The MoD is investing £46 million in acquiring 51 new Foxhound patrol vehicles for soldiers serving on the frontline in Afghanistan in a major boost for Midland industry.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP made the announcement during a visit to General Dynamics: Force Protection’s facility in Telford which provides spares for the Foxhound vehicle.
The contract is part of an overall investment of £340 million that the MoD has made in Foxhound since 2010. The order is helping to sustain jobs at the Telford facility, the General Dynamics: Force Protection (GDLS:FPE) HQ in Leamington Spa and across the UK in the Foxhound supply chain.
Designed and built by GDL:FPE in Britain, Foxhound is one of the Army’s most agile protected vehicles. It uses leading-edge Formula 1 technology to provide unparalleled protection for its weight and class.
The first Foxhounds were deployed to Afghanistan in June 2012 and are now being used by soldiers operating in mentoring and partnering roles with the Afghan National Security Forces.
During the visit to the spares facility, Mr Dunne and Major Chris Thoms, the requirements manager for Protected Mobility at the MoD, met with staff who are also providing vital logistical support to the Army in Afghanistan.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Philip Dunne said: “I was pleased to meet with employees at General Dynamics: Force Protection who have helped make Foxhound a real procurement success story, taking only 40 months to develop it from the initial design to deployment in Afghanistan.
“The work being done by staff here in Telford is ensuring the vehicles can stay on the road and helping our soldiers do the vital job of engaging with Afghan forces and protecting the local population.
“Balancing the MoD’s budget means we can now confidently invest in equipment like Foxhound, which has the flexibility and adaptability to operate in a wide variety of environments, providing capability for the Army well into the future.
“This investment shows the MoD playing its part in delivering growth and sustaining jobs in the West Midlands industrial base.”
Speaking in September when Foxhound was first operational in Afghanistan, Chief of Staff for the Bastion Force Protection Wing, Squadron Leader Jim Stewart, said: “Foxhound is an enormous leap forward in capability; the off-road mobility, enhanced protection and night-vision systems that it offers to the troops on the ground are unmatched in a vehicle of this size.”
The 51 extra Foxhounds are the latest to be ordered from GDLS:FPE as part of the £340 million investment that will provide the Army with a total fleet of 376 vehicles.