On November 5, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced it had signed a contract for over 500 Boxer 8×8 wheeled multirole armored vehicles to fill the British Army’s Mechanized Infantry Vehicle (MIV) requirement.
The MoD noted a price tag of £2.8 billion ($3.62 billion) in its press release.
Deliveries are to begin in 2023.
Contract signed! We have committed to purchase more than 500 Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles. British Boxer will deliver a battle-winning, transformational capability which will form the backbone of STRIKE and is key in transforming the British Army. #Boxer #STRIKE pic.twitter.com/SPUG78DfXP
— British Army (@BritishArmy) November 5, 2019
The Boxer MIVs are being ordered in multiple variants, including baseline protected mobility (MIV-PM), command and control (MIV-CC), ambulance (MIV-A), repair (MIV-REP), and recovery (MIV-REC).
The new vehicles will be used primarily for troop transport and will form part of the British Army’s nascent Strike Brigades intended to deploy quickly, at distance, and over varied terrain.
The other vehicle element filling out the Strike Brigades – the family of armored tracked reconnaissance vehicles referred to as Ajax – have already begun delivery from prime contractor General Dynamics UK.
The downselection and order of the Boxer 8×8 multirole armored vehicles represents a long circular route taken by British defense planners – one that ends up costing a bit more per vehicle in the end and delays introduction into service by longer than originally intended.
The U.K. was actually one of the original participants in the Boxer program, alongside Germany and the Netherlands, before opting out of the project in 2003. At the time, the British cited changing requirements and claims that the growth in the weight of the vehicle had made it too heavy for transportation aboard Royal Air Force C-130s.
Germany and the Netherlands, meanwhile, proceeded with the program and have since ordered and received hundreds of Boxers to outfit their respective land forces.
In the end, the British will be paying a bit more per unit price than either Germany or the Netherlands did for their versions, although the British variants will represent the most updated model of the vehicle. Additionally, the bulk of the British versions will be built in-country at Telford under the recently-formed Rheinmetall-BAE Systems joint venture (RBSL, or Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land).
Production work at the Telford plant is to begin in 2024, at which time some 27 Boxers will have been delivered from the Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) vehicle lines in Germany. Overall, up to 60 percent of the content in the British Boxers will be locally-provided according to the Artec consortium, an industrial tie-up between KMW and Rheinmetall for the Boxer program.