Elbit signs $55m. European contracts

Israeli arms manufacturer signs major deals with Slovenian, Romanian armies.

elbit turret 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy: Elbit Systems)
elbit turret 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy: Elbit Systems)
Israeli Hi-Tec arms manufacturer Elbit Systems signed 2 contracts valued at $55 million, the company announced Wednesday. A $40 million deal to supply unmanned turrets, weapon stations and other electronic and electro-optic systems for the Slovenian armored vehicle program follows closely on the heels of a $15 million unmanned turrets deal with the Romanian army. The Slovenian deal, scheduled to materialize through 2011, covers 135 vehicles and is pursuant to cooperation with a Finnish armored vehicle company, Patria, the European Aeronautic Defense and Space company (EADS) and another Slovenian company. Elbit Systems' portion of the Program includes laser detection systems and the delivery, integration and installation of 30mm unmanned turrets and 12.7/40 mm Overhead Remote Controlled Weapon System (ORCWS) onboard Patria AMV 8X8 vehicles. In Romania, Elbit Systems was recently awarded a contract to supply unmanned turrets and electro-optic systems valued at approximately $15 million, with deliveries scheduled to be performed over the next three years. "The need for weapons stations in modern armies is an outcome of warfare in urban areas, what is termed low-intensity conflict" a source at Elbit told the Jerusalem Post. "From Kosovo to Iraq, the days of tanks roaring ahead are gone. What's needed today is a vehicle that can maneuver easily in alleyways and aim [its weaponry] at oblique angles." The challenges facing a modern army have spurred military forces worldwide to equip for urban warfare. Today's advanced ground forces are opting for wheeled, armored vehicles, characterized by speed, mobility and lightweight, assuring rapid mobility and deployment. "These weapons stations can be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle; the soldiers are protected and the vehicle remains autonomous. Elbit has a long tradition of manufacturing Hi-Tec solutions for soft vehicles [armored vehicles which are not tanks and/or Hummers, jeeps etc.], as well as for tanks," the company said. "These stations are a developing field in the world, and while I won't brag by naming the companies that lost the tender against us, it can be understood that we competed with the world's finest manufacturers before winning this deal." In 2006, Elbit signed a $32 million contract to supply similar systems to the Portuguese Army, and early in 2007 a $58 million contract with Belgium. The new deals with the Slovenian and Romanian armies strengthen Elbit's foothold in Europe. "Elbit has marked Europe as a potential major client. These latest deals are another landmark for us in the continent," the company told the Post.