A new weapon system for the British and French armies has been given a major boost with the signing of an £11m contract between the French and UK ministries of defence.
Under the contract, CTA International, an Anglo-French joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems, will begin qualification in early 2011 of cannon and ammunition for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), the Scout reconnaissance vehicle for the British Army and the future recce vehicle for the French Army.
Qualification is a rigorous process designed to prove that a weapon system is safe, effective and reliable. Both the gun and ammunition will be subjected to freezing, baking, extremes of humidity and a series of “shake, rattle and roll” trials to demonstrate that they will operate under every foreseeable circumstance. Although the system has been passed for manned firing and considerable data has already been collected, these trials will formally pass the system for use by the British and French armies.
While CTAI’s 40mm Cased Telescoped Cannon and Ammunition (CTCA) was mandated for WCSP and the Scout vehicle by the UK Ministry of Defence in March 2008, the turrets and Scout chassis will be selected through competition.
The UK and French ministries of defence have already agreed a Government to Government Technical Arrangement for a jointly-funded qualification programme which will require some 15,000 rounds. The final ammunition requirements will be defined once the prime contractors are announced in the next few weeks.
The next step will be the negotiation for the series production of the CT cannon. BAE Systems Global Combat Systems Munitions (GCSM), under a licence granted by CTAI, recently submitted a proposal to UK MoD for the production of series ammunition through the existing MASS munitions supply contract for the UK MoD. A licence will also be granted to Nexter Munitions for the provision of series ammunition for the French DGA and Turkey.