The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a £500m ($755m) contract to General Dynamics to carry out the demonstration phase of seven Scout armoured combat vehicles for The British Army.

The Scout is a powerful combat vehicle, which will provide enhanced protection, greater firepower and improved situational awareness against a wide range of threats.

Designed to replace the Scimitar armoured fighting vehicle, the Scout is equipped with a 40mm cannon and a machine gun, and can carry three crew.

Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff said work on the demonstration phase would go ahead alongside the wider strategic defence and security review to provide the security needed for the future.

Test trials for the prototype vehicles are expected to begin in 2013.