Land vehicles

Boxer Contract: £2.8bn Deal For Army Fighting Vehicle

The vehicles are expected to be built in Telford, Shropshire, in a new joint venture between two defence companies.

A contract worth £2.8 billion has been signed to provide the British Army with more than 500 new armoured fighting vehicles. 

The Boxer is an 8x8 wheeled armoured transport vehicle, designed to move troops on to the frontline. 

It has been described is a "leader in its field" by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

The vehicles will begin arriving with British Army units from 2023.

The Boxer is "modular by design" and can be adjusted to suit different battlefield requirements, according to the Ministry of Defence (MOD). 

It can be used as a troop carrier, ambulance, command vehicle, as well as a specially-designed military equipment carrier.

The Army will initially be buying a mixture of the variants, the MOD said.

The vehicles are expected to be built in Telford, Shropshire, by a new joint venture between two defence companies - Rheinmetall and BAE Systems.

The Boxer, a multi-role Armoured Fighting Vehicle. Credit: Rheinmetall Defence
The Boxer has been described is a "leader in its field" by the Defence Secretary (Picture: Rheinmetall Defence).

Nicholas Drummond, a former Army officer and defence consultant, said: "It's been a very long time coming but it's really worth it now it's here.

"One of the reasons it is so important is because it gives the Army a true expeditionary capability - something it's wanted since the late 1990s.

"That means the ability to just get in and go anywhere it wants to go... the Boxer could go anywhere the Army's gone in the last 20 years and be immediately effective.

"It's [Boxer] a marvellously capable vehicle off-road, as well as on-road...off-road it will be able to crack 50/60 kilometres quite easily."

The Boxer could have already been in use in the UK but pulled out of the original programme in 2003.

Mr Drummond said the UK "couldn't afford it at the time" but the wait means the Army is now getting a "much, much better vehicle".

"That was the right choice, although it's been a long journey, we've got to the right solution," Mr Drummond said.

The Boxer will form part of the Army's new Strike Brigades, which are set up to deploy rapidly over long distances across varied terrains. 

Major General Simon Hamilton, Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Programme lead for the British Army, said alongside the Ajax vehicle, the Boxer will ensure Strike Brigades are "ready for any global scenario".

The Brigades have recently undergone their first tests on Salisbury Plain.

They are described as "warfighting fit for the future" are set to be operational by 2025.