|See story below. NB The MOD has stopped short of confirming an order, just stating that the GD design is the prefered option. What are the chances of the UK actually ordering this any time soon?
LONDON - General Dynamics UK will be confirmed May 8 as the winner of Britain's Future Rapid Effects System armored vehicle competition, sources said.
The Future Rapid Effects System program has decided to develop the Piranha V. (General Dynamics)
The government is expected to announce in Parliament that the company has beat out rivals Nexter and ARTEC to become the provisional preferred bidder to develop the utility variant of the multi-billion-pound FRES family of medium-weight wheeled vehicles.
* Land Warfare
GD UK will receive a two-year development contract for the Piranha 5, a proposed version of its big-selling Piranha line of vehicles, sources said.
Neither the MoD nor General Dynamics could be contacted before this story went to press.
Up to 2,000 of the vehicles are expected to be built as the cornerstone of the British Army's air-transportable armored forces.
The vehicle was to enter service in 2012, a date that may slip as much as two years due to funding constraints.
The decision will come as a bitter blow to Nexter. French government and industry officials mounted a major effort in recent weeks to turn around the Army's preference for Piranha. They even offered to give Britain 120 VBCI vehicles due to be delivered to the French Army next year, should London want to procure vehicles early under an Urgent Operational Requirement while it awaited development work on the FRES platform.