A consortium consisting of leading UK-based and owned defence companies has secured a contract to support and develop the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD) Cougar protected patrol vehicles (PPVs), which are returning from Afghanistan.
Led by Morgan Advanced Materials and including Ricardo and Ultra Electronics, the consortium will cover the provision of technical and project management services for the in-service Cougar family, including the Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound fleets.
Worth up to £20m over the first two years, the Cougar Post-Design Service (PDS) programme covers a fleet of more than 600 vehicles, with more than 20 variants, and could be extended for a further five years.
The agreement will focus on the optimisation of safety, configuration management, legal compliance and standardisation of the platforms through rationalisation of the component supply chain.
UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne said the Cougar, Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound fleets have proven themselves on operations, and will now support a more efficient army.
"This investment, which is set to be worth up to £20m over the first two years of the contract, will not only ensure our vehicles are adapted to their new roles, but will sustain the livelihoods of highly-skilled employees at three British-based defence companies," Dunne said.
Morgan Advanced Materials composites and defence systems managing director Duncan Eldridge said: "This is a highly significant contract award for us and demonstrates the advantages of harnessing the unique capabilities of key partners such as Ultra Electronics and Ricardo to offer the MoD the best possible service in the key areas of armour protection, vehicle electronics and overall project co-ordination. "
Meanwhile, Ultra Electronics precision air and land systems managing director Andy Yates said: "We are confident that the MoD will receive the most cost effective and best in class solution through our tri-party team, which draws on extensive experience in the military vehicle sector."
Work under the contract is scheduled to be coordinated from Morgan's specialist facility in Coventry, UK.
Image: A UK Army's Mastiff 3 protected patrol vehicle in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Photo: courtesy of Ricardo.