Pandur II 8×8 Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Pandur II 8×8 Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Portuguese Armed Forces to Modernize Pandur Armoured Fighting Vehicles

The Portuguese Army (Exército Português) is soon expected to award General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) a contract to carry out a 6-month viability study on the feasibility of adding provisions for installing NATO STANAG 4569 Level 4 ballistic protection add-on kits to the GDELS Pandur II 8×8 Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) fleet. The vehicle will be integrated with Kongsberg 12.7 mm Protector remotely controlled weapon stations, EyeCommand Battle Management System (BMS) and ManWinWin software to manage its Unmanned Aerial Systems maintenance. The mid-life upgrade (MLU) will increase the protection of crews working abroad with overhaul the entire fleet, and ‘digitise’ the vehicles with new vetronics.

In 2005 the Portuguese government signed a deal worth 364 million euros to acquire 260 Pandur II armoured vehicle, with an option for further 33 worth 140 million euros, to equip the Portuguese Intervention Brigade of the Portuguese Army and the marines of the Portuguese Navy. The sale of Pandur II to Portugal includes an associated offset agreement for a value of 516 million euro. The first 41 Pandur II were manufactured in Austria, the further 219 are being manufactured by Fabrequipa in Portugal. The Pandur II for the marine will be amphibious and have a cargo ramp instead of the original doors.

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The VBR Pandur II (Viatura Blindada de Rodas) for the Portuguese Army is fitted with Steyr add-on armour that provides Level 4 protection according to STANAG 4569. The vehicles for the marines are equipped with Level 3 armour and have a cargo ramp instead of the original doors. From the original contract there will not be delivered 9 engineering vehicles, 31 with 120-mm mortar, two ambulance, 10 anti-tank, and one recovery vehicle, as well as all 20 amphibious intended for the Marine Corps. The original contract incorporated the option to acquire 33 Mobile Gun System with HITFACT 105 OTO Melara turrets and CT-CV 105 hp CMI Defence, but were never hired.

The Pandur II 8×8 is an improved modular all-wheel-drive version of the Pandur 6×6 APC wheeled armoured vehicle. It was developed as a private venture by the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge and is currentlyin production for the Portuguese Armed Forces. Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge is part of General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems, which is also the parent company of MOWAG of Switzerland and Santa Bárbara Sistemas of Spain. The basic armour package is designed to protect against 7.62 to 14.5 mm armour-piercing rounds (customers may select a choice of armour thickness). The vehicle is designed to be transportable in a Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.

Pandur II 8×8 Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Pandur 8×8 Wheeled Armoured Personnel Carriers on a Live Fire Exercise at Santa Margarida training area. (Photo: Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum/ Rui Heleno)
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