The Russian Defense Ministry is going to set up a joint assembly line with the Italian automaker Iveco to produce LMV M65 tactical vehicles in Russia, the Kommersant daily reported today. The decision is raising significant opposition among local manufacturers. The local alternative to the Italian vehicle is the Russian Tigr (Gaz-233014 ), also dubbed as the ‘Russian HMMWV’. This vehicle has entered service with the Russian Army in 2006. The Tigr was developed by the privately owned company Russkie Mashiny. The Russian vehicle is currently going through a modification, applying a balanced armor and mobility package that will bring it to par with comparable western designs and will position it competitively with the locally produced LMVs.
The LMV M65 is a light multirole armored vehicle developed in 2001 by Iveco Defense Vehicles. It is designed with high level of protection against anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, small arms and IEDs. The LMV has successfully operated in Iraq and Afghanistan, primarily with the Italian forces. The Brits have recently deployed to Afghanistan their ‘Panther‘ version of the vehicle.
According to the Russian sources, the local production of the vehicle could be done by the Russian state corporation Rostekhnologii, currently negotiating with Iveco on launching the joint venture with planned minimum capacity of 500 vehicles per year. The production could utilize one of the assembly lines of truck manufacturer KamAZ and. The vehicles are destined for the Russian Interior Ministry and Federal Security agencies. The Russian Defense Ministry plans to spend about one billion US$ (30 billion rubles) on the program, acquiring 278 Italian vehicles in 2011 and 2012, and during the next two years the volumes of supplies will be increased to 458 vehicles per year. In 2015, the ministry will buy 228 vehicles and 75 vehicles in 2016. The cost per vehicle is expected to be around US$400,000.