Lockheed Martin is to bid for the contract to upgrade the British Army’s Challenger 2 tanks, in collaboration with Elbit Systems.
The team will submit a proposal to undertake the Life Extension Project that will see the main battle tanks in service until 2035.
According to a press release:
“Lockheed Martin UK is the prime contractor for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme, which is upgrading a minimum of 380 armoured fighting vehicles for the Army. The company is also designing and delivering 245 turrets for the AJAX vehicles that are being produced by GD UK.
In June, a new £5.5 million manufacturing facility was opened at Lockheed Martin’s Ampthill site in Bedfordshire where work on Warrior and AJAX will be undertaken. If successful, the facilities would also be used to deliver the Challenger 2 LEP, creating and safeguarding jobs at the site.”
Richard Muir, Business Development Director from Lockheed Martin UK, said:
“We have a proven track record of designing and delivering turrets for armoured fighting vehicles through the Warrior and AJAX programmes. The ability to transfer knowledge between programmes ensures commonality and reduces risk. We have invested millions of pounds in our facilities and have doubled our workforce of skilled engineers to develop our Ampthill site into a centre of excellence.
By teaming with Elbit Systems UK, and using our established and predominantly UK-based supply chain, we’re confident we can offer an innovative solution to extend the life of Challenger 2 and deliver improved capability to the British Army.”
Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said:
“Elbit Systems’ reputation as a leader in solutions for land forces is based on more than four decades of experience. Elbit produces one of the most diverse and comprehensive ranges of land-based sensors and systems in the industry.
The company’s total solution concept covers the entire spectrum of combat vehicles, from complete modernization and training to maintenance depots and life-cycle support services. Working through its UK subsidiaries, which employ some 500 people, Elbit Systems Ltd expects to both create and sustain high tech jobs in several locations across the country.”
BAE Systems, Rheinmetall and others in the industry have expressed interest in the Challenger tank upgrade project.
As announced in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, Challenger 2 will form a key part of the British Army’s capability through to 2035. In order to achieve this, several key systems will need to be replaced.
Jennifer Osbaldestin, Managing Director of BAE Systems Land (UK), said:
“We have taken an innovative approach in teaming for this bid to enable the best and most experienced partners to develop and deliver a winning solution. This approach gives us access to capabilities and facilities that will sustain Challenger 2 through life and offer a value for money solution for British taxpayers.
BAE Systems designed and built Challenger 2, we are now excited about the opportunity to use our expertise with the rest of Team Challenger 2 to update and integrate new technology to further extend the capability for the British Army.”
The MoD is to name the winning teams around October and select a winning submission in 2019.