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20 Nov 15. Tanks a lot: Cook Defence Systems wins £70m Army deal. Cook Defence Systems’ contract to support British Army vehicles with tank tracks secures 110 jobs. The British Army’s tanks and armoured vehicles will be kept rolling by Cook Defence Systems (CDS) after the privately owned business secured a £70m deal with the Ministry of Defence.
The Country Durham-based business has landed a four-year deal to support vehicles including the Army’s Challenger II main battle tanks, Warrior armoured personnel carriers and Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles with replacement tracks.
CDS is a leading designer and manufacturer of the caterpillar tracks and running gear for armoured vehicles and the agreement will secure 110 jobs at Cook’s base in Stanhope, as well as other positions in the company’s supply chain.
William Cook, general manager, said: “Tanks tracks may appear low-tech compared to drones and missiles but as armoured fighting vehicles become heavier and more powerful we have to use the latest manufacturing techniques and materials to minimise the weight and maximise the lifespan of track systems.”
Made out of steel and rubber, tracks are one of the most important parts of an armoured vehicle, giving them their “go anywhere” capability. However, they wear out over time, meaning creating more durable systems makes the military more effective.
The Army also needs to hold a ready stock of spare track parts to keep their vehicles operating, making them as important as ammunition or fuel when it comes to maintaining combat readiness.
How long a track lasts depends on the weight of the vehicle and where it is operating. However, for one of the Army’s 62-tonne Challenger tanks, a track can be expected to survive between 2,000km and 5,000km, with them wearing out faster in sandy desert conditions than soft mud such as on the Army’s Salisbury Plain training grounds.
The contract to supply the steel and rubber tracks which can be fitted by armoured vehicles’ own crews is welcome boost for CDS, which has not secured a contract from the MoD for two years and reported a £189,000 loss last year.
Mr Cook added: “We have a history of supplying the MoD and the performance of the business recently reflects the lack of orders from it. However, we kept investing in our products and factory and the result is this four-year contract.”
The deal continues a long relationship between Cook and the MoD, with the company having supplied tracks and armour to Army since the Second World War.
CDS is part of engineer William Cook Group, an engineering business which started in 1840 when the great great grandfather of current chairman Andrew Cook set up a saw factory in Glasgow. (Source: Hawker Chase/Daily Telepgraph)
18 Nov 15. Brazil to buy 1,200 armoured 6x6s by year’s end. The Brazilian Army expects to buy 1,200 serial-production VBTP-MR Guarani 6×6 amphibious armoured vehicles from Brazilian firm Iveco Latin America by the end of the year, the army’s Projects Management Office (EPEx) told IHS Jane’s on 17 November. The acquisition process will be sent to Brazil Attorney General of the Union for approval before a contract by the army’s High Staff is signed with the contractor. The army has so far purchased 188 vehicles comprising a pilot batch and three batches for doctrinal experimentation. Several improvements to the VBTP-MR Guarani are planned to become standard on future and already produced vehicles. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
17 Nov 15. The Australian Department of Defense have issued a request for information for 450 tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) as part of the Australian Defence Force’s largest ever land systems acquisition program. Project LAND 400, which is now in its third phase, has been a major overhaul of existing aging equipment of the ADF and in total