Romanian Piranha 5 Program Shows Major Progress at BSDA 2024

Romanian Piranha 5 Program Shows Major Progress at BSDA 2024

At the Black Sea Defense & Aerospace 2024 exhibition held in Bucharest from May 22 to 24, significant progress was made in the Romanian Piranha 5 program. General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) and Uzina Mecanică București (UMB), a subsidiary of ROMARM, announced the completion of 47 Romanian-produced Piranha 5 8×8 armored fighting vehicles, with 68 more in production and an additional order for 150 vehicles.

The initial order of 227 vehicles, contracted by the Romanian Ministry of National Defence (MND) on January 12, 2018, is divided into three phases. The first phase involved the production of 30 vehicles by GDELS-Mowag in Switzerland. The second phase saw the assembly of 64 vehicles in Romania under the direction of GDELS using UMB’s facilities. The third and current phase will result in 133 vehicles being entirely produced in Romania by UMB, which achieved full production readiness in April 2019.

Romania’s transition to full domestic production of the Piranha V 8×8 platform marks an important step in modernizing its military-industrial capacity. This progress is attributed to foreign direct investments from GDELS-Mowag and Elbit Systems as part of the programme. On January 12, 2018, Romania signed a multistage framework agreement valued at EUR 868 million (USD 930 million) for 227 Piranha V vehicles in six different variants: armored personnel carrier (APC), command, mortar carrier, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN), recovery, and medical evacuation. The contract included technology transfer and an 80% production offset, ensuring that the majority of the vehicles and their components would be produced domestically.

The production and final assembly of the complete vehicle are conducted by the GDELS-RO and UMB joint venture, while the turrets are produced by Elmet, a local branch of Elbit Systems. Various local companies provide key subsystems: CSR supplies the communication system, Interactive delivers the battle management system, and Pro Optica provides the day and thermal sights, multifunctional displays, and 76 mm smoke launchers. Although Pro Optica develops most of its system components locally, thermal sensors are sourced from third parties such as FLIR and Lynred.

Globally, there is an increasing demand for vehicles like the Piranha V that bridge the gap between deployable light forces, with their inherent low survivability, and more survivable heavy forces that are difficult to deploy and costly to maintain. The Piranha V, developed by the Swiss subsidiary of General Dynamics European Land Systems, addresses this need by leveraging the latest technologies to offer superior survivability, capacity, and mobility with low life-cycle costs and inherent growth capacity. Unveiled during the International Defense Exhibition in Paris, Eurosatory 2010, the Piranha V has since been acquired by various countries, including Denmark and Spain.

The Piranha V sets a new standard in survivability for wheeled armored combat vehicles, offering high levels of protection against mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and ballistic threats. Its next-generation, full-coverage modular survivability system is designed to be replaceable or upgradable to counter emerging threats. The vehicle also features advanced crew ergonomics, energy-absorbing seating, and occupant restraint systems.

Another strength of the Piranha V is its mobility, which uses an 8×8 chassis with an MTU 6V199 diesel engine and height-adjustable McPherson strut suspension. This combination ensures exceptional cross-country mobility and agility. The vehicle can achieve a maximum speed of 100 km/h with a range of 550 km. Additional systems enhancing performance and flexibility include a digital CAN backbone, fuel-efficient drivetrain technology, integrated heating, air conditioning, and NBC protection system.

Share This