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The British Army is to receive 500 HX Palletised Load System (PLS) 8×8 trucks from Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles (RMMV), Rheinmetall’s wheeled vehicle division, before the end of this year, the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) organisation announced on 3 February 2024.

As the result of a collaboration between DE&S, Army HQ and the Field Army under the MoD’s Rapid Acquisition Project, procurement of the vehicles was secured in just seven months. The contract is worth GBP 282 million (EUR 330 million).

The newly procured vehicles are part of the HX family: a range of purpose-built military trucks equipped with a variety of features to protect their crews. The trucks will be used to transport flatracks to deliver essential logistical supplies such as ammunition, food, water and support materials to the theatre of operations.

Minister for Defence Procurement James Cartlidge was quoted by DE&S as saying, “The rapid delivery of transport capability to the front line is critical to the British Army’s logistics and operations.”

Major General Darren Crook, Director of DE&S’s Land Equipment Operating Centre, added, “In an ever-changing and challenging operational landscape, it is essential that we can quickly identify what equipment our soldiers need and procure it rapidly.

“This project demonstrates our agility and our commitment to push the boundaries; it shows what we can achieve when we work collaboratively to deliver the equipment our armed forces need, when they need it,” he added. “I’m delighted that, together with industry, we have been able to turn around this contract from conception, through approvals to contract award and first delivery, in just seven months.”

The British Army has several thousand HX trucks from RMMV in service. Some of these have recently been converted into PLS vehicles, which can load and unload palletised loads with hooks without any additional aids. According to DE&S, the new platforms have several improvements compared to the vehicles already in use, including a higher payload, a smaller turning circle, underside protection and a more efficient EURO 5 engine.

The rapid procurement of these vehicles comes at an important time, as the British Army will face increased commitments in 2024 as part of Operation ‘Mobilise’ – its main priority over the coming years – and in its bid to adhere to the new NATO Force Model, which aims to expand the alliance’s high-readiness forces.

The HX procurement will also realise the aim of the British Army’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders, to increase the army’s logistical capability.

The British Army’s logistical capabilities are to be boosted by 500 HX trucks from RMMV, secured in a fast-track procurement. (Photo: Crown Copyright)