FRES – British to Its Boostraps – Part 3

It might be mischief making but I can’t resist keeping track of the General Dynamics FRES SV programme and the statement from the head of GDUK that FRES SV is ‘British to its Bootstraps’

Building from previous posts.

Commenting on the deal, Dr Sandy Sandy Wilson, President and Managing Director of General Dynamics UK said.

The ASCOD SV programme is British to its bootstraps

ASCOD SV is the latest generation of a proven European design

Proven, by being in service with Spain and Austria with a few of the Spanish ones being deployed in Kosovo for a while, proven can have many meanings. The ASCOD2 is sold via General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) that comprises 4 companies; Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH (Steyr-SSF) in Austria; MOWAG in Switzerland; Santa Bárbara Sistemas in Spain, and General Dynamics European Land Systems – Germany. The ASCOD2 is being manufactured in the Spanish facility. Although the Scout is said to be able to grow to a weight of 42 tonnes the specification sheet on the Steyr web site states a maximum combat weight of 31 tonnes although one must assume the other variants already in production are in excess of this.

thanks to a modern, proven drivetrain

That would be the Renk 256B then, manufactured in the very British town of Augsberg

without the need to upgrade its engine

The MTU 8V 199 TE20, MTU being the world famous British manufacturer of diesel engines located in Friedrichshafen, part of the Tognum group.

Its turret is designed by Lockheed Martin UK INSYS

Lockheed Martin, another famous British company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland. The turret in question will use the 40mm CTA canon from CTA International, a joint venture between BAe and Nexter in France.

Other partners that including such obviously British organisations as Curtis Wright, Rheinmetall and Moog as partners, headquartered in Parsippany New Jersey, Düsseldorf and East Aurora, New York .

An announcement today added further to the Britishness of FRES

Kortrijk, Belgium, 12 September 2011. Visualization pioneer Barco is proud to announce that General Dynamics UK, the prime contractor for the British Army’s Scout Specialist Vehicle (Scout SV), has selected Barco’s 13” rugged extreme displays for the program, following a competitive bid.

Barco, another famous British Company headquartered in Belgium!

More from GD

Securing or creating over 10,600 jobs for British workers


employs over 1,600 people at 10 UK and international facilities

will transfer full rate production of the entire ASCOD SV programme to DSG in Donnington, ensuring 80% of ASCOD SV production happens in the UK.

So if FRES SV is going to secure or create over 10,000 jobs and GD UK only employ 1,600 people in the UK across all business divisions that must mean one of two things, a big supply chain in the UK and/or big increase in GD UK employees.

What does full rate production mean, is it assembly of components manufactured abroad, does this mean the first 20% will be manufactured elsewhere and if the figures are as a percentage, is this based on the Recce Block 1 or some future notional figure for the entire (yet to be ordered) programme.

A recent Parliamentary Answer might shed some light on those claims.

Ben Wallace, the MP for Wyre and Preston, ex Scots Guards Officer and former director of QinetiQ asked.

Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what obligations his Department has placed on General Dynamics to manufacture and assemble the Scout Specialist Vehicle in the UK.

Given the bold statements above, the answer is a bit of a shocker.

Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)

The Ministry of Defence has placed no contractual obligations on General Dynamics UK (GDUK) to manufacture the Scout Specialist Vehicles (Scout SV) platforms in the UK. GDUK has, however, indicated that a significant proportion of the activity may be conducted in the UK.

In addition, the contract allows for the transfer of the assembly integration and test work on the platforms from off-shore facilities, to the Defence Support Group in the UK. A value for money decision on whether to transfer this work will be taken later in the programme, closer to production. An enabling arrangement for industrial participation has also been put in place with General Dynamics, that will see work being carried out in the UK, or assistance being provided to UK exporters to Spain (assembly of ASCOD, the base vehicle for Scout SV is currently conducted in Spain)

Further from the original statement

Its Intellectual Property will be based in the UK

Is the word ‘based’ temporary or does it imply ownership by GD UK or the MoD, the Utility Variant competition came to a crashing halt when the MoD and GD could not come to an agreement on intellectual property so this is a vitally important issue.

By value, 80% of the vehicle manufacture will be completed in the UK, with 70% of the supply chain companies UK-based

What does completed actually mean. A company can be UK Based but that does not mean the supply chain will be creating components for the vehicle in the UK. GD UK is based in the UK but is still part of the global organisation that is General Dynamics.

General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD)

Does this mean that any profits accrued to GD will be taken in the US?

Established in the United Kingdom for over 40 years

Only through acquisition

General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, employs approximately 91,700 people worldwide.

General Dynamics helpfully list a number of current tenders for the supply of sub systems, neatly dividied between GDUK and GDELS

General Dynamics UK SV sub-system tenders

  • Audio Surveillance Equipment
  • CBRN Threat Detection
  • Commander’s Direct Vision
  • Control Panels
  • Crew Station Keyboard
  • Crew Station Processors
  • Data Encryption Technique
  • Driver’s Controls
  • Driver’s Direct Vision
  • Gunner’s Direct Vision
  • HUMS Recording/Processing (VMU)
  • Inertial Navigation System
  • LASER Warning System
  • Pax Direct Vision
  • Pax Display
  • Pax Vision Sensor
  • Platform Interlocks
  • Power Interfaces
  • Power Rail & Data (CIDS)
  • Public Address System
  • Route Marking System
  • Smoke Grenade Launchers
  • Twin Handset User
  • Vehicle Interface Panel(s)

General Dynamics European Land Systems sub-system tenders

  • Armour profiles for grilles
  • Auxiliary Power Unit
  • Batteries
  • Battery Monitoring System
  • CBRN Filtering
  • Cooling
  • Crane
  • Drive controls
  • Driver’s Instrument Panel
  • Earth Anchor
  • Environmental Conditioning System
  • Exhaust
  • External Power Conditioning Unit
  • Fire expl. D&S Syst
  • Fuel system
  • Hyd. Bump stops
  • Hydraulics
  • Instrument panel
  • Lighting
  • Painting
  • Periscopes
  • PJAC
  • Rotary dampers
  • Running Gear
  • Seats
  • Spall liners
  • Straight Obstacel Blade
  • Surface Mine Clearance Device
  • Suspension Arms
  • Thermal and acoustic insulations
  • Torsion bars and tubes
  • Winch

It would be nice to believe the claim but is the SV Scout British to it’s Bootstraps ???


Some other FRES news this week

And if you want some nice Hi res graphics


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November 9, 2011 8:20 pm

didn’t MTU get taken over by Rolls Royce and Daimler? Not that it makes much difference.

November 9, 2011 8:51 pm

Nothing on the sensors side, other than Audio Surveillance System.

Doesn’t mean an omission necessarily, could be Gvmnt mandated and supplied (like the CTA gun)

November 9, 2011 8:55 pm

Wouldn’t MoD be dammed for not having done a competitive selection process and chosing the cheapest (or hopefully cost-effective) option?

Of course overall when you’ve taken into account the big out-of-country support contract, dissimilar systems and massive (or impossible) upgrade fees later in life, it’s quite possible that the UK-sourced option is the most cost effective.

Case in point is JCA. Lots of research being done on common and interoperable systems across the fleet for quicker and cheaper integration in the future. Zero feed into JCA because we’ve bought it pretty much off the shelf.

Mike W
November 9, 2011 10:39 pm

I don’t know whether I am becoming too optimistic without due cause or whether I have possibly misinterpreted the article in the normally reliable Shephard defence organization’s “Land Warfare International”, provided by your link,but it seems quite definite.

The article deals with how a government official has insisted that ‘The British Army’s £500 million Scout SV programme will be ‘perfectly affordable’. The official concerned turns out to be Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support for the UK, who is reported as saying that adaptability and affordability were key areas of interest for the government as it tracks the project, which saw a contract awarded to General Dynamics UK for prototype development in 2010.

Am I reading too much into this or is it the good news some of us have been waiting for? Or have we got a long way to go yet?

The article was dated November 9th.

November 10, 2011 8:03 am

When the start date (=year)of the roll-out to Recce Rgmnts has been announced, I think the question is: Will that be it, or anything more, and when possibly?

Mike W
November 10, 2011 10:59 am


Regarding your statements/questions:

“GD UK is based in the UK but is still part of the global organisation that is General Dynamics.”

“General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). Does this mean that any profits accrued to GD will be taken in the US?

The question had occurred to me too. If any profits go to the parent company in the USA, does that mean that they get the whole benefit of any money put into Research and Development, rather than UK firms?

A second point. Perhaps I was being wildly optimistic in assuming that The Shephard report (which I mentioned in my previous post on this thread) could be taken as confirmation that FRES SV would certainly go ahead. Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support for the UK, did say that the British Army’s £500 million Scout SV programme will be ‘perfectly affordable’, while speaking at Bisley (I think) yesterday (9th Nov). However, I suppose that it is wrong to take that as confirmation.

Government Ministers tend to talk in that way until money proves too tight and then come the cancellations! Too cynical, do you think?

Yes, I agree with what you say. Thos questions are v. important.

November 10, 2011 2:28 pm

Of course it’s as British as the Fijian, Samoan and Gurkha squaddies who will man it :-)

November 14, 2011 10:27 am

Great post,

2 things,

1) This is symptomatic of the complete destruction of the UK armoured vehicles industry that has occured in the last 20 years- mostly under zanu liebour. There is now almost nothing left except some welders at DSG- the Foxhound programme is a pitiful symptom of this- 10 years after 9/11 the Army might finally get a UK built vehicle to meet the IED threat, but it comes with very heavy US involvement (FP- itself now onwed by GD) and the armour comes from Qinetiq’s US division. This from a country that invented Chobham, in the 80s had 3 seperate indigenous armoured vehicles manufacturers (GKN, Alvis, Vickers)and the complete supply chain for everything from MBTs to PPVs. Pathetic.

2) GD felt compelled to make such silly statements due to equally silly briefings coming out of BAE- note the articles that appeared in certain newspapers declaring the ASCOD selection as being the end of UK tank building- despite the fact there was nothing British about CV90. Does not justify the bootstraps statement though.

FYI, I have not been here for a while, in case you guys do not know, the multirole Brigade idea is said to be dead- latest chat is a mix of heavy and light brigades- an option I prefer, mixed always sounded like jack of all trades and master of none.

November 14, 2011 6:43 pm

Good news about the brigades, thank you for the info Bob.
On the fact that the FRES SV is more European than British, well it’s globalization. CV90 have been built in Sweden with the label BAE, it would not have made ​​more work for the British that with GD UK.

November 15, 2011 10:12 am


I was not defending it, it was a silly statement that came out of the marketing department, I was merely pointing out that some balance should be included- the competition was equally less British and making similar silly claims. Another amusing exercise might be for you to track the supply chain of the “British” Foxhound (in fairness the pod and skateboard are being sourced from the UK).

November 15, 2011 10:16 am

“Another amusing exercise might be for you to track the supply chain of the “British” Foxhound ”
– or, Terrier aside, the British AFV previous to Foxhound (on the time axis)