Vickers claimed this week that it was still in with a good chance of winning a South African tank contract worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Tanks did not feature in last week’s £3bn international arms deal.
John Boughton, Vickers sales and marketing director, quoted a statement by the South African government that a decision on the tank programme had not been taken by the cabinet subcommittee on defence procurement.
The Pretoria government said the committee recommended ‘the programme for battle tanks not be considered at this time’.
Boughton said this was in line with the company’s expectations. ‘We didn’t expect the tank to be in the first phase of announcements. We’re not surprised, we’re not unhappy.’
Vickers’ other major prospects are a Greek tank order, due mid-1999, and an order for about 40 Challenger II tanks for Qatar.