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£2.8bn armoured vehicle contract awarded to Artec consortium
The Artec consortium, led by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence to produce more than 500 Boxer 8×8-wheeled armoured vehicles for the British Army.
Most of the production will take place in the UK, safeguarding and creating a substantial number of British jobs. Full-scale production will begin in Germany, but 90% of the Boxer vehicles destined for the British Army will be produced in the UK, principally at plants operated by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and WFEL, a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
The contract has been awarded to Artec via the European procurement agency, Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR), and is part of the UK’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) procurement programme. The total number of Boxer vehicles already delivered by Artec, or currently on order, now exceeds 1,400 units.
The Boxer vehicles ordered by the British Army will be supplied in several different configurations, including an armoured personnel carrier, command vehicle, specialist carrier and field ambulance. Delivery of the vehicles is expected to start from 2023.
Ben Wallace, defence secretary, 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.”
Sir Simon Bollom, the chief executive of defence, equipment and support, added: “This is excellent news for the Army and I’m delighted that we can now move forward with a contract for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Army and our partners across industry to deliver the best equipment and support for our troops.”
This order marks the return of the UK to a European defence programme having taken part in the Boxer project when it was still in its infancy. Boxer is now on its way to becoming one of NATO’s standard vehicles.
The Boxer armoured transport vehicle
The Boxer is a highly protective 8×8-wheeled armoured vehicle. Its modular architecture enables more operational configurations than any other vehicle system. At present, some 700 vehicles in twelve different versions are on order from three different NATO nations: Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Australia has also ordered 211 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) in seven variants, the first of which was recently delivered.
The UK announced in 2018 that it would re-join the Boxer programme 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.