The British Army is home to some of the world’s most advanced technologies and now, new armoured vehicles are next on the list. This is a historic event for the UK Defence industry as it’s the first time in several years that any new armoured vehicles will be manufactured in the UK.
The company tasked with producing the Boxer Mechanised Infantry Armoured Vehicles is WFEL, a leader in tactical military bridges. Production will commence at its new manufacturing plant in the North West of England.
Making The Next-Gen Armoured Vehicles
The vehicle sub-assembly process has been taking place over the last few weeks at WFEL’s production facility. As part of an extensive Technology Transfer Programme between WFEL and parent company KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), many UK welding staff have undertaken job rotation of up to a year at KMW’s Boxer manufacturing site in Hamburg, Germany.
At the German facility, staff who worked on the production of Boxer modular armoured vehicles for KMW’s existing customers are now fully qualified to manufacture the complex fabrication process of the Drive Module hulls for the UK Boxer variants.
Recommended: ‘UK Defence Engineering Leading From The Front‘
Continued Support For Boxer Modular Armoured Vehicles
WFEL is the go-between for KMW in the UK employing high levels of content. They will create and protect engineering and manufacturing skills whilst ensuring that all Boxer armoured vehicles receive support throughout their operational life.
In addition to manufacturing the armoured hulls for the British Army’s version, WFEL is also responsible for AIT, the Assembly, Integration and Testing of all 225 Boxer armoured vehicles. This forms part of the £2.3 bn contract signed between UK MoD and ARTEC.
The Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin said this programme “marks a significant milestone for the Boxer MIV. It means these modernised modular vehicles are one step closer to being delivered to the British Army.”
Initial Concept Design And Functionality
The Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) is the British Army‘s concept of an 8 × 8 wheeled vehicle. The idea came from a failed Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) programme aimed at delivering vehicles that would replace the Army’s reconnaissance and Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) fleet.
It can be deployed quickly to deliver soldiers to the battlefield, travelling long distances across all types of terrain. These armoured vehicles can withstand a tremendous amount of enemy fire and perform admirably in the most hostile environments.
The modular design means the same vehicle base platform can be reconfigured with different modules for various roles. Initially, the plan is to buy a troop-carrying variant, an ambulance, a command vehicle and a specialist carrier.
Sub-Contract Engineering Opportunities And Job Creation
WFEL has also created several sub-contract engineering opportunities as part of the supply chain rollout programme. This includes agreements with Horstman, David Brown Santasalo and BCW Engineering.
WFEL is also continuing its recruitment drive for the Boxer programme with many long-term employment opportunities covering various roles at the company’s new Stockport manufacturing facility.
“Supporting 120 jobs in Stockport, vital knowledge and industry expertise will be central to building armoured hulls and assembling the finished Boxer vehicles required for future Army capabilities,” said Quinn.
Not only will the MIV contract sustain many jobs at WFEL and RBSL across the UK but it will also result in a vibrant national supply chain. The Boxer MIV programme aims to source 60% in terms of the value of the contract from within the UK’s borders.
PRV Engineering has worked with the defence sector for several years developing armour-plated products for the outside of military vehicles, mounts for internal equipment, electronics and exterior mounts for ancillary items. Visit the website for more information about our wide range of products and services.