A £180 million contract awarded to Thales UK will protect hundreds of jobs in Glasgow over the next 10 years, suppling ‘Remote Weapons Stations’ to the British Army’s new Boxer vehicles.

The UK re-joined the Boxer programme in 2018 and has committed £2.8 billion to deliver over 500 vehicles to the British Army. The first vehicles are scheduled to be ready for service in 2023.

The 10-year ‘Remote Weapons Stations’ (RWS) contract will protect 700 existing jobs at Thales UK and support 30 apprenticeships, say the Ministry of Defence in a news release.

RWS notifies soldiers of enemy threats via a digital display from the safety of inside the Boxer vehicle – providing extra protection for troops deciding to evade or engage the target. The system also offers advanced situational awareness through 360 degrees long range observation cameras to identify and defeat threats while moving at speed.

DE&S Director Land Equipment, Major General Darren Crook said:

“This is another significant step forward for Boxer and I am delighted to see the different threads of the programme coming together. This is a military capability of the future to be proud of.”

Following the sonar contract for Dreadnought submarines last year, this is Thales UK’s second multi-million-pound contract within 12 months.

Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart said:

“We look forward to working with Thales UK on the delivery of these Remote Weapons 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 £180 million 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 said:

“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.”

Managing Director of Thales Vehicle Tactical Systems and Optronics and Missile Electronics UK, Steven Lockley said:

“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.”

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago

providing extra protection for troops deciding to evade or engage the target.”

What do they engage the target with? The 7.62?

Is Boxer in reality just a modern Saxon? Taking the section to location and dismounts then fend for themselves.

Some of the issues with Strike coming in this thread I sense!

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Don’t mention strike Mate!!!!! Shit there I go………

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I did it deliberately to “stir shit up”

Go on mate, better out than in….!

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Where the hell do I start lol

Rob
Rob
7 months ago

We need the Boxer with the 40mm and probably a couple of TOW missiles. A turreted gimpy isn’t going to cut the mustard.
comment image

AlexS
AlexS
7 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Really TOW missiles! that is ancient.
Pretty much everyone in Europe has some kind of Spike ER versions.

The recent upgrade to Dutch CV90 turret has 2 embedded Spikes.
https://www.doppeladler.com/da/forum/viewtopic.php?p=16734

Paul.P
Paul.P
7 months ago

How long could a decent number of Warrior IVF carry on being a credible asset? Say a reasonable number of C2 are meaningfully upgraded, is it feasible / sensible ( just asking) to conceive of the IFV function being delivered by separate hulls; IV and FV vehicles; at least in the short term?
I’m just thinking of the time when the QRA air defence Tornado was supplemented by more agile Hawks cos it couldn’t do the job by itself.
Just trying a bit of out of the box thinking to get us out of the mess.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

No idea mate. I defer to others there.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Probably not mate, double the footprint, double the logistic and double the Command and Control. It would create more targets and less manouvre room and a crowded battle space. Cheers buddy.

Stephen Hamblen
Stephen Hamblen
7 months ago

Oh my god…… please don’t mention the Saxon, it was so big that you could’ve seen it coming from about 30 miles away. It was alright for taxi-ing troops under non battle conditions in West Germany or Ulster but a sitting duck if it went anywhere near danger.
A Warrior replacement is desperately needed……. it really is.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Top wagon, good RWS, but clue is in the name, it needs a decent weapon! 50 cal very good, GMG very useful but utterly pants against even a second rate military with 30mm and above. Here I go again with my waffle in regard to Strike! Chin off Warrior upgrade, use the decent hulls to replace the 432s in Armoured Brigades, buy 2 x Battalions of Ares to replace Warrior (stay at 2 not 4 Battalions), put Ajax back into Armoured Brigades totaly, then put the 40mm CTC on the Boxer and give Strike some effect. All basic stuff, not… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

CTA oops.

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Bushmaster is the sensible solution!

Blue Fuzz
Blue Fuzz
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Totally agree Airborne – the common sense solution.

expat
expat
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Some new outlets reporting Warrior upgrade could get canned.

Mark F
Mark F
7 months ago
Reply to  expat

It is its not needed according to some sources the Army are streamlining thier fleet. I hear the SA90 is being binned.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Mark F

If the AS nasty is binned then they need to replace it with somthing bloody quick. The RA is in absolute shit state and without decent OS any formation in the field, no matter how ninja big tashed hard they are, will be quickly malleted.

Peter S
Peter S
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Latest I can find is that AS90 will stay until 2029 when unspecified replacement is ready. The problem is that several major programmes are connected. Ajax and Boxer are contracted but Ch2, Warrior, AS90 plus towed artillery all await decisions. Just shows what an absolute mess army procurement has become.
Like others, not convinced that CTA 40 advantage over various 30mm systems justifies the expense both of the gun/ ammunition and the consequent complexity and delay of the Warrior upgrade.

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Recoil of CTA 40 20,000 lbs wonder if they computer modelled the stresses on hulls, bushmaster 30 mm is 6,500 lbs ????

Last edited 7 months ago by peter wait
Mark F
Mark F
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agreed. AS90 might be 30 years old but like you said it needs to be replaced with the equivalent what ever that is. For me AS90 was a solid bit of kit.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

RA should be Number 1 priority in this review.

Peter S
Peter S
7 months ago

Agreed. As we are now committed to Ajax, do we also need wheeled artillery?
The Boxer 155 mm variant is said to be hideously expensive. What about dusting off the already developed HIMAR, the M177 portee? Assuming we retain Ch2, we also need a tracked vehicle. I know that there are concerns about range, but the AS90 turret was fitted to an MBT chassis by Poland. If we have spare Ch2 hulls, we could use them in the same way, with the advantage of commonality.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Still need the LGs for 16AA and 3 Cdo Bdes, assuming 3 Cdo survives. The Strike Brigades Artillery regiments start out with Light Guns as that’s all that is available! They were equipped with AS90 until 2010 cuts. Neither AS90 or Light Gun is suitable. I hope the review adds area denial, smart munition, extended range, and all the rest that the RA lack. There are also I think around half a dozen MAMBA locating radars in the whole British Army. ISTAR and air defence woeful. I’d actually support losing light Infantry battalions if those resources are put into creating… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Daniele Mandelli
Peter S
Peter S
7 months ago

Take your point on the risks of fitting turret on to a different chassis. If we retain MBT in smallish numbers, tracked artillery will be needed. I don’t think a wheeled vehicle would be suitable for the armoured brigades.
But for the wider artillery role, wheels would probably be suitable, relying on mobility rather than heavy armour for protection. Archer costs around $4.5 m,Caesar $3/3.5m. They both take some time to get into action, seemingly not much quicker than the M777 portee which I believe is simpler and cheaper( and British!).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Just looked at the M777, I had not matched that name in my mind with the 155mm I knew the USMC were using. I see other allies already use it too. I’d have thought a wheeled SP could “shoot and scoot” quicker mind. From what I’d read from a letter from D RA, a single system is to be procured, 4 regiments worth, to replace the 2x AS90 and 2 x LG regiments ( Strike not light role ) I’d hope that is up in the air now and additionally there will be additional regiments of things like LIMAWS, I… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
7 months ago

Wouldn’t a single system be wheeled leaving the heavy brigades with no artillery able to operate with tanks?
The Archer system is fairly quick into action as it is automated and the gun doesn’t need fully dropping to the ground. Caesar takes longer to deploy and seems no quicker than LIMAWS. Both Archer and Caesar are huge and heavy (@30 tons)so not sure how they cope with soft terrain.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

It will be intersting to see which system is chosen, and why, cost or effectivness. A wheeled system would be more effective but I believe that it will be down to cost and the M777 will be chosen. However at least 1 Regiment of LIMAWS should be chosen for the Strike Brigades, top bit of kit.

BB85
BB85
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

I can’t see the M777 being chosen. Although it can be airlifted by chinook it can’t shoot and scoot which is a must have requirement in this day and age. It will either be Archer or Boxer.

Peter S
Peter S
7 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Sorry LIMAWS. Getting acronym fatigue.

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Perhaps the Americans could sell us some M109’s with the long range barrels?

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  expat

But problem will be what will they do with the turret, the upgrade and the money.

Deep32
Deep32
7 months ago

Have to agree with you all, that gun isn’t big enough. I’m no expert, but would plump for the 40mm CTC either, everything particularly ammo far to costly, personally II would have chosen either of 30/35 mm weapons, already in use on a wider scale and lots of ammo and variants available far cheaper. Add a twin ATM launcher and you are changing things for the good.
Only my thoughts on it

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Whatever platform and cannon used it will need an ATGW capability absolute spot on.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
7 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Not to be picking on you, as what you express is a common refrain, but how do we know that CTAS 40 ammunition is far too costly? Do we know what mass production of rounds for UK, French and Belgian armies (assuming no other adopters) will do for the costs? What are we comparing it to – 30mm, 35mm, 40mm, or 50mm and is that comparison on a like-for-like range and effect-on-target basis? I haven’t seen any verifiable public sources on costs, perhaps others have, but it seems we might be wise to qualify our judgements at this time. Let’s… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

For me mate I’m a firm believer in the 40mm with the increased number of ammunion types mixed with top quality sensors and ISTAR. I have heard it is quite costly but like you I’ve seen nothing official. Lets hope it isn’t that costly otherwise it will be a case of (excuse the pun) only having the basic ball type rounds and no others. However we all know it’s not a tank and we shouldn’t think it is, slotting it into the strike Brigades (don’t bet me started) as medium armour.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Lol that’s it mate. 2 Regiments worth in Medium Armour role, 2 in Armoured Recc role.

I think FRES and Ajax had a direct fire versions at one time.

Hope the politicians don’t confuse medium armour for Tanks.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

You know they will certainly think it’s a tank mate, as it has tracks and a “big gun”!

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

No disagreement from me on the requirement for additional heavier weight firepower. For my money 105mm/120mm assault gun and 120mm mortars on Ajax and/or Boxer each coming in at around 40 tonnes would provide that.

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

In the American defence 1996 report into CTA weapon development they stated that the CTA round costs the same as 105 mm round due to its complexity!

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  peter wait

105mm HE round with an L118 fuze is just over £980 ( few years ago though), so quite expensive for a 40mm round. But it’s the fuze in any intelligent projectile that costs money, and I’m a firm believer in the multi fused 40mm, as long as it’s funded correctly. And don’t get them manufactured in bloody India.

Deep32
Deep32
7 months ago

Morning, no offence taken, I have to admit that I’ve not seen any published figures WRT costs of ammo for the CTA 40mm ammo either, just what’s been stated in various articles on the subject. However, figures aren’t just plucked out of nowhere, but aren’t necessarily accurate either, but, it is widely thought that the ammo is very expensive when compared to both 30/35mm options. In the case of a APFSDS round the wide held view is that it is some 10x more expensive! Only 3 countries are currently buying this system, and amounts to approx some 900 pieces, so… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
7 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

I guess we could ask with the benefit of hindsight would we, or should we, have done it differently? I think it depends on the goals beyond just the size advantages, because clearly both parties wanted something that could hit harder than a 30mm. However, at this stage its largely a sunk cost issue regarding cannon and current ammunition development costs, and even initial ammunition stocks, so we wouldn’t gain anything IMO by reverting to a conventional lower calibre weapon, or introducing other calibres alongside the 40mm. I’m not surprised others aren’t rushing to buy at this stage though, they… Read more »

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago

The American report lists, excessive recoil, short barrel life, expensive rounds and jamming problems with rotating breach when ejecting 1996 Defence Department report US Airforce Lab’s, its available on internet plus over 200 million spent in development over 30 years! seems a political agreement with France resulted in its selection. This may have put other countries off rushing to join?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
7 months ago
Reply to  peter wait

I wonder how much weight we should put on a document that’s quarter of a century old at this stage and which at the time was commenting on systems and technology that had been worked on going back decades before then? However, it may well contribute to countries being cautious in adopting the system. What seems clear is that a number of different constituencies over time have seen value in a CTA solution, which is also I suspect a larger driver than politics for UK/French adoption. The US Army is once again looking at CTA, this time as a candidate… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
7 months ago

I agree, hindsight is wonderful, I suspect that given a clean slate, choices might well be different. Unfortunately we are where we are as they say, no matter how frustrating it appears to all of us, which is probably the overarching emotion when discussing these issue.

peter wait
peter wait
7 months ago

They don’t seem to leak cost of CTA barrel with 700-1000 round life, due to design blow by before round seals strips away bore, this adds to costs?

BB85
BB85
7 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

I wonder if the army selected the CTA cannon believing live ammo firing would be phased out for simulation training. The cost must have been heavily considered before it was selected surely. In which case we may as well stick going down the CTA route. If we are not willing to invest in it properly we will never get EOS to bring down the cost of ammo.

Deep32
Deep32
7 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Yes, its here and paid for now, it would take a brave petson to ditch the project and select something else. So, cant see that happening.
Interseting point ref live firing, could well be part of the reasoni g to go ahead with the selection.
Would be interesting to see if given the funding what actual calibre they would have selected for boxer? Suspect that they would have still chosen the CTA.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
7 months ago

Nice piece of kit, but with just a 7.62 MG it’s more of a taxi rather than a fighting vehicle, I assume this is meant to replace CRVT based APCs.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Bring back the bloody striker!!!!!!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Why did they even get rid of it? Am I right in recalling it had an even longer range than Milan? I think it served just in the RAC after the RA had it for a short time.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Old but effective. I think only about 50 were in service but what a force multiplier. 5 missiles ready to and 5 more reloads. If we cannot get a version of that with Boxer then surely we need to be thinking about getting some sort of Fire Support Boxers, so the Battalions issued with them have at least a few Boxer FS variants able to support the rifle companies. Ok they will never put a turret and missiles on all boxers but even getting a few dozen converted will ensure Support Coy can directly support all, or specific rifle companies,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep, every Armored Reg should have a platoon, and the Boxer Battalions.

What would be best these days? Spike? Brimstone has been tested on a Boxer I think?

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago

Spike I reckon, never used it but heard very good things when deployed in Afghan, certainly in its range and kill effectivness mate.

Derek
Derek
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Brimstone is already on board for helo’s, Typhoon and will be with F35. Adding box firing sets to Boxer gives a great (British) versatile attack weapon with stocks of missiles already in inventory.

Airborne
Airborne
7 months ago
Reply to  Derek

Ideally yes, but as we already have Spike on a land platform it shouldn’t be to much of an issue getting it up and running. But yes, for weapon commonality Brimstone would be the future.

BB85
BB85
7 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Brimstone will be much more expensive, but with networked capabilities it will have significantly more range.

AlexS
AlexS
7 months ago
Reply to  BB85

There are Spike versions with 20+km range. One of the reason US Army is buying it for AH-64.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/why-us-apache-helicopters-are-firing-israeli-spike-missiles-177858

Ian M.
Ian M.
7 months ago

4000m

Ian M.
Ian M.
7 months ago

Thales are subcontracting for Kongsberg then. looks like a modified 151 setup. It can be fitted with 7.62 GPMG, .50 Cal or 40mm GMG, handy!

BB85
BB85
7 months ago

How can a remote weapons system create or sustain 700 jobs. No wonder this equipment is so expensive. If the optics and electronics are the expensive part why are he wasting it on such a small calibre weapon firing 7.62. When you compare our weapons integration with what is being show cased in Germany and France we look 10 years behind the curve.

AlexS
AlexS
7 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Agreed, this does not make any sense.

AlexS
AlexS
7 months ago
Reply to  BB85

Compare this RWS in a small vehicle : 12.7+Spike
https://defense-update.com/20210125_spike-lr-slovenia.html