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Germany delays sale of armored cars (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amnon Barzilai 02/01/05)Source: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/534416.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
The German government is holding up the signing of a contract for the sale of Dingo armored cars to Israel for fear that the Israel Defense Forces will use them against the Palestinians. In talks over recent weeks with senior Israeli officials, the Germans have said they have no objection in principle to approving the sale of the all-purpose vehicles, but that it is "a problem of timing."

The IDF decided to acquire 100 Dingo-2 armored cars for the transportation of troops and for patrols, particularly in the territories. The deal is worth some $60 million.

The armored cars, due to be the first of their kind in the IDF, are supposed to replace the more cumbersome, high maintenance M-116 Armored Personnel Carriers that have carried the troops since the 1960s, and which provide less protection. The IDF was searching for both a heavy APC that would provide protection against missiles and a lighter armored car that could be used on paved roads and rough ground.

In order to use American military aid for the purchase, the Israeli Defense Ministry arranged for the transfer of the know-how and production from the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann firm to the American firm, Textron. It was agreed that the American firm would produce most of the parts in the U.S. while certain parts, including the engine that is manufactured by a subsidiary of Mercedes, would be manufactured in Germany and sent to the U.S.

The contract was signed at the beginning of last summer, and since then most of the agreements between Textron and the Defense Ministry have been completed. However the parallel contract that Textron was supposed to sign with the German producer has been held up.

The Dingo-2 is an air transportable, armored mine-proof vehicle, based on a commercial chassis produced by DaimlerChrysler, designed for high mobility in any type of terrain.

The vehicle is fitted with an armored cage protecting the passengers, engine compartment, fuel tank and cargo bay. The modular, repairable armor provides protection against all types of hand-held weapons, as well as artillery fragments up to 155 millimeters.

In addition, it is fitted with an oblique "blast deflector" floor, providing crew protection against heavy anti-tank mines and anti- personnel mines. It is designed to travel at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour, and has a range of 1,000 kilometers. The diesel- powered vehicle can carry eight fully equipped troops.

The IDF plans to fit the Dingo-2 with a "lethal" overhead weapon station that was developed at Rafael that can operate two types of machine guns and an automatic grenade-launcher.

Sources in the defense establishment expressed hope yesterday that the deal would be sped up by progress in the talks being held between Israel and the Palestinians, and the planned disengagement plan which will take the IDF out of the Gaza Strip. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 02/01/05)

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