RBSL has awarded a circa £25 million supplier contract to Pearson Engineering to fabricate the turret structures for the British Army’s Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank. The two companies marked the announcement with a steel cutting ceremony at Pearson Engineering’s facility, Armstrong Works, in Newcastle. The group received an update on the Challenger 3 programme and addressed members of the Pearson Engineering workforce at the historic Newcastle site, before cutting the first piece of steel for the Challenger 3 turret structures using a water-jet cutter. The ceremony was attended by Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP and British Army Director Programmes, Major General Simon Hamilton, plus colleagues from DE&S, Army HQ, RBSL and Pearson Engineering.
Craig Priday, Managing Director for Pearson Engineering, said: “This important contract for Pearson Engineering, delivered together with our sister company Responsive Engineering, demonstrates our success in bringing armoured vehicle manufacturing back to the North East. Alongside our strong export business, this multi-year project utilises the world class capabilities of our team at Armstrong Works, and allows us to further invest in skills, jobs and the local economy. It has been a real pleasure to welcome key stakeholders here today for the steel cutting ceremony and we look forward to working with RBSL as the programme progresses.”
Brig Nick Cowey, Challenger 3 Senior Responsible Owner, said: “I’m really excited at this key milestone in the Challenger 3 programme being achieved on schedule. The turret fabrication being conducted here by Pearson Engineering is crucial for the delivery of a fully digitised turret, ensuring that our modernised Main Battle Tank is the most lethal in Europe.”
Dr Marco Noeding, Managing Director for RBSL, said: “Today’s announcement marks the latest in a series of UK supplier contracts awarded by RBSL for Challenger 3, ensuring the programme benefits from the best of British engineering and manufacturing whilst also sustaining valuable skills across the country.”
The steel structures will house the turret subsystems which will ensure Challenger 3 is a network-enabled, digital Main Battle Tank with state-of-the-art lethality, upgraded survivability, plus world-class surveillance and target acquisition capabilities. The Challenger 3 subcontract, alongside other current land programmes, is a valuable investment in the north east of England and will sustain 285 skilled roles at Armstrong Works as well as prompt a £4 million investment in its machining capability. The contract will help the company recruit several new technical roles across project management, engineering and design, as well as 20 apprentices under an expanded STEM outreach programme.