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Defending the UK steel industry

Cook Defence Systems Ltd has been awarded a major £70m contract to support the British Army’s armoured vehicles.

The four-year deal with The Ministry of Defence (MoD) secures 110 jobs at the company’s site in Stanhope, Co Durham and many more throughout its UK supply chain.
Cook Defence Systems, part of the William Cook Group, is the world’s leading independent designer and manufacturer of track systems for armoured vehicles such as the British Army’s 62-tonne Challenger 2 main battle tank, Warrior infantry fighting vehicle and Scimitar reconnaissance vehicle.
The award by the MoD continues a long and proud history of association with The William Cook Group. 
The company’s facilities have manufactured tracks and armour for British tanks since the Second World War.
The group also makes a range of components and assemblies for the rail, energy, oil and mining industries as well as for high-profile construction projects such as Heathrow Terminal 5. The group has invested £8m in the last two years modernising its design and manufacturing facilities.
The tracks on a tank are assembled from steel and rubber components. Because they wear out over time, spare tracks are as vital in armoured warfare as fuel or ammunition. 
Andrew Cook, chairman of the William Cook group, said: “We welcome this new contract, which secures the British Army’s strategic on-shore supply of this essential equipment.”
Prime Minister David Cameron announced at the 2014 NATO summit that the MoD would purchase 589 new AJAX reconnaissance vehicles. These are to be built in Spain and South Wales by General Dynamics. 
Cook Defence Systems has designed a new lightweight track system for AJAX. The company’s engineers use advanced computer software, laser scanning and 3D printing to design new track systems, which must then be tested for thousands of miles before going into production.
William Cook, general manager of Cook Defence Systems said: “Tank tracks may appear low-tech compared to drones and missiles, but as armoured vehicles become heavier and more powerful we have to use the latest manufacturing and materials technologies to minimise the weight and maximise the lifespan of the track systems we design and manufacture”.