Partner 2023 – Yugoimport and Texelis detail their cooperation

Paolo Valpolini

At Partner 2023 Yugoimport, the State-owned Serbian holding controlling the vast majority of the national defence industry, and Texelis, the French company specialised in design and production of high performance axles and mobility solutions, highlighted their cooperation which dates back to the mid-2010s

Looking towards the centre of the huge circular pavilion hosting Yugoimport products we could see the Lazar 3 8×8 infantry fighting vehicle, the Milosh 2 4×4 armoured vehicle as well as its predecessor, the Milosh. All three are based on the fruitful cooperation between the aforementioned Yugoimport and Texelis, which started around 2015.

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The three vehicles are all fitted with Texelis axles the Milosh 4×4 with the T700, each axle carrying up to 7,000 kg, the Milosh 2 4×4 with the T750, up to 8,000-9,5000 kg, and the Lazar 3 8×8 with the T900, over 9,000 kg, the three Serbian-made vehicles being therefore based on all types of axles dedicated to military vehicles currently in production at the Texelis facility in Limoges.

“Cooperation with Serbia is based on the Balkans’ culture cornerstones, trust and long term partnership,” Jean Vandel, Texelis’ Managing Director. tells EDR On-Line.

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“We are very happy of our cooperation with Texelis,” Aleksandar Lijakovic Yugoimport Assistant Director tells us, and although underlining that the company is looking also at other potential providers, “we will continue cooperating and when new projects will emerge we will certainly look at Texelis as a first tier partner.”

Cooperation started slowly but now the relationship among the two companies is well established and more and more vehicles are being produced.

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On Day 3 of Partner 2023 a contract was signed between Serbia Ministry of Defence and Yugoimport for the procurement and modernisation of 92 complex combat platforms, the deal being worth around 13.5 billion Serbian Dinars, some 115 million Euro. No details about which types of vehicles will be involved was provided, however it is statistically quite probable that a number of them will among those aforementioned, fitted with Texelis axles.

The contract confirms the willingness of Serbia to improve the quantity and quality of the hardware in use by its armed forces. Both the Serbian military and Yugpimport are increasing their production capacity, the latter being currently building a new production facility in southern Serbia, according to what Aleksandar Lijakovic told EDR On-Line.

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Besides providing the axles for the aforementioned vehicles, Texelis is also providing the steering system and the transfer box for the Lazar 3 and Lazar 3M. In perspective Jean Vandel told EDR On-Line that his company is promoting integrated mobility solutions, based on the experience acquired by the company with the French Army Serval programme, where it is providing the entire rolling chassis complete with the full powertrain, This is obviously fitted with the appropriate axles from Texelis, the 4×4 solution provided for the Serval being scalable to vehicles with a higher number of axles and higher GVW. a rolling chassis capable to cope with gross vehicle weights between 14,000 and 18,000 kg and a wheel base going from 3,700 to 3,850 mm, the chassis being fitted with one of the company axles type, depending on requirements. According to Mr. Vandel such a solution allows to further optimise the use of the different mobility component.

With the cooperation getting close to the decade, the relationship between the two companies has considerably changed. From a spot customer Yugoimport has now become a regular one, volumes have increased considerably, and more has to come considering the national market and the export one, the Serbian holding being now a significant customer in terms of volumes.

Photos by P. Valpolini