What is a scout used for anyway

No jokes about woggles please chaps!

FRES Scout continues to provoke a lively debate but whilst we talk about the various combinations of vehicle types, how about going back to basics and ask what is the purpose of the FRES SV Scout?

What actually is the difference between close and formation recce?

Is it about stealth or do we need to fight for information, or indeed both.

If it is both, is one vehicle going to be a compromise and should we prioritise one over the other?

What are the secondary roles, screening and fire support etc

Should they also be used for looking over the horizon with UAV’s (cue can of worms being opened)

How far in advance will they operate, will they still need cover from anti tank missiles (Swingfire style)

This might lead onto discussions on equipment

Wheels, tracks or both?

Amphibious or not?

Protection v mobility (inc fuel consumption)

Firepower, do we really need a 120mm fire support variant



The list goes on and on

I will publish the comments in a future post because I get the feeling we are all equally as puzzled!


Sven from Defence and Freedom write some interesting stuff in this area, would recommend you pop over and have a read.

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Sven Ortmann
July 2, 2010 6:31 pm

Uhm, thanks for the mention. My texts on recce are quite scattered, a search for “reconnaissance” on the blog helps.

I’d like to recommend “Trading saber for stealth”, as essential reading.


As usual, theory about purposes and tactics should come first, much earlier than the forming of hardware preferences.

July 2, 2010 7:01 pm

My opinion for what it is worth is that stealth is basicly the death knell of the British Heavy Armoured Industry.
BAE for good or bad was the last viable manufactuer of armoured vehicles,they have now been cut out of the loop by GD and have resigned themselves to a backup role.I don’t suppose we can complain too much as BAE have bought huge chunks of the American defence industry and this is turning out to be their most profitable area.
So when do we see them moving HQ to the USA and the British operation relegated to a minor role.

July 3, 2010 11:36 am

The next scout vehicle should have rotor blades.

July 3, 2010 1:20 pm

That depends on how you define scout, typically it’s a predominantly ISR asset however the MoD and Army want a vehicle to complement and in places supplant Warrior, in all honesty it’s a scout only in name

By trying to create an AFV from an IFV you end up with a vehicle that is overweight, too large and underarmoured…
There is no reason why GKN (later Alvis and even later BAE but this should’ve been done long ago) weren’t asked to create a vehicle from scratch as a like for like replacement for CVR(T) taking into account weapons development and experience with the type over the last 20-25[at the time] years (not saying 1:1 replacements, strategy has changed which means that other vehicles will in part replace some of the roles that members of the FV101 family have been performing since the early 70s)

The short and long of it is that Stormer is closer to the mark than CV90/ASCOD but if the ideal replacement would have hit the bullseye all of the above would struggle to hit the same wall the dartboard is on.

onto the question of fire support… this is a secondary consideration of a scout vehicle but there should be a dedicated fire support vehicle not with a high velocity large calibre weapon (such as 105/120mm) but a low velocity medium calibre weapon (such as 76/90mm) however despite the fact the latter has proven itself to be an incredibly useful platform over the last 70 years development has been ignored, modern attempts to re-create this lost capability has been through the development of breach loaded mortars capable of both direct and indirect fire… close (and certainly versatile) but I don’t think it gets a cigar

paul g
July 3, 2010 1:43 pm

i would’ve thought (in fact i should know, but don’t). Any new vehicle/vehicles should have the ability to recieve/transmit target co-ordinates to our chums in the sky, paid the extra for longbow let’s use it, I do know that as i was leaving the sooper dooper bowman couldn’t even talk to apache crews we talk about being purple but army on the ground couldn’t even talk to army in the sky! (sorted now i believe). CAS is going to be a huge factor in future ops therefore whatever vehicle we use whether it’s the guardroom bike or a rolls royce, it has be equippe properly from day 1.

ps i see big bad obama has said he’s closing complete units in cost cutting including complete a-10 national guard sqns, buy them on the cheap, have our own CAS units reducing chances of blue on blue if these guys work together 365 then we can put the harriers back on the ships topical thread methinks “A-10 to RAF, harriers back to FAA”