In recent weeks both Australia and the UK have confirmed that they will be procuring the ARTEC Boxer Armoured Fighting Vehicle. ARTEC is a joint venture between Rheinmetall & Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. In development since the late 1990s, the Boxer is currently in service with the German, Lithuanian and Netherlands armies and has seen service in Afghanistan.
The ARTEC Boxer is an 8×8 armoured vehicle available in a variety of variants. Boxer is capable of travelling at up to 65mph, it weighs 35 tons, and is protected by AMAP composite armour. ARTEC claim its modular design allows flexibility and future proofing allowing for up to 12 different mission variant including command vehicles, AFVs, combat ambulances, APCs, engineering and logistics vehicles and Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles.
The Boxer’s development programme is managed by the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation – which directs collaborative armament programmes involving Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Boxer was initially a joint venture involving the UK, Germany and France but France dropped out in 1999 and the Netherlands joined the programme. The UK dropped out in favour of developing the ill-fated Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) in 2003. However, it had been announced this week that the UK would rejoin the Boxer Mechanized Infantry Vehicle Program as a partner to allow production in Britain.
In a press release from Rheinmetall, CEO Armin Papperger, said:
“As a joint venture partner in Boxer via ARTEC GmbH, Rheinmetall warmly welcomes the announcement from the UK MOD. The Boxer vehicle offers exceptional levels of protection and mobility that have been proven on operations, and we look forward to welcoming the British Army into the group of armed forces already successfully operating Boxer.”
Rheinmetall offered the British government up to a 60% workshare and sourcing of components from UK industry partners if the Boxer was selected. Final assembly of the vehicles will also take place in Britain. ARTEC confirmed that discussions with potential UK-based industry partners including BAE Systems, Thales UK, Raytheon, Rolls-Royce and Pearson Engineering had already begun.
The British MOD said in their press release (31/03/18) that the deal has the potential to support up to 1,000 British jobs:
“It is expected that British companies would compete for the manufacture and supply of many of the vehicle sub-systems, as well as for a full production and assembly line in the UK. Estimates suggest Artec’s planned investment in the UK could secure or create at least 1,000 jobs, based across the country including locations such as Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stockport, Telford and Wales.”
The MOD hopes to have the deal agreed by 2019 and the first vehicles entering British service in 2023.
The news of the British procurement of the Boxer follows the Australian Army’s selection of the vehicle following the conclusion of their three-year competitive evaluation for the Land 400 Phase 2 programme.
“It is a privilege for Rheinmetall to have been selected by the Australian Government to deliver this landmark military vehicle program. The program, one of the largest in the history of Rheinmetall, will continue our successful partnership with the Australian Government that has been delivering the latest generation of military trucks to the Army.”
An Australian government press release stated that an order for 211 vehicles would be placed worth AUS$5.2 billion and a sustainment and upgrade budget of AUS$10.5 billion. The contract to produce and maintain the vehicle will create 1,450 jobs across Australia with 40 companies involved and a Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) established near Brisbane.
Australia is procuring a Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) variant of the Boxer mounted with Rheinmetall’s Lance 30mm turret system, which is built around a MK30-2 / ABM automatic cannon. The Australian Army is looking to field Boxer CRV’s by 2021.