Nabarro drives through £2bn vehicle deal with armed forces

Nabarro has claimed a prize mandate acting for winning bidder General Dynamics (GD) following the award of a multibillion-pound Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract, it is ­understood.

The contract to supply the British armed forces with as many as 600 armoured scouting vehicles as part of the Future Rapid Effect ­System (Fres) programme is worth at least £2bn, with the figure set to rise to £4bn if the MoD order is extended.

Relationship partner Elliot Shear led the team acting for GD. Fellow defence specialist Andrew Inkester is also understood to have advised the winning bidder.
The MoD is believed to have turned to Herbert Smith for advice throughout the procurement process.

GD was named as ­preferred bidder for the ­contract having seen off competition from BAE ­Systems. The defence giant has previously used magic circle duo Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters for advice on ­corporate matters.

The contract applies to the first part of a scaled down Fres programme after the original £16bn project to supply a fleet of 3,000 next-generation vehicles was abandoned in 2008 after the MoD had named GD as preferred bidder six months previously.

The win is a significant feather in the cap for both GD and its legal counsel Nabarro, which had advised throughout the ­initial procurement process, stretching back to 2004, as well as on the slimmed down version.

The original programme has now been divided into five, with four other vehicle types - utility, fires, manouevre support and a family of simpler variants known as the ’basic ­capability unit’ – yet to be procured.

A number of UK firms, including Denton Wilde Sapte, Simmons & Simmons and Wragge & Co, have close ties to the MoD.

Last year Dentons beat off competition from other MoD panel firms to advise on a 15-year ­shipbuilding deal with BVT Surface Fleet (The Lawyer, 3 August 2009).

Under the partnership agreement BVT was ­expected to design and build frigates while committing to cost savings estimated to reach at least £350m over the length of the agreement. In return it would be ­guaranteed work worth at least £230m per year.