VSEL’s selection as the supplier of the first part of an order for 155mm towed howitzers for the US Marine Corps could lead to more than £1bn of business with the US Marines and Army.
The initial contract worth £25m is for eight prototype Ultralightweight Field Howitzers (UFH). These will be tested during an engineering and development phase lasting up to three years.
If this phase is successful it should be followed by a contract for an initial 190 UFHs for the US Marines with the first due in 2000.
VSEL said it was adamant that `the total US Marine and US Army requirement is expected to be up to 1,300 howitzers’. But this week’s British Ministry of Defence statement said the figure was 1,000, and of this it could only explain 950 weapons, broken up between 600 for the US Marines, due in service from 2002, plus 350 for the US Army, due from 2005.
The UFH will be built in the US by Textron Marine & Land Systems.