Category: Defence Industry
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The Macedonian government is prepared to purchase 200 BTR 4 "Bukefal," armored personnel carriers (APCs) from Ukraine's Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, according to reports in Interfax.
While the Macedonian Defense Ministry was not able to completely verify Interfax's account, a spokesperson did confirm that an APC purchase will be forthcoming in the near future.
The size of the reported order, however, is sure to draw criticism, since the Macedonian Army needs no more than 110 APCs to fill outs its ranks as the country tries to gain acceptance into the NATO Alliance. In order to comply with NATO requirements, Macedonia will procure 30 new APCs by the end of 2009, with a total of 80 in service by year-end 2015.
The Finnish Patria AMV, the Austrian Steyr Pandur, and the Swiss MOWAG Piranha are all preferred options at the moment. The BTR-4 is modeled after the Russian BTR-80, 12 of which the Army of the Republic of Macedonia (ARM) currently has in its service.
The Ukrainian deal seems to hinge on two things: good relations between the two countries, and the possibility of building a new plant in Macedonia where final assembly of the new vehicles would occur. Once this step has taken place and the requisite technical skills of the workers and proper infrastructure are in place, the plant would then move toward full production of the BTR 4s.
The Macedonian government will likely need the offsetting industrial work share in order to justify the project to its public at a time when the economies of Europe are in a tailspin and numerous infrastructure needs remain for the country.
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