Photo: Cook Defence Systems
County Durham-based www.william-cook.co.uk
Cook Defence Systems has won an extension to its Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract to supply spare tracks for the Challenger 2 main battle tank and other vehicles for the British Army.
The company is the world’s leading independent designer and manufacturer of track systems for armoured vehicles — its tracks are in service on almost all the tracked vehicles in the British Army and with many other armed forces world-wide.
Jeremy Quin, the Minister for Defence Procurement, recently visited Cook Defence Systems facility in Stanhope to announce the contract extension, tour the production facility and meet representatives of the company.
The one-year extension worth £11 million covers the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle, the Bulldog troop carrier, the Stormer air defence vehicle, the CVR(T) reconnaissance vehicle, the Terrier armoured digger and the Challenger 2, soon to be upgraded to Europe’s most advanced tank, the Challenger 3.
The company is also supplying tracks for the AJAX programme, the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics UK for the British Army.
It has invested £5 million to expand its manufacturing and testing capabilities its Stanhope site since 2019 and will invest a further £1 million this year on new equipment including a new heat treatment facility and a new robotic digital X-ray inspection system.
Mr William Cook, director of Cook Defence Systems, said: “While we supply our products to British allies around the world, this export success is underpinned by our status as a strategic supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence.
“We are proud that our products keep the British Army ready for a real fight against a real adversary. Our tracks keep British tanks moving and our steel keeps British soldiers safe.
“As our most important customer, we were delighted to have the opportunity to show the Minister for Defence Procurement our world-class track design and manufacturing facilities here in the North East of England.”
Richard Holden, the MP for North West Durham, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to visit Cook Defence Systems, which is a world-leading firm based at the heart of North West Durham, with Jeremy Quin MP.
“I received an assurance from Jeremy last summer that he would visit Cook Defence Systems and I am delighted he has now been able to see in person the company’s work and the investment it is making, both in the defence of our country and in North West Durham and Stanhope. The company’s long-term plans and job creation and apprenticeship schemes for young people are particularly welcome.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Cook Defence Systems and the Minister going forward and am delighted the company has received recognition on the national stage for the significant work it does.”
Cook Defence Systems employs 125 skilled engineers including a number of apprentices and supports hundreds more jobs in its British supply chain. The company sources the vast majority of the steel for its track systems from UK suppliers.
The company has recently invested in the development of high-strength armoured steel for the Boxer 8x8 vehicles being built by the German-led consortium for the British Army.