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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

16 June 2016

Eurosatory 2016: Uro: High Mobility is a Tactic, Not Just a Requirement

Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, is a rugged, austere but startlingly productive region. And it has given birth to a number of companies that reflect their native soil: robust, driven, agile and focused on success in markets often constrained by severe competition and scarce customer resources.

Uro VehĂ­culos Especiales SA focuses its activities on high mobility tactical vehicles, a segment of the defence market that is among the most oversubscribed there is, in the view of many observers.

URO VAMTAC

Although the experience of Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali certainly gave a much needed transfusion to the industry in the form of programmes for tens of thousands of tactical vehicles such as the MRAP and JTLV series, those days are long gone. The future of this segment of the industry lies largely in the hands of those manufacturers agile enough to respond to emerging requirements, rather than to try to shoehorn customer requirements into an existing product range.

Such is Uro’s philosophy, as the company’s Chief Executive Justo Sierra told MT during Eurosatory 2016 in Paris this week. “We have a market niche oriented strategy,” he says, adding that where the company shines is in its ability to cater for short series production of highly specialised vehicles customised for a specific mission. “We find we succeed where we can convince the customer that our three areas of expertise – vehicle performance, system integration capability and a strong ability to customise – can provide the best value solution to their requirement,” he says.

A regular exhibitor at Eurosatory since 1996 (the company was founded in 1981) Uro has seen significant change in the intervening period. “When we first came we faced maybe three of four serious competitors – now there are dozens,” says Sierra. To succeed, therefore, his team addresses regional and specialised markets in which their unique core skills as systems engineers will reinforce their aggressive and customer focused marketing approach. There is much attention being focused on the Middle East at the moment, for example, as well as Southeast Asian nations such as Singapore and Malaysia. At the Defence Services Asia exhibition earlier this year the company showed a variant of its VAMTAC tactical vehicle mounting a Thales Starstriker turret featuring the LMM missile. That, according to Sierra, came from an initial approach from Thales looking for a suitable platform on which to demonstrate its system shortly after Uro began to deliver VAMTAC to the Malysian armed forces in 2009.

Leveraging the performance of a well-designed vehicle, bending every industrial sinew to achieving the maximum possible delivery of customisation (and thus operational efficiency) for the customer’s specific requirement and providing an effective response that is both swifter and more agile than any competitor speak directly to the issue of high mobility in corporate strategy, according to Sierra. Competing on price for requirements of hundreds or even thousands of vehicles is just not a realistic goal, in his view. Winning on ‘best value,’ however, is a very different prospect. “We are a knowledge company,” says Sierra. “That is what we exploit.”