In the Defence Command Paper, released earlier this year, the British Army announced plans to retire the Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) by 2025 and no longer proceed with the planned Warrior CSP upgrade programme.
In its place, the Army said it would accelerate the procurement of the Boxer MIV, prompting questions from defence observers about how the 8×8 wheeled vehicle would fill the role performed by the tracked Warrior IFV.
During the press briefing, Clark said that the army was ‘under no illusions’ that Boxer is different from Warrior and shed more light on how the acceleration of the Boxer programme would work.
Clark said: “We’re clear that Warrior is going, we are trying to accelerate Boxer… now, part of that is about bringing forward the introduction of the platform to the army, part of it is about working out what more we might be able to do in order to make it more IFV-like.”
The Brigadier added that the British Army was not trying to ‘recreate’ Warrior with the Boxer vehicle but was rather trying to ‘design’ a different way of fighting wars through a combination of Apache attack helicopters, the upgraded Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank, Ajax reconnaissance vehicle and Boxer.
He said the army was looking at the ways those vehicles could be integrated and help to orchestrate a push towards warfighting that is more focused on the deep battle.
The army is still working through the details, but Clark added: “We’re not saying that Boxers replacing Warrior; we’re saying we’re getting Boxer, a really well protected, mobile platform, it’s something that is very digitally connected, which is part of the whole equation.
“…The function that the infantry fighting vehicle gives us we’re very clear about, but there are other ways in which you can deliver the overall effects of the suite that we have at the moment.”
The UK had planned to upgrade the Warrior with a new CTA International 40mm cannon and various other improvements. The UK has already purchased the cannons destined for the Warrior CSP programme as it is the same cannon as is used on the Ajax reconnaissance variant.
The fate of the cannons that were previously destined for Warrior is unknown, however, several potential turret solutions using the same cannon have already been integrated onto Boxer should the British Army wish to go down that route.
In 2019, the UK signed a £2.3bn deal for the procurement of 508 Boxer MIVs from Artec – a consortium of Rheinmettal and Krauss-Maffei Wegman. Under the order, the army will receive troop-carrying, ambulance, command and specialist carrier variants of the vehicle.
The planned Boxers will be fitted with a Kongsberg Protector RS4 remote weapon station.