What Does a CVR(T) Replacement Look Like – Part 1

As we have seen in previous posts there seems to be some uncertainty about FRES Scout, whilst there is no doubt it will be an improvement over CVR(T) in terms of protection, sensors and survivability, this comes at a significant cost.

It is significantly heavier and larger.

This means we can only deploy it by sea or C17, it cannot be lifted by Chinook or A400, will be restricted by bridge class, cannot use the Air Portable Ferry Bridge or Class 30 trackway, will not be as capable of traversing soft ground, it’s width will restrict movement and to move it into position, it will require the services a heavy equipment transporter, one of the 79 currently in service.

Hardly Rapid

Jackal, Coyote and WMIK have also been pressed into service in the recce roles. Viking and Warthog have also been used in the high mobility manoeuvre support roles.

If we are thinking about a CVR(T) replacement, Jackal, Coyote, Viking and Warthog have to be considered

The. Jackal family of vehicles are very well regarded by their users and voicing any criticism is tantamount to heresy!

They have very good mobility, long range, high speed and are a stable platform for the HMG, GPMG and GMG but as you can see in this video are vulnerable to direct and indirect fire and are a little top heavy.

The Supacat Extenda, in use with special forces, can also be carried internally by Chinook, extending the range of the Chinook considerably.

Viking is a protected mobility vehicle but because was it vulnerable to IED’s is now being replaced in Afghanistan by the 19 tonne ST Kinetics Bronco, or Warthog in UK service.

So before we get into weights and measures, weapons and sensors, tracks and engines, we must first consider if, in the light of the Jackal and Warthog, we actually need a replacement.

CVR(T) and the Jackal or Warthog are apples and oranges and we should be cautious about using Afghanistan as a template for the future.

In making the case for a CVR(T) replacement that is broadly similar I thought a few quotes from others better qualified than I might do the job…

Moreover, there are some pieces of equipment that provide you with that flexibility, such as a medium mortar of the 81mm size, light artillery of good range and mobility, and light armour. It is significant I think that seventy-three of the seventy-four deployments have involved light armour at some stage in the campaign. Initially, light armor is used in the reconnaissance role for the protection and development of the lodgement area, beach head or air head, and also in subsequent operations, of course, not forgetting the pacification phase of an operation or stabilization or whatever you like to call it, when, again, (particularly) wheeled or light tracked armoured vehicles have been extremely useful. So there’s flexibility derived from both these characteristics of light forces, without which you know one could be really pushed about.

Colonel Neville Pughe, Parachute Regiment

I quite agree, and it is significant that the two most important areas of concern of the several areas that have been singled out for more work in terms of the characteristics of 3 Commando Brigade, as a result of our experiences in the Falklands (and we had the whole brigade down there) were the absence of any light armour in the 3 Commando Brigade and also the absence of air defence. There was light armour down there as you know, but it didn’t belong to us. We are now looking for both of those things to enhance the capabilities of 3 Commando Brigade, without making us into a heavy brigade which loses all of its light infantry advantages.

Colonel Andrew Whitehead of 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines

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 equipment, 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 capability, that as was written in the article, we loose at our peril.

In the Falklands, it was 10 years old, relegated to secondary 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 manoeuvre the enemy.

On Herrick with Mine blast Protection, ballistic 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 some cases the vehicle not only survives, but continues to fight! (But the extra protection does push it to 11 tonnes!)

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 into the hanger for the last time.

Dean, a Think Defence commenter

Some more background on CVR(T) in the Falklands can be read here including…

The Blues and Royals went ashore at San Carlos without incident and were quickly incorporated into the defence, protecting the build up phase of the operation. During this phase, the CVRs were used for hauling supplies and for air defence using their coaxially mounted 7.62-mm machine guns. One Scimitar claimed credit for downing an A4 Skyhawk at a 1,000m with its 30-mm gun. After the build up phase, the CVRs moved south to assist with the landings at Fitzroy and Bluff Cove. The CVRs accompanied 3 Para and 45 Commando (both are light infantry regiments) on their 50 mile march, ending up the only vehicles capable of making the cross country journey.

The sensation of driving across the water logged surface was described as similar to driving on a water bed. At Bluff Cove the CVRs were again pressed into air defence service. Civilians observing the air attacks on the Sir Galahad and Sir Tristan at Bluffs Cove claim to have seen one of the CVRs hit its target. In spite of losses, the British forces continued their move toward Port Stanley.

Battles fought across the high ground above Port Stanley were planned to take place at night and involved close direct and indirect fire support. The first phase-attack was opened by 3 Para with their assault on Mount Longdon. Initial  surprise was achieved in the darkness, but the enemy were soon alert and resisted fiercely with heavy accurate fire. 4 Troop provided valuable direct fire support with their 76mm, firing HESH. The battle for the eastern sector of Mount Longdon was to last 6 hours and, for the western half, 4 hours. The enemy positions were captured by a process of calling for very close fire support, at times within 50 meters of the leading British troops.

Two techniques used by the British employing the CVRs proved very successful. The first involved a diversionary attack on the night of 12 June. In the attack, the Scots Guards employed 4 Troop in a reconnaissance role and then a direct fire role insupport of the diversionary assault. The impact of the use of the CVRs was instrumental deceiving the enemy.

The Argentine commander later admitted that “…he had been entirely deceived by the diversionary attack into thinking it was the main attack on his position”

The other technique employed by the CVRs is known as “zapping”: …the CVR crew would engage the Argentine position with a brief burst of machine gun fire provoking a response, which was promptly silenced by the main gun. The 30mm RARDEN cannon, with its high velocity and great accuracy, was much favoured for this technique.

Few Argentines felt able to reply after being zapped.

Armour, played key roles during the Falklands War performing reconnaissance, security, and support of dismounted manoeuvre missions. The presence of the CVRs during the initial build up phase provided a degree of security otherwise not available had an attack been launched by the Argentineans, particularly if they had used their 90-mm gun equipped Panhards (wheeled armoured vehicles). Once again, armoured vehicles surprised their supporters and silenced the critics with their great mobility in terrain considered unacceptable. When employed in support of infantry, the CVRs provided critical direct fire, especially with their passive sights during the hours of darkness. Additional roles of air defence and aiding the logistics only enhanced the primary fire support role provided by the CVRs.

 

Before I move on to discussing the characteristics of a replacement, here are a few videos of CVR(T) in action

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Jedibeeftrix
August 22, 2010 12:05 am

i’m sold on the concept, i’m just worried that the weight would prove a problem in the same way it has done for supermini’s; a mini was about 650kg, a modern equivalent is closer to a tonne because of crumple zones, safety features, more wiring, etc.

i fear that a 10t CVR(T) mk2 would weigh a lot more these days for similar reasons, despite technological advances.

witness ascod!

Mike W
August 22, 2010 2:47 pm

Can anyone remember a vehicle called the SIKA? It was a reconnaissance vehicle developed by a consortium including Lockheed Martin and BAE. For many years it seemed to be one of the front runners for a new British Army recce vehicle. At the time I imagined that that was what a Scimitar successor would look like but now I can find none of the specifications. Is it still around, does anyone know?

Peter Arundel
Peter Arundel
August 22, 2010 3:22 pm

@Mike – That was part, along with Lancer, of the TRACER program ( https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2010/03/fres-scout-%E2%80%93-spot-the-difference/ ). There’s much that was good about it – hybrid electric transmission, band tracks, sensor mast – but the chassis would be more versatile if it was front engined.

Sven Ortmann
August 22, 2010 3:37 pm

Didn’t the MoD recently award a contract to rebuild CVR(T)s?

Mike W
August 22, 2010 4:54 pm

Pete,

Thanks for the information. Yes, it does look as if there was much good about it, with ideas that are still very much being discussed: “hybrid electric transmission, band tracks, sensor mast”.

Interesting too to note that the weapon on the SIKA contender is the 40mm Cased Telescopic Ammunition (CTA) cannon from CTAI, the very same weapon that will equip the Warrior CSP and FRES Scout. Any possibility of the vehicle being revived?

Sven,

I keep reading about that contract in different places but has the contract been confirmed yet? In some respects the MOD has been rather secretive about it?

x
x
August 22, 2010 6:25 pm

Are you on about “Stormer 30” Jedibeeftix?

I think the reason why Jackal crews love them is more to do with them having had too much sun due to the vehicle lacking a roof than anything else!!!!! Though I can see advantages to troops being acclimatized and being, shall we say, immersed in the territory they are moving through.

From what I am lead to believe from discussions with those who have been to A-stan and from what I have read is that the Taliban ambush by using Russian 14.7mm machines guns (before scruying off.) Therefore I can’t see why a reconnaissance formation wouldn’t want a weapon that out ranges the 14.7mm with a bit extra of thump.

I know there a lot of disadvantages to ASCOD because of its weight. But I think we missed by trick but not going with the CV90. I think there is some merit to the American cavalry organisation. And the CV90 would allowed FRR to have a heavy troop with 120mm. (Though I would saved some money and gone with an off the shelf and proven Bofors 40mm.)

Jasons
Jasons
August 22, 2010 7:01 pm

The Jackal almost merits a post of it’s own. It’s a curious beast; seemingly well liked by the army and now being supplied to the Aussies, the Dutch and the Danes, but the subject of constant criticism from outside because of it’s apparent vulnerability.

Jed
Jed
August 22, 2010 7:27 pm

Dean’s comments in the post are very interesting, and I have to take his comments on faith, although I don’t believe there is any such thing as a “perfect” balance between mobility and protection. If the bar armour is protecting against RPG then all well and good, but as we know, there will always be bigger and bigger IED / mines, so the improved (?) blast protection is no silver bullet.

As for Jackal, if it was not ‘sold’ as being an IED / mine protected recce vehicle, I could maybe put up with it. NO vehicle which positions the crew over the axles is worth of consideration, hence the crew members returning to the UK with amputated legs.

I know there will never be a perfect solution. I for one would rather see UK commit to the CV90 family for better ‘value for money’ from off the shelf kit in the current financial environment, but it’s not perfect either. No vehicle is.

Viking and Warthog are troop carriers. Not saying you cant fit a RWS on the forward module and mast mounted sensors on the rear, but it depends on your conops.

We have discussed the air mobility issues before, if that’s what you NEED then buy some Weasel 2.

If you want light weight armour to provide direct fire support to ‘light’ infantry (a modern Bren Gun Carrier if you will) then Weasel with auto-cannon or paired 12.7mm MG and 40mm GMG might fit the bill.

In fact, as for the Falklands example of this ‘fire support’ role, should we not examine this requirement in the light of modern infantry support weapons such 60mm mortars, six round 40mm grenade launchers with medium velocity grenades (i.e. ranges out to 800m), under barrel grenade launchers on individual assault weapons, greater availability of large calibre sniper rifles, 7.62mm “designated marksmen” rifles etc etc…???

In the end, despite Dean’s comments I am not convinced of the requirement for a ‘simple’ 1 for 1 CVR(T) replacement ;-(

x
x
August 22, 2010 7:36 pm

Thanks!

I don’t keep up with things like I used to and sometimes (lots of times!) things pass me by….

…….I shall have a quick shufty now.

x
x
August 22, 2010 7:41 pm

Perhaps Jackal has “something” we armchair generals don’t quite get?

We need somebody in the know to let us in on the secret…..

Jed makes some good points. I think the media forget, well just don’t know, that a military vehicle sits somewhere in a triangle defined by mobility, armour, and firepower. Hence all the talk about Viking being a poor vehicle.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 22, 2010 7:46 pm

– You’re right about blast protection and, as ong as our CVR(t) can protect it’s crew from mine strikes, it shouldn’t be a big factor in the design of a Scout Vehicle. If you’re patrolling in areas with a high IED risk then use a blast protected vehicle not your light scout assets . . .
The CV90 is a good MICV, I’m sure, but like ASCOD it’s too damn big! Another point against it is that it’s no better than Warrior. Warrior has proven survivable and, once re-armed, has firepower as good as CV9040. Both ASCOD and CV90 are also old platforms now with orsion bar suspension takes up space inside the hull and make nasty projectiles when something big goes off under the vehicle. The Hydragas system as proven on the Challenger is external to the hull and makes for a better ride too.

Viking and Warthog aren’t really tracked vehicles. they’re wheeled articulated vehicles that happen to run on tracks. They lack the ability to make a neutral turn or manoeuvre in tight urban areas like a regular tracked vehicle. Not a good feature for a scout which will, at some time, want to turn around and run like hell for friendly lines!

As for direct fire support, it’s worth pointing out that heavy weapons that don’t have to be schlepped around by the infantry will always be popular with the infantry . . .

Brian
Brian
August 22, 2010 7:56 pm

One reason for the popularity of the Jackal among its uninjured users is the increased situational awareness that the open configuration affords. The Israelis favoured open-topped vehicles like the M3 half-track and RAMTA for this reason. Being able to see the threat that split second sooner increases one’s chances.

DominicJ
DominicJ
August 22, 2010 7:58 pm

Jeds kind of hit a point I’ve been wrestling with.
How many of these things do we need?

If we assume Jedis army organisation, and give all 15 light infantry (inc Para and Marine) battalions a light armour company, a full squadron, they cease to be that light, and we still only have 300ish vehicles.
Unless we can sell thousands on the export markets, we’re looking at a single CVR(T) variant given a facelift, not a dozen variants of a brand new vehicle.

As for need.
The Paras (at Goose Green) were technicaly supplied with an 81mm mortar battery, long range ATGMs and some, if not enough, machine guns.
They couldnt be carried on the march, so they went into battle with rifles and three helicopter delivered field guns with limited ammunition.
Fair enough, that could have been solved with an all terrain cargo capability.

DominicJ
DominicJ
August 22, 2010 8:07 pm

Soldiers like Jackal because its the best of a bad bunch.

It has very good comparative Situational Awareness
It has very good comparative firepower
It has very good comparative IED survival, none.

Situational Awaeness isnt going to help against an airstrike or artillery barrage
It is unarmed compared to an MBT
IED survival isnt relevent in a proper war.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
August 22, 2010 8:10 pm

Features I like to see on a CVR(t) replacement

So, in no particular order . . .

Engine alongside the driver – Yes, I know this means that the engine doesn’t protect the driver but it allows for a lower profile and still leaves the rear of the chassis open for other variants. APC, minelayer, ATGW carrier, AAM carrier.

Hydragas Supension – External to the hull so leaves more space inside or the same space but a lower profile.

Modular Armour Package – Look at LeClerc. The UK has a deserved reputaion for producing excellent armour. Utilise it!

Hybrid Electric Drive – With the ability to move on batteries alone (very quiet . . .) Better use of internal space and lots of power available to run your extensive electronic suite (and it’s extensive cooling needs!)

Band Tracks – Quieter than links and not just outside. Less noise inside means a fresher crew . . .

Sensor suite integration with other platforms – Network ALL your scouts not only with each other but with the AAC Apaches, UAVs and the RAF’s recce platforms too.

Sensor mast – Don’t expose your vehicle unless you have to. I once saw a demonstration of the MMW radar in the WAH-64 Apache. That’s 90’s technology so it should be possible to do better now. It should have a Laser designator, of course, and the best optical systems we can afford.

Unmanned turret – not so sure about this point because I still think that spacial awareness is important to the vehicle commander and viewing the world on screens can’t compare to actually looking at it BUT the need to protect the crew under the best possible armour means keeping them all in the hull. An unmmanned turret is also lighter and samller than a manned one so allowing more weight to be allocated to protecting the hull.

OK, that’ll do for now. Enjoy ripping it to bits, guys, but remember to back your ripping up with reasoned argument!

Jedibeeftrix
August 22, 2010 10:43 pm

x – i did mention stormer 30 in a previous post, it would seem ideal except for the 12 tonne weight, and perhaps the lack of CTA 40 for commonality.

Dominic – how heavy does a vehicle have to be to be no longer suitable for a light formation, and low light can a formation be before it is no longer effective without some armoured fire support, bit of a rhetorical question i know, but coming back to my question about defining a baseline we could perhaps advance this argument further if we had those baselines, at least in principle………. :D

DominicJ
August 23, 2010 8:10 am

Jedi
I’m was working under the impression that a “Company” of TCRV’s would be 20-25 vehicles.
They would require Helicopter support equal to the rest of a battalion to deploy.
Its easy enough to cut that to 10 vehicles per battalion, but then your down to ordering only 150-200, and suddenly they’re very costly if they’re bespoke.

Phil Darley
August 23, 2010 9:49 am

Very Surprised nobody has mentioned the Swedish SEP vehicle. Now I know it was officially scrapped a couple of years ago, but I believe low level development is still on-going. One of the reasons the Swedish dropped it was lack of international interest. Well if the UK showed some interest, then maybe it could be resurected. It certainly had huge potential.

I still think a Viking/Warthog engineeered from the outset for mine protection and utilising active DAS is what is needed for the light role, supplemented by LPPVs(Ocelots hopefully… shouldn’t we have heard which has been selected by now)and MAN SVs of various sorts. With the Ranger for the MRAP/Peace-keeping type role.

Ther’re you go SORTED!!!!

DominicJ
August 23, 2010 10:47 am

Why does a first wave armoured vehicle need mine protection?
Any pre lain mine fields can be avoided or breached, the enemy wont have time to lay new ones.

This is the phase when mobility really does provide protection from IED’s.

Some interesting but fairly unrelated facts.
In the time since the initial mini was released, the efficiency of a petrol powered internal combustion engine has more than doubled.
However, manufacturers have found that people were far less interested in fuel consumption than they were safety, increased space and other fripperies.

Car creep was very much,
“Ok, we’ve improved the engine, we can make it, more fuel efficient, faster, or bolt on extras.”
And thats the reverse order they settled on.
Because even big(ish) fuel users like me arent that bothered about going from 100L a month to 50L.
Its only £720 a year saving.
(Technicaly, its a free cheap supermini after 5 years, but I dont buy new ones so car makers couldnt car less what I think)

CVR(T) creep would be
“Ok, we’ve not improved the heavey lift copter, the end.”

Sven Ortmann
August 23, 2010 2:42 pm

“Why does a first wave armoured vehicle need mine protection?”

What do you understand as “first wave”?

DominicJ
August 23, 2010 3:14 pm

Depends, up to the first 90 days perhaps.
Phase would have been a better word.

If we havent captured a port to land heavy forces by then, its unlikely we’re going to.

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
July 6, 2011 2:15 pm

When we’re talking about a replacement for a vehicle designed to fight a non asymmetric war (cold war), are we now accepting that the replacement will mostly be fighting insurgents and therefore the need for airlift capability is paramount for rapid deployment?

In the Falklands all our equipment was transported by sea, imo highlighting what that 3 Cdo Bde officer was implying; the RM’s need a proper amphibious vehicle instead of warthog/Viking, along the lines of the US AAV’s. A formation recce vehicle can be heavier than CVR(T) because if we have 3 Cdo Bde (with amphibious vehicles), and 16 Air Assault Bde as rapid reaction forces this would allow the less deployable forces more time to mobilize.

Personally I think if you had an amphibious brigade, an airmobile brigade, and a multirole brigade with ASCOD in a Falklands of the future I think you’d have a decent force available for most types of task.

Obviously this is the British army we’re talking about and replacing all the vehicles that would need replacing is completely out of the question, (considering the obsolescence of FV432 as well), but that’s what putting these decisions off indefinitely gets you- a fleet of obsolete armour that all needs replacing at the same time.