Defence Procurement Tops the Agenda at International Armoured Vehicles

Defence Procurement Tops the Agenda at International Armoured Vehicles

LONDON, UK – 23rd November 2009 – Defence procurement policy in the UK which was designed to provide troops with improved armoured vehicle military capabilities is beginning to unravel according to recent reports, and this will top the agenda at International armoured vehicles 2010.

Reports have suggested that the UK’s vehicle procurement policy for Iraq and Afghanistan- purchasing commercial-off-the-shelf products in order to sustain current combat operations under the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) system has ensured a faster rate of delivery. Yet critics have argued that it remains to be seen whether the vehicles will provide a lasting solution for an armoured vehicle troop-carrier which is adaptable to all environments.

The UOR system may turn out to be one of the Ministry of Defence’s most expensive methods of procurement. The long-term answer is supposed to be the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), a new generation of medium-weight armoured vehicles. Reports that the Ministry of Defence had planned to buy 3,000 at a cost of £16 billion come as a result of The Times newspaper’s repeated requests for Freedom of Information. However, it is believed that only the Scout reconnaissance version has gained approval and the programme is several years behind schedule.

Right Honourable James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the UK's Defence Select Committee recently described the UK MoD's Procurement Plan as "unrealistic" and "a conspiracy of optimism".

In an interview with Defence IQ, Rt. Hon. Arbuthnot was asked to share his thoughts on the UK's Procurement Plan. He expressed the view that the Ministry of Defence and the defence industry need to be more realistic about timeframes and costs to ensure the right equipment is procured and delivered to troops on time.

The vast number of UORs that have resulted in equipment being procured for operations in Afghanistan, according to Arbuthnot, underlined the "fact that that there had been insufficient forethought or planning gone into what fleets of equipment were needed" and highlighted the need for the Ministry of Defence to be prepared for defence activities. He maintains that eight years in Afghanistan should factor into long term planning, however he laments that the move away from this process of procurement does not seem to be one in near sight.

Rt. Hon. Arbuthnot will be speaking at International Armoured Vehicles, taking place on the 1st to the 5th February, where he will outlining the UK's Armoured Fighting Vehicle Sector Strategy and discussing how the UK is managing the effect of programme cuts resulting from the continuing financial crisis.

Based at the ExCel Centre, International Armoured Vehicles is the only event dedicated exclusively to the armoured vehicle community. International Armoured Vehicles brings together senior military and industry experts, providing opportunities to gain expert insights on armoured vehicle trends, global procurement activity and lessons learnt from the battlefield, as well as to conduct business with the world's leading vehicle, system and component manufacturers and smaller specialist suppliers.

Retired Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, who is chairing day two of the conference, is certain that "International Armoured Vehicles will be one of the key international events in 2010 for all those whose business involves armoured vehicles, whether as senior practitioners, experts, policy makers, designers, manufacturers or commentators."

To find out more about the conference and exhibition, and to listen to Defence IQ’s interview with Rt. Hon. Arbuthnot in full, please visit

Amy Jeffray
Head of Marketing
International Armoured Vehicles
+44 (0) 207 368 9306