The news came as the Warrior CSP completed its 59th Battlefield Mission (BFM) marking the end of its first phase of reliability growth trials.
Lockheed Martin said that scheduled trials of the vehicle remained on track despite restrictions put in place as a result of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and that the company anticipated a contract award by the end of next year.
British Army invited the company to begin negotiations for the vehicle’s production contract in late June this year.
Over the course of 2019, Warrior CSP met three significant milestones with Reliability Growth Trials and Qualification & Verification (Q&V) Trials being performed on schedule for the past 18 months.
Recently, WCSP completed its 59th Battlefield Mission (BFM) marking the halfway point between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the vehicle’s Reliability Growth Trials. Phase 2 of the trials – consisting of a further 60 BFMs – is slated to begin on 10 August and are set to be completed by mid-2021.
As it stands, the vehicle is still under a development contract and at this phase, Lockheed Martin said 80% of the vehicle’s components are sourced within the UK. Lockheed said it expects this figure to be maintained when the final production contract is agreed with the Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Commenting on the conclusion of phase one of trials, Lockheed Martin Warrior CSP Programme Director Keren Wilkins said: “This is a tremendous achievement – the programme is at an exciting and equally critical point. With half of the trials successfully behind us, we’re now preparing for the second and final phase of Reliability Growth Tests.”
“The programme has turned a real corner, it continues to run to schedule and has demonstrated a number of successful first-time events. Despite some of the challenges presented by Covid-19, the joint team has pulled out all the stops to complete this significant milestone. The trust, transparency and partnership across the team truly underpins the progress that is being made on the programme.”
By the time the vehicle’s reliability growth trials are completed, Warrior CSP will have travelled the equivalent of the distance of the journey between North and South poles.
As the vehicle is still under a development contract Lockheed said that it had received no penalties for delays to the programme. Lockheed Martin has absorbed some costs stemming from the programme as it is currently under a firm price contract, with any changes from the MOD coming in the way of contract amendments.
Commenting on the vehicle’s progress, British Army assistant head combat programmes delivery Colonel Howard Pritchard said: “I am delighted to see that Warrior CSP remains on target to successfully reach its reliability growth targets. Achieving the 59th BFM against the backdrop of Covid-19 social distancing measures and government guidelines has been a challenge for all but overcome through excellent teamwork and collaboration between the Army, DE&S and Lockheed Martin joint team.”
“WCSP addresses key capability gaps faced by the legacy vehicle. Once in-service, the significantly enhanced capability will change the way the British Army operates, enabling soldiers to carry out tasks in an even safer, and more modern environment.”
Pritchard added: “The key upgrade being delivered by Lockheed Martin is the ability to fire-on-the-move with the new CT40 stabilised cannon. The new digital turret will not only upgrade the lethality of the platform, but the enhanced situational awareness will provide soldiers with a far greater understanding of the battlespace.”
In the development of Warrior CSP, Lockheed Martin has invested significantly in its Ampthill facility which manufactures the turret for the vehicle. Lockheed Martin said the Warrior CSP programme currently supports 900 UK jobs and several companies within the UK supply chain.
During the press briefing on Warrior CSP, Lockheed Martin Business Development Manager Peter Somerville said the company was ‘extremely proud’ of the industry built around Warrior CSP, adding that the company was looking to maintain this significant level of UK content as the vehicle moves forward.
As the vehicle is still not under a production contract there has been no confirmation of the number of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles that will be converted to Warrior CSP, nor is there a prediction of when initial operating capability (IOC) will be expected.