I am pleased to inform the House that on 31 March the British Army took a major step forward in securing a potential deal to get a fleet of new armoured vehicles by re-joining the Boxer programme, which could support at least 1,000 British jobs. The UK will re-join the programme and explore options to equip the Army with the state-of-the-art 8x8 troop carriers (mechanised infantry vehicles) to modernise its vehicle fleet. The UK played a major role in the design, development and testing of Boxer, and would reassume the rights it had as an original project partner, thus allowing the option for the vehicle to be built and exported from the UK. The intention would be for at least 60% of the manufacturing to be within British industry, sustaining and developing UK industrial capabilities, facilities and skills.
A capable mechanised infantry vehicle is integral to the Army’s new strike brigades. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) conducted a comprehensive market analysis of mechanised infantry vehicles in-service, entering service and in development. The analysis was guided by the British Army’s requirements and how best to deliver them. The Boxer is the stand-out performer across a wide range of requirements including protected mobility, capacity, flexibility, utility and agility, and is a worthy choice for the British Army, who deserve the very best equipment. With the ability to rapidly adapt to suit our soldiers’ needs and perform across multiple climates and terrains, the Boxer would provide the British Army with a credible medium capability, enabling commanders to provide an appropriate level of response to emerging threats.
The MOD is now taking forward negotiations with the organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) and Artec to look at options to purchase the vehicles. Any deal will be subject to commercial negotiation and assessment in 2019 and the aim is to have the first vehicles in service with the Army in 2023.