11 April 2022


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


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


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


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 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


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.

12 October 2021


Significant contract wins and export orders lead to expansion and new job creation for WFEL

WFEL, a leading worldwide supplier of military bridging equipment, is creating a number of new jobs at our site in Heaton Chapel, to meet demand for our military bridges, both in the UK and overseas.

Affectionately known by both current and past employees as 'Fairey's' in recognition of our heritage name of Fairey Engineering - WFEL is particularly well known for the precision engineering of Military Bridging systems, which have already been supplied to more than 40 Armies around the world. The bridges are manufactured from military-grade lightweight aluminium, specially manufactured for WFEL, allowing them to be quickly deployed, which is a necessity when used in areas of flooding and other natural disasters.

The new jobs immediately available incorporate a number of Supervisory roles, as well as Production and Machine Shop personnel including Welders and Fitters, to work on the manufacture of our DSB Dry Support Bridges, which are the longest non-reinforced bridges of their class anywhere in the world. WFEL offers long-term employment opportunities and more details on the individual vacancies can be found on Careers page of our website.

6 October 2021


Following participation at the DSEI exhibition in London last month, leading Military Bridging Systems supplier WFEL is attending the AUSA event in Washington next week (11-13 October) to promote the 'dual use' versatility of its rapidly deployable modular bridging systems.

Disaster Relief operations following severe flooding in Europe recently saw WFEL's rapidly deployable military bridging systems deployed to provide emergency temporary infrastructure during natural disasters in both Germany and Turkey. Both MGB Medium Girder Bridges and DSB Dry Support Bridges were deployed.

WFEL will be discussing the range of rapidly deployable bridging systems on booth 1815 in Hall A/B, alongside colleagues from parent company, KMW. WFEL's DSB Dry Support Bridge and the MGB Medium Girder Bridge are already held in inventory by many militaries worldwide. The U.S. Military have been users of WFEL's bridging systems for many years, with well over 100 Dry Support Bridging systems in their inventory.

At 120 Military Load Classification (MLC), the DSB can get traffic and supplies moving over a 46-metre gap in less than 90 minutes using just eight soldiers and a single launch vehicle: crucial in rapidly escalating combat, homeland defence or disaster relief scenarios - when every second counts.

7 August 2021


WFEL is showcasing its military bridging systems at DSEI London 14-17 September and a new collaboration between WFEL and its parent company KMW - the Boxer Bridge-layer - will be on display, the first time it is being shown at a Defence Exhibition.

As seen in Disaster Relief operations following recent severe flooding in Europe in July, WFEL's rapidly deployable military bridging systems are increasingly called upon for deployment to provide emergency temporary infrastructure during natural disasters.

The new Boxer bridge module can deploy two types of bridge: a heavy variant which spans 14 metres and can carry 80 tons and a longer version of 22 metres, certified for 50 tons.

WFEL will be discussing its range of rapidly deployable bridging systems on booth H6-410 alongside KMW. WFEL's DSB Dry Support Bridge and the MGB Medium Girder Bridge are already held in inventory by many militaries worldwide.

At 120 Military Load Classification (MLC), the DSB can get traffic and supplies moving over a 46-metre gap in less than 90 minutes using just eight soldiers and a single launch vehicle: crucial in rapidly escalating combat, homeland defence or disaster relief scenarios - when every second counts.

Appointments to visit the WFEL team and discuss potential requirements for military bridging can be made here: https://www.wfel.com/contact or by contacting: info@wfel.com

For those military personnel unable to visit the show in person due to COVID travel restrictions, WFEL can also be contacted via the DSEI Connect service.

13 July 2021


WFEL has delivered - several months earlier than scheduled - the first of several new MGB Medium Girder Bridge systems to the British Army's Royal Engineers, under the contract awarded in October 2020.

The new MGB bridging sets can be configured in several different ways to provide flexibility to the Commander on the ground and this first bridge configuration will allow the Royal Engineers to build a 31 metre Double Storey and a five-bay Single Storey Medium Girder Bridge, to be used to cross both wet and dry gaps in a variety of operational and emergency disaster relief scenarios.

This is the first of the 17 sets of Medium Girder Bridges to be supplied by WFEL, following a review of the UK MoD’s modular gap crossing capabilities (MGCC), to draw together existing in-service capabilities into a single coherent capability.

Mike Batty, Team Leader for the Operational Infrastructure Team for Defence, Equipment and Support, the procurement arm of the MoD, said: “The MGCC bridges provide a bedrock of essential support to troops on both Military and Disaster Relief operations. Receiving them ahead of schedule gives us confidence that our delivery partners understand how vital this equipment is to our Armed Forces.”

The British Army has been a user of Medium Girder Bridges since the early 1980s and the new bridging systems to be supplied by WFEL will provide new, lightweight, medium gap-crossing capability to Very High Readiness forces and form a significant element of the manoeuvre support capability for the British Army's STRIKE Brigade.

The MGB bridging systems were chosen by the Royal Engineers for their versatility and deployability to meet the challenges of the future integrated operating concept. UK Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said: “These bridges provide our Armed Forces with vital capabilities in both Military and Disaster Relief operations.”

The complete MGB contract will be fulfilled by Dec 2025.

With over 500 systems already supplied to militaries around the world, the MGB is a modular military bridging system, providing interoperability with any other MGB of any age and is already adopted by many NATO members. MGBs were deployed jointly by U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy Seabees in Norway during Exercise Trident Juncture 2018, in one of the largest NATO exercises of recent times.


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