The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has asked General Dynamics (GD) to reassess the cost of assembling the new Scout specialist vehicle (SV) platforms within the UK rather than in Spain.
Earlier this month, GD UK received a £3.5bn contract to manufacture and deliver up to 589 vehicles in six variants, along with initial in-service support and training, to the UK Army.
Under the contract terms, the production of the initial batch will take place at the GD European Land Systems plant at Santa Barbara Sistemas in Spain, Defense News reported.
Full-rate production of the remaining vehicles is scheduled to move to the UK’s state-owned Defence Support Group (DSG).
However, the full-rate production will have the hull fabricated and painted in Spain, with the remaining process to be completed at DSG.
UK defence equipment, support and technology minister Phillip Dunne told Defense News: "The first 100 vehicles are being assembled in Spain.
"We have an option to assemble the rest in the UK and we have asked General Dynamics to scrub the numbers and look at that.
"The original pricing differential meant it was best value for UK taxpayers (for the vehicles to be built in Spain) but we have asked what they can do to scrub that."
DSG would not necessarily undertake Scout vehicle assembly even if the work is moved to the UK, Dunne added.
Royal United Services Institute professorial fellow Trevor Taylor said: "This is an expensive programme, some of the variants cost more than a main battle tank, so you can imagine that any further cost increase as a result of moving assembly to the UK would put the MoD under some stress."
GD UK refused to comment on the government request.
Designed to replace the UK Army’s existing combat reconnaissance (tracked) vehicle fleet, the Scout SV is expected to offer enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, as well as an effective 40mm cannon, for future missions.
Deliveries are scheduled to commence with the Protected Mobility Recce Support version in 2017 and run through to 2025. The first brigade would be ready to be deployed from 2020.
Though the contract includes options for additional purchases, the numbers are not expected to increase unless there is a change in army requirements, according to Dunne.
Image: A prototype of the UK Army’s new Scout specialist vehicle. Photo: © Crown copyright.