Armor: End Of An Era


July 4, 2009: Britain will now buy armored vehicles from anywhere. Until quite recently, nearly all such vehicles for the British armed forces came from domestic manufacturers. But in the last two years, the Panther command vehicles were imported from Italy, and there was almost a deal to buy American Piranha V wheeled armored vehicles. That purchase fell apart when Britain could not get the right to update the vehicle design, or least could not get those rights at a reasonable price.

The recent official announcement by the Ministry of Defense made official a new policy that has been developing for years. By allowing international firms to compete, the military hopes to get better prices, and some unique designs that no British manufacturer can match. The only additional requirement is that Britain be allowed design and implement upgrades, and do all maintenance and rebuilds in Britain. The "design rights" item is usually for sale, but there is no standard way to calculate it.

Britain invented the tank, and many other types of armored vehicles. After World War II, Britain remained a major developer and producer of armored vehicles. But since the end of the Cold War, a lot more nations have gotten into the business. This weakened the British AFV (Armored Fighting Vehicle) industry, while making available a wider variety of designs, and lower prices, outside the United Kingdom.



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