A team led by BAE Systems that includes QinetiQ, Cranfield University, GE Aviation, SAIC, and SELEX Sensors & Airborne Systems has been assembled to deliver a battle-winning fleet of medium-weight armoured fighting vehicles for the British Army.
The team will compete for the role of Vehicle Integrator for the ‘Utility’ family of FRES (Future Rapid Effect System), the first and largest element of the programme. The successful bidder is expected to take an overseas vehicle design, and customise, manufacture and support it through life to meet UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) requirements.
The vehicle will be based on an eight-wheeled design currently being selected by the MoD and is expected to enter service from 2012. Some 7000 jobs will be sustained by the overall FRES programme.
BAE Systems Land Systems leads the FRES bid. Managing director Andrew Davies comments: “This team, and the know-how within our existing supplier base, can provide the British Army with a vital asset while giving the taxpayer value for money and ensuring the retention of key UK skills for the continued support and upgrade of all the British Army's in-service fleet of vehicles. We can also draw upon the global resources of BAE Systems, the world’s largest land systems company.”
“As the UK Defence Industrial Strategy states, and recent operational experience demonstrates, retention of key skills in the UK is vital if the front line is to be assured of receiving the service it needs. Over the past 18 months BAE Systems and its partners have responded on time to more than 80 Urgent Operational Requirements under which we have modified existing vehicles to meet new threats to our troops. These are some of the skills, resources and experience we would bring to FRES.”
“QinetiQ is delighted to be part of this team which collectively possesses the necessary credentials to deliver such an important element of the FRES programme,” added Clive Richardson COO of QinetiQ’s EMEA operation. “Focussing on the needs of our armed forces is a top priority for QinetiQ. Therefore, being part of the FRES Utility Vehicle Integrator programme would present QinetiQ with an ideal opportunity to demonstrate pull through of its know-how, developed over many years in delivering MODs cutting edge research programmes that have shaped and underpin its current capabilities.”
FRES is worth up to £16bn for the acquisition phase. It will provide the British Army with up to 17 vehicle variants in five families for a wide range of battlefield tasks. These vehicles will be heavily protected but light enough to be deployed by air. More at: baesystems.com/fres
QinetiQ, from its Farnborough operation, would bring to bear expertise in survivability trades, ergonomics, whole-life costing, and assessment and management of emerging technologies to support sustainment of capability through life and lead on a number of key programme aspects, delivered in conjunction with team members. To date its work on FRES includes electronic architecture, local situation awareness, electric armour and long gap crossing technology demonstrator programmes.
The other Team members would deliver the following aspects of the FRES programme:
BAE Systems Land Systems would lead the delivery of the Utility Vehicle family programme and act as UK design authority through life in an alliance structure headed by the MoD. It would transition offshore manufacture to the UK and carry out final assembly, integration and test of the vehicles at its Newcastle plant. Its Leicester site would lead engineering work, with support activity at Telford. It has designed, manufactured and supported more than 95 per cent of the UK armoured fighting vehicle fleet and will bring this know-how to the FRES programme. It is in the middle of a £60m transformation of its vehicle engineering, manufacturing, support, training and supply operations, primarily to ensure timely delivery of the FRES programme.
BAE Systems Integrated Systems Technologies (Insyte) has already worked on electronic architecture for FRES. It would harness its expertise in training system integration, crew station design, electronic architecture and Bowman integration, at sites including Dunfermline and Frimley.
Cranfield University, based at the Defence Academy of the UK, Shrivenham, has been active within the FRES project since its inception on electronics architecture, systems engineering support, military requirements, trials support and planning. It would analyse supportability trade-offs and how the FRES Utility vehicle integrates with other FRES roles and the wider force.
GE Aviation would provide detailed knowledge of vehicle health and usage monitoring systems (HUMS), integrated computing, vehicle power management, crew station displays and controls and software management. The work would be performed by the Systems division of GE Aviation in Cheltenham and Eastleigh.
SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) would bring proven programme management, and complex systems engineering, including unique tools and processes to the team. SAIC plays a significant role in the US Future Combat System programme and would bring similar expertise to bear for FRES. SAIC has key leadership positions within the team.
SELEX S&AS, a Finmeccanica company, would provide its expertise in the provision of integrated situation awareness, surveillance, target acquisition and survivability. This, together with the understanding gained from its investment in armoured fighting vehicle electronic architecture development, would be drawn from its facilities at Basildon, Luton, Edinburgh and Southampton.