More Boxer Vehicles Coming To British Army: U.K. And Germany Increasing Inventory

After developments in Ukraine, European countries to acquiring more Boxer wheeled vehicles. The West is arming the besieged country, while President Vladimir Putin issues vague and veiled warnings about nuclear war.

Most military experts believe those threats are just “sabre rattling,” as it’s called in military parlance, but there is no doubt Western nations are on edge.

And so it was not unexpected when the U.K. announced in early April that it would, in partnership with Germany, boost production of the Boxer armored fighting vehicle (AFV) stocks. Soon an additional 100 will arrive, bringing the total to 623.

Boxer crossing river.
The Boxer is very heavy, especially for a wheeled vehicle, but is highly adaptable. Crown copyright.

They are in production at Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land (RBSL) plant in Telford, England. More production will be underway in Stockport as well, and also in Munich.  Subcontracting operations will be launched in Glasgow and Thales, in Scotland.

Germany has had the Boxer vehicles in its lineup for about 10 years. The country, now committed to increasing its defense budget significantly, has about 400 Boxer vehicles in stock at the moment.

As Western nations arm Ukraine, particularly the United States, Great Britain and other partners in NATO, their own inventory needs greater supply. Prime Minister Boris Johnson did not evade the relationship between the war and the U.K.’s concerns for its safety when announcing the additional Boxers.

A Boxer module off the vehicle.
The Boxer has detachable modules, as seen here, that adjust the vehicle to its mission requirements in around 30 minutes. Image by Boevaya mashina CC BY-SA 4.0.

He said, “In these difficult times, our deep defense partnership offers reassurance to our people and the wider world, while also ensuring we are ready to respond to new threats.” The defense partnership to which he was referring includes other European nations, and the deal including the Boxer is managed by the European Armaments Agency (EAA).

The Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, Johnson added, “shakes the very foundations of European peace and security.”

There could be no more overt remark demonstrating the British government’s concern about what Putin might do next, and where he might do it. Though it is unthinkable that Russia would move against the U.K., or any NATO member for that matter, no one is quite sure just what Putin is thinking. And that makes all members of the NATO alliance nervous.

Kyiv City State Administration building.
The devastation in Ukraine has made militaries around the world nervous. Image by CC BY 4.0

However, it is worth noting that the deal for the Boxers was struck in 2019, well before this current conflict. It adds a lot to the original deal, which was valued at almost three billion pounds. The head of Britain’s Armed Forces said that the vehicles will form a substantial part of the land forces, and that they bring 21st technology to the fore in modern warfare.  The U.K. was involved in the Boxer’s original design, as far back as 1998. What this additional inventory is costing has not been disclosed, as the government deemed the price tag “commercially sensitive.”

The U.K. Is certainly not alone in upping its military inventory. Several European nations have announced major increases to their defense budgets too. Perhaps the most startling among them is Germany, that has for decades ignored its defense budget in favour of other priorities. But the invasion has changed that profoundly.

Boxer toilet facility.
The boxer can even come with a built-in toilet! Image by ISAF Headquarters Public Affairs Office CC BY 2.0.

In late February Chancellor Olaf Scholtz announced that his country would immediately create a 100 billion euro fund to begin rearming the military. Furthermore, he committed Germany to the two percent target NATO sets out for defense spending, and he agreed to begin sending arms to Ukraine immediately.

All these decisions have been made with a swiftness that is uncharacteristic of just about all governments. But war forces leaders’ hands, and Europe and North America, along with many other countries, want to go down on the right side of history.

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The U.K.’s Boxer land vehicles are a step in the direction of equipping it for the unthinkable – war that reaches beyond the borders of Ukraine.