Thales UK has been awarded a £90 million subcontract to deliver next generation armored vehicle sights for the British Army’s upgraded Challenger 3 Main Battle Tank (MBT).
The contract from Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) was signed at Thales’ site in Glasgow, Scotland, where the majority of the integration work will take place. Alister Jack, Secretary of State for Scotland, was present for the signing.
The seven-year contract will protect key manufacturing skills in the U.K. across the whole supply chain and continue to support 700 skilled engineers and technicians based at the Glasgow site, including 30 apprentices currently receiving training at the Glasgow site.
The contract sees the provision of sights (panoramic and fixed azimuth weapon aiming sights) for both the vehicle commander and gunner. Thales will also provide a Signal Processing System (SPS), which will deliver state of the art video tracking and Wide Area Search and Detection (WASAD) capability.
The sights will act as the eyes of the crew, enabling them to view the battlefield in high definition in all conditions, night and day. The system will increase the range and the detail available to the crew, as well as provide accurate target identification, tracking, digital imagery and firing ranges.
The sights will be tailored to meet Challenger 3 specifications and form an integral part of the wider £800 million upgrade program, as announced by RBSL and the U.K. Ministry of Defense in May 2021. The Challenger 3 program will make significant enhancements to the vehicle and provide the British Army with a world-class capability, made in the U.K.
“This contract gives the British Army the advanced capability it needs to ensure the country’s security,” said Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack. “I met many of the Thales workforce on a recent visit, and was impressed by their capability and enthusiasm. This contract will support highly skilled jobs in Scotland – in total, U.K. defense spends around £2 billion a year in Scotland, supporting more than 12,000 jobs.”
“RBSL is committed to ensuring the Challenger 3 program delivers positive industrial impact for the U.K. This means collaborating and working closely with our suppliers to deliver impressive capability and technology for British soldiers, as well as protecting U.K. engineering and manufacturing skills at the same time,” said Dr Marco Noeding, RBSL Managing Director. “We are very pleased to have achieved this latest milestone with Thales. Together, we will add value to U.K. defense and engineering on an enduring basis.”
“Thales’ continued supply and support of cutting-edge technology into the British Army’s armored capability is a testament to the fantastic engineering capability of our team in Glasgow,” said Stephen McCann, Managing Director of Thales in the U.K.’s vehicle integration business in Glasgow. “We are tremendously proud of our key role in the defense of the nation, which has endured since 1888, and this contract gives us the opportunity to further invest in innovation and the future of our team, including through our apprenticeship scheme. A relationship we are very pleased to continue and grow.”