Scout SV to be assembled in UK

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Scout SV to be assembled in UK
Nicholas de Larrinaga, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
22 July 2015


The UK MoD has awarded GDUK a GBP390 million contract that will extend support for the British Army's future fleet of Scout SV reconnaissance vehicles until 2024 and will bring the assembly of the majority of the vehicles to the UK. Source: General Dynamics UK

Key Points
  • The British Army's new Scout SV tracked reconnaissance vehicle will be now be assembled in the UK
  • Originally set to be assembled in Spain, a contract for a new support facility has enabled the manufacturer to shift the majority of assembly work to the UK
The British Army's recently ordered Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) will now be assembled in the United Kingdom, following the award of a supplementary GBP390 million (USD608.1 million) contract to General Dynamics UK (GDUK).

Announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron on 23 July, the contract will extend in service support through until 2024.

Speaking to IHS Jane's , a spokesperson for GDUK said the company would be building a new facility in South Wales to conduct this support work, and that, "with this facility it makes sense to conduct assembly in the UK."

The UK ordered 589 Scout SVs from GDUK in September 2014 at a cost of GBP3.5 billion, with the tracked reconnaissance vehicles set to replace the British Army's ageing Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) - CVR(T) - family of vehicles. Under this contract, manufacturing and assembly of the vehicles was to take place at the General Dynamics European Land Systems Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDELS-SBS) facility in Spain, with some final manufacturing support taking place in Wales.

Cameron said that the "decision by General Dynamics to bring the assembly of these world class armoured vehicles to South Wales is to the credit of the skills and expertise in the local area. The 250 additional new skilled jobs at General Dynamics will build on those already safeguarded by the decision to purchase 589 Scout vehicles for our armed forces." The original production contract was stated to secure 300 jobs at GDUK's Oakdale facility in Wales.

On 2 July IHS Jane's reported that the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) was conducting an economic viability review into setting up an assembly line for the vehicles in the UK and the implications for the long-term support of the vehicles. MoD sources had expected the review to report its findings in July. However, a decision on moving assembly work from Spain to the UK was not expected until the UK's upcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was completed later this year.

The announcement on 23 July thus pre-empts the SDSR. Indeed, as recently as 21 July in a written answer to Parliament, UK Minister of State for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne stated that no decision had yet been made on the matter. The MoD was "considering an unsolicited proposal from General Dynamics for an extension to the existing initial in-service support arrangements for the Scout Specialist Vehicle during its manufacture period," he said. "This extension might result in General Dynamics Land Systems UK taking the decision to transfer some vehicle assembly to the UK."

According to the GDUK spokesperson, the first 100 of the 589 Scout SVs will still be built in Spain. Once the new facility is up and running, the company will then transfer the "assembly, integration and test work of the remaining 489 vehicles" to Wales.

Shifting assembly from Spain to Wales should not affect the vehicles' delivery schedule, currently set to run from 2017-2024, according to GDUK. The British Army is expecting to begin conversion work from the CVR(T) to Scout SV in mid-2019, providing a brigade-sized force equipped with Scout SV ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

The original production contract had included some initial support and training provision. However, according to GDUK, this was only for "an initial 2-3 year period". The new contract will see in service support extended until the completion of Scout SV deliveries to the British Army.

The Scout SV will represent a significant improvement over the British Army's CVR(T) family, such as the FV107 Scimitar. For example, compared to the unstabilised 30 mm RARDEN cannon of the Scimitar, Scout SV will be armed with the stabilised and innovative CTA International 40 mm Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) - providing a major increase in firepower and accuracy. Importantly for a reconnaissance vehicle, Scout SV will also offer a step-change in ISTAR capabilities over the CVR(T) family and major improvements in armoured protection.

However, these improvements are not without their own tradeoffs, and the new Scout vehicles are much bigger, heavier, and more complex than the vehicles they are replacing. Scout SV will have a combat weight of 38 tonnes, and a stretch potential to 42 tonnes, and is some 7.6 m long, 3.38 m wide, and 2.98 m high. This compares with the 4.784 m length, 2.134 m width, 2.254 m height of the Scimitar, which even at its heaviest - the improved Scimitar Mk2 deployed to Afghanistan - weighed only 12 tonnes.

Scout SV is derived from the GDELS ASCOD vehicle, currently in service with Spain as the Pizarro and Austria as the Ulan. The 589 vehicles being purchased by the British Army are divided into two main vehicle families: 245 are of the turreted version, in three different variants, armed with the 40 mm CTAS; with the remaining vehicles being of the Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) version, divided between six variants.
Scout SV to be assembled in UK - IHS Jane's 360
 
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