Engineer agrees £30m supply deal for military vehicle construction

Engineering company WFEL and its parent Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have clinched a supply deal for construction of the UK Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle.

The Stockport company’s agreement is with Huddersfield-based David Brown Santasalo (DBS) for the supply of powerpack blocks for the military vehicle, and is worth £30m over a 10-year period. It is expected to sustain and create at least 20 jobs in the North of England.

DBS will assemble around 250 powerpack blocks – transmission, engine and cooling systems – beginning delivery in autumn 2022.

This order follows a similar agreement in April this year for WFEL and KMW with Horstman UK, based in Bath, to supply more than 250 angular gear boxes and control units for the British Army vehicle in a deal worth £12m for Horstman.

Steve Watson, DBS global defence director and managing director UK, said: “Through the development of this key partnership with KMW and WFEL, we are delighted to continue to contribute to the UK economy and our local community through job retention and creation of new roles.

“We relish the opportunity to continue to strengthen our local team.”

The Boxer vehicles are being provided to the UK MoD as part of the £2.3bn contract placed with the ARTEC consortium in November 2019.

Ian Anderton, WFEL managing director, said: “As we head closer towards the first ever manufacture of Boxer vehicles here in the UK, we are delighted to welcome DBS to our UK supply chain, a company which has undergone rigorous supplier selection criteria, as part of our wider programme of manufacturing readiness for this vital new capability for the British Army’s Strike Brigade.”

The MIV programme aims to support and enhance the UK supply chain, including SMEs. It will also ensure that the UK retains the skills and expertise to support the Boxer vehicles throughout their operational life.

Meanwhile, Cheadle-based ACS Construction Group has delivered a new 5,000 sq m facility for WFEL to be used as part of the Boxer production programme.

Work began in March 2020, just as the country went into the first national COVID lockdown.

But, because of the time critical nature of the project, ACS was granted Key Worker status by the Government to enable the build to be delivered within the agreed timescale, while a range of new COVID protocols – both on and off site – allowed ACS employees and partners to work safely within the community without compromising efficiency.

The project was successfully completed on time and within budget.

The full design and build were carried out in collaboration with structural engineers HBL Associates and DPW Architects, both based in the Greater Manchester area.

Handover of the new facility

The LK Group provided the geotechnical investigations, FP McCann supplied the concrete, and the crushing of existing concrete slab and structures was done by J O’Shea & Sons.

Danny Doohan, ACS operations director, and co-founder, said: “Our team and our project partners demonstrated admirable professionalism, robustness, flexibility, and ingenuity to ensure that this complex scheme was carried out safely and efficiently.”

Andrew Munt, WFEL Boxer programme director, said: “We are delighted to have taken ownership of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility from ACS. This is an extremely important step in the journey we are taking, leading to full rate Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle production.

“We will now establish the UK Centre of Excellence for the manufacture of Boxer Vehicles for the UK Ministry of Defence. This is a significant milestone in the history of military vehicle production in the UK.”