The future UK Boxer mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) has begun industry trials at the Milbrook proving grounds, as a notable marker as the platform continues its workup ahead of its entry into British Army service.

Senior officials from the pan-European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation is a European (OCCAR), which manages the continents Boxer MIV programme were present to mark the occasion, along with representatives from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), British Army, and Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S).

In April last year the UK Government revealed that the production of Boxer MIVs for the British Army had increased by 100 platforms to 623 units following the beginning of joint UK-Germany production in Telford and Stockport in the UK, and Munich, Germany.

The UK and Germany had worked closely together on the Boxer programme for the British Army, with the Boxer build in the UK benefitting from German expertise, data and collaboration, stated the UK Government in a release at the time.

More than 400 Boxers are in service with the Germany military, with some older variants in service for more than ten years, including on operations in Afghanistan.

The first 117 UK units are being built on German production lines, as UK facilities in Telford and Stockport ramp up for the remaining 506 and begin manufacture. The first Boxer vehicles were schedule to arrive in from 2023.  

The UK Government also has potential scope to increase the number of Boxers of the lifetime of the programme, with a recent UK parliamentary written response stating that the MoD had “allocated funding for 1,016” Boxer MIVs, against a “land fleet requirement of 1,305”.

Due to be published this week, the refresh of the UK Defence Command Paper is expected to shed further light on Boxer numbers, as well as rethinking to key UK armoured programmes such as Challenger 3, Ajax, and Warrior, in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The UK announced in 2018 that it would re-join the Boxer programme, having had a role in the original design, development, and testing of the platform from 1998. Having rejoined the Boxer programme, the UK in 2019 announced a £2.8bn ($3.6bn) for the acquisition of an initial 523 platforms, which would effectively replace the outgoing tracked Warrior infantry fighting vehicle.