Welding work began today at Rheinmetall’s Kassel plant for the production of the UK’s first prototype Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIV). Series production of the vehicles will begin in Germany before transitioning the bulk of production work to the UK in 2023.
The prototype vehicles will include content made by UK suppliers, including the remotely-controlled weapons station, generic vehicle architecture components, situational awareness and vehicle emergency lighting systems.
Future vehicles will be produced in the UK by WFEL – a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) – at its Stockport plant and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) – a consortium of Rheinmetall and BAE Systems – at its Telford facility.
Rheinmetall’s plant in Kassel is actively transferring production knowledge, including welding expertise, to UK colleagues.
The UK has ordered over 500 Boxer MIVs across four variants, including an infantry carrying vehicle, command and control variant, field ambulance and specialist carrier. Deliveries to the British Army are slated to begin before the end of 2022.
Development of the four British variants of the 8×8 vehicle began at the end of 2019.
The UK’s Boxer order was placed in November 2019 and is being delivered by Artec GmbH – a joint venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. Fifty per cent of the total order volume is split between each partner.
The 38+ tonne vehicle has already been ordered by many users, including Australia, Germany, Lithuania, and the Netherlands. Around 1,200 vehicles across 20 different configurations are under contract across NATO.
Australia has ordered 211 Boxer vehicles, of which Rheinmetall has already delivered the first 25.
Following the UK’s Defence Command Paper and Integrated Review, the Boxer MIV emerged as a critical capability for the Army moving forward alongside the Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank – an upgrade on the Challenger 2 from RBSL, the Apache helicopter, and beleaguered Ajax.
Boxer will replace the capability currently filled by the British Army’s Warrior tracked infantry fighting vehicle when it is retired in 2025.
While the UK has not ordered a turreted variant of the Boxer, the British Army is analysing potential lethality enhancements that could see an infantry fighting variant of the vehicle procured in the future.
The UK is also currently looking to procure a new mobile fires platform to replace or upgrade the in-service AS90 self-propelled artillery. A potential candidate for the future artillery
system could be the Boxer based Remote Controlled Howitzer 155mm (RCH155) built by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.
Boxer could also form a future carrier for a new missile-based overwatch capability being explored by the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, with both MDBA and Lockheed Martin developing concepts based around the Boxer vehicle.