Sheffield firm wins £30m contract to supply parts for new fleet of British Army fighting vehicles

The Ministry of Defence has placed a �3.5 billion order for 589 new AJAX vehicles, the tracks will be made by Sheffield-based Cook Defence Systems
The Ministry of Defence has placed a �3.5 billion order for 589 new AJAX vehicles, the tracks will be made by Sheffield-based Cook Defence Systems
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Cook Defence Systems has won a £30m contract to supply parts for a new fleet of British Army fighting vehicles.

The firm - part of the Sheffield-based William Cook Group - will supply the track system for AJAX, hailed the most advanced armoured vehicle in the world and set to come into service in 2019.

In September 2014, the Ministry of Defence placed a £3.5 billion order for 589 new AJAX vehicles, which will be assembled in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, by General Dynamics Land Systems-UK.

William Cook, general manager, said: “We won this contract despite stiff international competition. I am pleased that we can help deliver the very best for the British.”

Cook Defence Systems is part of the William Cook group, a Sheffield steelmaker which traces its history back to 1840 and whose factories have manufactured tracks and armour for British tanks since the Second World War.

It is the second successful announcement for the company in recent months.

In November, defence secretary Michael Fallon visited the company to announce a £70m, four-year deal to support the army’s existing armoured vehicles, including the 62-tonne Challenger 2 main battle tank, Warrior infantry fighting vehicle and Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle.

Mr Fallon said: “This company has a long and proud tradition of providing track for British armoured vehicles, having done so since the Second World War. This contract follows on from the £70 million I announced when I visited William Cook group last year. It is part of our £178 billion equipment plan, backed by a growing defence budget.”

William Cook has two factories in Sheffield - off the Parkway and in Holbrook - one in Leeds and one in County Durham.

The UK’s largest steel casting group, it has just become a tier two partner at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre.

Some 63 tier two members participate in, and obtain the results of all generic projects. The 23 tier one members pay £200,000-a-year and influence the direction of research.