Earlier in January 16 2023, in a ceremony at a military camp in Chisinau, a delegation of the Federal Republic of Germany turned over three Piranha-IIIH 8 X 8 Personnel Carriers (APC) to the Moldovan Army.
These are an initial delivery of a total of nineteen armoured vehicles in which was agreed by Moldovan defence Minister Anatolie Nosatî and the German Defence Minister at the Christine Lambrecht during a October 2021 visit. The APCs and associated equipment are being provided at no cost.
At the ceremony, Ullrich Kinne, Charge d’Affaires at the German Embassy in Moldova, stated, “with the delivery of armoured vehicles, Germany and Moldova’s cooperation has reached a new level of quality. This delivery, which is part of the National Army Modernization Initiative supported by the German Federal Government…”. The Piranha APCs will be assigned to the Moldovan 22d Peacekeeping Battalion replacing aging Soviet era equipment now being utilized.
Established in 1999 the Battalion has participated in United Nations missions in Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Sudan, and South Sudan. It trains to NATO STANAG standards and has joined in numerous international exercises.
The Piranha is a Swiss MOWAG design, now General Dynamics European Combat Systems. Piranha-IIIH is similar to the LAV-III fielded by the Canadian Army with the design forming the basis for the US Army Stryker. It is also used by Denmark, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, as well as the Brazilian Navy (Marines).
The Moldovan vehicles are around 18.5 tonnes with composite armour and a crew of three plus up to nine embarked troops. Each is equipped with a weapon station capable of mounting a heavy machine gun or automatic grenade launcher. They are powered by an MTU 6V 182 diesel engine offering 400 hp. They can be airlifted by C-130 and its 8 X 8 wheeled suspension have proven on and off-road mobility.
They have been often employed in UN peacekeeping and international monitoring missions around the world.
by Stephen W. Miller