The Government is buying a new fleet of troop carrying vehicles, which will be a major aid for the Defence Forces in operations tackling the impact of flooding, extreme weather events and other emergencies.
The cost of purchasing the 120 vehicles is €24.6m and the first batch of them is due for delivery later this year.
The contract for providing the P370 B4x4 vehicles has been awarded by Minister with responsibility for defence, Paul Kehoe to Westward Scania, based in Strokestown, Co Roscommon.
They will replace the current fleet of troop carrying vehicles, which were put into service with the Defence Forces between 1998 and 2003.
As well as being deployed by the military when helping the civil authorities, the vehicle will be used principally for transporting troops and towing artillery guns and carrying stores.
The current fleet were used by the military in the past in assisting the gardai and the civil defence in combating the effects of severe weather events such as Storm Emma.
Awarding the contract, Mr Kehoe said the purchaser of the vehicles was in line with a commitment given in the defence white paper and the national development plan project 2040 “to continue investment in modern equipment for Defence Forces personnel and the obligations of the State to provide appropriate support and assets to the troops”.
The awarding of the contract follows a detailed open tender competition concluded earlier this year. The first group will be in service within a few months while the rest will all be supplied by 2023.
The advancement and delivery of large capital equipment projects between now and 2022 will be covered by a Defence funding envelope of €541m, made available under the national development plan.
Mr Kehoe said that for the first time the government had published a five year built infrastructure programme for the Defence Forces and said the purchase of the vehicles was part of a suite of investments to ensure that the military were enabled to contribute fully to their assigned roles.
He said the programme reflected the complex environment in which the Defence Forces operated and the corresponding need for appropriate infrastructure to provide for accommodation and training of personnel, maintenance and storage of equipment for land, sea and airborne operational requirements.
There are currently over €60m worth of projects under way at different stages of development and this level of expenditure is earmarked to continue to increase as the programme is implemented.
Some €75m will be spent over the next three years and a total of €145m over the five years of the investment blueprint.