The Swiss National Armaments Director Martin Sonderegger signed a contract with GDELS-Mowag for the delivery of military engineering variants of the Piranha IV vehicle for the Swiss Army Sappers. The contract is worth 360 million Swiss francs (approx. US$364M) and will see the first vehicles delivered in 2026. A total of 60 units are being procured as a replacement for the tracked M113 that has served with sappers in this role since 1963. The current vehicles will reach the end of their service life in 2030 and will need to be replaced. Switzerland already operates 500 Piranha IICs and 60 Piranha IIIC.
The Mowag Piranha is a family of armored fighting vehicles designed by the Swiss company Mowag (since 2010 General Dynamics European Land Systems – Mowag GmbH). Five generations of vehicles have been produced, manufactured by Mowag, or under license by other companies (notably the LAV), and variants are in service with military forces throughout the world. The MOWAG Piranha IV armored personnel carrier was developed as a private venture. The most significant improvements over the Piranha II/III vehicles are its higher level of protection, increased internal volume, and greater carrying capacity. The Piranha IV is heavier than its predecessors.
The Piranha IV has a high hardness armor steel hull, with provision for add-on armor kits. Once fitted with a level B modular armor package it provides all-around protection from 14.5 mm armor-piercing rounds. The Hull floor protects against blasts equivalent to 8 kg of TNT. The vehicle is fitted with NBC protection and automatic fire suppression systems. The Piranha IV is equipped with signature reduction technology. It has reduced radar and thermal signatures, making it more difficult to detect on the battlefield. The frontal arc withstands hits from 30 mm armor-piercing rounds. The Piranha IV also has improved protection against landmines.
The baseline Piranha IV fitted with a roof-mounted 12.7mm machine gun is fully air-portable in a C-130 Hercules aircraft with shoring. The vehicle has a crew of 2-3 men depending on the mission variant. Furthermore, Piranha IV provides accommodation for up to 9-10 fully equipped troops. When fitted with the enhanced armor package and a two-person General Dynamics Land Systems turret, armed with a 30mm cannon, it can weigh up to 25 tonnes. The vehicle is powered by a German MTU 6V 199 TE20 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 544 hp. The engine is mated to a ZF 7-speed transmission. This APC can be airlifted by the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.