Purchase of “flawed” military vehicles to be debated in parliament

Ljubljana – The opposition Left wants the parliamentary Defence Committee to discuss the purchase of Oshkosh four-wheeled vehicles, which it says are “flawed goods and should be returned to the US”. Defence Minister Matej Tonin said US defence contractor Oshkosh Defence will be asked to remedy all the shortcomings at its expense.

MP Miha Kordiš told the press on Thursday that a quality control memo showed a number of shortcomings, so the vehicles should be returned and the deal called off.

The army took over 38 Oshkosh light tactical vehicles purchased from the US under a government-to-government EUR 26.7 million deal in June.

The Left now obtained a memo, about which the portal necenzurirano reported today, which shows the military vehicles were not delivered in line with the agreement.

They are said to lack all the equipment, from weapons to communication systems, while they were supposed to be fitted with M153 weapon stations upon delivery.

The Oshkoshs are also said to have flawed breaks and weigh more than agreed, “so once they are fully fitted, they cannot be licenced for Slovenian roads”.

“What we have received are totally flawed goods,” Kordiš said, recalling the Left opposed the purchase even before it was finalised under the Marjan Šarec government in 2018.

“We demand the flawed goods be returned to the Americans, the military purchase be cancelled and the money redirected to something more useful.”

Minister Tonin said the contractor will be asked to do away with all the deficiencies detected in the quality control check.

He praised the Slovenian Armed Forces and the ministry’s directorate for logistics for “acting very responsibly in thoroughly checking all the vehicles”.

Tonin is however happy that this topic is of interest to parliament, adding on the sidelines of a security fair in Gornja Radgona the purchase was “absolutely transparent”.

The Defence Ministry explained in a press release that the process of delivery is still ongoing and proceeding under the standard procedure of quality and quantity check.

The delivery will be only completed when all the vehicles are fully fitted and in line with the contractual obligations, it added.

The ministry said the majority of the defects, most of which occurred during transport, had already been eliminated, with the missing parts yet to be delivered by the US contractor at no additional cost to Slovenia.

Necenzurirano reported that the ministry signed last week a contract on another 37 vehicles from the same contractor. The deal worth EUR 39 million should be paid in a month, while the vehicles are to be delivered in 2023.