Return to Contingency

The May 2012 NATO Summit confirmed the commitment to withdraw ISAF personnel by 2014, together with the conflict in Georgia/South Ossetia a few years earlier, rising tensions in Ukraine and a general sense that the aspirations for warm relations between NATO and Russia were further away than ever, the British armed forces came to the realisation that collective territorial defence was back in fashion and with it, combined arms manoeuvre.

With Lockheed Martin continuing to insist that an upgraded Warrior turret offered better value for money, BAE still insisting their MTIP-2 turret offered better capability and commonality with Scout, BAE continued to showcase their CV90 with demonstrations of an advanced thermal camouflage system called Adaptiv and the latest CV90 build standard called Armadillo.

BAE Systems - Adaptiv IR Camouflage System [720p]

BAE Systems' Adaptiv infra-red 'invisibility cloak' for military vehicles

BAE Systems - CV90 Armadillo Armoured Personnel Carrier [480p]

Warrior Armoured Fighting Vehicle

Warriors' £1 billion upgrade announced 25.10.11

General Dynamics kept up the pace with Scout.

2012

January to March

In January 2012 the MoD’s long-awaited Defence Equipment Plan was published, not much detail but a confirmation of a commitment to FRES, even though that term was increasingly rare in the media.

An upgrade to our fleet of Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles, to maintain that capability with enhanced lethality out to 2040 and beyond. Continued development of the family of Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) vehicles, including Scout and Utility variants, which will replace a wide range of legacy armoured and protected vehicles.

It also included a commitment to bringing appropriate UOR equipment into the core equipment plan.

The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme now had an estimated full operational capability date of 2020 with production starting in 2018. The original aspiration of upgrading 643 vehicles had by now slipped to less than 400.

The £1 Billion programme cost included £358 worth of government-issued equipment such as the 40mm CTA with the balance going to Lockheed Martin.

Cost per vehicle for Warrior CSP was therefore in the order of £2.6m.

The UK and France announced an enhanced package of defence cooperation measures and the formation of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF).

To coincide with the completion of the Preliminary Design Review for the Common Base Platform that would support Recce Block I vehicles (Scout, Protected Mobility, Recovery and Repair), a series of new images were released by General Dynamics and the MoD for each of them.

Recce Block II was planned to comprise Ambulance, Engineer Reconnaissance, Joint Fires Direction and Command Post variants.

The MoD reported successful cold weather trials for the SV Scout thermal imaging system.

April to May

May 4th, 2012, the Army released Joint Concept Note 2/12, Future Land Operating Concept, an update of the 2008 version.

It said;

Armoured infantry will be a core capability around which manoeuvre will be built. The complexity of the environment will require small and robust combined-arms teams able to fight dispersed. Mobility support will be critical in the complex battlespace; assault engineers will be required in greater numbers than at present to fight within complex environments, such as urban terrain. Armour, drawing on its protection and ability to provide precision fire, will be required primarily to provide intimate support to dismounted infantry, although armour should continue to be capable of defeating an adversary by shock action and ground manoeuvre

This laid the foundations for Army 2020 and from a FRES perspective, completely expunged the whole notion of medium weight intervention forces.

The document contained ZERO instances of the word ‘medium’ and scant mention of rapid intervention.

One cannot escape the conclusion that the troubled concept of the medium weight force that was so completely aligned to FRES (or perhaps the other way around) was now history. All that study, all those joint concept notes, hundreds of thousands of words, tens of thousands PowerPoint slides and God only knows how many millions of the Queen’s Pound Notes.

All gone.

Incidentally, this document was replaced by JCN 1/17, which has not been published.

After various rumours in the press, the MoD confirmed on May 17th that SV Scout was secure.

General Dynamics UK will deliver the most modern medium-weight AFV fleet in the world today for the British Army, featuring the most advanced ISTAR capabilities and providing the best possible protection for the soldiers using it. The SV programme is a Modified-off-the-Shelf (MOTS) solution that brings huge economic and industrial benefit to the UK, and is expected to attract valuable export orders from overseas markets.

Dr. Sandy Wilson, president and managing director of General Dynamics UK, the prime contractor on the programme, said: “We welcome the announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence confirming that the SV programme is secure in the MoD’s future AFV pipeline and core programme of committed funding.

“This is great news for the soldiers who will use SV; it is great news for the UK supply chain involved in designing and manufacturing SV; and it is great news for General Dynamics UK in South Wales and validates General Dynamics’ continued investment in the United Kingdom.”

Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Peter Wall said: “I am delighted that £5.5bn is secured for the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) pipeline over the next decade. SV is a key programme in this mix. It will provide the mobility, flexibility and protection to provide our commanders with critical battlefield information in the most demanding of environments.”

The press release also summarised progress to date:

  • 4 contracts signed with suppliers to the programme across the UK and Europe;
  • Testing of key components completed;
  • First development turret for the Scout variant of SV built and tested;
  • CT40 cannon system integrated into turret and successfully fired;
  • Representative PT3 Scout SV prototype unveiled;
  • New armour system tested against latest IED threats;
  • Powertrain physically integrated into the Mobile Test Rig (MTR)

In early May, BAE released details of a light tracked vehicle built on the work completed as part of CVR(T) Mk2.

CV21 had a top weight of 17 tonnes, armed with a turret mounted automatic cannon and was amphibious. With a target cost of £1m BAE soft launched the concept to gain interest.

In the early part of 2012 information on Agile Warrior and the studies being carried out by General Nick Carter were being released and discussed. These studies were looking at the shape and organisation of the army in a post-Afghanistan world where the regular army would be in the region of 80,000 personnel.

Agile Warrior was a series of activities designed to get the Army thinking;

  • Deliver an authoritative evidence-based analysis of future land-force requirements within a JIIM context
  • Across all Lines of Development
  • FCOC era out to 2020
  • Policy aware not policy constrained
  • By the Army not to the Army
  • A Brand name

The second to last bullet point is especially illuminating, many considered the previous organisational and doctrinal constructs were forced on the Army by those in the joint doctrine development functions, especially when headed by Admirals and Air Marshall’s.



Agile Warrior 11 had a number of themed questions;

  • Test the ability of the TAS structure to transition to best-effort Divisional level operations in a hybrid conflict.
  • Test how a Multi Role Brigade will fight and operate in a hybrid conflict. Test how our sustainment and service support organisations will operate in hybrid conflict.
  • Evaluate and determine the Army’s future C2 requirements and associated models, for ISTAR and CIS.
  • Determine the ‘Understand’ demands of continuous modulated engagement and deployed brigade operations and recommend the optimum structures to meet them.
  • Determine the nature of future demand on commanders and soldiers.
  • In what ways will we need increased Army agility in the future and how should we look to promote it?
  • Test and evaluate the major constituent parts of our current doctrine and determine its necessary conceptual direction of travel in the next 10 years.

The final report (summary) highlighted 17 key insights and the 2012 events worked on the following questions;

  • Urban Operations;
  • Cyber and Influence;
  • C2 at Div. and Bde;
  • Whole Force Concept; Contractors & Reserves
  • UORs into Core;
  • National Interests;
  • Professional Development;
  • Force Support;

Separate but linked activities included Exercise Urban Warrior and Exercise Mad Scientist.

A number of these documents pointed to the Multi Role Brigade being able to sustain an ongoing stability operation in a town the size of Newton Abbot, population 25,000. Certainly not Basra or an area like Helmand.

Despite assurances at the beginning of the month that Scout was secure, Defense News published a story on the 26th that cast some doubt on that.

The fielding of the British Army’s new generation of medium-weight armored scout vehicles could be pushed back five years to 2020 amid budget cuts in the Ministry of Defence’s equipment plan.

The 500 million pound ($784 million) demonstration phase being undertaken by General Dynamics UK to provide a family of tracked Scout and other specialist vehicles could be extended and the fielding of the vehicle pushed back, one MoD source said.

A second source said the Army was “looking at its options and while the issue had not been finally settled, it was likely the vehicles would not enter service until 2020.”

A MoD spokeswoman said: “The Defence Secretary [Philip Hammond] made clear in his announcement earlier this month that the MoD will spend 5.5 billion [pounds] over the next 10 years on an armored vehicle program for the Army. That includes the Scout specialist vehicle, which is well into its demonstration phase.”

“The funding for the vehicle pipeline, which also includes the Warrior Capability Sustainment Program, a utility vehicle and improvements to Challenger 2, will be prioritized, according to the Army’s requirements. In the case of Scout, production numbers and delivery dates will be confirmed at Main Gate,” referring to the U.K.’s production decision.

What this made clear was that whilst Scout was secure, the final numbers and variants would be dependent on priorities within a fixed financial envelope.

June

At the Eurosatory exhibition, Colonel Peter Flach MBE (Retired), General Dynamics Director Marketing and Customer Relations confirmed that they were working to the original timetable for Scout pending being told by the MoD otherwise. Peter Flach had a long relationship with FRES, having served as Deputy Project Manager for MRAV, IPT Lead for TRACER and various other programmes as a Colonel in the Royal Hussars. After leaving the Army, he joined General Dynamics in 2004, left in 2009, and rejoined in early 2011 as military liaison director for Scout SV.

Peter Flach had earlier authored an excellent article for RUSI that asked ‘Whatever Happened to Medium Weight Forces’

If anyone could answer that, it was Peter Flach.

The basic conclusion was that they hadn’t gone away (despite what the Future Land Operating Concept said), they had just got heavier to reflect increasing demands for protection and ISTAR equipment.

The first Foxhound vehicles were deployed to Afghanistan.

July

In July 2012, Army 2020 was in the public domain and whilst the media generally focussed on the Reserves and cap badge bun fights, the Multi Role Brigade was deleted, replaced with the Reaction Force, Adaptable Force and Force Troops.

This was a significant change.

The previous approach that saw the future as being enduring stabilisation operations as per Iraq/Afghanistan and organised the Army around this, the five Multi-Role Brigade structure.

The harsh realities of Iraq and especially Afghanistan had resulted in a political situation that saw the future as exactly the opposite. The writing had been on the wall for the Multi Role Brigade and Army 2020 finished the job.

Writing in the Times, Sir Peter Wall said;

After the experiences of the past ten years there is unlikely to be much of a national appetite for protracted war. Yes, the United Kingdom faces new threats from terrorism and cyber-attack. But in an era where there has been no threat of conventional invasion since the end of the Cold War, some might ask why we can’t shrink our Army by even more than the significant numbers already announced.

Fighting wars through precision attacks from air and sea has obvious political as well as military attractions. And if that won’t work then why not rely on our allies to do the hard yards? Or support a local proxy force to deliver ‘boots on the ground’?

The answer lies in the level of assurance that we as a nation require when our interests are being threatened and we are vulnerable. The world is not going to be any less confrontational just because of its economic plight; in all probability it will be more so.

Some threats we face will come from well outside the military sphere: challenges to our economic interest, to our values and beliefs, to the conditions that underpin stability around the world. Diplomacy and negotiation will always be our first resort. But the credibility of these approaches often depends on the implicit understanding that military options exist – and that, when the preferred means aren’t working, we may need to turn to them.

And that when we do, they must work.

Increasingly that means forming coalitions that include regional partners as well as our traditional allies. They are becoming ever more important in political and military terms, but also to confer international legitimacy on our actions. We should only commit forces when we have a clear understanding of the nuances of the situation at all levels – including the human terrain. Understanding that is critical as both Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated. Such a level of clarity is hard to come by.

We have designed Army 2020 against this backdrop. Our future force will be structured around three core purposes. The first is intervention and conventional deterrence; the second is overseas operations in multinational alliances to prevent conflict at source; the third purpose is activity within the UK – partly to make us more responsive to domestic operations such as flood relief and the Olympics and to improve homeland resilience, but primarily to ensure that we can sustain the reformed Army Reserve that will be a key element of our new forces.

Many believed that whilst the Multi Role Brigade was sensible it was simply unaffordable, even in the watered down concept presented in SDSR 2010. Army 2020 would retain a heavy core with a lighter follow-on force bolstered with an enlarged reserve component for enduring operations.

On the surface, Scout was completely unaffected.

The MoD document, Transforming the British Army, published in July 2012, provided some insight into future structures, further information was provided by an update later in the month.

General Sir Peter Wall on Future Army 2020

There was also a strong sense that the Army needed to break out of the ‘Afghanistan envelope’, as Sir Peter Wall put it.

Army 2020 was work in progress and much of the detail would emerge over the coming months.

What was clear though, was that the Army was going to have to make do with the various UOR vehicles and the resultant changes in structure reflected this, the Heavy Protected Mobility Battalion in an Armoured Infantry Brigade equipped with Mastiff for example.

What also crystal clear, the Army had taken a significant force reduction that no amount of brochures or fine words could hide. Whichever way you looked at it, wholesale capacity reductions and capability gaps were the themes of Army 2020.

A mock-up Scout was shown with the new turret but basic ASCOD chassis. The Thales VELT/Orion sensor can be clearly seen on the rear of the turret.

As part of Army 2020, a number of Land Rover WMIK’s were transferred to the Army Reserve Royal Yeomanry to form a Light Cavalry capability. Specifically, the variants were the R-WMIK and R-WMIK+ versions of the Land Rod Rover Wolf. Their role was to ‘provide a rapidly deployable force with fast mobility and substantial firepower and to provide reconnaissance security and, if the situation demands, decisive tactical effects by raiding and attacking the enemy’

The Royal Yeomanry had, of course, previously operated Fox CVR(W) vehicles, when in the early nineties they switched to Land Rovers. The R-WMIK, or Refurbished-Weapons Mount Installation Kit Land Rovers have been engineered by Ricardo to include a wide range of protection, firepower and operability improvements. Further ballistic protection was available via the Jankel Modular Armour Protection Installation Kit (MAPIK). The + model was a later conversion which provided an automatic transmission and additional armour protection. Both variants had the rollover protection system and frangible alloy wheels.

The Light Cavalry regiments were then organised on similar lines to regular cavalry with four vehicles per troop, three troops per Sabre Squadron and a support squadron.

The ubiquitous Land Rover, or Truck Utility Medium (TUM), was still very much in use across all arms of the British Army and it seems set to stay this way for some time. The short wheelbase version, or Truck Utility Light (TUL), is perhaps in shorter supply as they did not support a full BOWMAN fit and so have been more readily disposed of since their order in 1996. This order saw just under ten thousand Wolf Defenders (High Specification, or HS) being accepted into service in a number of variants; winterised/waterproof, Fitted For Radio (FFR), hard top, crew cab and others.

Since then, a plethora of improvements were made to the fleet, everything from improved rollover protection to better sound insulation, but it remains unlikely they will be replaced before the 2025-30 timeframe.

There have also been a number of conversions, over 160 Ambulance variants (out of a total ambulance fleet of approximately 800) converted to double cab variants for example.

The Pinzgauer 716M was ordered in 1994. A Mechanised Infantry battalion would have 14 TUM; 2 TUM per three of the Company HQ and one Support Company, and 6 additional in the HQ Company (of the battalion) and 2 TUL; one of which was in the HQ Company and the other in the MT Platoon. 4 TUM GS assigned to REME LAD and Signals.

Whilst the Operational Utility Vehicle System (OUVS) programme that was to replace many of these was ceased a number of years previously, the Multi Role Vehicle (Protected), or MRV-P, was beginning to gain traction in mid-2012. Although the UK and USA had a working group for similar requirements, the UK decided the US Joint Light Tactical Vehicle would not meet the requirements of OUVS.

OUVS was largely a simple replacement for Land Rovers and Pinzgauers but as with FRES, Afghanistan and Iraq had demonstrated that such vehicles would be largely un-deployable into the kinds of theatres the British Army then envisaged itself fighting in.

Pre-concept phase demonstrations and requirements definition work commenced with the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle (LPPV) contenders thought likely to also be considered, there was also discussion on the need to keep the costs down to less than £250k.

Whilst Land Rover and Pinzgauer would remain in service with the light forces, the rest of the Army would be equipped with MRV-P and this meant many vehicles.

The requirement was summarised as:

Multi Role Vehicle Protected (MRV-P) is a Cat A project intended to meet the requirement for a protected deployable platform employed by all Force Elements, at all scales of effort, in a wide range of environments, and on all parts of the battlefield except for the direct fire zone. The MRV-P should bring commonality to the fleet and reduce the logistics footprint for utility vehicles by 2020.

MRV-P would cover a number of roles; general purpose, command and liaison, command post, communications and Light Gun towing vehicle. Initial concepts called for a base vehicle capable of carrying a crew of 3 and 6 passengers or a payload of 2.5 tonnes, maximum weight of 14 tonnes, width less than 2.5m, STANAG Level II ballistic protection and blast protection of STANAG Level II/IIa. The vehicle would also need to be fully Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) compliant.

A number of contenders emerged in addition to the LPPV contenders, the Thales Bushmaster for example.

August to September

The MoD announced the purchase of another 25 Foxhound vehicles for Afghanistan as the Choker C-IED (Panama City rollers) and Abacot (Minewolf) continued their deployment.

BAE Systems launched the latest 6×6 variant of their RG35 family of vehicles.

The RG35 6×6 has an 8.5 ton payload, a 12 cubic meters volume under armor, can seat up to 14 crew members, and carry light and medium remote-controlled weapon stations. Like the 4×4 variant, the latest 6×6 variant includes independent suspension and a side mounted powerpack that can be replaced in less than one hour.

The RG35 was certainly an interesting vehicle family, building on 30 years of South African experience and with a high degree of commonality across the 6×6 and 4×4 variants.

RG35 MIV Mine Protected Motorised Infantry Vehicle BAE Systems Natasha Pheiffer Eurosatory 2014

October to December

The MoD announced the purchase of another 51 Foxhound vehicles bringing the total to 376 and a further 20 Warrior vehicles were upgraded to the Theatre Entry Standard (Herrick) at a cost of £3.6million.

The SV Mobility Test Rig (MTR) was undergoing its Accelerated Life Testing, designed to demonstrate reliability and provide test data.

The MTR had its gross vehicle weight (GVW) originally set at 30t for the trials, but successfully towed 92t train weight more than 300km, demonstrating the SV’s ability to offer required full-load powerpack performance for addressing its expected growth path in the next 30 years. The additional 62t load was provided by three towed vehicles, which included two military AFVs, a 28t ULAN PT5 and an 18t SK105 light tank, with a 105mm cannon, as well as a truck ballasted to 16t.

MTR also underwent low temperature testing the INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO ‘LA MARAÑOSA that included a 72 hour period at -32 degree C followed by a series of starts using a preheater and no pre-heater.

General Dynamics UK - Scout SV Mobility Test Rig (MTR) At St Valentin Load Test [480p]

Lorica Systems UK, a joint venture of Marshall Marshall Land Systems and Plasan (since wound up) were selected by Lockheed Martin to provide the armour for the Warrior CSP Assessment Phase.

By the end of 2012, the Protected Mobility variant had completed its Preliminary Design Review and was well on its way to Complete Design review scheduled for 2013.

2013

Early 2013 was a relatively slow news period for Scout as General Dynamics progressed with its development and the British Army got to grips with Army 2020.

January to July

The MoD placed an order with Force Protection for 47 Mastiff protected vehicles in April.

General Dynamics reported that the Mobile Test Rig (MTR) had completed cold weather trials.

General Dynamics and the Specialist Vehicle (SV) industry team have successfully completed cold-weather trials on the Mobile Test Rig (MTR), achieving another key de-risking test in advance of the prototype stage and ensuring the vehicle’s operational capability for the coldest of theatres. These trials follow testing of the cooling system under full load for assured operation in extremes of heat and mean that SV will have an operating envelope spanning 80°C, ensuring the British Army can operate globally with this equipment in the future. The testing, which included starting and running the vehicle’s engine at -32°C, was carried out in a special military cold-climatic chamber at the Instituto Tecnológico ‘La Marañosa’ (ITM) near Madrid between the 1 and 12 April this year.

Despite that good news, General Dynamics also reported that the Spanish Government reduced its ASCOD Pizarro order from 190 to 117 in return for a five-year integrated support package.

General Dynamics also announced in July, a reduction in its workforce at Andover, Pershore and Ashchurch in England and Newbridge in South Wales. Its UK Headquarters was also to close, together with earlier reductions, a 40% reduction in UK workforce. The restructuring also saw control of armoured vehicle programmes move to the USA.

A contract announcement for the Telescoped Cannons (CTC) ammunition was published:

The Specialist Vehicle Cannon Project Team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to place a further buy of ammunition, with CTA International through an Amendment to Contract No FRES/0075, to support the demonstration phases of the Cased Telescopic Cannon which will be provided to Prime Contractors for integration into the Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) and the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP).

Total final value of contract(s)

Value: 25 629 034 EUR Including VAT. VAT rate (%) 20

The UOR into Core programme for protected mobility continued with the announcement of an RFP for fleet conversion;

To provide Fleet Conversion services for the Army’s Protected Mobility (PM) fleet of vehicles to achieve the correct variant mix to meet the requirements of the Army 2020 (A2020) Force Development Strategy, against the following vehicle types, hereafter known as ‘The Platforms’.

Mastiff – all variants,

Ridgeback – all variants,

Wolfhound – all variants,

Fleet Conversion.

Currently envisaged deliverables to include, but not be limited to:

Mastiff Troop Carrying Variant (MAS TCV) to Mastiff Enhanced Communications Variant (MAS ECV) Conversion,

Ridgeback Troop Carrying Variant (RBK TCV) to Ridgeback Command Variant (RBK CV) Conversion,

Wolfhound Explosive Ordinance Disposal (WHD EOD) variant to Wolfhound Military Working Dog (WHD MWD) variant Conversion,

Mastiff 1 to Mastiff 2 Conversion.

Cost Range: between 40 000 000 and 60 000 000 GBP

The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme was also shown off in the middle of 2013, after completing the initial design review. The first Battlegroup was set to be available by 2018 with Full Operational Capability by 2020.

The British Army published an update to its re-organisation plans in July.

It reconfirmed commitment to Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV).

August to December

At the DSEI show in the London in early September, General Dynamics showed off the Specialist Vehicle Mobile Test Rig. They revealed that the MTR would be very similar to the Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support variant.

The PMRS variant would have a crew of three and carry an additional four dismounted personnel, the same as the CVR(T) it was replacing.

News also emerged during the show that General Dynamics had agreed to pay Lockheed Martin an undisclosed penalty payment as they had failed to keep to the schedule in providing information that would enable them to develop the SV Scout turret.

It was also reported that General Dynamics admitted work on SV was taking longer than expected:

We have been conducting a number of risk-reduction efforts to help ensure the future success of this important program. While these efforts have taken longer than originally anticipated, they were both necessary and prudent steps in making sure that we deliver the British soldiers with this critical capability.

A number of news outlets reported that weight growth was the most significant issue and source of delay.

The expectations at this point were still that the first batch of 100 hulls would be fabricated in Spain and shipped to the UK for integration work to be completed, and for subsequent hulls to be manufactured in the UK at the Defence Support Group site in Donnington.

The final contract for Foxhound vehicles was placed by the MoD in October bringing the total to 400, a total investment of £371 million.

Testing of the Mobile Test Rig continued in Spain;

By the end of 2013, Foxhound had entered service and the MoD announced further orders, bringing the investment to £371 million and 400 vehicles.

Also by the end of 2013, the MoD had announced that the vast majority of the protected mobility vehicles would be bought into core.

A flurry of activity in the wheeled vehicle market occurred in 2013, new versions of the Patria AMV increases in production volumes of the Rosomak, first demonstrations of a number of amphibious vehicles for USMC requirements, new Stryker variants and even the Japanese unveiled an 8×8 vehicle equipped with a 105mm gun.

2014

January to June

The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) completed its Preliminary Design Review in January 2014 following the System Design Review several months earlier.

February 2014 saw the publication the National Audit Office Major Projects Report

The current planning assumption is to deliver a reconnaissance fleet of up to *** vehicles incrementally

It also confirmed the work done on some of the other variants.

In parallel, assessment studies, including representative mock-ups, confirmed that Ambulance, Command and Engineer Recce roles could be delivered by sub-system installation on the Protected Mobility Recce Support vehicle. Assessment studies continued on options for the remaining roles of Formation Recce (Overwatch), Joint Fires Command and Ground Base Surveillance roles, against the existing User Requirements, to determine whether incremental upgrades are required to develop their capability further.

All the Key User Requirements were forecast to be met, the vehicle programme was right on track.

The document also confirmed significant milestones for the two years previous;

  • May 12 – Mine Blast De-risking Trial
  • June 12 – Mobile Test Rig Roll-out (start of mobility trials)
  • September 12 – Ambulance role mock-up
  • December 12 – Preliminary Design Review Exit
  • January 13 – Risk Review (Interim)

With another election on the horizon and a potential SDSR, moving Recce Block 2 and 3 forward to Main Gate Approval was seen as unwise.

Following the Lancaster House agreement on defence cooperation, the UK announced it would be trialling VBCI in an 8 month programme with Phillip Dunne commenting in Janes that;

VBCI had fallen down on three elements in the original competition: accessibility to the vehicle’s powerpack, the vehicle’s armour protection levels, and its growth potential. VBCI has undergone a significant upgrade, the new export variant of the VBCI includes the ability to remove the vehicle’s powerpack in the field and an improved suspension and transmission to increase the VBCI’s maximum weight from 29 tonnes to 32 tonnes. Other improvements include fourth-axle steering, a repositioned fuel tank, upgraded cooling and engine performance, and small hull reconfigurations to increase the vehicle’s internal volume.

More news on the emergent Multi Role Vehicle (Protected) emerged in April with the publication of a pre-concept information request:

Specialist and Logistic Vehicle Project Team (SLV PT) in conjunction with a yet to be selected vehicle trials and demonstration authority will be running a multi role vehicle – protected (MRV-P) pre-concept study; It is planned to hold the study the week after the defence vehicle demonstration which is being held on 20th & 21.6.2012. Designed to determine the quantity of platforms that conform to the high level requirement and fall within the desirable Unit Price Cost (UPC) of 250 000 GBP, the study will look at a number of vehicles in the 5 to 15 tonne range that are modular to may be considered as being able to form the base vehicle for and other programmes such as future protected battlefield multi-role ambulance.

Background

The MRV (P) programme is currently at the pre-concept phase and has evolved from the operational utility vehicle system (OUVS), with significant changes in the total numbers and protection level. The vision is for one variant to fulfil all roles, using plug-and-play communications and flexible seating layouts. MRV(P) is not seen as appropriate for providing utility vehicle support to rapidly deployable forces (i.e. first-in, airborne or amphibious), where a lighter, more agile, capability is required. There are currently no KURs or URD for MRV (P), so a clear high-level requirement is needed.

The roles expected of the capability include:

Command and communications post vehicle,

Command and liaison vehicle,

General purpose vehicle – cargo,

General purpose vehicle – pax,

Light gun towing vehicle.

Aim

The study within this pre-concept phase is to assist in de-risking the MRV (P) Concept Phase by indicating the general ability of the market to meet endorsed MRV-(P) 3OAs. The study is to be completed by an independent vehicle trials and demonstration authority. Prior to the authority being selected all interested manufacturers should express their interest to Lt Col Licence SLV PT. Once the trials and vehicle demonstration authority is selected, the authority will engage directly with OEMs in order to secure platforms for trial. It must be noted that this study is not for down-selection purposes, but a practical method to conduct a market survey on a wide selection of available candidate Military/Commercial Off the Shelf (MOTS/COTS) vehicle platforms.

Requirement

Base platform. The base platform must fall within the 250 000 GBP UPC, it must be of a modular design capable of fulfilling the requirement for a ‘family’ of platforms and although there must be capacity for growth, must contain the following minimum requirement:

Number of crew ? 6 (Pax) Dvr, Comd, Gnr + 3 (pax carrying platform)

Payload capacity > 2 500kg (Cargo) + Crew of 3 To allow for the appropriate crew, pax, Bowman, ECM, cargo preponderance requirements for towing and up to 20 % growth.

Unladen mass <14 000kg <10 000kg if transport by C130.

Turning circle < 18m Land Rover = 14m

Width < 2.5m Medium Mobility

Power to weight ratio > 20 hp/t at the wheels Medium Mobility

Ground pressure < 450Kpa Medium mobility

Ground clearance > 240mm Medium Mobility

Ballistic threshold protection (Stanag 4569)  level 2 Objective level 3

Blast threshold protection (Stanag 4569)  level 2a/2b Objective level 3a/3b

Growth Potential

The platform design must incorporate adaptable vehicle architecture to allow the following capabilities to be integrated into the platform:

Open architecture communication information system,

Generic vehicle architecture level 2,

Fitted for electronic countermeasures,

Fitted for Bowman,

Fitting of remote weapon system.

Estimated cost excluding VAT: 250 000 GBP

The estimated cost was less than a third of that published for Foxhound, notably so. MRV-P was to be a low-cost but protected replacement for a number of legacy vehicles.

On April 28th, 2014, General Dynamics announced that the Common Base Platform Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Protected Mobility Recce Support (PMRS) variant of the Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) had been completed.

In a presentation to industry, further details on MRV-P were released:

The variants were:

 

And the details on quantities and timelines:

The initial MRV-P requirement was the order of 800 vehicles with a potential of up to an additional 4,000. Initial Operating Capability was to be by 2019 and Full Operating Capability by 2022.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request released in June indicated a higher total contract value for the Assessment Phase:

SPECIALIST VEHICLES RECONNAISSANCE BLOCK 1 AND COMMON BASE PLATFORM DEMONSTRATION, MANUFACTURE AND INITIAL IN-SERVICE SUPPORT

£600,529,582

This new figure included initial support.

At the Defence vehicle Dynamics exhibition, General Dynamics again showed off the maturing Protected Mobility Recce Support (PMRS) variant, the pre-production prototype.

Defence Industry Showcases the Latest Generation of Kit 25.06.14

Defence Vehicle Dynamics 2014 - General Dynamics UK Ocelot Utility variant - Christopher F Foss, E

On the 20th June 2014, ARTEC handed the first production Netherland Boxer over to the medical company of the 13th NL Brigade and at Eurosatory in Paris, BAE demonstrated a CV90 equipped with CMI turret and 105mm main gun.

A couple of images were released showing the Protected Mobility Support variant carrying out additional testing in Spain.

CVR(T) Mk2’s were fitted with rollover protection.

Also in In June, a picture emerged for the Spanish Vehículo de Observación Avanzada) Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle, based on the ASCOD Pizarro.

Note the elevating mast.

July to December

Lockheed Martin released a video of a test firing a Javelin missile from a two-man turret fitted to a Boxer, building on earlier work with a Hellfire/DAGR turret system on a Patria AMV.

Javelin Missile Successfully Launched from Turreted Vehicle

Lockheed Martin DAGR & HELLFIRE missiles tests from Patria AMV

All that was left for Scout was a production order and in early September 2014, the MoD obliged.

General Dynamics issued a press release on the 3rd of September announcing the order;

General Dynamics UK has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to deliver 589 SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms to the British Army to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020.

The platforms, consisting of six variants, will be delivered to the British Army between 2017 and 2024, alongside the provision of initial in-service support and training, and will serve at the heart of the Armoured Infantry Brigade structure.

This contract directly safeguards or creates up to 1,300 jobs across the programme’s UK supply chain, with 300 of these at General Dynamics UK’s Oakdale site.

SCOUT SV represents the future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) for the British Army, providing best-in-class protection and survivability, reliability and mobility and all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition (ISTAR) capabilities. Its range of variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. SCOUT SV can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide range of future operating environments.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted that on the eve of the NATO Summit, we can announce the biggest single contract for AFVs for the British Army since the 1980s. These new vehicles are testament to the world class engineering skills in South Wales and across the UK, helping to create the Army’s first fully digitalised armoured vehicles. Not only will they be crucial in helping to keep Britain safe, they will also underpin nearly 1,300 jobs across the UK and showcase the strength of the UK’s highly skilled defence sector. With the second largest defence budget in NATO, meeting NATO’s two per cent of GDP spending target and investing in new capabilities to deal with the emerging threats we are ensuring Britain’s national security, staying at the forefront of the global race and providing leadership within NATO.”

Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP said: “Today’s multi-billion pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile AFVs to overcome future threats. This is the biggest single order placed by the MoD for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe. It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.”

Kevin Connell, Vice President General Dynamics UK – Land Systems, said: “We are delighted that the UK MoD has awarded us this important contract. SCOUT SV provides essential capability to the British Army to allow it to dominate the battle space for years to come and it secures thousands of jobs right across the UK for at least the next decade. General Dynamics UK and our partners have worked hard over the last four years to develop a world-leading vehicle, and we will maintain that same work ethic to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army on-time and on-budget.”

SCOUT SV has been developed at General Dynamics UK’s AFV design and engineering centre in Oakdale, South Wales, maintaining the UK’s sovereign expertise in this important capability.

Delivery was scheduled between 2017 and 2024, with an initial Brigade ready to deploy by the end of 2020.

Speaking on the eve of the NATO Summit, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Today’s multi-billion-pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile armoured fighting vehicles to overcome future threats.

This is the biggest single order placed by Ministry of Defence for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe.

It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.

The vehicle also put in an appearance at the NATO summit.

The Chief of the General Staff and head of the British Army, General Sir Peter Wall, said:

The Scout family is a transformational programme that will refresh our armoured capability and ensure the army remains a first-tier manoeuvre force. It provides advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities and will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of commanders on the battlefields of the future. With digital links to all of our other systems it will be able to fulfil a wide range of combat roles.

General Dynamics and the MoD also released a new image of the Scout variant.

The final variant and quantity details were released over the next couple of days.

The order was broken down into three variants, with a number of roles across each of those variants.

Scout; with 40mm turret and 3 crew, QTY 245 broken down into 3 sub-variants

  • 198 Reconnaissance and Strike
  • 23 Joint Fire Control for the forward observers
  • 24 Ground-Based Surveillance equipped with man-portable radar system

The surveillance radar was not to be integrated with the vehicle and would be operated in the dismounted role.

Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS), with Kongsberg protector Remote Weapon System (RWS), 2 crew and 4 passengers, QTY 256, broken down into 3 sub-variants

  • 59 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)
  • 112 Command and Control
  • 34 Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch
  • 51 Engineer Reconnaissance (3 crew and no passengers but specialist lane marking equipment)

Equipment Support (Engineering) Variants, with Kongsberg RWS, QTY 88

  • 38 Recovery (3 crew plus an extra seat)
  • 50 Repair (4 crew)

The contract included an option for Block 2 vehicles but most at the time thought it somewhat unlikely the MoD would exercise it.

It is worth going back into the 2009 lineup and examine what changed since then.

The original line up in 2009 looked like this;

1,200 vehicles and 8 variants.

At the announcement of the winning manufacturer, it looked like this;

7 variants.

The production order looked very much different.

 

4 variants and 589 vehicles.

Very much different to the 1,200 vehicles and 8 variants as envisaged during 2009 but this was not necessarily ‘news’, most of this reduction in quantities and variants had been released and discussed widely over the intervening years.

Also of note was the fact that the production contract had been placed in advance of all the variants progressing through the full assessment phase design reviews.

Phillip Dunne, Defence Minister, defended this decision:

Each element is well tested, it’s the full integration that hasn’t been done. … This is not an immature design, we have further milestones to make but we are confident we have a piece of kit the components of which work. We have contractual safeguards for them [General Dynamics] to deliver according to the milestones

Given integration work is often where problems arise, many questioned this decision.

To coincide with the manufacturing contract, a new set of visuals were released of the Scout, PMRS, Repair, Recovery, Reconnaissance and Command & Control.

In October, it was revealed that the manufacturing approach had changed.

The reduced numbers also changed the manufacturing strategy. Initially, General Dynamics proposed to build the first 100 hulls in Spain and then ship them to the UK for integration. The second batch would then be built at DSG in the UK, with integration also in the UK.

This now changed, the DSG option seemed to be off the table with company executives saying that it was only ever an option. After negative press, the MoD asked General Dynamics to ‘look again’ at their manufacturing strategy. Lockheed Martin also dropped their plans for turret work at DSG and instead decided to complete the work at their Ampthill locations.

News also emerged that confirmed a decision by Lockheed Martin to abandon the Warrior turret conversion and proceed with a new turret design

This was no doubt cold comfort to BAE who had insisted from the start that a new turret would be needed.

The whole programme was ‘re-baselined’.

France launched the Engin Blindé Multi-Rôles (EBMR) Scorpion programme in December that brought together a number of modernization programmes. The first phase of the programme, at a cost of €752 million, was for two vehicles, Griffon and Jaguar.

The 6×6 wheeled armoured personnel carrier, Véhicule Blindé Multirole (VBMR), was called Griffon. The Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat (EBRC) was a reconnaissance vehicle called Jaguar fitted with a Nexter turret with the 40mm CTA.

 

Summary

With an end in sight to the UK’s engagement in Afghanistan and a recognition that enduring stabilisation operations were unlikely to part of the British Army’s future, the British Army shifted considerably in its thinking. The SDSR mandated structure went and in like with force reductions, a new model, Army 2020, emerged.

Making extensive use of the UOR vehicles, the new structure would focus on contingency operations.

SV Scout and Warrior CSP continued, at varying paces through their assessment phases and the long-dead OUVS programme re-emerged as MRV-P.

Lockheed Martin and the MoD came around to BAE’s way of thinking that a new turret design for Warrior would be needed.

One thing was certain, FRES was long gone, and so was the medium weight concept.

At a maximum weight of 42 tonnes, SV was stretching the definition of ‘medium’

Despite the lack of complete design review completion, the production order for SV Scout was placed in 2014, at a much-reduced quantity and scope of variants than had first been envisaged.

To summarise the contract values

Assessment Phase; £600.53m (including initial support)

Demonstration and Manufacture Phase; £3,500m

These costs do not include any concept phase work.

That is roughly £7m each, averaged out over the different variants

It must also be noted that some elements are supplied externally to the programme as government furnished equipment, the CTA40 cannon for example, which would only increase the unit cost.

It was planned to enter limited service 2017; 16 years after first Hansard entry for FRES, 29 years after FFLAV and 44 years after the CVR(T) also came into service.


British Army Medium Weight Capability – Table of Contents

Introduction and Notes

What this document is, sources and acknowledgements, and what this document is not

The Fifties and Sixties

Saladin and Saracen enter service, early work on their replacement commences and completes. The FV432 enters service, and the BMP-1 does likewise, work on Warrior gains pace.

The Seventies

CVR(T) and CVR(W) enter service, and the rapid deployment concept cuts its teeth with the C-130

The Eighties

CVR(T) continues to be developed and sees action in in the Falkland Islands and Warrior enters service. Oh, and Saxon.

The Nineties

A decade of major change; the end of the Cold War, operations in the Gulf and the Balkans. The microprocessor and communications revolution. VERDI, FFLAV, WASAD and the rise of the acronym in defence. ASCOD, CV90 and others developed. Protected mobility becomes a requirement, again, and finally, interesting materials development make an appearance in the defence vehicle world.

TRACER, MRAV and Project Bushranger

Three vehicle development projects that would have importance to the ongoing story of developing a medium weight capability.

Turning Points in the Balkans

Important milestones in the development of medium weight capabilities, a trip across the Sava and WWIII averted at an airport.

Change Comes to US and UK Forces

The Future Combat System, the UK follows suit, FRES and being a force for good.

FRES Gets into Gear but Iraq Looms Large

2001 to 2004, TRACER and MRAV continue but the new kid on the block called FRES is starting to take over whilst the shadow of Iraq falls on the project.

Snatch and the Trials of Truth

Between 2005 and 2007 the Army experienced significant change. FRES picked up speed but operations in Iraq overshadowed the medium weight concept.

FRES Changes Names and Changes Lane

2008 to 2009, it becomes increasingly difficult to balance the needs of operations with the desire to transform and bring FRES to fruition at the same time.

FRES Scout to the End of FRES

2010 to 2011, putting the embarrassment of FRES UV behind it, the Army switches to FRES SV, a replacement for CVR(T)

Return to Contingency

2012 to 2014, as an end to the Afghanistan deployment drew near, Scout continued and attention turned to Warrior.

AJAX to MIV and the Emergence of Strike

2015 to 2017, a new medium weight capability vision emerges, and this requires a new vehicle, the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV), but before that, Multi Role Vehicle (MRV).

Observations

A few thoughts and opinions.

Appendix A – Ajax

Weights, measures, variants and roles

Appendix B – 40mm Cased Telescoped Weapon System

A revolution in medium calibre weapons, but can we afford it?

Appendix C – Generic Vehicle Architecture

The essential glue that binds the increasing quantity of vehicle electronics



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