Sun, 15 Dec 2019

British defence secretary signs $3.5 billion armoured vehicles order

By Jay Jackson, Ireland News.Net
12 Nov 2019, 02:51 GMT+10

LONDON, UK - The British Army is spending $3.5 billion to acquire more than 500 new armoured vehicles to transport troops on the frontline.

The 2.8 billion pounds ($3.5 billion) order is for Boxer 8x8 high mobility, network-enabled armoured vehicles.

"Our men and women of the Armed Forces deserve to have the best equipment to do their job," UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said in announcing the order. He said the vehicles would begin 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 described as being 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.

"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," Sir Simon Bollom, Chief Executive of Defence, Equipment and Support (DE&S), said.

ThBrrmament 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.

Major General Simon Hamilton, Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Programme lead for the British Army, said: "I am delighted that we have committed to delivering the Mechanised Infantry capability through the purchase of around 500 battle-winning Boxer vehicles for the British Army. Boxer completes the suite of platforms to equip our new state-of-the-art STRIKE brigade where, alongside Ajax, Boxer's low logistic need, extended reach, high-mobility, and advanced digitisation will ensure STRIKE is ready for any global scenario."

The contract was signed ahead of the pre-election period as part of an agreement reached with industry and other OCCAR nations, which expires on December 31 2019. It would be possible for a new government to take a different position.

The Permanent Secretary of the defence ministry, as the Accounting Officer, said he considered the value for money implications and, on this basis, determined the most appropriate course of action was to proceed with the contract award ahead of the election.

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