THE Minister of Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin visited Cook Defence Systems in Stanhope, County Durham to announce an £11m contract to supply steel tracks to the Army.

During a visit to the foundry he watched pouring of molten steel, heat treatment, machining and track assembly.

The company won an extension of a contract to supply spare steel tracks to the Challenger 2 main battle tank and other combat, reconnaissance and engineering vehicles for the British Army.

The company is the world’s leading independent designer and manufacturer of track systems for armoured vehicles. Its tracks are in service on almost all the tracked vehicles in the British Army and with many other armed forces around the world.

After a tour of the workshops Mr Quin said: “You say this company is sustained by the Ministry of Defence, well the British Army is sustained by this company.

“I was hugely impressed by the company, by the workforce and what they are doing.

“It’s great to see that what they are producing her is going half way around the world. Without their tracks on our armoured vehicles the would literally grind to a halt.