My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) is a long-term programme to deliver a medium-weight armoured vehicle fleet with higher levels of deployability and survivability than the current fleet of in-service vehicles, with the potential to grow its capability as new technology becomes available. FRES is an incremental programme to replace parts of the Army’s Saxon, FV 430 and CVR(T) vehicle fleets and deliver a new medium-weight capability. It is the Army’s top equipment priority behind support to current operations.
In November 2007, we announced that the utility vehicle design trials had been successfully completed on schedule, and that a recommendation had been produced primarily based on technical design considerations. Further work has been completed with all three potential providers to clarify the commercial implications of their proposals. I can now announce that we have provisionally selected the PIRANHA 5, offered by General Dynamics (UK) Ltd, as the preferred design to be taken forward to the next stage of the utility vehicle programme.
This decision was made by following the guiding principles of a competitive assessment to select a design that best met the Army’s requirement for a combination of value for money through life, timely delivery, high performance and growth potential.
PIRANHA 5’s confirmation as the preferred design will be subject to the completion of a package of work on risk reduction to ensure that it will provide the Ministry of Defence the best possible capability at the right price and at the earliest opportunity.