A Warrior infantry fighting vehicle is pictured during a firepower demonstration
at Warminster on Salisbury Plain - Picture: Graeme Main, MOD 2005
The Prime Minister has today announced that the Army's Warrior infantry fighting vehicle will benefit from a £1bn upgrade.
David Cameron was joined by the new Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and the Head of the Army to announce that the vehicles will be fitted with an improved turret and new stabilised 40mm cannon, enabling them to fire while on the move.
The upgraded vehicles will also benefit from a new standard armour mounting system, providing the flexibility to fit different types of armour and adapt to future protection technology.
The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme will extend the vehicles' service life to beyond 2040, ensuring that Warrior will continue to play an essential role in future land operations.
The MOD plans to award a contract to Lockheed Martin UK for the demonstration and manufacture of the upgraded vehicles. The award of this contract will create and sustain around 600 British jobs across the country within Lockheed Martin UK and its supply chain.
This morning, the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary and the Chief of the General Staff met with soldiers who have used Warrior on operations and who are likely to benefit from the upgraded vehicle in the future.
Announcing the upgrade, the Prime Minister said:
"This shows the concrete benefits of the fundamental changes we have introduced to modernise our Armed Forces and to bring the future Defence Budget back into balance. It means we are now able to ensure our soldiers have greater flexibility and firepower with these upgraded armoured vehicles.
"Warrior has performed outstandingly well in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and now Afghanistan, and this programme will enable it to remain effective to the 2040s. It's also good news for British business: supporting the UK's defence industry and providing 600 jobs from Farnborough to Glasgow."
The Defence Secretary said:
"As a key step towards meeting our requirements for Future Force 2020, the upgraded Warriors will give commanders and their soldiers greater flexibility and firepower. Not only is this fantastic news for the Army, it also represents a great boost to British industry - sustaining jobs, skills and capability within the UK's armoured vehicle sector."
This announcement follows the Government's recent commitment to a one-per-cent-a-year real-term increase in the MOD's equipment and support budget from 2015 - the equivalent of an extra £3bn.
The Warrior has been in service with the British Army since 1989 and has distinguished itself on the battlefield throughout its extensive deployments, including in Kuwait, Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, and it continues to do so in Afghanistan. The upgraded Warriors are expected to enter service by 2020, with the first deliveries beginning in 2018.
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall, said:
"This announcement of an upgrade to one of the Army's most important fighting vehicles is extremely welcome. Warrior will continue to be at the heart of our combat capability for at least another 25 years with state-of-the-art firepower and electronics. Wherever the Army deploys, our infantry will depend on its superior protection, mobility and lethality. This will be a battle-winner."
Alan McCormick, Vice President and Managing Director of Lockheed Martin UK's Ampthill business, said:
"We are delighted that the MOD has selected us to lead this critical upgrade effort designed to maximise the investment made in Warrior vehicles to extend their lives into the 2040s. The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme will provide a highly capable vehicle to fulfil the British Army's current and future requirements. It will also bring significant job opportunities for our team of suppliers based here in the UK."
The cannon programme is the product of Anglo-French co-operation through CTA International, a joint venture between BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Munitions and Nexter Munitions. The upgraded Warriors will also benefit from a new electronic architecture, which will be able to work with advancing technology.