff, at least 433 million euros more would be needed in the period.

The cost estimate for the middle combat reconnaissance battalion (MAB) is not yet available. It is expected that the medium combat reconnaissance vehicles will be more expensive than the medium infantry combat vehicles due to the additional requirements. This leads to an estimated cost of around 800 million euros for such a battalion, but even these costs do not include infrastructure, training and the life cycle of the facilities.

By optimizing, reducing the procurement of the planned number of 8×8 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), selecting a possibly cheaper provider and retrofitting the existing 30 8×8 APCs, the ministry wants to achieve savings of at least 400 million euros.

A new candidate

A hot candidate as a cross-sectional carrier vehicle is the AMV, which has been introduced in Poland in various versions as the KTO Rosomak. Its protection also corresponds to the Slovenian demands and has proven itself in Afghanistan. The ministry did not want to comment on contacts with suppliers that had already been rumored in June.

Editors / gwh