Rheinmetall and BAE Systems have today launched a new, independent UK-based joint venture (JV) for military vehicle design, manufacture and support – known as Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL).

Headquartered in Telford in the West Midlands, the JV will sustain around 450 jobs across the UK and is well positioned for future growth, say the firms.

RBSL intends to play a major role in manufacturing the Boxer 8×8 for the British Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme and other strategic combat vehicle programmes, while also providing support to the British Army’s in-service bridging and armoured vehicle fleets.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:

“This announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the UK’s defence industry as a world-leader in designing, supplying and supporting military vehicles.

This exciting venture clearly demonstrates how Defence sits at the heart of the prosperity agenda. Its benefits will be felt in the West Midlands and across the UK defence supply chain, creating jobs, boosting exports and guaranteeing our technical skills base into the future.”

RBSL will draw on Rheinmetall’s broader military vehicle technologies combined with the additional capabilities and systems brought to the Joint Venture by BAE Systems’ Land UK business, such as Trojan, Terrier, Warrior, military bridging and the AS90 self-propelled artillery system.  

Peter Hardisty, formerly of Rheinmetall UK, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new company. He said:

“RBSL is a new business drawing on the significant strengths and expertise of both BAE Systems Land UK and Rheinmetall. Our employees in Telford, Bristol, and Washington (UK) have a valuable skill set and extensive experience in combat vehicle engineering.  With new orders, we shall be able to sustain these capabilities and expand over the coming years, seeking new opportunities in the UK and overseas.”

The new management team that will lead RBSL into the future also includes Carrie White as Finance Director and Phil Simon as Operations Director, both of whom join from BAE Systems, say the companies.

Regulatory approval for the joint venture was granted on the 13th of June 2019.

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Cam
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Cam

Looks good, but it’s a shame we lost our tank building expertise and facility’s!

Ian
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Ian

Rheinmetall has the majority share of 55%, it will now ‘likely’ have control and development of the Challenger 2 replacement/upgrade.

maurice10
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maurice10

To shut the factory knowing we would have zero ability to build more Challengers was purely a business decision, and nothing to do with our country’s defence. Sadly, at the time a lot of nonsense was being talked about the future of the MBT and how it had become obsolete. However, only the UK acted on such rubbish hence, no manufacturing capability for a new MBT. Unfortunately, we may only have one choice if and when an all-new MBT is required, and that is to buy a German vehicle?

Callum
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Callum

Buying German is potentially an option, but it’s more than possible they’ll agree to a joint development process that saves them money and shifts more of the cost to the UK. That would make the most sense politically and strategically for us, and economically for them.

maurice10
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maurice10

I’m sure there will be a successor to Challenger2, it will most likely be electric/hybrid and be made from a conglomerate of materials. That said, we would be wise not to depend on any nation for built up or KD MBTs, as that could prove politically hazardous? I’m sure you are correct about how it will most likely be configured, using this alliance to make it a viable programme. However, I would like to see the UK Government place a limit on any further percentage buy up by Rhinemettal.

pete
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pete

Diesel would be more reliable than an electric hybrid and cheaper due to less parts. When parked up for long periods the battery pack would degrade

Ian
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Ian

Rheinmetallmay may do what the other German buy-out/majority share companies do! The likes of Rolls Royce being one of them, develop and manufacture in Germany, then ship the components to the UK for assembly.

The German psyche is to ultimately Controle!

spyintheskyuk
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spyintheskyuk

Indeed as I said way back when this was originally announced this is a gradual transfer of a business to a foreign company presented as confidence in Britain and inward investment and all that claptrap. We know what Bae does when it becomes a minority shareholder more often than not and that is at some unspecified years down the line, it will sell its share in the business. In this case it is a certainly I would say, after all its main vehicle interests are abroad in the US and Scandinavia it has no real interest in this venture and… Read more »

pete
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pete

It seemed every time vickers was sold they sold off land outsourced production, gave directors bonuses until it was no longer viable on its own !

David a Hynes
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David a Hynes

I think this will be the end of our tank being British it will be German the parts will come from Germany the engine the gearbox the gun in fact I predict 80%will come from Germany and we as puppets will out it together we must be mad allowing a foreign country to build what is regarded as the finest tank in the world Bet the Germans or French would not allow us to build their tanks ,we handed our tank to them in a silver platter well done Britain not only are our army vehicles German but know our… Read more »

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

If we cannot make our own tanks, would a joint American/ British/ Canadian/ Japanese (pick as appropriate) venture be possible in the future? Let’s not have another European fudge.

Paul T
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Paul T

If a new MBT is needed id have thought the numbers for the British Army would be so small that the only option would be to just buy off the shelf from whoever .

Geoffrey Hicking
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Geoffrey Hicking

Possibly, but our technical expertise should be valuable to any tank designer. Small numbers can be decisive if the technology and training are good enough.

T.S
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And this is the crux of the issue, we just don’t buy in the numbers required to make it worth spending the R&D, low numbers mean we don’t get the economy of scale so buy even less, then higher price puts foreign buyers off. Now there’s a 101 other countries all trying to create their own defence industry. I wonder why – because it’s hugely profitable when done right. I’m afraid unless something changes soon we are watching the final days of our defence industry. Look at all the areas where we no longer develop ourselves. We just don’t have… Read more »

Paul
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Paul

Whilst it is a shame that the Germans now have a majority stake in UK AFVs (and I presume BAE’s wheeled vehicles too), this is ultimately good news. BAE were grinding their land business down and this gives it a new lease of life. Rhienmetall’s superior automotive capabilities mixed with BAE’s superior war-fighting kit capabilities (armour, electronics etc.) could be a powerful combination for MIV or a future MBT. Not to mention the UK actually allowing defence businesses to do business internationally.

Stephen
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Stephen

Indeed, it’s a shame it couldn’t have been 50/50, but it’s not all doom and gloom, like you say, at least this way we British will have some stake in a future M.B.T., etc.

Gandalf
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Gandalf

This is a joint venture not to be confused with a merger, it’s program specific.
0 chance that Germany will develop any future MBT with the UK. That ship has sailed a long time ago.
In 2012 Germany and France started dicsussing work on their next MBT called MCGS. This was finalized with the merger of Krauss Maffei Wegman (Leopard) and Nexter (Leclerc) in 2015 into KNDS.