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The contract for the purchase of 227 Piranha V armored personnel carriers was signed on Friday in the presence of Prime Minister Mihai Tudose, Deputy Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu and Defense Minister Mihai Fifor.

Prime Minister Mihai Tudose and the minister of defense said that this contract would lead to the revival of the Romanian defense industry.

"The fact that the last six of this year, not the last six of the 227, will be produced in Romania and Romania again becoming a producer through a state entity in association with General Dynamics European Land Systems, a leading military hardware producer, I think it is a good start for the Romanian defense industry," Tudose said at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of National Defense (MApN).

He pointed out that this project was named "Picasso" because it began nine months ago with a sketch on a wall.

"It is a very important day for the MApN, for the Government of Romania. Today we are able to sign a contract of major importance not only for the Army's endowment, but especially for the Romanian defense industry. As the Government has committed, here it is an extremely important contract that leads to the endowment of the Army, returns to the Romanian defense industry a consistent amount that will lead to the re-launch of a defense company of tradition - and I refer to the Bucharest Mechanical Plant," Fifor said.

"This year, the first 36 armored personnel carriers out of the 227 will reach Romania, the last six of which to be produced in Romania at the Bucharest Mechanical Plant. I think it is a big step forward, I congratulate all those who have worked on this project and I assure our partners at Mowag, GD that, as far as we are concerned, we will fully respect the terms of the contract signed today," added Fifor.

The contract was signed by Daniel Grigoroiu Norocel, general manager of the National Company Romtehnica, and Oliver Duerr, representative of General Dynamics European Land Systems.

The Romanian Government adopted on November 29, 2017, the decision approving the circumstances and the specific procedure for the first stage of the "8x8 Armored Personnel Carrier" endowment programme, in view of awarding a framework-agreement for the supply of 227 armored personnel carriers derived on the Piranha 5 platform and the initial logistical support to General Dynamics European Land Systems - Mowag GmbH.AGERPRES(RO - author: Florentina Peia, editor: Florin Marin; EN - Bogdan Gabaroi, editor: Maria Voican)

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