Britain orders £3.5bn in armoured vehicles

September 03, 2014 - 12:56:26 pm

LONDON: Britain has signed a £3.5-billion ($5.8-billion, 4.4-billion-euro) contract for almost 600 new armoured vehicles, the government said Wednesday on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales.

The deal, the largest single order the defence ministry has placed for armoured vehicles in three decades will support almost 1,300 jobs, the defence ministry said in a statement.

Made by the British arm of US defence company General Dynamics, the 589 Scout Specialist Vehicles have computer technology that will help with surveillance on battlefields.

"I'm delighted that on the eve of the NATO summit, we can announce the biggest single contract for armoured fighting vehicles for the British Army since the 1980s," said British Prime Minister David Cameron in the statement.

"Not only will they be crucial in helping to keep Britain safe, they will also underpin nearly 1,300 jobs across the UK and showcase the strength of the UK's highly skilled defence sector."

He added that the government was "ensuring Britain's national security, staying at the forefront of the global race".

The order will secure 1,300 jobs across Britain including 300 positions at General Dynamics UK's facility in Oakdale, south Wales, where the contract was signed on Wednesday.

The vehicles will be delivered to the army between 2017 and 2024.

The military's most senior officer, general staff chief Peter Wall said the order would refresh the army's armoured capability.

"It provides advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities and will be the 'eyes and ears' of commanders on the battlefields of the future," he added.

"With digital links to all of our other systems it will be able to fulfil a wide range of combat roles."  (AFP)