Following key contract announcements for UK Boxer partners WFEL And RBSL over the past two weeks, the UK Boxer programme continues to gather momentum with key sub-contracts expected over the coming weeks.
Boxer is an operationally proven Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV), in-service with the German and Dutch forces, on order for the Lithuanian and Australian forces. It has a unique design of a common Drive Module, interchangeable Mission Modules, provides flexibility and an easy path for upgrade and growth, with exceptional levels of protection and on-road and cross-country mobility – providing a safe and agile platform to support battlefield operations.
The Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle programme aims to source 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.
The MIV programme
In November 2019, ARTEC, a joint venture between two German companies – Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann – signed the £2.3bn contract to deliver 500+ Boxer vehicles to the British Army.
The vehicles will be manufactured in the UK, with production subcontracted equally between Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and WFEL. The companies will undertake fabrication of the armoured vehicle structures together with assembly, integration and test of the complete vehicles at their respective facilities in Telford and Stockport.
The MIV contract will sustain jobs at RBSL and WFEL sites across the UK, as well as a vibrant national supply chain. The plan is to source more than 60%, by value, of the contract from within the UK, protecting the UK’s sovereign engineering and manufacturing skills and ensuring that the vehicles remain supported through their 30-year operational life.
UK Defence Minister James Heappey said regarding WFEL’s involvement in the Boxer Programme, “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.”
*Top speed of 64 mph.
*Operational range of 1000+ km.
*Weight up to 38.5 tonnes.
*Currently manufactured in Netherlands, Germany and Australia.
Long-lead items will be procured by RBSL’s Telford works in 2022/3.
The In Service Date (ISD) for Boxer is 2023.
Boxer Supply Chain
BATTLESPACE has received a number of request from SME Readers regarding access to the Boxer Supply Chain.
It is a somewhat complex structure with divisions of activities between KMW and Rheinmetall, WFEL and RBSL.
Rheinmetall and KMW hold the Systems Design Authority (SDA) whilst RBSL and WFEL hold the System Manufacturing Authority (SMA).
The prototypes are being built in Germany for all variants and teams from WFEL and RBSL are in Germany learning how to build the vehicles.
All the engineering work is being carried out in Germany spilt between Rheinmetall and KMW
WFEL are building all the drive modules in the UK with Assembly, Test and Integration split between RBSL and WFEL
WFEL – SMA – Ambulance version based on the German not the Dutch design, Infantry Carrier and some specialist vehicles.
RBSL – SMA – All Command Post and a large proportion of the specialist carriers.
KMW is the SDA for all protection elements with MTU, part of Rolls-Royce supplying the same engines to both teams.
KMW is the sole owner of the SDA for the Drive Module with the SMA split between all four companies.
There is a Joint Procurement Team of KMW-WFEL – Rheinmetall/RBSL dealing with their variants.
NDI Virtual Supply Chain Webinar
On September 30th, RBSL in association with NDI gave a Virtual Supply Chain Webinar updating industry on the Boxer MIV and Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP).
The RBSL members of the Panel include Peter Hardisty, Rory Breen, Sales Director and Jon Borthwick Head of Procurement of RBSL. In addition, Andrew Kinniburgh, CEO of NDI was on the Panel.
Peter Hardisty opened the brief by stating that the Boxer order had been signed last year for a total of 528 vehicles, including the prototypes across KMW/RLS and driver training vehicles; the first Design Review is ongoing. The works share between RBSL and WFEL is roughly 50:50.
RBSL Boxer variants will be the Command Post and Specialist Carrier variants. WFEL, part of KMW (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann), in Stockport, will supply the Infantry Carrier (IC), Specialist Carrier (SCO) and Ambulance (AMB) variants. Delivery of these vehicles to the British Army will be made between 2023 and 2030. RFQs will be issued before production commences. Peter Hardisty said he was confident that Boxer would pass intact in the forthcoming Defence Review given its vital role for the UK’s Strike Brigades as well as Challenger 2 LEP.
The UK supply chain will be responsible for the comms suite, ECM, GVA and other equipment.
Rory Breen said that he expects that RBSL will increase its workforce over the years to accommodate the increased Boxer production and support.
Jon Borthwick gave an overview of opportunities for industry to participate in the MIV and Challenger 2 LEP programmes.
Jon Borthwick said that the 29 acre Telford plant is having a major facelift and redevelopment to transition the facility from a support facility to a major manufacturing hub with 30 tonne crane capacity, paint shops, machining, fabrication, warehousing and welding facilities. The new layout will house MIV and Challenger production lines.
(See: FEATURES – RBSL and WFEL give Upbeat Briefs On Boxer And Challenger 2 LEP By Julian Nettlefold)
On November 19th manufacture of MoD’s Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIV) moved further forward with significant contracts signed.
Contractual agreement with WFEL
ARTEC consortium member, KMW, concluded a further contractual agreement with WFEL for the production over ten years of Boxer Vehicle Drive Module fabricated hulls – together with a further contract for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) of approximately half of the 500 vehicles to be supplied to the British Army, under the £2.3bn contract signed with ARTEC at the end of 2019. This is another significant milestone for the UK Boxer MIV Programme and for the UK’s military vehicle capability, with the advent of manufacturing a new class of armoured vehicles here in the UK. This next phase of the Boxer MIV programme also embeds within WFEL welding practices specific to the manufacture of armoured steel hulls for highly protected vehicles, further developing a key skill for the UK Military Land sector. WFEL is already accredited to International Welding Standards TL2350-0003 and ISO 9606-1 and a number of WFEL personnel have, for many months, been seconded to Germany to learn the intricate details of this specialist skill, under the expert tuition of KMW’s experienced technicians. On successful completion of their rigorous training, these personnel will play a crucial part in the production of the Boxer Vehicles in North West England.
The signing of these contracts now allows further mobilisation of WFEL’s UK supply chain, including placement of firm orders to procure a variety of the machined and fabricated sub-assemblies necessary for manufacture of the Boxer hulls.
Following extensive Technology Transfer programmes and close collaborations with the ARTEC consortium, WFEL continues to develop a robust UK supply chain with technically capable suppliers. Detailed discussions with UK fabrication and machining SMEs are now going ahead for the provision of specific Boxer Drive Module hull assembly components. This further development of WFEL’s supply chain is expected to both sustain and create jobs around the UK.
Additionally, WFEL will further ramp-up its recruitment of yet more specialist Operational and Fabrication personnel. WFEL expects to create around 120 new long-term jobs at its Stockport site, supporting the UK defence industry and the UK economy.
Ian Anderton, WFEL’s Managing Director, commented, “The Boxer vehicles are amongst the most advanced armoured vehicles in the world and WFEL’s new state-of-the-art Boxer production hall, currently nearing completion, will be one of the most advanced military vehicle manufacturing facilities of its type. We have already contracted with a number of UK suppliers for the construction, site infrastructure and security facilities for this new production facility. The signing of these latest contracts with KMW means that WFEL can confidently move forward to implement the next stages of the UK Boxer manufacturing programme. In doing so, we are offering a significant number of long-term career opportunities for highly skilled personnel to work on producing these advanced military vehicles, which will provide key defence capabilities for the British Army as part of its Strike Brigade. We look forward to engaging with yet more supply chain partners as we move another step closer to the first of these uniquely modular military vehicles rolling off our production lines and being delivered to the British Army.”
(See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.22 ISSUE 47, 23 November 2020, MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS, WFEL Boxer contract)
Rheinmetall Landsysteme awards RBSL £860m subcontract
On November 24th Rheinmetall Landsysteme awarded RBSL a £860m subcontract for UK MoD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle programme; more than 260 Boxer vehicles will be produced in Telford. In a Group-internal transaction, Rheinmetall Landsysteme has awarded Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) a subcontract to manufacture more than 260 Boxer vehicles for the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme. The Command and Special Carrier variants will be produced at RBSL’s facility in Telford, Shropshire.
The subcontract, worth about £860m (€960m), marks a significant milestone for the programme, following the £2.3bn MIV contract awarded to ARTEC, the Rheinmetall and KMW consortium in December 2019.
The contract will create and sustain over 200 skilled jobs in and around Telford, with the complete programme creating and sustaining more than 1,000 jobs nationally. The award of this contract will allow RBSL to provide work and training opportunities to more than 60 apprentices over the next five years, which is anticipated to be replicated across the UK supply chain.
The MIV programme aims to source 60%, by value, of the contract from within the UK. In order to achieve this, RBSL is part of the MIV Joint Procurement Team, which has engaged with suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The team has issued over 250 requests for quotations, and RBSL has completed numerous detailed supplier audits.
By working with a vibrant UK supply chain, the MIV programme will help support economic growth and level-up regional economic opportunity. The MIV programme aims to support and enhance the UK supply chain, including SMEs. It will also ensure that the UK has, in country, the skills and expertise to support the vehicles throughout their operational life.
Millions of pounds of investment will be made across British industry in training and capital equipment, increasing productivity throughout the supply chain. RBSL alone is making a £20m investment in its Telford site to improve infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and deliver some of the highest standards of training for specialist capabilities, such as welding.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said, “Investment in Defence is an investment into British industry and this Boxer contract will create and sustain thousands of skilled jobs throughout the country over its lifetime. Defence contracts like this at RBSL in Telford will modernise and upgrade our Armed Forces whilst helping the nation build back better from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Dr Marco Nöding, RBSL Managing Director, who replaced Peter Hardisty, said, “RBSL’s subcontract is a great step forward after months of hard work. Working with Rheinmetall and other partners, RBSL is bringing new skills and technologies into the business and the UK supply chain.”
Dr Marco Noeding: “I feel proud that RBSL has the opportunity to support British industry by working with UK-based suppliers – especially given the extraordinary circumstances the UK faces as a result of COVID-19. The next step for us is to formalise our community of suppliers and ensure the British Army receives their new vehicles manufactured to the highest standards.”
(See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.22 ISSUE 48, 30 November 2020, MILITARY VEHICLE NEWS, Rheinmetall RBSL £860m subcontract)
The UK decided to re-join the BOXER programme in 2018 and the receipt of the proposal in early 2019, it took only 8 month to evaluate, negotiate and finalise the 11th amendment of the series production contract for the BOXER vehicles. The contract includes the delivery of 5 prototypes in four specific Build Configurations (Infantry Carrier, Specialist Carrier, Command Post and Ambulance). The production of the UK fleet will be shared between Germany and the UK. As a first step, the prototypes will be manufactured in Germany by the main-subcontractors of ARTEC, the companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall.
The first phase of series production will be conducted on the German production lines of both companies. Workers from the UK will be trained on how to assemble the vehicles and after the necessary knowledge transfer, the production will be transferred to new facilities in the UK. The plan says to have the first trials in June 2022 and the delivery of the first series vehicle to the British customer by November 2022.
On 5th Nov 2019 A contract worth £2.8bn was signed to provide state-of-the-art armoured fighting vehicles to the British Army. The Defence Secretary announced that the army will receive more than 500 Boxer 8×8 high mobility, network-enabled armoured vehicles to transport troops onto the frontline.
The confusing Stuff – Explaining The Acronyms!
- OCCAR-EU (Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation)
- ARTEC GbmH a joint venture between KWM (Part of KNDS) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH
- Project Arrangement (PA) when a government use an organisation to procure product and services
- Prime Contractor (prime) the organisation that accepts whole contract and takes the risks that may arise. Manage the sub-contractors they issue contracts to.
- Sub-contractor the organisation that is receipt of a contract from the prime.Supply chain, a system boundary of all the elements to deliver the product required by the prime.
- Design Authority (DA). The organisation that produced the original manufacturing drawing and parts lists. Mergers and Acquisition are noted.
- Intellectual property rights (IPR) tangible information recorded in a usable format that suitable qualified experience personal (SQEP) can understand the content.
- Intellectual Property (IP), An intangible not measurable but has value; retained knowledge and knowhow on the subject matter by persons. (often confused with IPR)
- Original Engineering Manufacturer (OEM). An organisation that produced items from the IPR.
- Embodiment are items complying with the IPR delivered to complete a product
Where UK is with Boxer
- UK Government signed via a project arrangement with OCCAR £2,800m (Including Taxes and fees) On 4 November 2019, OCCAR on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) and ARTEC signed a contract for the procurement of more than 500 BOXER vehicles. The contract encompasses four different Build Configurations of BOXER, based on a common platform in operation within three nations already. OCCAR to ARTEC GmbH contract 508 vehicle 4 variants Infantry Carrier, Specialist Carrier, Command, and Ambulance. (The prime)
- ARTEC Germany to produce earlier vehicles consisting of Circa 30 drive modules off the production line and UK Prototype 4 mission modules to update the IPR and generate additional IP relation to manufacture.
- Sub Contract from KMW to WFEL UK to produce at least 480 Drive modules, and to set to work and test 250 vehicles over 10 years in accordance to ARTEC IPR
- Sub Contract £860m from Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH to RBSL UK to Produce mission modules configured and complete a vehicles in accordance to ARTEC IPR