Several news sources are reporting that the UK is seriously considering the purchase of 800 German-built Boxer 8×8 multi-role armored vehicle. The deal would be worth 3 billion Pounds, each vehicle costing 4 million Pounds apiece. Reports note that the British MoD are attempting to fast track this purchase by making it a single-source contract, effectively cutting out competitors such as the Patria of Finland, Nexter Systems of France and ST Kinetics from Singapore. The urgency of this purchase is said to be the result of fears of a further drop in the value of the British Pound due to the economic effects of the Brexit. The Boxer would replace the cold-war era FV430 series and the CVR(T) series. Attempts have been made to replace these vehicles several times in the past, resulting in failure due to budget cuts and internal disagreements about requirements. This new plan to purchase the Boxer also has critics. According to Russia Today:
“The MoD is at risk of making a very poor decision, and making it for all the wrong reasons,” a defense industry source told the Times. “A single-source contract would be pursued only because it’s an easy and quick option.” The source claimed that a competition could be timely and save taxpayers “up to 40 per cent on a £3 billion ($3.66bn) programme”.
“The army is in a rush because this has taken decades,” said another insider. “It is nervous the money will go and then the heart of the transformation of the army that [Chief of Staff General] Nick Carter has in mind is in jeopardy because they are going to have a force that doesn’t fit together.”