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Aug 02. On June 25th the four remaining bidders for the UK’s Future Support Vehicle(FSP)submitted their best and final bids for the indicated selection of a preferred bidder to be announced later in the year following the announcement of contract slippage from the original November date. Part of this has been caused by changes in DPA personnel on the IPT. The four bidders, Stewart & Stevenson and Oshkosh of the US and MAN and Mercedes-Benz of Germany have created a US Vs Europe competition, with no UK incumbent.

Significantly on 25 June the fifth bidder, Leyland Trucks, informed the UK MoD’s Defence Procurement Agency that it would not proceed with a bid.

“After conducting a through review of the MoD tender, including the required plant and financial commitments, Leyland reluctantly concluded not to pursue this business opportunity,” commented Stuart Heys, Managing Director of Leyland Trucks.

The Leyland bid was based on a new concept of military vehicles and was perceived in some quarters to have the most risk for the producer and the MoD (See BATTLESPACE February 2002). Paccar, Leyland Trucks parent, is a traditionally non-military producer, producing 40,0000 trucks in Europe per year. An additional 800 military vehicles posed certain risks with regard to supporting a programme of this size until 2036, with a guarantee of parts and support, an element that will not have escaped the other bidders. Paccar had recently decided to pull out of the Dutch military programme.

Stewart & Stevenson (S&S) announced at DVD (See BATTLESPACE MEETS STEWART & STEVENSON AT DVD), that Stewart & Stevenson TVS UK Ltd has teamed with LDV Limited, Lex Defence and Multidrive Limited to compete FSP.

LDV joins the team to provide the local assembly of the cargo support vehicles. The company recently opened a new $30m paint plant in Birmingham. The plant has a capacity of handling 80,000 vehicles annually. It, too, has embraced lean manufacturing techniques throughout the facility. Lex Defence, a division of Lex Service Plc., specializes in logistics services for the UK MoD whilst Multidrive Ltd has manufactured 20,000 litre fuel tankers for the UK MoD.

Mercedes-Benz showed BATTLESPACE its military range during Eurosatory. The company has been a major supplier to the German Armed forces for many years; the company also supplies products to many international armed forces. Tendering for the SV programme, Mercedes-Benz is offering a new family of robust vehicles, the S2000 range which the company offered for the Hungarian requirement. All the vehicles are bonneted which would be a departure from UK use which has not used such a specification for many years, preferring Forward Control trucks. Mercedes told BATTLESPACE that the bonneted design allows the company to meet the demanding ballistic requirements of the UK MoD. The UK content will be met with an agreement with Mayflower to build the cabs and other equipment for Mercedes buses. Final assembly will be in Germany.

The MAN representative told BATTLESPACE that the company will be offering its range of trucks used by the German Armed Forces Its Swindon facility will be used for support and there is a possibility that the old ERF factory may be sued for kit assembly.

Oshkosh and ABRO announced that they have agreed to partner on FSV. Under the partnership agreement ABRO will assemble cargo bodies, provide vehicle integration and deliver the in-service support and associated functions on Oshkosh’s proposal for the Future Support Vehicle contract. In addition, Oshkosh would transfer vehicle production technology and processes to ABRO. If successful in winning this MoD project, this agreement will result in approximately 100 posts being secured within ABRO, the majority of which will be at their site in Warminster, Wiltshire. Oshkosh would produce the majority of the chassis by expanding facilities and employment at its Llantrisant facilities near Cardiff in South Wale

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