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Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme

Volume 534: debated on Tuesday 25 October 2011

As the previous Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), announced to the House on 18 July 2011, Official Report, columns 643-645, we are proceeding with a number of high-priority equipment projects vital to Future Force 2020 as set out in the strategic defence and security review.

I am pleased to announce today the successful outcome of the Warrior capability sustainment programme competition. Subject to final contractual negotiations we intend to award a contract to Lockheed Martin UK for the demonstration and subsequent manufacture of the upgraded Warrior vehicles with a potential value of ÂŁ1 billion.

The Warrior infantry fighting vehicle has been in service with the British Army since 1989 and has been deployed extensively and with distinction in theatres including Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Warrior capability sustainment programme will provide a major upgrade to the vehicles and extend their service life to beyond 2040. The programme includes an improved turret and a new stabilised 40 mm cannon, an enhanced electronic architecture to cope with the demands of modern communications and vehicle systems, and the provision of a common armour mounting system to allow interoperability with current and future protection technology.

The upgraded Warrior platforms will be key components within the new multi-role brigade structure, and will provide armoured infantry battalions with battle-winning capability for the future. The turret and cannon will enable the ability to fire on the move and represent a step change in lethality ensuring that our armed forces are able to counter the threats of the future. Warrior gives the Army the mobility, firepower, and protection to deliver infantry into battle and on to an enemy objective while under fire. The comprehensive upgrades will ensure that Warrior will continue to play an essential role in the conduct of land operations—whether within a coalition or nationally.

The upgrade programme delivers a cost-effective, timely, and efficient commercial solution for this essential Army capability.

The award of this contract to Lockheed Martin UK will create and sustain approximately 600 British jobs within the company and its supply chain, representing 90% of UK content, as the programme moves through the demonstration and manufacture phases. This will ensure the sustainment of UK jobs, UK skills, and UK capabilities within the armoured vehicle sector.