The UK’s Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence, has turned to US supplier KBR for the provision of the British Army’s Heavy Equipment Transport (HET) capability, which enables the movement of heavy armour such as Challenger 2 main battle tanks over long distances.

Platforms such as the Challenger 2, or large infantry fighting vehicle like Ajax, would not ordinarily transit long distances when heading to an area of operations (AOO) or participating in exercises. Instead, such vehicles would be carried by a HET to an assembly area close to the exercise or AOO.

The new HET provision was secured through an £80m ($100.4m) interim capability solution that will run over the next three years, stated DE&S in a 23 April 2024, release.

The agreement forms part of a wider Materiel Distribution Land 2025 (MDL 25) programme, which incorporates HET, bulk liquid transportation such as fuel tankers, and palletised load carrying vehicles for the British Army.

The interim deal will last for three years and is part of the Materiel Distribution Land 2025 programme. Credit: DE&S

Nick Taylor, head of Land Combat Vehicles for DE&S, said: “These vehicles are the bedrock of credible operational capability and underpin our logistical provision to ensure the right equipment is delivered to the right people, on time.”

DE&S stated that the contract with KBR means the British Army will be provided with serviced HET trains – each consisting of a cab and trailer – with operational spares packs to allow for operations on multiple fronts.

Mike Cooper, senior responsible owner of the MDL 25 programme for the British Army, said: “Placing this contract secures a critical enabling capability for the [British] Army, allowing continued logistic movement of heavy armour and other large equipment for current and future operations and exercises that will ensure the British Army remains able to project fighting power where required.”

KBR increases presence in European military logistics

US defence supplier KBR has an extensive global operating network providing logistics support to US and allied force around the world. According to the company, it currently supports approximately 20,000 US Government personnel across roughly 50 locations in Europe and North America.

Service provisions including contingency operations, humanitarian support, life-cycle asset management, and integrated supply chain solutions.

On 29 April, KBR announced that it had been awarded a $771m deal to provide logistics and life support service to US Army European Command and Northern Command under the Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme (LOGCAP) V contract.

In Europe, KBR supports LOGCAP operations in Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Türkiye.