£2.8bn armoured vehicle contract secured for British Army
A contract worth £2.8 billion has been signed to provide state-of-the-art armoured fighting vehicles to the British Army. The Defence Secretary has announced that the army will receive more than 500 Boxer 8x8 high mobility, network-enabled armoured vehicles to transport troops onto the frontline. Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said:
Our men and women of the Armed Forces deserve to have the best equipment to do their job. The Boxer vehicle is a leader in its field and I look forward to it arriving in units from 2023.
The vehicles will form part of the Army’s Strike brigades, new units set up to deploy rapidly over long distances across varied terrains. Boxer is modular by design to meet these requirements - the same vehicle base can be rapidly reconfigured to fill different roles on the battlefield, from carrying troops across deserts to treating severely injured service personnel on the journey to hospital. Initially the Army will buy a mixture of the troop-carrying variant, ambulances, command vehicles, and specialist designs to carry military equipment.
The UK announced in 2018 that it would re-join the Boxer programme within the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and explore options to modernise its vehicle fleet and meet the Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle requirement.
The UK played a central role in the original design, development and testing of the Boxer. In re-joining the programme last year, the UK reassumed the rights it had as a project partner.
This contract was signed ahead of the pre-election period due to the strong value-for-money agreement reached with industry and other OCCAR nations, which expires on December 31st 2019, and announced today due to expected market implications. It would be possible for a new Government to take a different position.
Ship building Strategy
On Ship building, Mr Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence, stated:
I have today published Sir John Parker's review of the implementation of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. I am very grateful for Sir John's efforts in producing this review and are delighted that he has identified so much positive progress. Sir John noted how Defence has embraced the Strategy with enthusiasm and evident cultural change. A copy of the review has been placed in the Library of the House and it is available on GOV.UK.
To build on the success and progress we have made so far, this Government is committed to reinvigorating British shipbuilding industry for both the civil and military sectors and investing in the next generation to ensure a pipeline of skills for the future. That is why the Prime Minister has appointed me to act as the Shipbuilding Tsar on behalf of this Government, to better realise the potential that this sector can offer across the four Home Nations and to reinvigorate UK shipbuilding. This role brings together other government departments to shape policies and strategies. As Shipbuilding Tsar, I will work closely with my colleagues across Government to bring together the brilliant work already being done, and to ensure British shipbuilding thrives.
A significant success already delivered by this key Strategy and Sir John’s recommendations is the Type 31 preferred bidder announcement to Babcock with contract award due by the end of the year. This major milestone demonstrates a transformation in the way this Department can deliver a rigorous warship acquisition programme securing the best capability for our Armed Forces and extraordinary value for money for the taxpayer. It is an exemplar of what Sir John Parker envisaged and has shown that the MOD can deliver contracts with a grip on content, specification, design and pace.
Sir John also acknowledged the impressive export success of the Type 26 which has already been selected as the baseline design to deliver nine Hunter class frigates for the Royal Australian Navy and up to 15 Canadian Surface Combatants for the Royal Canadian Navy. We will continue to build on this success and work alongside the Department for International Trade to deliver a competitive Naval Export Plan. This will identify and strengthen opportunities for British shipbuilding and the wider supply chain.
Across Government, a huge amount of work is underway to review the pace and nature of the forward warship programme and to understand the skills needed to design and deliver these ships and their systems. We are already working collaboratively with industry to align these priorities and ensure we maintain the industrial base required to deliver future capability and platforms for our Armed Forces.