In 2012, Peru achieved the dubious honor of becoming the largest cocaine-producing country in the world. Most production is concentrated in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers, commonly shortened to VRAEM. The region also houses the last remnants of a Maoist group that fought the Peruvian state between 1980 and 2000, known as the Shining Path. The region is extremely poor, the main motivation that started the lucrative coca production. This gave rise to narco-terrorists groups, which destabilized the region. Only from 2006 onwards did Peru start to pay attention to its poorest region, and initiated the fight against narco-terrorism. This led to the requirement for armored vehicles in 2019, for which the A200 was selected, built by the German company Aurum Security GmbH.
The Peruvian Armed Forces Purchasing Agency (Spanish: Agencia de Compras de las Fuerzas Armadas, ACFFAA) placed an international tender in the first half of 2019 for eight 4×4 armored vehicles for use in the VRAEM region. The deadline was set on 15th July, with the assigning promised to be shortly thereafter. The initial requirements were the following:
- Dimensions: not longer than 5.8 m, width between 1.9 and 2.1 m, without turret not higher than 2.5 m.
- Accessibility: two side doors, one rear door, two firing ports on each side, one in the rear.
- Weight: maximum 6 tonnes, with 950 kg payload.
- Crew: one driver and a troop of seven.
- Propulsion: at least a 190 hp diesel engine, road speed of 100 km/h, range of 700 km.
- Performance: a slope of 60°, lateral gradient 40°, fording depth 65 cm, hydraulic steering, run-flat tires, turret with 7.62×51 mm machine gun mount.
- Armor: resistance against 7.62x54R mm API bullets.
- Experience: The company must have manufactured and supplied at least a hundred vehicles, similar or more advanced than the set-out requirements, and must support and supply the product.
- Delivery time: between the signing of the final contract and delivery should not be more time than three months.
Contenders in Alphabetical Order
The companies that responded to the tender before 15th July 2019 were:
- Aurum Security (Germany)
- Centigon Colombia S.A. (Colombia)
- Centigon México S.A. de C.V. (Mexico)
- FNSS Savunna Sistemieri (Turkey)
- General Dynamics Land Systems (USA)
- Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing (Canada)
- International Armored Group (USA)
- Katmerciler A.S. (Turkey)
- Lenco Industries (USA)
- Plasan (Israel)
- The Armored Group LLC (USA)
- Uro Vehículos Especiales (Spain)
Aurum Security Secures the Contract
All the contenders had some form of experience with the construction of military-grade armored vehicles, apart from one: Aurum Security. So, naturally, Aurum was awarded the contract. Aurum had been in business since 2012, but only had experience with the production of armored civilian vehicles. Around 2014, a military armored vehicle, the APC 79, was added to their catalog, but a prototype was never built. When Peru placed the tender, Aurum Security was quick to offer a new concept that had yet to be worked out. This should have been a problem, as Aurum had not already built more than a hundred vehicles, nor had it enough time to finish the design within three months, let alone build eight vehicles. However, for ‘unknown reasons’, the delivery period was extended to nine months, and the requirement for building experience was eliminated from the list of requirements sometime between 2nd April and 5th June 2019. Thus, Aurum’s offer conformed to the requirements that were still standing, and on 1st August, the contract was awarded. The final contract was signed in September.
The original contract, valued at 2,190,000 USD, with each individual vehicle costing 273,750 USD, was for 8 vehicles (2 vehicles to be stationed in Pichari, the center of military activity in the VRAEM, and 6 for general use in the VRAEM). An option was later pursued for 2 extra vehicles. Assuming the price for each vehicle remained roughly the same, the value of the contract would have gone up to 2,737,500 USD. The relatively high cost, together with the questionable circumstances surrounding the contract, caused some controversy in Peru.
Until 2019, the only venture of Aurum Security concerning military vehicles was the APC 79, a conceptual design of an APC on a Toyota Land Cruiser 79 series chassis. It was introduced around 2014 and featured modular armor with protection levels ranging from VPAM 7 to VPAM 10, depending on the needs. It had space inside for ten people, including the driver. A prototype of this vehicle was never built, nor has there been much interest in the design, at least publicly. However, several design elements have been taken over by the A200.
Confusion with the Stark Motors Storm
The three news agencies that reported the most about the A200, with online publications, were Defensa, Info Defensa, and Expreso. Defensa was the first to post an image of the Qatari Stark Motors Storm APC, alongside a news report about the upcoming A200 from 6th August 2019. Expreso followed on 10th August. Info Defensa accompanied their first report from 12th August with a render of the Aurum APC 79 design but began using images of the Storm as well, starting from a news report from 15th August. The first published Storm image included the logo of Aurum in the top-right corner. It is unknown if Defensa made an image themselves, using the Storm as an example of what the future A200 may look like, or if the image was supplied to them by either Aurum Security or the Peruvian Army. Either way, imagery of the Storm was erroneously used when referring to the A200 well into 2021.
Officially, the Stark Motors Storm has no relation to the project by Aurum Security whatsoever, but a close comparison between the two vehicles shows some similarities, such as the general shape and placement of the roof and windows but these similarities are close to unavoidable when considering both share a Toyota chassis.
The A200 is based upon a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 chassis, but with a reinforced structure and improved brakes. The use of a commercially available chassis limits the vehicle to a conventional layout with generic design elements. The vehicle is powered by a 4.5-liter turbo diesel engine (1VD-FTV), with 8 cylinders and 32 valves, displacing 4,461 cc. It has a maximum output of 232 hp at 3,200 rpm. Power is transferred via a six-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, giving the vehicle, weighing in at 5.6 tonnes, a maximum speed of 110-120 km/h. The vehicle can tow up to 1.2 tonnes.
The suspension consists of reinforced springs and shock absorbers. The wheels are fitted with Goodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 285/75 R16 run-flat tires, allowing for a drive of 50 km after the wheels have been penetrated by shrapnel or bullets.
The crew consists of a driver, sat front-left, and a troop of seven, including the commander. The troop is seated on chairs running down the sides, three on each side, while the commander is seated next to the driver. They enter the vehicle through two side doors and one rear door. Three firing ports have been installed on each side below the windows, as well as one in the rear, totaling seven firing ports. The vehicle is also equipped with an air conditioning and heating system.
Armament and Protection
The A200 features a weapon station on the roof, mounting a 7.62 mm Dillon M-134D/H machine gun. With a rate of fire of 4,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute, it has a range of more than a kilometer. The turret is 38 cm tall, 145 cm wide, and 165 cm long.
The armor can resist explosions of DM51 grenades under the floor and on the roof, as well as explosions of DM31 anti-personnel mines under the floor. It also protects against 7.62 mm x 54R B 32 Armor Piercing Incendiary (API), Full Metal Jacket (FMJ), Pointed Bullet (PB), and Soft Core Bullets. This gives the vehicle a ballistic protection rating of VPAM 10, identical to STANAG 4569 level 1.
The signed contract required delivery in 269 days, close to nine months. However, possibly due to problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic, or problems at Aurum Security, the vehicles were only ready by March 2021, while they should have been finished by August 2020.
Firing tests performed by IABG (Industrieanlagen-Betriebsgesellschaft mbH) subjected the vehicle to six detonations, 550 bullet impacts on potential weak points, and dummies were placed inside the test vehicle to assess if anything would hurt them during firing. All tests were passed successfully.
From 22nd to 26th March 2021, the technical acceptance tests were held at the factory, attended by a technical delegation from the Peruvian Army. The first phase involved checking if all specifications, used materials, and finishes were up to the requirements and of quality. Furthermore, the engine, weight and load capacity, and the electrical system were tested, along with several improvements that had been carried out by Aurum. The second phase involved performance testing on the road and in the field. This included testing of fording depth, obstacle crossing, speed, stability, agility, and robustness, among similar tests.
The final phase included the testing of the armor by Ballistic Material Control Prüflabor (BMC), an independent agency. One door, randomly chosen from one of the vehicles, was subjected to live firing trials. The results were satisfactory, as none of the 7.62 x 54R API bullets penetrated either the metal or glass. It has to be noted in this context that the narco-terrorists, the vehicles were intended to be deployed against, mostly make use of this type of ammunition, fired from PKM guns.
After the testing, the vehicles were prepared for shipping and loaded upon the vessel Resolve, a vehicle carrier. On 7th July, the vehicles were unloaded at the port of Callao. After customs clearance, they were received by Batallón de Material de Guerra de Vehículos No.511 (Eng: War Vehicles Materiel Battalion No.511) and transported to the Headquarters of the II División (Eng: 2nd Division) in Rímac, a city district in Lima. There, they were ceremonially incorporated within the Army on 15th July. The ceremony was also attended by the Minister of Defense and the Executive Commander of the Peruvian Army. After an operation and maintenance course for the future crews, they were to be handed over to the 4th Division. Five of the vehicles were seen during the Peruvian National Holidays on 28th July, during a military parade.
The original plans stipulated that, ten days after their arrival in Lima, they would be sent through to the VRAEM if they passed the tests successfully. Luckily for Aurum, the tests revealed no issues. If a major fault had emerged, they would have been obligated to deliver a replacement vehicle within 30 days at their own expense. Furthermore, if any hidden faults would emerge during their upcoming deployment, for a period of 740 days after their acceptance, Aurum has been obligated to deliver a replacement vehicle within 90 days.
One example, featuring registration EP-52106, was shown by Peru on the military exhibition Sitdef 2021, held from 28th to 31st October 2021 in Lima
In addition to the ten vehicles for Peru, an eleventh company demonstrator was built which was used for further testing and demonstrations. It is unknown if there has been any further interest in the design, either by Peru or other potential customers. On the company’s website, the vehicle is designated as the ‘A-Series’, indicating a variety of chassis can be used in the future. Interestingly, the APC 79 concept is still marketed as a separate vehicle.
Despite the controversy surrounding the contract, Aurum Security seems to have delivered a decent vehicle. The armor proved well-made during testing and protects against the main threats in the VRAEM region. Furthermore, the vehicle conformed and exceeded many of the set-out requirements, meaning the end product was better than required, but also relatively expensive. It was the first order of Aurum Security for a military vehicle, on which they capitalized by building a company demonstrator, to garner future sales.
Aurum Security A200 Specifications
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||5.15 x 2.05 x 2.32 m|
|Crew||8 (1 driver + troop of 7)|
|Gross weight||5.6 tonnes|
|Towing capacity||1.2 tonnes|
|Chassis||Toyota Land Cruiser 200|
|Engine||1VD-FTV, 4.5-liter, turbo, diesel, 8-cylinder, 232 hp @ 3200 rpm|
|Max. speed||110-120 km/h on road|
|Turning circle||7.2 m|
|Ground clearance||35 cm|
|Armor||STANAG 3 (VPAM 10)|
|Armament||7.62 mm Dillon M-134D/H machine gun|
|Secondary||7 firing ports|
“APC 79.” Aurum Security GmbH. http://www.aurum-security.de/en/our-cars/armored-personnel-carrier-apc-79
“A-Series.” Aurum Security GmBH. https://www.aurum-security.de/en/our-cars/a-series
Marchessini, Alejo. 2019. “Próxima adquisición por el Ejército del Perú de blindados 4×4 para el VRAEM.” Defensa, 2nd July 2019. https://www.defensa.com/peru/proxima-adquisicion-ejercito-peru-blindados-4×4-para-vraem
2019. “Aurum Security GmbH gana el contrato para suministrar al Ejército del Perú blindados 4×4 para el VRAEM.” Defensa, 6th August 2019. https://www.defensa.com/peru/aurum-security-gmbh-gana-contrato-para-suministrar-ejercito-peru
Marchessini, Alejo. 2021. “Los blindados 4×4 A-200 para el Ejército del Perú culminan con éxito sus pruebas técnicas en Alemania.” Defensa, 30th March 2021. https://www.defensa.com/peru/blindados-4×4-200-para-ejercito-peru-culminan-exito-pruebas
Marchessini, Alejo. 2021. “El Ejército del Perú incorpora blindados A-200 4×4 para operaciones en el VRAEM.” Defensa, 19th July 2021. https://www.defensa.com/peru/ejercito-peru-incorpora-blindados-200-4×4-para-operaciones-vraem
2019. “Gobierno quiere comprar Blindados “chatarra” y vehículos fantasma.” Expreso, 10th August 2019. https://www.expreso.com.pe/destacado-portada/gobierno-quiere-comprar-blindados-chatarra-y-vehiculos-fantasma/
Rivas, Santiago and Florencia Lucero Heguy. 2021. “Aurum Security Delivers A200 Armoured Vehicles to Peru.” Monch, 21st May 2021. https://monch.com/aurum-security-delivers-a200-armoured-vehicles-to-peru/
Rivas, Santiago and Florencia Lucero Heguy. 2021. “New 4×4 Armoured Vehicles for Peruvian Army.” Monch, 16th August 2021. https://monch.com/new-4×4-armoured-vehicles-for-peruvian-army/
2019. “Aurum Security suministrará ocho vehículos 4×4 al Ejército de Perú.” Info Defensa, 12th August 2019. https://www.infodefensa.com/texto-diario/mostrar/3127654/aurum-security-suministrara-ocho-vehiculos-4×4-ejercito-peru
2019. “Aurum Security defiende su vehículo blindado para el Ejército de Perú.” Info Defensa, 15th August 2019. https://www.infodefensa.com/texto-diario/mostrar/3127168/aurum-security-defiende-vehiculo-blindado-ejercito-peru
2021. “Aurum Security entregará a fines de abril los blindados A200 al Ejército del Perú.” Info Defensa, 5th April 2021. https://www.infodefensa.com/texto-diario/mostrar/2964641/aurum-security-entregara-fines-abril-blindados-a200-ejercito-peru
2021. “El Ejército del Perú recibe los vehículos protegidos 4×4 adquiridos a Aurum Security.” Info Defensa, 19th July 2021. https://www.infodefensa.com/texto-diario/mostrar/3056042/ejercito-peru-recibe-vehiculos-protegidos-4×4-adquiridos-aurum-security
Importaciones De Armas Convencionales. 31st December 2019. Thearmstradetreaty.org