The Russian Defense Ministry is going to set up a joint assembly line with the Italian automaker Iveco to produce LMV M65 tactical vehicles in Russia, the Kommersant daily said on Friday.
The Italian vehicles have already been included on the list of Russian military equipment, the paper said.
The LMV M65 is a light multirole armored vehicle developed in 2001 by Iveco Defense Vehicles. It is designed primarily for strategic and tactical mobility with a high level of protection against anti-tank and anti-personnel mines
Italian LMVs have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan and other NATO missions, where their performance has been praised.
The Russian state corporation Rostekhnologii is currently holding talks with Iveco on launching the joint venture with planned minimum capacity of 500 vehicles per year.
The move is a serious blow to the interests of the Russkie Mashiny company headed by tycoon Oleg Deripaska. His company produces Tigr (Gaz-233014) vehicles with characteristics close to LMV M56 ones. The Gaz-233014 vehicles entered into service in 2006.
The LMV M65 assembly line will be based at one of the sites belonging to leading Russian truck manufacturer KamAZ, the paper said, citing a source close to the Defense Ministry.
"This project has been approved at the highest level, the country's top leadership is abreast of the situation," the source said.
"The Iveco vehicles assembled in Russia are expected to be acquired by the Russian Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service of Russian Federation," he added.
A representative of the state Rostekhnologii corporation also confirmed the plans, adding that the details were being negotiated.
The Russian Defense Ministry will acquire 278 Italian vehicles in 2011 and 2012, and during the next two years the volumes of supplies will be increased to 458 vehicles per year. In 2015, the ministry will buy 228 vehicles and 75 vehicles in 2016, the source said.
The Defense Ministry plans to spend some 30 billion rubles ($1 billion) on the project in the next few years, and Rostekhnologii has pledged that the average price of a vehicle will not exceed 300,000 Euros ($395,340).
MOSCOW, August 6 (RIA Novosti)