BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) — French Armament Procurement Agency — for 53 new BvS10 MkII vehicles.
With options, the total value of the contract could reach €220 million for 129 BvS10 MkII vehicles, or Vikings, an improved version of the all-terrain vehicle currently in service with the Dutch and British armed forces.
The contract is for three variants — troop carrier, command post and logistic vehicle — together with a comprehensive through-life support package. The project will be run in close cooperation with French partners, such as Panhard and EADS, and deliveries are to commence in 2010.
“The French requirements were very challenging, so it was particularly rewarding to win this contract,” said Jan Söderström, managing director for BAE Systems’ Vehicles business. “The contract acknowledges the high performance and strong market position of our battle-proven BvS10 and secures the continued development of the vehicle.”
“The MkII version of the BvS10 completely fulfils the French Army’s requirements in terms of protection, mobility and payload, while maintaining the flexibility to perform across the spectrum of military operations.”
Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said of the news: “UK industry is pleased to see signs of greater Government openness and cooperation between the UK and France in the defence sector.
“The defence industry has already developed robust cooperations, with notable examples being Airbus, MBDA and Thales. But the “golden era” of joint programmes, such as Jaguar and Concorde, and joint procurement by the two Governments, has waned over the last two decades. The UK and France have very significant capabilities in technology but similar budget pressures, which makes further cooperation essential.
“We believe that increasing reciprocity and expanding the level of joint programmes are essential features for the future. This would provide a stronger industrial base and capability for both the UK and France, which together represent 50 per cent of the European defence industry and 75 per cent of the defence research and technology in Europe. It would also ensure that European Governments have an alternative to the USA, lest the US industrial base becomes monopolistic.”