The first official sub-contract for a UK company involved in the production of the MoD’s new Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles program has been awarded by a member of the ARTEC consortium to WFEL.
The contract covers the transfer of manufacturing technology from Germany to the UK for the drive modules for the Boxer infantry carrier, special carrier and ambulance variants and marks a significant milestone after many months of planning, preparation and consultation following the signing late in 2019 of the £2.3 billion ($4.1 billion) contract between the UK Ministry of Defence and the ARTEC consortium, for the delivery of over 500 Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
WFEL’s managing director, Ian Anderton, said, "Our teams have been liaising closely with members of the ARTEC consortium, particularly KMW personnel, culminating in the awarding of this contract, which we are delighted to receive.
Boxer is a state-of-the-art wheeled armoured vehicle that offers outstanding mobility and protection. Boxer will form an integral part of the British Army’s new Strike Brigade capabilities and shall have a service life of over 30 years. Battle-proven, it is in service across NATO and was recently selected by Australia.
"We can now move further forward with developing our own supply chain partnerships around the UK, creating and sustaining high levels of employment and we’re looking forward to eventually seeing these superb vehicles in use with the British Army," Anderton added.
WFEL will play a significant role in delivering the completed Boxer vehicles to the British Army and is undergoing substantial investment in an advanced manufacturing facility at its North West base, to ensure compliance with the stringent manufacturing requirements of these vehicles.
In November 2019, ARTEC, a joint venture between two German companies – Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall – signed the £2.3 billion contract to deliver 500+ Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
The vehicles will be manufactured in the UK, with production sub-contracted equally between WFEL and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL). The companies will undertake the fabrication of the armoured vehicle structures together with the assembly, integration and test of the complete vehicles at their respective facilities in Stockport and Telford.
The MIV contract will sustain jobs at WFEL and RBSL sites across the UK, as well as a vibrant national supply chain. The plan is to source more than 60 per cent, by value, of the vehicle content from within the UK, protecting the UK’s sovereign engineering and manufacturing skills and ensuring that the vehicles remain supported through their 30-year operational life.
Australia's $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 program will have Rheinmetall deliver 211 8x8 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army.
Under the company's offering to the Commonwealth, Rheinmetall will build a majority of the vehicles at the company's specialised Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland.
The first 25 vehicles will be built in Germany as part of the technology transfer process, with the remaining vehicles to be built in Australia. Boxer will replace the ageing ASLAVs that have served with the Australian Army in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Army will accept 133 reconnaissance variants of the Boxer, which will be equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance 30mm automatic cannon turret system, among a number of other variants.
The Boxer CRV will support Australian industry, sourcing specialised armoured steel from Australian steel companies BlueScope Steel and Bisalloy, with engineering support provided by Melbourne-based Supacat Asia-Pacific