The Future Rapid Effects System (FRES)

FRES was the project name for a class of medium weight armoured vehicles that were intended to replace a number of legacy British Army vehicles such as CVR(T) and FV432. FRES has been called the poster child for all that is wrong with the Ministry of Defence and the British Army; hundreds of millions of Pounds and many years frittered away for no value.

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TD – may or may not have a place here, but in the new tin shed – sorry – the Tank Museum Vehicle Conservation Centre, there is a vehicle numbered FVPE 3818, on shortened 432 running gear (4 roadwheels a side not 5), a low profile forward crew compartment and what looks to be a rear engine compartment under a low deck. It doesn’t align to the FVRDE Concepts 1 & 2 shown above, nor are there any short 430 variants in the story above. It may or may not have a place in the history but I can find no information on the vehicle.

As for the story so far and its format, the dual column style takes some getting used to, and the small font/large font mix is an eyeful – perhaps ‘medium font’ might work… Content looks quite familiar. Perhaps there would be room at appropriate points to report what the Defence Secretary and other senior staff said about ‘what FRES will be’ when they were formally questioned in the likes of the Defence Committee? If only to document the officially defined changing vector of development at each stage. I particularly like Don Touhig’s statement that FRES would not repeat not be as big or heavy as Warrior: “It might be helpful if I clarify what FRES is. In a nutshell, FRES will be a family of medium-weight armoured vehicles of around 20 tonnes, enabled by communications, information and surveillance systems, with the growth potential to develop over time. FRES will be significantly lighter than our current heavy armoured forces based on the Challenger 2 and the Warrior armoured infantry fighting vehicle”. That was just 5 years before MOD flipped a coin between 35t CV90 and 35t ASCOD.

I do hope those that have had a finger in the fattening of FRES 1) note the stuff CVR(T) could do when reading the CVR(T) Mobility and Cutting Teeth sections of the document, and 2) ask themselves ‘Could FRES do that?’


Just a point on the FV515, the description seems to have got confused, referencing FV414s, and FV513s. I suspect that it should be FV514 in both cases.
The FV512 picture shows two packs on the trailer (super-picky, I know).
The FV511 section mentions a FV411 (typo, I suspect) then states that there are three per battalion. The last time I looked at an establishment there were twelve FV510s and two FV511s per rifle company, so that would be six per battalion minimum, not counting fire support or battalion command vehicle. One establishment has three at BHQ with other command roles covered by Sultans and FV430 variants.

Andrew J Boulton

As I have said before . . . NOW, print and bind it between covers, PUBLISH IT, and charge universities, think tanks, etc., a fortune!!

Best Wishes!


Absolutely brilliant.

Just to comment on this, before I get distracted again:

“Mr Bacon: No, no, no. I am looking at Ms Brennan. I am asking her a question. She is the accounting officer. She is the permanent secretary. My question stands; I’ve asked it three or four times now. It is very simple and very clear. Is there anybody in the Ministry of Defence who has paid a penalty for this?

Ursula Brennan: No. I don’t think I can point the finger at anybody.”

The MoD has decided that “all risk shall lay where is belongs – with the contractor”.
This is risk – of failure.
So, if it fails, it is the fault of the contractor, not the MoD.
Human organisations are not complete nor perfect; they make mistakes; the path away from incompetence is by * learning from your mistakes *.
But the MoD has established the Legal Fiction that it doesn’t make mistakes, so there is no mechanism by which the MoD can learn.

So surely the question to be asked by the likes of Mr Bacon is: “what mistakes is the MoD going to avoid repeating, in the next 30 years of FRES?”


Mike W – over the years I’ve been in industry I have noted the rise of what has to be called ‘Customer Arrogance’ – the behaviour that implies the supplier is a barely tolerated inadequate, dealt with on sufferance because they are the best of a miserable bunch. This is by no means limited to politicians and civil service bodies; it is seen throughout industry and commerce right down to the individual buying coffee at the station kiosk. Next time you are queuing for coffee, watch how many customers fail to register the counter staff as human, how few engage with a smile let alone a ‘Good morning’. The staff will be given exactly the same treatment as a vending machine – order barked, cash deposited. Further up the scale companies regularly – um – forget? to pay their invoices within the time window stated in their Ts & Cs, or pay on the last day, even if they are aware their supplier is struggling. By the time the corporations are the size of BAE the behaviour is akin to medieval barons dealing with lowly surfs. The civil service has morphed the same way; the difference with MOD is they wrote down in their terms & conditions the changed attitude to suppliers, notably the fact that they, the Customer, accept no risk on any project (for risk read responsibility).

Personally I don’t like the modern attitude. I value responsibility and fair play; people are people whether landed gentry or roadsweepers and all deserve basic courtesy. The same with businesses – if a supplier is sought it is because they have skills and products the customer does not possess and they deserve credit for that. And, oh Customer, the responsibility for the project rests with the one selecting and paying for all the component parts; the only recourse (as written in UK law I believe) is if the bought-off-the-shelf item falls short of the claims made by the seller or if workmanship is sub-standard. If the requirement (with all verbal anecdotal or advisory amendments) is idiotic then the product will not be a success, will it?


@Chris: yup, very accurate. Slapping down the kids when they behave the way their classmates do is now part of “responsible parenting” now :-(

Thanks for your hard work (re-)compiling your posts. Again, this is dynamite stuff, well done, salutes and kudos sir!

The two-column layout is a bit distracting, I would prefer a single column (text) layout so it’s easier to scroll down to find certain topics.
I really like that easy check-sum verifier, a welcome change from the usual complicated hoopla.

Cheers, greets from Holland.


It seems like there is a split of authority and responsibility going on, with the MOD keeping one and subbing out the other, which seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

I recall a comment Red Trousers made in a previous comment thread, about how solutionising in a requirement was regarded as the greatest heresy. It seems to me that that aversion is linked, in part, to the desire to absolve the contracting authority of all responsibility. What is equally worrying is some of the comments regarding the use of equipment, where the decisions on the use of equipment is devolved to the commanders on the ground, but you get the impression that said commanders do not then have the authority to demand the equipment that they think they need to accomplish the task.

El Sid

I lost track of where we last mentioned some of the concepts coming out of the US, they now see the future of the GXV as a graphic novel (!?!). I suspect they general idea of sneakiness will be to @RT’s taste, even if it will be a lot bigger than a Chenoweth :


El Sid, that was lovely. Rather than hard requirements (history, ppt presentations) story telling (vignettes/ case studies; story boards)
… Take your cue from there, and come back with the concept for the hardware!


[…] Scout SV – General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited New images released by GD showing all the variants (only in CGI sadly) Scout PMRS Recce Recovery Command and Control Repair This will only cover the SV part of FRES. UV (utility) is currently being assessed again, with a company from 4 RIFLES going out to France to evaluate the VBCI this month. And for a history of just how convoluted and badly run this programme has been, look here […]


That is one seriously ugly vehicle.


Never underestimate the stupidity (or arrogance) of people (in government) in large groups.


Exercise Badger Stress! You just made that up, surely?


Took a bit of time to get through it all, none the less an excellent series.
While I am as baffled as everyone else seems to about what FRES actually was/is I think I have found an example of a PRES!
That is a Past Rapid Effect System it was called Blitzkrieg!
The combination of mobile ground forces,( Panzer Divisions and Motorised Infantry/Panzer Grenadier Divisions ) and the Luftwaffe, (Fighters, Dive and Medium Bombers) produced an excellent Rapid Effects System. It certainly produced a rapid effect on their enemies.
Seriously though how the hell after all the time and money spent on FRES can we end up with a warmed over foreign IFV weighing it at almost 40 tons as the scout variant. Might just as well have updated Warrior, oops they are doing! But not for FRES.
I can only think that the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan clouded there judgment (whoever they are). With reducing casualties to the minimum becoming the overriding objective more and more heavily armoured vehicles were required, which seems to have led to the assumption that FRES needed to be more and more heavily armoured. Now I am all in favour of armour generally speaking the more the better. If I’ve got to go to war give me a Challenger 2 every time. But it is as they say horses for course’s and I cant see Scout being the right horse for any course. If FRES means anything anymore, which as you say it probably doesn’t, its going to be neither rapid in terms of strategic mobility or have the effect of a Challenger. I really cant see the point of it. Its also worth adding that for a very large 40 ton vehicle its pathetically armed they could at least have added some ATGW’s. But then I suppose the price would have been pushed up from £6+ million to £10 million a copy.
The demise of Chertsey and other R&D establishments has also probably had a part to play in the whole sorry saga.
It just makes you want to cry!
Rant over.
For now at least.

The English Electric P.1A (later BAC F.3) Lightning, was the World’s First Mach 2, Supercruise Capable Fighter. First flown in 1954, and went into production in 1956(?). The P.1A was capable of Mach 1.5 at 50,000-feet and the later, F.3 was capable of Mach 1.7 at 38,000-feet…

A ‘new’ diesel cycle engine entering production promising both multi-fuel and significant efficiency, power to weight ( 1:1 ) , size reductions etc basically there is nothing it hasn’t improved , half the number of components , clutching in/out banks of cylinders for low power efficiency, higher torque you name it. The EcoMotors originators have teamed up with NaviStar ( of truck and MRAP fame) to produce an introductory 300hp+ model later this year. Being smaller physically and 50% more efficient it should lend itself to refurbishment/upgrades as well as new builds.
Follow the imbedded link to a video from Lund Uni in Sweden who have refined it.