General Dynamics wins armoured vehicles deal

THE UK government has awarded US firm General Dynamics the contract to build new armoured vehicles for Britain’s army, a significant blow to UK bidder BAE Systems which had hoped to win the deal.

The contract is the first phase of the £4bn contract to build armoured reconnaissance vehicles to replace Britain’s ageing Scimitar scout vehicle -- seen as vulnerable to roadside bombs -- with better protection and firepower.

“Preferred bidder status has been awarded to General Dynamics UK for the demonstration phase of the specialist vehicle programme, subject to successful completion of contractual negotiations,” Britain’s defence secretary Bob Ainsworth said.

General Dynamics UK has previously said 10,500 UK jobs would be safeguarded if it won the deal but there was concern last night about the future of BAE Systems’ plant in Newcastle.