The British Army has told Army Technology that there is still no in-service date for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) and that commercial negotiations are still ongoing despite having already spent over £430m on the programme.
The statement from the MOD comes as Defence Minister Jeremy Quinn wrote in a parliamentary question that £431.9m had been spent on the programme since 2011. The Warrior CSP is designed to keep the vehicle in service until 2040. The programme to deliver the vehicles began eight years ago but as yet no vehicles have been delivered to front-line personnel.
In a statement, a Ministry of Defence (MOD) Spokesperson told Army Technology: “We recognise there have been challenges to the Warrior upgrade programme, and it would be inappropriate to comment on the vehicle’s in-service date while commercial discussions are ongoing.
“We remain committed to upgrading the Warrior fleet and current trials remain on track, with planned live firing tests taking place last summer and battlefield mission trials ongoing.”
As of January the Warrior CSP has completed 40 battlefield missions and has fired over 3,000 rounds in trials. In January, British Army director capability Major General Jez Bennett said that the British Army was facing a ‘modernisation challenge’.
At the time Bennett said: “We also continue to trial and develop the enhanced lethality that the new turret and 40mm stabilised cannon will bring as part of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme – a genuine game-changing capability for our armoured infantry community.”
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Warrior CSP is set to pass design acceptance in 2021, almost a decade after plans to upgrade the vehicle were first outlined by the British Army.
Warrior CSP is currently in the ‘demonstration phase’; qualification trials have been ongoing since 2018 using a total of 11 demonstration vehicles. According to the MOD, unmanned firing trials were completed ahead of schedule and other ‘comprehensive’ tests were completed in 2019, including several battlefield missions.
The MOD admitted that the progress of the qualification phase has not been straightforward and as a result, the programme has seen cost growths and delays. However, the MOD added that it is working with Lockheed Martin to ‘ensure an appropriate level of design stability, maturity and compliance to the Army’s requirements’ and that at this time it would not be appropriate to comment further due to the ongoing commercial activity.
Responding to a request for comment, a spokesperson for Lockheed Martin told Army Technology: “As with any complex development programme, there are challenges that need to be addressed along the way to ensure the capability is reliable and safe once it goes into service.
“The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme remains on track and milestones are being completed to schedule – the programme has recently (January 2020) completed 40 Battlefield Missions through ongoing Qualification and Verification activities and Reliability Growth Trials. It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an in-service date. We continue to work in lockstep with our customer to deliver this world-class capability to the British Army.”