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When I read the sky was falling, I googled a bit for Steyr news today.

First, that encouraging Czech news story about the Steyr arms company landing a big contract for APCs that will keep it out of bankruptcy? Wrong company. That's the former parent company of Steyr-Mannlicher, Steyr-Daimler-Puch (I think still a division of Mercedes, but not sure).

17 January 2007

Pandur II in profile: Steyr's 8x8 digitised warfare platform is gathering speed

By Rupert Pengelley, IDR Group Technical Editor

Portugal was the first country to select the Pandur II 8x8, awarding Steyr-Daimler-Puch a EUR344.3 million (USD455.1 million) contract (plus a spares contract worth another EUR20.7 million) for the supply of 260 vehicles in February 2005. Two hundred and forty of these are destined for the Portuguese Army in 11 configurations, and the remaining 20 for the Portuguese Marines in four amphibious versions. Portugal has taken an option on a further 33 vehicles configured as Mobile Gun Systems (MGS). Second in line was the Czech Army, which it was announced in June 2006 had placed an EUR821 million order for 199 vehicles (plus 35 options) in 18 versions, all of which will be amphibious, including 63 infantry combat vehicles (ICVs).

Practical data

Thus far Steyr has completed three Pandur II 8x8 prototypes, but it is now engaged in producing 41 Pandur II pre-series vehicles for Portugal (including examples of all its specified variants) and 23 (including a number of variants) for the Czech Republic. Both programmes aim for a similar level of customer-nation industrial participation, 70 per cent of man-hours having to be sourced locally and only 30 per cent retained in house.

Manufacture of standard components was initiated in mid-2006, delivery and acceptance being planned for the second quarter of 2007 for both the Czech Republic (two pre-series vehicles) and Portugal (three pre-series vehicles). At the beginning of December 2006, vehicles one to five for Portugal could be seen on Steyr's Vienna line, while the Portuguese assembly facility was due to be formally inaugurated on 17 January 2007. The latter is being operated by Steyr's Portuguese partner, trailer/truck manufacturer Fabriquipa, which will be progressively taking over responsibility for the welding of hulls and for final assembly, using powerpacks and drivelines supplied from Austria. When local production ceases in 2010, Fabriquipa will carry on with responsibility for after-sales support.

Quick delivery

Although the Czech contract was placed after the Portuguese order, it is having to be implemented faster. Under the terms of the contract the first batch of 17 vehicles should all be delivered to the Czech Republic by the end of 2007, and the last in 2012. Among Steyr's Czech partners are VOP 25 (variants and baseline vehicle) and VOP 26 (variants and components), VOP 25/26 sharing responsibility with Steyr for development of the Czech variants, while Rafael is providing the add-on armour fit and weapon system.

Between them, the Czech and Portuguese activities are expected to keep Steyr's current production facility fully booked until 2010, but capacity can be stepped up as the need arises, either in Vienna or in harness with overseas partners. One prospective source of future orders is Croatia, which is deliberating over a potential order for 126 vehicles, although a decision is not expected until the end of 2007 or the beginning of 2008.
So good news for Steyr-Daimler-Puch, but doesn't affect Steyr-Mannlicher.
Between them, the Czech and Portuguese activities are expected to keep Steyr's current production facility fully booked until 2010
Guess we can say the "Czech" is in the mail for Steyr-Daimler-Puch, but not for Steyr-Mannlicher.8-O

Here's another news brief with a bit of history on the two companies:
Steyr-Mannlicher is a firearms manufacturer based in the city of Steyr, Austria. Originally, a part of a manufacturing conglomerate called Steyr-Daimler-Puch when it gained its independence when the conglomerate was broken around 1990.

In 2004, the company made headlines when it sold around 800 HS .50 long ranger sniper rifles to Iran. There were a large amount of concern in the Allied countries specially United States, UK and to lesser extent, countries like Denmark that the rifes may find their way to the hands of Iraq insurgencies. Though the sale was approved by the Austrian government in November 2004.
Then here's another news brief from Reuters I found about Steyr arms:
14 Oct 2006 by Burek
Austria's weapons maker Steyr Mannlicher Holding GmbhH on Monday signed a deal to shift its entire production of Steyr assault rifles to Malaysia, making the country one of the global hubs for small arms. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad.
Couldn't find anything about Steyr pistol production, but maybe the sky ain't falling after all. Maybe. Who knows? :-({|=

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Not sure if that last bit of news is good or not regarding the relocation to Malaysia for cheaper labour no doubt. Like buying any other product 'ASSembled" in Mexico.
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