Tank Think: An Armoured Vehicle Think-Tank

The year end always brings a swarm of ‘The Year in Review’ articles, swiftly followed by a flood of editorials offering predictions for the New Year. So I’m not going to write either one of these here, you’ll have had your fill of them by now I’m sure.

…But I am going to give you a brief run-down of some of the major armoured vehicle news over the last few weeks.

The main talking point recently has been around the report published by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) entitled ‘The cost-effective delivery of an armoured vehicle capability.’ The report revealed that since 1998 the UK MoD (the Department) has spent £1.1 billion on the process of acquiring a new generation of armoured vehicle, but its faltering and abortive methods have meant none of its principal vehicle programmes have yet been delivered. None.

While the financial crisis has left budgets decimated in almost every government department, the reports claims that armoured vehicle programmes have been hit hardest. “Over the past six years the Department has removed £47.4 billion from its equipment programme up to 2020-21,” the report states. Here’s the key statistic; of that £47.4 billion funding gut, £10.8 billion (23%) has been removed from armour vehicle projects alone.

Crisis then? Panic stations? Not exactly – or, as David Cameron might have regrettably said, “calm down dear.”

Strip back the sexy headlines and sensational prose and you’re just left with little more than a (nother) cheap jibe at the MoD and its procurement culture. Hardly anything new there.

What the armoured vehicle industry should concentrate on with the publication of this report is the fact that the UK government will spend £5.5 billion on armoured vehicle programmes over the next decade. The £10.8 billion ‘cut’ is blow to future capability, but it hardly means Cameron will cease signing checks.

Indeed, Defence Minister Peter Luff said in response to the PAC report:  “We recently announced a £1 billion upgrade to the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle fleet and over the next ten years we plan to invest a total of £5.5 billion in armoured vehicles.”

That said, the future of the FRES (Future Rapid Effects System) programme remains under a cloud. I expect we’ll learn more about its fate in 2012 (disclaimer: that is not a 2012 prediction).

And in other news…..

£400M COUNTER-IED PACKAGE A £400m package of protected vehicles and Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) technology, including 100 Foxhound  patrol vehicles, has bee announced by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to further improve the protection of British Forces in Afghanistan.

Force Protection at International Armoured Vehicles 2011FORCE PROTECTION ACQUISITION COMPLETES General Dynamics announced the successful completion of its tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Force Protection, Inc., for a price of $5.52 per share in cash…

AZERBAIJAN PROCUREMENT Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence Industry (MDI) will produce and hand over 60 additional Matador and Marauder mine-protected armoured vehicles to the Armed Forces, military sources told APA…

BUSHMASTER’S RESERVED FOR AUSTRALIA Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney said: “This Government will ensure that all Reserve Armoured Corps will receive Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles to provide protected transport for our troops.”

$150 MILLION KUWAIT DEAL Force Protection Industries, Inc., announced it has received two contracts for the extension of field service representatives (FSR) in Afghanistan and Kuwait from U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command, totalling approximately $150.3 million.

$7.5 BILLION PROJECT OVERLANDER The $7.5 billion Project Overlander will provide the Australian Defence Force with around 7,500 new vehicles over the next decade. Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia and  Thales Australia were down-selected.

So that’s it. We successfully managed to steer clear of an annual review and (almost) avoided any 2012 predictions.

Happy New Year all. Stay tuned for regular updates on all armoured vehicle industry news, business developments and project updates (disclaimer: that’s a 2012 fact, not prediction).

Guest post written by Andrew Elwell, Defence IQ.

Andrew Elwell, Defence IQFollow me on Twitter @DefenceIQ

^^ Since this officially ends my blog post I can mention something about 2012 predictions now……… Defence IQ is producing a research report on the Armoured Vehicle market in 2012 and beyond. Your expert opinions would be greatly appreciated for inclusion in the report. You can contribute by clicking on the following link and filling out a short survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TJ69GLX

All respondents will receive a FREE exhibition pass to the International Armoured Vehicles 2012 conference in Farnborough next month if you register before February: www.internationalarmouredvehicles.com

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