Bulgaria is holding a competition to acquire 150 modern armored combat vehicles, and has short-listed Patria AMVXP and the General Dynamics Mowag Piranha V units. Local press reports claim that both submitted bids significantly exceed the program’s budget, which was fixed at 1.46 billion levs (about $870 million) by about $300 million. The size of the budget overrun is such that there is a risk that the tender will be canceled outright, according to some reports, which note that the forthcoming visit of Defense Minister Krasimir Krakaczanow to the US to sign a 10-year “road map” of bilateral defense cooperation could lead to the direct acquisition of the US vehicle.
The opening of the offers was attended by the Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoliy Velichkov, the Commander of the Land Forces, Major General Mihail Popov, representatives of the companies, as well as directors of directorates from the Ministry of Defense. The interdepartmental working group will evaluate the submitted price proposals. Field trials of the proposed vehicles will be carried out to check the compliance of the declared parameters with the tactical and technical requirements set for the mechanized unit (armament and mobility) and the communication and information systems of the armored combat vehicle.
The Patria AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) is an 8×8 multi-role military vehicle produced by the Finnish defence industry company Patria.The main feature of the AMV is its modular design, which allows the incorporation of different turrets, weapons, sensors, or communications systems on the same carriage. Designs exist for different APC vehicles (armoured personnel carrier) and IFV versions (infantry fighting vehicle), communications versions, ambulances and different fire support versions, armed with large caliber mortar and gun systems. The vehicle has a very good level of mine protection and can withstand explosions of up to 10 kilograms (22 lb) TNT. The AMV has protection levels up to 30 mm APFSDS frontal arc.
The General Dynamics MOWAG Piranha is a family of armoured fighting vehicles designed by the Swiss company MOWAG (since April 2010 General Dynamics European Land Systems – Mowag GmbH). Five generations of vehicles have been produced, manufactured by Mowag or under licence by other companies, and variants are in service with military forces throughout the world. There are several variants within these versions, giving different degrees of armour protection and several kinds of turret, for use in a variety of roles. Piranha derivatives have been assigned roles as troop transports, command vehicles, fire support vehicles, tank trainers, and police vehicles.