The British Army’s next generation armoured fighting vehicle is on the way. The Army’s Boxer programme is on track with welding work beginning today for the fabrication of prototypes and subsequent series production in Germany. Defence decided to re-join the Boxer programme in 2018 and since then has committed £2.8billion to deliver over 500 vehicles to the British Army. They will be made up of four variants: an Infantry Carrier, a Specialist Carrier, a Command Vehicle and an Ambulance.
Rheinmetall will develop and fabricate first prototypes at its plant in Kassel, Germany where the first series vehicles will also be produced. Workers at the German plant will share technical knowledge, particularly their specialist welding expertise, with British colleagues at RBSL. Most of the fleet will be built in the UK by main contractors Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) and WFEL, supported by a nationwide supply chain that will secure around 1,000 jobs nationwide and create an ambitious UK apprenticeship scheme.
Delivery of the highly protected 8×8 armoured vehicles is due to begin at the end of 2022 with the first vehicles scheduled to be ready for service in 2023. The Boxer can be deployed around the world to deliver soldiers around the battlefield, travelling long distances quickly, cross country, under enemy fire and in the most challenging environments. It has a modular design, meaning that the same vehicle base platform can be quickly reconfigured with different modules to fill different roles.
The Boxer programme is part of one of the largest military modernisation projects in the world, including the roll-out of the Challenger 3 tank and the introduction of the Ajax armoured fighting vehicle. The British Army’s commitment to armoured vehicles is a commitment to British industry, representing a huge investment. Ajax is being built in Wales, Boxer will be built in Telford and Stockport, while Challenger 3 will be built in Telford. All these factories depend on dozens of other British companies, from all four corners of the nation, to build the new fleets and deliver the Army’s ‘Future Soldier’ transformation.
The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The nations participating in the Boxer program have changed as the program has developed. The Boxer vehicle is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (armoured vehicle technology) industrial group, and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). ARTEC GmbH is based in Munich; its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles GmbH on the German side, and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V. for the Netherlands.
The Boxer’s modular architecture enables many variants unmatched by any other vehicle system. New variants and upgrades are now being planned. So far, some 700 vehicles in twelve different configurations have been ordered by NATO partners Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Moreover, Australia – a close NATO ally – has ordered 211 Boxer vehicles in several different versions, the first of which have already been delivered.