The official delivery of the first PARS III Wheeled Armoured Vehicle (WAV) to the Royal Army of Oman (RAO) took place on July 12th, 2017 at the FNSS facilities located in Golbasi, Ankara/Turkey. Painted in the camouflage used by the RAO the first PARS III WAV, with a hull number of 001, is in 8x8 configuration and Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) variant. Also dubbed as IFV-25 variant the PARS III 8x8 APC is fitted with a one-person FNSS SABER 25 turret armed with a stabilised ATK Armament Systems M242 25mm dual-feed cannon and an FN MAG 58M 7.62 mm co-axial machine gun.
The ceremony was attended by the Sultanate of Oman Ambassador to Turkey Qais Salim Ali Al-SAID, Deputy Undersecretary for Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) of Turkey Koksal LIMAN, Head of International Cooperation Department of the SSM Mujdat ULUDAG, Director General of Operation & Training HQ Royal Army of Oman (RAO) Brigadier General Saif Mohammed Saif Al-SHEEDI, Director of Contracts and Legal Affairs (DCLA) Ministry of Defence of the Sultanate of Oman Hatem Khalfan Al-SHEIDI, FNSS General Manager and CEO K. Nail KURT and RAO Project Director Colonel Saud Said Amur Al-RABBUNI.
Following three years lasted trials (PARS 8x8 performed country trials in Sultanate of Oman in summer 2012), tests and proposal evaluation period under the RAO WAV Program during the second half of 2015 FNSS received around US$500 Million contract from RAO and the Ministry of Defence of the Government of the Sultanate of Oman to design, develop, manufacture, qualify (both international and customer) and deliver a total of 172 PARS III WAVs in 13 variants and the contract became effective on September 20, 2015. Contract period will be finished in May 2020. This contract represents the second export order for the PARS WAV following Malaysia. RAO PARS III 8x8WAVs feature some country specific modifications and upgrades and have slightly different appearance compared to PARS II/AV8 Gempita vehicles of the Malaysian Army. Contrary to PARS II/AV8 vehicles, the RAO PARS III WAVs does not have swimming capability but in return they have better ballistic and mine/IED protection thanks to add-on armour modules.
Contrary to Malaysian AV8 Gempita (Thunder) Program covering the delivery of a total of 257 8x8 WAVs, which is based on PARS II, to Malaysian Armed Forces in cooperation with local partner DRB-HICoM DefTech, which acts as the principal assembly agent and works with FNSS to customize the vehicles for Malaysian requirements and equipment, all of the RAO PARS III WAVs will be manufactured and assembled at FNSS facilities in Ankara, Turkey. The 172 PARS III WAVs include 145 8x8 in 8 variants and 27 6x6 vehicles in 5 variants. The 145 PARS III 8x8 WAVs include; 72 units in Armoured Personnel Carrier Vehicle (APC, IFV-25 variant) configuration, 12 in 12omm Armoured Mortar Vehicle, 8 in Armoured Recovery Vehicle, 6 in Armored Field Engineer Vehicle and 1 in Armoured Training Vehicle variant. The 27 PARS III 6x6 WAVs include; 12 in Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle configuration, 4 in 6x6 Armoured Specialized Command Vehicle, 1 in Armoured Training Vehicle, 6 in Mortar Fire Controller Vehicle and 4 in APC variant.
Under the Program, Common Base Vehicle Concept Design was approved in May 2016 and the production of the first vehicle (PARS III 8x8 APC with hull number 001) started in August 2016. Initial Inspection of the first vehicle (PARS III 8x8 APC) was held between 5th-16th June, 2017 in Turkey. Durability Test and Final Acceptance of the first 8x8 vehicle will be conducted in Oman in September 2017. The second vehicle to be delivered under the Program will be an Armoured Reconnaissance Vehicle and to be in 6x6 configuration and its assembly is currently in progress at FNSS facilities. Its Initial Inspection is scheduled to be conducted in Turkey during August-September 2017 timeframe while its Final Acceptance will be held in November 2017. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed until May 2020.
Together with these vehicles FNSS will also provide an extensive Integrated Logistic Support [ILS] and deliverables within this Program, including two years of free maintenance under warranty and four years of additional support. The Long Term Support for the PARS III WAVs will last 2o years after warranty.