FRES UV – a modest proposal for a family of “Protected Utility Vehicles”

A guest post from Jed

A major part of the FRES program is to procure a fleet of “utility vehicles” to replace a very broad range of vehicles from the existing armoured fleet, from tacked FV432 derivatives, and CVR(T) family variants, to the Saxon wheeled APC and many other specialist engineer, recovery vehicles and ambulances etc.

In the comments to a recent article I suggested that the BAe RG 35 family of vehicles seemed to provide the ideal opportunity to provide a wide range of variants based on a common chassis and components, indeed a chance to indulge TD Admin in his desire for “massive commonality”.

First of all some RG35 links for you:

One reason the vehicle has the potential to be so versatile is its size; at 7.4 m (24ft) long by 2.5 m (8ft 2 in) wide and 2.7 m (8ft 10in) high, it has a curb weight of 18.13 tonnes and a max gross weight is 33 tonnes with a payload of 15 tonnes. The 550hp Cummins diesel can drive it at over 70mph on good roads, to a range of 1000 Km (620 miles) – and a statistic that shows how big this really it, it can carry a driver plus 15 pax in APC mode !

BAE RG35 6x6
BAE RG35 6×6

The RG35 is described as a “cross over” i.e. a mix of MRAP and ‘conventional’ wheeled armoured fighting vehicle. It has the MRAP ‘V-shaped’ hull and of course the modern capability of additional modular armour kits. This of course is how it can replace both vehicles such as the Saxon on one hand, and the much more modern Mastiff 2 on the other.

The latest variant is the a smaller 4 x 4 variant RG35 “Protected Recce, Patrol, Utility”;

L  5.2 m x  W 2.69 m x H 2.5 m, curb weight 12 tonnes, max gross 21 tonnes, for driver plus 9 pax. So even this smaller version can carry a driver, gunner and full 8 man infantry squad (so is this the true Saxon replacement ?).

BAE RG35 4x4
BAE RG35 4×4

Of course in the current fiscal environment when discussing revamping the tactical / armoured vehicle fleet we must turn the iron triad (protection, mobility, fire power) into the Aluminium Square by adding the dreaded factor of cost !

RG35 Family of Vehicles

So is the RG35 as survivable as the Boxer MRAV – probably not I suspect. Does it have the Boxers modularity – nope.

But is it cheaper – oh yes, I think we can agree it would be considerably cheaper !

As I noted the RG35 does not have the modularity of the Boxer or the Ocelot / Foxhound design, but if we freeze the BAe marketing video, we can get a nice screen grab of a shot showing multiple variants – I have labeled them and provided a key below:

RG35 Family
RG35 Family

It’s difficult to see exactly what some the versions are, even if you zoom in on the image (sorry about that) but this is my take on what is shown here:

  1. 6 x 6 APC
  2. 6 x 6 Engineer ? Looks like a canvas cover on the rear and a jib ?
  3. 6 x 6 MANPADS based AA
  4. 6 x 6 with manned AAA mount ?
  5. 6 x 6 AA with larger SAM ?
  6. 6 x 6 APC with RWS
  7. 6 x 6 APC with pintle mount MG
  8. 6 x 6 with manned turret
  9. 6 x 6 with ATGW turret
  10. 6 x 6 155mm gun
  11. 4 x 4 APC with RWS
  12. 4 x 4 APC with pintle mount MG
  13. 4 x 4 MANPADS AA
  14. 6 x 6 with additional armour (no windows / vision blocks)
  15.  6 x 6 Recce – additional armour and manned turret
  16. 6 x 6 Command vehicle (or Comms or EW vehicles)
  17. 6 x 6 Engineer vehicle
  18.  6 x 6 Recovery vehicle

18A. Recovery vehicle shown towing

  1.  6 x 6 with VLS cells ? (CAMM carrier ?)
  2. 6 x6 “Prime Mover” (apologies for accidently labeling it 19 too!)

Note shown above, but mentioned in the links is a 120mm mortar version. It would appear that even the 4 x4 version is big enough to carry the STK ‘s Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System.

One would presume the smaller vehicle would be cheaper than the larger, and as I already suggested it would appear to be the right size to replace the Saxon as a wheeled APC “battle taxi”.

Conversely if you increase the size of a “Motorised Infantry” section back to the old 1970’s FV432 size of 10 men, or even the USMC size of 12/13 you can still carry them all in the 6 x 6 APC version, and still have room for ammo and kit under armour !

The ambulance and Command vehicles obviously benefit from the vehicles size, and it would appear that the 6 x 6 might provide a return to the LIMAWS(G) platform for a cheaper and more strategically mobile 155mm artillery capability.

Interestingly the 6 x 6 “Prime Mover” variant suggests that even if the main chassis is not long enough to fit an MLRS module behind the side mounted engine, one could be towed on a trailer providing an articulated wheeled rocket launcher for the old LIMAWS(M) requirement. This arrangement might also need to be used to provide the protected cargo replacement for Wolfhound. However the standard version has considerable under armour volume for cargo carriage if the seats are removed.

This vehicle would seem to cover the middle ground of a set of wheeled armoured vehicle families:

  • Heavy – MAN SV trucks with protected cab kits
  • Medium – RG35 in 6 x 6 and 4 x 4 variants
  • Light – Foxhound family in 4 x 4 and perhaps later a 6 x 6 variant.

So to summarize, it might not be as sexy as a Boxer, but it should be “good enough” and hopefully it might be cheap enough for us to buy in volume (with them being built in the UK, not South Africa, of course……) because I don’t believe in labeling units as “light infantry” simply because we don’t have enough armour, and in a world of asymmetric threats, as many troops as possible should be under armour as standard, including Combat Service Support units.

Over to you guys for the comments !

BAE RG35
BAE RG35

 

About The Author

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Tubby

Excellent post Jed, is there any reason why we could not have built in South Africa (with a permanent attachment of military technicians who test the build quality and accept the vehicle) then ship it by boat to UK to be fitted out in with Bowman and any other confidential kit we do not want to share with SA?

I also read recently that the BAE pitched the RG41 rather than the RG35 to the Australian Army (along with the CV90), so it might be that BAE would be much more interested in selling us the RG41, though I agree that the RG35 is a much more natural successor to the Saxon than the RG41.

jedibeeftrix

i like it, just curious that the 4×4 version is listed as 2.7m wide (without mirrors) whereas the bigger 6×6 version is listed at 2.5m wide.

anyone have any ideas why?

more generally, i like the vehicle and think it might be an excellent solution to the problem of light infantry who are light because we can’t afford to issue them with a protected vehicle.

Salvador

Jed, excellent article…

However your last comment

“Tubby – I don’t care where they are built, as long as it keeps the price down so we could afford sufficient numbers !”I I cannot this go unchallenged!!!

I understand your sentiments, but when you buy abroad it does not always mean its cheaper, if, and there is a real risk of this, the UK factories close, then you have thousands on the dole and once the ability to produce kit in the UK is removed, your are at risk of the prices rising dramatically in the future.

Back to your main article, the RG35 range seems to offer most of what the UK needs, my main concern is that it is more suited to the peace-keeping type role than the likes of BOXER, which is really a wheeled Warrior. I know you put it forward as a replacement for the Saxon, which it is obviously far superior to, but we should never had been forced to take the Saxon in the first place. The GKN could not sell it in the Internal Sercurty Market, hence had a load spare, so they were dumped on the Army!

It makes my very nervous when we propose replacing tracked vehicles with wheels. The Stryker has not had a paericularly good press and there are many in the US military who have stated that they would have rather kept the M113 and updated it, than have the wheeled stryker!!!

paul g

jed, weirdly i sent an email to TD referencing exactly the same things, including the many variants screenshot!!! (great minds etc etc) Not pointed out in your (excellent) article is the percentage of parts shared by the 4×4 and 6×6 which to me as an ex reme is a huge selling point, (less tech pubs and spares to lug around).
Agreed it shouldn’t replace tracked IFV however as saxon/MRAP replacement it’s bob on ref it’s survivability it’s level 4 which is not bad seeing as the STANAG levels only go to 5, level 4 covers (cut and paste time):
Level 4[edit] Kinetic Energy14.5x114AP / B32 at 200 meters with 911 m/s[1]

[edit] Artillery155 mm High Explosive at 30 m[3]

[edit] Grenade and Mine Blast Threat10 kg (explosive mass) Blast AT Mine:
4a – Mine Explosion pressure activated under any wheel or track location.
4b – Mine Explosion under center.

also as a side note it’s reported that 40 fld RA will be gone by 2012 and 5 batts of light gun are coming in, which means we need something to tow them, and i doubt in the current climate that land rovers are on the menu!!

Good post Jed, but I agree with Phil’s comment 100%…I fear about the stryker type design; wheeled APC’s aren’t a good point in my opinion, I’m not Army so I dont know much, but what I’ve heard from the Americans is mostly negative. It seems only the Russians and Scandenavians/germans make good ones, which all seem much more low profile/wider than western designs… I just think our’s would fall into the trap the USMC/Army has with its Strykers!

But your reply clears this up; to replace the fleets within fleets of wheeled vehicles post Afghanistan, this would make more sense, and we do have experiance making light wheeled combat vehicles with some sucess.

Also, what is the RG-35’s air-transport capability? On Hercs, A400 and C17?
Also, does it fit/wiegh ok with our Amphib landing craft?

I’m all for British design and built, more so for Army equipment that seems to come out better than our Naval and Air products!

Think Defence

Jed, I like this proposal, makes a lot of sense

jedibeeftrix

17t and 12t for the 6×6 and 4×4 respectively i believe, so you could get one of each in an A400m, or two small ones for a decent range in the same aircraft.

not sure there is too much point keeping the hercs as a consideration on whether the RG35 variants are sufficiently deployable tho………?

paul g

flipping heck jed are we having some sort of vulcan mind meld here,ref the M777 i said that in the open thread on thursday. Think we need to pop down to main building and square them away!!!

S O

Arms imports without offset agreement are more expensive than they appear at first sight.

Domestic value added means that 40-60% flow back as fiscal revenues, halving the cost to treasury in the medium term.

Assuming that a domestic vehicle is a 100% domestic product, this would make it as expensive as an import vehicle of about half its price.

Lord Jim

A good idea but I do not think the Army is going to have enough funds to purchase a number of different platfoms but rather one. This will go to the regular units rather than the TA who may end up with the existing Warthogs and newer MPAVs.

Given the current fixation on protection a platform with Boxer protection levels maybe the first choice, but the RG35/41 would good alternative.

However until funding is locked in, nothing is certain and I am not confident the MoD will follow a logical approach, probably buying multiple platforms in small batches as and when some funds become available.

Gabriele

“5 batts of light gun are coming in, which means we need something to tow them, and i doubt in the current climate that land rovers are on the menu!!”

MAN truck Equipment Prime Mover variant, perhaps…? http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2011/07/royal-logistics-corps-and-port.html

Coherent with the MAN Support Vehicle fleet, it is a 6-tons modified with armored cab, armored shelter for transport of the gun’s crew and “pick-up” cargo space for pallets of ammo for a total of 72 105 mm rounds or 34 155 mm ones.

By the way, Jed, excellent article, and the RG35 is indeed a very interesting possibility.

However, the “FRES UV” for the next while might really end up being Mastiff/Ridgback if the FRES UV programme is definitely sacrificed as part of budget rebalancing while the Treasury is made to pay for bringing Afghan UORs into core budget after 2015 as has been suggested lately.

Tubby

Hi Gabby,

Are there enough Mastiff’s/Ridgeback’s/Wolfhound’s to make it worthwhile bringing them into the core budget?

Off topic slightly, but just found this excellent post by TD which is pure British Army vehicle porn of the highest quality :-) http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2009/09/british-army-vehicles/

Think Defence

Have been meaning to correct a few errors on that post for ages but never got round to it :)

There is quite a few missing as well

Salvador

Jed, thanks for the clarification! Makes more sense now.

Gabby agree that FRES UV will be UOR Ridgebacks/Mastiffs etc… Not a fan of the MAN SV fleet. We bought the wrong version and the protection levels are very low.

Did anyone see Top Gear last night. They visited Withams… The kit that us being sold off cheap us a fcuking disgrace I.e Stormer HVM for £20k

Gabriele

“Are there enough Mastiff’s/Ridgeback’s/Wolfhound’s to make it worthwhile bringing them into the core budget?”

It largely depends on how many survive Afghanistan’s damage, destruction and, even more, wear and tear, which is known to have taken a toll on the fleet.

The Wolfhound bought are 127.
The Ridgback were 157 in the original order, i think.

Mastiff, it is hard since there have been many different orders. I can recall:

2006 – 108 Mastiff PPV
2008 – 174 Mastiff 2
2008 – 24 additional Mastiff 2
2010 – 23 Mastiff 2 EOD
April 2011 – latest order for 47 Mastiff 3

http://www.deagel.com/equipment/Tactical-Vehicles-Cougar-H-a000070.aspx

Mastiff PPV, the first “variant”, ordered back in 2006 is probably no longer attractive due to losses, wear and tear, and such.

The Mastiff 2 and 3 and Ridgback are attractive, instead: what is in good conditions by Afghanistan’s end, at least.
245 Mastiffs patrol/ambulances, 23 EODs, 127 Wolfhounds and 157 Ridgback, but several vehicles will have/will be written off by 2015, downsizing this inventory. Still, it is attractive, and there could always be some additional orders to fill the holes.
It would still cost less than go FRES UV.

S O

I’m the “defence” guy, who actually thinks about national / collective self-defence first.

Having this in mind, it’s important to have military equipment that can be produced/procured in quantity on short notice.
Specialised military vehicles make sense for combat vehicles and to some degree for recce vehicles.
The don’t make much sense for support troops in general. The ability to convert a standard civilian truck into a military vehicle by simply adding an ISO container-compatible module (quickly produced) would be of great interest. After all, we and our European allies are developed nations with a decent to very good road network. Support troops don’t move much on worse surfaces than agricultural/forestry roads anyway.

Gabriele

“Not a fan of the MAN SV fleet. We bought the wrong version and the protection levels are very low.”

I think you are excessively nasty on the MAN SV. The protection level once TES is fitted is adequate for the role, i think. Especially since there are vehicles such as Wolfhound that go the last mile to the line of fire. You can’t give MBT protection to everything.
And “wrong version” i bet is due to the thick of the fleet being HX and not SX, so mobility concerns…?

Because if this is your issue with the MAN SV, i again think it is excessive.
For example, the “Medium Mobility” HX60 6-tons, weights 18 tons, has a top speed of more than 90 km/h, features 60% gradeability and a step climbing capability of half a metre. It can cross 1.20-wide ditches and has a 0.75 metre fording capability, which can be increased to 1.20 metres.

Quite high mobility if you ask me, actually, despite being “Medium”.
http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/

The Bronco/Warthog, for comparison purpose, has the same 60% gradient, fords 1.2 meters (of course, with little preparation it is wholly amphibious…), has a vertical step of 1 meter instead of half, and a 2 meters ditch crossing capability, but it is also an “All Terrain vehicle”.
I was actually shocked by the mobility of the HX variant when i first read about it: http://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/index.php?fid=5511&lang=3
I didn’t even expect it to be so good.

I think the HX chassis is more than adequate to the task. Going SX all the way would have been overkill, and its cost would have been out of proportion with the effective advantages it would buy.

Tubby

Thanks Gabby, I had not realised it was so many, still I suspect that once you factor in wear and tear we will still end up having to buy another 100 – 200 additional vehicles in penny packet amounts to fill out the utility role (personally I think the RG35 is a good choice, but I suspect politically it will be the Ranger)

Chris.B

@ Gabrielle

“Coherent with the MAN Support Vehicle fleet, it is a 6-tons modified with armored cab, armored shelter for transport of the gun’s crew…”

Is that the one with the Roush made protected seating? I remember reading something about that somewhere but I can’t remember where now.

Mike W

Jed,

An excellent, thought-provoking post.

For some time now I have thought that “crossover”, dual-role vehicles are the way we must go. We could be fighting a low-intensity counter-insurgency campaign one year and a high-intensity campaign the next. A vehicle like the RG 35 combines the best elements of conventional armoured combat vehicles such as the Piranha with those of the less-mobile but much better protected MRAVs such as the Mastiff.

Incidentally, in your suggested “fantasy fleet for a smaller army and a bigger TA” you include “4 x Mech Infantry based on Bronco / Warthog family”. To the best of my knowledge, we only purchased about a hundred of the Bronco. My question is along similar lines to Tubby’s about the numbers of Mastiffs/Ridgebacks/Wolfhounds available i.e. “Are there enough to make it worthwhile bringing them into the core budget?” After another 3 years of bashing in Afghanistan, won’t that hundred Warthogs either be worn out or need extreme re-furbishment? Gabriele’s answer to Tubby’s question was illuminating but neither mentioned the Warthog. I’ve seen Warthog suggested for our Mechanised Infantry requirements by other pundits too.

There’s an image to conjure with, Mastiff on British roads.

The TA would be better of with Bushmaster or something of a similar ilk.

Grey

Phil Darley Said:

“Did anyone see Top Gear last night. They visited Withams… The kit that us being sold off cheap us a fcuking disgrace I.e Stormer HVM for £20k”

Saw it, not a disgrace at all, if you’ve ever seen a civvy disposed tracked vehicle you’d know why, they’re sh*gged. Many are ex parts vehicles which have been put back together with marginal parts, the engines have more hours on them than one of Wayne Rooney’s “special” friends and even the hulls themselves have all kinds of issues.

Their have been exceptions (armoured tractors being a big one) but a lot of the stuff that goes to disposal is pretty busted.

Mike W

Tubby,

You say,”personally I think the RG35 is a good choice, but I suspect politically it will be the Ranger.”

I would like to ask you what you mean specifically by the word “politically”. Do you think that vehicle will be chosen because of the heavy criticism the Government/MOD has received for not introducing it earlier or because it will be produced by a British company in the UK or is there a another “political” reason? The production by a British compnay in the UK could of course possibly apply to the RG35 too, could it not?

Tubby

Hi Mike W,

Actually pretty much all the reasons you suggested – to counter the criticism of not introducing it now, and because it is British. Plus the reason that BAE has pissed off the Government and they are unlikely to forgive and forget for quite a while. RG35 could be built in the UK but I think it might be cheaper to build the core vehicles in South Africa and then have a systems integrator fit all the mission equipment in the UK – however I have no idea about the quality, I know that there were issues with quality of our Warthogs when they were first being built by ST Kinetics, and while it would be silly to directly compare the quality of labour in Singapore with South Africa, I always understood that workforce of Singapore were more highly educated that South Africa….

Gabriele

@ Chris B.

“Is that the one with the Roush made protected seating? I remember reading something about that somewhere but I can’t remember where now.”

Roush makes protected “APC” modules for the transport of soldiers, and you’ve probably read of it here in one of TD’s articles.

The MAN Equipment Prime Mover is a modified 6-tonne with a Marshal designed load bed with safety cell for gun crew and load space for pallets of ammo. I dunno if Roush collaborated re-seating and Crew cell, it might be.
Anyway it was trialed on Salisbury Plain towing a M777 and carrying two 1.5 tons NATO pallets, for 34 rounds for the howitzer.
It has a crane for self-loading, and the whole gun crew rides under armor and NBC protection.

The same vehicle can be used to carry radar systems or other kit instead of the crane + load bed for the pallets.

The MOD has ordered 107 HX60 trucks in addition to the Support Fleet for carrying the Falcon communications system, as the originally planned Supacat carrier ended up being too small and weak to carry it all and also get significant protection.
I don’t know if these 107 are EPM or just specially configured HX60, but anyway it is Marshall which builds the different load beds.

I think the EPM would be an excellent solution for the towing of the L118 and future replacement (ideally M777). Ideally we’d do it with a Viking for each gun… but seriously. I think a MAN EPM does the job well, and cost-effectively.

Anyway, i’ve poured all i know and the links to the sources in here, if anyone is interested. http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2011/07/royal-logistics-corps-and-port.html

“Gabriele’s answer to Tubby’s question was illuminating but neither mentioned the Warthog. I’ve seen Warthog suggested for our Mechanised Infantry requirements by other pundits too.”

Warthog should be some 105 vehicles, the last of which has been delivered shortly ago.
It came in four variants: APC, Command, Ambulance, Recovery, and i don’t know the numbers of each variant within the order: i don’t think it was disclosed.

However, if the UOR kit is brought into the Core Budget as suggested (for some things, i have no doubts, such as Reaper, that will certainly be kept), i expect Warthog to be retained as well.

Problem is, there are no Warthogs, no Mastiffs, no Ridgback in sufficient numbers to equip the five planned Mechanized Infantry Battalions without issuing follow-on orders. This is clear.

Ideally, i’d give the Warthog to the 16AA to form an Armoured Support Group like that of the Commandos with Viking, while i’d want Mastiff/Ridgback for the five battalions, with the Wolfhounds used for their logistics.

And of course the Jackals for use in Special Forces, light infantry battalions fire-support role and such, with Coyote as close support logistic vehicle.

The Husky instead i’d can as soon as possible, and invest heavily in the Foxhound, included the Logistic cargo-carrying variant of it, which is the natural replacement for the Husky.

Chris.B

@ Gabrielle

“… and you’ve probably read of it here in one of TD’s articles,”

Turns out you were right. This one from July 31st of last year;

http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2010/07/fdr-%E2%80%93-land-logistics-and-combat-service-support-3/

In fact, not only had I read something very similar, it turns out I’d read something identical. Literally.

When talking about the Roush seating you use the following sentence;

“Instead of the old bench seats or trying to find a comfortable place to sit between cam nets and stores the SV’s will have the option to use dedicated rollover protected seating from Roush.”

Which it turns out is a direct copy and paste from TD’s article. Bit cheeky.

Brian Black

Ideal to fill many roles previously covered by Saxon or MRAPs.

I also agree with Jed’s comments on the 105mm LG and prefering to see 120mm mortars at the short end of the envelope. Advanced mortar systems can deliver LG battery sized bombardments from fewer barrels; and a vehicle mounted system has a better shoot-and-scoot ability than a towed artillery piece. 120mm advanced mortars have also been mounted on small boats, such as CB90 and LCPs.
———
There does seem to be a recuring idea of dumping the less capable or worn out kit on the TA. The trend is towards having the TA form a larger and more critical part of our army; I don’t see how we can get away with giving them different or less able vehicles.

Right until the end of the Cold War, it had been the practise to dump the old and crap stuff on the TA. I don’t think a return to that would be worthwhile (before I was a civvy, I was in the army, but before I was in the army I was a cadet, and on occasion we would go on the TA exercises. Being badged to E bat RHA saw us making up the numbers for gun crews on ancient 25 pounders – so old and knackered that they couldn’t be fired with full charges lest they self-destruct. That is not the kind of TA we want to see again particularly with the reduction in regular forces).

Gabriele

“The trend is towards having the TA form a larger and more critical part of our army; I don’t see how we can get away with giving them different or less able vehicles.”

Well, to a degree you are right, but to another, you ask for a big, big share of jam.
Even the american national guard has second-hand stuff most if not all the time, from M1A1 tanks instead of M1A2 and so along.

Mike W

Tubby,

Thanks very much for your reply. Yes, I think what you said about the relationship between the Government and BAE is probably correct. However, I do not think the fault lies wholly on BAE’s side and for the Government to harbour resentment makes for daft decisions. One of those might have been the decision to go for ASCOD for the FRES programme rather than a range of vehicles based on the CV 90 (a range which had been tested by the British for some time and was generally expected to enter service). If the latter had been chosen, with production in this country, then a number of British factories (including Leicester) might have been saved. However, the fat has been chewed over that decision already in these blogs, so I’ll leave it there, I think.

Mike W

Grey,

“Saw it, not a disgrace at all, if you’ve ever seen a civvy disposed tracked vehicle you’d know why, they’re sh*gged.”

Grey, I seem to remember you from another blogsite (now almost non-operational but of beloved memory) and you always talked a hell of a lot of good sense on there. However, do you think you have got it 100% right this time? I’m referring to the vehicles being sold off at Withams and, in particular, the Stormers. Like Phil Darley, I get steamed up when I read about such things happening.

I think I’ve read in magazine articles that some of the vehicles sold off at Withams are in pretty good nick (not all of course). The Stormers have only been in service for little over a decade. They surely can’t have had as much service (or hammering) as the Scimitars, some of which are well over thirty years old and are still serving! Do you not think there is something of the following in the MOD’s reasoning (or should I say rationalising, as I don’t think that sometimes they are capable of the former).

( Imagined MOD thinking) “The threat of a fast-moving, fluid, high-intensity war involving a land invasion from the East has receded. We therefore do not need a highly mobile AA system like Stormer HVM. Let’s make few bob by flogging the vehicles off!”

Thereby completely ignoring the possibility of the vehicles being used in another role. Or am I being too cynical altogether?

Think Defence

There is a DAF 4 tonner on there at the moment with about 12k miles on the clock fitted with an Atlas Terex jib, £12,500 for the vehicle which is not a million miles off what the jib costs new, the same jib by the way that is being fitted to the SV and C Vehicle Trakkers

Spot of joined up thinking there

Tubby

“Yes, I think what you said about the relationship between the Government and BAE is probably correct. However, I do not think the fault lies wholly on BAE’s side and for the Government to harbour resentment makes for daft decisions”
I am not sure any of it rests on BAE’s side, personally. I have worked for a big engineering consultancy firm where Network Rail decided to refuse to honour a number of the key terms of a contract (refused to allow us to re-grade staff based on their experience, refused to allow for the agreed annual uplifts, and demanded higher efficiency saving than agreed in the contract). We complained and said that we were going to make loss (they also refused to allow us to substitute in staff we could make a profit on, insisting that we stick with the named engineers who were not allowed to re-grade, and as it had taken two years to agree to the contract in the first place our day rates had already a big hit before all of the shenanigans by Network Rail’s supply chain manager). Anyway their supply chain manager basically said we had three options – 1) take them to court, get what we were due, get no further work, 2) accept the situation or 3) terminate the contract. We did number 3 (and I lost my job), but most of the other supplies accepted a reduction in their margins and went with option 1. I suspect MoD tried the same trick with BAE/Carrier Alliance, expected them to fold, and they told the MoD they would go for option 1 and now the MoD has decided to award work to anyone but BAE as far as possible to punish them.

ArmChairCivvy

Hi Gabby & BB, I’ll do a running commentary on some of your items as the thinking comes v close to mine:

“Warthog should be some 105 vehicles, the last of which has been delivered shortly ago.
It came in four variants: APC, Command, Ambulance, Recovery, and i don’t know the numbers of each variant within the order: i don’t think it was disclosed.”
– make up an armoured, high-mobility infantry bn and kit it out with some new build AMOS indirect fire support units, to make up the numbers (BB gives many good reasons, in the piece attached to the end here)


“Problem is, there are [no Warthogs; see above], no Mastiffs, no Ridgback in sufficient numbers to equip the five planned Mechanized Infantry Battalions without issuing follow-on orders. This is clear.”
– I may be over-optimistic about the state we will find the kit in, but Mastiff’s and Wolfhounds backing them up in the “under the fire” front line resupply should make up for 3 bn’s (£:1 ratio, roughly)

“Ideally, i’d give the Warthog to the 16AA to form an Armoured Support Group”
– I would give them the new-build Spartan/Scimitar combos (and later standardise to the new gun, as it is compact and should not ruin the inner dimensions of the turret or its ring?)

” like that of the Commandos with Viking”
– I would keep the Vikings there as they are truly amphibious

I would get rid of the ones in small numbers
– Husky, Ridgback

“Jackals for use in Special Forces, light infantry battalions fire-support role and such, with Coyote as close support logistic vehicle”
– yes, and AAB, too

” invest heavily in the Foxhound, included the Logistic cargo-carrying variant of it, which is the natural replacement for the Husky”
– yes

Then:Brian Black
July 26, 2011 at 9:33 am

“I also agree with Jed’s comments on the 105mm LG and prefering to see 120mm mortars at the short end of the envelope. Advanced mortar systems can deliver LG battery sized bombardments from fewer barrels; and a vehicle mounted system has a better shoot-and-scoot ability than a towed artillery piece.”
– me, too. In fact the rapid fire delivers a 155mm battery effect in the first two minutes (lesser range, sure)
– the Bronco with an AMOS in the rear unit surely was a photo montage? (Who put it on; I’d be delighted to find to the contrary?)

Salvador

Gabriele, lets be clear, the difference between the Army and any other agency, is the fact that they engage in combat. They put themselves and their equipment in harms way.

Just as, we now, do not think it is acceptable to send combat troops to war in fighting vehicles that are not adequately protected, why do we think it’s OK to treat the brave men and women who deliver the vital military supplies differently.

The contract for the MAN fleet was based on an assumption (wrong in my opinion) that logistics vehicles did not need the same levels of mobility and protection as fighting vehicles. With that assumption the MoD bought predominantly the cheaper HX version of the MAN vehicles. It is not clear what exactly the TES is for the MAN SV fleet, but I doubt whether it is even as high as the IAC (Integrated Armoured Cab), which is only STANAG 4569 level 3a/b. Most APC and all the MRAP types are at least level 4!

The assumption that the protection and mobility levels should be less than other military/fighting vehicles is fundamentally wrong in an Asymmetrical/COIN environment, where there is no clear distinction of where the frontline/combat zone exists. It was not valid even in more conventional war-fighting situations, as supply convoys are always going to be targeted and thus require as much protection as the combat troops.

If the UK had operated as it had done for the most of the time since Korea (i.e. not involved in major conflicts) then the practice of essentially using jumped up civvy vehicles (Landrovers/Bedford 4 tonners etc.) as the bulk of your fighting vehicles would have probably been OK.

That has not been the case, and as such, the appalling quality of our military vehicles and equipment in general has now been exposed to the general public. I would guess most if not all contributors to this site would have known how bad our kit was, but this information never reached the general public. The first time it did in the modern era was the Falklands, and the GW1. It is only in the last couple of years have things started to improve. We now have better personal equipment for the troops (Mk7 helmets, decent boots, Osprey body armour, new sights, Sharp shooter rifle, USGL etc. On the vehicle side we have the likes of Mastiff and Ridgeback.

Back to the MAN trucks, The purpose of the SV fleet is to deliver supplies to the combat troops. For that task it has to be able to carry the equipment that the Army needs, and as your post stated, they can carry respectable loads. I would argue, the fact that the Army felt the need to introduce a completely new fleet (TSV Tactical Support Vehicles) shows that the MAN SV fleet, good as it is, falls short of what is REALLY required of a support vehicle. We now have the situation where, the loads will be transferred from the SV fleet to the TSV fleet and probably again within the TSV fleet before it reaches its final destination. Now I would expect a degree of this, from the large 18tonne vehicles to something smaller in extreme circumstances but that is not what appears to happening. The SV fleet seems to be used where the roads/tracks are better and/or the threat levels are lower and TSVs are used everywhere else.

I believe it is for this reason that Germany has developed the likes of the WISENT. With APC/IFV levels of mobility and protection.

If the Army had gone for a 50/50 split between HX and SX it would have been better, but in essence even the SX falls short of what is required to provide true levels of protection, which to be clear are NOT MBT levels of protection but are adequate for the risk. Currently the SV fleet falls short of what is required.

Gabriele

“I would argue, the fact that the Army felt the need to introduce a completely new fleet (TSV Tactical Support Vehicles) shows that the MAN SV fleet, good as it is, falls short of what is REALLY required of a support vehicle.”

I don’t think this is particularly true. The vehicles bought for the Tactical Support Requirement are meant to follow patrols made of the same general kind of vehicle (the most evident example being Coyote within Jackal patrols) carrying enough stores and supplies to extend the endurance of the patrol.

It is a quite specific role, and goes past what you do with the Support fleet itself. And even the Wolfhound carries less than the smaller SV truck.

“It is not clear what exactly the TES is for the MAN SV fleet, but I doubt whether it is even as high as the IAC (Integrated Armoured Cab), which is only STANAG 4569 level 3a/b. Most APC and all the MRAP types are at least level 4!”

The Modular Armoured Cabin developed for HX and SX series vehicles weighs approximately 1300 kg and can be attached in less than twelve hours to provide protection against Nato Stanag 4569 Level 2 ballistic threats and Level 1 mine threats. Project Fortress added slat armor, anti-IED jammers, and machine-gun shielded turret on top.

“Currently the SV fleet falls short of what is required.”

I don’t believe it, personally.

Salvador

Gabriele we must agree to disagree! The TSV was introduced to provide levels of protection and mobility that existing vehicles did not have! That was largely the MAN SV fleet!

TSV was far from perfect as the Coyote is not adequately armoured at all.

The SV TES as you point out is worse than I thought as it appears ti be only level 2!

That is really not good enough…

Frenchie

Hello, i’m french, my english is very bad, but i’m very interested by your army. Well, in the plans of the MoD, the FRES UV concern several types of vehicles. There is APC, repair, recovery, logistic support, command and control, medical evacuation, medical treatment, mortar, CBRN reconnaissance and survey, communications and electronic warfare. Moreover the MoD does not consider vehicles like Mastiff and Ridgeback as the vehicles of the future, I think RG35 is very close to a Mastiff, it wants a modern 8×8 with a STANAG 5 and a high growth potential for its 30 years of service .
I think more VBCI, ALLIGATOR, RG41 as serious candidates.

Frenchie

Thank you very much for your welcome:) you’re right, you need a battletaxi to protect the infantry, light role is out-dated, the RG35 is a good solution, but I remember that the MoD was concluded in Afghanistan and Iraq war, only a 30-ton machine was able to withstand the blast of an IED. BAE had plans to replace the Saxons, Scimitars and old vehicles, the SEP project, little vehicles about 15 or 20 ton, but this is before the very sad casualties about IED :(

Salvador

@Frenchie welcome to TD. As Jed said your English seems very good, much better than my French!

Fancy a Frenchman suggesting the VCBI? ;))

Seriously though, the SEP was not designed with FRES UV in mind. It was a a Swedish programme, BAE did a quick and dirty design based in the wheeled 6×6 version and stretched it to 8×8 and fitted with a conventional engine and tracks rather than the hybrid propulsion and band tracks of the
SEP
It was regarded as not sufficiently developed and therfore did not make it to the Trials of Truth down selection!

Sweden, having failed to find any other country to join the programme, finally cancelled the programme. Which is a shame as I believe there us still a need for such a vehicle. Maybe the technology is just not mature enough yet!

Jed is very keen on the battlefield taxi concept. I am not so sure. The battlefield taxi term was I believe first used to describe the Saxon! A novel name to disguise a truly awful vehicle that could do very little other than a basic taxi role!

I understand Jed’s thinking but feel we need something better. My personal preference is the Boxer, but the VCBI would be OK .

Mike W

Jed,

This is rather a technical question. I think that both the 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 versions of the RG35 have a side-mounting option for the engine/transmission powerpack assembly. This arrangement results in a protuberance or protrusion on the side of the vehicle. Is that going to be a disadvantage in that it provides an extra area to be hit by enemy fire (either shells or missiles). I suppose it will be shaped to deflect such fire. Much of a disadvantage, do you feel?

There is also the fact that the 4 x 4 version does not appear to have the side doors that the 6 x 6 has (I hope that I have got that right). The only entry/egress on the smaller vehicle is through a large rear door. If, as you suggest, the 4 x 4 can carry an infantry squad of 8 (in addition to the driver and gunner), will the lack of entry/egress provision be another disadvantage and should the infantry carrier role therefore be confined to the larger 6 x 6?

Frenchie

Thank you Phil Darley :)
I want to promote French industry ;)
The SEP 8×8 are currently under the name Alligator, I do not know if the vehicle is developed but it must be equivalent to VBCI, the prototype for export is better than what we have in France. I prefer the RG41, it is somewhat revolutionary in its design, with a V-hull which gives it a STANAG 4 to 19 tons, with 11 tons of payload.

Salvador

Frenchie aligator had been cancelled as well!!!

Not fully up to speed with RG41, I have read a bit about it and seen the clips on YouTube but still think the UK should buy the vehicle it helped design I.e the Boxer.

The Germans were responsible for the running gear (engine gearbox etc) the UK was responsible for the demountable modules. The UK were largely responsible for the size and particularly the weight of Boxer as we wanted very high levels of protection especially from top attack weapons.

The irony of the Boxer then being dumped as it was too heavy I am sure us not lost on you!!

What a fcuk up!!!

ArmChairCivvy

Hi frenchie & Phil,

RE “The SEP 8×8 are currently under the name Alligator”
– the clue is in the name; after the UK failure, BAE pitched it for a USMC requirement
– I was wondering what happened next, but I did not know it has been cancelled?

Think Defence

@Gabby

I don’t mind you copying and pasting content from Think Defence or even using the images but it would be the polite thing to do to acknowledge the source

So come on mate, do the decent thing and put a link back in those posts

Salvador

Jed, point taken….

My point is that I associate battlefield taxi with Saxon, which we all know is a pile if sh1t!!

I like you want “Our Boys” to be as mobile and well protected as possible. To that end even the Saxon was better than what most troops would be likely to be equipped with i.e. Landrover or 4 tonne!

I an sure the RG35 would be good enough, but let’s not forget our battlefield taxi / replacement for the Saxon (and FV432) was to have been the MRAV, better known as BOXER! If the UK had not quit the programme, many more vehicles would have been procured (I think the UK alone was to get 1200+) then it would have been a lot cheaper.

As you can tell, I am a big fan of Boxer, thus was a big missed opportunity!

Mike W

Jed,

Thank you very much for the reply and info regarding the side-mounted engine on the RG35 and the situation regarding access/egress doors.

For some reason I had forgotten about the fact that “a front-mounted engine will always put more metal between an enemy to the front and and the vehicle crew / passengers”. I had also mistaken, from the images,what is probably a driver’s door on the right side of the 6 x 6 for access/egress doors for the squad.

Thanks too for the video reference. Will have a look at it later.

Salvador

@ACC there is some confusion about the true date of SEP/Alligator. I found this translation of the Swedish announcement:

“By: Eddie Pröckl
Posted September 3, 2010 15:41 44 comments

Hägglunds suspends the development of the SEP / Alligator.
If there is a new procurement of vehicles for the Swedish defense, the company will not participate.
For Hagglunds and Alligator Friday August 13 was a bad luck day.
 – We are still disappointed, but we have reached a point where we move forward and turn the page. We willdo better to focus on other business, says Ola Thorén, Senior Vice President at BAE Systems Hägglunds in Örnsköldsvik.
The procurement of 113 vehicles for the Swedish military is now halted pending a ruling of the Administrative Court. FMV gave the order to the Patria, but the whole contract was challenged by Mowag, one of the companies that like Hagglunds was disqualified. Mowag, among other things, claims that the entire contract must be repeated.
– Even if it happens, we will not participate. And that decision is based on an understanding of how the FMV reason, says Ola Thorén, but would not go into details.”

I would add that there are those that say BAE have entered it for the Canadian recce programme???

I think BAE have essentially given up all hope if selling it. Moreover I cxn see them selling Haaglands and exiting from the European armoured vehicle Market altogether. To be honest I cannot blame them. If both the British and Swedish armed forces pass your kit over what chance do they have?

Mr Camoron beware you are about to kill off the UK armoured vehicle industry with you mad cap slashing if the Defence budget!!!

ArmChairCivvy

Hi Phil,

“there are those that say BAE have entered it for the Canadian recce programme???”
– I didn’t know about that one either
– anyway, the battle in the courts was then followed by another evaluation, and within weeks Patria was selected by Sweden … I think this predates both the US story and a new Norwegian partner coming onboard (pls note: I think Ricardo was already a partner for the drive train, aqnd they are well thought of by the DE & S?)

kernowboy

I think the most innovative design which we could have used as a basis for the FRES project was the Spitterskyddad Enhets Platform (SEP)

Want a quiet FRES-SV variant? How about the the Electro Drive Tracked Variant?

Basically a design whether wheeled or tracked with a basic platform ensuring significant commonality and a rear module which could be used for a variety of roles – 24 mission roles in fact designed to be modular.

The Electro Drive was more fuel efficient, with lower life cycle costs, more internal space, able to moved around within the hull with the option of a second engine for more power, yet making the vehicle light enough to go in the Herc.

Already passing the RPG and IED tests but able to be up-armoured as necessary.

Too innovative for the MOD … what a shame!!!

The RG-35 is nice but old technology and heavier.

ArmChairCivvy

Hi Dave,

I also think there is a lot to say for SEP… If you hadn’t misspelled SEP in the TD tradition, I would say you are a BAE salesman.

But, in a nutshell why is SEP better than
– Freccia
– Boxer & the French cousin
– Patria AMV family
– Stryker?

ArmChairCivvy

So, RG and SEP in the same category then
… what does it leave us, to choose from?

Pete Arundel

A little off topic, gentlemen, but when I saw the RG35 I was immediately reminded of the Vickers Mk 11;

http://www.geocities.ws/irisharmoredvehicles/V_Mk11.html

Note: the last paragraph gives an explaination of why BAe didn’t continue with development of the Vicker Mk11

kernowboy

ArmChairCivvy

Err, afraid not. I used the Hagglunds Swedish spelling at the 8×8 variant has been known as the Thor, then the Alligator but no mention has been made of the Tracked version.

Why could it be better?

Well the Stryker is old technology based on the old Piranha from the 90s. Likewise the Freccia comes from the Centauro which entered production in 1991 so is 80s technology – 25 years old. The Boxer is a great bit of kit except it weighs 33t gross. The AMV is very interesting and would be a worthy contender alongside the VBCI but the possible advantages of the SEP/Alligator are:

1) Weight – 17.5t and length, less than competitors but the electro drive system means it has the same internal capacity if not larger.

2) Tracked or wheeled – the great debate continues but the amount of commonality of both tracked and wheeled SEP gives huge flexibility plus the modularity of the design is better over competitors

3) Maturity – there has been continuing work done by BAe and Qinetiq and if vehicles such as the PiranhaV are marketed as almost redesigned, the SEP is likely to be as mature

4) Cost – for up to 3,000 vehicles plus exports for a wholly owned BAe Hagglunds design with considerable potential in overseas markets as a genuine 21st century design, means our army could get a discount for being the ‘launch’ customer

My concern with a number of our purchases such as the MRAP types is ‘what happens if we find ourselves in a different battlefield? What happens if it is jungle next time? Unlike the Yanks, we can’t afford to simply dump kit when we leave. If we can get a piece of kit with the necessary protection levels but light enough to go anywhere, we are set fair.

Should we buy the technology of tomorrow or buy yesterdays technology?

kernowboy

Jed

At present I think the RG-35 and the RG-41 are in the same position as the SEP/Alligator … they have yet to be ordered and considering the ongoing development that Hagglunds has been making, I’m not sure if they would need much more development cash than OMC

McZ

My favorite contender for FRES UV is the Pandur II. A whole bunch of variants is in service in Portugal. Including a NBC-variant, so ditching Fuchs may not be that problem medium term.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandur_8X8_APC#Portuguese_variants

It’s available in 6×6, 6×6 long wheel base and 8×8. I didn’t see a ‘prime-mover’ variant, which IMO is what gives Jed’s proposal a big chunk of flexibility, but I guess this should pose no problem.

Maybe, some of the investment into the ASCOD-based FRES SV could be transferred to this class of vehicles.

But, I admit I didn’t knew about SEP, and it looks very promising, especially the optional silent run mode.

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