Random FRES Pictures

A handful of completely unrelated FRES pictures for the weekend

The three contenders for FRES line up at Bovington. Left to right Boxer, Pirhana and VBCI
The three contenders for FRES line up at Bovington. Left to right Piranha, VBCI and Boxer


Boxer and Donar 155mm turret illustration
Boxer and Donar 155mm turret illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration showing modular payload
Boxer MRAV illustration showing modular payload
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Boxer on the trials of truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Boxer on the trials of truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender VBCI on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender VBCI on the Trials of Truth
German Boxer vehicle on operations in Afghanistan
German Boxer vehicle on operations in Afghanistan
VBCI Operation Serval - Mali
VBCI Operation Serval – Mali

And just because I like the look of it, the SIKA TRACER prototype, before FRES

Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)



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Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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May 2, 2014 10:18 am

The Boxer is by far the better vehicle for potential growth/modification in its service life. Build the modules in the UK for jobs

May 2, 2014 10:22 am

@ David Niven – but is boxer too heavy? Could not do what the French did in Mali with it.

May 2, 2014 10:29 am

One of the pictures of the VBCI shows a bridge class of 32, both Boxer and VBCI are A400 transportable. Plus we could do Mali quicker with Foxhound and Viking/Warthog and husky.

May 2, 2014 10:59 am

Boxer will be a missed opportunity if we don’t buy it.

May 2, 2014 11:10 am

How much did we pump into Boxer before we upped stumps?

I like the BAE Iveco Iveco Superav 8×8 because it swims very well. The Brazilians field a 6×6 version for about £1 million per copy.

If we go VBCI we go VBCI. The field army needs a proper vehicle not MRAPs and liaison vehicles.

May 2, 2014 11:16 am

TD picture at the top – “Left to right Boxer, Piranha and VBCI” – looks more like ‘Left to right , Piranha VBCI & Boxer’ from here…

SIKA (and to a lesser extent the BAE/UDLS Lancer) didn’t look right to me. No doubt they were both full of whizzy electronics and databuses and sensors and datalinks, but the base vehicles were funny little pugs with lots of vertical/near vertical slab faces which would have made getting to adequate protection levels difficult (unless they were to rely solely on ERA or new-fangled electric armour). There was once a concept image on the web (can’t find a better image than on this:?cb=1357057544) – it looked like it had been designed by people who knew what they were doing. The German Puma looks pretty good except its big and really heavy; it looks from a distance like it ought to be a compact 20t machine but is 31t-40t depending on appliqué. And over 3.4m wide and 3m tall.

As for Boxer, while the Thunderbird 2 concept might be attractive at first sight, you have to wonder if it would be valuable in operation? Is there going to be a depot at Echelon full of Boxer chassis and mission pods waiting to be put together as and when required? If not then when & where would mission pods be exchanged? Would you have more mission pods than chassis units (for operational role changes) or more chassis units than mission pods (for rapid maintenance turnaround)? Certainly there is a weight penalty for having the removable mission unit. You might assume the standard interface means it might be a bit more slick designing new mission units for new roles, but the interface provides an extra constraint to the design, which might take no less effort than reworking an extant vehicle design as a whole. Oh and the chassis has blast pockets behind each wheel. Brilliant? I’m not convinced. Its clever(ish) and seems a good idea at first, but its unique features probably wouldn’t have much positive impact operationally.

May 2, 2014 11:18 am

“The three contenders for FRES line up at Bovington. Left to right Boxer, Piranha and VBCI”

Aka Box on wheels 1, Box on wheels 2 and Box on wheels 3.

None of them are really so much ahead of the competition that it means anything, so just pick one and be done with it instead of being so indecisive. It’s like watching girls shop.

May 2, 2014 11:18 am

As amazing as the boxer seems to be it needs to be noted that the VCBI is more than 6.4 tons lighter while carrying an extra bloke and a turret with a 25mm cannon, or as in the version shown two extra soldiers (Which if you don’t use, is storage space) and 8.7 tons lighter.

The point to note though is that the VCBI isn’t light, it’s the boxer that’s heavy. Those tons aren’t just transport load, they’re off road mobility as well. This of course raises the question of how the hell the boxer comes out so heavy. Both the VCBI and the boxer are rated at the same 14.5mm api proof, so it probably isn’t armour, which leaves the modularity of Boxer. The module swap thingy sounds fairly cool, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra cost or weight.

One last thing to note is that the Army was really quite impressed with how VCBI handled itself in Mali. The fast reaction, suddenly armoured vehicles where you need them to be concept suddenly proved itself a real thing in Mali, and VCBI pulled it off. French sources say the British Army is currently borrowing a few VCBI’s to test them and is interested in buying them for FRES and, critically, that the French Army may reciprocate by acquiring themselves a few watchkeepers in return.

It appears the UK and France have suddenly discovered that they each make things the other wants to buy. Expect VCBI’s in the future.

Phil Darley
May 2, 2014 11:20 am

DN The Boxex modules were originally Designed in Britain. That was our contribution to the MRAV program. The Germans had the powertrain and suspension. Not too sure what the dutch were responsible for.

It is a fantastic vehicle and we should have stayed with the program. We could have probably avoided buying many of the UOR vehicles and used the Boxer instead and still had a vehicle for more general war fighting.

FRES is one hell of a cock-up.

I was a fan of the SEP vehicle. This could still be considered now as it remain in a modified/simplified form as the alligator 6×6 and 8×8. No tracked version though

Phil Darley
May 2, 2014 11:28 am

Whilst i’m on the subject, the other reason why the Boxer is better is that its sized so ALL the kit will fit inside. No need to carry bergans and so forth on the outside like a Gypsy Wagon (as can be seen with the VCBI in Mali. Mind you I think the British Army quite like’s that look!!!

Same as they seem intent on reverting to tucking the f’ing jackets in to their trousers and go from being smart and practical to looking like a bag of shite tied up in the middle… Reckon well be issued puttees again soon..

Now look what you’ve done i’m off on a rant now!!

Phil Darley
May 2, 2014 11:30 am

TD you know this is my true passion…

Combat vehicles and Army personal kit / weapons. Can rant for hours..


May 2, 2014 11:33 am

To be honest I’ve not had the time to keep up to date with things recently, but in this case I happen to have been reading the wiki page for the VCBI yesterday.

Phil Darley
May 2, 2014 11:38 am

Heh before I forget.. One thing that has been going through my mind with regard to the MPA issue.

Why oh why did they not use a NEW fuselage like say a A340. It already has modified A340 avionics.

What a World beater it could have been.

The P8 is really poor its range compared to what MRA4 would have been is pitiful

May 2, 2014 11:49 am

VBCI makes sense for the UK for a couple of reasons in the context of the Lancaster House treaties and subsequent agreements taken in isolation:

#1 If we’re working closer with the French Army (120,000 personnel) on the ground, commonality of equipment is advantageous for logistics, support, training, use and for the comfort zones of all involved.

#2 If we’re working with the French more closely, we’re more likely to be working with the French in theatres where the French have interests. The VBCI has been designed for, tested against and battle proven in these theatres.

#3 If there’s reciprocal deployments of UK hardware in return, it enhances the commonality between the two allied forces and makes life working together even easier.

Boxer is certainly worthy of consideration given it is also battle proven. Those involved in the decision would need to brace for a pride-swallowing if we reverse the decision not to proceed with Boxer, however if we believe it is the right vehicle for us after all then a couple of articles in the tabloids is certainly something that can be taken on the chin. Casualties and/or failed Operations, or even not having the right kit to engage in an operation, aren’t.

I too like the possibilities presented by the BAE/Iveco SuperAV 8×8 and this variant on the style of vehicle should also be considered if we’re looking at this class of vehicle at all (q.v. tracks vs wheels debates). If it handles theatres as well as the Boxer/VBCI and can swim with a combat load of Royal Marines aboard if we see the need, what’s not to like?

May 2, 2014 11:51 am


Why would you be swapping out modules every week? we don’t with Foxhound and that is a modular design, the modular design gives you the ability of upgrading (Armour?) and modifying the vehicle over its life without having to cut redesign the interiors and try and shoe things in everywhere.

‘One last thing to note is that the Army was really quite impressed with how VCBI handled itself in Mali’
Why has everyone got a sudden wet dream for Mali? Like I said earlier we can do Mali tomorrow with what we have now.

@Phil Darley

I agree with the shirts thing, lets turn a practicle/smart uniform into a a bag of shit to show off a stable belt. Thats what TRF’s are for FFS! Some RSM’s need to go and give their heads a shake.

If we’re working closer with the French Army (120,000 personnel) on the ground, commonality of equipment is advantageous for logistics, support, training, use and for the comfort zones of all involved.

Who did we work more closely with in Afghan other NATO members or France? Isn’t standardisation what NATO introduced?

May 2, 2014 11:58 am


Doesn’t Lancaster House have the potential to go further than NATO e.g. French forces protecting UK sovereignty (vice versa) without Article invocation?

I don’t think either France or the UK want an additional overarching organisation controlling interoperation, they want to be organically embedded when called on each other.

May 2, 2014 11:58 am

@The Other Chris: I agree on the VBCI/Boxer vs Iveco debate. Any 25/30 tonne wheeled vehicle is going to be rather marginal off road compared to tracks, and the ability to travel along or across a slow flowing river for moves (not fighting) is useful in the third world, let alone the amphib side of things.

@Phil Darley: bring back puttees and DMS? The latter were certainly better than BCH, and both protected the ankle and provided more support :-)

May 2, 2014 12:07 pm


Commonality already exists between us and the French we both use NATO standard ammo and comms. But commonality of vehicles etc is a sales pitch, how often do we go and grab a MAN engine from the Germans in Afghan? as long as the trailer hooks and connections are standard the base vehicles do not really matter.

May 2, 2014 12:12 pm

DN – ref Boxer & armour upgrades – if you upgrade just the mission pod you leave the poor driver with lesser protection, and he’s the one closest to the frontal arc and closer to the most likely blast events. As for shoehorning stuff in, I’m pretty sure whether in a whole vehicle or just in the mission pod the difficulties will be much the same. Boxer might be a good solution, but its a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. In my opinion.

Phil Darley
May 2, 2014 12:27 pm

The other vehicle worthy of mention and one that should have been in the trials of truth was the Patria AMV. This is also amphibious and has also had a recent upgrade.


Pretty dam good IMHO

May 2, 2014 12:30 pm


In the future if new armour is developed we can construct the rear module out of it, rather than bolting it on. We then just bolt on the armour to the front and maybe we won’t need to upgrade the running gear to take weight. I just think that over its life it will allow easier modification.


I think people are getting fixated with the fact that the VBCI was the reason the French pulled off Mali, but in reality it was the C17. If we did not have C17 for them to use how would they have got VBCI quickly to Mali, Herc? Once A400 is in service most of NATO could do a Mali.

May 2, 2014 12:46 pm

May I ask how many different variants of any future FRES 8×8, are we looking to procure?

Do we require a dedicated Mortar Carrier? We recently discussed the need for an ARV variant with the Boxer which was stuck in snow. Because at the moment their are no versions of either for the VBCI. And looking at the short video below we may need one!


May 2, 2014 12:48 pm

Phil Darley

I would like to see us do joint projects with the Poles (who licence produce the Patria) they have similar requirements an industrial base that produces good designs, and as they want NATO troops on their soil maybe we could have a permanent BATUS style of arrangement for battlegroup exercises. And if we can get the other Baltic states to throw some money in all the better.

May 2, 2014 1:00 pm

“May I ask how many different variants of any future FRES 8×8, are we looking to procure?” I wonder if this is how we are going to get around the fact that if we want to buy VBCI we really need to run a new competition? I wonder if the EU procurement rules would apply if we said it was in our national interest and a UK company formed a joint venture with Nexter and Renault to develop and build the different variants required for UK service? Not sure what we need, I cannot see us buying more variants than the recovery, ambulance, APC and command versions of the VBCI?

May 2, 2014 1:09 pm

Apologies for being unclear, the commonality argument mentioned is also along the lines of industrial, training and planning.

Flip the commonality issue around. If the French Army choose to operate Watchkeeper (une Avions de Quart?), do they need to maintain their own training facilities or do they (more simply?) contribute towards Larkhill instead?

It’s in these areas that contributes significantly towards a winning bid. The system and what it entails as a whole, not the individual vehicle alone.

If it’s Boxer or VBCI or Patria (etc), and there’s not much between the vehicles, the other aspects come into sharp consideration.

Assuming an 8×8 (6×6, Tracks, Half Track, Hoverboard…) is even the way to go with FRES, of course.

May 2, 2014 1:13 pm

frankly would rather UK concentrate on having a 2nd mech division based on FRES SV let the french piss about in africa and use our reapers and helos to take out any local utes with RPG’S on top
Having a mech adaptable div doesn’t mean you cant dumb down to light protected as needed????
On the subject 16AA needs totally upliftin to 3 batts and 3 cdo to 4 batts to give a brigade intervention force from sea and air on call with a inf batt when and as needed.
Give the russkies something to think about!
Oh and uplift RN and RAF as required.

May 2, 2014 2:18 pm


Agreed, it makes sense to have common training facilities where its worthwhile and practical, but I don’t see that is a case when it comes to vehicles. What would be the benefit to us or France to share driver training on 1 type of vehicle? as long as we can communicate with each other and use each others ammo then your sorted for joint ops.

Also if commonality is a major issue then we would be buying the Boxer. Same engine as the Scout SV and it’s variants, and no doubt when Warrior gets replaced with a Scout derivative most of our AFV’s in service will be using a common engine. Are we planning on acquiring anymore vehicles that use a Renault drive train?

May 2, 2014 3:05 pm

One of the reasons why Boxer is so heavy is apparently a requirement for protection against DPICM. It has about 120 mm RHAeq CE protection on the roof apparently.

I think we’ve gone too far with the specs of support vehicles. We should follow a hi-lo strategy in which the vehicles for line of sight combat with enemies get the qualities they need and all others should be very close to civilian specs.

The 8×8 craze has gone too far. Many of those 8×8 vehicles cost a million or two and don’t do much more in reality than the civilian trucks hauling material onto or off sandy construction sites could do as well.

May 2, 2014 3:10 pm

The VBCI is a IFV, I don’t understand why the MoD wants to multiply vehicles with more or less the same weight and the same size. I would take a 6×6 for have a wider range of use. It seems that the British Army is preparing for a conventional war against the Red Army, while it is very unlikely. A 6×6 would be quickly deployable on all battlefields with flimsy bridges, places where the maneuverability is difficult, bumpy roads, etc …
If VBCI had an accident in Mali, this is mainly because it is designed for the conventional combat, not to roll over rough roads.

May 2, 2014 3:44 pm

Take the turret off a VBCI and it’s an APC. The Brits shouldn’t buy it though, or the Boxer, only the Piranha and AMV are really worthy of consideration.

Keep an eye out for the Danish decision, it could be quite telling.

May 2, 2014 3:53 pm

Is there any reason that no one mentions Piranha which was actually selected for FRES UV previously.

one thing I recon the boxer has going for it is looks VBCI is kind of ugly and has a bit of a 1930’s tank look to it.

I agree with SO’s comments. I have to wonder if we really need 3000 odd FRES vehicles at £3-5 million a pop and I think its worth asking how many need to be military spec and how many can simply be civilian trucks. I know we have had issues in Iraq and the stan with light vehicles but I seriously doubt we will be committing to a deployment like that for a generation or more and I have to ask if an ubber fleet of 8*8’s is being considered because everyone else is doing it.

May 2, 2014 3:55 pm

TD makes a good point about air transportability of Boxer in A400M. My understanding of the UK’s withdrawal was that they wanted something that could go in a C130 but as we are getting rid of our C130’s I guess its no really an issue anymore.

May 2, 2014 3:56 pm

@ S O
‘vehicles for line of sight combat with enemies’
From what we’ve learned from Iraq and Afghan that would be all of them.

Let me introduce you to the Boxer 6×6


The Danes already use the Piranha in Afghan.If they chose something else in the wheeled category then I’d start to think that the Piranha is not up to the task.

May 2, 2014 4:21 pm


What’s wrong with the rest? Most 8x8s I know of are very generic, unless there is some extremely glaring fault to them or something outstanding about the Piranha or AMV, then there is no cause to claim exclusive rights. Can you tell us what is wrong with the rest of them?

May 2, 2014 4:24 pm


What does LKR4,000,000 buy you,
A 2+10 passenger 4X4 MRAP 6Tonnes (you can fit 3 in a C130 ,they will be around for a long time and would be used on again to transport our kit if the need arises)
The Unibuffel is based on the combat proven South African Buffel itself developed from Mercedes Unimog.
PS LKR4,000,000 around £20,000 ( I haven’t forgotten any zeros that’s twenty thousand pounds) a Bargain or what?

May 2, 2014 4:57 pm


Thank you for the link, you have allowed me to discover the GFF 4, which would be perfect for us as for you.

May 2, 2014 5:03 pm

The photo with the DONAR/Artllery Gun Module looks pretty tidy, would this fit on all 3 vehicles?

May 2, 2014 5:05 pm


Not all Piranha’s are equal, by a very long way. That said, the Danish competition is interesting from many angles, including the fact they competing tracks against wheels.


I never said there was anything “wrong” with the others.

May 2, 2014 5:11 pm

If it fitted these vehicles, Patria NEMO auto 120mm mortar turret would also make a great module.
All these modular modules sound TD territory big time.

May 2, 2014 5:13 pm

Well it’s good to see that one of them at least can get up a step. Money well spent.

May 2, 2014 5:25 pm


You are obviously underestimating the value of climbing a step, the Dalek’s would give their hind teeth for that sort of capability ;-)


RE GFF4 – Won’t you buy the Titus for that role

Gloomy Northern Boy
May 2, 2014 5:33 pm

@David Niven…you’ve not seen Doctor Who in it’s latest iteration have you? If our AFVs could do what the current Daleks can, we’d have no trouble at all with Putin…

GNB :-)

May 2, 2014 5:35 pm

The real reason the VBCI impressed in Mali was because of its IFV capability. The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun in very close-quarters combat, and the long-range sensors were instrumental in picking up enemy movement.

This creates doubts IMHO over the utility of a vanilla 8×8 APC, and may explain the sudden UK interest… it’s not that they now want VBCI for FRES UV, but rather that they are probably reevaluating the FRES UV concept as a whole to determine whether it brings the right balance of firepower/sensors.

May 2, 2014 5:47 pm


I have not watched the specifications of size and weight, but Titus is considered too high for us, we need vehicles passing under bridges and over bridges of medium sizes. The Titus is just good for export, not for the French army, VBMR will be probably unveiled at Eurosatory in June.

May 2, 2014 6:02 pm


Are you trying to tell me steps are no longer viable field defence’s for the Dalek invasion?! were Dooooooooooomed :-)

‘The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun’
But does that not show more about weapons fit than base vehicle?

Do you know if the Nexter offering for VBMR is based on the VBCI drive train? to be honest I don’t know why the French army just does not ask for a 6×6 VBCI chasis.

May 2, 2014 6:20 pm

A link on your page for the TITUS
Is Rapier finally going to be retired?


May 2, 2014 6:27 pm


Gloomy Northern Boy
May 2, 2014 6:29 pm

@David Niven – Indeed so – they hover – and drop in directly from space… :-(

May 2, 2014 6:38 pm


Yeah mate it’s on its way out.The FLAADS looks pretty decent though.


‘they hover – and drop in directly from space’
Nice to see someones managed to produce FRES at last ;-)

May 2, 2014 6:39 pm


I don’t know, maybe this will be the case, but the specifications are strict, the VBMR must have a weight of 25 tons, a precise height which I don’t remember exactly, with many common pieces with EBRC , it must have the engine at the front and a windshield .

Swimming Trunks
May 2, 2014 7:00 pm

Franco-Russian development: 8×8 with 57mm gun.


Swimming Trunks
May 2, 2014 7:14 pm

So what is FRES UV supposed to be? If its a modern Saxon like battle taxi wouldn’t something like the Wildcat be more suitable (and cheaper)?


If its a IFV wouldn’t that be covered by a warrior replacement? Is a 8×8 surviable enough in direct fire fights?

Brian Black
May 2, 2014 7:30 pm

Picking up VBCI for commonality with the French army has been mentioned; but if you want another big armoured vehicle, then plumping for the APC or IFV cousin of Scout SV would give us commonality with our own army.

The Donar system is based on an ASCOD vehicle, so an illustration of a new vehicle sporting the turret is not an impressive enough reason for going out and buying that vehicle. The turret has also been fitted to the MLRS vehicle already, so two vehicle types that we already use.

May 2, 2014 7:50 pm

How about the FFG PMMC G5 for the VBMR
(Son de l’Allemagne , ok?)

May 2, 2014 7:53 pm

ST – it will have a requirement that includes every possible use against every possible threat and in every possible environment; it will be required to be uber-powerful, more economic than a moped, float, fly, hover and burrow; it will be required to be massive inside and small outside, hugely protected and light, massively armed but without huge ammo racks, packed with every gadget/radio/ESM/ECM/sensor/DAS system imaginable, cutting-edge modern with decades of service with other forces. In other words the requirement will be normal MOD business.

It was described to me that MOD deliberately writes impossible requirements to weed out those bidders who say they can do everything in one product. What sort of sense is that? Then the ‘credible bids’ are compared to see which has the ‘best’ selection of compliance. If three bidders chose a light fast option and one bidder chose a heavily protected slow option (both equally compliant but covering different aspects), and MOD know really they want a heavy solution, their competition is pointless as only one bidder has what they want. But for the sakes of audit trails the other bidders are strung along spending B&P cash without having a hope of winning. Its a garbage system. Clearly the requirement should be for the equipment desired, and capable of being met in entirety by one product – then the non-compliances mean something and highest compliance is the best equipment for the User.

Or maybe the requirement writers just don’t know the requirements they are writing cannot all be met? Whatever happened to Smart Customers…

May 2, 2014 8:29 pm

HK said, “‘The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun’”

David Niven then asked, “But does that not show more about weapons fit than base vehicle?

During (the latter stages) of WW2 the weapon that the tank used the most was it machine gun(s).

I do wonder if it would get away with turreted HMG and grenade launchers than fitting everything with a proper cannon. Perhaps by on a ratio of 1:2? More rounds. Simpler to strip and rebuild in the field. Perhaps even two turrets? Especially as the new gun seems a bit duff.

Saying that as 3Cdo returns to the sea I think the 8×8 with cannon is something the brigade could use in the light cavalry role (one squadron per commando) as can be found in a USMC MEU. Resurrect one of the defunct RTR cap badges and recruit from within the RAC. I’m sure there must be some in the RAC who would like to take up the commando baton.

Lastly as we spend yet more money on FRES in the SV variant I have been thinking whether the better option for 3Div would be to replicate their old brigade structure; 1 x MBT, 1 x armoured inf, 2 x mech. Replace Mastiff and 1 batt’s worth of Warrior with 8×8 and refurb the released Warriors as a recce version. The seems to me a better option than my original thinking of having only 1 armoured brigade (2 at best) or making the 3 brigades square losing the batt supposedly mounted in Mastiff.

May 2, 2014 8:29 pm


The VBMR is a 6×6, not a tracked vehicle, but I think that you joke with me ;)

May 2, 2014 9:02 pm

@Swimming Trunks

FRES UV is more than a replacement for Saxon, it’s a replacement for 432 and some CVRT as well. In an armoured infantry regiment it will be required to replace the 432 mortar wagon so will need to keep up with the Warrior. And in close support units, such as the Engineers it will replace the 432 as a section vehicle so will also need to be able to keep up with the rest of the Battlegroup, hence the 8×8 requirement.


I agree, I see no need to place a cannon on FRES UV (unless we decide to replace some Warriors in the IFV role with some) a .50 and GMG fit should suffice. Would you not use FRES SV as a light cavalry tank for 3 Cdo, to compliment the Vikings?


I don’t like the look of the VBMR, its very much a vehicle for policing type operations.

May 2, 2014 9:19 pm

Why not take the turret of the fres sv and use that as an apc and develop a 6 wheel foxhound for the protected wheeled vehicle taxi. And forget about the 8 wheeled warrior.

May 2, 2014 9:28 pm

@ David Niven re FRES SV for 3Cdo

Because crappity crap crap. :)

May 2, 2014 10:48 pm

Well, it would all depend on how and where you are going to use your 8x8s.

Operational concepts differ greatly if you use them with armour as opposed to using them with infantry.

With armour, they are used as supplemental firepower for lighter targets and to supress enemy infantry while the MBTs slug it out, and to drop infantry on an overrun target to weed out the survivors.

With infantry, they are used as battering rams to “rush” a building where they get past the enemy arc of fire and drop infantry into the building itself.

In COIN, they seem to be used as a base of fire platform and sensor systems.

It’s all about what you are meant to do, how you want to do it and who you are doing it with.

So before you go shopping, you first have to decide how you want to use your new 8x8s. Armour support? Infantry support? It makes a difference. Armour, a cannon might come in useful as you bump into armoured targets more often. Infantry, an AGL might be a better choice to lob rounds onto roofs or into windows.

Swimming Trunks
May 2, 2014 11:18 pm

Exactly my point Observer. Among the first to develop a wheeled IFV was the South Africans; the Ratel. But it was armed with a 20mm cannon which appears to have been to surpress infantry. They also had fire support versions with eithet 60mm gun mortars or 90mm low recoil guns. Again infantry support may have been the intended role because they great difficulty dealing with the then new(ish) T-62. A ATGM variant was produced, but the Ratel has to be viewed as part of a larger wheeled force including 4×4 armoured cars, later 8×8 Rookit(?) armoured car, mine resistant 4×4 apc’s, even a wheeled G-6 SPH. The only tracked vehicle as I can tell was/is the Olifant MBT. Such a force was suitable for the terrain of SA but is it suitable for the likely AO of the British army? It should also be noted that the Ratel was lightly armoured, proof against 12.7mm across frontal arc and only 7.62mm elsewhere, but did have mine resistance.

Short but interesting video at the beginning of this page about SA vehicles and their thinking:


Gloomy Northern Boy
May 2, 2014 11:43 pm

@x – “Defunct RTR” – or re-activate 41 Commando as a 3/4 squadron unit, building on the expertise of the RM Armoured Support Group – same deal as the evolution of Commachio to Fleet Protection to a re-activated 43…

Per Mare, Per Terram… :-)


May 3, 2014 2:06 am

@ Monkey

Rapier hasn’t yet been in service for 20 years. Of course I’m talking about the current Field Std C, which was a new system introduced in 1996, although it could still fire the old missiles as well as the newer models. Fd Std A was replaced by FSB then upgraded to FSB1 post Falklands (notably introduction of the tripod mounted ‘pointing stick’) then to FSB2 which was replaced by FSC (AKA Jernas)

May 3, 2014 2:13 am

Any expansion in 3 Cdo means finding the manpower from somewhere. The army has been reducing its manpower there, eg 29 Cdo Regt has been significantly shrunk. Not forgetting that these days all 3 Cdo Bde has to do in provide two battlegroups, one at high readiness rotating with the other.

May 3, 2014 3:56 am

@ Obsvr

Good point. I think I would take maintaining an organic engineering capability in 3 com over a light armoured one. Its not line we are short on armoured units that can be attached to 3 com if an operation requires it.

May 3, 2014 7:16 am

The ISO container is in the mid-ground behind the Boxer in the Afghan shot, and I claim my packet of Cheesy Wotsits.

May 3, 2014 10:22 am

Observer is right.
For me the FRES UV is a APC with resistance to mines and protects the troops for use primarily in unconventional wars. This is a patrol vehicle. Take a big IFV like VBCI, remove the turret and say “this is a APC”, I don’t understand the reasoning. As well take the APC version of FRES SV . But a wheeled vehicle is less expensive than a tracked vehicle , this is the reason of its usefulness . For the war in Afghanistan, you had to buy Mastiff because you did not have Patria or vehicles of the same type to make patrols.
Future FRES UV must replace Mastiffs, for me the best solution would be to replace the Mastiff with a vehicle of the same weight, about 20 tons, the Boxer is too heavy.
This is why the French army will replace the VAB by a vehicle that looks like 6×6 truck, that will cost no more than one million € and move anywhere. For infantry support we have already VBCIs and you have Warrior.

May 3, 2014 10:43 am

@ Obsvr re money and manning.

You don’t say, really? Don’t panic nothing we bash out here has any actual bearing on what happens at the MoD in wider government. In fact just for fun I will think about RM expanding to corps and give them all a jetpack a piece………….

If all we did was talk about the status quo there would be nothing hardly to talk about and what there would be would f**(ing boring.

May 3, 2014 10:53 am

@ X. Don’t be daft, if you give all the RM jet packs then we can kiss the carriers goodbye :-)

Gloomy Northern Boy
May 3, 2014 11:06 am

@Martin – all three of them? Surely not… :-)


May 3, 2014 11:35 am

@ X

“I do wonder if it would get away with turreted HMG and grenade launchers than fitting everything with a proper cannon”

Didn’t the Russians develop a combat engineer vehicle with auto cannon and HMG’s for use in Chechnya? They developed a special version (radar less and manually aimed) of the shilka for use in Afghanistan.

May 3, 2014 1:29 pm

Mike, if you mean the Terminator (even thouigh the original T comes from the Russian word for”heavy”), I would not call it a combat engineering vehicle, but rather an IFV without dismounts.

There were several prototypes, with a crew of up to 7 so that all weapons could be individually aimed. Those included two AGLs in the front corners. A version is now in production and is used with MBTs in a ratio of 1 to 4, with the main purpose of protecting them from inf. tank hunting teams, both at a distance (autocannons) and close up (MGs and AGLs).

May 3, 2014 1:34 pm


That’s the one :) Cheers.

I did not know it had weapons that were individually aimed.

May 3, 2014 1:45 pm

Cooo! Its really big! Just look how small the people stood on the hull look!

(Insert smiley here)

Lord Jim
May 3, 2014 2:02 pm

The Boxer is the AFV we should have bought and still should. Its modular design means the you do not have to buy specialised variants but rather a single platform and multiple modules. This has surely got to be a cost saver. It has superior protections as standard to any other wheeled AFV and has sufficient mobility to go where it is needed. Yes there are extremes but then you need platforms like the Bv210.

We need it to equip not just the mechanised regimets that previously used the Saxon but also replace the multitude of FV432 variants still in service as well as some of the CVR(T) variants. If I had my way it would also replace the Warrior in a similar way the VBCI is replacing the AMX-10P in French service. I would then use the Foxhound to equip the remainder of the regular Infantry regiments as the day of the light role infantry is long gone.

Yes some are going to say that only a tracked vehiole has the required mobility and protection but they would have the infantry riding around in a AFV called the Namer like th eisrealis are trying to do but only their assault units are going to be equipped as such due to cost.

There are alternatives to the Boxer but only the boxer can be bought off the shelf as is and go straight in t service. It can take Bowmen with out modification because its specs are what we needed along with the Germans and Dutch and the formner are still the worlds leader in AFV design regardless of what the US may think. I cannot emphasis enough the utility the modular design brings to the party. I believe the Existing users have concentrated on APC, command and ambulance modules but designs exist for everything from mortar carrier, engineer, air defence to logistics carrier. In British service it would be the new “FV432” and would probably have an even longer service life.

On a lighter side on a visit to Bovington I saw a video of a project to allow an FV432 exit a river with very steep banks. They fitted rocket packs to it but when they ignited it actually took off, did a 540 degree sumersault and landed on its roof, though it did clear the river back.

May 3, 2014 2:16 pm

LordJim – I saw much the same experiment as your 432 example in a talk given by John Brewer, at one time a senior RARDE Chertsey man, then MD of Vickers Defence. See 3rd paragraph of this comment: http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2013/06/better-defence-acquisition/comment-page-1/#comment-173214

May 3, 2014 2:18 pm

Terminator 2 seems to have lost those close range weapons and is now described as a fighty fire support vehicle. If you remember the pancake tank, it now looks a bit loke taht one, with the high, unmanned turret sticking out. Crew is now xown to three:

May 3, 2014 2:31 pm

If were going to buy an 8×8 APC which is what there supposed to be either join the USMC AMV and give the RM an armoured amphibious assault type Vehicle or the Boxer as the costs due to the number of vehicles being bought should lower the price per vehicle and the logistics and R & D I think we will end up doing a deal with GD for Piranha 5. I can’t see any reason to by VBCI with a deal for them to buy Watchkeeper how can the deal be anything like evenly valued.

May 3, 2014 2:48 pm

Lord J, it’s going to cost.. :(

Not saying if it is a good or bad idea, just expensive, and that cuts down into how many you can really get. But you are right in that the CVR(T) and FV432s need to be replaced, they are getting close to the end of their shelf life.

Personally, on a POV from someone not with the UK, we’re standardizing down to 1 armour, 1 motorized 8×8 and 2 infantry regiments for a brigade. The armour and motorised are the assault troops while the 2 foot infantry are the follow on forces, which gives a sort of 50/50 teeth/tail split.

Frenchie, IFV/APC, whatever they want to call it, it all depends on if the vehicle can do the job, so I don’t see anything wrong with using an IFV without a turret as an APC or using an “APC” with a gun added as an IFV as long as it can do the job, but it does help to settle down on a single hull instead of having 2 types of vehicles when one is enough.

Guess it is just what you are used to. I’m “used to” 25 ton +/- 8x8s, so the Stryker family of the US always seemed a bit fragile to me. I’m sure someone from a Stryker battalion would think that our 8x8s are overweight.

May 3, 2014 3:09 pm

FRES UV are supposed to replace the 432 series and Saxon and CVRT in some roles, that is why the protection levels are quite high and the need for 8×8 to carry the required kit and keep up with the Infantry who are riding in Warrior. This is also why IMO the VBCI is the wrong choice for us, we require the vehicle to cover a myriad of roles and the modular system is better for that. Lets also not forget that we helped to design it to our specifications and requirements, as soon as the C130 airlift capability was dropped it should have been ordered rather than the farce that has and is happening.

Our requirements differ from yours so a vehicle just for patrolling would not suite us. We sit between you and the Italian requirements at the moment, which requires our 8×8 to step up to the plate and provide close support to the mounted infantry. Personally I think you are too light in some respects and geared a lot more to peacekeeping than peer fighting, I think the Italians have a good mix.

Why does everyone want to armour up the Marines? they have Viking and CVRT/FRES SV within the Brigade. If you need a fully mechanised force to carry out an amphibious operation just use the Army.

May 3, 2014 3:34 pm

DN, short story. The army can’t swim. :P

There are really 2 ways to go about an amphibious assault, the LCU/connector way or the USMC amtrack way. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Rough thumbnail, the LCU way is much faster and can put more capable units ashore, but the LCUs act as a bottleneck to deployment. The amtrack way is slower and amtrack capabilities are rather modest (a 50 cal and a 40mm AGL IIRC), but you are not dependent on a connector at all and can toss your entire amtrack force onto the beach in a single wave.

In some really insane moments, I wonder if Gibbs and ST Kinetic can come up with a crazy love child of an 8×8 and a Humdinga. The yanks will go crazy over it, solves their EFV problems right out. Doubt it though, the Gibbs waterjets only seem to max out at 1.5 ton payloads. 8x8s are about 20x the weight.

May 3, 2014 3:40 pm

The army can’t swim – agreed.

But we also do not conduct amphibious operations in the same way as the USMC, we like to find a nice quite beach and be civil about it ;-)

May 3, 2014 4:37 pm

Is that true, CVRT/ FRES SVs in RM?

May 3, 2014 4:41 pm

Followed think link to the ‘Terminator2’
What a smart idea an anti-infantry support vehicle as well armoured as an MBT (its a new turret/engine pack on a refurbed T-72 Chassis – they have about 8k of those in storage) to give the fast suppression to those nasty AT Infantry teams.
Are they in production?

May 3, 2014 4:52 pm


We have the VAB which has a number of variants impressive for a small vehicle, and VBMR will be designed to do the same thing. There will be 1,200 vehicles troop transport version, itself composed ​​into 7 sub-versions, the principal one being version of the infantry (500 vehicles designed to accommodate 11 infantrymen with Félin equipment), other versions are engineering, MMP and Eryx antitank missile, 81 mm mortar, refueling and maintenance.
Then 270 version command post; 130 vehicles artillery observer; 50 vehicles 120 mm mortar; 240 ambulances and 27 CBRN reconnaissance.
This done twelve variants for a vehicle of 20 tonnes.

May 3, 2014 4:59 pm

Is that true, CVRT/ FRES SVs in RM?

Meant to say you could use CVRT/FRES SV. (although I don’t why they do not have a squadron attached like 16AAB)

May 3, 2014 5:03 pm

Don’t know about the new one (which was linked), but this one
Is in use, and had more crew to operate the grenade”machine guns” which effectively are subturrerts, even though the operators are unded armour.

May 3, 2014 5:05 pm


A vehicle in the VAB category is too lightly protected for our requirements. We want our vehicle to be of the same protection as your VBCI as it will be derectly supporting the armoured (C2) and armoured infantry (Warrior) regiments coupled with the off road ability.

Like I said we intend to operate differently to how you operate, which I still think is too light.

May 3, 2014 5:10 pm

monkey, you have to remember that russian armoured vehicles tend to be lighter than their western counterparts. It’s because of their doctrine and their engine tech being inferior to the west, so they avoided needing a more complicated engine by keeping their weight down. A T-72 is about as protected as an 8×8, with people like RT having experiences or close hand reports of them being killed by 30mm fire.

I really like the look of that thing, but capability-wise, I can’t see it doing something an 8×8 can, with an infantry squad added to boot. 30mm guns? ATGM/TOW? Co-ax? All can be integrated on an 8×8 as well.

Looks on the other hand… This one wins hands down.

May 3, 2014 5:34 pm

It is very cool! The new one looks even better.
I see what you mean by the weight @ about 42 tonnes the same as the T-72 , it seems they have taken note of the lack of stoppability and put the surplus weight from the old heavy turret and its 125mm gun etc and hung it around the sides as applique .Also upgrading the engine by 1/3rd to 1000hp would help with maneuverability .
I guess being lighter makes it easier to transport (2 in AN125 – @ 90 tons of cargo= 7,100 km OR 1 in Il-76TD – @ 50 tons of cargo=4300km ) and would not to badly damage our modern road bridges to much giving them a bit more freedom of movement. I read once somewhere the US Army Core of Engineers all ways stopped M26 Pershing tanks from crossing their bridges until all other tanks had passed as their weight pretty much destroyed the decking needing major repairs after they passed .This frustrated the commanders somewhat as they where needed at the front to help deal with the Tigers and Panthers!

May 3, 2014 6:04 pm

The Russians never made that much of a thing about air transportability, that was specifically a western thing, usually for plans to reinforce Germany, UK, France etc from the US. The Russians don’t have that worry. They capped their tanks at about 40 tons and their bridges somewhere around that weight to delay any NATO attack into Russia same as how we used to plant trees at 3m apart to let small M-113s through while BMPs get hindered.

They used to have a thing about air deployability though, but that sort of died out. Don’t hear too much about that lately.

AN-125? Did you mean the AN-124? Or the AN-225?

The cap for those monsters isn’t weight, it’s lane meters or space. Or at least I think it was. We managed 5 Apaches in a single load before, so getting some decent frontier aviation is possible with these guys.

May 3, 2014 6:11 pm

@observer, you are talking about the export versions of T72s.
– one of the big plunders by Israel was that in a Syrian campaign they had to evacuate the crews of several tanks, without destroying the tanks. Anti-armour rounds so new that even the US units had not got them yet went straight to the USSR. The ceramic front plate developed for the Red Army could for several years not be penetrated by anything in service (other than ATGWs).

They have done rather better than just redistribute steel

Btw, KingTigers did not have that problem you mention despite their massive weight. By the time they got to service, the bridges they crossed tended to be blown up v soon after.

May 3, 2014 6:19 pm

Which other country makes a specialised tank for airborne forces?

And as China makes a specialised mountain tank (shrunk from another model), adjacent countries that also have mountains (India, ROK) have shown interest in this lightweight wonder.

May 3, 2014 6:26 pm


We will not agree, but I think that choosing a too heavy vehicle will deprive the British Army of acting on some operating theaters. Light brigades with Foxhound and Jackal vehicles will not be enough, and take a mid-size vehicle that can act in both a light and heavy brigade will save you a lot of money.

May 3, 2014 6:34 pm

@ ArmChairCivvy
My bad, An-124 , there are so few of the An-225 and are all ways overseas (aren’t they trying to finish a new one from an unfinished air frame?)
I see they have used the applique pack on the armour upgrade very well so perhaps they will stand up in a fire fight with one of ours/Chinese IFV’s.
The lightweight tank seems very interesting , does it have active protection system fitted like the IMI Iron Fist? This would give it a bit more survivability for little extra weight.

May 3, 2014 6:35 pm


I know we won’t agree ;-) It all depends on what you want to set your army up for, I have noticed though that most 8×8 are about 25-30t and the ones which were not 9Stryker & Rosomak) have all been up armoured after combat experience.

May 3, 2014 7:02 pm


I know, that Sprut was one of the things I remembered when I mentioned air deployability. Along with their retro-rocket drop concept.

And I think you meant “blunder” not the Israelis “plunder”ing. :)

The Russians never really went for ceramic armour in the way the west did actually. They seem to have focused more on ERA than applique.


Related to what I mentioned about the ceramic armour, I think those are less applique than ERA/NERA blocks. The Russians are really hot for reactive armour. Against them, who knows, maybe a stream of 30mm rounds might be a bit more effective than a single 105mm APFSDS as the 2nd round would be hitting areas that have had their ERA blown off. That’s speculation until tested, but it is something to keep in mind.

May 3, 2014 7:26 pm

Thanks for the update on the applique v ERA/NERA .Perhaps you or ACC or RT would probably have a better idea than I but in terms of defeating Russian armour would a good ‘Hosing’ down of heavy cannon fire (50 rnds?) on a Russian tank/IFV/APC would it detonate the ERA exposing their inner hull to AP/ATGM rounds causing them to either except potential fatal damage ,manoeuvre undamaged sections towards the threat or too withdraw behind cover/retreat. Say our IFV (if we ever choose one) with a combination of cannon and ATGM to use the cannon first liberally and then try a missile shot?
Or in conjunction with all ready deployed AT infantry to apply liberal cannon fire before they launch? How big a cannon round will set of the ERA? 20mm,25mm or more? If we choose too small it may be ineffective .I believe we are banking on the 40mm CTA Cannon but is it the charge it carries(HE) or the kinetic energy that does the trick? A lot of questions I know but I think valid ones.

May 3, 2014 7:29 pm

Solomon seems to have formed an opinion in the FRES UV cathegory
… Sure, they are only looking onto the subset that can swim, not just ford

May 3, 2014 8:25 pm

Old post that one.

May 3, 2014 8:30 pm

Display of ignorance here perhaps but as I understand it part of the game here is to supplant/replace the current recce tracks with one of these very tall and seemingly quite conspicuous vehicles?. Now my land forces vehicular experience amounts largely to being pinballed round the back of several 4 tonners whilst clutching on for dear life…but it seems to me that you’d want something altogether lower profile and more discrete in a recce vehicle?.

Looking at the Terminator 2 details above the princple raison d’etre for that design appears to be as an anti-infantry screen in tight/urban terrain. Frigate screening the battleship in terms more familiar to me. Its not a vehicle essential to keep up with tracked armoured formations across open terrain as the threats Terminator counters aren’t found in open ground…traditional IFV’s…in our case Warrior exists for that role?.

So we’re needing a deployable vehicle, used principally for recce so dimensioned appropriately, that can provide fire support as Scimitar has in Afghan. and be nimble/manoeuvrable enough to negotiate tight terrain and that can swim and be air portable in an A400?. That doesnt sound like the same brief that would deliver an 8×8 section hull tipping in at 27tons full fighting load.

Is there then more sense perhaps in looking at something like Panhards Sphinx design, the one that uses the same turret as the Warrior upgrade, for recce/fire support and leave the heavier tasks to cheaper variants of the larger vehicles mentioned here?. As X notes above perhaps, if fire support is tasked out, can our 432 replacement make do with a basic RWS with an MMG or GMG?.

May 3, 2014 8:36 pm

I was referring to the capfure of newest US anti-tank rounds earlier, which were then used in developing an impenetrable frontal glacis for the T72s in Soviet use… And that was bad news because of their sheer numbers.

Wiki details for the incident in 1982 (known as the battle of Sultan Yacoub):
“Fought its way through Syrian infantry in the village of Sultan Yacoub only to become cut off and surrounded. At dawn, the Israelis broke out and escaped to the south with the support of 11 battalions of artillery firing both at the Syrians and in a box barrage around their own troops. In the six-hours ordeal the Israeli Army lost eight tanks and about 30 killed.[3] The Israelis failed to destroy the disabled M-48A3 Magach-3 tanks they left behind and they were recovered the next day by the Syrians.”

May 3, 2014 8:43 pm


The FRES UV is not going to replace the recce CVRT, that is going to be replaced by FRES SV.

The utility variant of FRES is going to replace the Sultan (command), Samaritan (Ambulance) and Samson? (Recovery) versions of the CVRT. Spartan in the Engineer recce and RAF regt role is being replaced by the Panther.

May 3, 2014 8:50 pm

@TOC, yes, but they only just got the budget to buy 200… Aren’t the contenders still the same?
– btw, our Dutch Marine colleagues use AMV’s predecessor

I understood this thread to revisit the fres UV (recce being the SV, or more like the first within the SV family)? So patrolling would be as far as one would try to fetch the battle field taxi cum supporting weapon formula.

Deja Vu
May 3, 2014 9:28 pm

I’m not a petrol head or an armour buff. Reading this took me to TD’s article in 2011 before I read the blog blog.http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/06/a-brief-history-of-fres/

It all beggars belief. Why not line up the contenders bulled up, paintwork Simonized, tyres painted black and wheel nuts painted red. Then let someone in charge choose the best looking.

If it’ is fantasy fleets, could Terrier minus the backacter arm and the front bucket but with a remote weapon be used for recce. Especially as it can be used by remote control so we could field a UGV. Could save on development costs.

May 3, 2014 9:44 pm

Ahhh I see now thanks for the clarification David and ACC….this makes far more sense now!

May 3, 2014 9:46 pm

DN – ref “CVRT is going to be replaced by FRES SV” – fairer to say CVR(T) & 430 series are being retired and FRES/SCOUT-SV is being brought into service with the intent to cover some of the CVR(T) roles. Like many, I would not be at all surprised to see an astonished Army gobsmacked that SCOUT-SV can’t get to places like CVR(T) could, either because its too big or because its too heavy. So the 4×4 trucks will be called forward instead (Panther Foxhound Jackal) but they won’t fill CVR(T)’s roles either. Who would be shocked to see a requirement for something like Stormer 30 cropping up in the next decade?

Its not as if the Army could act all hurt and ask “Why didn’t anyone tell us FRES is too big?” because for years exactly that opinion has been voiced. I’m sure TD could supply a stack of references pages long but really doesn’t have to; they are easy enough to find.

Or to save face maybe the MOD will stick the collective head firmly into the sand and declare our allies will cover. No carriers? Not a problem the French will cover. No MPA? Norway will cover. Not enough troops to mount a self-sufficient force? The US will cover. No small fighty armour? Maybe the Germans (Wiesel) and French (AMX10/VBCI/Sphynx/CRAB/etc) can cover?

May 3, 2014 9:55 pm

DN, just out of memory re: the SV

I seem to remember that the minimum run is 320-ish, with an option for more. At that time each of recce/cavalry rgmnts were going to get a sqdrn, putting the Scout numnbers somewhere between two and three hundred. And then almost the same number of ambulance, recovery and command vehicles, exactly the ones you mention for UV? Bridge-layers got crowded out, but as the early Scouts would not be going to many places without mobility support, some thirty Warriors were to be converted.
– all in all a good 400 SVs, and getting started with UV in 2016 (now looks like it is moving a tad faster?)

May 3, 2014 10:07 pm


I agree when it comes to FRES SV, commonality is a good thing but sometimes just the same engine and optics would do. How many times do you need to swap hulls? they could have designed a smaller lighter hull for the scout variant using as many common components as possible from the base model.


To be honest the numbers get a bit muggy to me, because the FRES UV as far as I’m aware is not intended to replace the 432 in the mechanised infantry units (although I’m not sure which of the two types of vehicle their mortar Platoons will use), they will get the FRES SV (protected mobility or whatever their calling it) based on the Ascod hull. The close support units such as the Engineers (God bless their cotton socks) and the medics etc will get the FRES UV.

I may be miss interpreting it, hopefully someone will put me straight if I am.

May 3, 2014 10:14 pm

Spam monster ate my replies!

Here is the shortened version, Chris

I agree, they could have designed a smaller lighter hull for the recce version using as many components from the base model as possible (hopefully about 80%)

Numbers get muggy for me, as the FRES UV is not intended to replace the 432’s in the mechanised Infantry units. They will be replaced with the protected mobility version of FRES SV. The close support units will get FRES UV (where that leaves the infantry mortars I do not know)

That is my reading of it, if I’m mistaken hopefully someone will point me in the right direction.

May 3, 2014 10:24 pm

Good to know that yhe protected mobility ambition is still alive.

Swimming Trunks
May 3, 2014 11:17 pm

RE: Terminator
New version has lost its AGL’s and their gunners. Apparently the requirement originated in lessons learned from Chechnya. The Germans proposed a similar escort tank in the ’50’s.

A Different Gareth
May 4, 2014 2:13 am

Is the modularity of the Boxer in part to allow for a surge capability? Say the UK was using them in Afghanistan, a few get damaged beyond in-field repair but the occupant modules are salvaged. You then can use any base vehicle in the available fleet to reuse the modules on in short order.

The modular nature could be pushed further if you had a tracked vehicle that was compatible with the modules. Perhaps something that can alter its ride height so that normal operations have it sitting low and patrols in places where IEDs are expected it would stand higher. Not knowing much about these things would a tracked version be able to be shorter (more stubby nosed) than the wheeled one? The driver space and controls, a generator and two drive motors might need less space than the gubbins at the front of the wheeled one.

May 4, 2014 5:46 am

You are describing how the Swedish (BAE) SEP prgrm was thought out. Translates to enhanced protected mobility for a squad.

None got ordered, and AMV’s predecessor took the order. Their top plate can stop 152 mm airburst (from the caliber you can tell the threat scenarios that were modelled to get the specs).

May 4, 2014 7:52 am

A different Gareth,
If the base vehicle were damaged beyond repair, the likelihood of the module surviving sufficiently unscathed to be re-used is unlikely. Even if it was OK, how much value do you save by shipping it back, even from the explosion site to the nearest FOB, to be reused? All the expensive bits are readily detachable in any (including non-modular) arrangement

In normal use, how many modules are you going to buy that will sit idle the majority of the time? How much are you willing to change your force structure? What is the comparable cost to buy some extra hulls in high roof or turret compatible versions and swap across the equipment such as engine and drive systems to effect a change?
Modularity seems desirable, but is it worth the additional mass, complexity and therefore cost?

May 4, 2014 9:41 am


It seems to me that is planned several additional version of FRES SV (command, ambulance, missile launcher, engineer, radar, forward observation artillery), the FRES UV should be an APC , mortar carrier, CBRN, electronic warfare, carrier equipment, recovery, repair, command and ambulance. This being the plans from BAE, when they developed the SEP vehicles. I don’t know if the MoD provides to maintain the original plans.

May 4, 2014 9:59 am

At least at the moment, going by GDUK’s current site on it, there are fewer SV variants than you suggest. The line up at the moment looks like Scout, APC, Repair, and Recovery. I rather suspect that the Scout variant would be able to fill in the FOO role, provided there is a bit of space in the back for another operator and some role-specific radios of they are not already fitted. Ambulance and command variants don’t seem to be in there, but it’s really an APC with a higher roof, with the difference between being whether they are fitted with radios or stretchers.
Missile and radar don’t seem to be on the cards, nor a large calibre cannon, which was at one point, and the engineering role is filled by Terrier at that weight class.

UV would need to stay true to the appellation and function as whatever Utility Vehicle fit is needed. APC, logistics, mortar (perhaps), command, ambulance etc.

Warrior, as originally conceived, was a family of vehicles, with all the variations under the sun. Never happened though, so FV430 series kept soldiering on. A google image search of “Warrior MICV family” ought to turn something up – although it seems to be on a blog that IIRC is persona non grata at TD Towers. If it isn’t, apologies, but I shan’t link directly to keep on the safe side.

El Sid
May 4, 2014 10:42 am

@Deja Vu
That kind of trial is exactly what the US Army are planning in a few weeks time for their Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) requirement, a successor to the M551 Sheridan to carry 9 men in something that can be dropped from a Herc or underslung from a Black Hawk. Likely contenders are a Stryker with 30mm RWS and a revival of the old M8 Buford (105mm).

May 4, 2014 11:07 am

SEP is dead, in all is forms, both hybrid and mechanical. The Swedish selection of the AMV (not its predecessor but the actual AMV) put the final nail in the types coffin and BAE has now shut down the wheeled vehicles operations at Hagglunds and the type is no longer being offered.

Modularity is a complete mirage of flexibility, it serves no purpose, nobody swaps hulls as you end up buying the same number of platforms as you do modules. If anything it actually complicates the engineering problem by forcing different configurations to fit within the mild lines of the standard module rather than allowing modification to the base platform. Commonality between drivetrain components, electricals and C4ISR is what matters, not commonality between shapes.

For the Army/MoD there is a key decision to make, do they want to push industry to come up with something that fully integrates all the lessons they have learnt in the last decade- in which case someone is going to have to fund some R&D and the programme will/should look a lot like scout (pick all the best high TRL/MOTS components available and mash them together in a semi-custom version of an existing platform), or does it go for something cheaper and near commodity like- in which case I suggest the AMV- it consistently wins competitions and Patria’s approach to market means that the UK would just buy a license for the design and could then use whatever components it wanted- i.e. all production could be done in the UK.

Neither Boxer or VBCI have won an export order yet- that should be telling in itself. As I understand it those vehicles will have their final deliveries (based on current orders) in 2018 and 2015 respectively so availability after 2020 may be suspect too.

May 4, 2014 11:38 am

Derek – entirely agree that commonality of systems/components is far more value than commonality of hull shape, and leads to big advantages in support.

But. I do fear for the future of defence products, and the reason is the approach to risk. It has become the standard now to demand high TRL for every new project; essentially no-one is prepared to buy anything that hasn’t been in service with someone else for long enough for the bugs to be ironed out. This is the path to technological stagnation. The only ‘new’ technology is then a bleed over from the commercial world, where developments may not be to the advantage of the military User. In the UK it appears there is no appetite for Gov’t funded initiatives – all the more since ‘design’ (as in how stuff is combined and integrated) is considered by those who have never done it as 1) easy, and 2) of little impact on the end product – whereas at least in the US there are still formal defence labs (DARPA, TARDEC, TRADOC etc) and US Gov’t funded studies run by industry.

This is back to an earlier discussion point; the loss of the defence Establishments that did lots of up-front product development to shake out new ideas in technology and design.

But now MOD (being the risk-phobic organization it is) will only buy what is already developed and fielded – already old – and industry has acquiesced into offering only proven stuff to MOD as none of the cutting edge offerings would ever be accepted. Stagnation guaranteed.

May 4, 2014 11:39 am

Out of interest what are the chances that we will cancel or dramatically scale back FRES SV, retain some or all of the CRV(T) still in service, re-hull any remaining CRV(T) not already at rehulled for use in Afghanistan and then put them through a rolling upgrade programme that sees over a decade or so them re-engined, new transmission added and in the case of the Scimitar a new turret (with improved optics and a stabilised CT-40)?

May 4, 2014 11:46 am

Tubby – CVR(T) hull is too small to take CTA40 by my modelling. The gun with significant sized autoloader (particularly wide on the RHS of the gun) would mean the turret would grow in plan, leading to space claim conflict with the driver hatch. Both RO 76mm gun (Scorpion) and Rarden (Scimitar) have very compact breech mechanisms. Autostab Rarden would be entirely worth assessing if CVR(T) were given a life extension.

May 4, 2014 12:03 pm

Off on a tangent. But looking at 3 Div’s proposed new structure and the number of CR2 hulls we have, even given my belief that the next armoured conflict will be GW1-esque-with-knobs-on , we appear to be short of 2/3 tank regiments. In a GW1-esque-with-knobs-on situation all the tanks regiments would need to go but we would still have a good base of (armoured/mech) infantry. This is me just thinking along their lines not mine. The only solution, and it is only a partial solution, would be to upgun part of the buy ASCOD and reorganize the FRR along US cavalry lines (with organic 120mm pgm mortars and Spike in support.)

May 4, 2014 12:05 pm

Thanks Chris,

Do we know that CTA40 will actually come into service? The French haven’t included it on their VBCI’s and I would imagine that it would represent a significant cost burden for them to re-gun all there VBCI’s.

I am trying to work out in my head if the various rumours that keep popping up about VBCI purchase represent French marketing strategy, a sign that the Conservatives want to get a few defence deals in place as they know that they will be in the opposition from 2015, or due diligence on part of the MoD reviewing all their options for FRES SV and UV ahead of SDSR 2015.

May 4, 2014 12:20 pm

Tubby – you should also consider an element of panic in response to senior Gov’t types demanding to know what progress on FRES-UV.

I know nothing about CTA40 other than the physical nature of the beast and reviewing the many presentations available on the web. Many of these were originally presented by David Leslie, Chairman CTAI. Over the years looking at the presentations the ISD always seemed to be 2 years from the then current date; so I’d suggest CTA40 should be ready for production Q2 2016. At the moment…

In the CTA presentations there was a turret for VBCI, clearly not progressed. But changing turrets over, especially if the ring is common between old & new type, should present few problems should the French choose to go that way.

May 4, 2014 12:44 pm

Thank you Mr.Fred,

But I wonder how the FRES Scout will be able to fulfill its mission without anti-tank missile launcher. On the turret of the Sphinx there are two missiles, on the U.S. Bradley too. This is a serious problem in my humble opinion.

May 4, 2014 12:44 pm


There really has been very little in the press about either FRES SV or the CTA40, we are lucky if we get a press release once a year on the progress they are making – in the absence of any information you begin to wonder what the hell is actually going on, and if no news means that there are problems.

May 4, 2014 3:47 pm

I just think even in this day and age we should have a tank/cavalry regiment for every 3 battalions of infantry and one regiment of artillery for every 3 battalions of infantry to be balanced. Oh! And 12 light helicopters too.

@ Frenchie re turret ATGM for FRES SV

Oh yes indeedy mon amie. :)

May 4, 2014 4:44 pm

@x and Frenchie

I am likely being a bit thick but wouldn’t it be better to have the ATGM capability on which ever platform we pick for the FRES UV, this presumes that our doctrine for the use of FRES UV will not be to dissimilar to the doctrine used by the Stryker brigade?

May 4, 2014 5:32 pm

@ Tubby

Why not both?

The ability to collect intel using other means is only going to increase just as our numbers in terms of personnel and platforms decrease. Not advocating fighting for intelligence but the SV fielded by the FRR in my opinion are going have to have more capability to fight. ATGM is a cheap way to add that capability; even though it probably equates in money to what about 25 to 30 tank rounds per shot? As I said we need some ASCOD with a proper tank gun; probably about a 25% of them. Luckily Chinese and Russian armour isn’t improving much. In Africa we will need a capability, as in Afghanistan, to breach walls and take out enemy behind walls etc. It pains me to say but we don’t have enough tanks. Or should that be we are short of mobile protected systems that can deliver large amounts of direct fire? Yes I will go with that one…….

May 4, 2014 6:06 pm


In an ideal world I am in total agreement with you, however given the reality that we are going to struggle to get enough FRES SV and UV and that we are going to only have a few variants, I would be surprised if we get any more variants for FRES SV than the initial 5 designs proposed, and I think we are going to have to rely on FRES UV to provide ATGM over watch and direct fire versions. Saying all that I can see over on Gabby’s blog (out of deference to TD I will not repost here) that in the Gulf War formations of Scimitar and Striker that Swingfire was used in about 50% of all engagements even though the ratio was roughly 1 striker for every 3 Scimitar. Now this may have been due to the relatively flat terrain combined with better optics favouring long range ATGM engagements or it may reflect doctrine, and in either case supports your desire to have a FRES SV ATGM version, and shows it it to valuable to not be developed. Furthermore there is all ready an ASCOD ATGM variant, so in theory it should be easy to port over the current ATGM turret from ASCOD and certify it for use on FRES SV:


Alternatively do we have enough spare Warrior’s to create an ATGM version of it?

May 4, 2014 6:31 pm

While I wait for the spam eating monster to disgorge my reply to x, does anyone know what is happening with Stormer? A while ago on the British Army web-site it indicated that Stormer was going to be withdrawn, and I presumed that they had all be flogged off, but they have removed the comment about Stormer being withdrawn from service and it looks like it is still in service. Does it reflect the need to keep Stormer, or are they going to do something else with the hull?

May 4, 2014 6:33 pm

Ah, young Tubby if only you had more organic firepower like a ATGM strapped to your head you could have dealt with the likes of Spam Monster…….

May 4, 2014 6:34 pm


I’m not sure to have understood your question, but for me the platform for ATGM must be an version of FRES SV. I think that the British Army is doing a mistake in the choice of vehicle for the use of FRES UV. For not mention the role of APC, regarding the replacement of Fuchs for CBRN missions. I don’t know if this will be the role of the FRES Scout to achieve this mission, if the FRES UV must accomplish this mission, there is no need a vehicle of 30 tonnes. For me the FRES SV is already too heavy. If the MoD want a multirole vehicle, it does not need to a Boxer or VBCI. All this story of vehicles of 30 tonnes is the fear of mines, but what you gain in security, you lose it in mobility, this is a bad choice from a logistical point of view, I think you need to replace your Mastiffs with vehicles of the same weight with more mobility.

May 4, 2014 6:48 pm

@Frenchie and X,

Firstly I have apologise for all the questions I am trying to understand something that is a bit alien to me. I can just about walt my way through issues relating to the RAF or RN, but the Army is another matter.

To clarify my question to Frenchie, at the moment (rightly or wrongly) I can see two doctrines in how you use FRES UV, you either use them as wheeled IFV (which is how it appears to me how the French use VBCI) where you standardise on your 30mm cannon or you use them like the US/Italians where you use them as APC’s and where you therefore have penny packets of ATGM and direct fire versions to provide overwatch to the squadron and to support dismounts, as the APC versions themselves only have a .50 cal RWS – if we are following the doctrine that we use them is similar manner to the Stryker then we are going to need to ATGM version of FRES UV. Now it is my understanding that the American’s have learnt lots of lessons from operating Stryker (such as how best to use the direct fire variant of the Strkyer) and at least one of those lessons is that you need something heavier than Strkyer which might be driving our weight requirements for FRES UV.

Out of interest Frenchie what do you think of the Jackal/Jackal 2/Coyote and our proposed Light Cavalry formations?

May 4, 2014 6:52 pm
May 4, 2014 6:59 pm

Tubby – considering the commonality of parts between Stormer and its smaller cousins in CVR(T), I can’t see the retention of just 100 Stormers (maybe less – some have already gone through the auctions at Witham) being rational once CVR(T) is gone.

Frenchie – ref weight of vehicles – I believe its possible with careful design to get personnel survivability of the desired level in lighter vehicles than 22t or so. But these wouldn’t be commercial trucks with armoured boxes on top like Mastiff. Note that both Thales (ADI) Bushmaster and the UK Jackal achieve good mine blast protection at light weight; reasonable ballistic/fragment protection is possible at 100kg/sq.m or less. But the design of the hull, or more specifically the personnel compartment, needs to be focused on best protection. Often more time is spent making the outside of the vehicle look smooth and futuristic than spent on genuine protection measures; as a result the armour is thicker/heavier than it could have been.

May 4, 2014 7:15 pm

The lack of turret ATGW on both SV Scout and Warrior perplexes me. Both vehicles are likely to operate outside immediate MBT support, so a long range AT weapon would make sense, but seems anathema to the British Army.

Would stabilised Rarden be viable, if it continues using the 30x170mm round? AIUI that round is not used elsewhere.

May 4, 2014 7:29 pm

mr.fred – autostab Rarden would I think be the most punchy gun you could fit to Scimitar if you wanted to keep some CVR(T) but get some degree of fire on the move. I don’t think any other mid calibre gun would fit. Stormer 30, which had an extra roadwheel each side and wider track centres was just big enough for Oto Hitfist turret which was still 30mm at best (some were 25mm). At one time I believe Oto were trying to make a version of Hitfist with their 60mm gun, but I’m not sure it got through development. Nor if it was still a compact turret on a smallish ring.

May 4, 2014 7:31 pm

“anathema to the British Army”

Or is it another example of not being able to afford it dressed up as “we” know better? Something that comes here now and again.

It isn’t the ideal solution. But it seems odd that “we” put so much faith in the likes of Milan in the Cold War and now Javelin that “we” pour cold water on the idea of putting similar on turrets. As I said above missiles are expensive but it is cheaper than buying additional tanks or AH even if it is only a defensive measure. How many tanks do the Chinese, Russians, and Indians have?

May 4, 2014 7:53 pm


For me, the Jackal is a vehicle not protected enough, it should have a CBN and a better mines protection. It should be used as our actual VBL, make a work of discovery, to warn the tanks movements, with cameras, a post of missile launch is very helpful too.
I don’t understand the heavy brigades with vehicles of 30 tonnes and light brigades with vehicles under 10 tonnes. It must have a mixture, a french armored regiment has Leclerc, VAB, VBL, but it is not your doctrine.
Our future light brigades will have vehicles from 7 to 25 tonnes, this is not a weight question, but what we want to do.

May 4, 2014 8:02 pm

I was wondering more along the lines of could the Rarden be upgraded to 30x173mm or even super40? It may be a punchy gun, but unless it has ammunition, it is not much more than a curiously-shaped paperweight.

May 4, 2014 8:22 pm


Thanks for the info, I wonder what prompted MoD to stop the disposals. I guess it could be as something as stupid as porting the turret over to M113 (as we seem to have a fair number of these knocking around in specialist roles such as the base vehicle for Exactor).


Personally I hate the idea of bringing in Jackal to core equipment budget, I see them as being little more than expensive technical’s and I cannot see how we are going to use them effectively if we ever fight a peer enemy. I would have either turned BAE’s powerpoint CV21 into a real product or purchased the Panhard Sphinx for the yeomanry