Prime Minister urged to consider the work of Shropshire engineers in tank upgrade talks

A Shropshire MP urged the Prime Minister to acknowledge the work done by Telford engineers on the UK's defence system, ahead of contract negotiations.

BAE Systems, Telford
BAE Systems, Telford

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL), which is based in Hortonwood, Telford, has a team of dedicated engineers working on the country's defence vehicles, including the Challenger 2, the Warrior and the Boxer.

Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard spoke during today's Prime Minister's Questions, to ask Boris Johnson to thank the work of Shropshire's defence engineers and consider their jobs as part of the Challenger 2's life extension talks.

Mr Pritchard said: "Will the Prime Minister be thanking Shropshire's defence engineers both in the public sector and private sector currently working on the Warrior and Boxer military vehicle programmes, doing a great job.

"As the Government considers making a decision on the Challenger 2 life extension programme, will you bear in mind that excellent workforce in Shropshire that have had such a history and a modern day process of delivering UK defence."

The Challenger 2 Life Extension Project is a UK Ministry of Defence contract to remove obsolete functions from Challenger 2 and extend its out-of-service date by ten years to 2035.

As well as removing obsolescence, Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) is hoping to make further capability enhancements. The upgraded tank will be referred to as Challenger 2 Mark 2.

The Prime Minister replied: "I am familiar with the superb workforce in Shropshire to which he refers and of course there is a compilation and negotiations going on with the modernisation that he speaks of.

"As he knows we have made the biggest investment in our defences since the Cold War with the recent spending review. But it would not be right for me to comment on those negotiations at this stage."

The Challenger 2 tank, built by BAE Systems in the 1990s, served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

Upgrades are being sought to keep the tank battle-ready for the next 20 years, as part of the Ministry of Defence’s decision to extend the tank’s life until 2035.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News