Vickers Defence Systems (VDS), part of Rolls-Royce plc, has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the supply of next-generation engineer tanks for the British Army.
Baroness Symons, Minister for Defence Procurement, confirmed the order, worth more than £250 million, during a visit to the VDS facility in Newcastle.
Under the new contract, the company will provide 66 specialist engineer tanks for use by the Royal Engineers. Two variants are to be supplied – Trojan, a flexible obstacle and mine clearance vehicle, and Titan, a bridge-laying vehicle.
According to a statement, the vehicles are designed to operate in areas of high-intensity combat. They will allow the Royal Engineers to provide support to the British Army by helping the progress of battle groups by clearing obstacles such as mines and bridging natural and artificial gaps as wide as 26 metres.
Trojan and Titan will be based on chassis of the Challenger 2 main battle tank. The resulting commonality of spare parts, maintenance and training will reduce the cost of supporting the Army’s overall fleet of armoured vehicles.
‘We will supply 33 of each of the Trojan and Titan vehicles,’ said Colin Clark, Chief Executive of VDS. ‘All will be finally assembled and fitted out on Tyneside. This helps to ensure continuity of workload both in our facilities in Newcastle and also those of our suppliers.’
The order for the design, development and production of Trojan and Titan is said to follow a successful feasibility study completed by VDS during August 2000.