The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has disclosed that the British Army has 708 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) currently in service, a drawdown of 13 platforms since the last annual published statistics that were deemed to be beyond economical repair.

The disclosure comes less than two years before the Warrior IFV fleet is due to begin leaving service, and incrementally replaced by the wheeled Boxer 8×8 mechanised infantry vehicle.

However, prior to the publication of the Defence Command Paper (DCP) refresh there was a consideration that the Warrior could be given a stay of execution in light of lessons being learned by Nato forces in Ukraine’s ongoing war against Russia.

In the end, the refreshed DCP issued no such service extension to the UK’s Warrior IFVs, pledging no new platforms across any of the warfighting domains to instead focus on ammunition stockpiles.

The Ukraine conflict has shown the value of conventional armoured formations on the modern battlefield, with tracked vehicles operating well across Ukraine’s vast fields in all conditions.

The Warrior IFV was recently the beneficiary of a £20m ($25.8m) contract for the installation of rear-mounted cameras due to health of safety requirements. The contract will be able to equip 359 vehicles with the rear-mounted camera, enough for just over half the Warrior fleet.  

The British Army has been allocated £200m to allow current capabilities, including Warrior, to remain in service until new concepts and capabilities are introduced into service throughout the decade, stated a written parliamentary response.

No Warrior reprieve from original DCP

In 2021, the original UK Defence Command Paper announced that the British Army would retire the Warrior IFV fleet from 2025, abandoning plans to undertake the Warrior Capability Sustainment Plan which would have seen the installation of a new turret and main weapon, among other upgrades.

Instead, the acquisition of the Boxer 8×8 mechanised infantry vehicle (MIV) would be accelerated to fill the gap left by the tracked IFV.

In 2019, the UK signed a £2.3bn deal for the procurement of 508 Boxer MIVs from Artec – a consortium of Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegman – in troop-carrying, ambulance, command and specialist carrier variants of the vehicle. This figure has subsequently increased, with a 16 June parliamentary written answer stating that funding had been allocated for 1,016 Boxer MIVs.