The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is hoping the procurement of a fleet of light armoured infantry vehicles will be a boost for Welsh supply chains.
The MoD is hosting an event for Welsh businesses interested in being involved in the manufacturing of Boxer light armoured infantry vehicles.
As part of the negotiations with Artec, the German joint venture that will supply the Boxer, the MoD is hoping to win the rights to have the fleet of vehicles fully assembled domestically, with at least 60% of the manufacturing being done by British industry.
The government is not expected to make a final decision on whether to buy the vehicles until the fourth quarter of 2019. However the MoD has already made it clear the Boxer is its prefered choice – a move that drew criticism from MPs because it was done without competition. The first Boxers are expected to come into service in 2023.
Alun Cairns, secretary of state for Wales, said the potential value of the defence sector to the Welsh economy should not be underestimated.
He said: “The Artec industry day provides a significant opportunity for Welsh businesses to capitalise on the supply chain opportunities presented by the Boxer programme and the wider defence sector.
“The experience they will gain from it will provide them with the additional credentials needed to help springboard them into other markets and I encourage them to take full advantage.”
Because the UK played a role in the original design and development of the Boxer, the MoD is hoping it will be able to “reassume the rights” it had as a project partner to allow the vehicle to be built and exported from the UK.
Stuart Andrew, minister for defence procurement, said a deal with Artec to manufacture the Boxer in the UK could create at least 1,000 jobs.
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