General Dynamics Wins FRES contract

General Dynamics Wins FRES contract

General Dynamics UK has won the competition to produce the FRES scout variant for the British Army, it has been announced.

The company's ASCOD SV is the winning design for the demonstration phase of the Specialist Vehicle competition, providing both the Scout variant and the Common Base Platform for up to 580 SV vehicles.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "Preferred bidder status has been awarded to General Dynamics UK for the demonstration phase of the specialist vehicle programme, subject to successful completion of contractual negotiations."

"General Dynamics UK's proposed solution contains 73 percent UK content within the supply chain and the assembly, integration and test facilities at the Defence Support Group Donnington. This ensures the sustainment of UK jobs, UK skills and UK capabilities within the armoured vehicle sector."

The GD UK scout variant, the ASCOD SV, features an upgraded chassis and drive train over the ASCOD vehicles currently in service with the Spanish and Austrian armies. Lockheed Martin UK will integrate the ASCOD SV's 40mm Case Telescopic Weapon System.

Dr Sandy Wilson, President and Managing Director of General Dynamics UK, said: "The General Dynamics UK team won this competition to provide the British Army with its next generation of armoured fighting vehicles because it answered the requirement set by the MoD.

"We offered the best growth potential over the life of the vehicle, the best integrated solution, the best value for money for the British taxpayer and the best deal for the UK Industrial base.

"The ASCOD SV programme is British to its bootstraps, delivering a military off-the-shelf vehicle with British design by British engineers to the British Army while safeguarding or creating 10,600 jobs for British workers."

Reconnaissance Block 1 of the FRES programme consists of scout, repair, recovery and protected mobility vehicles, with the scout being the replacement for the army's Scimitar light tank.

Both companies in the running to produce the FRES Block 1 vehicles promised to save or create hundreds of jobs in the UK, with BAE recently promising to create or save an extra 800 jobs in Britain.

In late February General Dynamics claimed that over 10,620 jobs would be created or saved in Britain if the ASCOD-based scout was chosen. Their figures include over 9,000 direct and indirect jobs in the FRES SV supply chain in the UK and over 500 at Lockheed Martin UK INSYS. The company also counted 320 jobs at General Dynamics UK, over 600 at the Defence Services Group in Donnington and more than 200 in through-life support roles.