Austria will invest around €560 million in innovations for its armoured force, Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner announced on February 23. In this context, GDELS-Steyr was commissioned with service life extension of the Ulan infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), which has been in service in the Austrian Armed Forces since 2002.
Modernisation includes major overhaul and exchange of obsolete systems, especially optronics, electrics and electronics of the entire fleet of 112 infantry fighting vehicles. The order, with a volume of around €370 million, is the result of an obsolescence study carried out in close coordination between the Austrian Armed Forces, the general contractor GDELS-Steyr and its project partners.
Ulan was adapted to requirements of the Austrian Armed Forces on basis of the Austrian-Spanish development programme ASCOD (Austrian Spanish Cooperative Development) at the end of the 1990s and handed over to the troops between 2002 and 2004. The further development of ASCOD platform that is now taking place underlines the development potential of this infantry fighting vehicle.
“We are very proud that we have been commissioned with service life extension of Ulan and that the Austrian Armed Forces have placed their trust in us, as they did with Pandur Evo. For us, this is both motivation and obligation,” said Dr Thomas Kauffmann, Vice President of GDELS. Martin Reischer, Managing Director of GDELS-Steyr, added: “The project will be handled entirely at our Simmering facility. This will enable us to further expand high-quality jobs at the site and secure them for years to come. We place a special focus on our apprentices, because they represent the future of our company.”
Along with Spain, United Kingdom and the Philippines, Austria is one of four user nations, together there are more than 1,000 vehicles in use or incoming.
Dorothee Frank, Head of editorial team