British Tactical Truck Order Rises to GBP 1.35B
A deal announced on June 29, 2006 by UK Defence Procurement Minister Lord Drayson will add more trucks to Britain’s program to replace its Armed Forces’ tri-service fleet of 4-tonne, 8-tonne, and 14-tonne cargo and recovery trucks. The UK Ministry of Defense release notes that it is exercising an option for 2,077 more vehicles, extending the GBP 1.1 Billion contract it placed with MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG subsidiary MAN ERF UK Ltd by about GBP 250 million.
In July 2006, the British Ministry of Defence placed the follow-on order even before the vehicles in the main order, which were undergoing field trials, had been delivered. This update notes additional details that have emerged re: the trucks, and progress with deliveries as the UK prepares to deploy them abroad…
Placing a follow-on order before the first order’s deliveries have begun is generally a sign of either excellent performance and high confidence, or buyer desperation. In this case, it’s likely to be the former. The new vehicles will begin arriving into service in 2007, and are designed for quick up-armoring against minor land mine blasts and small arms attack on missions where such equipment is considered necessary. The HX medium trucks and SX heavy vehicles are partly built in the UK, where they are currently responsible for about 400 British jobs.
Over 80% of these trucks are destined for the Army, but there will also be new vehicles for the Royal Marines and RAF. Improvements include better brakes, more comfortable cabs with air-suspended seats to reduce future medical claims, air-conditioning (critical in very hot climates), and the latest in advance diagnostic and fault finding systems that predict maintenance. GPS will keep track of the vehicles’ locations, and the trucks can also be fitted with an applique armour kit to protect the crew from small arms fire and mine blasts, and are ready to receive BOWMAN radio equipment. They can operate across a variety of rough terrain in extreme environments, and weven ade ashore from landing craft.
The trucks are expected to be in service for around 20 years, and are designed to carry 379 defined loads: everything from ration packs to other vehicles. Cost is about GBP 105,000 (about $200,000) for the most basic variant.
MAN Group’s release notes that the additional 2,077 truck option builds on an original March 2005 contract for “just under 5,200 vehicles,” and comprises mainly four-wheeler vehicles with some eight-wheelers. They will be delivered between mid-2007 and 2013. MAN Group also gives order values of EUR 300 million for the option, and EUR 1.6 billion for the overall contract after the new option. Given the variances of US conversions and DID’s uncertainty re: the exact currency arrangements, Britain’s Support Vehicle Program can be assigned a value of $385-450 million for the option, and $2.0-2.5 billion for the overall contract.
The delivery of the new vehicles to Defence Training establishments in July-August 2007 represented the first stage of entry into service, with current plans for the vehicles to be deployed on operations during 2008. The deliveries will continue for the next 7 years, with chassis and cabs being built at MAN’s plant Vienna before being shipped across to the UK to have their bodies and role-specific equipment fitted.
Most servicing will be done in-house by MOD, with deep maintenance carried out by the manufacturers. That means less time away from the front line. This Contractor Logistic Support package is also designed to lead to a long-term, fixed-fee support & maintenance partnering arrangement, per Britain’s December 2005 Defence Industrial Strategy.
- UK MoD (June 5/08) – 32 tonne trucks roll off the production line. These are the UK’s recovery vehicles, with a gross vehicle weight of 32 tonnes and a crane that will lift 15 tonnes at a distance of 2.3 metres.
- UK MoD (March 10/08) – New Army cargo trucks head for Canada’s training fields. Over 100 trucks will form part of the training fleet at BATUS (British Army Training Unit Suffield) in Canada so that troops are able to gain experience in driving and maintaining the vehicles before they go on operations. The trucks will be deployed to operational theatres later in 2008.
- UK MoD (Aug 14/07) – Lord Drayson announces delivery of new MOD cargo vehicles. The Ministry of Defence announces that it has taken delivery of 161 trucks as the first stage of the program.
- UK MoD (June 11/07) – Green Giants on the Way. Adds details re: the trucks and the program.