The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £3.5bn contract to General Dynamics (GD) UK for the delivery of Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms to the national army.
Under the contract, the company will supply a total of 589 vehicles in six variants to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020.
The variants include scout reconnaissance, equipment support repair, equipment and support recovery, command and control, protected mobility reconnaissance support (PMRS) variants and engineer reconnaissance variants.
The contract also covers the provision of initial in-service support and training and will create up to 1,300 jobs across the programme's UK supply chain, with 300 alone at the company's Oakdale facility.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: "These new vehicles are a testament to the world class engineering skills in south Wales and across the UK, helping to create the army's first fully digitalised armoured vehicles.
"With the second largest defence budget in Nato, meeting Nato's two per cent of GDP spending target and investing in new capabilities to deal with the emerging threats, we are ensuring Britain's national security, staying at the forefront of the global race and providing leadership within Nato."
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This is the biggest single order placed by the MoD for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe."
UK General Staff Chief and Army head Sir Peter Wall said: "The Scout family is a transformational programme that will refresh our armoured capability and ensure the army remains a first-tier manoeuvre force.
"It provides advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and will be the "eyes and ears" of commanders on the battlefields of the future.
"With digital links to all of our other systems it will be able to fulfil a wide range of combat roles."
Designed to replace the army's existing combat reconnaissance (tracked) vehicle fleet, Scout SV is expected to offer enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and a highly effective 40mm cannon to the army for future combat operations.
Deliveries are expected to commence in 2017, while training establishment and the first squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to enable conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.
Image: Scout SV platforms are expected to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020. Photo: courtesy of General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited.