Signals Possible Decision for MIV Requirement
The British Army announced on 31 March that it is re-joining the BOXER armoured vehicle programme, signalling a possible decision in the Mechanized infantry Vehicle (MIV) competition.
The UK played a significant role in the original design, development and testing of the 8×8 troop carrier and will apparently reassume the rights it had as a project partner if a contract is concluded. Those rights would include an option for manufacture in and export from the UK, with up to 60% of manufacturing and complete assembly placed with British industry, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Ministry further stated that such a move would support at least 1,000 jobs and would sustain and further develop indigenous industrial capabilities, facilities and skills.
BOXER manufacturer Artec has already made commitments to British industry by signing partnership agreements with BAE Systems, Pearson Engineering and Thales UK, in anticipation of a deal being struck. Rheinmetall, one of the parent companies of the Artec consortium, has signalled its intention to launch a production and integration centre for armoured vehicles in the UK as part of the programme – a significant commitment that could lead to long-lasting armoured vehicle capability in the UK, which has become a concern for planners. The other Artec parent, KMW, already has a substantial UK manufacturing facility in Stockport, from which it designs, manufactures and supports complex military equipment as far afield as the US and Australia, as well as parts of Europe.
It is expected that British companies would compete for the manufacture and supply of many of the vehicle sub-systems, as well as for a full production and assembly line in the UK. Estimates suggest Artec’s planned investment in the UK could secure or create at least 1,000 jobs, based across the country including locations such as Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stockport, Telford and Wales. With the likes of Rolls Royce already powering BOXERs with engines and Parker-Hannifin, William Cook Engineering and other British companies also supplying sub-systems for the vehicle, this deal could secure a broader industrial UK partnership.
The MOD is now taking forward negotiations with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and Artec. Looking forward to the Assessment Phase, concluding in 2019, this will consider the comparable benefits of manufacturing locations and different supply chains for BOXER, as well as value-for-money. Any deal will be subject to commercial negotiation and assessment in 2019 and the aim is to have the first vehicles in service with the Army by 2023. OCCAR manages the BOXER programme and, as an OCCAR member state, the UK has the necessary Intellectual Property Rights to the BOXER and greater control over ensuring Britain benefits from supply chain work.
The MoD has conducted a comprehensive market analysis of Mechanized Infantry Vehicles in-service, entering service and in development. The analysis was guided by the British Army’s requirements and how best to deliver them. The BOXER delivered on protected mobility, capacity, flexibility, utility and agility, according to the MoD statement.