Acquisition of the TITUS vehicle as a strategic opportunity

 20. 12. 2021      category: Army of the Czech Republic
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Against the backdrop of important and well-known armament projects, such as the acquisition of new Infantry Fighting Vehicles, new artillery systems or Air Defence missile sets, another strategically important contract was completed - the acquisition of six-wheeled TITUS armoured vehicles.

In the case of the TITUS (Tactical Infantry Transport and Utility System) vehicle, it is a six-wheeled armoured vehicle, which has been developed in cooperation between the French company Nexter Systems and the Czech companies Tatra Defence Vehicle (TDV) and Tatra Trucks, TDV being the final manufacturer of the vehicles and in charge of their development, while Tatra Trucks supplies the chassis in 6x6 configuration. The TITUS crew in the Armoured Personnel Carrier version operates in 2+12 or 3+10 formats. The vehicle has ballistic protection from level 2 to level 4 according to STANAG 4569, while all three special versions ordered by the Czech Army have ballistic and mine resistance level 3. A wide range of weapon systems can be mounted on the TITUS in remotely operated weapon stations. According to the customer's wishes, machine guns of 7.62 mm and 12.7 mm calibre, 40 mm grenade launcher or 20 mm cannon can be installed. At the same time, TITUS can be transported in commonly available medium and heavy aircraft.

246230938_2936362899911808_4904537234453877503_nPicture: TITUS 6x6 armoured vehicle | Jan Zilvar / CZ Defence

In addition to the basic variant of the Armoured Personnel Carrier, TITUS can also be delivered in reconnaissance, command, medical, logistics or engineer versions. Of course, there is also a special superstructure for combat in built-up areas or the integration of a 120 mm mortar. Specifically, the Army will receive three special variants of the TITUS vehicle - the Fire Support Coordination Point (MKPP), the Wheeled Armoured Vehicle Communications Vehicle (KOVS) and the Wheeled Armoured Vehicle Command and Staff Vehicle (KOVVŠ). The 13th Artillery Regiment will receive the MKPP version of the TITUS vehicle, while the KOVS and KOVVŠ versions will be received by both ground forces brigades.

Jan Pejšek, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence, outlined the delivery schedule for each version of TITUS following our enquiry. In 2024, 5 KOVVŠ will be delivered". According to Pejšek, the contract for the purchase of TITUS vehicles does not include an option to purchase additional vehicles.

The manufacturer of the TITUS vehicle for the Czech Armed Forces, Tatra Defence Vehicle, also states that the TITUS vehicle can be used as a carrier for anti-tank guided missiles or anti-aircraft missile sets. The question in this respect in the future remains the integration of unmanned reconnaissance vehicles or standby munitions of smaller categories. It is this and the aforementioned variant of air defence systems that may be of interest to the Army. In the first case, the Army would gain a highly mobile and easily transportable vehicle with a large firepower. In the case of the AD variant, the RBS-70NG system used by the Czech Armed Forces could be integrated, which would finally give it a mobile platform.

Due to the manufacturer of the TITUS vehicle, which is the French giant Nexter Systems, in addition to the supply of new and powerful vehicles, the Czech Republic is facing the possibility of establishing a strategic and very beneficial cooperation in the future. The acquisition of the TITUS vehicle is related to the order for 52 units of Caesar artillery systems, which will use the Tatra chassis in the Czech Armed Forces. There are also reports about the possibility that the Caesar delivered to other countries may be mounted on a Tatra chassis. This allows Czech companies, associated in the CSG holding, to join the global supply chain.

The first results are already visible, as last year a video appeared on YouTube showing TITUS vehicles lined up at the Saudi Arabian port of Jeddah. Back in 2016, defence-blog.com reported on the possible sale of TITUS vehicles to Saudi Arabia. This contract was to include an order for an unspecified number of 155mm calibre towed howitzers. According to defence-blog.com, the total value of this deal is up to €300 million.

Equally important is the fact that Nexter Systems is a French company. From a strategic point of view, the establishment of cooperation between the French and Czech defence industry is particularly important at the EU level. The Czech Republic is going to hold the EU Presidency next year and thanks to cooperation with France, the Czech Republic can secure a superior relationship with one of the two most influential EU countries not only for the Presidency period (the same argument is applicable in the case of ground forces and the purchase of tracked armoured personnel carriers and tanks from Germany).

However, cooperation with France goes beyond the defence industry. France is known for its focus on nuclear energy. In the light of the discussion on the completion of the Dukovany NPP and subsequently the Temelín NPP, cooperation with the French EDF concern is therefore directly proposed. This could lead to an even greater deepening of cooperation between the countries and the Czech Republic could thus acquire safe and reliable nuclear technology. The Czech Republic has even joined France and eight other EU Member States in calling for nuclear energy to be included among sustainable energy sources in promoting the Green Deal.

The two countries also share common interests in Africa. Specifically in the Sahel region, both the Czech Republic and France are engaged in the fight against terrorist groups. The aforementioned supply chain can help the Czech Republic in rebuilding the armed forces of Mali and other countries where the Czech Republic is involved. 

For the reasons mentioned above, the purchase of TITUS vehicles can be assessed positively. On the other hand, however, it also depends on the experience of the end users - soldiers with the operation of the vehicle in real conditions. If they are satisfied, nothing prevents the deepening of cooperation and the acquisition of other, special versions of the TITUS vehicle.

 Author: Jan Feryna