Thursday, November 7, 2019

UK: Orders 500+ Boxer Armoured fighting vehicles.

(London)  The UK Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace, announced on 5 November that he has signed a contract to purchase the  Boxer 8x8 armoured vehicles to meet the British Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement. Worth £2.8 billion ($3.6 billion), the contract will cover the procurement of more than 500 Boxers in several configurations including APC, ambulance and command post variants.

The Boxer started life as  a cooperative European design project, the initial aim of which was to develop the next generation of armoured utility vehicle. The project was originally started as a joint venture between Germany, Britain and France. France left the programme in 1999 , Holland joined in 2001 and the Uk left in 2003 only to rejoin in 2018.

The Boxer is an eight-wheeled multirole vehicle, with a combat weight of 33 tonnes which is also about 10 tonnes heavier than many of its contemporaries. The vehicle  consists of two key elements: 

The platform/drive module has the driver located front right, with the power pack to the left. The powerpack can be replaced under field conditions in about 30 minutes and can and comes with full-time all-wheel drive, the front four wheels steering

The mission module is a key (and unique) feature of Boxer, it allows the vehicle to be rapidly changed to meet different operational requirements. Boxer mission modules are pod-like units that are fitted to drive modules to form a complete mission variant vehicle. Mission modules are attached by four points and can be swapped within an hour under field conditions and this is where the Boxer fits in with future British army plantation. After spending over 15 years fighting isometric wars around the globe, the Uk has gone back to preparing for symmetrical warfare which involves  the British army comprising a total of seven deployable brigades, i.e. three Armoured infantry, three Strike and one air assault. The former would consist of Challenger tanks and warrior IFVs.  Given the range of threats the West  faces today: a new Cold War stand-off with Russia; continuing instability the Middle East; a belligerent Iran sponsoring terrorism; the mess that is Syria; and the rise of Islamic extremism in Africa, UK tactical doctrine reflects the belief that we need to go out to counter threats at distance, before they turn-up on our doorstep. If the capability of modern armies is measured by their deployability, then the British Army needs to become inherently more mobile than it is today. With this in mind, this is where the Strike brigades come in and they encompasses the following requirements:

  • The need to project power at distance (up to 2,000 km).
  • The need for units to deploy rapidly and independently with a reduced logistical footprint.
  • Combines good-off road performance with on-road speed
  • Offers Operational and Tactical mobility
  • Provides infantry battalions with high levels of protection
  • Improved mission flexibility
  • Can be transported by air 

Strike will be an enabler of divisional manoeuvre, which means brigades are likely to act as a screening force that delay and harass an enemy while heavy armour is deployed.
Strike facilitates information manoeuvre, which means it harnesses the potential of digital communications and battlefield management systems, to ensure that enemy units are pre-emptively outflanked..The Boxer with its  mission module fits the bill for the strike brigades which is why the Uk has just ordered 500.