The Conservative manifesto has made an incorrect claim regarding Boxer armoured vehicles.

This article is part of a series looking at the manifesto claims made by the main parties in the run up to the 2019 General Election.

The Claim: “We will support the UK’s worldclass defence industry by investing in ambitious global programmes, including building the new Type 31 frigates in British shipyards such as Rosyth and a new generation of armoured vehicles, made in Britain.

The Reality: While it’s true that the bulk of the British Boxer armoured vehicles will be built in the UK in Telford under A Rheinmetall-BAE Systems joint venture, UK production work is to begin in 2024 meaning that around 30 Boxers will have been delivered from vehicle lines in Germany.  In addition, while the programme aims to source more than 60%, by value, of the vehicle content from UK suppliers, 40% is still coming from overseas.

Verdict: The bulk of the work is being done in the UK but the claim that the vehicles are “made in Britain” is not correct.

What’s the background here?

The Ministry of Defence announced they would re-join the Boxer programme via the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, or OCCAR, in March 2018. The UK left in 2003.

Germany and the Netherlands however proceeded and have since received hundreds of Boxers to outfit their respective land forces. In the end, the UK will be paying a more per than either Germany or the Netherlands did, although the UK variants will be slightly more advanced.

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Sean
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Sean

Seriously?!?! 94% are being built in the U.K., and it would be 100% if the Army were prepared to wait until U.K. production had started 🤦‍♂️

Callum
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Callum

Agreed, it’s ridiculous to say call the “Made in Britain” tag false over what are technicalities. If the vast majority are being built in this country, from a majority of British components, thats about as “Made in Britain” as anything else we produce for defence.

You wouldn’t say the T26 isn’t made in Britain, despite almost it’s entire armament being American (Mk45, Mk41, Phalanx, Bushmaster 30mm).

Julian
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Julian

Also agreed. We’ve gone past the days of all manufacturing being carving something out of a nearby rock or chopping down a tree near your home and whittling something out of the wood. Complex equipment tends to be built from components of which it’s very common for not all to be manufactured in the U.K. If anything my take-away from this article is relief that at least defence got a mention in the Conservative manifesto. They are banging on so much about the Brexit, NHS and law & order messages that I was worried that defence might not get mentioned… Read more »

nathan
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nathan

I have to agree, it seems somewhat nit-picking and miserly to call the claim: Boxers are made in Britain, false.

maurice10
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maurice10

Nonsense to not claim that the UK will have a significant share of the Boxer production. It’s no different than claiming RR cars are in part Britsih built. There is no denying the German share is notable, but that doesn’t take anything away from the UK employment figures.

Joe16
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Joe16

In defence of the article, only 60% (by value) of that 94% is UK content. So only 60% of the value of each vehicle is sourced from UK industry. Yes, absolutely, global supply chains and all of that. But it will be down to what 60% of the vehicle is British. Is that just the assembly line work of putting together all of the German manufactured components? Or are there (more high value) technology elements involved? I’d expect comms and any tactical systems to be British (Bowman), and that’s expensive, so likely makes up quite a high percentage of the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

“by investing in ambitious global programmes, including building the new Type 31 frigates” Ambitious??? They are a downgrade on existing T23’s. And I’m one who supports them! They also forget numbers. Only 5. Should be ordering 12, as 3 T23 and 4 T22 were lost to cuts from 2004 on. These announcements by MoD are routine stock answers intended for the public, a public who know little of force levels or the military in general. It is necessary for the likes of us here who have knowledge on the realities to contradict these announcements where ever possible so people visiting… Read more »

Callum
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Callum

The T31’s ambitious aspect isn’t actually to do with hull numbers: it’s to produce a frigate for £250mn, which is ridiculously cheap compared to other modern ships. If we actually succeed in doing that, then it opens up the possibility of expanding the fleet and reviving warship exports.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty ambitious to me.

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

It will be miracle. I expect hull numbers to fall to 3. We would be better of building Holland classs OPV’s.

Cam
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Cam

Nah we will have 5 type 31s built as we have to and really need them as it’s the bare minimum needed for the Royal Navy, but I wish we could order another 5 and English yards to help build most of the blocks but it makes sense constructing all in Rosyth.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

That is also fair comment Callum.

Paul T
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Paul T

I too would be amazed if the T31 can come in @ £250 million each.

David Barry
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David Barry

Nah, total flim and flam. It is not ambitious and I am heartedly fed up with listening to the party of defence mantra (And I don’t care for Corbyn either).

Eye
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Eye

Spot on Daniele, the stories could be classed as dis-information.

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

Perhaps ‘ambitious’ in this instance refers to just getting them off a drawingboard, Daniele?

Lusty
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Lusty

I agree again, Daniele.

The fact remains that currently, 3 T23 hulls and all 14 T22 hulls were paid off far too early without replacement. I’ll save delving further into it for now as this article is about the Boxer project, but I do advocate upping the budget allowance slightly per vessel and preparing to order a second batch.

I also agree with the ‘ambitious’ budget!

Gunbuster
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Gunbuster

The Batch 1 and 2 T22s where manpower intensive and expensive to run. Originally envisioned as ASW frigates able to look after themselves in the GIUK Gap they where overtaken by the more capable T23s. The lack of a Main gun was a huge oversight. Whilst the B3s where far more capable and (in earlier times they would have been classed as light cruisers.) they should have stayed a bit longer . During the defence reviews something had to give and 4 x expensive to run, gas guzzling GT powered frigates with a 300+ crew each was an easy target.… Read more »

Lusty
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Lusty

I do agree, GB, and do know and understand how the frigate programme developed and the reasons why such ships were taken out of service. As with all projects, the T22 evolved over time and the Batch 3 vessels were a different beast in comparison. I am all for scaling back on manpower intensive platforms, making the most of uniformity, greater automation and cleaner forms of propulsion within the fleet. I mean, why not – the savings alone are a good incentive. My point is that the practise of decommission without a replacement has to stop. Though a more capable… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

Or even not sell of 3 type 23s 16 frigates is a nice number. were they GP versions or ASW?

Gunbuster
Guest
Gunbuster

Marlborough had a tail. S2031 so passive only. Still managed to track some very interesting subs when we had the tail out… Much to the annoyance of our close allies.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Ah right.

Gavin Gordon
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Gavin Gordon

The article is clearly an effort to maintain some unbiased balance, commenting on all parties, using well verified facts. It would have a great many politicians scratching their heads.

Trevor
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Trevor

The article is stretching it’s limit. The issue of Boxer is it’s overwhelmingly British made and it was involved years ago with the project. Pretty sad about the comments here.

farouk
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farouk

Is this the same fact checking which loves to claim that the Typhoons sold to Saudi Arabian are British

700 Glengarried Men
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700 Glengarried Men

Don’t wish to appear negative towards Boxer but it seems a lot of vehicle for what looks like a GPMG surely it should have a 30mm gun , with co axis GPMG ,and anti tank missile thinking along lines of Ukraines BTR 4 , We had Saxon in late 80s armed with gpmg

LongTime
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LongTime

There are modules with 30mm, 40mm, 155mm +more whether we buy those is a massively different story, I also believe the header picture is the command unit variant

Cam
Guest
Cam

So we just need to buy the top large gun modules and not the base? So we could have more top modules than the base so we can fit out depending on operation.

lee
Guest

As in our Made in Britain ships. Where is the steel coming from?

Joe16
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Joe16

From plants that make the required steel. I would be far more angry about the situation if our warships were produced from the wrong type of steel, than if we’re spending a bit in Sweden, France or Spain. Would I prefer that it was British produced steel? Of course. But British steel plants have not decided to specialise in anything other than railway track (as far as I’m aware), pretty much everything else is standard structural stuff, and all of the plants are using heavily outdated technologies which are inefficient so they aren’t even always cost competitive. That would be… Read more »

Propellerman
Guest

if its AH36 plate then the majority will be produced in the UK – but where the raw material comes from the produce the plate may be another matter. nowadays most engineering steels are specialised by country and what they are set up for producing – the Germans and Swedes are better at the stainless steels, the Dutch, Poles and Czechs are geared more towards mild steel tubes and billets. The UK do a lot of plate, sections, beams and profiles. its what the market demands dictates and where the firms choose to specialize. At the end of the day… Read more »

Cam
Guest
Cam

That’s what makes me think we lost our mass ship building and steel production, not enough value in it, but we still refit and fit out new and old ships all over the UK, A&P have 4 yards in 4 different areas in England alone with various dry docks and specialist work going on permanently.