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Alvis Wins UK Bowman Order, More (Apr. 15)

Alvis Vickers Limited was last week awarded £26.8m worth of new orders for UK equipment and support. The total value is made up of three contracts covering the conversion of existing vehicles for the Bowman communications system (£16m), the supply of Vehicle Integrated Control System (VICS) units (£9.2m) and a six-month extension to the Training Systems Maintenance contract (£1.6m).

Work relating to these orders will commence in 2004 and will run through to the end of 2007.

These new orders will safeguard approximately 50 jobs based at Alvis Vickers’ main manufacturing plant in Newcastle.

The largest of these contracts, at just under £16m, is with General Dynamics UK. It covers the integration of Bowman and the related Platform Battlefield Information System Application hardware into the British Army’s fleet of Challenger 2 main battle tanks and Challenger Repair and Recovery Vehicles (CRARRV).

Bowman is the project that will provide a battlefield management system for all of the British Army’s armoured fighting vehicles. This contract will affect 386 Challenger 2 main battle tanks and 81 CRARRVs. Alvis Vickers will share the conversion work with its strategic partner ABRO. The work will be carried out at sites in the UK, Germany and Canada.

Separately, the UK MoD awarded Alvis Vickers a £9.2m contract to supply 492 Vehicle Integrated Control System (VICS) units, together with installation kits and spares, for the Challenger 2, CRARRV and Driver Training Tank fleet. VICS is a new electronic engine control system designed and developed in-house by Alvis Vickers which will offer significant through-life cost savings for the British Army.

Trevor Harrison, Managing Director of Alvis Vickers, said ”We are pleased to be awarded these contracts to upgrade and enhance the performance of the battle proven Challenger 2, which is our flagship product. These contracts illustrate the strength of Alvis Vickers in the area of electronic systems technology and the integration of sophisticated software and subsystems into the Challenger 2 family of vehicles.”

Additionally, a six-month extension to the Training Systems Maintenance contract for the existing Challenger 2 training equipment maintenance contract (£1.6m) was awarded by the MoD to Alvis Vickers. Further extensions to the Training Systems Maintenance contract are anticipated, to cover the gap until support of the equipment is subsumed by the Armoured Vehicles Training Service project.

Alvis Vickers Limited is wholly owned by Alvis plc and was created in October 2002, following acquisition of the Vickers Defence Systems Business by Alvis. Alvis Vickers Limited is located in Newcastle, Telford and Leeds. With its subsidiary Alvis Bridging Limited in Wolverhampton, Alvis Vickers employs over 1000 personnel in the UK.

Other businesses in the Alvis Group include Alvis Hägglunds in Sweden, Alvis OMC and Alvis Gear Ratio in South Africa.

Alvis plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is one of the leading companies in the world in the design development and production of armoured fighting vehicles and military land systems. The Alvis Group employs 2500 personnel and its turnover in 2003 was £349 million.


The key enhancements VICS provides are as follows:

--Improved driveability – smoother gear shifts, smoother engine idle, reduced smoke emission, improved engine starting and elimination of the reverse torque stall condition.
--Improved safety – incorporation of a driver’s emergency stop switch and neutral selection upon handbrake application.
--Improved built-in test and diagnostics – incorporation of BIT displays, reversionary modes and diagnostic software tools.
--Cost effectiveness – built using commercial automotive technology
--Flexibility – single build standard of unit fits all of the Challenger based vehicle fleets including Trojan and Titan to provide complete commonality reducing logistic footprint. Unit can be re-programmed in the field to facilitate cost effective upgrades.
--Stretch potential – unit has numerous spare card slots and connectors and has a CAN bus interface to support future systems integration
--Health and usage monitoring – the unit can be supplied with a data logging option supporting CAN bus and 1553B databus interfaces. This data logging option has a clear growth path to implement a fully integrated HUMS solution for all of the Challenger based vehicle fleets

Alvis Vickers Announces £26.8m Worth of New Orders