Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land has received a £860 million order for 260 command and special carrier variants of the Boxer Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The order has come to Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) courtesy of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence & Equipment Support Agency (DESA), the UK’s defence procurement agency. The vehicle’s will be manufactured in RBLS’s manufacturing facilities in Telford, generating two hundred jobs in the region. The contract is a component of the larger Mechanized Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme. The MIV, was founded in 2018 to facilitate the UK’s return to 1998’s European Boxer IFV project. The integration of the Boxer IFV and it’s continued procurement will be handled by the MIV programme. The programme is currently acquiring five hundred Boxer IFV units of all variants, at a cost of £2.3 billion, from the Franco-German ARTEC Consortium. The command and special carrier variants, fit into this order as a subcontract, under the management of RBSL due to it’s existence as a joint-venture between Rheinmetall and BAE Systems formed specifically to produce the UK’s Boxer A3 IFV’s. The delivery of the contract to RBLS follows last month’s £16 million order for repair and upgrade services on the Fuchs CBRN reconnaissance vehicle. The success of that order foreshadows the abilities of RBLS to execute today’s order correctly. The parties have not yet specified the date of delivery for the Boxer command and special carrier variants. The Boxer IFV are expected to have a service life into the 2030s.
The command and special carrier variants ordered are not true ‘variants’ but instead, are vehicles fitted with different mission modules designed to create an adaptive vehicle. The command and special carrier models will share the same Boxer modular base, to achieve these adaptive ability. The modular base works to execute its mission flexibility through having an irremovable driving module, coupled with a removable mission module. The replacement of the mission modules takes an hour in total. The base platform is equipped with 8 x 8 wheels, with the whole platform weighing between 36,500kg – 38,500kg with a length of 7.93m, a width of 2.99m and a height of 2.37m. The Boxer requires a crew of three and is able to carry eight troops in its hull. The vehicle can achieve 64mph, through the use of a MTU 8V 199 TE20 diesel engine producing 805 horsepower. The Boxer is capable of a 683 mile range on one fuel tank and protected with Advanced Modular Armour Protection class B (AMAP-B) on the outside and AMAP-L on the inside. The command configured Boxer type requires the introduction of a command post module. The command post module functions as a tactical communications hub combined with a mobile office. The mobile office component provides space for four workstations, one senior officer, two staff officers, one staff assistant and an additional officer of any role. The special carrier module is as yet unspecified, but will likely include Boxer variant capable of carrying hazardous materials.
The Boxer IFV is the result of a European cooperative project between the UK, France and Germany. The programme was developed in 1998, to produce the next generation of armoured utility vehicle for European forces. The joint-venture partially collapsed in 1999 with French withdrawal, the run up to the Iraq War led the withdrawal of the UK in 2003. The UK’s return to the Boxer programme occurred on the 4th of February 2018, with the signature of a Boxer supply contract between DESA and ARTEC. The ARTEC consortium is a joint-venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V. The three companies are specialists in the production of armoured vehicles. The ARTEC consortium is fulfilling the MIV order with the aid of British engineering firm, WFEL. WFEL specialises in the construction of battlefield bridges and has been a frequent supplier to both the US and UK armed forces. The company is based in Stockport and has most recently been involved in building jet launching infrastructure for the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. The companies involved in the MIV programme are grouped under KNDS, a partially French state owned holding company formed through the union of the Nexter Group and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The 260 order being fulfilled by RBSL this week will go towards the complete fulfilment of the MIV programme.