Slovenia has transferred 20 Valuk 6x6 armored personnel carriers to Ukraine under complete complete secrecy. The vehicles have already been transferred to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and their transfer lasted for several months, which were spent on the preparation of the APC’s, their maintenance and logistics, which included air transportation by C17 aircraft to the logistics hub of NATO in Poland or Slovakia.
All these details, despite the secrecy, were reported by 24ur, with reference to own sources in the Ministry of Defense of Slovakia. It notes that despite sending the request to the law enforcement agency, it is unlikely that official confirmation should be expected.
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At the same time, this whole story can be much more interesting and have much more positive consequences for Ukraine than the acquisition of two dozen Valuk wheeled armored personnel carriers, which have armor against 12.7 mm in the frontal projection, armed with 40 mm automatic grenade launchers or machine gun weapons, and accommodate three fighters of the crew and six in the landing section.
Valuk is a licensed version of Pandur I by Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeuge, which is an Austrian company that is now part of the European division of the American giant General Dynamics. The vehicle was developed in the 80s, but production started in the mid-90s. Without Austria’s consent, this transfer would be hardly possible at all, since it would be a violation of the re-export permit.
Thus, if the transfer of Valuk really took place, it opens up certain new possibilities, since earlier Vienna refused Ukraine’s requests for armaments, although that Austria is not a member of NATO. But now it is quite possible that Austria will at least not block armament transmission. In this case we might talk about other Pandur I vehicles. For example, Belgium operates about fifty such units.
However, the Pandur II on the 8x8 chassis, which was created already in the 2000s, is much more interesting in terms of combat capabilities. It is a full-fledged wheeled combat vehicle, and in addition to Austria, it is actively operated in Portugal, where once it was assembled under a license before its production was transferred to the Czech Republic. At the same time, the 14.5-ton vehicles is usually armed with a full-fledged combat module with a 30-mm automatic cannon.
Another Austrian machine is the ASCOD AFV, which is better known for two versions: the Austrian Ulan, the Spanish Pizarro, and also became the basis for the family of British Ajax armored vehicles. But if the British only began to receive the first Ajax in February 2021, then the Spanish Armed Forces operate more than 200 Pizarros. At the same time, it is also extremely important that their production in Spain is localized at the facilities of Santa Bárbara and Indra.
That is, behind the alleged transfer of only 20 armored personnel carriers from Slovenia, there are much greater possibilities, which mean the possibility, if not of receiving aid, then of ordering new vehicles for the needs of the Armed Forces Ukraine.