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29 Jan 04. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the huge multi-billion Support Vehicle Contract which involves the supply of 8500+ trucks to the U.K. MoD over a multi-year support period may be going the way of the U.S. companies Stewart & Stevenson and Oshkosh. A Stewart & Stevenson spokesman told BATTLESPACE that the dollars weakness had helped the bid and the company now had the support of the Birmingham Trade Unions for its Industrial participation part of its bid. BATTLESPACE understands that a report was sent to the IAB but returned for re-work. One of the suggestions from the DPA may have been for a split contract with different suppliers for different types of vehicle, often suggested as one of the ways forward by BATTLESPACE.

Commercial Motor has reported that MAN has offered as part of its package that offset from the Austrian Eurofighter Typhoon requirement could be used for the purchase of Austrian built trucks. BATTLESPACE is looking into this further but at first sight, with the Austrian requirement believed to be led form Germany and forming part of the original German requirement that this would be hard to negotiate and cause cost implications for BAE and the U.K. government.

One solution, which has been expected, is to split away the wrecker vehicle requirement into a separate contract. Oshkosh showed its new wrecker at AUSA in 2002 and is well placed to win this requirement. EKA its U.K. opponent which is offering equipment to all the other bidders S&S, MAN and Mercedes Benz is believed to be more expensive than Oshkosh.

The S&S bid would certainly suit the West Midlands industrial base and its FMTV, already chosen by the U.S. Armed Forces is streets ahead of its competitors in terms of size and performance. Mercedes-Benz is having another drive day for its products suggesting a possible worry here.

A final decision is expected in late February or March.

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