On 28 July, the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) announced its attendance at the two-day formal launch ceremony for the United Kingdom’s BOXER armoured vehicle fleet’s demonstration trials that took place on 12 July.

The project marked the delivery of the first prototype vehicles, the commencement of demonstration trials, and the opening of the facilities where the British Army would perform acceptance operations for the first batch of vehicles when they are delivered.

The scope of NSPA’s support for land systems has gradually expanded over the years, and it now encompasses the entire life cycle management of a system, from initial acquisition support (including project definition and design), through production, and on to in-service support (including supply, maintenance, and engineering services), culminating in phase-out and demilitarisation.

During the UK BOXER launch event, a representative from the NSPA System Management Group (SMG) presented a briefing on the agency’s current in-service support efforts for the existing BOXER customer countries: Germany; Netherlands; and Lithuania. The presentation also emphasised the substantial knowledge and lessons learnt from the preceding 10 years of BOXER assistance, as well as how this would be linked with the UK-specific BOXER ISS needs.

The United Kingdom is purchasing 628 BOXER armoured vehicles, five of which will be used for testing. This was the consequence of a November 2022 decision in which the Agency was entrusted with contracting Millbrook Proving Ground to provide the site and facilities for acceptance operations by April 2023.

The basic shell of the BOXER is made of high-hardness steel. Modular armour is sandwiched between the vehicle cell and the steel coat, with all three elements secured by fastening bolts. Currently the modular armour, which includes top attack protection, is a specialised ceramic mix.

The modular design of the BOXER allows future generations of armour technologies to be fitted in place of current designs by simple slab replacement. The hull is designed to beat blast mine attacks by shaping the blast away. In addition, a double-lined hull soaks up critical blast deformation.

The vehicle’s thermal acoustic and radar signature management capability is at the forefront of armoured vehicle stealth technology and provides a low signature.

The BOXER vehicle is fitted with a 530KW MTU engine, linked to an Allison automatic transmission. Permanent eight-wheeled drive, all-round independent suspension and central tyre inflation system (CTIS) gives an optimal road and cross-country mobility.

A road range of more than 1,000km, combined with a very smooth and quiet ride, provides an unaided operational deployability unmatched among in-service armoured utility vehicles.