Lockheed Martin UK has secured a $1bn contract to supply turrets for the UK Army's Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms.
Awarded by General Dynamics (GD) UK, the contract covers design, production, integration and testing of 245 turrets, which are expected to deliver significant improvements in combat capability, survivability and operational effectiveness for the UK infantry.
In addition to sustaining 880 jobs at Lockheed's Ampthill site in Bedfordshire, the agreement is also expected to benefit a number of small and medium sized enterprises across the UK who are involved in the supply chain to deliver the turret.
In September, GD received a £3.5bn contract to supply 589 SVs in six variants, to provide essential capability to the armoured cavalry within the Army 2020 structure.
Lockheed Martin UK chief executive Stephen Ball said: "This contract reflects the significant investment we have made in our workforce in Ampthill and clearly demonstrates our ability to play a key role in the design and development of the armoured fighting vehicles of the future.
"The award not only sustains a significant number of highly skilled manufacturing jobs at our Ampthill site but will also greatly benefit our UK supply chain partners, with whom we will work to deliver this modern, leading edge capability."
Lockheed Martin Ampthill Site managing director Alan Lines said: "It provides a platform for other potential contracts for armoured vehicles programmes in the UK and export markets."
The first prototype turrets are scheduled to be delivered to GD UK for assembly onto the Scout SV hull in 2015.
The Scout SV variants supplied to the UK Army include scout reconnaissance, equipment support repair, equipment and support recovery, command and control, protected mobility reconnaissance support, and engineer reconnaissance.
Designed to replace the army's existing combat reconnaissance (tracked) vehicle fleet, they will enhance intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and provide a highly effective 40mm cannon to the army for future combat operations.
Deliveries are expected to commence in 2017 and run through to 2025.
Image: A Scout Specialist Vehicle prototype at the 2014 DVD exhibition at Millbrook Proving Ground, UK. Photo: Crown copyright.