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The price of delayed procurement in the Defense Ministry: Four military dead in Iraq and Afghanistan

de Radu Rizea
Luni, 14 aprilie 2008, 16:57 English | Top News

The first 10 Swedish armored vehicles contracted, much safer then the Romanian ones, will arrive at the end of April, Defense Ministry officials say. Until now, four Romanian soldiers died in the inadequate Romanian armored vehicles. The contract with the Swedish provider was signed in 2006, but the delivery was delayed because the producer built 10 vehicles in two years, Defense Ministry officials say. Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry decided that the priority is to acquire 48 fighter planes, for a total price of 3.5 billion euro.

At the Defense Ministry balance for 2007, Minister Teodor Melescanu announced that the first 10 Piranha armored vehicles contracted with a Swedish provider will be made available at the end of April. The Minister estimated that the Romanian army needs at least 600 armored vehicles, but also said that the main priority is to acquire fighter planes.

"Even when we a buy a normal car, we have to wait two to three months. For an armored vehicle, it takes longer, since it is a special vehicle", said Andreea Dumitru, spokesperson for the Defense Ministry. A Piranha vehicle costs over 1 million euro, the price demanded by producer MOWAG GmbH-Switzerland. The total value of the contract is 37.6 million euro.

Since Romania involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, seven military dies and dozens were injured. Four of the casualties were counted as results of Romanian armored vehicles weaknesses. The vehicles were unable to protect the soldiers from home-made bombs. In several cases, the soldiers were stuck in the vehicles after bombs exploded.

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