17 January 2002
The biggest defence fleet deal in more than 20 years has attracted a group of five vehicle makers.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is inviting tenders for a £1.4 billion contract to supply 8,500 trucks for the armed forces.
The bid is split between three UK manufacturers - Leyland Trucks, MAN Truck and Bus and Mercedes-Benz - and Stewart & Stevenson and Oshkosh, both from the US. The order covers on- and off-road vehicles.
The contract is to be awarded this autumn. The first vehicles will enter trials in 2005 before going into service a year later.
An MoD spokesman said the purchase benefited from more efficient tendering through the newly created Defence Procurement Agency (DPA).
"We are going straight to the invite-to-tender stage, greatly reducing time by taking away the assessment phase," he said.
• Union leaders are calling on the MoD to bring forward orders for helicopters after supplier Westland cut its workforce by a fifth. The newly merged Amicus union will meet ministers to discuss the firm's options after it announced 950 job cuts last week.