A trio of leading UK-based and owned defence sector players, led by Coventry-based Morgan Advanced Materials – Composites & Defence Systems and including Ricardo and Ultra Electronics, has clinched a highly prestigious contract to support and develop the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Cougar family of protected patrol vehicles.
The Cougar Post-Design Service (PDS) programme which covers the Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound vehicles fleets is set to be worth up to £20 million over the first two years and could be extended for as long as seven years in total, providing a significant boost to the local economy. The programme will see the three companies deliver an annual service contract, with a team of experts on hand around the clock to provide technical and project management services to successfully manage and support the in-service Cougar family vehicle fleet. Of particular importance to the programme will be the optimisation of safety on the platforms, in addition to configuration management, legal compliance and standardisation of the platforms by rationalising the component supply chain.
The team won the bid against strong competition by best meeting the key criteria specified by the MoD such as quality, software, safety, environmental impact and vehicle integration, as well as the ability to provide a truly sustainable support solution. The contract will cover a fleet of more than 600 vehicles, comprising in excess of 20 variants.
The programme will be co-ordinated from Morgan’s specialist Coventry facility, drawing on the support of the company’s extensive local supply chain which boasts unrivalled defence sector experience, securing and creating jobs directly and indirectly across the region.
Defence Minister Philip Dunne said: “As we bring our battle winning vehicles back from Afghanistan our focus turns to how best we benefit from these life-saving assets in decades to come. Our Cougar, Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound fleet, comprising of over 600 vehicles, have proven themselves time and again on operations and will now support a more efficient Army. This investment which is set to be worth up to £20m over the first 2 years of the contract, will not only ensure our vehicles are adapted to their new roles, but will sustain the livelihoods of highly-skilled employees at three British based Defence companies.”
Duncan Eldridge of Morgan Advanced Materials - Composites & Defence Systems, explained: “This is a highly significant contract award for us and demonstrates the advantages of harnessing the unique capabilities of key partners such as Ultra Electronics and Ricardo to offer the MoD the best possible service in the key areas of armour protection, vehicle electronics and overall project co-ordination. We believe that the access to these resources was critical in convincing the MoD that the Morgan-led team was the right choice to deliver its requirements.
“Moreover, the contract win formally establishes Morgan as the UK technical authority for the Cougar family, positioning us ideally to bid for further contracts in this area.
Morgan Advanced Materials’ Composites and Defence Systems business (formerly NP Aerospace) is a global leader in specialised armour technologies. It designed, developed and integrated UK-specific, specialised armour protection and electronic systems into the entire Cougar family and also implemented and operated the spares support processes, including configuration management, stocking and supply chain management, keeping the fleets running during combat operations.
“We are pleased to be working with Morgan and Ultra on this exciting and important programme,” added Ricardo UK managing director Martin Fausset. “Ricardo has extensive expertise in the design, development, refurbishment and upgrade of military vehicles, and is able to draw upon the very latest skills, technologies and innovations from its work in the global automotive engineering and motorsports sectors. We look forward to providing the benefit of our experience to this highly effective, all-British partnership.”
Andy Yates, Managing Director of Ultra Electronics – Precision Air and Land Systems, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Morgan and Ricardo on the Mastiff, Ridgback and Wolfhound fleet PDS programmes. We are confident that the MoD will receive the most cost effective and best in class solution through our tri party team, which draws on extensive experience in the military vehicle sector”.
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