Military to purchase nearly 900 new army vehicles ‘essential’ for personnel safety

Military to purchase nearly 900 new army vehicles ‘essential’ for personnel safety
A Mercedes Unimog Cargo is one of the models set to be replaced for safety reasons. Credit: Flickr/Guillaume Vachey (CC0 1.0 Universal, Public Domain)

The military has announced the purchase of nearly 900 new army vehicles, following news that Belgium’s armed forces enlisted over 2,000 new recruits last year.

The 879 new vehicles are meant to replace the current fleet of Volvo N10 and Mercedes Unimog Cargo army trucks bought in the 90s.

The new vehicles are “essential” to guarantee personnel safety, according to the Defence Ministry, which explained that getting spare parts for the current fleet was difficult.

“In order to guarantee the safety of personnel, it is essential to have vehicles with ballistic and mine protection,” the ministry said, according to VRT.

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The majority of the 1,189 vehicles will be sold while a small number among them will be kept as training vehicles for the army’s land component.

The purchasing procedure was given the go-ahead during a meeting of the Council of Ministers last week, with the brand and cost of the acquisition still under review.

The upcoming revamp to the army’s land fleet comes after the military last year successfully enlisted 2,111 new recruits, following the launch of a recruitment strategy aimed at diversifying the army’s ranks.

The campaign, launched amid reports that the army risked understaffing, with several members reaching retirement age, was aimed particularly at women and religious minorities, with two campaign videos launched simulating an interview for a Muslim and a female candidate.

“A year ago I announced that the main challenge for the Defence was in the personnel domain,” General Marc Compernol, Chief of the Defence Forces, said at the New Year, adding that a replacement rate of more than 8% should be maintained for several years.

In 2020, the Belgian Armed Forces are seeking to add an additional 2,150 recruits to their ranks.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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