Artec, a joint venture between two German companies – Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann – have signed a £2.3bn contract to deliver over 500 Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) will be one of the primary vehicle manufacturers in the UK undertaking the fabrication of the armoured vehicle structures together with the assembly, integration, and test of the complete vehicles at its Telford facility in the West Midlands.
According to RBSL in a news release received by the UK Defence Journal today:
“The MIV contract award will sustain jobs at RBSL sites in and around Telford, Washington (UK), Bristol and Dorset. The company will also double its apprentice intake for 2019 and maintain this level over the next five years to grow RBSL’s Early Careers community.
The complete programme will also create and sustain a vibrant national supply chain, with substantial investment across the industrial base in training and capital equipment. The programme aims to source more than 60%, by value, of the vehicle content from UK suppliers, ensuring that the UK maintains sovereign manufacturing and engineering expertise to support the vehicles.”
Boxer allows for any Mission Module configuration with a payload up to 15 tonnes. So far, more than 800 vehicles in various configurations have been supplied to, or ordered by, three NATO nations – Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania – as well as Australia. The Australian armed forces are introducing the Boxer under the Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) project.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced they would re-join the Boxer programme via the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, or OCCAR, in March 2018. In July 2019, Rheinmetall and BAE Systems launched a new, independent, UK-based joint venture for military vehicle design, manufacture and support – known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).
Rheinmetall owns a 55% stake in the business, with BAE Systems retaining 45%.
Peter Hardisty, Managing Director of RBSL, said:
“Not only will the delivery of Boxer provide the British Army with a complete step-change in capability to meet their MIV requirement, it will also protect vital engineering and manufacturing skills as a sovereign capability to the UK.
RBSL is incredibly proud to be a part of this milestone, alongside our partners in Artec.
RBSL has a proud heritage of working with the British Army and remains the Design Authority for almost all of the UK’s in-service armoured vehicle fleet. This programme builds on that relationship and marks a new chapter in vehicle manufacture for the UK defence industry.”
The British Army will receive Boxer vehicles across four variants: Infantry Carrier, Specialist Carrier, Command, and Ambulance. Boxer has a service life of over 30 years and will play a major role in the British Army’s Strike concept, as well as ensuring compatibility with NATO allies.