UK confirms £3.5 billion deal for Scout SV armoured vehicles

Andrew Elwell

Under the bonnet of Scout SV at Millbrook, June 2014. Photo: Trevor Sheehan, Defence Photography.

The UK will spend £3.5 billion on its next generation armoured vehicle platform after the MoD confirmed it will sign a contract with General Dynamics for 589 Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV).

The deal with General Dynamics, which has been in the pipeline for years following extensive development and testing, is said to be the British Army's largest single order for armoured vehicles in 30 years. Scout SV will be the UK’s first fully digitised tracked armoured vehicle.

The news comes ahead of the NATO summit in Wales where David Cameron is expected to lead calls for European leaders to increase military expenditure and meet the minimum demands for member states to spend 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) on defence. With Russia encroaching on sovereign Ukrainian territory, the security climate in Europe has darkened leading alliance members to review their defence capabilities. The MoD identified the Ukrainian crisis and its waning relationship with Russia as a top priority at the summit where it will put plans in place for sustaining a "robust presence in Eastern Europe" and strengthen its "ability to respond quickly to any threat."

With Britain fortifying its land forces with Scout SV, other announcements are expected throughout the Wales summit that will bolster NATO’s armed forces and potentially lead to a restructure in the strategic direction of security and defence in Europe and North America.

"These new vehicles are testament to the world-class engineering skills in south Wales and across the UK, helping to create the Army's first fully digitalised armoured vehicles," David Cameron said.

"With the second largest defence budget in NATO, meeting NATO's 2% of GDP spending target and investing in new capabilities to deal with the emerging threats we are ensuring Britain's national security, staying at the forefront of the global race and providing leadership within NATO."

General Dynamics demonstrated a prototype of the Protected Mobility Recce Support (PMRS) variant of the UK’s Scout SV for the first time at the DVD show at Millbrook in June.

Scout SV will be delivered in six variants: Reconnaissance, including ground-based surveillance and joint fire control specialist capabilities; equipment and support repair; equipment and support recovery; command and control; protected mobility reconnaissance support, including formation reconnaissance overwatch and engineer reconnaissance.

The platforms will be delivered to the British Army between 2017 and 2024, alongside the provision of initial in-service support and training, and will serve at the heart of the Armoured Infantry Brigade structure.