The UK MoD Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) has announced the signing of a £2.8bn (A$5.24bn) contract with the European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) for the provision of 500 Boxer 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles to the British Army.
The contract was signed just one day before the UK government’s shutdown in the lead up to the December general election, and follows the British Army’s selection of Boxer in April 2018.
“Our men and women of the Armed Forces deserve to have the best equipment to do their job,” UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement. “The Boxer vehicle is a leader in its field, and I look forward to it arriving in units from 2023.”
“This is excellent news for the Army, and I’m delighted that we can now move forward with a contract for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle. We are looking forward to continuing to work closely with the Army and our partners across industry to deliver the best equipment and support for our troops.”
The British Army will acquire a mix of Boxer variants, including troop-carrying, ambulance, command vehicle, and specialist designs to carry military equipment.
The contract signature caps off an often-turbulent procurement process for the Boxer by the UK. Originally a partner on the vehicle’s design and development, the UK withdrew from the program in 2005 ostensibly because Boxer could not be carried by a C-130K/J. Since then, the RAF has been equipped with larger C-17A and A400M transports, both of which can carry the Boxer.
Since the 2018 down-select, the UK has been negotiating with OCCAR and with Artec, a joint-venture between Rheinmetall (64%) and Krauss-MaffeiWegmann (36%), to rejoin the Boxer program.
“I am delighted that we have committed to delivering the Mechanised Infantry capability through the purchase of around 500 battle-winning Boxer vehicles for the British Army,” Maj Gen Simon Hamilton, Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Programme lead for the British Army said.
“Boxer completes the suite of platforms to equip our new state-of-the-art STRIKE brigade where, alongside Ajax, Boxer’s low logistic need, extended reach, high-mobility, and advanced digitisation will ensure STRIKE is ready for any global scenario.”