Airblast has been working in partnership with Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) to help prepare its Telford site for the production of the Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV). Airblast, a SME based in Peterborough, has produced a surface preparation facility, two surface finishing facilities and a Spall Liner facility at RBSL’s Telford site to enable work to begin on the programme. Two new positions have been created in the business as a result of the contract working with RBSL. RBSL is a defence engineering company that designs, manufactures and supports military vehicles used by the British Army and international customers.
Regarding Airblast’s role, Jack Sears, MIV Project Professional said: “We are delighted to be working with Airblast. Their expertise in surface treatment has provided us with world-class Grit Blast, Paint and Spall Liner facilities, which will be used to help manufacture the Boxer MIV.”
RBSL’s Managing Director Colin McClean said: “RBSL is proud to be regenerating this armoured vehicle capability and contributing to the Land Industry Strategy, marking a new chapter in vehicle manufacture for the UK defence industry.”
Production of the Boxer MIV marks a restart in military vehicle output at the company’s manufacturing facility. The last time a platform started manufacture there was in 1986 with the production of the Warrior fleet, which is still in service today. The Boxer programme will deliver more than 600 vehicles to the British Army. Production has been subcontracted equally between RBSL and Stockport-based WFEL. The main facilities designed, manufactured and installed by Airblast, enable the preparation and finishing of the Mission Module – the specific-to-role interchangeable sections of the Boxer vehicle.
The main blast facility is 15m long by 5.5m wide and will see operatives using hardened steel grit – a highly resilient abrasive that can be reused many times to achieve the correct steel cleanliness and surface profile prior to finishing. Two Airblast finishing booths each 15.5m long x 5.5m wide (pictured) help RBSL achieve the correct specified paint finish for the Boxer modules. The Spall Liner facility is 14.5m long x 10m wide and enables the application of the liner. This is a highly technical booth, which is fully climate-controlled allowing RBSL to precisely manage the temperature and humidity inside for optimum application.