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Scout Specialist Vehicle (SSV) - Program

A contract which will lead to the delivery of a new fleet of medium weight armored fighting vehicles was announced by Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth Monday 22 March 2010. The first tranche of the Specialist Vehicle (SV) program would deliver around 600 vehicles to the front line, with the possibility of further purchases in the future. The Specialist Vehicle element of the FRES program received Initial Gate approval to enter its Assessment Phase in June 2008. A range of program options were considered for the Reconnaissance variant, FRES Scout. A recommendation as to the preferred option was made to the Department's Investment Approvals Board upon completion of the Assessment Phase.

The UK's 1bn Specialist Vehicle (formerly known as FRES) program was awarded to General Dynamics UK, which offered a solution based on the Spanish "Ascod". A proportion of the work would be conducted in Spain by GDSBS. Scout SV is the replacement for British Armys CVR(T) fleet and would provide the Army with a modern, extremely well-protected and highly capable platform for the conduct of manned reconnaissance. Based on a proven in-service European design, it was developed specifically to meet the British Armys requirement by a team of General Dynamics engineers in Britain and mainland Europe. The Scout turret, designed by Lockheed Martin UK, mounts sophisticated Thales UK sights with detection and identification ranges which are more than the double that of the in-service BGTI system. These are integrated with crew stations, via the latest in GVA-compliant Open Architectures, allowing the crew to capture, analyse, manipulate and store over 6TBs of intelligence and to share this intelligence in real or very near real time.

Bob Ainsworth, the UK Defence Secretary, announced on 22 March 2010 the selection of General Dynamics UK (GD UK) as the preferred bidder for the Demonstration Phase of the FRES SV program, over its rival BAE Systems. The rapid decision allowed clarity and progress for the FRES SV element of the program, avoiding any delay due to the election period. This is in stark contrast to the very long process that the overall 13bn FRES programme (with a whole-life cost estimated at 50bn), which is the highest priority equipment program within the British Army, has followed since its inception in 1998.

The draft invitation to tender for the FRES SV program followed from the announcement of the Armoured Fighting Vehicles Sector Strategy in mid-2009. The Strategy decided that FRES SV should, with the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme, be prioritised ahead of the FRES Utility Vehicle. The reconnaissance vehicle was to be introduced first, with a desired Initial Operating Capability (IoC) of 2014.

Scout SV offers value to the UK Defence Industrial Base. Its Intellectual Property will be based in the UK, part of the sovereign capability available to the British Government. By value, 80% of the vehicle manufacture would be completed in the UK, with 70% of the supply chain companies UK-based. Overall, Scout SV would create or safeguard thousands of highly skilled jobs in the UK.

The turret is designed by Lockheed Martin UK - Ampthill, specifically for the British Army's scout role. Lockheed Martin has revealed it has teamed with Rheinmetall Land Systems to use a version of the German company's Lance turret. More than 75 per cent of the Scout turret would be manufactured in the UK, Lockheed Martin officials claim.

The Intellectual Property for FRES SV would be based in the UK, part of the sovereign capability available to the British Government. In addition, GD UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2010 with the UK MoD's Defence Services Group (DSG), in Donnington, to transfer Assembly, Integration and Test for full-rate production of ASCOD SV, which it is claimed would safeguard the future of the DSG. The contract would bring jobs to eight different regions of the UK.

Figures vary, but, by value, 80-85 per cent of the vehicle manufacture would be completed in the UK, and around 70 percent of the supply chain work on the vehicles would take place in the UK, which would ensure the creation or sustaining of 10,000 - 10,600 British jobs within the armoured vehicle sector. This supply chain comprises key suppliers in Scotland, the North of England, the North West, the East Midlands and the South of England, as well as additional suppliers in Wales and the West Midlands. SMEs in the supply chain are being encouraged to become involved by GD UK.

So, this was good news for the British Army and for UK SMEs, but there remains a fear that, with the SDSR underway post-election, this Demonstration Phase contract may not follow through promptly into the first tranche of 580 vehicles, SV Production contract. This would be a major setback for UK Defence Industry.

The UK MoD confirmed in its Planning Round 2012 (PR12) announcement 14 May 2012 that funding for its future Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) pipeline, which includes the Specialist Vehicle (SV) program, was part of its core programme of committed funding, thus protecting the core component of Force 2020 for the British Army. General Dynamics UK would deliver a modern medium-weight AFV fleet for the British Army, featuring the advanced ISTAR capabilities and providing the best possible protection for the soldiers using it. The SV program is a Modified-off-the-Shelf (MOTS) solution that brings economic and industrial benefit to the UK, and is expected to attract export orders from overseas markets.

We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence confirming that the SV programme is secure in the MoDs future AFV pipeline and core programme of committed funding, commented Dr. Sandy Wilson, president and managing director of General Dynamics UK, the prime contractor on the programme. This is great news for the soldiers who would use SV; it is great news for the UK supply chain involved in designing and manufacturing SV; and it is great news for General Dynamics UK in South Wales and validates General Dynamics continued investment in the United Kingdom. Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall said, "I am delighted that 5.5bn is secured for the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) pipeline over the next decade. SV is a key programme in this mix: It will provide the mobility, flexibility and protection to provide our commanders with critical battlefield information in the most demanding of environments."

An audit study by Ernst & Young concluded that the SV program would generate total economic output of over 9.8 billion, with a corresponding Gross Value Added1 (GVA) of 4.7 billion over the life of the program. To this end, General Dynamics UK invested 12 million in state of the art facilities in Wales, establishing a Centre of Excellence for Land Systems, where the programs intellectual property and the UKs sovereign AFV capability would reside.

General Dynamics UK signed a major sub-contract with Lockheed Martin UK, based in the East of England, for the turret of the Scout variant. Thales UK in Scotland also contracted to provide a full optronics suite including the gunners and commanders sights on Scout, using their latest Orion technology, which are used for reconnaissance and targeting, and short-range sensors to provide local situational awareness in the vicinity of the vehicle. Contracts have also been signed with 12 other UK based suppliers, as well as a number of European suppliers. Further contracts would be signed as the program progressed, bringing further economic benefits to regions around the UK.

On 03 August 2015 Rheinmetall won an important order in connection with a key programme of the British Ministry of Defence to procure a new generation of combat vehicles for Her Majestys Armed Forces. Lockheed Martin UK has contracted with Rheinmetalls Defence arm to manufacture the turret structures for the British Armys new Scout SV Reconnaissance vehicle. The order, issued in London, is worth a total of 130 million and covers production of up to 245 units.

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Page last modified: 11-01-2016 20:17:09 ZULU