Urgent upgrades give British Bulldog sharper teeth

21/05/2008
Urgent upgrades give British Bulldog sharper teeth

A British Army battlefield taxi doing daily duty on the front line is protecting soldiers’ lives as the result of a major UK Ministry of Defence upgrade programme managed by BAE Systems and carried out by the Defence Support Group (DSG).

Soldiers from the first battalion of the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment just back from Basra were at DSG’s facilities at Bovington in Dorset on 21 May to thank workers as the 500th Bulldog vehicle came off the line.

Under a core upgrade programme British Army FV430s receive a new engine and drive train, which greatly increases reliability and significantly reduces support costs. Vehicles destined for Iraq also receive a package of armour, a remotely operated machine gun and other improvements, which provide enhanced personnel protection.

Major General Alan Macklin, leader of Defence Equipment and Support organisation’s Armoured Fighting Vehicles Group, said “people from my team have worked alongside DSG and industry to successfully deliver to the front line, in record time, effectively and efficiently and with great commitment. We aim to deliver the best to our armed forces and in Bulldog we have a great example of that.”

BAE Systems’ Jim Imrie, managing director of its Weapons & Vehicles business, commented: "Bulldog typifies the responsive service we are seeking to provide to UK forces. The programme, delivered early, has resulted in a much more reliable and capable vehicle for the front line at the same time as cutting the cost of support for the taxpayer. In the last two years we have responded to more than 90 urgent operational requirements for UK armoured vehicles, most to provide better protection for UK troops."

The £155m programme began with an original £85m contract placed with BAE Systems by the UK MoD in October 2005. This covered the upgrade of the engine, transmission and other systems to 500 FV430 series vehicles. A £70 million contract amendment in September 2007 added the upgrade of a further 400 vehicles.

In conclusion, DSG’s Chief Executive, Archie Hughes, praised the Bovington workforce and said: “Today’s event marks a major milestone for the technicians and engineers who have worked so hard to ensure our Armed Forces are getting the best possible service. The Bulldog is critical equipment that helps them do their jobs to maximum effect in conditions that are demanding and dangerous. There is now a growing recognition of the contribution DSG makes in supporting troops at home and abroad and having members of the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment here with us today is something we will long remember.”

The conversion programme is scheduled for completion in March 2011. Some 20 vehicles are converted each month at the same time as they receive a major overhaul at DSG’s Bovington facility.

Further upgrades, mostly to provide extra crew protection, have been covered separately under a series of individual contracts.

 

About BAE Systems:
BAE Systems is the premier global defence and aerospace company delivering a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, information technology solutions and customer support services. With 97,500 employees worldwide, BAE Systems' sales exceeded £15.7 billion (US$ $31.4 billion) in 2007.


About DSG:
DSG was launched on 1 April 2008 and brought together the ABRO and DARA businesses into a single new defence Trading Fund. DSG’s primary focus is in providing expert in-house maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade services for the through life support of the key land and air based platforms and equipment for the UK Armed Forces. The combined businesses will turnover in excess of £270m, with a workforce of around 3500 strategically located throughout the UK.


For further information please contact:

Mike Sweeney, BAE Systems. Mob: +44 (0) 7801 716452. mike.sweeney2@baesystems.com

Allan Robertson, Defence Support Group. Tel: +44 (0) 1264 385799
Mob: +44 (0) 7710 789853. allan.robertson@dsg.mod.uk