The vehicles that will participate in trials to find designs that offer greater protection for our Armed Forces, as part of the Army's Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), have been selected it was announced yesterday, 7 June 2007.
The selected designs are BOXER (ARTEC), Piranha (GD UK) and VBCI (Nexter). The outcome of the trials will be announced by the end of November 2007 when one or more utility vehicle designs will go forward for detailed assessment.
The FRES family of vehicles is vital for the Army of the future. They will have high levels of protection and will also be air-transportable, allowing troops to deploy rapidly across the globe at short notice.
Defence Minister Lord Drayson said:
"My highest priority is to ensure that our Forces have the equipment they need to achieve success on operations today, tomorrow and in the future. FRES has a vital part to play in the future of the British Army.
"I signalled my commitment to the FRES programme last year and this announcement provides tangible evidence of progress. The selection of these designs for inclusion in the utility vehicle trials is a part of the competitive acquisition strategy developed to ensure that we deliver the best solution for the Army."
General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, added:
"FRES is my highest equipment priority and I am determined that we will make this programme a timely success - it is at the heart of the future Army.
"I am therefore very encouraged by the significant progress that has been made in identifying the three best candidate vehicles for us to trial this summer and I look forward to maintaining this momentum in the programme to the next decision point by November this year.
"We need to take this exciting project forward, together with our industrial partners as soon as possible."
In addition to the utility vehicle design competition, the Ministry of Defence is also running competitions to select a company which will work with the designer to integrate key systems onto the vehicles, and a company that will have strategic oversight of the entire FRES programme and its links to the existing fleet.
The FRES programme will equip the Army with a range of new vehicle types over and above the utility variant. This includes reconnaissance, direct fire, and engineer support vehicles.
Source: Drayson: New vehicles will have "vital part to play in the Army of the future"
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