House of Commons Library

Modernising the Army's armoured vehicles

Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The UK Army's armoured fighting vehicles fleet is to be refreshed. This Commons Library briefing paper looks at Challenger and Warrior upgrades, Ajax and the MIV and MRV-P programmes

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The Army's armoured vehicles fleet is to be refreshed. The Ministry of Defence has all but decided on a new Mechianised Infantry Vehicle (MIV), while the first of nearly 600 Ajax armoured vehicles will be delivered into service in the early 2020s. Both will equip the Army's new Strike Brigades. Updates to the Army's Challenger 2 main battle tank and Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles are also underway. Altogether £20.1 billion will be spent on Land Equipment over the next decade.

A troubled history

The Army does not have a good track record when it comes to acquiring armoured vehicles from the core budget. The last thirty years is awash with cancelled, suspended or modified programmes with programme names like FFLAV, Tracer, FRES and Scout falling by the wayside. The Defence Committee has warned any repeat of past failures will “serious impair, if not fatally undermine” the Army’s ability to deploy the warfighting division as envisaged in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the army’s new Strike Brigades.

What does the Army currently operate?

The Army has over 4,000 vehicles in its inventory, most of which are protected mobility vehicles or armoured personnel carriers. The Army has 227 Challenger main battle tanks, 769 Warrior and over 200 Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles.

Upgrades and new programmes

The Defence Equipment Plan 2017 allocated £20.1bn spending on Land Equipment over the decade to 2025/26. This includes upgrades to Warrior and Challenger 2 tanks, the new Ajax family of vehicles and the yet to be procured mechanised infantry vehicles (MIV) and multirole vehicle protected vehicles (MRV-P). The 2014 contract for 589 Ajax vehicles was the biggest single order for a UK armoured vehicle in 30 years.

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8186

Author: Louisa Brooke-Holland

Topics: Armed forces, Defence equipment and procurement, Defence expenditure, Defence policy

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