The Portuguese Army is now armed with 166 Pandur II wheeled armoured vehicles that were purchased by the country´s procurement arm, the DGAIED (Direção-Geral de Armamento e Infra-Estruturas de Defesa) in February 2005 to General Dynamics European Land Systems-Steyr (GDELS-Steyr and formerly Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH). The original contract worth EUR 344.3 million was for 240 vehicles to arm the Intervention Brigade (BrigInt) and 20 amphibious configured VBLA (Viatura Blindada Ligeiras Anfibia) vehicles for the navy´s Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros). The contract was canceled in late 2012 after 166 vehicles were delivered, officially due to delays with the last deliveries. A large amount of spares was purchased in February 2005 worth EUR20.7 million with annual deliveries until 2019. With the Portuguese Army, the Pandur II is also known as VBR (Viatura Blindada de Rodas).
The 166 vehicles are used mainly by the brigade’s Command in Coimbra, two Infantry Battalions based in Vila Real and Viseu, sub-units of the Cavalry Regiment of Braga and the Maintenance Regiment located in Entroncamento.
Variants such as anti-tank, engineering, communications, mortar carrier vehicles were not delivered to the army. 105 personnel carriers, seven personnel carriers with remote weapon station, 22 infantry fighting vehicles, 16 command posts, seven ambulances, five repair/recovery vehicles and four battlefield surveillance vehicles were so far inducted. The navy received none of the 20 vehicles in versions (troop transport, infantry fighting vehicle, mortar carrier and command post).
The option to purchase another 33 vehicles armed with a 105 mm mobile gun system (HITFACT 105 of OTO Melara and Cockerill CT-CV 105HP of CMI Defence) for the army was canceled.
Most of the fleet was assembled in Portugal by Fabrequipa-Sociedade Industrial de Equipamentos Rodoviário. Reworks were recently executed by GDELS on 90 vehicles at the army´s maintenance workshop OGME (Oficinas Gerais de Material de Engenharia). OGME is now capable to conduct Level III maintenance work. Level I and Level II maintenance work is executed by the Maintenance Regiment (Regimento de Manutenção or RMan).
Six Pandur II vehicles comprising five personnel carriers and one repair/maintenance vehicle current arm the Portuguese military contingent serving in Kosovo as part of KFOR multinational peace support operation.
Standard equipment include Cummins ISLe turbocharged and intercooled diesel engine with 455 hp, ZF Friedrichshafen 6HP 602C automatic transmission with a two-stage transfer box, Elbit Systems – Kinetics LSS (Life Support System) combined climate control and NBC protection system, thermal identification beacon, smoke dischargers, Elbit Systems Land & C4I TDS (Threat Detection System) laser warning system, add-on for increased ballistic protection, wire cutter, GPS for navigation, EID’s ICC-201 digital intercom and PRC-525 software-defined tactical radio, Theon Sensors NX-199A night vision driver’s viewer, M27+ day periscopes, central tyre inflation system, combat identification panels (four in each vehicle), Bruker Raid XP chemical and radiological detection system, fire-suppression system in the engine compartment, and an explosion-suppression system in the crew compartment.
The vehicle offer ballistic protection up to Level 4, together with Level 3A mine protection. It has a combat weight of 18.5 tons, autonomy of approximately 600 km and top speed of 105 km/h.
An “in house´´ solution was developed to allow the integration of MBDA MILAN missile launcher on Pandur II personnel carriers. Several systems were already manufactured.
A firing session is expected to be conducted by late 2014 at the main military camp of the army. Another item was developed to allow the mounting of battlefield surveillance radar system (probably the army’s AN/PPS-5B system). The Portuguese Army has earlier received MILAN Standard firing units, MILAN 1/2 anti-tank missiles and MIRA and MILIS thermal imagers, plus other support equipment.