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10 January 2003. Truck manufacturer Oshkosh is in line for a £160m contract to build new wheeled tankers for the Ministry of Defence, creating up to 180 new jobs at their South Wales factory, Defence Procurement Minister Lord Bach, announced today.

The deal, means Britain’s Armed Forces will get an advanced fleet of fuel and water tankers and will also help sustain an additional 128 posts at Oshkosh’s Llantrisant plant and up to 28 jobs at the MOD’s ABRO Agency.

The project will see the Armed Forces get nearly 350 highly mobile wheeled tankers from 2004, capable of transporting large quantities of bulk fuel and water to our front-line troops. Oshkosh Truck Corporation will carry out a substantial amount of the work at their factory at Llantrisant, South Wales.

Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement said: “I am delighted to announce the selection of the Oshkosh Truck Corporation as Preferred Bidder for this important contract. It will give our Forces one of the most advanced wheeled tanker fleets in the world, while ensuring the British taxpayer gets the best possible value for money. It is good news for our Armed Forces and good news for Wales. ”

“These wheeled tankers will give our troops a much improved capability for transporting vital supplies while on deployed operations. They are far more capable than their predecessors and will have cross country capabilities and the ability to be fitted with blast proof armour. Deliveries will start in 2004, initially supporting our air manoeuvre capability, including the Joint Rapid Reaction Force”.

The Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain, said: “This superb announcement of more jobs for Llantrisant and comes only a few days after news that Cogent Defence and Security Networks are planning 200 high-tech jobs for Newport. This announcement is another major boost for the South Wales manufacturing sector and enhances still further our growing reputation in defence-related industries. It reflects well on the Welsh workforce and its ability to rise to the challenge of new, state of the art industry.”

The new fleet will be more reliable and manoeuvrable than existing vehicles. It will consist of a mix of Close Support Tankers for fuel (20,000 litres), Close Support Tankers for water (18,000 litres), and Tactical Aircraft Refuellers (15,000 litres). They will replace the MOD’s current fleet of wheeled fuel tankers, which are nearing the end of their operational life.

Oshkosh will be responsible for improved arrangements to maintain and support the vehicles through their 15 year service life. They will provide a quick and flexible supply of spares, carry out major maintenance work, and conduct conversion training and supply of manuals and publications. Much of the in-service support activity will be carried out at ABRO in Warminster, Wiltshire, under sub-contract from Oshkosh.

Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer said “These truck-tankers will have unmatched reliability, rugged performance and parts commonality, which make them excellent value for money for the MoD. In essence, we have effectively reduced the life-cycle costs associated with military trucks and delivered a vehicle forces can trust to handle the most demanding missions.”

During the production phase, ABRO Warminster will integrate the pumping module into the tanker-trailer chassis, couple together the tractor-trailer and tractor-unit, and conduct all necessary testing, licensing and registration processes prior to issuing the vehicles to the customer. ABRO will also be responsible for maintaining the vehicles using a number of ‘smart’ support initiatives, designed to improve the through life support of the vehicles, sustaining in the region of 10 further jobs at locations throughout the UK. Other initiatives include the just-in-time spares supply and conversion training and supply of manuals and publications, supported by other UK based suppliers.

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