A contract valued at around £2.3bn to build Boxer armoured vehicles for the British Army is expected to safeguard and create ‘a substantial number of British jobs’.
The Artec consortium, led by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), signed the contract with the Ministry of Defence to produce over 500 Boxer 8×8-wheeled vehicles in configurations including an armoured personnel carrier, command vehicle, specialist carrier and field ambulance.
Delivery of the vehicles, which are part of the UK’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) procurement programme, will likely start from 2023.
The total number of Boxer vehicles delivered by Artec or on order now exceeds 1,400 units. In a statement, Artec said that 90 per cent of the Boxer vehicles destined for the British Army will be produced in the UK, primarily at plants operated by Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and KMW’s subsidiary WFEL.
Commenting on the deal, defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “The vehicles will form part of the Army’s Strike brigades, new units set up to deploy rapidly over long distances across varied terrains.
“Boxer is modular by design to meet these requirements – the same vehicle base can be rapidly reconfigured to fill different roles on the battlefield, from carrying troops across deserts to treating severely injured service personnel on the journey to hospital.
“Initially the army will buy a mixture of the troop-carrying variant, ambulances, command vehicles, and specialist designs to carry military equipment.”
There are currently 700 Boxer vehicles in 12 different versions on order from Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Australia has ordered 211 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) in seven variants, the first of which was recently delivered.
The new order marks the return of the UK to a European defence programme, having taken part in the Boxer project when it was still in its infancy.