RBSL and Rheinmetall have jointly awarded a contract, worth Â£28m, to RFEL to supply Driver Vision and Local Situational Awareness Systems for the British Army’s Boxer vehicles under the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme. The British Army will receive the latest generation of the Trailblazer solution, using the most advanced processing technology and high-performance video sensors available, covering both the visible and infra-red spectrums. RFEL’s Driver Vision and Local Situational Awareness System acts as a network of high-resolution cameras giving the vehicle crew a complete view of the battlefield. Together, they form RFEL’s â€˜Trailblazer Vehicle Vision Solution’.
The contract will sustain over 30 current jobs at RFEL’s site on the Isle of Wight and create at least 10 additional roles over the next 10 years. RFEL will expand its workforce in procurement and production roles, as well as assembly and test technicians. The company will also recruit a number of technical apprentices and provide further training opportunities for existing employees. RFEL has invested in a new production facility on the Isle of Wight and recently completed an extensive re-fit of facilities, including new dedicated lab-spaces, hosting a reference system for the MIV programme. RFEL is also looking to expand its footprint on the UK mainland with increased production capacity, including a new dedicated 1000sqm facility to support key UK programmes.
The supply chain for Trailblazer is almost exclusively UK-based. RFEL will use local suppliers for precision machining and painting, as well as UK suppliers for all the Printed Circuit Boards. Glass and optical assembly is also UK-based (Wales), as is the development and manufacture of the wiper systems (Worcestershire). Connector and cable assemblies are also sourced in the UK and the Driver Display will be sourced from a UK SME in Buckinghamshire. Assembly, calibration and test will be conducted by RFEL on the Isle of Wight.
Richard Streeter, RFEL Managing Director, said: “Ensuring the safety of the Boxer crew and supporting them in mission success in their operations is a great responsibility which RFEL will deliver with Trailblazer, using the best and most current technology. We take huge pride in our products and their success; the MIV contract award from RBSL and Rheinmetall Landsysteme has been a huge boost to the company and the positive impact on the RFEL team and our wider supply chain will be felt for years, even decades to come.”
Bob Seely, MP for Isle of Wight, said:ZI would like to congratulate the team at RFEL for securing this contract that will help to boost the Island’s economy and support Island jobs. We need businesses to grow and thrive for future prosperity and I’m pleased that this contract will do just that. I also welcome the use of technology to help protect the lives of those in active service as they carry out their important work. This is life-saving technology and I’m proud that an Island business has produced it.”
The British Army will receive the latest generation of RFEL’s Trailblazer solution on Boxer vehicles. It is designed for all weathers and light conditions, including hatches down driving. The system uses RFEL’s leading â€˜Video Fusion’ technology which provides excellent coverage with ultra-wide field of views, giving unparalleled situational awareness whilst offering a small physical footprint and simple platform integration. A software-defined capability ensures the camera modules can be updated with product enhancements, keeping step with customer requirements and ensuring longevity of service. The system is also fully-GVA (Generic Vehicle Architecture) compliant, supporting multiple views for the driver and crew.