View Full Version : MoD Allows Purchase of Foreign Armored Vehicles

06-24-2009, 09:12 PM
MoD Allows Purchase of Foreign Armored Vehicles
By andrew chuter
Published: 23 Jun 2009 14:48

LONDON - Britain is to throw open it's armored fighting vehicles requirements to all comers as part of a new sector strategy rolled out by the Ministry of Defence here June 23.

The strategy, announced by procurement minister Quentin Davis in a parliamentary statement, concluded that Britain was prepared to purchase armored vehicles from the international market so long as the appropriate design rights can be acquired to enable future modification requirements The future approach on armored vehicles is part of a wider strategy looking at the land sector, which is due around the end of the year.

A document released by the MoD on the vehicle strategy said the purchase of design rights will be "subject to affordability considerations."

Speaking at a land warfare conference at the Royal United Services Institute later in the day, Davis said the current rules where lead contractors retain exclusive rights was "no longer appropriate."

Davis has been saying for months that he didn't care where armored vehicles are built so long as they could be maintained and upgraded locally.

The new strategy document has now made the purchase of foreign built vehicles official.

Industry executives said the new strategy formalized a situation that has existed in reality for the last two years.

"Basically, today's announcement brings clarity to the issue," said one executive.

Britain has long had an open-door competition policy for many defense sector products, and that had already extended to armored vehicles in recent years. The Panther command and liaison vehicle was imported from Iveco of Italy and General Dynamics Piranha V was the preferred choice as the utility variant of the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES).

The Piranha deal fell apart after months of negotiation as a result of design right ownership issues.

Most of the urgent operational requirement purchases for Afghanistan and Iraq come from places as far apart as Singapore and the United States.

The defense industrial strategy of 2005 made it clear vehicle purchases could come from overseas so long as the design authority established a substantive U.K. presence.

Under the MoD strategy document the local build requirement and the substantive presence here no longer appears to be the case.

The strategy document said though that to retain operational sovereignty Britain needed access to a competent AFV system design capability together with the ability to maintain and upgrade vehicle fleets.

It placed the government-owned Defence Support Group at the center of that strategy.

The document said DSG "capability and capacity should be utilized to the maximum extent possible in individual project delivery strategies.

The MoD did acknowledge it would remain dependent on industry involvement to support the work of the DSG.

BAE, Britain's largest land systems company, said in a statement it "noted publication of the strategy and we will be digesting its contents. We believe there is still a place for partnering [between BAE and the MoD] in many circumstances to bring benefits to the front line and the taxpayer."

Davis also used the RUSI conference to announce the MoD was just weeks away from issuing invitations to tender for a FRES tracked scout vehicle and an upgrade of the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle with a new turret and other improvements.

Both vehicle programs have the highest priority in the British Army.

Industry executives said they had been told contracts would be placed for the FRES scout vehicle and the Warrior as early as February 2010.

The procurement minister said the MoD would revive the requirement for the utility variant for FRES with an in-service date about 10 years away. http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4153499&c=EUR&s=LAN