A Stockport company is one of two armored vehicle manufacturers to have won a significant extension to a multi-billion pound contract with the British Army.
WFEL in Stockport and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land in Telford have been asked to manufacture 100 more vehicles on top of the initial £2.8bn contract with the armed forces. The new deal means 623 vehicles will be made in total, with the first set due to roll off the production line next year.
Now estimated to be worth over £3bn, the supply chain to add this equipment to the UK military fleet will initially see 117 of the Boxer armored vehicles produced on German production lines, as factories in Telford and Stockport prepare to produce the rest. 506.
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According to Business Live, the first Boxer armored vehicles will arrive in units from 2023, with the overall program protecting up to 1,000 jobs nationwide, including 120 at WFEL in Stockport. The British Army Deputy Chief of Staff visited WFEL’s Stockport site to announce the commissioning of 100 additional vehicles.
According to WFEL, Boxer vehicle manufacturing is already well advanced at the new specialist plant in Stockport, with the first vehicles expected next year. The 8 x 8 wheeled vehicles will be manufactured and supplied in several configurations, with the finished Boxers being used as armored personnel carriers, field paramedics, command vehicles and specialist transporters.
Defense Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “This order will speed up the delivery of the Boxer fleet to the British Army and increase its numbers. Upgrading ground gear is a vital part of the Integrated Review, which we continue to deliver on. alongside our German allies, creates opportunities for our two armed forces.”
The additional 100 vehicles will see additional infantry carriers, command and control vehicles and ambulances being manufactured for the Army’s new Armored Brigade Combat Teams. The state-of-the-art vehicles are said to offer much better mobility and protection than their predecessors, with a lifespan of over 30 years. Production started in July 2021, after the technology and practices were implemented in the German factory.
Chris Bushell, Director General of Defense Lands, Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the Department of Defence, added: “This contract extension is great news for the Boxer program and the commitment of Purchasing 100 additional vehicles demonstrates our confidence in the program and the capacity benefits.
“Not only is this great news for the future of the UK military, it will also reinforce our commitment to investing in the UK’s defense industry and supply chains, which means we we can retain critical engineering and manufacturing skills in the UK.”