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Thales UK secures £180m contract for Boxer programme
Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme have jointly awarded a contract, worth £180m, to Thales UK to deliver cutting-edge threat detection technology for the British Army’s new Boxer vehicles.
Thales UK, as a strategic partner to Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace, will fully assemble and integrate 500 PROTECTOR RS4 Remote Weapon Stations (RWS) and deliver 500 Acusonic® shot detection systems onto Boxer vehicles over the next 10 years, as part of the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle programme.
The work for Boxer will be completed at Thales UK’s facility in Glasgow, which employs 700 engineers and technicians. As a major contributor to the Scottish economy, this contract will support further growth and protect key manufacturing skills in the UK, including 30 apprentices currently receiving training in Glasgow.
The new threat detection technology uses 360˚ high definition long range cameras attached to the outside of the vehicle to scan for enemy threats, and accurately sense and report the direction of incoming enemy fire, even when the Boxer is moving at speed. The RWS then alerts soldiers inside the armoured Boxer through a digital display – giving the Boxer vehicle’s crew the critical situational awareness to react to threats.
The system also offers key defensive capabilities, including a multi-barrel smoke grenade launcher, thermal imaging, and infra-red pointers.
Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said: “We look forward to working with Thales UK on the delivery of these Remote Weapon Stations, knowing this contract will not only contribute to the safety of British military personnel on the front line, but also support industry growth here in Scotland.
“Protecting hundreds of jobs and supporting 30 apprenticeships, this £180m UK government investment further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the defence sector in Scotland and underscores the many opportunities available within the United Kingdom economy.”
Minister of state for defence, Baroness Goldie, added: “This £180m contract with Thales UK will deliver pioneering surveillance and protection for our front line soldiers and our new Boxer fleet. We depend on skills and technology from across the United Kingdom and this order will secure 700 Scottish jobs. Our troops face a myriad of new and emerging threats so it is imperative we invest in critical detect and destroy technology such as this.”
Steven Lockley, managing director of Thales UK’s vehicle integration business in Glasgow, concluded: “Thales’ sub-contract is a great step forward after months of hard work. Working with our strategic partners, Thales is bringing new skills and technologies into the programme, our facilities in Scotland and the UK supply chain.”
The UK re-joined the Boxer programme in 2018 and has committed £2.8bn to deliver over 500 vehicles to the British Army. The first vehicles are scheduled to be ready for service in 2023.