7 September 2022

Irish Defence Forces Sign New Bridging Contract with WFEL

WFEL is delighted to announce that it has contracted with the Irish Defence Forces for supply of the MGB Medium Girder Bridging System.  The Irish Defence Forces have chosen the 31m double storey MGB variant, which can be erected in various configurations to cover the full range of military and emergency bridging requirements and will be supplied complete with handrails, making the system adaptable for use not only during military operations but also in Disaster Relief and Emergency scenarios, such as the severe flooding situations seen in Europe recently.

The Irish Military have been users of WFEL's MGB Medium Girder Bridging System since the late 1970s and are therefore already familiar with the many benefits of this versatile, modular bridging system.  The Corps of Engineers - military engineering branch of the Defence Forces of Ireland - will take delivery of the new MGB bridging.  The Corps is responsible for combat engineering and construction engineering services, providing engineering on the battlefield and has successfully leveraged its skill and expertise in several of the Irish Army's deployments on United Nations operations.

Colonel Damian McEvoy, Director of Engineering for the Irish Defence Forces, said, "As long-time users of the Medium Girder Bridge system, we are already familiar with its many benefits and, by updating our bridging assets with the latest version of the MGB, we will continue to be equipped with the most versatile, modular bridging system available, allowing our Engineering Division to rapidly react to situations both on and off the battlefield. 

"Of particular importance to us is the lightweight nature of the MGB system, not only for reducing transportation weight, but to enable the bridge components to be handled by our troops without the need for mechanical aids".   

With over 500 systems already supplied to militaries around the world, the MGB modular military bridging system provides interoperability with any other MGB of any age and is already adopted by many NATO members. WFEL's MGB has been deployed and proven on NATO operations worldwide.

A full support and training package is included in the contract and the Irish Defence Forces can expect delivery of their new bridging assets by the end of 2023.

Tom Winney, Business Development Director at WFEL, said, "We are delighted to be working closely with the Irish Defence Force once again and refreshing their military bridging stocks with the latest MGB systems, to provide vital engineer capabilities.  We are seeing increased interest in our MGB bridging systems worldwide, due to their modular and versatile nature, as forces worldwide recognise the need for rapid gap-crossing capability to ensure unrestricted manoeuvre for vehicles of up to 70 tonnes.”

3 August 2022

WFEL AND RBSL SELECT ROLLS ROYCE TO SUPPLY MTU ENGINES FOR BOXER

WFEL and Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) have each selected Rolls Royce Solutions UK to supply their MTU engine for the British Army’s new Boxer Armoured vehicles.

The MTU 8v 199 TS21 engines are proven in military applications. With a power output of 600kw, the engines allow for enhanced operational mobility and agility and a higher electrical load.  The Boxers for the British Army will be the first versions of the vehicle equipped with this engine variant, delivering 70 KW more power than the MTU engines in previous versions of the Boxer.

523 units will be produced in Rolls Royce’s facility in East Grinstead, West Sussex, for the UK MOD’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) programme.
 
For the fulfilment of the contract with WFEL, the Rolls Royce engines will be delivered directly to Huddersfield-based David Brown Santasalo, another key UK partner in WFEL's Boxer programme, who will integrate the engines into the complete Boxer Powerpack Assemblies, prior to delivery to WFEL.  First delivery of the engines will take place later this year.

For RBSL, assembly and testing of the Boxer Powerpack (transmission, engine and cooling systems) will take place at its world-class manufacturing site in Telford.

The engines will then be integrated into Boxer vehicles as part of RBSL and WFEL’s vehicle production plans at their respective UK facilities in Telford and Stockport.

The Boxer programme aims to develop a resilient UK supply chain for Boxer.  As such, WFEL and RBSL are part of a Boxer Joint Procurement Team, which has engaged suppliers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Rolls Royce is the latest in a series of suppliers confirmed for the programme. 

Andrew Munt, Boxer Programme Director for WFEL, said: 
“Boxer vehicle hull production is now well under way here at WFEL in Stockport.  As we move into the vehicle assembly phase, we are delighted to contract with Rolls Royce for the supply of MTU engines.”

David Eaton, Director-Governmental at Rolls-Royce Solutions UK, said: 
“We have been working energetically with our industry partners for a number of years to reach this point and are very much looking forward to delivering our engines to power these state-of-the-art, British-built infantry vehicles.”

In April 2022, the British Army announced it had ordered an additional 100 Boxer armoured vehicles, bringing the total number on order to 623.

7 July 2022

JOB CREATION CONTINUES WITH OPPORTUNITIES IN MILITARY BRIDGING AND MILITARY VEHICLES

Following the announcement last year by UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, of the creation of 120 jobs at Stockport-based WFEL as a result of contracts for the Ministry of Defence, the next round of vacancies is now available, covering a wide spectrum of roles at the precision engineering company's North West site.

The company is already well known for its manufacture of Military Bridging systems, supplied to over 40 Armies around the world, and is also a key partner in the manufacture of new 'Boxer' armoured military vehicles, following a £2.3 bn MoD contract.

New roles are immediately available in the areas of Training, Accounting, Manufacturing, Engineering, Quality Engineering/Control, Project Management and Welding/Fitters in both the Military Bridging and Military Vehicles divisions.

WFEL offers secure and long-term employment opportunities. 

More details on the individual vacancies can be found on the WFEL website: https://www.wfel.com/careers

7 June 2022

EUROSATORY, PARIS 13-17 JUNE 2022

For the first time in WFEL's many appearances at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, the Military Bridging Systems supplier will next week be exhibiting on the KNDS (KMW Nexter Defence Systems) booth, alongside parent company KMW. 

As the world-leading provider of rapidly deployed modular military bridging systems, WFEL will showcase its range of products, including the DSB Dry Support Bridge and also its newest collaboration with KMW, the Boxer Bridge-Layer system.             

WFEL’s Dry Support Bridge is the world’s most technically advanced, rapidly deployable military bridge of its type and a 46m bridge can be constructed by a crew of 8 in under 90 minutes. The user base for the Dry Support Bridge is constantly growing worldwide and the latest country to join the user base is the Philippines, which is acquiring a number of DSB systems under the Horizon II modernisation programme.

Strategic Importance

WFEL’s rapidly-deployable bridging systems – including the MGB Medium Girder Bridge as well as the DSB - provide temporary infrastructure and have the potential to be used both in combat situations and in the event of natural disasters, greatly enhancing an Army’s capability to quickly manoeuvre across physical terrain as complex as rivers, ravines and man-made gaps.

The current growing ‘state of readiness for battle’ for many militaries around the world, combined with the greater involvement of the military in support of natural disasters which have occurred in recent times, illustrates the strategic importance of the dual-role capabilities of WFEL’s bridging systems.

Both DSB and MGB Bridging Systems were deployed in 2021 during rescue and relief operations, following severe flooding in Europe, namely in Germany and Turkey.

11 April 2022

DCGS VISITS WFEL TO CONFIRM ORDER FOR 100 MORE BOXERS

British Army Deputy Chief of General Staff Visits WFEL to Announce Additional 100 Boxer Armoured Vehicles Contract

WFEL was delighted to host in Stockport the British Army's Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Sir Christopher Tickell KBE, together with Chris Bushell, D.G. Land, Defence Equipment and Support and other senior industry colleagues from DE&S and RBSL, for the official announcement confirming a contractual extension with the ARTEC consortium worth several hundred million pounds, that will see the British Army receive an additional 100 Boxer Armoured vehicles.

The manufacture of wheeled Boxer vehicles for the British Army is already well underway at WFEL's new Boxer vehicle facility in Stockport. This contract extension will include extra Infantry Carrier vehicles, Command & Control vehicles and Ambulances which will be used by the British Army’s new Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, as a first uplift to increase the Force Structure, as planned in the 2021 Defence Command Paper.

This latest contract for 100 vehicles is in addition to the earlier £2.8bn contract signed between ARTEC and UK MoD for more than 500 Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles. The additional vehicles will be manufactured in both UK and Germany and will be delivered from 2024, whilst the original order for 523 Boxer vehicles will deliver from 2023.

Defence Procurement Minister, Jeremy Quin said: “This order will accelerate the delivery of the Boxer fleet to the British Army and increase its numbers.

“The land equipment upgrade is a vital element of the Integrated Review, on which we continue to deliver. Doing so, alongside our German allies, creates opportunities for both our Armed Forces.”

Following an extensive technology transfer programme from Germany, the UK Boxer Programme is creating 120 additional jobs at WFEL and sustaining a further number, in addition to creating a new, vibrant and robust UK supply chain to support the vehicles throughout their 30+ year life. Further UK job creation and sustainment is already being seen within WFEL's growing UK-wide supply chain, which is set to further expand as the Boxer Programme progresses.

Chris Bushell, Director General Land, Defence Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the Ministry of Defence, said: “This contract extension is great news for the Boxer programme and committing to buying an extra 100 vehicles demonstrates our confidence in the programme and the benefits of the capability.

Not only is this great news for the future of the British Army but it will also boost our commitment to investing in the UK’s defence industry and supply chains, meaning we can retain critical engineering and manufacturing skills in the UK.”

Image: Crown Copyright

21 March 2022

MIDLANDS SUB-CONTRACT AWARD FOR PRECISION ENGINEERED BOXER COMPONENTS

WFEL awards Boxer Armoured Vehicle sub-contract to Midlands Precision Engineering Company

In a further roll-out of the UK supply chain for manufacture of the Boxer Armoured Vehicles for the British Army, WFEL has contracted with Nasmyth Group for the supply of precision machined and fabricated components.

This ten-year Long Term Supply Agreement will ensure the provision of vital precision-manufactured elements for the highly mobile, wheeled armoured combat vehicles. The Boxer vehicles combine long distance road deployment with all-terrain mobility and bring new capabilities to the British Army.

WFEL is a key partner in delivering these state-of-the-art vehicles to the British Army, with fabrication and assembly of the Boxers taking place at WFEL's brand-new facility in Stockport. WFEL is developing a robust supply chain throughout the UK to support the £3.2bn Boxer Programme, which is helping to support regional economic growth and job creation and sustainment and contributing to levelling-up opportunities.

The Boxer base platform, with its interchangeable Mission Modules, can cover a range of capabilities, from infantry personnel transportation around the battlefield to highly equipped mobile medical facilities. The British Army will take delivery of more than 500 Boxer vehicle variants, including infantry carriers, specialist carriers, command vehicles and ambulances.

Ian Anderton, WFEL Managing Director, said, “We warmly welcome Nasmyth Group into our expanding UK Boxer family and look forward to developing a close partnership as we collaborate to successfully deliver this exciting project for the British Army."

Peter Smith, Chairman and CEO of Nasmyth Group, commented: “For the defence markets, Nasmyth Group manufactures a wide range of complex components for a variety of military applications. We look forward to working with the team at WFEL to manufacture component parts for the Boxer Armoured Vehicle Programme.”

15 February 2022

SHADOW SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE VISITS WFEL

We were delighted to host John Healey, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence, at our Stockport military manufacturing facility, in the first week of February, accompanied by Stockport MP Navendu Mishra.

The visitors heard about the most recent developments in the rich history of WFEL, as both a world-leading supplier of Military Bridging Systems and as a key partner in the UK MoD's Boxer Armoured Vehicle programme.

During a tour of WFEL's Military Bridging manufacturing centre, the Members of Parliament met with production staff who have developed technical and highly specialist skills over many years working at WFEL. The Bridging teams are currently working on a number of significant projects for both the British Army and for overseas military customers.

In WFEL's Armoured Vehicle manufacturing facility, the MPs saw the £multi-million investment in brand new facilities and significant technology transfer programmes which have culminated in this new state-of-the-art production line, now producing Boxer 8x8 Armoured Vehicles for the UK MoD as part of a £2.3bn contract signed with the ARTEC consortium.

The MPs heard how WFEL is a significant employer in Stockport, offering long-term, secure job opportunities for an increasing number of personnel in a variety of disciplines.

The Boxer vehicle contract for UK MoD is creating new sovereign skills for the UK armoured vehicle industry, with further job opportunities currently available at WFEL and in our wider supply chains, as this project further advances over coming months.

21 January 2022

JOBS CREATED AS BOXER VEHICLE PROGRAMME ADVANCES WITH NEW SUB-CONTRACT AWARD

South Yorkshire-based MTL Advanced has been chosen to supply armoured steel for the production of the UK MoD's Boxer Armoured Vehicle Programme, under a £-multi-million, multi-year contract awarded jointly by WFEL and parent company KMW. The armoured material will be used in the Boxer vehicle hull assembly, which will be fabricated at WFEL’s specialist Manufacturing Centre of Excellence in Stockport.

MTL Advanced have invested in excess of £2m in new capital equipment to help support this project and meet increased demand. The new investments have been spread around the various manufacturing cells of the Rotherham business, to provide an enhancement in capacity, in line with the production schedules for the UK Boxer vehicles contract.

In a major boost to the local community, this contract award has contributed to the creation of 30 new jobs at MTL Advanced, who have also welcomed 12 new Apprentices to their Engineering & Welding Apprentice Academy during September 2021, demonstrating MTL's on-going commitment to train the next generation of Engineers. MTL Advanced says that investing in the next generation of talented engineers is critical to their ongoing success.

The company has also recruited an additional 4 young job seekers as part of the nationwide KickStart campaign and new Graduate schemes have also been brought forward, to upskill MTL's staff and provide them with further education and career progression opportunities.

MTL Advanced General Manager, Karl Stewart, said: “We are really excited to have been awarded this major contract, which will give us the opportunity to work in partnership with WFEL and KMW on such an important UK Defence project. We look forward to engaging closely with WFEL and KMW’s engineering teams and leveraging our armour manufacturing expertise to help make this Boxer Vehicle programme a great success for the British Army.”

Mr Stewart added: “As a company located at the heart of the Sheffield-Rotherham Advanced Manufacturing corridor, the region that was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, we are immensely proud to be able to bring such a prestigious multi-year contract to Rotherham for the benefit of our local community.”

This is the latest sub-contract to be awarded by WFEL, a key partner in the manufacture of the Boxer Armoured Vehicles for the British Army, under the $2.3 bn contract signed in November 2019 between ARTEC and the UK MoD.

6 December 2021

ANOTHER UK SME CONTRACTED BY WFEL FOR UK MOD BOXER PROGRAMME

Another UK SME signed up to supply further Components for UK Boxer MIV Programme

As production of Boxer vehicles is now well underway at WFEL's new state-of-the-art Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle production facility in Stockport, a further UK supply chain contract has been signed for the provision of Periscopes and Windows.

Cwmbran-based GuS Periscopes will supply WFEL with Periscope and Window Systems for the Boxer vehicles, to be incorporated into both the Boxer Drive Module chassis and also the Mission Modules which WFEL will ultimately supply to the UK MoD. The systems from GuS were chosen for this programme because of their mission-proven safety, durability and quality and ensuring minimal technical and commercial risk to the Boxer Programme.

Ian Anderton, WFEL Managing Director, commented, "We are delighted to join forces with GuS Periscopes in Wales as part of our UK-wide supply chain roll-out for the MoD's Boxer Programme and look forward to a successful partnership supporting our joint UK MOD customer”

This £multi-million contract with WFEL will run for 10 years and will help to sustain a number of jobs at the GuS Periscopes site in Cwmbran, as well as supporting two new Engineering Apprentice roles starting in 2022.

Managing Director of GuS Periscopes, Anthony Caruana, said, "Our proven Periscopes and Windows for the UK Boxer vehicles will be manufactured to unrivalled levels of quality and durability to fulfil the needs of the British Army MIV program, to ensure service personnel survive the rigours and hazards of combat and fulfil their critical missions. We are excited and proud to be supporting WFEL and to be fulfilling our purpose of 'protecting those who protect us'."

There has been £multi-million investment in the GuS site at Cwmbran, to support the delivery to WFEL of these niche military products over the life of the contract and GuS is also now working closely with the Welsh Government to explore future export opportunities which would also be serviced from this site.

The Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles are highly mobile, wheeled armoured combat vehicles which combine long distance road deployment with all-terrain mobility, bringing new capabilities to the British Army. The common Boxer base platform, with its interchangeable Mission Modules, can cover a range of capabilities, from infantry personnel transportation around the battlefield to highly equipped mobile medical facilities.

6 November 2021

FURTHER BOXER SUB-CONTRACT AWARDED TO UK SME

UK Boxer Armoured Vehicle Programme Further Develops with Sub-Contract for Emergency Lighting Systems

In a further sub-contract award, as part of the UK Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle Programme for the British Army, KMW and WFEL have signed a contract with AeroGlow International for the supply of the latest HaLO Vehicle Egress Lighting Systems.

This contract is for the delivery of bespoke HaLO systems, with deliveries commencing in 2021 and running through to 2031. The awarding of this sub-contract to a UK SME demonstrates the commitment to source 60% by value of the Boxer contract from within the UK, protecting sovereign engineering and manufacturing skills and ensuring that the vehicles remain supported through their 30-year operational life.

Emergency lighting systems have been recognised as safety critical for the Boxer vehicles and Salisbury-based AeroGlow says that having the HaLO system fitted to Boxer will ensure the mitigation of drowning and egress risks for British military personnel for the foreseeable future. The emergency lighting systems will be integrated into the Boxer vehicles by WFEL at their new, state-of-the-art Boxer MIV manufacturing facility in Stockport.

The proven AeroGlow LED escape lighting system will guide Boxer occupants to an exit as quickly as possible should the vehicle suffer a traumatic event - such as damage by a blast, roll over or being submerged in water - and the soldiers inside need to get out fast.

AeroGlow Business Development Director, Keith White, commented “We are delighted that the latest version of HaLO featuring our Capacitor Pack power supply has been chosen for the Boxer platform. With the contract with KMW and WFEL set to run for 10 years, this ensures the employment of our staff and our UK suppliers’ staff for the long term. "

This contract award mirrors a contract awarded to AeroGlow International by Rheinmetall and RBSL which - together with KMW and WFEL - are joint partners in the UK for the manufacture of the Boxer vehicles for the British Army.

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