Tank builder Vickers and French state arms firm Giat this week signed a deal to co-operate in developing future armoured vehicles.
Though the deal is being touted as a move towards consolidation in Europe’s armoured vehicles industry, it does not affect competition between the companies on existing products such as Vickers’ Challenger 2 tank, now being offered to Greece, South Africa and Qatar.
‘Neither does it address the question of who would build what new product and where,’ a Vickers insider said.
Under the deal, the two firms will enter talks on the creation of a joint-venture company to supply land defence equipment.
The deal initially covers just sales and marketing, design and development, programme and contract management and procurement. ‘Manufacturing will not form part of the joint-venture discussions,’ the companies stressed.
Ironically, Vickers could find itself collaborating with Giat in promoting the Multi Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV), or ‘battlefield taxi’, for which Vickers lost out to GKN in last year’s tender competition. Giat is in the MRAV consortium, together with GKN and Germany’s Krauss Maffei.
* News Analysis, page 14