CVR(T) – What are we losing?

In many armed forces the role of formation reconnaissance is carried out by heavy armoured vehicles, either Main Battle Tanks or modified infantry combat vehicles actually fighting for information instead of being stealthy. The real stealthy role is often fulfilled by very small wheeled vehicles and there are a number of competing doctrines that dictate the design of such vehicles.

Whatever the underlying doctrine, CVR(T) has performed a wide range of roles in its long career but as it is replaced by FRES SV it might be worth asking what we are going to lose by replacing an 8-11 tonne vehicle with one weighing in at 40 odd tonnes. Most of the discussion on FRES has revolved on what we will be getting rather than what we will be leaving behind.

In 1982 Scimitar and Scorpion played a decisive role in the Falklands Conflict, especially the Battle for Wireless Ridge and they have been successfully used in almost every conflict the British Army has been involved in since it was introduced in the early 70’s. In this operation they were not specifically used as armoured reconnaissance but as mobile fire support for very light forces.

Having a vehicle that is below the magic 10 tonne mark allows that vehicle to be underslung by a Chinook, carried on a DROPS flatrack, air dropped and carried in multiples by tactical airlift aircraft. It is likely that the C130 will be leaving RAF service in the medium term so looking at the A400, it would be able to carry three such vehicles or a pair of them for long range flights. Scimitar could also be carried on an ISO flatrack container and its exceptionally low round pressure and narrow width means that it can go places simply denied to other vehicles. Scimitar could also move at serious speed on road surfaces and self deploy without the use of a flatbed truck.

Looking at FRES SV and comparing;

Chinook, NO

DROPS/Standard Truck, NO

C130, NO

A400, NO

Deploying even short distances will require a Heavy Equipment Transporter, which we have a mere 79 of and they are operated as a PFI.

What about gap crossing?

At 8-11 tonnes CVR(T) can use a wide variety of existing bridges, FRES Scout will be limited in the bridges it can use. The Air Portable Ferry Bridge, at Class 35, will be out of bounds, as will Class 30 Trackway.

One has to ask if the decision to go from 10 to 40 tonnes has really been thought out in the context of strategic mobility.

To see how much this degrades usability simply look at a couple of scenarios and calculate how many CVR(T) versus FRES Scout can be delivered to an airhead in a given period of time.

Using an A400, zero for FRES and 3 CVR(T) on a single flight

Using a C17, 1 for FRES and 10 for CVR(T) on a single flight

One might argue that we do not intend on deploying armoured vehicles by air, that a large vehicle is needed for survivability or that 1 FRES is worth many CVR(T) and these are all valid points, but the difference is stark.

It gets even worse when deploying from a port to area of operations, at a push CVR(T) could self deploy i.e. drive there itself or failing that be transported on the back of almost any military or civilian truck. With FRES we either have to wait for one of the very small number of HET’s we/KBR have or try and find civilian low loaders that can handle 40 tonne plus loads without special dispensation or ‘heavy load’ restrictions. It is probably fair to say that low loaders like HET’s operate at crawling speed in comparison with standard trucks.

Whilst in the area of operations we could in some circumstances, air lift CVR(T) as an underslung load by Chinook or even air drop them to support light forces and carry out flanking, envelopment, interdiction or deep strike operations. When engaged in amphibious operations a Chinook operating from HMS Ocean would be able to move CVR(T) inland instead of having to rely on our limited number of LCU’s.

None of these will be possible with FRES SV and in a strategic deployment context, I am struggling with the Rapid part of Rapid Effects.

The ‘answer’ to these mobility challenges seems to be defaulting towards Jackal because that is what we have been using in Afghanistan. Jackal is no doubt an excellent vehicle but is open topped, vulnerable to small arms fire and shell fragments, has no NBC protection, has limited firepower, limited sensors (even the gucci ones with mast mounted surveillance systems) and in soft terrain like mud or snow also has limited mobility when compared with the 40 year old CVR(T)

Going back to the first question, do we really need such a lightweight and multi role vehicle, what is the underlying doctrine and mission requirements?

If the answer to these questions is yes and we need a vehicle that is sub 10 tonne, has a reasonable level of protection, firepower and mobility then what can meet those requirements.

The elephant in the room is IED protection, CVR(T) is very vulnerable and this is a large part of the decision to ‘go heavy’

I suppose the most obvious answer is CVR(T), perhaps a development rather than a few re-manufactured hulls using the latest in lightweight armour and propulsion systems. This doesn’t address the IED issue though.

If not that then, how about a Think Defence hair brain scheme?

Take the front hull of a Viking and replace the body with a V shaped 2 seat crew pod, arranged in tandem like Apache. Fit a remote weapon station and mast mounted sensor pod. The weapon station could use anything from a HMG to 30mm ATK 30mm cannon or the Lightweight Modular Missile. This would still come in at sub ten tonnes, be amphibious and highly mobile in both a tactical and strategic context. I have conveniently forgot the transmission tunnel but come on, these are just ‘details’

If not that, are there any designs available off the shelf that can match the sublime blend of mobility, protection and firepower that is CVR(T)

The German Wiesel is an interesting class of vehicles, Sven might be able to shed some light on their deployment to Afghanistan whilst they are incredibly mobile, perhaps too small to be survivable in the age of the IED.

I still think there is a need for small and highly mobile vehicles that can support a wide range of missions and provide something better than wheeled vehicles but as I said, the elephant in the room is the IED, maybe its just not feasible.

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jedibeeftrix
August 18, 2010 11:33 pm

why not just warthog?

can a one hull warthog varient cope with formation-recon tasks?

paul g
August 19, 2010 12:05 am

i think i saw some bren carriers parked behind the green goddesses last time i looked!!!
Another point on cvrt you could pull it behind most vehicles (ie L/R) if it was goosed try that with our new fat friend!
Are we going to get the great wheeled/track debate again? Surely if we take into account that cvrt was developed before all the advances in design/armour and they are now reproducing hulls again (brought up in a different thread) then why don’t we combine the 2. therefore we have a role specific ie lightweight tracked recce vehicle, doesn’t have to have a plethero (oh get me) of variations leave that to that fat one, just use the hull RWS 25-30mm maybe more spartan than scimitar for crew plus recce kit ie target acc for apache etc etc.
oh think the weisel is now on mk2 as well.

paul g
August 19, 2010 12:17 am

info page on weisel;
http://army-guide.com/eng/product.php?prodID=1847

note the ammo carrier that can carry 1000kgs hmmm chuffin expensive springer or one of these i know which one i’d rather be in! also note they can carry 2 INSIDE a ch-53, rock and roll!

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
August 19, 2010 5:54 am

As has been mentioned, the big issue is IEDs. These are here to stay and therefore protection has gone to the top of the wanted list killing the US FCS and FRES in its original format. IF there is still the need for a small light weight Recce vehicle I would look at a platform along the lines of the German/Dutch Fennek (10t) which is available off the shelf. It is purpose designed for the mission as well as able to carry out others like artillery observation. For its size it is quite well protected including limited mine protection. It would be a good partner for teh ASCOD RV and is far better suited to the role than the Panther.

Marcase
Marcase
August 19, 2010 6:46 am

The Fennek is still vulnerable to IEDs; keeping it off the roads and some modest upgrading solved that (to a point). Fennek is good, it survived honest-to-God RPG attacks (though luck had something to do with it), Fennek works best in close cooperation with UAVs and COMINT.

Speaking of which, Besides IEDS, UAVs are the other “CVRT Killer”. Networking and organic UAVs allow battlefield commander to see over the next hill, something that was a CVR(T) role.

Having said all that, there still *is* a role for a light armored ~30mm AFV. And there will be again.

The Canadians airlifted BVs via Chinook early in the A’Stan campaing, and those few APCs did sterling work. If those were cannon CVR(T) types they would’ve been awesome.

With the ballooning in size of ALL army vehicles (MRAPs/Mastiffs, FRES etc) the need for something small and agile will resurface – something that has happened before and spawned the Stryker family.

IEDs are here to stay, but measures/systems to counter them are also in continuous development.

I predict that two years after FRES-SV deployment, a RFP for a tracked 10t CVR(T)-like AFV will be tendered.

The more things change…

Mike W
August 19, 2010 8:02 am

You all seem to be assuming that CVR(T) will disappear. Hasn’t a decision been taken by the MOD recently to have BAE update a quantity of CVR(T)s? Whether they are just Scimitar-type recce vehicles or across the whole range, I do not know. However, could they not serve at least another, say, eight years or so (even ten) with 16 AA Brigade and 3 Commando etc., by whch time the finances might be there to fund something new. I agree absolutely with Marcase when he says: “Having said all that, there still *is* a role for a light armored ~30mm AFV. And there will be again.”

Jasons
Jasons
August 19, 2010 9:47 am

Deployability is the strong point here. We have not deployed Warrior or even FV432 to Afghanistan so we can assume that ASCOD 2 won’t get there either (I know we may be out in 5 yrs but for A’Stan read somewhere else.).

FRES is no longer called FRES, I think it’s called SV confusingly. An indication that the British Army have abandoned the rapid concept in favour of heavier armour (though not IED protection) and are using this programme to recapitalize it’s medium to heavy inventory.

Of course, we should make the point that CVR(T) is no longer under 10 tonnes with all the extra armour but the gap between CVR(T) and FRES in size has been well commented on here and no doubt the recent suggestions that Scimitars are going to be remanufactured is prompted by it.

The army seems reluctant to look for a Viking or Warthog based solution to the lightweight problem. Personally, I like the idea of a two tier ASCOD/Warthog fleet.

The other elephant in the room is Stormer. Perhaps there is no need for a manned turret (lose the extra weight and fit an RWS instead). Band tracks to improve road performance, reduce noise and weight. But then we’re adding another vehicle.

jedibeeftrix
August 19, 2010 10:11 am

Do we have a baseline that defines a high-level of tactical and strategic mobility?

e.g. strategic mobility =
A400M must be able to carry two units .’.
Max length must be no more than 8.85m
Max weight must be no more than 18.5t

Guess how long and heavy a Warthog is?

e.g. tactical mobility =
Chinook must be able to carry a unit .’.
Max weight must be no more than 10.2t

Guess how heavy half a Warthog is?

If we determine a baseline for what determines a light high-mobility vehicles then candidate can be judged more easily……

Mike W
August 19, 2010 10:17 am

Jasons

Yes, I was going to mention Stormer. Surely that is a younger and larger vehicle than the CVR(T) series (It has an extra wheel, doesn’t it?). It is therefore much more able to carry the heavier communications and surveillance equipment prevalent nowadays. Well over a hundred and thirty of the vehicles were purchased. They have not taken the hammering that Scimitars etc. have taken in recent wars.

I think we would not really be adding another vehicle, as all the spares, manuals etc. should still be available and they have a large degree of commonality with the CVR(T) family What about all the Stormers being withdrawn from the HVM role? Where are they now? (I sound like David Jacobs) Maybe BAE should be updating Stormers insead of CVR(T)s?

c
c
August 19, 2010 10:29 am

Correct me if i’m wrong but I thought warrior was out in afghanistan and that SV R could fit in an A400M if you stipped the modular armour off it.

jedibeeftrix
August 19, 2010 10:33 am

presumably the 10t chinook limit is why the alvis stormer 30 is not being considered by anybody?

http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product964.html

Jasons
Jasons
August 19, 2010 11:21 am

Mike,

I was surprised that Stormer was being withdrawn in it’s current role considering that Starstreak is being upgraded (the vehicles are only about 10 yrs old).

The number of Scimitars upgraded for A’Stan was approximately 100 (apparently already knackered again!) which is roughly the same as the numbers of Stormer HVMs.

So yes, remove the Starstreak, fit sensors, an RWS and you have a relatively low cost low risk recce vehicle. On the other hand it would be a short term solution as there’s only a hundred of them.

Jedi,

Yes, even Stormer HVM is 12 tonnes. The only tracked vehicles out there capable of being transported by Chinook are Viking and Warthog, if you discount Wiesel (which I do).

Like I said, a two tier fleet of ACOD/Warthog seems a good solution.
You could locate a 40mm gun on the rear module id required.

jedibeeftrix
August 19, 2010 12:17 pm

is a remote weapon station using the 40mm CTA a viable option?

and would it therefore make a good replacement for the CVR(T)?

I am rather taken with the hi-lo ASCOD/Warthog idea, so am keen to see if it has legs……..

DominicJ
August 19, 2010 12:24 pm

IEDs IEDs IE ****** Ds!!!

IED’s are mines.
Mines have existed in warfare for a century.
They have only become a strategicaly significant weapon because we have made ourselves strategicaly vulnerable to them through pig headed stupidity.

The Argentineans laid massive mine fields in the Falklands, but we didnt replace CVR(T) with a vehicle 4x its weight.
We breached the minefields and didnt let the Argies relay them.
The Serbs laid massive minefields in Bosnia, but we didnt replace Warrior with a 90t behemoth, we breached them and didnt let the Serbs relay them.

Consider the next war you expect the UK to fight, unless you expect a central airhead surrounded by dozens of platoon houses, with the roads in between surrendered to the enemy, exactly how are you expecting significant losses to mines?

Sorry for the rant, its just driving me insane.

CVR(T) is awesome, its a bit old in the tooth and could do with a ground up remaking, but it does exactly what it says on the tin and performs brilliantly in the sort of war we should be fighting.
A capability we miss to our cost.

DominicJ
August 19, 2010 3:03 pm

After reading the armour article linked, I’m seriously wondering if every “light” battalion should have an armoured company.

Sven Ortmann
August 19, 2010 4:04 pm

“The German Wiesel is an interesting class of vehicles, Sven might be able to shed some light on their deployment to Afghanistan whilst they are incredibly mobile, perhaps too small to be survivable in the age of the IED.”

Bulletproof weapons carriers, replacement for the Kraka and should be considered as such:
http://www.glasclub.org/glas/historie/typen/goggo/kraka/kraka.htm

It was used in Afghanistan for a while (since 2004 iirc), but it was never meant to run every day for years. The Wiesels were iirc withdrawn from AFG for durability reasons long before the last soft vehicles were replaced by protected vehicles. Some people assert that they were withdrawn because of poor protection, though.

Wiesels can move along small paths in restricted terrain – including paths on mountains and in forests. Their ground pressure is low, they’re difficult to hit with AT weapons, difficult to spot when static and they carry weapons heavie than portable by infantry. Overall, they’re useful small weapons carriers – but not even remotely comparable with a BMD.

NastyNidge
NastyNidge
August 19, 2010 7:11 pm

I would have thought the issue was speed, the Warthog appears to be slow. with all armoured vehicles the trade of is between protection, firepower and mobility/speed.
My old grandad was in the 53rd Recce and made it very clear that if you don’t have protection you need the ability to get the hell out of dodge when necessary (often in reverse).

Rupert Fiennes
Rupert Fiennes
August 19, 2010 7:29 pm

The more you look at CVR(T), the more it seems irreplaceable. I would say it’s best characteristics were:-

– ground pressure similar to an infantryman
– airportable by helicopter and aircraft
– enough firepower and protection to make a difference

From that, I suggest we are looking for is a tracked vehicle, ideally amphibious on rivers or light sea states, wieghing no more than 10 tonnes fully loaded, with a 25/30mm cannon of some sort and Javelin. The value of protected mobility for the infantry says a fire team sized infantry compartment as well.

To meet these requirements and a greatly increased direct fire and IED protection requirements, we will have to make some compromises.

– manned turret: no way!
– a normal engine and transmission take up too much internal volume
– everything possible other than the crew needs to be made external to the crew compartment, including fuel and ammunition, and made part of the vehicle protection

A stabilised external turret is trivial. A diesel electric transmission with hub mounted motors will allow for a shallow V hull without crippling internal volume. We are then left with a perfect “medium/light” vehicle suitable for parachute/airmobile and restricted terrain

R

Sven Ortmann
August 19, 2010 7:35 pm

You’re getting close to the “Tankita” idea of some former soldiers a decade ago:
http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/tankita.html

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 19, 2010 9:09 pm

“From that, I suggest we are looking for is a tracked vehicle, ideally amphibious”

Forget amphibious capabilities. They are useless. Leaving aside the compromises you have to make in protection to make your vehicle float, the actual capability will never be used. An amphibious vehicle can often get into the water in some quite severe terrain (here’s an extreme example; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mr_pCrhTkk ) but even the most mobile of amphibians need a very easy exit point. No sensible vehicle commander will risk entering water unless he’s absolutely sure he can get out again and that rules out any tactical use of an amphibious capability.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 19, 2010 9:10 pm

Sven, if you mention “Tankita” it cannot be long before you start to say “Gavin”!

DominicJ
DominicJ
August 19, 2010 9:11 pm

Rupert
I think expectng fire support and troop transport is a bit much, but we could have a fleet of vehicles, accomplishing a range of tasks, from direct and indirect fire, to section transport and battefield ambualnce…

Sven Ortmann
August 19, 2010 9:23 pm

: I believed I kept enough safety distance to that one with hinting at Tankita.

The tankette idea has attracted people since the 1910’s. Very few tankettes and light tanks have proved to be useful in the last hundred years, and as far as I can tell almost none did so in a high-end war.

jedibeeftrix
August 19, 2010 9:24 pm

@ Pete – innocent question:

do you believe Warthog to be compromised, and if so how? :)

jedibeeftrix
August 19, 2010 10:07 pm

@ Sven – another innocent question:

“The tankette idea has attracted people since the 1910′s. Very few tankettes and light tanks have proved to be useful in the last hundred years, and as far as I can tell almost none did so in a high-end war.”

What does this lead you to conclude about the utility of CVR(T), both in its intended purpose and in its actual use, and how does this reflect on any successor in the British army?

Thanks.

Brian
Brian
August 19, 2010 10:23 pm

Shoot me down for being hare-brained but does the CVR(T) replacement need to be manned? Would it be possible to control small, tracked high speed recce vehicles with a sensor package and a 40mm cannon for close support from the back of a converted Mastiff or Warrior for example? Armour doesn’t need to be so much of a priority if the vehicle is unmanned. I would also suggest giving very frontline troops the ability to control the UCVR(T) via a laptop, rather like a modernised Ontos/Mechanical Mule Cross.

Rupert Fiennes
Rupert Fiennes
August 19, 2010 11:04 pm

Gavin

All points taken. I was basing the practicality of the idea on Wiesel 2 having a crew of 6 at around 5 tonnes fully laden ; given the advantages of a diesel electric powertrain in volume, 10 tonnes with a decent armour capsule looked doable. The real interesting bit would be to find a sufficiently tested hub motor :-)

R

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 19, 2010 11:19 pm

– innocent answer. . . Do I think Warthog is flawed? In some respects, yes. For the Royal Marines who, by definition, need some sort of amphibious vehicle it has some validity but for general army use? No. I’d prefer something shorter and more heavily armoured for it’s 15 tons.

Of course its size can give it some advantages as a replacement for the old Sultan and Samaritan vehicles or even as an armoured utility vehicle.

Sven Ortmann
August 19, 2010 11:43 pm

@Admin:
I stick with
“Very few tankettes and light tanks have proved to be useful in the last hundred years, and as far as I can tell almost none did so in a high-end war.”
CVR(T) is just a mobile, bulletproof box with a gun or CSS equipment. Great wars have been harsh to some much more promising tools.

:
Humility. Don’t expect much from such a vehicle, and accordingly don’t spend much on it. Use few and use them at good opportunities.
A whole brigade built around hundreds of CVR(T) or similar would be about as foolish as a Stryker brigade.

jedibeeftrix
August 20, 2010 7:21 am

My thanks to both Sven and Pete.

IanB
IanB
August 20, 2010 9:03 am

I wonder if the BAE SEP tracked varient, could be made into a suitable recon unit a la CV90 FRES SV, reduce its length by a road wheel if not more and stick the ascod turret on it. It weighs allegedelly 11 tons but its hard to get proper stats cut it down by a metre or so might get it under the magic 10 tons.

DominicJ
August 20, 2010 11:11 am

““Very few tankettes and light tanks have proved to be useful in the last hundred years, and as far as I can tell almost none did so in a high-end war.””

Light Tanks have limits, but so do all tools.
The linked Armour article isnt the first time I’ve heard someone say the Falklands would have been lost without the CVR(T), although it explains it the best.

There was a incident in one of the Indo-Pak wars in which half a dozen Indian Tanks rolled up a Brigade because they didnt have any anti tank weapons (they were in mountains and didnt think it worth carrying any.)

Do they have any serious use on a Peer-Peer battlefield?
No.

But not all battlefields are peer to peer, most in fact are not.
With better ISTAR armour isnt relevent, plenty of IFV’s with autocannon killed multiple Iraqi MBTs in Desert Storm, I assume CVR(T)s did as well.
Superior ISTAR guided them to the rear, the first the Iraqi forces knew of them was when they exploded.

They themselves dont have to “do” anything, if having them available forces the enemy to deploy long range anti tank weapons to every bunker and carry shorter ranged ones on every patrol.
Just the threat screws with the other sides plans.

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 12:31 pm

“But not all battlefields are peer to peer, most in fact are not.”

The ones that are important for Europeans are – without exception.

No clearly inferior power will ever dare to become an aggressor against us, thus the only wars of necessity we’ll become involved in will be peer vs peer wars.

The other wars are reasons for lining up the responsible politicians and other warmongers for summary execution (by the enemy). There’s no need for preparing for those other wars.

DominicJ
August 20, 2010 12:55 pm

Sven
For Germany, perhaps.
For the UK, and France, and to a degree, Spain, thats not so clear.

The UK extends as far as The Pitcairn islands, France exists in the Indian Ocean.
South Africa is not in conventional thinking, a peer to France, but if it attacked France in the Indian Ocean, French Superiority is far from secure.

Perhaps peer v peer was the wrong phrase.

The CVR(T) has no business fighting Russian Tanks, which is pretty much the only business the Heer is supposed to have.
The British Army has a much broader spectrum of operations, for many of them, a 10t tracked vehicle is useful.

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 1:43 pm

You don’t seriously propose that a nation should wage war over such areas as the uninhabited Crozet islands or New Caledonia whose inhabitants want to become independent anyway?

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 2:15 pm

“…for a number of reasons we need to maintain an expeditionary capability…”

So far no-one was able to convince me on this. That expeditionary capability doesn’t seem to have justified its expenses for decades, and I see little reason why this should change.
It’s more like a habit or tradition than something that’s founded on a rational argument, such as a cost/benefit analysis.

DominicJ
August 20, 2010 2:26 pm

Sven
Perhaps not, but what about Reunion?

Should France abandon 800,000 French Citizens because they’re far from Paris?

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 3:10 pm

800,000. Hmm, the expeditionary warfare capability including aircraft carrier(s?), legion étrangère, paras and all the other stuff costs how much every year? Five to ten billion € including otherwise avoidable overhead costs?

Let’s say 8 billion, that’s so easy to divide by 800,000. That’s 10,000 € per capita.
Nope, that still doesn’t look reasonable to me, especially as the best defence for Reunion would be an indigenous militia of about 50,000 cheaply armed militiamen.

DominicJ
August 20, 2010 3:18 pm

And yet you continue to believe that The US and UK should devote their spending to protecting Germanys eastern border….

US citizens at risk, 0

DominicJ
August 20, 2010 3:31 pm

Just shy of 3million French Citizens live in the O/T’s, 187,500 of them that would need to be in the militia.
Thats not cheap, even if they only train half a day a week.
Over a 5 day week thats 18,750 full time soldier equivilants about 15% of the size of the proper French army.

And that cost is just to fend off third world countries.
If India decided it wanted its historic lands back, coughGoacough, the militia would be pretty much useless anyway.
They’d be steam rollered if they fought and any guerilla actions could be blockaded out of resources.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
August 20, 2010 3:35 pm

I am a fan of the CVR(T) family and actually got stuck in the drivers seat of one when visiting the Staffords in Germany in the 80s. Its protection levels are the biggest problem I strongly believe in the current climate. People have seen the danger both IEDs and cheap Infantry Anti-Tank Weapons (IATW) pose and the level of protection expected form new IFVs has risen accordingly with the Isreali Namer the ultimate expression. THe CVR(T) was as built prtected against small arms and artillery splinters. The Slat srmoutr gave it some protection against IATW but at a severe weaight penalty.

AS has been already mentioned the Army appears now to be using the FRES programme as a way to replace not only the CVR(T) but the even older FV432 series which is a good thing and long over due. Does the Army need a small lightweight AFV for close recce, at the present I would say no. Close recce can be performed by UAVs in current operations but I would suggest thet if the requirement reappears in a future operation an OTS UOR would be used.

As for the Stormer, though newer and larger than the CVR(T) it has all the same limitation. The 2 versions in use with the Army (HVM and Mine Layer) could be re-engineered but surely a family based on the even mewer ASCOD 2 would be better.

The Warthog like the BV are two hulled for a reason. Teh front cab carries the power train and the rear the cargo. Compare the front to a HGV tractor and you will realise that there isn’t much room for extra equipment and in doind so you would inccrease its foot print comsiderably. However I do think that as a platform both the Warthog and BV have a lot more potential than the Army is currently using and I think the Army should follow the RMs lead and provide Warthog Cpmpanies to light Role Battalions allowing them greater flexibiliy and improving the mobility of their support sections.

Finally though IEDs are improvised mines they are on the whole much larger and destructive and usually command detonated. Yes large quantities of mines were laid in the Falklands but the Argentinians usually follow the rules and the minefield mostly comprised of AP mines as they didn’r expect AFVs and the recoeded where the minefields were and marked them.

Euan
Euan
August 20, 2010 4:44 pm

Hello again only me sorry to butt in with a kinda off topic comment.

There seems to be quite a few comments flying around about expeditionary capability which I personally think is important for some of the European nations granted not all of them. Anyhow the point is that almost all of the overseas territories are islands so the best way to protect them is by naval power. Yet here we are talking about this in regards to the CVR(T) and replacement vehicle deployability which if you are going by sea or protecting overseas territories is far less of an issue than it would otherwise be.

I think with CVR(T) we are of course losing a valuable capability and it would be very nice to keep it but from my perspective its value seems to be exaggerated a little bit. For example CVR(T) was not flown to the Falkland’s it went by ship and heavier vehicles could do the same as we now have soon to be had a larger amphibious capability. Naturally you can’t sling heavier vehicles under a chopper but we now have Apache marginally better helicopter transport and the RM’s now have Vikings etc they can use. So in my tiny mind the gap seems to be being bridged or mitigated with other equipment and capabilities now available that were not really around back then when CVR(T) was kicking butt.

Hmm now I refresh the page and read Lord Jim’s new comment…very good comment :)

Dean
Dean
August 20, 2010 4:51 pm

Gentlemen,

A very good post and thread and something very very close to my heart.

I am now retired from the Army and embarking on my second career, but I spent most of my 22 years serving in CVR(T) and most of what has been written here has been discussed by the men that did crew them and still do! It is a fantastic piece of equipement, years ahead of its time when designed and that very fact that there is literally nothing that can do what it does, on the market today, marks it as still being a unique and valued capabiltiy, that as was written in the article, we loose at our peril.

In the Falklands, it was 10 years old, relegated to secondry roles for fear it would not be able to traverse the terrain, well it did and in the post op reports, they wanted a Sqn, if not a Regt down there.

In Granby it was written off again because “it wouldn’t keep up” with Challenger/Warrior. Well not only did it, but it was proved that both in the Close and Formation Recce role, the need for the manned platform to FIND the enemy, FIX him and if it went pear shaped could stand up for itself till the big boys arrived, was as valuable as ever and the platform of choice? CVR(T).

In the Balkans, during the winter of ’93-’94, the only vehicle that could move over roads with inches of black ice, offer protection against IDF and traverse the steep, snowy terrain to get the job done was CVR(T).

During Telic 1 it was engaging and holding its own in fights with T55 while it’s human crew made the decisions to use Arty, Air or other ground units to out manouvre the enemy.

On Herrick with Mine blast Protection, balistic protection and bar armour, not only does it mean the crew walk away from mine strikes and RPG strikes, I’ve seen it first hand, but in somecases the vehilce not only survives, but continues to fight! (But the extra protection does push it to 11 tonnes!)
So what it needed?

It needs to be stealthy, small, 3-4 man crew, good optics out to 4km, good comms, 10 AUW, good protection all round, (mines are one thing, but an insurgent with an IED will just keep making them bigger until it defeats the target, CR2 in Iraq).

As has been mentioned what is needed it a bottom to top redesign of CVR(T), using modern technologies and systems to give us the small, agile, deployable sub 10 tonne package that has proven to be the most flexible piece of kit the Brtish Army has next to its soldiers!

The tech is out there, in the right package you would have a 21st century CVR(T) that could not just replace it, but do it better, be more functional and ergonomic for the crew and meet who knows what requierments in the years to come.

Why is CVR(T) so good at what it does?

It has the perfect balance of Armour/Protection?Firepower but it is its size and weight that means it can go anywhere and do anything.
I for one, along with many other will shed a tear when it finally backs in it the hanger for the last time.

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 5:12 pm

@DominicJ
“And yet you continue to believe that The US and UK should devote their spending to protecting Germanys eastern border….

US citizens at risk, 0”

NATO’s Eastern and Southern frontiers, not Germany’s border.
These are multinational treaty commitments (North Atlantic Treaty and for the UK also Treaty of Lissabon). They can feel free to leave both treaties if they feel that’s in their best interest.

The purpose of NATO is mostly that it keeps its members from feeling threatened by the treaty’s members (excluding Greece/Turkey). NATO keeps Europe and US allied, preventing them from becoming overt the rivals that they’re naturally.
The collective preparation for the defence of an alliance’s frontier is a cheap thing in comparison to preparing for a stand-alone national defence.

An indigenous militia can be far cheaper and reliable than a distant professional expeditionary force. Militiamen need to train at most for two weeks per year to maintain a force that can easily beat Third World invasion threats and outnumbered mercenaries.

And as I mentioned before; many of those “French” citizens in overseas territories would prefer to be independent, such as the citizens of New Caledonia which will likely become independent in a decade.

IanB
IanB
August 20, 2010 5:15 pm

Perhaps just a copy built on a terrier chassis with a 40mm cta gun

Mike W
August 20, 2010 7:28 pm

CVR(T) has been exported to well over twenty countries, including Belgium, Brunei, Ireland, Indonesia, Jordan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman and Thailand. That kind of export success shows the need for such a vehicle. It possesses qualities very much in demand in all kinds of conflict. It was, and still is, one of the few fast, nippy TRACKED reconnaissance reconnaissance vehicles available.

You can therefore imagine how much I agree with Dean’s comments:
“So what is needed? It needs to be stealthy, small, 3-4 man crew, good optics out to 4km, good comms, 10 AUW, good protection all round …

As has been mentioned what is needed it a bottom to top redesign of CVR(T), using modern technologies and systems to give us the small, agile, deployable sub 10 tonne package that has proven to be the most flexible piece of kit the Brtish Army has next to its soldiers!”

So let’s get designing and building the damned thing. Call in some experts from the old Alvis firm if necessary and perhaps form a new company, if BAE won’t touch it! It would be another world beater for Britain.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 20, 2010 8:19 pm

@Lord Jim – “Does the Army need a small lightweight AFV for close recce, at the present I would say no. Close recce can be performed by UAVs in current operations ”

UAV’s a useful, no argument, but an armoured, mobile scout can be used to exploit gaps in the enemy line and, if backed up properly, to hold ground too. No UAV can do that. The FRES (SV) no matter how good a vehicle it turns out to be, is really too big to replace CVR(t) – it’s the same size as a Centurion for gods sake!

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 20, 2010 8:23 pm

Is it, perhaps, acceptable to ask what a CVR(t) replacement should be like? Given a clean sheet of paper what should be built?

Dean
Dean
August 20, 2010 9:46 pm

Adim, thank you for the welcome, I am hooked!

You are spot on, on the UAV front, found them excellent in Afghanistan for real time “eye in the sky” stuff on deliberate ops, but the UAV does have its limitations.

In the Balkans I spent three week in a reactive O.P. in CVR(T), self deployed, supported and recovered, there will always be a need for manned eyes and ears on the ground.

If you had a blank sheet of paper what would you come up with?

I would wager something that looks like a CVR(T), remember tech should also get smaller as it gets more advanced, using modern materials and starting with the blank canvas, but the parameters of size and weight, the only other parts of the equation are comms and optics, wpn systems? (20mm bushmaster?).

The protection shouldcome from the hull material.

On the subject of wpn systems, loosing the 76mm on CVR(T) was another capabiltiy we lost and have never got back, the ability to use direct and indirect fire, HE, HESH, Smoke and Cannister, that in Afghanistan and Iraq would be a capabiltiy no commander would want to be without!

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 10:01 pm

“Pete Arundel August 20, 2010

Is it, perhaps, acceptable to ask what a CVR(T) replacement should be like? Given a clean sheet of paper what should be built?

Build a 13-17 metric ton APC family similar to SEP (dieselelectric drive).

You can easily move from there to a shortened (-1 road wheel) and less wide version for mountain and airborne troops at 10 metric tons and replace the CVR(T) with it.

Euan
Euan
August 20, 2010 10:38 pm

Ooo! The BAE SEP has been mentioned again :)

I still think we should be going for the BAE SEP family as it’s much lighter and more advanced than either the ASCOD or CV-90 and as Sven just pointed out you could add to the family. The BAE Alligator I swear is a derivative of the R&D effort and comes in both 6×6 and the larger 8×8 version. The SEP family which is relatively lightweight would compose the light end of the heavy end of Challenger 2 and the current Warrior. The SEP family would also replace the FV430 family of vehicles reducing the number of types in service which I believe does fit in with the Think Defence line of ruthless commonality?

Sven Ortmann
August 20, 2010 11:49 pm

I was very disappointed when the SEP concept appeared to be dying a few years ago. It was – and is – the only real hope for a light tracked APC during a huge 8×8 fashion.

It’s probably too much on the gold-plated side, though.

Euan
Euan
August 21, 2010 12:31 am

Sven I totally agree it is currently the only hope for a light tracked APC amongst all this 8×8 wheeled “high mobility” madness. I don’t think its gold plated at all because I see it as simply the next step forward along the road in vehicle design and evolution with Diesel electric drive and rubber band tracks. I suppose military organisations might see it as gold plated or revolutionary rather than evolutionary as we may see it as they tend to err on the side of caution for understandable reasons. However the technology is not that far a leap forward and has been risk reduced to some extent already and if taken seriously could have its problems discovered and fixed in a reasonable period of time.

Jasons
Jasons
August 21, 2010 9:58 am

SEP does seem to look like a 21st century CVR(T).

Curiously, BAE are promoting the Alligator as an 8 x 8. No sign of the tracked or six wheel versions.

I have a couple of questions; are we saying, definitively, tracks better than wheels? and are we conflating CVR(T) with Scimitar? In other words are we just talking about a Scimitar replacement here or the whole class?

Sven Ortmann
August 21, 2010 10:17 am

“…are we saying, definitively, tracks better than wheels?”

The tracks vs. wheels debate is old and should be avoided.

Both have their areas of superiority. Offroad movement on terrain with obstacles or very soft ground de facto requires tracks. Combat troops who want to move on the battlefield (not just into it) want to be unpredictable and have many route options, therefore they should be equipped with tracked vehicles despite their disadvantages.

Wheels and tracks are imperfect substitutes up to about 30 tons, at higher weight do tracks rule.

The choice of wheels or tracks at up to 30 tons influences the tactical repertoire, march performance and logistical needs of the units very much.

The launch of the recent 8×8 fashion was initiated by some questionable conclusions at the panicked (after the TF Hawk debacle) top leadership of the U.S.Army.

The momentum of the fashion as a whole rests on

* assumptions about the power of small groups of infantry (~forward observers with infantry training),
* the trust in high tech sensors and indirect fires that seemed to reduce the need for brutal vehicle duel combat and finally
* a good deal of optimism about the future enemies (the famous “we could have won against Iraq in 1991 with 105mm guns on trucks instead of Abrams with 120mm guns” remark and attitude).

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 21, 2010 10:44 am

I think that hybrid diesel/electric drive is the way to do along with hydragas suspension and, probably, band tracks too. If suffiently powerful hub motors are available then it would be possible to put all the running gear external to a fairly deep V shaped hull making all the suspension units sacrificial. IED protection could be much better than CVR(t).

Does anyone know what happened to Electric Armour? ( http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/03/uk-reports-progress-to-electric-armor.html ). Much easier to integrate such a system into a new vehicle from the start especially if it already has an electric drive system.

Sven Ortmann
August 21, 2010 11:13 am

Electric armour is still impractical and will probably remain so.

Jedibeeftrix
August 21, 2010 12:06 pm

To Sven –

“So far no-one was able to convince me on this. That expeditionary capability doesn’t seem to have justified its expenses for decades, and I see little reason why this should change.”

I would respectfully suggest that is because you refuse to accept the political potential in the use, or threat, of military action.

“It’s more like a habit or tradition than something that’s founded on a rational argument, such as a cost/benefit analysis.”

Agreed, it is not something that can be mathematically analysed like a battlefield tactic, and its only useful if the British people are happy to see military force used to achieve political goals.

Jedibeeftrix
August 21, 2010 12:22 pm

couple of questions:

1. Could the 40mm CTA be fitted to a vehicle the size of CVR(T)?

2. Would in-wheel electric motors make a more mine resistant hull shape possible?

3. Would a hybrid-electric drive with its lack of running gear create more internal volume?

4. Is 10 tonne [essential], or should be shoot for three in an A400, which would allow 12 tonnes and 5.75m length?

Sven Ortmann
August 21, 2010 12:34 pm

“I would respectfully suggest that is because you refuse to accept the political potential in the use, or threat, of military action.”

Actually, this is strictly illegal. It’s been illegal since the Briand-Kellog Pact, Charter of the United Nations and again confirmed by the North Atlantic Treaty (meeting the UN Charter is a more strict requirement of the NATO treaty than the actual collective defence effort!). All are still binding and in effect at the rank of a law in our countries.

“The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.”
http://www.nato.int/docu/basictxt/treaty.htm

I’m much more knowledgeable on history than on military affairs and on this basis I’ve come to the conclusion that the potential you mentioned is simply not worth it. Even the huge amount of illusion and delusion that’s associated with the appraisal of wars cannot hide that warfare is nothing that really produces net gains for an aggressive nation.
Warfare is good for defence, but not for offence.

Even conquering the British Empire was useless for the average standard of living in England at all times. The people had the illusion of greatness, but on average they weren’t better off than people in countries with no colonies whatsoever.

The real advantages of empires come from trade, and even those were small (luxury goods, new seeds) until maritime transportation became more cost-effective in the 19th century.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 21, 2010 3:25 pm

1. Could the 40mm CTA be fitted to a vehicle the size of CVR(T)?

Yes. Warrior’s turret ring is no bigger than Scimitar or Scorpion. If you can squeeze a 90mm Cockerill gun into a Scorpion I’m sure you can get a 40mm CTA!

2. Would in-wheel electric motors make a more mine resistant hull shape possible?

Yes – but see point 3 . . .

3. Would a hybrid-electric drive with its lack of running gear create more internal volume?

Yes – but not if you then choose a deep V hull form in order to be more resistant to IEDs

4. Is 10 tonne [essential], or should be shoot for three in an A400, which would allow 12 tonnes and 5.75m length?

I suspect you run into the protection Vs mobility argument. You pays your money and takes your choice . . .

Jedibeeftrix
August 21, 2010 3:57 pm

“Actually, this is strictly illegal. It’s been illegal since the Briand-Kellog Pact, Charter of the United Nations and again confirmed by the North Atlantic Treaty (meeting the UN Charter is a more strict requirement of the NATO treaty than the actual collective defence effort!). All are still binding and in effect at the rank of a law in our countries.”

Which is why its dressed up as collective security, UNSC resolutions etc, it still happens.

“I suspect you run into the protection Vs mobility argument. You pays your money and takes your choice . . .”

What’s your take, is 10 tonne [essential], or should be shoot for three in an A400, which would allow 12 tonnes and 5.75m length?

Sven Ortmann
August 21, 2010 4:23 pm

“What’s your take, is 10 tonne [essential], or should be shoot for three in an A400, which would allow 12 tonnes and 5.75m length?”

I wouldn’t expect more than 28 metric tons payload for an early series A400M, or 24 metric tons for a practically useful range without midair refuelling.
Airbus is failing badly.

Again, develop a proper light tracked APC with variants and then create an even more compact & light version for parachute and mountain troops.

Jedibeeftrix
August 21, 2010 4:28 pm

Cheers Sven.

If the chinook limit isn’t vital, then twelve tonnes would still appear to be the maximum weight, but based on two vehicles rather than three for A400 transportation.

Is that ten tonne limit vital for a light-weight tracked vehicle?

Euan
Euan
August 21, 2010 5:47 pm

A thought just occurred to me from reading the on-going comments about the weight limit for Chinook transportability. The BAE SEP uses a modular system a chassis and modular podded payload would it be possible to lift both separately as they should both be around or below the weight limit? Although perhaps the chassis might be a bit too heavy but even then surely new pods could be lifted to where they are needed?

Ok it might be a bit hairbrained but worth a shot.

Sven Ortmann
August 21, 2010 6:19 pm

Jedibeeftrix:
“Is that ten tonne limit vital for a light-weight tracked vehicle?”

Get this from a library:
http://www.amazon.com/Technology-Tanks-Vols-Richard-Ogorkiewicz/dp/0710605951

and read this as well:
http://rapidshare.com/files/414281026/Rowland.rar

Jedibeeftrix
August 21, 2010 8:47 pm

my thanks to both Sven and admin.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
August 22, 2010 12:17 am

Sorry for coming late to this dust-up, been pacifying relatives (!)

Are we really replacing the CVR(T) with something that weighs as much as a T-72? I though FRES (scout) was supposed to weigh in at 25 tonnes (but capable of being up-armoured)?

Dean’s comments on IED’s strikes home. IED’s will *always* grow to the size they need to be to destroy their targets.

Admittedly there is only “so much” destructive force that improvised/civillian explosives can bring to bear without using up much of their energy in blowing themselves apart; but there are always bakc-channels available to getting quantities of C4 or equivalent to use, as was seen in Iraq.

The solution to the IED menace is not bigger and better MRAP vehicles – these just treat the symptoms. The solution to IEDs is better Intelligence and a willingness to target and shut doen IED factories and the skilled bomb makers.

NastyNidge
NastyNidge
August 22, 2010 4:49 pm

I’ve been reading threads on similar subjects on different sites and the feedback that seems to be to the fore is that the Jackal vehicles are proving to be ideal in the Brigade Recon role and are deployed in many instances where CVR(T) cannot go. The only issue they have is with optics but this is partially made up for by using Javelin.
Given that heavy armour is on the wane is it more likely that the ASCOD will be bought in small numbers for armoured formation recon role and possibly for command and control and lighter infantry brigades use Jackal or a derivitive. I doubt anyone is going to re-visit CVR(T) soon.

Jed
Jed
August 22, 2010 6:46 pm

mmm’ not sure I really understand this introspective naval gazing with respect to CVR(T).

So we are intending replacing it with a heavier vehicle with the logistics issues that implies – so what ?

We dont have a air mobile / air assault requirement for FRES (SV) but there does seem to be a nascent “medium armour” role.

CVR(T) was a vehicle of a different age, a different time, and a different set of requirements. The vehicle is woefully under protected for a modern battlefield, in fact it was under protected for a 1970’s central European battlefield too, but the idea was its mobility made of for lack of protection. Thus it has always been, since the days of Greek Hoplite, the Phonexian Phalanx and the Roman Legion.

The CVR(T)’s Jaguar petrol engine endowed it with great speed, and its low weight contributes to tactical mobility, but like WWII Sherman’s it would ‘brew up’ horribly if hit be something that could breach the petrol tank. In fact I think the base CVR(T) level of armour is vulnverable to 14.5mm AP rounds, never mind auto-cannon or RPG.

IF we had a requirement for a highly mobile, air transportable light armoured recce vehicle, we should just buy Weasel 2 instead of re-inventing the wheel.

DominicJ
DominicJ
August 22, 2010 7:48 pm

Jed
Fres came about because the Russians beat us to Pristina.
Could the Fres SV win that race?

Sven Ortmann
August 23, 2010 2:44 pm

No vehicle could win that race because the Russians were the only ones who were in a hurry and chose to use Bosnia-based troops for the Kosovo mission.
The Western transportation that lost the “race” to Pristina was 900 km/h air-lift.

Jed
Jed
August 23, 2010 10:14 pm

Admin said: “Jed, would you characterise Snatch, Pinzgauer, Panther, WMIK, Jackal etc etc as woefully under protected?”

Erm, Y E S – but they are all for different roles, only some of which are scout / recce:

Snatch – internal security vehicle (aka ‘death trap’)
WMIK – unarmoured scout recce
Jackal – supposedely mine / IED protected replacement for WMIK – so light armoured scout / recce
Pinz – unarmoured logistics
Panther – light armoured command / liaison.

In the context of your previous writings, surely Jackal is the wheeled equivalent of CVR(T) – doing the roles of what might have been done by Daimler scout cars, or the Ferret and Fox armoured cars in later years.

Ref: ” bridges, tracks, trackways, boggy terrain etc will all present problems for FRES Scout and this surely makes it less effective in its role”

OK, then we should be looking for an off the shelf modern replacement for Ferret / Fox, so maybe a lighter wheeled vehicle to supplement FRES (SV) NOT trying to rebuild CVR(T) for the 2020’s ???

Peter J
Peter J
August 24, 2010 10:04 pm

CVR(T) is being rehulled and will have significantly better mine blast protection on the few for Afghanistan. I’m sure at a far lower cost to FRES SV, which still seems like Warrior. The Guys need a small vehicle for access in the towns, otherwise it would have been withdrawn without this upgrade. So the MoD acknowledge the need for a light vehicles (they will have Warthog, but thats got mobility problems) and apparently WR type vehicle cannot do it, so why then do we think FREs is the answer. My view – the army likes new toys just like the other forces and upgrading CVRT at a fraction of the price is not what they are after. Can see it being give the bums rush in the SDSR to remove it.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
October 17, 2010 11:34 pm

Sorry to resurrect this thread once more but I have just come across the UDES-XX-20 and though that the Warthog fans amongst us would like to see it . . .

http://mainbattletanks.czweb.org/Tanky/udes-20.jpg
http://strv102r.tripod.com/strv_2000.htm
http://www.gotavapen.se/bilder/tanks/udes_xx20.jpg