North East in line for 'Boxer' jobs boost

Posted on 26 Feb 2018 and read 1128 times
North East in line for 'Boxer' jobs boost A North East engineering company could be in line for a jobs boost, as part of the supply chain for the British Army’s next-generation mechanised-infantry vehicle.

German-led consortium Artec (www.artec-boxer.com) is a front-runner in the race for a £2 billion contract; if successful, it has pledged to build most of them in the UK, and it has signed deals with suppliers including Newcastle’s Pearson Engineering (as well as BAE and Thales UK) that could see much of the work being carried out in the North East.

Pearson — part of the Reece Group, based at the Armstrong Works — already manufactures counter-mine and counter-IED equipment for armoured vehicles (its Spark mine roller has been credited with saving many lives in Iran and Afghanistan).

For the deal to come to fruition, Artec — led by Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall — would have to see its Boxer eight-wheeled Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIVs) chosen by the British Army.

The consortium is believed to be a leading contender. If the Boxer is selected, at least 60% of its ‘value creation’ and all of its final assembly will take place in the UK, according to Artec.

Rolls-Royce, Parker Hannifin, WFEL and British subsidiaries of the Artec parent companies would also act as suppliers.

Rheinmetall intends to establish a modern production and integration centre for armoured vehicles in the UK, as part of the programme. This would be a significant commitment, leading to a long-lasting armoured-vehicle production capability in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Pearson said: “We are delighted to be selected as a key member of the UK team for Boxer. We stand ready to support this important British Army programme, and we would relish the opportunity to bring armoured-vehicle manufacturing back to our world-class facility in Newcastle.”

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