One of the group’s entrepreneurs, Jaroslav Strnad, in January struck a deal with the multinational concern that will enable the Excalibur Army business to exclusively market, sell, maintain and produce under licence Pandur II 8×8 armoured vehicles usually made by GDELS-Steyr, the Austrian subsidiary of General Dynamics Land Systems.
The Czech armed forces has 107 Pandur IIs, and they are set to in July order another 20 personnel and command vehicles for approximately one billion crowns. “I must emphasise that the main objective of the cooperation with General Dynamics is success on foreign markets, in no way is it reliant on domestic orders. For that purpose we sense that we have strong support from our partner. The Czech armed forces will give us a significant reference, but without business orders abroad this deal with exclusivity would not make economic sense,” said Excalibur Army Director Petr Němec.
The potential for Pandur sales on Eastern European and Asian markets flows from the necessity of replacing old Russian technology. “With these things you can modernise fuelled units or weapons systems, but you can not change the basic construction. In terms of marketing the Pandur vehicles we are only at the beginning, we can’t yet at all talk about contracts that are pre-closed,” Němec added.
The Excalibur holding plans to use its plants in the Czech Republic and Slovakia to produce and service the Pandurs. It intends to also utilise these facilities for deliveries of special extensions. A key part of the business – a former army servicing garage for infantry combat vehicles – will be in Šternberk. Another important element will be a cooperation with state military engineering and repair works VOP CZ.