MADRID — The U.S. branch of BAE Systems and Italy’s Iveco Defence Vehicles (IDV) jointly debuted their amphibious combat vehicle shown in Europe for the first time this week, with executives saying they are ready to respond to Spanish and wider European interest in the technology.
From the inside of an ACV, displayed here at the Feria Internacional de Defensa y Seguridad (FEINDEF) in the personnel-carrier variant, company representatives told reporters that Spain was a strategic choice for its first international appearance.
“This represents the first instance the ACV is shown outside the United States, and we are very pleased that we get to do so in Spain, which is a very important and long-term ally to both the U.S. and NATO,” Marco Collins, vice president of international business development at BAE Systems said.
The ACV is a family of vehicles that has been jointly developed through the strategic partnership between IDV and BAE, and in which Spain has expressed interest. BAE, acting as prime contractor in the United States, has been selected to deliver four different variants to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The troop carrier showcased here is the vehicle’s base platform – a fully open-ocean ride that can carry a total of 13 combat-loaded Marines and a crew of three from ship to shore. Weighing in at 35 tons, it can reach a speed up to 105 km/hour (65 mph) on a paved road.
Nazario Bianchini, head of sales at IDV, told Defense News the two companies would respond jointly to upcoming tenders in Spain and elsewhere in Europe. Concerning industry benefits for Spain, specifically, Nazario pointed out that Iveco is effectively a local partner given its presence in the country with two plants. The Madrid plant alone, which produces the company’s complete range of heavy vehicles, has a workforce of 2,850 employees, he said.
It would not be the first time the Spanish Army looked to IDV or BAE Systems for land and amphibious equipment, as in 2015 the service awarded the Italian manufacturer a contract for the supply of 700 multipurpose military trucks. Additionally, in 2019, the U.S. State Department cleared Madrid to buy 11 assault amphibious vehicles produced by BAE that were to join the ones it already operates.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.