The Mastiff 3 and a few other bits and bobs

Lots of things to blog about this week; the covenant, yet more cuts, the NAO report on the dogs breakfast that is the British Army vehicle fleet, Libya, overseas aid, leaky departments, Sharkey Ward responding to the ‘big one’ and did I mention, more cuts!

A busy weekend ahead so in the meantime, a few interesting videos;



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May 20, 2011 5:17 pm

you’re tempting fate….

May 20, 2011 5:51 pm

Someone wants to keep the seats clean, it seems!

May 20, 2011 8:08 pm

The NAO report on the British Army Vehicle Fleet makes shocking reading. We’ve spent £379 million on Tracer, MRAV and FRES UV without a single vehicle being fielded while UOR purchases for Afghanistan have cost a staggering £2 billion for vehicles that have little application in a general war scenario and are all but worn out after 10 years of extensive battlefield duty.

We urgently need a replacement for FV432, Saxon, Mastiff and Viking. We could have had it already if we’d stuck with MRAV/ Boxer, which is now entering service with the German Army. This vehicle is large and heavy, but provides a full IED protection and outstanding battlefield mobility. Boxer isn’t ideal, but it’s better than anything we’ve got now. Piranha V is also good. The only reason we didn’t get it is because we couldn’t agree IP ownership and rights, although you think that would have been settled before spending all that money.

May 20, 2011 8:20 pm

The vehicles in afghan have saved lives no doubt about that. Mastiff is top class at saving lives from IEDs that the name of the game now. Far better than FRES or any of the other similar inf vehicles,

May 20, 2011 9:10 pm

@ TD re sinking ships

Not if you include Darings 7 to 12, Astute 8 to 12, etc. etc.

Phil Darley
May 20, 2011 9:11 pm

Monty Et Al, hang on a minute… I am in the middle of wrting a post on the Future Army Vehicles / FRES Update. I will have it done by the 25th May (as I won’t be able to type for 4-6 weeks after that date). You can’t type now I here you all say!!!

I also read the NAO report and did not think the £379 figure was correct. I had made figure much higher. a RUSI article by Peter Flach quotes the following:

“The cost of these failed programmes is considerable. We knowfrom responses to Parliamentary Questions that MRAV and TRACER cost the taxpayer £188M and that FRES Utility cost a further £132M, making £320M. However, in order to arrive at a total cost for these programmes, one must add in the costof FFLAV and FRES Specialist Vehicle (SV), take into account MoD indirect costs and factor in the cost of industry private investment. According to some respected commentators,4
this brings the total expenditure on FFLAV, MRAV and TRACER to something in the region of £650M, a remarkable sum of money when you consider that we do not have a single vehicle to show for it. Of course the real cost has been felt in the field”.

May 20, 2011 9:55 pm

RE ” spent £379 million on Tracer, MRAV and FRES UV without a single vehicle being fielded while UOR purchases for Afghanistan have cost a staggering £2 billion for vehicles that have little application in a general war scenario and are all but worn out after 10 years of extensive battlefield duty”
– 379 or 650, the figures quoted so far, yes (awful!), but where do we go from here (the famous sunk costs; don’t be blurred in decision making)

So, “someone” has worked out that the share of vehicles of the total of UOR’s for A-stan is that (from what I can see, 2 out of 4.6 bn)
… I would not be surprised

In the US they have a much bigger fleet of armoured vehicles and they are trying to figure out how to get the best value of the A-stan specials that make up 2% of the fleet. This said, they are urgently rolling out the v-shaped Strykers, right now to add to that 2%.

So, who says that what we have bought through the UORs have “little application in a general war scenario”?
– I think the first, early installments are all clapped out (?)
– that leaves two thirds:
– make some mechanised bn’s conform with this kind of deployment scenario; how many ? 2? 3?
– Broncos separately, about a 100?
– Vikings with the Marines (were they always were, so leave them out of this)
– 200 (abt) new AMRAPS, rather than the clapped-out models
– put the joker in the pack (the number of Challenger 2’s to be retained) and then we can “reverse-engineer” what the doctrine for fielding of brigades is/ will be; normally it is worked out in the reverse order

So when we get to the army thread:
– 436 (where did that come from) fightable Warriors (new CTA gun); no new fleet, rumour says?!

May 20, 2011 10:46 pm

I’d like more info on the new build CVR(T)s, pics of which have been showing up over the last few weeks, word is they are Spartan hulls with Scimitar turrets

I would’ve used the stormer hull, but that’s just me.

May 21, 2011 6:57 am

I agree Grey.

There is about 150 of them stored. Then again, they have a weapon system on them (most with Starstreak, the flatbeds have an American “instant” anti-tank minefield system)that has not “expired” yet.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
May 21, 2011 12:21 pm

Interesting development. Would allow more recon equipment/dismounts (?) but would the CofG be too high?

May 21, 2011 3:11 pm

Hi GJ,

I am making all of this up (had a look at the pictures):
– Spartan has more internal volume, may be the structure has an internal V-shaped floor to deflect the IED blast, as an addition?
– All the kit currently in A-stan uses the old 30mm Rarden; maybe the deal is: you build us a few of these new ones, roll them over to us, we put some of the old turrets (which don’t wear out in the same way as vehicle mechanics)… you get the Warrior upgrade work (in a year’s time? maybe)… when you will have got to the end of that production run, whatever we brought back from A-stan will come back to you, and you put a CTA-turret on them
– then the air-liftable formations will have a recce platform, even though in low numbers, but at least with high commonality

Too good to be true?

May 21, 2011 3:17 pm

More thoughts: RE “Would allow more recon equipment/dismounts”
– what do you need in A-stan?
– the 30 mm is a direct fire support piece
– if you need more “fire”, you can have a laser designator (good ones are 30 kg’s so that’s a two man job, even though it only takes one to operate)
– even with lighter kit you still need another dismount to cover the guy against close up threats; if there are none, maybe a sniper rifle comes in handy (three dismounts, then?)

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
May 22, 2011 8:52 pm

@ ACC – Apart from the Driver, the Spartan carries 6 people (2 crew and 4 passengers) now installing a two man turret would take up two of those passengers at least (by my rough calculations), leaving only two dismounts?

I like your idea of an air-mobile light recon. vehicle, but would its height be a problem?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
May 22, 2011 8:59 pm

If we did the same to a Stormer chassis, we could have 4-6 dismounts/passengers?

May 22, 2011 9:36 pm

Hi GJ,

In the photos Stormers happily drive out of transport planes, with the Startreaks sticking up quite high from the body, which is quoted 2.49m. Warriors are 2.79, Spartan without turret 2.26 and the baserecce model with (the very flat) turret 2.09 (and Sabre, with a different turret 2.17).

So I would say no problem?

Quite fancy, too, using the Stormers better, but because they are “fairly” new and exist in meaningful numbers, I would use them to beef up the indirect (mortar)fire support in the new brigades, enough to split for use by each of the 3 (4?) bn’s. And using the flatbed version as ammo carriers?

paul g
May 22, 2011 11:45 pm

or flat beds as fuel resupply for the tankies (light and heavy) never been the same since they stopped the stalwarts in that role

May 25, 2011 7:15 pm

Hi, I read the other day someone saying, that he was told by someone in the know, that every time a British Jackal armoured recon troop vehicle gets hit by an IED or mine someone onboard is killed. This sounds awful, right? Yes the Jackal can go quickly off road and make its own route, but surely they’re too much of a liability to use in IED infested Afghanistan. So I’m guessing other non MRAP vehicles are also mega liabilities, even with route clearance and great off-road capabilities.
The US only really uses big closed roof MRAP vehicles ie Husky, that Maxxis one? and others, or tanks ie Stryker in Afghanistan as combabtant vehicles.

Get’s some more armoured vehicles pronto MoD!!!