WFEL to manufacture armoured Boxer MIVs
Under the recently signed £2.3 billion contract between UK MoD and ARTEC – the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall consortium – a significant portion of the manufacture of the 500 Boxer Armoured Vehicles for the Army’s Strike Brigades will take place at KMW’s UK subsidiary, WFEL.
The Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle programme aims to source more than 60% by value of the vehicle content from UK suppliers and these 8 x 8 wheeled vehicles will be supplied in several different configurations, including an armoured personnel carrier, field ambulance, command vehicle and specialist carrier.
Delivery of the vehicles is expected to start from 2023 and this order marks the return of the UK to a European Defence Programme, having taken part in the Boxer project while in its infancy. Boxer is now on its way to becoming one of NATO’s standard vehicles.
James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, said:
“Investing in the Boxer programme is a prime example of Defence doing more than ever to level-up the UK economy through employment. By developing our relationship with WFEL, we are also supporting high-skilled jobs across the UK supply chain. This partnership ensures we engage with our people from the very beginning, connecting talented apprentices with the valuable roles Defence has to offer.”
RAF Submarine Hunters 1st Touchdown in UK
The RAF’s new submarine-hunting Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) has touched down for the first time in the UK.
The aircraft is the first of a new £3 billion programme, including the purchase of nine state-of-the-art Poseidon jets, which will improve the UK’s ability to track hostile targets below and above the waves.
Poseidon aircraft will protect the UK’s continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent and be central to NATO missions across the North Atlantic, co-operating closely with the US and Norwegian Poseidon fleets.
The UK’s purchase of the Poseidon is in response to increased threats such as Russian submarine activity in the Atlantic returning to Cold War levels, while China is also investing heavily in new Arctic facilities, infrastructure and ice-capable ships.
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:
"Our Poseidon fleet will soon join an integrated UK force of fighter jets, ships, submarines, helicopters and highly-trained Royal Marines, ready to operate in Arctic conditions. The UK will not stand by if peace in the Arctic region is threatened."
"RAF Lossiemouth’s strategic northerly location makes it one of the most important air stations in the UK: already home to half of the UK’s Typhoon Force, and now sitting at the heart of our anti-submarine operations."
The Poseidon is designed to carry out extended surveillance missions at high and low altitudes. The aircraft is equipped with cutting-edge sensors which use high-resolution area mapping to find both submarines and surface vessels.
Each aircraft carries sonobuoys which are dropped from the aircraft into the sea to search for enemy submarines, surveying the battlespace under the sea and relaying data back to the aircraft.
Poseidon will also be armed with Harpoon anti-surface ship missiles and Mk 54 torpedoes capable of attacking both surface and sub-surface targets.
MOD Invests More Than GBP 1Bn in Wales
Ministry of Defence statistics for 2018-19 show more than 7,000 Welsh jobs supported by UK defence expenditure. Defence spending in Wales reached more than £1 billion for the first time last year (2018-19) supporting more than 7,000 jobs.
Ministry of Defence figures published on 30 January show that the department’s procurement spend in Wales increased from £960m in 2017-18 to £1.08bn last year – an increase in per capita spending from £310 to £350.
Major defence projects in Wales include the production of the Army’s next generation of AJAX armoured fighting vehicles at General Dynamics UK in Merthyr Tydfil and Oakdale, the development of a new £11m Royal Naval Reserve centre in Cardiff Bay and a £250m contract with Raytheon in Broughton to provide support services to the Royal Air Force’s fleet of surveillance.
It is estimated that around 7,700 jobs in defence in Wales are now being supported by UK Government defence spending, up from 6,300 in 2017-18.
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:
"UK Defence spent more than £1bn with Welsh industry last year supporting thousands of private sector jobs."
"This investment in businesses such as General Dynamics, Raytheon and others makes Wales a genuine defence industry hub and one of the most competitive places in the world from which to innovate and deliver security."
Among the military bases in Wales is the home of 160 Brigade HQ Wales in Brecon while a light infantry unit is to be based at MOD St Athan which will become the main Army base in Wales as well as a major RAF base.
In 2017, the runway at RAF Valley on Anglesey was restored as part of a £20m refurbishment extending its operational life for a further 25 years. All new UK fighter pilots pass through Valley before reaching their frontline squadron.
The area around Brecon and Sennybridge are home to major Army training facilities and every year hosts Exercise Cambrian Patrol which sees military units from across the world travel to Wales to test themselves on the demanding two-day course. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
"Defence continues to provide security and prosperity as we see billions invested across the UK and the subsequent hundreds of thousands of jobs supported."
Other recent UK Government defence investments in Wales include the awarding of an £82m contract to Qioptiq, based in St Asaph, to maintain surveillance and targeting equipment over the next five years.
Make UK snap survey – Ahead of their National Conference 2020 on 25 February, Make UK want to gather views from manufacturers on what the Government’s priorities should be in the upcoming trade negotiations with the EU and elsewhere. We are sure that NDI members will have strong views on this subject and can take part in the survey here.
HMS Audacious: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of the delay in the delivery of HMS Audacious to the in-service dates of the (a) final three Astute submarines; (b) Dreadnought submarines; (c) the schedule for dismantling out of service nuclear submarines and (d) the requirements for nuclear licensed dock capacity at Devonport; and if he will make a statement, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey stated;
The delay to the delivery of Audacious will have some impact on the schedule for the next Astute Class, Anson. We remain committed to delivering all seven Astute boats by the end of 2026. The Dreadnought programme is unaffected and remains on track for the first of the Dreadnought class submarines to enter service in the early 2030s. The planned in-service dates for Royal Navy submarines are withheld as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces. The schedule for dismantling decommissioned nuclear submarines is unaffected. Work to determine the future infrastructure requirements at Devonport is continuing and is unaffected by the delay to the delivery of Audacious.
Military Bases, Lighting: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the (a) electricity cost of perimeter floodlighting of military bases and (b) potential cost saving of moving to LED or other energy efficient bulbs for such floodlighting, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey stated;
Energy usage of perimeter floodlighting of military bases is not metered separately and no estimate of costs are held.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to improving energy efficiency across the defence estate in line with the Net Zero ambition. Energy efficient lighting is one aspect of this and there is a proactive programme to transition to LED lighting. However, as MOD is not able to baseline the cost of perimeter floodlighting, potential cost savings cannot be provided.
Armed Forces: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department has made on the development of Joint Force 2025; and if he will make a statement, Minister of State for Defence, Anne-Marie Trevelyan stated;
In 2015 we set out a step change in our ambition for UK Defence; the ambition to be able to war-fight at scale by 2025. Our headmark for this is Joint Force 2025, a highly capable deployable force of around 50,000 personnel drawn from all services. We have made significant progress in delivering the Maritime Task Group, Army Division, Air Group and Joint Forces that make up this deployable force. But there are still challenges. We know the threat picture for the UK has evolved since 2015, this was acknowledged in our Modernising Defence Programme, and there is still work to be done to ensure we are on track for delivery by 2025. The forthcoming Integrated Review on Security, Defence and Foreign Policy and the Comprehensive Spending Review provide us a unique opportunity to refresh our plans for Defence to make sure that we are delivering the right capability to keep the country safe now and in decades to come.
Unmanned Air Vehicles: France: asked the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress has been made on the development of an unmanned combat air system programme with France; and if he will make a statement, Minister of State for Defence, James Heappey stated;
The UK is continuing to work with France in the £65 million Future Combat Air Systems Technology Development Co-operation (FCAS TDC) programme. This programme is primarily aimed at improving the interoperability of current and future UK and French combat air platforms.
DASA has just launched a new Innovation funding competition, "Map The Gap" with a total fund of £1.2m available to fund proposals for novel solutions to take survey measurements across both sides of a wet gap crossing and support semi-autonomous reconnaissance prior to crossing the gap. The full details and competition documents are here.
DASA is seeking solutions to the following challenges:
Challenge 1: Measure the ground bearing capacity of the far bank of a wet gap obstacle, by taking an average of five readings with a tolerance of ±50kPa. We are particularly interested in novel methods for gathering this data.
Challenge 2: Produce a bank height profile of the far bank contact zone (shown in Figure 1), encompassing up to 2m below the minimum waterline and 8m inland of the bank edge. The profile should be produced with a minimum horizontal resolution of 10cm and vertical tolerance of ±1cm.
Challenge 3: Measure the gap width (between banks, with a tolerance of ±5cm) and the vertical difference in bank heights with a tolerance of ±2cm. Systems will need to cope with banks that could be up to 300m apart. (Future systems may be required to measure further.)
Challenge 4: Measure the local flow rate of a river and produce a full riverbed profile. For the purposes of this challenge, we are interested in water depths of up to 3m, and river widths up to 300m. (A future capability may meet greater requirements.)
Key Competition Dates
Group Dial in date: Feb 13th 2020 - Join the competition team for a short briefing on the competition process and scope followed by an open forum. Register here.
Bookable 1-2-1 dial in sessions: Feb 13th 2020 - a 15 min slot to discuss your proposal with the competition team. You can book a 1-2-1 here.
Closing Date: 26th March 2020 midday
WFEL to manufacture armoured Boxer MIVs
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