A programme to supply the British Army with a new fleet of Boxer eight-wheeled armoured vehicles has taken a major step forward.

Defence Minister Stuart Andrew announced at one of the world’s leading land equipment events that the Army intends to make an initial purchase of over 500 Boxer vehicles, and the Defence Minister also announced that British suppliers have been given the green light to bring forward concrete plans for the project, which is set to support at least 1,000 UK jobs.

Artec, the consortium who lead on the production of the vehicles, have been given the go-ahead to invite industry to bring forward actual contractible proposals for work on the vehicles. A big step towards making a purchase, the news means that Artec will now ramp up work to complete their supplier selection process before returning to the MOD with a formal proposal next year.

The Minister made the announcement whilst speaking at DVD2018 at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, which showcases equipment and technology for the British Army and is one of the biggest land equipment events in the world.

Speaking at the event, Defence Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“A new 8×8 armoured vehicle is a key part of our British Army’s future, and today marks a big step towards equipping our soldiers with this brand-new troop carrier. British companies are stepping up to the plate yet again for a project which could support up to 1,000 jobs across the country, and it is great to give industry the green light to now pull together a full plan of action. I am looking forward to pressing ahead with negotiations in our pursuit of a vehicle which works best for the Army, the taxpayer and British industry.”

The MoD announced that the British Army had re-joined the Boxer programme back in March, as it looks to modernise its vehicle fleet and meet the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle requirement which is central to the Army’s plans for fast-moving ‘strike brigades’.

According to a news release, manufacturer Artec will now complete supplier selection and confirm their proposal to manufacture and support Boxer in the UK, offering new opportunities to British suppliers for what is set to be their largest single order.

42 COMMENTS

    • MBDA are offering ‘Brimstone in a Box’ to the Polish army and home guard. It would fill a gap here.

      “MBDA is proposing a palletised surface-launched salvo-fire adaptation of its Brimstone air-to-surface missile to address a Polish Armaments Inspectorate requirement for a stand-off anti-armour capability.

      The proposal is part of an evolved MBDA missile package competing for two current Armaments Inspectorate anti-armour acquisition programmes – ‘Pustelnik’ and ‘Karabela’ – to equip the Polish Territorial Defence Forces (Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej – [WOT]) and Polish Army.

      Pustelnik provides for a 1.4 km minimum range easy-to-use light anti-armour weapon for the WOT; for this requirement MBDA is offering the Enforcer (KFK) disposable shoulder-launched guided weapon system.

      Karabela is effectively a two-tier programme to equip both the WOT and regular Polish Army. The ‘lower’ tier provides for the acquisition of a 4 km range anti-tank guided missile weapon – for vehicle-mounted and dismounted applications – to replace/supplement the in-service Spike LR, and for which MBDA is offering the Missile Moyenne Port?e (MMP); the ‘upper’ tier stipulates an 8 km–10 km anti-armour weapon to equip multiple platforms, including surface-launched, helicopter-launched ‘Kruk’ platforms, light combat aircraft and fast jets: MBDA is offering a Brimstone solution across all platforms.”

      • I know completely stupid idea thinking any apc worth talking about could be transported in a c130, especially when the A400 will eventually replace it.

  1. Boxer was supposed to be procured for 4 infantry battalions in the Strike Brigades, 3 of which currently operate Mastiff and one Warrior.

    500 plus Boxer is FAR more then equipping 4 Battalions.

    Maybe the rumour of the army going all wheeled and Warrior binned is true.

    • I wouldn’t have proceeded with the new Warrior turret. I would have removed RARDEN and perhaps L941A1 and converted them into APC’s by simply adding turret mounted HMGs and grenade launchers. Though saying that are they needed now at all?

      Is Boxer being procured for the secondary roles in these battalions too? That would account for some of the discrepancy. The Army doesn’t have a smaller vehicle capable of keeping up with Boxer. Warrior mounted battalions used to use FV432 and CVR(T) in those roles.

      • Maybe. Still well short, and they said an initial order.

        As far as I’m aware Ajax will be used in recc platoons of the Warrior battalions replacing Scimitar as well as in the 4 Cavalry regiments of the RAC.

        The myriad variants of CVRT like Spartan with Javelin teams, FV432 Mortar carriers and Sultan command vehicles will also be replaced by turretless variants of the ASCOD vehicle.

        A turreted variant of boxer as a fire support vehicle is also rumoured. Could they use the Warrior turrets?

        • I haven’t seen an orbat for the Boxer battalions. But you would be looking at what 60 as base (3 x rifle + support) And another 12 for secondary stuff. So 80 plus -ish Times 4 that would be over 320. Perhaps they are just buying more to outfit more battalions?

          Wouldn’t a fire support version be something like the US MGS? A have seen photos of the Ajax base vehicle with a 120mm gun. I wonder if Challenger’s replacement will be 120mm low pressure guns mounted on Ajax and Boxer chassis?

          Something seems a foot.

          • An Ajax 120mm would be a useful alternative at the least. There are a lot of places Challenger can’t easily deploy because roads and bridges can’t support its size and weight, particularly in places like Eastern Europe. An ideal solution though would be a new lightweight MBT build from the ground up to have as much commonality with Ajax as possible. Something like the Japanese Type 10 but with Ajax parts.

      • The MRV-P programme is intended to procure smaller wheeled protected mobility platforms to keep up with Boxer in the Strike Brigades.

  2. If we bought a big fleet of Boxers with modules for APC, Command, IFV, Ambulance, SPG, Rocket Artillery, Air Defence (Camm?), Engineering and Repair and Recovery variants we’d have an incredibly adaptable vehicle pool that could be tailored to just about any conflict. There’s even a Pearson made portable bridge that was shown on a Piranha III recently. Since Pearson are already lined up to make the drive sections for Boxer it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them to integrate it into boxer. We’d also have a vehicle capable of self deploying at pace with very little logistics burden.

    • Boxer will provide the Infantry with lightly armed, protected mobility in the 2 new Strike brigades. It could be viewed in a sense as replacing Saxon. The army is not being increased, that last happened in 1939!

  3. Boxer with twin quad launchers for Brimestone looks awesome. Rumours of a CAMM capable version as well from MBDA.

    British army needs to stop preserving infantry battalion capbabges and invest in real fire power like this.

  4. Light mobile forces using airborne sensors to target stand off precision weapons is the the best way to structure the army going forward. Such light forces are also adaptable to other tasks such as coin, peacekeeping, garrison and training missions. We cannot sustain sufficient armoured mass to fight in the boar fashion because of our more strategic capabilities air and naval capabilities. We also need much greater standardisation and modularity like boxer provides. It would also be good if the tribalism of the regimental system could be reduced with larger standing formations and the transfer in of the commando force.

    • Well on larger formations and cap badges, the army has already merged numerous Regimental names. Look at the Rifles. 7 Battalions which once included tge RGJ and LI. Royal Regiment of Scotland. Mercian. Yorkshire others too.

      Only the individual Guards Battalions survived that.

      I would not want to remove the regimental system too much though as to me that is what gives the army a certain something others lack.

      • Daniele,

        I think the regimental system is good – but needs changing somewhat – for the British a regiment should really be a battalion now, that way we keep the DNA of the army but in a more scale able manner, I think in this format we could accommodate 64 combat regiments / battalions as follows

        16 Commando (8 RM, 4 Para, 4 Gurkha)
        16 Light inf
        16 Mech
        16 Armour

        Plenty of room for 48 cap badges outside of our commando force.

        And yes I would combine all our elite forces into a single commando force covering Sea/Air/Jungle..

        • I’m always fascinated by these orbats that you’ve obviously spent ages planning, but don’t always follow how you get to certain totals.

          Example. The RAC currently has 3 Tank, 3 Scimitar, 3 Jackal Regiments, plus the RAC Centre Regiment at Bovington. I’m not including the reserves.

          9 front line regiments. So how are you getting to 16 Armour? Where are the assets for another 7 Regiments coming from??

          16 Mech. We have 3 at present. 9 if by mech you’re including the Warrior units.

          I’m not poo pooing your orbat I’m genuinely interested how you propose getting to those figures.

          • Bearing in mind that an infantry battalion and RAC Regiment are similar sized in the British army, just differing terms. You cannot form 3 Armoured battalions out of a single current regiment. That would be squadrons as far as the RAC is concerned.

          • Hi Daniele

            Good point, so Mech is wheeled vehicles with 4 brigades each of 4 battalions of 760 combat personnel (support is split out and added in as needed later).

            Armour is the tracked assets, so anything with a track I class as Heavy armour, mainly as a speed thing, Ajax cant keep up with Boxer but you could mix them if you wanted to.

            An armoured Division would have the following

            90 Challengers (battalion 20)
            256 Warriors (battalion 64)
            136 Ajax. (Battalion (32)

            Total required is
            360 challenger
            1,088 Warrior
            544 Ajax

            Plus loads of other vehicles we already have, for the mechanised fleet we would go with 1088 Boxer and 1088 Mastif (other protected we already have)

            So if we ordered 2200 Boxer (and I have seen reports of an order for 2000 units) then this would essentially give us what we need to standardise.

            What this clearly shows is for a standardised ORBAT we will need more Warriors (or replacement) and challengers (or replacement).

            My personal preference is to order 4K boxers and a fleet of 168 Apaches instead, but I think that is too much for most people.

            The Land force needs the most modernisation as we have a hitch potch of assets from the last 30 years of fighting, some good, some not so.

            Lastly an order for 4,000 boxers would enable the UK to build its own manufacturing facilities for military vehicles which I believe we need

  5. Hi folks hope all are well,
    Good news. Where does this now place the Challenger 2 upgrade project? So long as funding isn’t slized off. Come to think of it what’s happened to Gavin’s review?
    All the best.

    • The Challenger 2 upgrade is totally unaffected by Boxer procurement or re-configuring of the Army’s ORBAT. On forming the two Strike Brigades (equipped with Ajax and Boxer), the army, sadly, lose an armoured infantry brigade thus there will only be two ergo we reduce to just two armoured regiments (tank battalions) equipped with CR2. CR2 has been in service for over 20 years and desperately needs that upgrade.

  6. I was at DVD yesterday hovering up gizzits like a mad man. Free pens, mugs, USB sticks and even a new baseball hat (thank you H&K).
    Boxer looks impressive, I asked the chap on the stand about the Warrior situation and he said the MOD was enquiring about options for a further 600 but it was all about feasibility and nothing on paper.

    George: The new Chally looks good, spent a while chatting with the BAE lads and had the chance to get inside for a look around, no pictures apparently, not even sneaky ones. Massively different on the inside, less cables, Ajax screens, same ish controls. It will be interesting to see where RM goes with it. If they manage to sort that gun out it will be an absolute monster.

    BV

      • See Nigel’s article link below. Bothe BAE and Rheinmetall maintain a smooth bore gun will be relatively straightforward, although out of scope it seems. It does all depend on ammunition storage though I believe from other comments I’ve seen on here.

  7. I do wish people who are not either Americans or fond of rounders wouyld stop using ‘step up to the plate’. Sounds like ‘sitting down to supper’.

    • Realistically Chris, if we had the money and common sense we would replace warrior with an Ajax variant and build a replacement for challenger (if we are going to retain heavy armour).

      My own personal view is that we would be better served with a boxer only estate backed up with a lot more Apaches (say 300). As people have pointed out Boxer itself is a base platform that can have loads of different modelled on it and for me speed and flexibility is key.

      I really dont see a role for Warrior, challenger or Ajax if we only had the balls to go for 4 fully integrated Strike brigades that each had 64 apaches assigned to it.

      This would give us a huge offensive punch, stabilised costs and flexibility. Given the cost of the Apache at present – its a bargain

      I know this isn’t popular among many, but a brigade with 1024Boxers, 512 JLTV’s and 64 apaches in my opinion could go toe to toe with anything out there.

      And we need 4 of them.

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