The Slovenian government has decided to cancel its order of 45 Boxer infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) following an audit report on the purchase.
Illustration: Lithuanian defense ministry file photo of the Vilkas IFV, on which the Slovenian Boxer IFVs were supposed to be based
According to the country’s defense ministry, other solutions are currently being assessed for establishing a medium-sized battalion battlegroup (SrBBSK), which has been deemed an essential capacity for Slovenian armed forces.
The defense ministry is now discussing with the intergovernmental Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) how the 343 million contract can be cancelled. OCCAR is yet to determine how much Slovenia will have to pay for the cancellation of the contract.
The Vilkas already in service with the Lithuanian army are equipped with an Israeli Samson Mk2 unmanned turret module from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, armed with a 30 mm Bushmaster II Mk44S automatic cannon and a connected 7.62 mm machine gun, and Israeli anti-armor Spike LR missile
Slovenia signed the official contract with OCCAR in May this year, with the deal encompassing Boxer vehicles configured on the basis of Lithuania’s Vilkas Boxers with Israeli-developed Rafael Samson II 30×173 mm remote turrets, anti-armor Spike LR missiles, and US-made 30 mm MK-44S cannons.
Slovenia is axing the Boxer buy following the findings of an audit commissioned by the defense ministry in June this year. The audit revealed that the 45 Boxers would not be sufficient to ensure sufficient capacities for the SrBBSK.
This is why the defense ministry is now working on a proposal for the development of the capabilities of the SrBBSK and a medium combat reconnaissance battalion by the end of the year.
The report further said the planned purchase of 136 of the new IFVs, in addition to the already existing 30 vehicles, was “unnecessarily ambitious.” It was also suggested that at least 400 million euros could be saved by optimizing, reducing the purchase of the planned number of IFVs, selecting a possibly cheaper provider and upgrading the 30 IFVs currently in service.
The defense ministry statement also indicates that the Polish Rosomak IFV, which is based on the Patria AMV, is now one of the options being considered.