The Ministry of Defence has today, Thursday 8 May 2008, announced the provisional selection of Piranha 5 as the preferred design for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Utility Vehicle, the first of the Army's programme for a new force of battlefield armoured vehicles.
Piranha 5, offered by General Dynamics (UK) Ltd, is the first vehicle to be selected in the FRES family of vehicles, an incremental programme to replace parts of the Army's Saxon, FV 430 and CVR(T) vehicle fleets and deliver a new medium weight capability.
FRES will be delivered in stages, the Utility Vehicles being introduced first and then the more complex Specialist Vehicles delivered in planned increments later on. It is intended that the total FRES capability will be delivered in five families of vehicles: Utility, Reconnaissance, Medium Armour, Manoeuvre Support and the Basic Capability Utility. FRES will be used widely to support the whole spectrum of military operations.
Baroness Ann Taylor, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, said:
"The FRES vehicle programme will be a major investment in the future of our Armed Forces. I am pleased to announce the provisional selection of Piranha 5 as the preferred design for the FRES Utility Vehicle and I look forward to working with General Dynamics (UK) Ltd during the next stage of the FRES Utility Vehicle programme.
"FRES is a long term programme to be delivered in stages to meet the Army's needs over the next thirty years. Today marks an important milestone."
General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, added:
"The provisional selection of Piranha 5 as the FRES Utility Vehicle design heralds the start of a new era for the Army in terms of capability. It maintains the progress of the FRES programme which is at the heart of the British Army's equipment programme and is my highest priority after support to operations. This will form the backbone of the Army's future armoured vehicle requirements.
"Whilst our Protected Personnel Vehicles such as Mastiff are a very successful addition to meet specific operational requirements in both Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the FRES medium weight capability which will allow the Army to conduct a considerably wider range of operations in an uncertain and changing world. I am therefore delighted that we are maintaining progress on this vital programme."
The FRES programme will equip the UK Armed Forces with new medium weight armoured vehicles. The Utility Vehicle Design is one of a number of competitions being conducted as part of the competitive acquisition strategy for FRES. On 6 February 2008, the MOD announced that a Thales (UK) and Boeing team had been appointed for the System of Systems Integrator (SOSI) role. In addition, a competition to select an integrator for the Utility Vehicle is ongoing. Further competitions will select the designs for other variants.
The Army's FRES requirement continues to be informed by operational experience, where the threats to our forces are constantly evolving. This operational experience means that FRES specifications will be matched as closely as possible to the needs of our troops both today and in the future. This announcement signals the start of a risk reduction phase with the provisional selection of the preferred design for the FRES Utility Vehicle.
Source: Design selected for future armoured vehicle for British Army (FRES)
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