Armscor readies Vistula RfO

Defence department acquisition agency Armscor says it is nearly ready to re-issue a request for offers (RfO) for a new family of tactical logistic vehicles for the South African National Defence Force.
Armscor`s acting General Manager Human Resources Francois Potgieter says the agency “is in the process of finalising the documentation to release the RfO relating to [Project] Vistula in February/March 2009 once approved by all authorities.”
He adds that the “documentation has been updated to make provision for a system on Level 5 which means Armscor will contract the vehicle, superstructures, cranes, cargo handling equipment and training systems. A main contractor thus will be responsible for the complete system.”
While Potgieter says the “specifications have not changed as the requirement remains the same” Janes Defence Weekly earlier this month reported that the “new request for proposals will “now also include five-tonne payload 4×4 trucks. The previous requirement was reportedly for 10mt trucks only.
It is believed the defence force is hoping to acquire about 1200 trucks for R3.2 billion. Previous speculation has put the number at 3000, which is still a partial requirement.  
The new RfO represents Armscor`s second attempt to award the contract. A previous effort ran off the road after allegations of irregularity and a series of inconclusive probes into those claims.     
In September 2007 Armscor declined to select a preferred bidder for the project, thereby scuttling a process initiated in May 2004.  
At the time Armscor wrote to bidders, including Germany`s MAN and Mercedes Benz to say none of the vehicles tested fully met specifications and that it intended to “initiate a new RfO [request for offers] process in due course”.
The importance of Vistula is further heightened in that it remains linked to the SA Army`s future armoured personnel carrier programme, Project Sepula. The landward service wishes the Sepula vehicle to share the driveline (engine, gearbox, axles, tyres and suspension) of the Vistula choice. Industry sources have previously estimated the Sepula order at 1900 vehicles.