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What Does a CVR(T) Replacement Look Like – Part 2


I think we all know that this is not very likely but if we were to replace CVR(T) with something new what would it be?

Before anyone chimes up and says FRES Scout and Jackal, I have decided to not follow the conventional wisdom and plough on regardless, this would not be a proper military-themed blog if it agreed with the sensible all the time!

What role would this replacement fulfil?

Pretty much the same as the existing version, a versatile light armoured vehicle that can fulfil a variety of recce and fire support tasks (for light forces) in a deployable and strategically mobile package.

One of the first issues that came up in our previous discussions was whether it should be Scimitar replacement or CVR(T) family replacement. In addition to Scimitar, CVR(T) variants include Samaritan (Ambulance), Sultan (Command), Sampson (Recovery) and Spartan (Protected Mobility)

Apart from Scimitar, Warthog and Viking are available in all the CVR(T) variants so if we are freed from the need for a common chassis for all roles then some interesting design options are revealed, we can, for example, put the engine and transmission to the rear. Taking this option means that we still retain a compact and high mobility vehicle that is able to be split and carried by Chinook or even Merlin in the case of the Viking (if we accept the inconvenience of splitting them)

No commonality I hear you say, OK OK, but in this instance, I think the TD rule can be broken.

Thinking out aloud then…

Weights and Measures

In its basic form, 10 tonnes but with transmission and engine scaled for 15tonnes. 10 tonnes means it can be carried by Chinook, 2 in a Hercules, 3 in an A400 and 6 in a C17. It also means that poor bridges can be used and also, the air portable ferry bridge.

Extreme low ground pressure, achieved by low basic weight and wide tracks

Width, the original was sized to fit between rubber trees on a plantation in Malaysia but I am not sure this is still relevant today, so taking into account a 463L pallet (2.235m wide), Type V airdrop platform, the internal dimensions of an ISO container (2.44m) and flat rack pallet the width should be in the order of 2.2m. A 463L cannot take the weight of this but other things are dimensioned off it. This also means it could be carried by an A400, C27 should we ever obtain them, Hercules and importantly, side by side in a C17. This narrow width gives it mobility in built-up areas as well.

Scimitar is about 2.1m wide

Height again lets take into account aircraft and container sizes, so about 2.2m, Scimitar is 2.1m

Length, not as critical but to fit three into an A400 it would need to be less than 5.5m. A 20ft ISO container or flatrack is 6m and the existing Scimitar is just under 5m so something around the 5m marks would be ideal. However, if 3 in an A400 is not critical then this length may be extended.

Mechanicals and Layout

The state of the art in transmission, engines, track and suspension has moved on considerably since the 1960s when CVR(T) was designed although in its day the transmission system that used continuously variable track speed to steer was at the absolute cutting edge, there was a rumour that the designer of the transmission went insane trying to work out how he came up with the idea!

The UK is endowed with gluttony of riches in automotive design that has been delivering great benefits of late into the defence sphere and there is also the work on TRACER and SEP to dip into. Whether we use band tracks, hydrogas suspension, hybrid drive, in hub motors or regenerative breaking would be down to weight and complexity. We should remember that ease of maintenance must be a key design driver, the vehicle must be able to operate independently of external support as much as possible. There are many advantages of using these latest technologies but there are other important factors to consider.

A small auxiliary power pack can be effectively silenced and provide power to electronic devices when not mobile.

Because I have taken the decision not to use the platform as a base for protected mobility, command, ambulance etc it would allow the engine and transmission to be located towards the rear, traditional tank style. There are two benefits, simplified maintenance as the engine can be slid out on runners and the driver’s position can sit centrally. The layout where the engine is at the front means the driver position must be to the side, near the tracks and of course near a possible point of mine detonation. Not all mines or IED’s explode at the point of initiation of course so this is not a panacea but a protected cell, sitting centrally, would offer some degree of improved protection.

Another aspect worthy of serious consideration is a range, FRES Scout has a shorter range for a much greater fuel load. Again, logistics are impacted as the need for greater fuel transportation to support operations becomes evident.


Again, armour and protection technologies have moved on considerably and a combination of techniques could be used to provide small arms and splinter protection, we should aim for protection against heavy machine gun rounds as a base level. There are some very promising composite materials and new materials like Tarian and Super Bainite that might provide protection at reduced weights.

In the opening paragraph, I mentioned 2 weight levels. The German Puma armoured vehicle takes this approach with multiple levels of armour being fitted as required or carried separately. This means the base vehicle retains its air portability but if this is not required, likely for the majority of circumstances, then protection can be increased.

If we can accept a weight limit that means only one can be carried by A400 or two by C17 then weight can creep up, and with it protection. If we could produce a basic design whose protection can be dialled up or down as the competing needs of protection and mobility are considered, the flexibility inherent in this approach would be invaluable.

Full NBC protection and air conditioning of course.


One of the least talked about but most innovative aspects of the FRES Scout is the Core Infrastructure and Distribution System, an electronic ring main that sensors, monitoring equipment, displays, controls, power connectors and other systems can plug into. Surrounding CIDS is an open-source electronic architecture and both these should be directly ported into this vehicle.

All the usual comms, detectors, ECM and vetronics.

Optics and fire control, again, likely lifted directly from FRES Scout and if the weight allows a mast-mounted setup then this would make obvious sense, allowing it to be used from behind cover.


In the light fire support role, the Army is currently relying on Javelin, indirect fire and CAS, with the CT40 not likely to be mounted on anything lighter than Warrior or FRES Scout. As effective as Javelin is, it is hugely expensive and the HMG, GPMG and GMG mounted on platforms like WMIK and Jackal lack serious hitting power. This is not to say they are not effective because that is far from the truth but we do lack an organic, high-velocity direct fire weapon. We cannot always rely on indirect fire and again, Afghanistan, with its permissive air environment, might not be repeated in the next operation. Western forces have grown used to massive indirect fire and airborne close air support and this has created, I think, a small gap.

Cannister, HESH and other natures from the old 76mm Scorpion are still missed, as is the blank/boiled sweet combo!

CVR(T) was fitted with a Cockerill (now CMI) 90mm main gun and saw service with export customers. CMI still make a couple of 90mm weapons and the French Panhard ERC 90 F4 uses a long barrel 90mm weapon that can defeat some main battle tanks.

It would be ideal if we could have both a 40mm CTA version and one fitted with a CMI 90mm

the 40mm CTA is an obvious choice and certainly light and compact enough, Panhard has recently introduced the Sphinx vehicle as a proposed replacement for the ERC90, equipped with a 2 man turret mounting the 40mm CTA, CMI doing the turret integration work, incidentally.

Back in the future then, 40mm autocannon and 90mm main gun variants.


The replacement CVR(T), if we are going to investigate one, should be the bastard offspring of an Alvis Saladin, Panhard ERC90, Sphinx, Puma, BAe Sep and a Scimitar!

No, I haven’t been drinking, not much anyway.

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68 Responses

  1. B U T ……. W H Y …… ????

    :-) Sorry, still don’t understand the obsession:

    “a versatile light armoured vehicle that can fulfil a variety of recce and fire support tasks (for light forces) in a deployable and strategically mobile package”

    OK, fire support, buy the Warthog with the 120mm auto-mortar by the same manufacturer. Recce, then fit the rear module with a sensor mast, and front module with RWS with 12.7mm and IR/EO sensors.

    Want to lift it under a Chinook, sure, take of the bar armour, and lift it one module at a time. However you want REAL strategic mobility – well it swims !!

  2. I’d disagree with the decision to leave the engine to rear: it’s just too convenient to have a family of vehicles and the size of a powerpack would greatly decrease if it’s hybrid electric.

    Not sure why we would want a large gun on suck a small vehicle: it’s not going to be big enough to defeat a largeish MBT and would compromise the mobility, particularly in an urban environment. Why not stick with Javelin, or LOSAT/CKEM for later if necessary.

    Jed, I think the problem with Warthog is that it’s got a really high profile, and we cannot assume that the Taliban or anyone else will fail to use ATGM or large recoiless rifles.

  3. One thing that’s mission in this discussion is networking.

    You cannot see CVR(T) as a seperate vehicle; you have to include the EO/Radar kit, radios (Satcom), COMINT, EW and especially UAVs.

    The UAV is not the next-gen CVR(T), but forms a large part of it. In fact, I’m willing to accept the heavy FRES(RV) if it is tethered to a decent organic UAV.

    The Heavy FRES(RV) has the room and onboard power to have all the new whizz-bang gizmos.

    This btw is the reasoning why the Dutch went for the wheeled Fennek and didn’t replace it’s tracked recce 25mm YPR/C&V; the Fennek ground vehicle is only part of the overall recce system.

    Perhaps it’s time to seperate the Bde/Div Recce/scout role from the RDF airmobile fire support role.
    Can the CVR(T) 30mm cannon be replaced by current assets such as Javelin (AT) and guided mortars (suppression)?

  4. I maybe repeating other posts but the Army appears for the time being to have given up on light AFVs and is moving ot replace its legacy medium platforms with the ASCOD 2 chassis, which in my view are an even more urgent requirement.

    The need for a common platform is paramount in the Army’s re-equipment programme and anything else is going to be a very difficult idea to sell. In addition to the ASCOD 2 the Army should seriously look at turning surplus Warriors made available by the inevitable cuts into variants such as Mortar carrier, ambulances, comms hubs and other variants. This would give the Army CR2 excluded, two families of AFVs. Funding permitted I would replace the Warrior worth ASCOD 2 platforms as well

    The army cannot afford to both re-equip its medium platforms and develope and deploy a light platform. Once the former is completed and if the need still exists then maybe.

    One variant of the CVR(T) that has not been replaced is the Striker which performed a vital role, that of overwatch. With the withdrawl of this, the FV438 and the Spartan MCT the Army no longer has an armoured ATW launch vehicle for overwatch duties.

    Finally the CTA 40mm is a superbe weapon and having seen one I bet the Army cannot wait to get its hans on it. With its fused ammuntion it is going to provide effective fire support for the infantry providing airburst, delayed detonation and point of impact detonation covering most targets and with great lethality. Add it’s ADFSDS round which will deal with most armoured threats excluding current gen MBTs, and at greater ranges than most opposition can respond and you have a leap in capability.

  5. I’m not sure that replacing legacy vehicles such as Warrior and, even, FV432 is so urgent. FV430 series upgrade is still taking place yet none of the vehicles are in A’Stan. Warrior is being updated to take it to 2030. And now we are committing to ASCOD as well. The timing seems all wrong and certain to lead to three types of medium tracked vehicle instead of two, let alone one!

    Warthog seems supremely versatile and mobile but if a more like for like Scimitar replacement is required (and recognizing that this would be in limited number) I throw this in.

    1) remanufacture Scimitar hulls and fit upgraded Warrior turret with CTA40 gun.
    2) remanufacture Scimitar hulls and fit Sika or Lancer Turret (unmanned) with CTA 40 gun.

    btw, I remember reading that the MOD were looking KERS technology for Scimitar. Does anyone know anymore about this?

  6. I get the feeling that your weight targets are wholely unrealistic for the current threat environment. The toughest weight-to-protection target I’ve read of is for LPPV and it still weights 7.5t despite being a relatively simple wheeled vehicle. I personally cannot see a complex tracked vehicle with a turret, advanced sensors and a 40mm main gun weighing less than 20t even with advanced composite materials, band tracks etc. If there is truely a need for such a vehicle I would suggest a low profile “Fennek-like” turreted version of LPPV might be a better approach.

  7. Lord Jim,

    Agree absolutely with you when you say that “the Army should seriously look at turning surplus Warriors made available by the inevitable cuts into variants such as Mortar carrier, ambulances, comms hubs and other variants.” Just a rather pedantic point perhaps. There might be difficulties over the Warrior mortar version. I read somewhere about the 81mm mortar not fitting easily onto the Warrior hull, it being not wide enough or something. I think that is why the 432 still serves in that role.

    I understood that the Warrior Capability Sustainment Program (WCSP) would involve upgrading 643 of its Warriors. Within that group, 449 vehicles would also be fitted with a new turret and weapon system under the Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Program (WFLIP). The remainder would be designated as Armoured Battlefield Support Vehicles (ABSV), would lack turrets and carry out other roles. I don’t know what has happened to that programme.

    Very much agree too about the need for a Striker replacement in the overwatch role.

    Admin: Sorry, I really did not want to deviate this thread. Now corrrespondents can get back to discussing the CVR(T) replacement!

  8. The warthog as stands can fulfill all CVR(T) roles except the scorpion/scimitar, fire-support i believe is the term.

    i see no need for a scorpion replacement, as a combination of 120mm mortar and CAT40 could do the job very adequately.

    The former can be accomplished by the warthog already, which leaves on the latter.

    Could the solution be as simple as to attacher a CAT40 RWS to the front or rear of a warthog?

  9. There is an rws for the CTA 40 gun. It has been tested on french VAB 6×6. I think it weighs about a tonne as compared with about 400kg for the current Platt ring/GPMG on the Warthog now.

    I would think that it could certainly be fitted to the rear module. It would be an unusual concept???

  10. The Mortar variant is fitted at the rear, although as an indirect fire weapon, having the front section in front isnt that important.

    I suppose it could just be without a depressed forward fire, which would suck when going down hill.
    Or perhaps a forward fire at all if the sensors are in the way.

  11. I’m sure there was a conversion offered to put the 90 mm Cockerill gun in the Alvis Saladin. There’s also a conversion to put a modern diesel in the Stalwart, which would also fit in the Saladin.

    Would this bring the ‘bastard off-spring’ one step closer to reality?

  12. C

    A tracked vehicle with a 4 person infantry / 2 crew compartment already exists at 5 tonnes

    Provided we don’t ask for the moon with regards to weapons like CTA40 and a manned turret, I don’t see it as impossible to produce something similar at 10 tonnes with enough direct fire and IED resistance to be useful in the “light armour” class.


  13. We should only be concerned about weight with relation to bridges. Air portability is red (camouflaged) herring; the RAF like to mention AP to make themselves seem more important.

  14. The wiesal 2 will give you protection against 7.62mm + probably shell fragments at 5t but doubling the weight won’t give you double the protection as a large proportion of the weight you’re adding will be to carry/move the extra armor. The problem is with the definition of a reasonable level of protection against IEDs because in the absence of good luck you generally are or are not. In addition tracked vehicles can’t be fitted with v-hulls meaning their protection is often derived entirely from thick armor plates which aren’t light.

    Having said all this I can already imagine several strategies that a clean sheet vehicle could employ to reduce weight namely: Composite monocoque hulls, armored citadels, band tracks, internal v-hulls, blast channels…In fact I would quite like to try, but I still don’t think 10t is feasible.

  15. Looks like we’ve been having fun with this one.

    However, it still doesn’t look like we have answered the question I asked at the start:

    What is it for?
    This vital piece of information allows you to determine what cannon you need, what level of protection is required, mobility (tactical, operational AND strategic), logistics support, crew space, comms, ISTAR,

    Some comments:
    A Stormer 30, minus the TOW system, with rubber band tracks, more modern modular armour and modern electronics might make a 10 tonne target and an attractive light tank.

    Amphibious capability is something that strikes me as overrated. Maybe an optional fit for a specific operation like a Sherman DD, but not as a permanent capability. What does it get you? Across the beach, perhaps? Across a river? not really, as you still have to negotiate the banks and your Log vehicles can’t follow. What it really gets you is a larger*, more complex** vehicle that might have to use the capability once in a service life over several decades. Better to save the money and use it on bridging capacity that all vehicles can use.

    If it is to be purely a fire support platform for light infantry then you just want something like the Wiesel.

    *it has to float, so the density must be <1000kg/m^3. For a 10t vehicle this means 10m^3, so a 2.15m cube with a surface area of 18.5m^2 on the sides and 9.2m^2 on top and bottom. 10mm of steel on top and bottom and 20mm around the sides would weigh 3.6 tonnes on its own before you add running gear, engines and weapons. 20mm isn't very thick.

    ** Steering and propulsion need additional kit to function in any kind of meaningful way. Track propulsion and steering only works in calm, still waters.

  16. Settle in for a long comment, I feel buzzwords like “paradigm shift” coming on…..

    No seriously though. Admin appears to be longing for something along the lines of WWII’s Universal Carrier (perhaps better known as the Bren Gun carrier, which was just a variant). It remains the armoured vehicle built in the greatest numbers, and was used by Belgium into the 60’s ! By 1943 a British Infantry battalion had as many as 33 Universal Carriers, carrying machine guns, mortars and ammunition.

    If we consider the CVR(T) family to be the 1970’s heirs of the Universal Carrier, then is Admin trying to find / create the ‘grandchildren’ of the UC ?

    OK, well if the FRES(SV) and FRES (Others) – should they ever materialize is not fitting the bill, then perhaps we need a dose of honesty and a change in the language being used.

    The Army has done considerable work at BATUS in Canada using Scimitar’s as FRES(SV) surrogates in a so called “medium armour” role, the non-recce, but direct fire support role that has been mentioned. As an upgraded Warrior regiment could undertake this role for themselves, it would suggest that squadrons / regiments of FRES(SV) would be added to battle groups based around Mechanised or so called “Light” Infantry in a “medium infantry support tank” role – think WWII Sherman’s with 40mm CTA instead of 75mm LV gun.

    If this is the case, and we are obviously looking at a smaller overall Army, then lets just rename the Formation Recce Regiments as “Medium Armoured Regiments” and be more truthful about their multi-purpose / multi-role nature. Perhaps 3 Sabre Squadrons with 40mm CTA and 1 Sqdn with 120mm / 90mm gun. Plus of course my favourite 120mm mortars and some missile equipped anti-tank variants…… :-)

    Armoured Infantry Regiments could have a Recce version of the upgraded Warrior (I would reduce the numbers of such regiments, thus freeing up hulls).

    The HEAVY armour, which would be largely relegated to the TA (apart from one core cadre regular training regiment, with a rotating ‘rapid deployment’ squadron) might revert to a US Cavalry style approach of actually practicing recce by fire with MBT’s !

    Personally I would invest in more Warthogs as “FRES (Other)” with at least a “4 square brigade” (4 battalions) in the Mechanised Infantry role. They could have a Recce version of Warthog (mast mounted sensors etc) but would not normally employ them in the ‘recce by fire” role (obviously!).

    Wheeled Mechanised Infantry on MRAP’ type vehicles do of course have the Jackal family to support them in recce and fire support roles.

    So, really all that leaves is the ‘light weight’ armoured Recce / Fire Support vehicle that Admin thinks would be a truly good replacement for CVR(T). I would look to our German friends here and make two quick and flippant suggestions that don’t need any follow up:

    If you want wheeled, buy Fennec

    If you want tracked, buy Weasel 2

    Both off the shelf and already validated solutions (hey I would even suggest Panther CLV, but I know that would not win me any points).

    However, finally I would like to return to a point a made in an earlier comment about direct fire support to the infantry, and the point earlier about the Universal Carrier.

    With modern weapons systems, the plain old infantry are more “tooled up” and toting around more fire power than ever. Which means just like WWII requirements for the UC, a light weight vehicle to take some of the burden off the infantry deployed in the light role is what is really required. I would argue it does not even need to be armoured, due to the levels of protection bestowed by modern body armour. Although I have not been one of “Marius Mules” (the Roman slang for Infantry, based on all the kit they had to carry) I have had the benefit of doing Combat Fitness tests in body armour, fighting order and carrying my SA80, although I am sure that simply does not compare to carrying a GPMG across Afghan fields and wadis in 45 degs C……. :-(

    We had, what appeared to the ideal solution to this requirement – the Supacat ATMP. Yes it was designed in the 80’s, and perhaps a refresh might lower the weight still further and up the horse power. But for toting around 12.7mm HMG’s (and copious belts of ammo) or 40mm GMG’s, 60mm and 80mm (and even 120mm towed ?) mortars and lots of rounds, food, water, radio / satcoms / ECM payloads etc etc surely we should just put the ATMP back into major production and stop buying civvy derivative ATV’s ???

    Even more so, with today’s technology for ISTAR, be it hand launched UAV’s or ROVER terminals, hand held thermal imagers and laser rangefinders, the kit is multitudinous and heavy to carry, so perhaps we don’t have such a great need for direct fire support weapons, but we need to tote around the paraphernalia of ‘networked fires’.

    If we really, really wanted we could probably add light weight armour such as used on the Springer to ATMP MK2 (protection up to AK rounds and grenade fragments?)

    They fit inside Chinooks and Merlins, they are amphibious and have a pretty illustrious track record.

    So should modern infantry battalions have 33 of them like their WWII forefathers – With the ability to call on Medium Armour FRES and Heavy Armour (MBT) as required as required for fire support and recce by fire, all brought together as required and formed into the right sized “battle group” as required for any particular op ??? Whadya think ???

  17. “Amphibious capability is something that strikes me as overrated. Maybe an optional fit for a specific operation like a Sherman DD, but not as a permanent capability. What does it get you? Across the beach, perhaps? Across a river? not really, as you still have to negotiate the banks and your Log vehicles can’t follow. What it really gets you is a larger*, more complex** vehicle that might have to use the capability once in a service life over several decades. Better to save the money and use it on bridging capacity that all vehicles can use.”

    It’s not that amphib is particularly desirable outside the Marine brigade, merely that the Warthog has this ability already, and is in service already, and is as Jed says perfectly capable of fulfilling the entirety of FRES other (minus fire support), so why not use it for such roles more widely?

    Even better, by being in two pieces it gives us a twenty tonne armour package that can be efficiently and effectively carried on planes and chinooks.

    This just leaves us looking for a Scimitar replacement (i don’t see the need for a Scorpion replacement if CTA40 is used)……………….

  18. @Jed:
    Just to correct you a bit ;-) Universal carriers evolved from “Bren” and “Scout” carriers, when it was realised that both types were being used for the same general transport task. I think for your general equipment “Schlepper” you are looking for a grandchild of the Lloyd Carrier ( ).

    I’ve personally never liked the “recce by fire” approach. The idea of blundering about a battlefield waiting to be shot at seems to lack a certain finesse (and consequently, very American! :-D). Also, if you are doing this using a small CVR(T), then surely any half-decent enemy will ignore you as long as it can because you are obviously a “recce force” designed to flush them out! Do Recce by fire using MBT’s like everyone else – you’ll get more veteran recce troopers that way!

    @c: Surely a low-profile Fenneck with a turret is an armoured car?!? IIRC the British army used the Vickers MkVI light tank for close recce up till WWII, but very quickly abandoned them in favour of armoured cars such as the Daimler and Humber types (with essentially the same HMG armarment). The reason, I heard, was that wheeled transmission took up less %age space in a small vehicle, was simpler and cheaper. I fear that CVR(T) and moreso FRES(SV) is repeating the Mark VI mistakes. For the 10t and under weight bracket surely wheels provide more hull space, better belly protection and a cheaper overall system?

    Therefore I’m not voting for a “son of CVR(T)” or a “son of Universal carrier”, more a “son of Ferret”!

  19. @Mr. Fred:
    Thanks, I’m only an armchair general – so my sxperience of tactics is limited to the WRG 1:300 “moderns” rules! No wonder I was mostly unsuccessful!

    I would have thought having ordnance bigger than a glorified aircraft cannon would be needed to unsettle any moderately disciplined enemy, tho’

  20. Now I had thought that recce by fire was where you plaster likely enemy locations with fire with the intent that it will unsettle them enough to fire back, thus revealing their position.

    Trundling forward into enemy positions was an alternative sometimes referred to as recce by death, where the rough location of the enemy is denoted by the smoke from burning recce vehicles.

    Harking back to WW2 and immediately subsequent recce, there was the use of armoured cars for road-recce. They were faster and longer ranged than the tracked vehicles, so they had better operational/strategic mobility. There were also the carriers of various sorts, although these went out of fashion with the introduction of plentiful airbursting artillery. There were also medium tanks (primarily Cromwell, which were fast) which functioned as recce for armoured regiments. These units were at least as mobile as their heavier main force but could also fight most opposing forces except main force armour.

  21. My knowledge is book-learnt, not practical. Historically though, recce by fire is conducted by machine guns rather than primary armament. The idea, AIUI, is that the enemy think that the speculative fire is actually directed at them and response. It isn’t going to work against a well disciplined enemy, but it only takes one person to fire back. Even if it doesn’t work, it should keep their heads down and allow you to get past (assuming that there is anyone there at all).

    Going back down the comments a bit, the Warthog may have 20 tonnes to fit armour on, but it still has to have a density less than that of water to be amphibious. To be practically amphibious, the density should be something like 80% that of water. If this vehicle is going to be involved in any kind of direct fire fight, the amphibious capacity should be relegated to a distant tertiary importance at most, otherwise it will never carry the armour it needs.

    As a protected, high mobility carrier vehicle, it’s great. Is it too big for light infantry? Possibly. 2 Chinooks could put the best part of a Company on the ground, or one vehicle.

  22. @admin:
    Been taking a second look at the post and noticed that the bit on sensors and the Electronic Architecture is a bit light. Also, noone has yet mentioned it amongst the mobility/protection/firepower talk.

    From my limited reading of the GD and MiLCAM websites CIDS is a combined power & data system of structured cabling. Somewhat similar to Power-over-ethernet in my own industry.

    It’s deliberately over specified to allow for considerable growth in power demands and data speeds. The GD site states a maximum data bandwidth of “10G ethernet” I assume this means 10 gigabit, which is more than enough for multiple real-time video streams from sensors (100Mbit is the minimum for SD video in civvy-space).

    The open electronic architecture includes MiLCAN which is a control protocol to allow remote control signals to be sent to a network of instruments. It seems similar to the old token-ring protocol (for those that have an interest) it supports a bandwidth of up to 1Mbit which is plenty for control signals to and from cameras geo-sensors etc.

    Finally, the whole system is designed to accept modules from a variety of manufacturers complying with the standard and finally allows a “swap-out” polict to be applied to damaged electronics and upgrades. There is talk of fast re-roling of FRES vehicles on the GD website, but I assume that unless the actual sensors and control nodes (camera’s, masts, remote arms etc) are modular too, then a back-to-base overhaul would be needed.

    So, assuming all the above for a CVR(T) replacement, what actual sensors would be useful? pasIR, TI, Thermal would all be necessary (and not just through the main weapon sight). But what about magnetic, remote audio or remote vibration sensors? And how would they be deployed (stealthily)?

  23. good questions red sensor fit Dave.

    To me its just another facet of the conops and what you want your so called recce vehicle to actually do. I have not seen any graphics of FRES(SV) with either radar or ESM antennas obvious in any fashion. For such a well protected and well armed vehicle an acoustic sensor system with gun shot direction finding would seem applicable.

    As I wrote in my article on alternative recce regiment structures, a mast mounted system as used on Canadian vehicles can lift radar, tv and IR sensors – I think the mast on the Fennec is missing the radar. So if our conops is more ISTAR than “recce by fire” a Warthog could have a mast for radar and an MX15 type EO “turret” – with acoustic and passive ESM sensors on the front module. Alternatives might include NBC sensors, chemical and radiation detectors etc or acoustic and IR sensors for aircraft detection.

    I am not sure magnetic sensors have much use on land ? Geological acoustic / vibration sensors (land sonobouy analogs) are usually dropped and monitored from aircraft, so I am not surecwhere they would fit in.

  24. DD/Fred
    I’ve heard stories of Paras(I think) playing a game of football in their underwear in Ghanners.
    about a km away from enemy positions.
    As the Warrior crews waited patiently.

    The Paras were out of effective range, so any losses would be minor, certainly compared with advancing on the concealed enemy.
    The Warriors were in effective range, so losses would be heavy for the Taliban.

    In any event, the aim is to convince the enemy that it is in his advantage to expose himself, when it is in fact not.

  25. Re Sensors

    Since these are all supposed to be networked, is there a reason one couldnt have an IR camera, another a UC camera, another Radar, perhaps sound on a fouth.

    I used to think FRES Scout was going to be unarmed (maybe a HMG) but have a super sensor fit.
    The rest of the FRES program would then use those sensors to aim their own weapons

  26. With regard to sensors why not have a Millimetric Wave Radar compatible with the WAH64’s? Use it for targeting Hellfire/Brimstone carried on a Striker replacement hiding over the hill.

    Modern conflicts seem to involve the positive identification of individuals or small groups and then the targeting of them with precision weapons. For that a sensor mast packed with the best optics available would be a good thing – and a laser designator too.

  27. I am ignorant of British doctrine regarding recc and surveillance; however in the US (it’s my understanding) we have separate systems and vehicles for each. Recc vehicles may perform surveillance tasks but they won’t typically carry mast mounted sensors, since those are primarily surveillance systems. Instead they will carry scouts.

    I can see where Fennec’s short, mast mounted sensor would be an asset to a recc vehicle though. It’d let you take a peek over the next hill or obstruction before blindly wandering in.

  28. B Smitty – your absolutley right. As others have pointed out the US ‘Cavalry’ approach see’s the M1A1 MBT being used for ‘recce by fire’ along with the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle – a version of the M2 Bradley AIFV.

    The M3 is heavily armed, with TOW missiles as well as its main 25mm gun, and usually carries 2 ‘dismount scouts’ in the back (although you could squeeze in 4 apparently).

    Thus in some ways, it is quite similar in concept to the FRES (SV)

  29. Jed,

    US Cavalry is yet another beast entirely. In addition to recon, they also are tasked with security and economy of force missions. This necessitates a high degree of firepower and protection not typical of your average recon-only unit.

  30. B Smitty – those additional Cavalry missions are not a million miles away from the ‘other’ non-core recon missions also given to UK Formation Recce Regiments – screening, flank protection, “economy of force” etc – so other than US Cav has more “special to purpose” vehicles like the M3 and heavier firepower, which can both be explained as much by budget as doctrine, they are not actually that dissimilar.

  31. This one slipped my attention until today. ST Kinetics shows ‘tooled up’ Warthog / Bronco at Eurosatory:

    “ST Kinetics used Eurosatory to promote a new heavily armed version of the all-terain machine known as the Bronco Fire Support Vehicle.

    The concept vehicle was fitted with a remote-control weapon station on the front cabin sporting a 40mm grenade launcher and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, while the rear cabin is armed with the company’s 50 RCWS mounting the .50-cal. CIS 50 gun.”

    Yum ! Two independent channels of fire, 7.62, 12.7 and 40mm ….. now just add an Israeli style breach loading 60mm mortar for firing from undercover to the rear module, and your sorted :-)

  32. Just to note, standard Singaporean Bronco sits six in the front module and ten in the back — total = 16

    UK Warthog variant only 4 in the front module, and 8 in the back — total = 12

    I presume due to extra protection (suspended seats), extra electronics (Bowman) etc and simply cramming less in the back (room for boiling vessel, ammo etc).

    Just thought it was interesting…….

  33. Jed,

    Nice find. Sounds well sorted for “medium-weight” operations, especially as weight distribution and floor shaping for mine protection evolve. I’ve thought for a while that the Hagglunds/STK approach would yield the “battle boxes” of tomorrow (the yeoman M113s/FV430s of the future, rather than IFVs.) And you’re right about the cavalry. We’ve talked before about parcelling out Challys to “pure” cavalry units for backup, and otherwise you might distinguish between cavalry types mostly by weight of gear (“heavy” equals a Warrior/CV90/ASCOD approach, “light” gets you one of these nice new toys.) The Council Cav can keep a couple of Type 57 regiments in service for those times that require the “Vinnie Jones with an axe handle” approach. Otherwise the test-bed Warthog you’ve described is down the right road. Of course I still think BAe and various MoD officials should be de-bagged and radished for letting TRACER die, that was criminal.

  34. That is interesting. But given the (truly) high quality of Singapore’s food-cart cuisine you’d think there’d be something more like a setup for brewing up ….

  35. Jackstaff, I whole heatedly agree that Warthog / Bronco should be the full on FV432 replacement. My smaller post SDR army would have a “4 square” Brigade each of:

    1. Armoured Infantry – upgraded Warrior
    2. Mechanised Infantry (Tracked) all Warthog
    3. Mechanised Infantry (Wheeled) current wheeled inventory (to be replaced by something else later?)

    With lots more Warthog filling in all those other support roles of the FV432 family.

    Tactical question – if your using Warthog for Mech Inf, and it carries 12 bodies, do you:
    1. Up the size of the standard section to maximise the carrying capacity of the vehicle
    2. Reduce a Platoon to 3 vehicles (carrying 36 bods max)
    3. Keep a Platoon at 4 vehicles and spread supporting bods around (Javelin and MG teams from the fire support platoon etc)

  36. forgive my ignorance, but:

    1. i thought a four-square brigade referred to an armoured brigade configured around two armoured and two armoured infantry regiments?

    2. is a wheeled regiment not a motorised regiment, or is their some more complex definition?

    3. re bronco mech regiments – when you suggest larger sections, are you in fact suggesting a larger battalion overall, or just fewer and larger sections within a battalion?


  37. jed if you’re going to flash some cash at ST kinetics (warthog builders) then you might as well lump in the terrex for your mech inf wheeled or at least in a worst case scenario have another “trial of death” with it included this time (trial of death whoever thought up that title should be beaten)!!

  38. Jedibeetrix – ref your questions:

    1. I thought it a “square” brigade was just a term for one with 4 battalions / regiments (as opposed to a “triangular” one with 3 I suppose!)

    2. Personally a “motorised” (rifle) regiment sounds a little to Warsaw Pact to me (showing my age!)- no seriously, a motorised infantry unit is one in soft skin trucks, not armoured vehicles (IMHO)

    3. Don’t really know, it was a question – but I suppose if I think about it, same number of larger sections, so bigger overall battalion maybe…..

    PaulG – I think they also build something called a Bionix, which would get my sons vote for sounding remotely like (Lego) Bionicle ! Although if your as old as me, it might make you think of Steve Austin the $6 Million Dollar man…. :-)

  39. bionix=tracked, terrex=wheeled 8×8. It is quite a good bit of kit shot direction indicator, dual 40mm/7.62mm RWS. more tech inside than a comet/currys/best buy superstore! i especially like the 180 degree camera system for the driver when in hatch down mode

  40. Really? To me, amphibious = poorly protected and large.
    It’s a capability that is very rarely, if ever, used and compromises the rest of the design every day.

    Shiny kit can be fitted to nearly any platform you want. If you can afford it. 360 degree camera arrays in daylight or thermal, shot detection, soft and hard kill integrated defensive aid suites, slew to cue with whatever weapons you feel necessary on a remote weapon turret.

  41. amphib can be a liability, however so is sitting on a riverbank with nowhere to go, swings and roundabouts. At least with the bells and whistles on this badger it’s all been tried and tested no unfortunate delays/problems that add to the end price (cynical who me?) point to note they delivered all the broncos to the uk on time and on budget.
    still give it a few weeks and our amphib cabability will be a 2nd hand canoe supporting the 1st battalion the royal bmxers regt. I’d like to go down to westminister and snowflake their teapot

  42. hmm. neither Warthog or Viking have been deployed to Afghanistan for their amphibious qualities but for their mobility (and deployability)…yes.

    FV432 or Warrior has not been deployed at all! So that is the compromise. Mobility trumps armour in this case. In the case of predictable patrols on roads that are well known to insurgents then Armour trumps mobility.

    The conclusion is a mix of Warthog / MRAP but not some 8 wheel hybrid that is neither mobile or protected.

  43. Regarding section strength. I believe the US (both Army and Marine Corps) operate slightly larger squads (10-12..I’m not sure?)

    A full 12 man section could be carried by Warthog or AW149.

    I suppose we should ask if this if the correct way to arrive at a section strength?

    Is the the increase in Battalion strength desirable?

  44. 1. I thought it a “square” brigade was just a term for one with 4 battalions / regiments (as opposed to a “triangular” one with 3 I suppose!)

    fair enough.

    2. Personally a “motorised” (rifle) regiment sounds a little to Warsaw Pact to me (showing my age!)- no seriously, a motorised infantry unit is one in soft skin trucks, not armoured vehicles (IMHO)

    isn’t that just a light infantry regiment?

    3. Don’t really know, it was a question – but I suppose if I think about it, same number of larger sections, so bigger overall battalion maybe…..

    sounds useful given current requirements……?

    cheers Jed.

  45. Admin, thanks for that. I’m mistaken – Warrior is in Afghanistan but not FV432. I’m curious why the Army borrowed Royal Marine Vikings rather than deploy their own, recently upgraded, FV432. I know they are not exactly like for like but…

  46. seems like the patria and the boxer both 8×8 are doing ok in afghanistan so write off wheels i watched the you tube clip about the terrex before commenting and seemed extremely mobile, armour just as good as other vehicles in it’s class can carry 12 men and with decent firepower which can according to the pdf blurb can be changed. I’m not saying it’s the answer but i don’t believe they should be discounted flatly either, as dylan would say the times they are a changing and we don’t keep all options open the forces will be shat on, due to the shut up and can do ethos of these honourable people.

  47. Jasons
    Most people underestimate just how weak our airbridge is.
    The Vikings were shipped to Pakistan and driven to Bastion.
    It cost a small fortune in bribes to get them there undamaged.

    The Government will just have refused to pay to move the FV432 over and said, use viking.

  48. Thankyou B.Smitty,

    Does anyone have info on equivalent unit sizes for other NATO/Allied forces…Dutch, Canadians, Australians etc?

  49. Of this current generation of 8x8s wheels will take you everywhere you would want to take a vehicle the size of a largish garage. Tracks just give you that bit of an extra edge. When the Arabs first started to buy 4x4s they liked part-time 4-wheel drive over full as they knew if they got stuck in 4X2 they had the option of going into 4×4. Rather like you can drive a 1.6ltr on the motorway ok, but the the 2.0gti (with sportier brakes) will give you that extra overtaking and stopping power!!! It swings and roundabouts. A should imagine from a training point of view here in the UK would be better as a wheeled vechicle is far, far easier to deploy. In fact it self-deploying. Further I suppose it opens up a greater pool of potetential drivers as if you have class 1 LGV an 8×8 wouldn’t be too scary.

  50. B Smitty – thanks for the numbers, I knew fire team size and shape were different, but thanks for confirming how different.

    As far as I know Canadian infantry sections are more like British model. You can probably guess that Aussie and Kiwi ones will be too, due to their heritage and Commonwealth etc (but I am not confirming it).

    It is interesting to look at the size of the US Army section and its fire team in the light of the vehicles they use – you can’t fit a full section into a Bradley or a Striker for example. However the honking great AAV7 can carry more than one Marine Corps section.

  51. OK having finally looked at the Terrex on wikipedia, what makes it look interesting is that it is one of the more modern ‘hybrids’ – its an 8 x 8 wheeled APC not a pure blood MRAP – BUT – it has a v-shaped double hull apparently.

    Saxon replacement !

  52. Why did they remove the “V” shaped hull on the newer AV-82 version?

    “The Terrex AV-82 was developed in 2005 equipped with a more advanced driveline and hydro-pneumatic suspension system, and a number of changes from the AV81 including a flat underbody instead of a V-shaped hull and revised rear suspension.”

  53. X,

    I take your point about wheeled vehicle being able to self-deploy. I’m just not sure about 8x8s. They seem very complicated, big and heavy. And there is the adoption of band tracks which improve the road performance of tracked vehicles.

    I do,however, think a class of 4×4 and 6×6 MRAPs could make up much of a mechanized fleet.

  54. The Warrior supposedly takes 3 crew + 7 troops – less than a full section. What is the British Army’s practice for getting round this?

  55. just been looking at the st kinetics promo vids (it’s poets day) and i do think we’re missing i trick not ordering the extras that go with warthog ie the 120mm mortar and the drops style back cab surprised that didn’t make the container thread, as it can pick up pallet size loads in seconds. Also way off thread but oh so deserves a mention is the 40mm UGL launched camera on a parachute!! instant recce movie, mad or genius?

  56. Jedibeeftrix – interesting point ref V shaped hull, article seems to contradict itself – well it is the wiki afterall. Perhaps STK Pdf might shine some light on this – nope it just says:
    “The Terrex can be equipped with passive or active armour suites, including those designed to provide effective all round protection against IED threats. The vehicle has excellent mine blast protection and may be installed with Nuclear, Biological
    and Chemical protection solutions.”

    Jasons – ref Warrior, the section commander is the vehicle commander, so you could say its 8 plus 2 (Gunner and Driver) – whether the Section commander dismounts with his section, or controls from within the turrent depends on the tactical scenario I think. Can any readers provide real life experience of this please ???

    Also MRAP’s as in the Mastiff are as big (or bigger) and as heavy (or heavier) than 6 x 6 or 8 x 8 “conventional” APC’s – and possibly as mechanically complex, with generally speaking even less rough terrain / cross country ability.

  57. @ Jasons

    Re self-deployment: I really meant for exercise etc. Yes I take your points. As for band tracks though I know tracked vehicles have a better on road performance than some think I think in the crowded UK we are better of wheels. Remember you average LGV has better braking ability than the average car.

    As for your Warrior comment. I remember reading a Canadian paper once on whether the section commander should stay with the vehicle or deploy. It didn’t come to any clear cut answer (unsurprisingly!) But I also gather that in recent times sometimes platoons (and by extension companies) have been a bit under manned so the Warriors have only had a fireteam dismount, there not being enough troops to fill the Warriot. What perhaps should be considered is that infantry in the field seem to be moving over to the “multiple” ( oic or sargeant + 15 soldiers which equals half a platoon of 32.) Perhaps the next vehicle needs to accomodate this structure.

  58. Well as long as we work in multiples of fire teams, i.e. 4 man team x 4 = 16 or a “multiple”.

    So vehicles that carry, 8, 12, or 16 would work, we just dont like odd numbers…. :-)

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