vehicles at DSEi 07: With a potential value of
£16 billion and a potential through-life cost of £50
billion, Future Rapid Effects
Systems (FRES) is the largest armored fighting vehicle program
in Europe, with up to 3,000 vehicles expected to be procured.
The MoD is targeting an initial operating capability in 2012.
At present, the competition for the procurement of about 2,000
8x8 FRES Utility Vehicles (UV) is underway toward fielding in
2012. This family of wheeled vehicles will include variants
such as a scout vehicle, to replace the current Scimitar, a
direct fire platform and maneuver support vehicles (engineer
and bridgelayer vehicles). In a follow-on procurement MoD is
expected to select a land combat vehicle, troop carrier and
mobile gun and mortar carrier systems, based on a different
tracked or wheeled platforms.(more...)
The three finalists for FRES UV - French
Nexter VBCI, German-Dutch BOXER built by Artec and the Swiss
made General Dynamics' / MOWAG Piranha Evolution based on the
Piranha V design, participated in intensive trials held this
summer. A decision based on the outcome of these tests is expected
in November 07.
Artec positions its Boxer as highly attractive for co-production
with British manufacturers (Britain was part of the vehicle's
original design). With its modular approach, Boxer enables local
production of the rear mission module while utilizing economy
of scale in the production of the main chassis.
With vehicle configuration ranging in the 30-36 ton range,
Boxer will be air transportable in an A-400M aircraft. Originally,
Britain pulled out of the program as the vehicle became too
heavy for its requirements. However, since the heavier (more
protected) FRES UV is no longer required to be air-transportable
in a Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Boxer re-emerged as a candidate
for the program.
Piranha also had to add weight to meet the MoD required specs.
In the design of Piranha V, MOWAG increased the vehicle's gross
weight to 28 tons, with a design target weight of 30 tons, five
tons over the current IV versions. It will use four steerable
axles, offering improved maneuverability in urban terrain. While
Piranha V seems to be the least mature vehicle of the three
optional candidates, General Dynamics UK promotes it as the
most attractive for Britain, since the company plans to leverage
FRES to establish local production lines in the UK, delivering
Piranha V vehicles to the British Army as well as for export.
GD UK forecasts a world market for at least 2,000 vehicles over
10 years, on top some 3,000 destined for the FRES program. GD
expects the first vehicle to roll out of the Swiss current assembly
line in 2009.
One of the key requirements for FRES is the integrated protection
suite, incorporating an Active Protection System (APS). At DSEi
07 General Dynamics/MOWAG demonstrated a Pirnha III vehicle
fitted with Saab
Avitronics LEDS active protection system, which could be
included GD's protection suite for FRES. However, active protection
is being evaluated separately as part of the overall FRES program,
and is not associated with a specific platform. Another program
launched recently is the
System of Systems Integration (SOSI), for which Thales UK
and Boeing UK were selected.
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