General Dynamics UK has secured a £2bn MoD contract with the Ministry of Defence for the construction of up to 580 light tanks for the British Army.
The ASCOD SV comes from a successful European project that was redesigned by British engineers. According to General Dynamics UK (the UK-registered arm of General Dynamics), it will provide unique support to British troops throughout its 30-year life, with the capability to face future threats and needs.
Dr. Sandy Wilson, president and managing director of General Dynamics UK, said: “We offered the best integrated solution, the best growth potential over the 30-year life of the vehicle, the best value for money for the British taxpayer and the best deal for the UK Industrial base.”
The deal will result in the creation or retention of 10,600 jobs, with 70% of the supply chain based in the UK and 80% of the production of the tanks which will take place in UK regions, from South Wales to Scotland, from the East and West Midlands to the North West. Sub-contracted Lockheed Martin UK Insys will build the turret of the Scout variant of the fighting vehicle.
Lord Peter Levene, chairman of General Dynamics UK Limited, commented: “We are delighted that the MoD has selected ASCOD SV for its SV programme, a decision we believe will sustain the British tank industry for future generations. We are confident that the decision will, most importantly, provide the best protection for British soldiers, as well as provide both the greatest long-term value and the best military capability for the UK Government and the MoD.”
The decision of the Ministry of Defence created a heated debate, as it will badly affect the company that lost the bid, BAE Systems, which is now likely to let go over 200 of its employees at its factory in Newcastle.