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Rys (Lynx) SUV

Rys The Iveco LMV, and the Lynx name, gained a mixed reputation in Russia. It is closely associated in the public mind with unpopular former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov who, after being fired, was implicated in a case of corruption in his department. The military disliked him for his ill-thought-out radical reforms and "Westernization" in procuring military equipment. It is to him that the Russian army is obliged for its Israeli drones and Italian armored cars, as well as for the infamous contracts to buy Mistral helicopter carriers from France. The Italians, though, as has recently been shown, turned out to be more consistent in their foreign policy than the French. The Iveco supply contract, which initially appeared controversial, ultimately outlived all the other procurement initiatives that Serdyukov made.

As part of the 2011-2020 state arms procurement program, the Defense Ministry planned to buy 1,775 LMVs by 2015 for $1 billion, though they may not all be Iveco models. Russia signed a deal with Italys Iveco company in December 2011 on the semi-knocked down assembly of Lynx light multirole armored vehicles for the Russian Ground Forces in the central Russia city of Voronezh. In addition, Russia is currently working with France on the development of armored vehicles using a French base but equipped with Russian weapons and Russian turrets.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his arms procurement chief Alexander Sukhorukov actively lobbied for the Iveco LMV M65 Lynx, which was picked over the locally produced GAZ-2330 Tigr armored vehicle in a rare departure from the military's principle of "buying domestic." Tigr is a high-mobility multirole military vehicle manufactured by Russias Military-Industrial Corporation (MIC), a GAZ Group division, at the Arzamas machine-manufacturing plant. Italy, a NATO member, has produced Lynx LMVs for a number of European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Britain, Norway and Spain, at a unit cost of about $300,000. The GAZ car plant in Nizhni Novgorod produced around 250,000 Volga sedans and Gazelle light trucks as of 2003. GAZ also had a successful truck division, which it rolled into a 50/50 joint venture with the Italian firm Iveco in late 2002.

The Iveco and Tigr vehicles employ a different design philosophy in the way they use armor to protect their crews. The Russian vehicle is equipped with a solid armored shell, while the Italian model uses armor panels attached to the vehicle's frame. The interior of the vehicles also differ significantly. The Iveco interior has several partitions, with the driver and commander separated from the passengers. In contrast, the Tigr is not internally partitioned, and any passenger can take the wheel without exiting the vehicle - an obvious safety feature in battle. The Italian vehicle is also smaller and can seat just five people, including the driver, whereas the Tigr seats nine.

The decision to buy Lynx was widely publicized in Russia, after the Italian vehicle proved its superb armor protection during NATO operations in Iraq and Afghanistan but Tigr, which the maker claims is at least 70 percent cheaper, showed superior off-road performance at the Russian comparative trials in 2010 and is considered by Russian experts to be better suited to the needs of the Russian army.

Russian critics argued the initial agreement on the purchase of 60 vehicles, signed in 2011, did not stipulate post-assembly servicing, the supply of spare parts and training of Russian personnel by Italian experts. Russia is planning to resolve these issues through additional negotiations in the near future, according to Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov, who replaced Sukhorukov in the wake of the reshuffle in November 2012.

Russia had a solid contract for the delivery of 358 Iveco LMVs, dubbed Rys in Russian, and the ministry had no intention of scrapping this contract, Borisov said in December 2012.

In December 2012, Defense Minister Shoigu ordered new comparative tests of the Rys and the improved Tigr-M, which features a new Russian-made YaMZ-534 diesel engine, improved armor, and protection against nuclear, biological and chemical threats. The trials, to be held in the first quarter of 2013, focused on testing the vehicles' armor. Despite the claims of superb protection [by NATO standards], the Iveco vehicles armor had never been tested in Russia. Tigr-M provided adequate armor protection which covers a larger area of the vehicle interior than the Italian vehicle.

The first 57 vehicles were assembled in 2012 with 10 percent local content at a plant in Voronezh. The remaining vehicles were to be assembled in 2013 at a new KAMAZ plant in Tatarstan, which had the capacity to assemble up to 500 Iveco LMVs per year with 50-80 percent local content, according to KAMAZ officials. The fate of a possible huge follow-on order for LMVs in Russia had not yet been sealed.

When executing the contract, a number of problems and difficulties were identified, which are described in sufficient detail in the materials of arbitration cases. As follows from the decision of the Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Yu.I. Borisov from December 7, 2012. conducted in 2010, identification tests showed inconsistency of IVECO vehicles with TU 45 14-045-08499985-2011 in terms of 32% of the verified indicators, 28% mostly relevant and only 40% corresponding to the TTZ.

At the same time, IVECO vehicles were not tested for anti-mine and ballistic protection, protection from damaging WMD factors, and low-level radar in the Russian Federation. Comparative analysis of the Certificate of Conformity of IVECO vehicles dated April 15, 2011. and the results of the test tests of 27.02.2010. showed inconsistency of the declared characteristics, which can affect the functioning of the sample for the intended purpose - weight, dimensions of the car, load capacity, operating temperature range, reference patency, fitness for military repair, fuel reserve, visibility from the driver's seat, tightness of driver, visibility in optics -visual and thermal ranges.

The identified problems required the completion of cars and a re-examination of these parameters during the running, laboratory-road and laboratory tests. visibility in the optical-visual and thermal ranges. The identified problems required the completion of cars and a re-examination of these parameters during the running, laboratory-road and laboratory tests. visibility in the optical-visual and thermal ranges. The identified problems required the completion of cars and a re-examination of these parameters during the running, laboratory-road and laboratory tests.

At the same time, the contract for the supply of armored cars between Oboronservice and IVECO was banned for modification, modification, adaptation, dismantling and creation of analogues of cars supplied by IVECO. As a result, IVECO refused to provide Oboronservice with production technologies and design documentation for the production of cars. As a result of the ban, it became impossible to install on the "Lynx" combat modules, Russian weapons, as well as refine the cars to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, established by the state contract.

In light of the problems encountered on December 25, 2012. it was decided to cancel the order of the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation of 16.06.2010, No. 650 "On Adopting the IVECO Armored Vehicle for Supply to the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation".

By January 2013 the controversial contract for the delivery of Italian light multirole vehicles (LMV) to Russia initially appeared to have survived the reshuffle of the Russian Defense Ministry's leadership that saw the dismissal of Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and his arms procurement chief Alexander Sukhorukov. But future deliveries of the Lynx may depend on new trials to be held within months as newly-appointed Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his team want to eliminate all controversy around the contract.

Of the 1,175 "lynxes" due to be delivered under contract between 2011 and 2012, Russia received only 358. Of these, just 10 were imported from Italy; the rest were assembled in Russia. This cutback was a result of inconsistency in decisions by the Russian Defence Ministry, and of scandals in the Ministry associated with Serdyukov's dismissal in 2012. The Ministry approved the purchase of the Lynxes in 2010 but, subsequently, significant shortcomings were found with them during testing.

As a result, shortly after the appointment of Russia's current Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu, the decision to buy the Lynx was cancelled, and it was announced that its purchase would be suspended until testing was completed. Those tests went on until December 2014, and showed that the vehicle failed to meet not only Defence Ministry requirements, but even relevant technical specification requirements set by Iveco. A month before the test results were disclosed, the Defence Ministry said it would no longer buy the Italian LMVs.

By 2016 photo and video reports of everyday life for the Russian contingent in Syria were the best "advertisement" for the Italian-made Iveco LMV (Light Multirole Vehicle). Large numbers of photographs on the Internet showed Russian soldiers in Syria posing next to an Iveco LMV. The Italian armoured car can be seen on the runway at Khmeimim Air Base, among military convoys on Syria's roads, and even as part of the escort for Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft weapon systems. Soldiers from the Syrian armed forces also seem to want their pictures clicked before them.

The vehicles continued to be supplied to Russia. They are being bought by a company called Garnizon, previously known as Oboronservis, which changed its name after the corruption scandal associated with the dismissal of Serdyukov. According to the company's annual report for 2015, 81 Lynx assembly kits were imported into Russia in 2014, and another 94 were to be delivered in 2015. In 2015, according to tender documents published on electronic platforms, Russia's forces would receive 356 of the LMVs between mid-2015 and mid-2016.



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