British manufacturers may earn hundreds of millions of pounds under government plans to buy a new fleet of specialist off-road trucks.
Leyland Trucks, Volvo Trucks and Iveco-Ford are expected to bid for the ‘Future Cargo Vehicle’ work, industry sources say.
The Ministry of Defence is due to replace thousands of older vehicles in the four 14 tonne payload range, which are now operated by the Army, RAF and Royal Marines.
Alan Sharman, director general of the Defence Manufacturers’ Association, said the MoD wanted a ‘modular concept’ for the FCV to replace the many different types of vehicles now in use.
Briefings on the procurement have been held at the MoD in recent weeks, he said.
The ministry said the vehicles could be bought through the Private Finance Initiative, to share the costs with industry. It has been suggested that some vehicles could be operated by the MoD for Territorial Army exercises at weekends, but used by the contractor during the week.
The new vehicles will be off-road, highly mobile trucks with a payload capacity in the six 15 tonne range slightly different characteristics from the vehicles being replaced.
Firms interested in the work have to return pre-qualification questionnaires to the MoD by 4 September.
The defence ministry will shortlist six companies which will be invited to submit outline proposals for the vehicle family and for its procurement.