Of the 632 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) currently in the British Army’s inventory, 80 are awaiting disposal with the fate of a further nine platforms expected during the 2024-25 financial year, despite the fleet due to hit its out-of-service date in 2025.

This number has dropped from a July 2023 report in which the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated the British Army had 708 Warrior IFVs in its inventory. The latest figures, released on 10 May, is indicative of the continued reduction in platforms with the Warrior due to be replaced by the Boxer mechanised infantry vehicle.

In 2021, the UK Defence Command Paper announced that the British Army would retire the Warrior IFV fleet from 2025, abandoning plans to undertake the Warrior Capability Sustainment Plan (WCSP) which would have seen the installation of a new turret and main weapon, among other upgrades.

However, a £10.6m ($13m) 2023 contract awarded to Rheinmetall Electronics UK for the delivery and integration of rear-facing cameras on the British Army’s fleet, in order to meet critical safety requirements, indicates that the pace of withdrawal will see the type maintained in service for some time to come.

More than 350 Warrior IFVs look set to be upgraded with a rear camera system to aid drive situational awareness. Credit: UK MoD/Crown copyright

At the time the Warrior rear-camera deal was stated as being an ‘accelerated procedure’, with the MoD justifying the process due to “reasons of urgency” in that allowing the usual contractual process to be undertaken would “have safety implications” to the Warrior IFV crew while on operations. The contract is listed as beginning from 2 November 2023, with a conclusion by 31 October 2025.

The MoD contract for Rear Safety Camera Systems (RSCS) for the Warrior IFV, in order to meet a “safety critical” modification, will see the delivery and integration of 359 units and include the following sub systems: rear camera; display control unit; cabling loom, and camera wash wipe facility.

Will disposal Warriors be used as spare part resource?

Given the above factors, the continuation of Warrior in the British Army will persist beyond 2025 through the 359 vehicles to be upgraded with the RSCS system.

The current contract order for Boxer amounts to 623 vehicles, although a June 2023 UK Government statement indicated that funding had been allocated for 1,016 Boxer MIVs, against a Land Fleet Requirement of 1,305.

Of the latest UK-Ukraine security package, it was confirmed by the UK Government that no Warrior IFVs were included as part of the deal. It is unknown what method the MoD will take for the 80 vehicles awaiting disposal, although the UK has granted in kind virtually every other 90s-era armoured vehicle design in the British Army’s inventory in donations to Ukraine.

The Warrior IFV was intended to be upgraded with a new turret, pictured, under the WCSP but the programme was cancelled. Credit: Lockheed Martin

Alternatively, the vehicles removed from service could offer a sizeable cannibalisation fleet, feeding parts through to the 359 RSCS upgraded Warriors from 2025.

Indeed, this looks the most likely fate, with a February UK Government statement revealing that the while “no Warrior [IFVs] have been cannibalised to sustainment the remaining fleet”, following the decision to cancel the WCSP “salvage is occurring on all disposal platforms… to improve sustainability of the current fleet”.