Independent British manufacturing excellence and ingenuity are helping Ukraine defend itself from Russian aggression.

On behalf of the UK and the UK-administered International Fund for Ukraine (IFU), Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) has awarded multiple contracts to Cook Defence Systems (CDS), a world leading designer and manufacturer of tank tracks, to supply spares for up to 500 Ukrainian armoured vehicles.

The IFU contract was part of the over £100million maintenance & manoeuvre support package announced in October 2023.

In addition to supplying tracks for vehicles donated by the UK to Ukraine, including Challenger 2 main battle tanks, CDS has also been tasked with manufacturing tracks for the Soviet-era vehicles used by a large part of the Ukrainian Army. CDS, a family-owned business based in North East England which can trace its roots back to the 1840s, has been a defence supplier since the Second World War.

CDS Managing Director William Cook said:

“We have a long history of supplying tracks for all the armoured vehicles of the British Army and many allied militaries, but delivering these contracts for Ukraine has been a very different challenge. We have had to reverse-engineer Soviet-era equipment using limited reference material and a lot of our own know-how, while working with the manufacturing processes and materials available to us rather than the original Russian ones. We are doing all this with an urgency unknown in peacetime. We know there are Ukrainian soldiers on the frontline whose lives depend on what we do.”

To reverse-engineer new tracks compatible with the Soviet-era vehicles, the experts at Cook Defence Systems had to rely on museum pieces, Cold War reference documents and technical experts on armoured vehicles.

“Although some of the vehicles supported by Cook Defence Systems are Soviet designed, the manufacturing techniques used by the company are anything but. They include laser scanning and digital x-ray inspection, with much of the physical production work performed by robots.”

William Cook continued:

“One of the biggest challenges has been almost doubling our output. We have reconfigured production lines and recruited new people wherever possible. Everyone is working exceptionally hard, but we are incredibly proud to be making a difference.”

Maj Gen Anna-Lee Reilly, Director of the Operations Directorate at DE&S, said:

“What Cook Defence has achieved is a perfect example of British manufacturing excellence and ingenuity combined with a ‘can do’ approach to problem solving. The company has applied their proven manufacturing expertise and combined it with creativity to find a solution which delivers a huge benefit to Ukraine.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

I’m impressed.

We do very good manufacturing in the UK.

If only HMG would get the postcard about energy costs and investment costs [the super deduction helps] there would be a huge uplift in the sector.

I honestly wonder if the ones Cooks are making are better than the originals? They might well be if they are made more accurately and QA is done to the standards described?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Interesting common denominator indicated here perhaps. Traditional UK engineering businesses that turn out to be family owned.
Did not know of this particular firm, but’ve long been of the opinion that JC Bamford would rapidly have been sold off to the highest bidder for a quick buck if it’d been tempted into the clutches of our City’s ‘renowned’ financial sector.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Family friend owned a medical products business.

All the rubber processed in the UK.

If you believe all vapour consultants that isn’t possible in the UK…..if us with very tight management!

However, it is getting harder and harder.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago

Good Morning. Just seen the Navalny interview unearthed on Sky. He slammed UK for harbouring rich Russians. Struck me as a very honest assessment. Would’ve got my vote – if there was democracy in Russia, that is. Mentioned last year; did a trace of a well known dental practice through what appeared a number of fronts. Ended up with an indication that owners were two unnamed persons declared residency London. Did not give nationality. Or indeed indication of ‘aire’ status, but willingly to believe not unappreciable.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

‘… Bamford would rapidly have been sold off to the highest bidder for a quick buck if it’d been tempted into the clutches of our City’s ‘renowned’ financial sector.’

As happens with thudding regularity as you have noticed Gavin.

Simon
Simon
1 month ago

Impressive to engineer Russian replacement kit and to be used in defence of Ukraine

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Simon

It isn’t just the bits that go bang which are important……

ABCRodney
ABCRodney
1 month ago

Oh my word SB you are in realms of a very old song from WW2. The Thing-Ummy-Bob I knew my Dad was too young to serve in WW2, so one day I asked him what he had been doing. So he put a Gracie Fields LP on and played the song. He had spent 7 years as an apprentice at International Combustion in Derby from 1940. Last 4 years were spent making a couple of “Thing-Ummy-Bobs”, which went together to make a “Oojy me bit” but had no idea what any of it was for. 1947 he finished his Apprenticeship… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

But without making thingummybobs you can’t have ojymybits…….

So I salute the good UK thingummybob makers that are still very much alive and trading.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

This company is outstanding! Thanks and well done!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Fascinating. I’d never heard of them!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

They were much better known as ‘William Cook’ or ‘Wm. Cook’. A UK company called Blair also made track but they have disappeared off the radar.

CR2 has German Diehl track.

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

Well done to Cook Defence – if in the very unlikely event of the UK building brand new MBT’s they would be an essential part of the suppy chain – they manufactured the Turret Structures of CR2 i believe.

David Barry
David Barry
1 month ago

Cooks have gone over to the Russians, we’re saved I tell ye

The most difficult course to pass in the British Army as no-one ever passed it.

Cooks working for the Russians is the ultimate good news story.