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It does not finish starting one of the most important projects of the Ministry of Defense : the renewal of the new armored vehicles for international missions. The problem is the delay in delivery. A problem of such magnitude that the department led by Margarita Robles has expedited the winning company for the excessive delay in the planned deliveries. In addition, it will apply fines, as stated in the contracts.
The Government, backed by a legal report, directly awarded Santa Bárbara Sistemas , a subsidiary of the US multinational General Dynamics , a contract of 2,100 million euros totally outside the requirements and rules of the Public Contracts Law "for national security" . But the conditions set in the contract are not being met.
The deadlines go by without even giving the demonstrators, the test mechanisms prior to the construction of the land vehicles, the VCR 8x8 (Combat Vehicles on Wheels) of the latest generation.
And for this reason, from Defense a file has been opened to the winning company and it has been resolved to fine it for breach of contract. The penalty can amount to 10,000 euros for each day of delay, noted knowledgeable sources. From the ministry, officially, it is only admitted that the file has been opened and that, depending on how it ends, the sanctions will be imposed or not.
Defense already assumes that the delay in the delivery of the vehicles will last until 2021 and that the demonstrators, which should be delivered by now, will not be available until next quarter.
BMRs are "obsolete"
The sole contractor of this General Dynamics , Indra and Sapa project , and which has the highest Defense budget for a vehicle of the last decade, has not complied with the calendar. According to sources from the sector, the demonstrators did not deliver in July 2018 for the Legion to test them, as established. Nor is it planned to begin manufacturing this week, which would overcome the deadlines.
Defense has opened a "contradictory file" to analyze the evolution of the contract. In addition, it has agreed to grant an extension once the fine has been paid. This situation is increasing discomfort in the Army , recipient of the awarded material, vehicles qualified as the new armored VIP.
The Army has been claiming this vehicle since 2007, since the current BMR (medium armored vehicles on wheels) are obsolete and do not provide the level of protection provided by VCR vehicles.
It was in 2007 when the internal debate was opened on the need to renew all armored land vehicles, after seven Spanish soldiers died in Lebanon when a BMR was attacked with a car bomb. The contract stipulated that the process be initiated in December.
On July 12, the Government of Pedro Sánchez approved in the Council of Ministers the first section of production of 348 combat vehicles on wheels, whose estimated value reaches 2,083 million euros.
Prototypes will not arrive until 2020
The Executive opted for a unique contractor, Santa Barbara Systems, along with Sapa and Indra. The Army will not receive the so-called demonstrators - the prototypes that must be tested by the Legion - before mid-2020. They are being manufactured in Seville.
This is not the first delay in the delivery of prototypes. There was one first, from July to November. Already then, Defense announced that it would impose sanctions on the winner of the delays, which would amount to those 10,000 euros per day, but clarified that the conditions of the contract were not going to be modified. For this, the ministry relied on a legal report that endorsed "for national security" awarding the billionaire contract.
The replacement of the BMRs did not come to fruition after the outbreak of the crisis and the containment of the deficit, but it resumed in 2015 with the hiring of the technological programs associated with the new armored vehicles, which is the antecedent of which Margarita Robles has now promoted .
The minister herself already obtained a year ago the permission of the Ministry of Finance to reschedule the plans of modernization of the Armed Forces to fit this project.
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