The British Army is currently upgrading about 500 FV430 Mk3 Armored Personnel Carriers with specialty armor and upgraded components (including IED jammer antennas in some cases), in order to equip an armored battlegroup. The intent is to replace many of Britain’s overworked, no-air-conditioning Warrior fighting vehicles in theater. While the up-armored “Bulldogs” lack the Warrior’s 30mm cannon and blazing speed, they are better protected, have air conditioning, are less hostile-looking to locals, and aren’t as apt to tear up local roads due to improved tread designs. These modified FV430s weigh 13 tonnes (28,600 pounds), with a top speed of 44 mph/ 70 kph, and can carry 8 infantry plus a crew of 2. The net result is the replacement of many Land Rovers and Warriors in the Iraqi theater with Mastiff Cougar variants and FV430 Bulldogs, which offer more protection for urban warfare scenarios.
As of July 2007, more than 200 of the upgraded vehicles have already been delivered on time and on budget. Now the UK MoD has confirmed that an order has been placed with BAE Systems Land Systems and their main subcontractor, ABRO, for an additional 400 Bulldog vehicles to be modified to the new standard, bringing the total to 900.
The Bulldogs’ improved protection has received positive reviews on the streets of Basra, Iraq. Col. John Ogden is quoted as saying:
In the wake of 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, the US passed Section 2203 of Public Law 109-234, “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, The Global War on Terror and Hurricane Recovery 2006.” The stated purpose was to help shipbuilding capability recover by repairing and/or replacing shipbuilding facilities, “to make lasting improvement in shipyard facilities that would result in measurable cost reductions in current and future Navy shipbuilding contracts, and to improve the ability of shipbuilding facilities on the Gulf Coast to withstand damage from potential hurricanes or other natural disasters.”
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems (NGSS) has ‘won’ $98.6 million, the first of a series of contracts with Gulf Coast shipbuilders to be awarded under 109-234, s.2203. An $86.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for infrastructure improvements to NGSS shipyards in Pascagoula, MS (Panel Assembly Line at NGSS Ingalls, 61%) and Gulfport, MS (composite manufacturing facility, 26%) and a $12.4 million option for infrastructure improvements to the NGSS shipyard in New Orleans, LA (panel assembly line at NGSS Avondale, 13%). Avondale has received state modernization aid as well, after shoddy workmanship issues surfaced in relation to the LPD-17 ships being built there. Work is expected to be complete by September 2010. The contract was competitively procured and advertised via the Internet, with 18 proposals received from 7 offerors by the Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. (N00024-07-C-2309).
Sometimes, the nice thing to do as an ally is also the fiscally smart thing. Take military maintenance, for example. If your fighters are based in an allied country that flies the same aircraft, and that country has already set up depot-level maintenance for them, why duplicate that infrastructure in-theater, or ferry your planes back home for in-depth work? Instead, hand the contract to the firm(s) doing this work for your ally. This helps strengthen the alliance, encourages allies to buy from you in future, and saves money.