ARTEC consortium member, KMW, has concluded a further contractual agreement with WFEL for the production over ten years of Boxer Vehicle Drive Module fabricated hulls – together with a further contract for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) of approximately half of the 500 vehicles to be supplied to the British Army, under the £2.3bn contract signed with ARTEC at the end of 2019. This is another significant milestone for the UK Boxer MIV Programme and for the UK’s military vehicle capability, with the advent of manufacturing a new class of armoured vehicles here in the UK. The signing of these contracts now allows further mobilisation of WFEL’s UK supply chain, including placement of firm orders to procure a variety of the machined and fabricated sub-assemblies necessary for manufacture of the Boxer hulls.
This next phase of the Boxer MIV programme also embeds within WFEL welding practices specific to the manufacture of armoured steel hulls for highly protected vehicles, further developing a key skill for the UK Military Land sector. WFEL is already accredited to International Welding Standards TL2350-0003 and ISO 9606-1 and a number of WFEL personnel have, for many months, been seconded to Germany to learn the intricate details of this specialist skill, under the expert tuition of KMW’s experienced technicians. On successful completion of their rigorous training, these personnel will play a crucial part in the production of the Boxer Vehicles in North West England.
Following extensive Technology Transfer programmes and close collaborations with the ARTEC consortium, WFEL continues to develop a robust UK supply chain with technically capable suppliers. Detailed discussions with UK fabrication and machining SMEs are now going ahead for the provision of specific Boxer Drive Module hull assembly components. This further development of WFEL’s supply chain is expected to both sustain and create jobs around the UK. Additionally, WFEL will further ramp-up its recruitment of yet more specialist Operational and Fabrication personnel. WFEL expects to create around 120 new long-term jobs at its Stockport site, supporting the UK defence industry and the UK economy.
Ian Anderton, WFEL’s Managing Director, commented, “The signing of these latest contracts with KMW means that WFEL can confidently move forward to implement the next stages of the UK Boxer manufacturing programme. In doing so, we are offering a significant number of long-term career opportunities for highly skilled personnel to work on producing these advanced military vehicles, which will provide key defence capabilities for the British Army as part of its Strike Brigade. We look forward to engaging with yet more supply chain partners as we move another step closer to the first of these uniquely modular military vehicles rolling off our production lines and being delivered to the British Army.”
The contract covers the transfer of manufacturing technology from Germany to the UK for the Drive Modules for the Boxer Infantry Carrier, Special Carrier and Ambulance variants and marks a significant milestone after many months of planning, preparation and consultation following the signing late in 2019 of the £2.3bn contract between the UK Ministry of Defence and the ARTEC consortium, for the delivery of over 500 Boxer vehicles to the British Army. WFEL will play a significant role in delivering the Boxer vehicles to the British Army and is undergoing substantial investment in an advanced manufacturing facility at its North West base, to ensure compliance with the stringent manufacturing requirements of these vehicles.
WFEL’s ultimate holding company is KMW + Nexter Defense Systems N.V., a company incorporated in the Netherlands. WFEL’s immediate parent company is land defence systems provider, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co KG (‘KMW’), a company incorporated in Germany. The principal activities of the company are the design, manufacture and after-sales support of rapidly-deployable, modern bridging systems and related products for use in military, homeland security and disaster relief scenarios. WFEL has supplied tactical military bridges to 40 armed forces across the world for over four decades.