The Need to Rethink FRES SV

A guest post from Monty

After reading your excellent article on FRES, I think we have every reason to question the suitability of the ASCOD 2 vehicle that has been selected to replace CVR(T). It is as large as a Warrior IFV but doesn’t do anything that a Warrior couldn’t do if it were to be upgraded. I accept that ASCOD 2 is a more modern vehicle, but it seems no more than a Warrior replacement through the back door. What your article convinces me of is the need to find a proper and more appropriate CVR(T) replacement.

Thinking about the requirements of such a vehicle, we need to make a number of important trade-offs:

  • Mobility versus protection versis firepower
  • Wheels versus tracks
  • Protection against IEDs versus low weight
  • Cross country mobility versus strategic mobility
  • Ease of transportation versus additional weight of adequate protection
  • Future upgradeability versus the need for something now
  • Size and height versus crew capacity
  • Cost versus quality

Rather than discuss all of these in detail, I thought it might be more interesting if not helpful to provide a variety of vehicle concepts that illustrate how different trade-offs would affect the type of vehicle we choose. The following drawings show different ways of achieving user requirements and hopefully each one is self explanatory.

In essence, we need something that is as close as possible to the dimensions and weight of the CVR(T) but that offers increased protection, particularly against IEDs, as low a weight as possible for rapid deployment, increased firepower, better engine and transmission for increased mobility and reliability and as a small a signature as possible for reasons of stealth.

We are rapidly reaching a point where wheeled vehicles can provide equivalent cross-country mobility to that of tracked vehicles. This is not my view, but the collective wisdom of military commentators suggests so. If you strongly believe that the day when wheeled vehicles offer better off-road performance than tracked vehicles has not yet come, have no doubt that it will come, because ultimately the significantly greater strategic mobility offered by wheeled vehicles means that we will invest in them more than we will in tracked vehicles. So perhaps the wheels versus tracks debate has already been won. Maybe.

The most relevant observation in your FRES article is that IEDs have been a real game changer. This is undoubtedly true and any would-be terrorist organisation who has observed events in Afghanistan would make the use of IEDs a core pillar of any future strategy. Behind this point about IEDs is the reality that insurgent uprisings do not respect traditional battle lines and rear echelon troops are now as vulnerable as front line units – if indeed there is a front line any more.

The new reality of IEDs requires a paradigm shift in the types of vehicles we use to deploy troops. It also requires massive expenditure.

The US Stryker Brigades used in Iraq suffered heavy IED casualties – these vehicles were conceived before the IED threat was fully understood. The German / Dutch Boxer is different and includes many enhancements that contribute to better protection.  The Boxer may well define what future APCs look like. We’ll know once they deploy in Afghanistan later this year.

In the meantime, here are a number of future CVR options that offer different sets of advantages. While they are relevant to the conflict in Afghanistan (and possibly to potential conflicts arising from the Arab Spring), they were also envisaged to be relevant to a more traditional medium recce role.

With kind regards to all,












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Think Defence
June 24, 2011 3:59 pm

Would have to insist no wider than 2.3m so it can fit into an ISO container!

June 24, 2011 4:10 pm

What are the weight and dimensional restrictions of C130/400M? And do they matter, especially for 16 AAB?

Think Defence
June 24, 2011 4:12 pm
Reply to  viceroy

C130 is heading out of service but A400 dimensions will become important, they are pretty generous though.

The UK requirement for payload is 30tonnes and all indications point to it bettering that but we will see when it comes into service

Phil Darley
June 24, 2011 4:21 pm


Nice idea. The direct Scitmat replacement gets my vote. i think its called a Stomer! Just rebuild using current best practice in terms of hull design balsistic protection active das etc. Conventional engine, band tracks and maybe even hybrid drive. 40mm CTa or Bushmaster 30×73 cannon by ATK.

June 24, 2011 4:27 pm

Thank you TD. I guess one could argue that one needs something light enough to go in by A400 with 16AAB but also with enough punch/armour to roam around ahead of a MRB regardless of bad roads and bridges.

We haven’t mentioned sensors either.

June 24, 2011 4:29 pm

I’d just like to make my usual point that IEDs are not an “I win” button.
Really, they require the other side to act in (what I view as) a monumentaly stupid manner.

IEDs are only a threat if the enemy is free to relay them on your patrol routes day after day after day.

My only other question would be is a 20mm cannon and two javelins really a decrease in firepower from a 40mm cannon?
I suppose in some ways yes, but in others no.

And one final point.
A few tons is likely to make a massive difference here.
A 15t vehicle offers little flexibility.
A 10t vehicle offers three per flight for short hops, or one for long haul.

June 24, 2011 4:39 pm

Some excellent articles about FRES, enjoyable read all.

What I do miss in this discussion is current and near-term ISR integration (e.g. Bowman C4I). Yes, information sharing has been covered, but the maturity and acceptance of added lower-tier (company/platoon) UAVs and combat experience with this new tool has proven to provide extra capabilities to (all) army formations.

The ‘over the hill’ eye-in-the-sky coupled the secure voice/data Bowman network, in turn coupled to indirect precision firepower (guided mortars and artillery) can take over or augment some roles of FRES.

New smaller battlefield surveillance radars with low probability intercept frequencies are also a vast improvement over the ‘warbling’ sets of the 1990s.

Having said that, recce nowadays also includes interaction with the locals (body language), reading the graffitti on the walls and litterally checking the produce on the local market – electronic wizardry is still not capable of replacing boots on the ground in that respect.

Think Defence
June 24, 2011 4:52 pm
Reply to  Marcase

Hi Marcase, in the next article from me, in which my nonsensical pipe dreams will become reality, I will be trying to tie recce in with the ‘network’

June 24, 2011 5:41 pm

Interesting set of ideas. I think that they would need to be fleshed out a bit more before a reasonable choice could be made between them and to avoid being accused of powerpoint engineering.

Some of the claims are a little optimistic. HMG protection from anything with windows is unlikely, for example, and anything in that weight class with protection from RPG-7 is going to need bar armour or similar.

The Stormer 30 would be a very interesting place to start, updating with modern computing, sights and material developments such as band tracks

I think that “monumentally stupid” is at best a bit harsh and at worse crass. If IEDs were so easily avoided, the fact that the British military gets stung by them would imply absolute incompetence and the intelligence somewhat less than a house brick or deliberate sabotage.

To get a measure of the problem, take a map of a mixed urban/rural area and map the number of patrol routes that you can take that allows you to cover the key points on your patch. Then add that some of the key points are actually certain routes. If the number of completely separate routes is less than 7, then I’ll get you in a week or so if I mine one route. How long are your men out there for?

If I’m being sneaky, I can mine ALL the routes and, with command-detonated mines, wait until the roads get suitably run-in by local traffic, then wait until a nice juicy target comes along.

June 24, 2011 5:56 pm

Super Monty.

Have you seen these…….

May one ask what software did you use for the drawings?

June 24, 2011 6:01 pm

While I think about it:
“Would have to insist no wider than 2.3m so it can fit into an ISO container!”

A potentially risky demand. One of the accepted problems with British tanks of the second world war was that the turret ring size was such that they could not be upgunned easily. The turret ring size was being determined by strategic mobility constraints: then it was railway track gauge, now it’s ISO containers.

Width of hull, minus 2 times track width, minus side armour, minus tolerances is your formula for turret ring diameter.

The smaller your turret ring, the harder it is to get weapon and crew into the turret. It also affects turret height. An unmanned turret is possible with a small turret ring, but the back end of the cannon must have room to depress to allow high angle elevation. Thus, a non-deck penetrating turret will be taller than one that have some room below deck level.

June 24, 2011 6:11 pm

Me thinks TD was joking.

Some nice pictures of a German Bv206 which I have just fallen across.

Think Defence
June 24, 2011 6:19 pm
Reply to  Mr.fred

I never joke when it comes to ISO containers!

I know it creates limitations, especially in track width to hull length ratios but being narrow(ish) means you can go places other vehicles cannot, the ISO container is just a modern day substitute for the CVR(T)’s distance between rubber trees

June 24, 2011 6:20 pm

Which of the above options could be moved by a Chinook? Personally to me only Concept D looks like it would be definitely moveable by Chinook once you added bar armour and additional theatre specific gear, and from a “gut instinct” judgement call to me Concept D appears the worst option. Instinctively, I would go for Concept A, H or I, as they just feel right in my “gut”!

Think Defence
June 24, 2011 6:21 pm
Reply to  Tubby

Chinook slinging means less than 10 tonnes realistically, that’s quite an ask if you want decent protection although some clever modular solution might make it possible, not sure

June 24, 2011 6:30 pm

@ TD

When I was looking at what could be stuffed into what helicopters what I found was there were lots of vehicles that were too big for CH47/CH53 by only a fraction.

The trouble is with these light vehicles is that the public now assumes its Army is safe from IEDs. Current thinking for IED protection means weight.

Think Defence
June 24, 2011 6:35 pm
Reply to  x

I agree, I think we are missing a trick if we lose the ability to move even a modest amount of light armour by helicopter

June 24, 2011 6:39 pm

X, not always some of the SA ideas weren’t heavy but were well protected and good at defelecting the blast. I think a v-shaped hull is more important than weight. Vehicles that constantly had weight added to them re IEDs says to me they weren’t thought out well to start with. Seeing as they were the biggest killer in recent years.

June 24, 2011 6:39 pm

Picking up on an earlier thread, I notice that none of these concepts seem to have any room for carrying additional personnel – not even a couple of dismount scouts. Thinking on that?

I am also not sure about the IED survivability issue. Should recce units be putting themselves in that sort of situation? They shouldn’t be doing road patrols or road clearance, they should either be doing covert movement across country – in which case they need a much lighter vehicle, and the risk of IEDs at chokepoints will be much reduced – or they will be doing heavy duty advance to contact, in which case they need a Challenger 2.

The other point is air portability. Given that hauling MBTs by air is possible but not really practical, we should probably consider that

a) anything designed to operate along with MBTs doesn’t need to be air portable either; it’ll have to wait for the MBTs to be landed before it can go to war;
and, more interestingly,
b) we might be wise to start thinking in terms of much heavier heavy armour. A Challenger weighs 62 tonnes. Anywhere we want to take them, we are realistically going to move them by sea and/or by road. Maybe we should be thinking of next-gen MBTs as weighing, say, 80 tonnes, and looking at all the options that gives us in terms of greater protection and additional armament.
And, of course, greater power. The next generation of weapons systems (hypervelocity and directed-energy) are going to be hungry for electricity, and we’ll need big tanks with hybrid-electric drive trains to carry and feed them.

June 24, 2011 6:40 pm

Think out loud here (with regards to the carrying vehicles under a Chinook) – is there an easy way to dismount the turret in the field and carry the turret and main vehicle separately? Would the problem with this plan be the weight of the crane needed at the other end to re-attach the turret?

Also is there an upper limit of the weight of a vehicle that you can safely drop from the back of a low flying A400M with the crew still embarked?

June 24, 2011 6:40 pm

I think we are missing a trick if we lose the ability to move even a modest amount of light armour by helicopter

Have we ever actually needed to do this?

June 24, 2011 6:54 pm

@ Topman

Oh yes I agree. Current thinking isn’t my thinking! Shock waves, like most physical extremes, behave in ways that sometimes go against intuition. Good ground clearance and a continuous blast shield is the way to go. I see the blast shield (heavy metal plate) mounted on to a light casting with tube shaped members cast in to spread the shock. Wave hits plate. Plate then has to bend the casting. If the vehicle goes on its side, as long as every body inside is strapped in and safe, so be it. Rhodesian/SA mine roll cages anybody?

@ A

In Kosovo.

June 24, 2011 6:55 pm

A Challenger weighs 62 tonnes.

The upgraded cr2 for iraq came in at 80 tons with fuel and ammo. They had to have some items stripped off for the transporters to move them.

June 24, 2011 6:55 pm

Regarding ISOs
It doesnt have to fit in an actual container, just the footprint of one :)

Regarding Helicopterability
It gets better if we look at the CH53K, which can move almost 16t.

Mr Fred
Redefine the Paradigm
We’ve had officers complain their orders were nonesensical, they were ordered day after day to wander round fields that night after night the Taliban were seeding with mines.
Virtualy anything on Defence of the Realm

We send soldiers intyo narrow allys to die at the hands of murder holes, because we’re scared of damaging mud brick hovels.

Allowing the enemy to mine your supply routes is a cock up, allowing them to do it day after day for TEN years, just boggles the mind

June 24, 2011 6:59 pm

Monty – love your artwork ! Well done sir, a lovely contribution to the series.

However in line with TD’s previous articles, I am not sure that we need a 20 tonne armoured scout if we can have a 30 tonne one built on a common chassis with other common components (e.g. ASCOD II or preferably CV90 ‘family’ of vehicles) for “fighting for information” aspect of Recce.

If you want smaller and quieter, oh and wheeled, then build something on Ocelot (sorry, Foxhound).

If you really think we need something between FRES SV and CVR(T) then as someone mentioned – Storme; but personally I don’t see the requirement for this size.

The idea of using the STK Bronco / Warthog chassis is interesting, but surely easier to stick with front mounted engine for that ? Hmmm’ might attempt to “photoshop” that over the weekend !

Once again, “BZ with a time” :-)

June 24, 2011 7:03 pm

DomJ said “We send soldiers intyo narrow allys to die at the hands of murder holes, because we’re scared of damaging mud brick hovels.”

How long before the pointman is a robot? The US are already doing it. As I have said a can’t believe that given the technology available now the British Army is fighting in a landscape where its enemy is hiding behind walls not much higher than 10 foot.

June 24, 2011 7:16 pm

Nice article and great graphics. May I suggest a variant Concept D with a Panther as the base vehicle but with a Fox-type 25-40mm turret?

June 24, 2011 7:17 pm

Monty – “war” has moved on since 39 to 45 – where are the Pakistani IED ‘factories’ that we should bomb (with Lancasters) ??

However the IED has always been a threat to soldiers on foot and vehicles, ever since it was buried and called a ‘mine’ – so this is hardly new. Technology moves on, instead of enough HE to blow a track off it may now consist of a Explosively Formed Projectile aimed at defeating side armour (anyone remember the cold war project called the “Off route mine” which was a LAW with infra-red site unit on it) or it could a tonne of fertilizer based home brewed explosive.

As it has been noted, dealing with such threats does not necessarily mean big heavy MRAP’s – they are just one response (Ocelot is a lighter one), helicopters are another — but is it worth building a heli-borne armoured vehicle when we will NEVER have enough helos to deploy a suitable amount of them tactically in a real life op – I doubt it :-(

June 24, 2011 7:17 pm

Regarding the alleyways when the USMC took over parts of Helmand last year, they started removing buildings and straightening roads and the layout of towns. R North covered alot in his blog.

June 24, 2011 7:24 pm

@ Jed re flying armour

I don’t think it has value in high end war. But I think it does bring something to COIN.

You could load up 6 helicopters with say Bv206s and drop them anywhere.

A mechanised version of the Rhodesian fire force.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
June 24, 2011 7:52 pm

On the subject of wheels vs tracks. First of all watch this;
Mobility demonstration by a modern 8×8 AFV equipped with steering on 3 of the 4 axles, independent suspension and central tyre pressure regulation. This is a reasonable example of what a well designed wheeled AFV can do.
Next, look at this;
Same course traversed by a T-72. Watch what it does when it hits the concrete dragons teeth.

Wheels may be able to go where tracks can but I’d stick to tracks for your scouts so that they can get away sharpish!

IED’s while not irrelevent to the design of your scout should not be a major priority. IED’s are a threat to an occupying force not to the eyes of a modern battlegroup. Basically, don’t use your bloody expensive scouts as patrol vehicles. Use wheeled vehicles like Mastif and Foxhound (or better still, stop invading countries to no national advantage).

June 24, 2011 7:58 pm

Richard North’s biggest contribution to the debate over the British Armed Forces would be to fall off a cliff. He comes across as a pontificating egomaniac and his arguments are binary, so you’re either with him or an idiot. Good way to generate constructive debate. He did post on the ARmy Rumour SErvice for a bit but was basically told to wind his neck in and go forth and multiply each time he did. If he was right more often than he was wrong he might be worth bearing it for but he isn’t

As for being “scared to damage mud hovels”? Javelins, MLRS and 1000lb bombs don’t sound like things that one would use to avoid damage. Granted the British do seem to try and avoid the way the USMC do things – i.e. MICLICs down the high street. Which is best? Difficult to tell, especially from back here. “Hearts and Minds” is a very difficult thing to win if you are undermanned and politically hamstrung and no amount of firepower is going to compensate for dead ground where the enemy can move freely.

But I digress.

What is “new”, at least to NATO armies, is the use of a mine as a casualty causing agent. In open warfare, it was intended as a counter-mobility weapon – putting the enemy in places where you could hit them with the real casualty-causing weapon. Artillery. Lacking artillery that would survive NATO (i.e. US) airpower and counter-battery fire, the buried charge has become the bit that does the damage. It can be inferred that anyone intent of causing a western power as much trouble as possible will stockpile distributed caches of explosives and associated equipment for use as a steady drain on the attacking or occupying forces. Therefore, it is likely to be a threat for any future conflict and by association our vehicles should have protection against them and the tactics will reflect their potential use.

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 24, 2011 8:02 pm

If you are going to lift armour by helicopter then buy MI-26T.
Or buy something ambhibious, so it can deploy itself.

June 24, 2011 8:06 pm

@ Pete re IED

South Africa and Rhodesia “scouts” had to factor in the mine threat.

Also you can’t discount what the public think, even if it is detached from military realities.

I do concede there is difference between fluid “front lines” of the wars amongst the people and fixed front lines of a traditional high end conflic and indeed the difference in the duration of the too paradigms mean that mines/IEDs are used in different ways.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
June 24, 2011 8:19 pm

X – Mines are one thing; 500lbs of ANFO under your FRES SV is quite another! Most AFV’s since WWII have been designed to protect their crews from the detonation of a typical AT mine. Even CVR(t) is OK in this respect as it’s Falklands service proved. Mine resistance is one area where wheeled vehicles out perform tracked since a 6×6 or 8×8 vehclie that loses a wheel can often make it’s way back to bas while a tracked vehicle with a broken track is immobilised until recovered or repaired in the field.
I just think that compromising the design of a scout vehicle to take into account the effects of IED’s it may encounter when it is used for a job it’s ill suited to do is not a good idea.

June 24, 2011 8:32 pm

Richard North’s biggest contribution to the debate over the British Armed Forces would be to fall off a cliff.

Might not be everyone cup of tea, but he was spot on about the army’s glacial speed at getting MRAP types into the field and the farce around removing snatch.

June 24, 2011 8:35 pm

@ Pete

I know what you are saying. But when I said light vehicles above I meant things like Wiesel, Bv206, etc. I was talking about shoving things into helicopters.

Just last week a young soldier from the county regiment was killed. And his mother, rightly or wrongly, blamed the army. I don’t know the family. But I do know families like theirs as over 10 years I saw cadets from my old unit go off and join the same regiment. The public expect the “IED problem” to solved. With a shrinking budget vehicles will be used everywhere. Now I am sure the UK won’t be involved in succession of COIN conflicts over the next fifty years. But I think the days of fixed front lines are gone. There won’t be as in the past militarising by the application of a coat of matt green paint.

I hear what you are saying. And I agree with it. I am just seeing in a different way.

As for wheels, well as I said above,

Best of both worlds. Check out the videos on YouTube.

Paul R
Paul R
June 24, 2011 8:38 pm

Can’t we create a vehicle where you bang on extra bits of protection after its been transported?

Transporting by air seems to be a big thing along with getting it to do different things.

Surely the best thing is first look at our strategy then produce 2 similar things. We seem to be after a thing which can take IED and then also fight a conventional war (ie the enemy doesn’t need IED because its conventional forces are good enough) and for it to be deployed by air.

The weigh seems to come down to protection as well, perhaps we need to tailor the fleet for two types, but try and keep it as common as possible because of the reasons I’m about to get in a bit.

Produce a chassis which can be for fitted or produced for IED protection, then with less.

Then we’ve really got to ask ourselves about transport by air, a quick rapid deployment by air would be great and quick, perhaps we should only produce a certain type for this role then ship the rest out from a location quite nearby via ship, I think we need to approach things with a bit of “ok it doesn’t have to last that long just protect soldiers and limp away, it’s cheaper to put them in another one”

One of the problems seems to be a lack of availability of spares and vehicles for when one gets blown up. So if we keep them common ie if a suspension breaks, we either got tons laying about or we got enough vehicles laying about to replace it with.

What’s the point of having very expensive equipment which can take tons of punishment in service (meaning you have less of because they’re bound to cost more) Then for when it’s out of action not have anything to replace it or any spares.

I think we need to comprise on cost, capabilities and protection for the role, but something we can build a shit load and its components.

It seems the UK gets the equipment, then later down the line we’ve got less and the costs to support them goes up and availability down.

This whole vehicle thing is quite a big thing for someone who is very uneducated in this, figures, weights, guns get thrown about, so many different models its quite hard to get your head around it in a matter of a day or so. So take what I say with a pinch of salt.

But I’m thinking this all in one is perhaps just a folly, we might be better of producing something like a car manufacture. Bolt on bits for the role (ie a chassis which can an IED with a shell thats good enough for an RPG instead of a tank)

Even I’m struggling with my concept, because the disposable vehicle or part will probably struggle in a theatre which is only a few hours old and in forward operating bases in Afghanistan.

June 24, 2011 9:07 pm

One thing that has to be remembered is that the average member of the public is not only ignorant about military matters, but also ignorant about engineering and science, not to mention actively misinformed.

They buy the concept that wars can be fought without casualties.
They believe that a V-shaped hull is all you need to defeat all conceivable IEDs.
They believe that you can hide from small arms fire behind doors, tables and car bodies.
They believe everything put out on “Future Weapon” (and the people who watch that show should be regarded as better informed than the average)

As a result, much public opinion about military matters should be take with enough salt that it’s lack would make the Dead Sea taste like Evian.

Mass production (and similar comparison to the car industry) is one such fallacy. When someone comments that a military vehicle costing more than a Rolls-Royce they should be reminded that Rolls-Royce makes more cars than almost any military vehicle. I haven’t added it all up, but I think that there are more Rolls-Royce cars built than M113s. This is not really a mass production market.

Cars tend also to be monocoque construction these days, so there is not much in the way of modularity. You might be able to add xenon headlights, a better radio and the like, but you will not be able to change out major structural components easily. Some off-roaders, with ladder frame chassis, are better suited in this regard.

The Mattracks look like a maintenance headache – all the complication of wheeled drive trains, with the additional complication of tracks at multiple location

June 24, 2011 9:31 pm

The general public are ignorant about most things. How many of them have degrees in economics, medicine, law, agriculture? But they vote in governments to make decisions on these matter for them. Public perceptions, right or wrong matter.

As for Mattracks being maintenance nightmare. Well they are as complicated or as simple as a lot of things deployed into the field. Mattracks and similar systems are used to extreme conditions by private sector and governments agencies the world over. I think it is more shock of the new than there being anything innately wrong with the system.

June 24, 2011 9:43 pm

I’m not sure that ordinary people are that stupid about war. They do after all understand that they will be supplying the bulk of the personnel.

June 24, 2011 9:43 pm


Mattrack not new. Landrover’s were available with them in the 1960’s elctricity/waterboards bought them. (being 1960’s british technology they broke a lot)

June 24, 2011 9:49 pm

Headache, not nightmare. Fundamentally it is more parts which will always require more maintenance.

June 24, 2011 10:02 pm


You are on about the Cuthbertson system aren’t you? Having poked around a Landy with such a system I can tell you it unsurprising that it broke down often. There are lots of satisfied users of the Mattracks system (and similar) whose concerns about maintenance will be on par with military users. This reminds me of all the discussions about whether the Army should have fielded 300Tdi in Wolf because of all the “complications” of the turbo.

June 24, 2011 10:15 pm

Most of the Talibans funding comes from protection money paid by haulage contractors.
Haulage contractors we in turn pay to haul our war fighting material.
From there point of view, the war funds itself, or we fund their half anyway.

Tankettes are quite inneffective in large numbers.
Where they work best is when you have a few in an unexpected place.
I’m going away to find which bloody Indo-Pak war it was!
It was Ladakh, 1948. A small number of 15t Stuart M5 tanks rolled up a third of the invading Pakistani forces.

The other obvious example is The Falklands.
Where again, the other side didnt bring many (any?) antitank weapons, and so could do almost nothing to stop a few tankettes destroying their positions, one by one.

Or in wars, where the enemy doesnt expect to face armour…

Mr Fred
I’m afraid you’ve missed the point.
We arent talking about destroying homes “in the crossfire” as it were.
The point is we should have methodicaly destroyed and rebuilt towns.
Afghan towns and villages were designed to be death traps for invading forces. The losses our forces suffered in Sangin are a terstiment to how well they achieve that goal.

Mines arent a new weapon used against occupation forces. And even if they were, North was ranting about the primary goal of the Taliban being to kill a few men a week with them all the way back in 06.
I’m sure in Iraq a river boat patrol hit a mine on the same sodding bridge three times in a single month!

Mr Fred again
“They buy the concept that wars can be fought without casualties.”
What, do you mean like the invasion of Iraq, where we lost, 50(?) men each time round?
I’m happy to accept worthwhile casualties.
When dead captains letters are being published and they say, “my men died for nothing”, I struggle to accept it was worthwhile.

I do read the casulaty reports coming out of afghanistan.
It doesnt take a genious to work out that the men who died this month died in basicaly the same circumstances as the men who died last month and last year.

If you leave a road unguarded, the taliban place a mine.
If you drive over it in a Viking, you die.

June 24, 2011 10:33 pm

Modularity would seem useful for air transport. One of the candidates for the USA’s BCT Ground Combat Vehicle Program, the German Puma IFV, uses modular armour which can be added on after arrival by A400M.


“A group of 4 A400M aircraft could fly 3 class A Pumas into a theatre, with the fourth airplane transporting the class C armor kits and simple lifting equipment.”

June 24, 2011 10:44 pm

@ DomJ

In a later Indo-Pak the Indians pulled off a surprisingly audacious move with PT76s. I am not going to tell you when and where………

June 24, 2011 10:48 pm

Sorry, but most of these “proposals” for FRES SV are pointless, and wouldn’t really work. Upgraded Warriors can do many things, but given we only procured about 800 (IIRC), we have 900 bulldog FV432s to replace just for starters, and the Warrior line has long since closed.

We don’t need to go around looking for a new design to fit what we need, they already exist, hell most of them are in service. Ascod II will slot nicely into the Medium heavy armour class alongside warrior, below that we already have Warthog, a versatile chassis which can take some of the roles of the CVR(T), as well as several wheeled vehicles, whilst still retaining the ability to be slung below a chinook (albeit in 2 pieces), for true CVR(T) replacement their is only one place to look, CVR(T). Modernised (already in build)/Extended (stormer)versions can still find a place on the battlefield, and with modular armour they could have a minimum deployable weight which was slingable whils having a max armour package capable of higher protection.

We do not need to re-invent the wheel, we just need a little common sense, binning FRES SV is not common sense, FRES UV on the other hand is a different story, but then it seems to be dead in the water.

June 24, 2011 11:20 pm

“We are rapidly reaching a point where wheeled vehicles can provide equivalent cross-country mobility to that of tracked vehicles. This is not my view, but the collective wisdom of military commentators suggests so.”

Me thinks he misunderstood the 8×8 fashion and all the lackey’s articles about how great wheeled AFVs are and how obsolete and strategically immobile tracked MBTs are for comments by competent and honest commentators.

Central tire inflation systems have been introduced in the 1950’s. There has only been marginal progress in wheeled AFV offroad mobility since then. In fact, today’s wheeled vehicles are rather overweight and thus not exactly good off-road.
Individual vehicles can pass an obstacle course, but whole battalions equipped with 20 ton 8×8 vehicles suffer unacceptably from the frequent occurrence of individual vehicles getting stuck or rolling over. This leads to more careful battalion movements – road movements.

The only thing that looks like it’s just around the corner is rubber band tracks, but they’ve been around the just around corner for 15-20 years.

13th spitfire
June 24, 2011 11:55 pm

The A400M is currently 12 tons overweight.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
June 25, 2011 12:53 am

@ Monty – great article! It reminds me of an article on the Scrapboard site;

“The Tankita is not a Main Battle Tank, it’s what the name says, “a little tank.” Think of it as an enhanced Scorpion/Scimitar based on M113/4 hull. -it is a Cavalry Fighting Vehicle, lighter and more versitile than the M3 but better protected than the M113 and BV-206S”.

The concept evolves and later “designs” are equiped with a 76mm gun – kinda like a tracked Rooikat.

It also suggests a lighter version based upon the Weasel but the author in up-dates questions if it is survivable enough in the age of IED.

June 25, 2011 3:49 am

Some stuff that caught my eye (hmmm, 3:30am eyes)

While we don’t really have a need to mass deploy armour by helicopter, the ability to shift individual units around country has had its uses for various peoples.

On the subject of IEDs, the critical point is…. we have no idea what the future will hold in this regard. In a fluid, moving operation like the 2 Iraq jaunts, there simply wasn’t the time once everything got moving for people to be laying explosives left, right and centre.

The IED is really a COIN weapon in my eyes. Please note that I’m using the strict definiton of IED, in that it’s improvised, as opposed to a tank mine which is just; an Explosive Device.

Dom J kind of has a point about routes but at the same time not really, if that makes sense. You have to patrol and there are only so many places you can patrol. We have to supply FOB’s, somehow, along certain routes.

There is only so much mixing up you can do. And as nice as it would be to monitor routes 24/7, who is gonna do this? You would need hundreds of men to cover every last patch.

Now, Wheeled vehicle mobility will probably get better, but there is always a ceiling. Ground pressure will always be a concern for example. Physics can be toyed with only so far.

One thing that has always made me laugh about armoured vehicles is this; look at a brand new show model and then look at one in the field.

The one being used in the field is invariably carrying probably a 1/2 ton of stowed and slung equipment. Why aren’t more provisions made for this kind of thing?

Hmmm, 3am toast.

June 25, 2011 7:43 am

Grrr, off to google I go….

We had 900 bulldogs when we had a 250,000+ strong army

June 25, 2011 7:47 am

Interesting designs Monty, nice work. Not an expert in this area, so can only offer a few thoughts (which may be way off the mark)…

– As weight is key, what is the praticallity of being able to add additional composite armour panels as required? The lowered weight could then allow them to be moved by Chinook etc as required.
– Remote turrets seems to me the best way to go as in my mind it would be easier to upgrade /integrate different caliber of guns and rockets.
– It is likely that within the lifetime of the vehicle that UAVs and reconnaissance / bomb search and disposal robots will become widely in use. Should we be considering a similar enhancement equivalent to the T26 dog kennel? Could double for kit storage…
– Flexibility / commonality being key, could these have an amphibious capability?

All down to cost I know…

June 25, 2011 9:16 am

One thing I think has been missed is that FRES SV is a family of vehicles, not just the Scout. In addition to the armed scout, there is a personnel carrier, a command vehicle, an ambulance and an armoured recovery and repair vehicle, just to replace CVR(T).

Whatever design is suggested to replace SV, it has to have the capacity to fill all of those roles as well. ASCOD does. Anything with a rear-mounted engine would have trouble fulfilling a troop transport role.

Endre Lunde
Endre Lunde
June 25, 2011 9:55 am

Why try to return to the past? The solutions of the past are not necessarily the solutions of today.

The CVR(T) and other similar designs such as the many M113 derivatives owe their success to the effective combination three features – affordability, flexibility and an adequate mix of firepower, mobility and protection for its day. When looking for a replacement for these vehicles we should not try to find a like-for-like replacement, but instead find a vehicle which adequately provides these three features today, and that is in my opinion not a re-done CVR(T) but neither is it FRES SV.

The vehicles which today most effectively diplay these features is the next generation of wheeled mine protected vehicles. Not “MRAPs”, but vehicles which incorporate many of the lessons of the now classical MRAP while also taking into account lessons learned from past conflicts. The most striking examples of these new vehicles is the South African RG-35 and the British “Ranger.” These vehicles, and others like them, should in my mind become the mainstay of future armoured vehicle fleets, the work horses, if you like. In the upper end they should be supplemented by a limited number of classical 8x8s and tracked fighting vehicles, and in the lower end they should be supplemented by a limited number of high-mobility vehicles such as the BVS10 and light patrol vehicles such as the Panther. The current Australian inventory is in that respect illustrative of the fleet I have in mind, and the Canadian one is heading in the same direction with the TAPV programme.

June 25, 2011 10:24 am

Mr Fred, a v good point (to remember)about the family requirement

I have some take-home points from Tubby and Phil Darley, too, that resonated with me.

“I would have 3 brigades with … and 2 with boxer all 5 also equipped with Foxhound derivatives and supplied by advanced versions of the MAN RMMV, each brigade would also have at least a squadron of MBTs and 155sp artillery (AS90 or M777 portee ) plus MLRS and mobile CAMM”
[Phil Darley
June 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm]
YES: having wheeled formations, too, is imperative so that theatres which are challenging as for total area and intra-theatre mobility can be covered. Mixed formations of wheels and tracks, at least from the bn level down, should be avoided.
– make do with Warrior & upgrades for the 3 (in the interim)
– get the ASCOD family into use
– Boxer, V-hulled Stryker, BA’s RG family, Patria AMV… all would do the job for the remaining 2 [interesting tit bit that the V-hull is too restrictive in volume for the Stryker fire support variant]
Further: the Wheeled Portee project to be resurrected (would be useful for the two intervention bde’s, too, whilst AS90 should be fine for the the bde’s mainly on tracked vehicles

NEXT, to Tubby’s piece[June 19, 2011 at 9:44 am]: “it seems to me that if the British Army gets the cash it needs its long term programmes seem quite well thought out as we will end up with:
1) 40 tonne tracked base vehicle (ASCOD has good possibility of being used developed in a range of roles beyond SV, VCPC, VCOAV and ARV models, such as direct fire and self-propelled artillery);
2) 30 tonne wheeled base vehicle – FRES Utility – which depending on the vehicle base vehicle could be used a wide variety of roles.[Q.v.the list above]
3) 7.5 – 15? tonne wheeled base vehicle – Foxhound in all it various versions such a 6×6 and WMIK.

The only thing that is missing IMO is a smaller lighter tracked vehicle that will also fit easily into the A400M along side our 8×8 vehicles. The question is should it be limited to what a Chinook could lift under-slung”
– plenty of alternatives for that, including the Improved Humvee -derived Cobra (a large family, by now)
– but the high-mobility recce formations for all terrains and to be insertable by choppers could be dealt with in isolation. The fleet of Warthogs is large enough for some to be converted to
– recce mast
– indirect precision fire (even though I suspect the Viking/ Bronco piccie provided with a NEMO turret in the rear unit was a photo montage?)
– ‘keep-their-heads-down’ 360 degree volume fire by having a remote HMG turrets on both units

Then we still have the v light (unprotected) Jackal for special circumstances (SFs?) Numbers should suffice for that?

June 25, 2011 10:45 am

The Jackal is neither very light nor is it unprotected.
It’s about 7 tonnes and that panelling around it is composite armour.

June 25, 2011 10:55 am

V true, I was speaking in relative terms to the others on the list
– 7 t => instant Chinook lift (as opposed to splitting Bronco units)
– none of the crew are under armour, the protection has been optimised against mines and road side explosions (so half armoured; a new term?)

June 25, 2011 11:06 am

I am very sympathetic to a CVRT replacement, particularly given the importance that rapid intervention forces will have to future british expeditionary adventures.


If we are to create such a vehicle it can only be justified if it has capabilities completely unavailable to both the heavy alternative (warrior/ascod), and the light alternative (fennec/warthog).

It needs to decisively more mobile/transportable than warrior/ascod:
Width = less than 2.3m (admin is right)
Weight = less than 16 tonnes (2x in an A400m)
Pressure = low enough to go across boggy ground

It needs to be decisively more capable than fennec/warthog:
Type = single-hull tracked
Armament = 40mm CTA
Protection = ??? (what is more than Warthog provides?)

If you can make a vehicle that meets this spec then it serves a purpose, and we should create a true CVRT replacement.

1. At 16 tonnes loaded up it won’t be transportable in-theatre by Chinook, is this a killer?
2. At 16 tonnes loaded up, can we provide a level of protection significantly greater than warthog?
3. At 16 tonnes loaded up, will it provide a significantly reduced fuel requirement over ascod?
4. At 16 tonnes loaded up, can it be compact enough to fit in a ISO, drive through rubber plantations?
5. At 16 tonnes loaded up, will it have a ground pressure that will enable it to do boggy ground that ascod can’t?
6. At 16 tonnes loaded up, can we fit a 40mm CTA for both lethality and commonality?
7. At 16 tonnes loaded up, will we be able to achieve real surprise by having it turn up in unexpected places?

It doesn’t just need good enough mobility, it needs utterly terrific mobility in order for it to act as a real game-changer as was the case with the conflict that must not be named.

In short; is 16 tonnes an effective compromise?

June 25, 2011 11:23 am

viceroy Give a gd overview of what your looking at with a400m.

June 25, 2011 12:03 pm

Thanks Mark,

Your link verified that as of now, also in the future armour over 20 t is going nowhere by air.
– C-5s and 17, yes I know, but in the numbers they come they are needed for other things

For once a correction for the map projection, to indicate the true reach. You could center it to Cyprus (instead of Brussels) and the conclusion would still be the same.

June 25, 2011 12:15 pm

Hi Jedi,

Against this criterion “It doesn’t just need good enough mobility, it needs utterly terrific mobility in order for it to act as a real game-changer as was the case with the conflict that must not be named” I think there is only CV90 and Warthog to choose between
– as the CV90 so clearly outperformed the Warrior, Bradley, Puma and ASCOD in mobility trials in difficult terrain, and especially in deep snow,the ASCOD then went from 6 to 7 roads wheels

June 25, 2011 12:20 pm

@ Endre Lundre,

Your comment must have been in verification when I wrote my “fleet mix” piece.

From this ” most striking examples of these new vehicles is the South African RG-35 and the British “Ranger.” These vehicles, and others like them, should in my mind become the mainstay of future armoured vehicle fleets, the work horses, if you like. In the upper end they should be supplemented by a limited number of classical 8x8s and tracked fighting vehicles, and in the lower end they should be supplemented by a limited number of high-mobility vehicles such as the BVS10 and light patrol vehicles such as the Panther”
– I conclude that I didn’t consider the comparative unit prices enough (I did consider the max. conservation of existing capability, when the level of it “passes”… again, when do the costs of keeping some parts of the fleet go astronomical?)
– Anyone who can shed more light on these two aspects?

June 25, 2011 12:24 pm

@ ACC – “Against this criterion “It doesn’t just need good enough mobility, it needs utterly terrific mobility in order for it to act as a real game-changer as was the case with the conflict that must not be named” I think there is only CV90 and Warthog to choose between”


but that is not a fundamentally different proposition to Warrior/Ascod.

it is just as big, so it cannot traverse dense terrain as a CVRt can.
it is just as heavy, so you cannot load two onto an A400m as a CVRt can.
it has the same ground pressure (presumably), so won’t do boggy as a CVRt can.

i have nothing against CV90, it sounds great, but it remains a big heavy vehicle just like warrior/ascod.

i see a use for a true CVRt replacement, and CV90 doesn’t fill that role any better than warrior/ascod.

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 25, 2011 12:25 pm

On the suitability of ASCOD to replace CVR(T). We should get away from the idea that every role which was previously covered by one CVR(T) type, needs to be covered by a single ASCOD type. ASCOD is very suitable to replace CVR(T) in many vehicle slots; the added space, firepower and protection have all been weighed up against the decreased accesability offered by a CVR(T) sized vehicle – it’s a military driven change of requirement.

June 25, 2011 12:33 pm

but are there enough roles not covered by the ASCOD FRES(SV) contract to justify a ~15 tonne tracked vehicle sporting a CTA40 equipped turret?

if there aren’t, then fair enough.

Phil Darley
June 25, 2011 1:17 pm

Mr.Fred you speak a lot of sense, then you go and ruin it by slaging off Richard North. I would agree he does not suffer fools lightly and can be abrasive on his blog but only when the person was talking bollox.
which a lot on Arrse do speak. Don’t get me wrong I think Arrse us fantastic, but there are a few, who like Many in the Army have their heads in the sand.

Richard North speaks a lot if sense, especially with regard to MRAPs and Route Clearance, both in terms of vehicles used and tactics. His book “The Ministry if Defeat” is a brilliant account of the British Army”s performance In Basra. A copy should be given to every serving member of the Army, not to mention the MoD and government!

I guess the truth is sometimes difficult to take.

The army and MoDs response is to shoot the messenger.

June 25, 2011 2:01 pm

Phil – I’m with you on Richard North. He has been right much more often than he has been wrong and he is normally prepared to admit it when he screws up.

After you read ‘The Ministry of Defeat’ you should then read his book ‘The Great Deception’ (co-written with Christopher Booker) on the history of the European Union. Then you will understand why North seems to be in a permanent state of rage.

Mark – thanks for the link

June 25, 2011 3:34 pm

Well I do beg pardon for upsetting fans of Dr. North, so feel free to shoot down my comments for my crime of not agreeing with him.

Regarding 10t class to 30t class, a couple of points:
A 10t vehicle may be capable of going places that a 30t vehicle cannot, but the 30t vehicle can carry UAVs, UGVs and dismount scouts so it doesn’t have to.
If the 10t vehicle was lightly armed and armoured, like a Foxhound WMIK or a dedicated Foxhound recce, then it would be a useful adjunct to a heavier recce vehicle.

Trying to make a 10t vehicle than can go toe-to-toe with other armoured vehicles would be, IMHO, foolish.

I like the idea of a mixed unit operating small and sneaky alongside larger and more capable, especially if the sub-units can re-role according to the situation.

I must confess to being confused by the fan club for the RG-35 and the Ranger. We already have these vehicles (admittedly as a UOR) in the form of the Cougar (Mastiff and Ridgeback). Is it worth the cost to replace them with something that is still basically a truck with armour on?

June 25, 2011 3:38 pm

“Trying to make a 10t vehicle than can go toe-to-toe with other armoured vehicles would be, IMHO, foolish.”

What about 16 tonnes?
What is the requirement is fire-support rather than anti-armour?

June 25, 2011 4:30 pm

Mr Fred’s mixed unit approach seems to be in keeping with the MRB idea (IMHO). Is there a place for something that go out further in front of a medium/heavy brigade to cross difficult or unsafe ground or structures, move quickly and relatively quietly, link into C3 and still protect itself/run away bravely? I think so. Is that the FRES Scout? No, not at 40 tons or so.

June 25, 2011 4:34 pm

Further point:

From my point of view the enthusiasm for the Ranger or Ocelot is the desire to see all light patrol vehicles that are not MRAP disappear. Starting with Landrover and going up the scale towards Mastiff (which might be replaced only on commonality grounds).

June 25, 2011 4:54 pm

16t is starting to enter the art of the possible – The Stormer 30 would have been nearly enough. With the Bushmaster 2 and TOW missiles it wasn’t short of firepower but the base protection wasn’t enough to go and play with enemy armour. That said, it was slated to be 13t so a bit more armour over the frontal arc would have kept within the weight budget (though perhaps not in the platform limit)

At the basic level, a 16t vehicle could give the same functionality as the 30t+ SV, but there are a number of ancillary functions that a larger vehicle can do that a smaller cannot. The 30t class SVs undoubtedly have enough room in the back for dismount scouts or surveillance operators – possibly UAV controllers? – while the 16t vehicle will not if it is also protected and armed to the same extent. Most likely that the smaller vehicle will not carry as much supplies for extended operations, so that formation will need more logistics vehicles tagging along.

June 25, 2011 5:33 pm

To divert the thread for a second, the thing that catches my eye about the A400M is not the stats, but the orders.

We, a nation who routinely gets involved in overseas jaunts are buying juts 23 or so. France and Germany are looking at the 50 odd range.

Lack of priorities anyone?

June 25, 2011 5:42 pm

O/T – but couldn’t find the open thread.

Cheers Gabrielle for exposing an interesting new wrinkle in British force planning.

It would appear that Future Force 2020 isn’t the only goal-post Defence Reform is aiming to meet, General Houghton makes repeated references to the “2024 structure” in the last of the Defence Select Committee reports:

June 25, 2011 5:51 pm

@ Mr Fred – cheers for the reply; further questions ensue:

If 16 tonnes can provide a viable fire-support vehicle with sufficient protection and punch……….. does it fulfil any unmet requirement once FRES(SV) is taken into account?

To put this another way:
Yes, ascod will make a fine scout vehicle for recon-by-fire and will no doubt have a great future in the five FR regiments as part of the new multirole brigades.
But, there is a requirement for recon and fire-support for the lightweight rapid-intervention brigades, which will of necessity have to be rapidly deployable.

Does this ergo create a requirement for a tankette over and above the 40tonne monster otherwise known as ascod*?

* Regardless of whether this is vehicle is deployed as a separate unit, or a detachable squadron from FR regiment notionally attached to a multi-role brigade.

Phil Darley
June 25, 2011 6:10 pm

Viceroy, ref R.North, you are right he has been
right on the money. I too have crossed swords but
when proven correct have also seen a slightly softer side!!!

I feel his pain and anguish, the whole snatch, MRAP and COIN
tactics fiasco makes my blood boil. I will say no more for now.
You don’t want to get me started. I would be having a firing squad for
many of the idiots, both military and political!

Turning to mr.Fred again, this time with regard to your
comments regarding the Ranger and RG35. Sorry, the current vehicles I.e
Mastiff and Ridgeback are NOT the same!

They are very well protected, but they lack the
mobility of the Ranger and especially the RG35. They are
also (mainly due to their height, but also due to their heritage) being
very much based on simple US truck chassis’s not
well suited to more conventional war fighting.

This was probably why the Army resisted there
introduction for so long, they are one-trick ponies, very
good ones but not FRES UV equivalents.

Ranger had come too late and RG35 is going to compete with
the likes of Piranha V and my favourite Boxer, it is cheaper
but falls short in pure performance / technical terms with the finalists
In the Trials if Truth, now that was a unfortunate choice of
Words to describe the FRES UV fiasco!!!

June 25, 2011 6:30 pm

Isn’t the RG41 the direct competitor to the likes of Piranha V and Boxer? The RG35 looks pretty good IMO, the 4 x 4 looks like it is a perfect fit to Concept D with a remote mounted .50 cal weapon station, and the 6 x 6 looks like what a modern Saxon would look like and I think for Blue Helmet/Stabilisation role would be cheaper than a heavier 8 x 8 design like Boxer while giving adequate protection. Of course given the relative cheapness of the RG family and the need for thousand’s of vehicles I would go for the RG45 as well!

June 25, 2011 7:28 pm

Phil – I am with you. Plenty of rope and a lampost. Now that’s democratic accountability!

Jedi has it though for me. 16AAB need a platform for (properly) air portable rapid reaction that can do fire support/recce. We can’t I think give them something heavier and be true to the concept.

My feeling is that if we intend to have a light role air delivered brigade it needs a modern CVR(T) in line with C3 and with at least a recce/fire support/indirect fire variants.

I simply do not know enough about reconnaissance and brigade and battalion movements to say whether there is also a role for our modern CVR(T) in front of medium weight reconnaissance/IFVs and heavy armour. I suspect that there is but as a specialism not as the first wave.

I don’t think that from an assault point of view the MRAPs are sufficient. I do think the days of light patrol vehicles like WMIK, Snatch, Vector, even Jackal are over. Ergo, MRAPS must replace them in those non-assault roles.

June 25, 2011 7:54 pm

Well, WMIK is just the kit to mount the weapons – I presume you meant the Landrover? A Foxhound WMIK would suit admirably, provided it can fit inside whichever aircraft is to carry it.

For the fire support role, the question must be raised: what is it supposed to do? Will a 120mm mortar firing PG rounds suffice? If so then you just need a platform that can carry it and is resistant to artillery fragments.
Or is it there to carry weaponry sufficient to plink enemy vehicles? Then you have to ask:
Will it go toe-to-toe or will it attack from defilade? This determines your required protection.
Is it supposed to provide mobile defence or an offensive capability? If the latter then there will need to be a troop carrying version to ensure that the infantry can cross open ground with the tankettes.

Really, if you are looking for a protected weapon carrier for airborne forces, then it’s the Weisel, isn’t it? Not CVR(T)

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 25, 2011 7:59 pm

I’m not convinced by 16t armour. The additional utility of the heavier platform has already been determined to be necessary, and 16t isn’t light enough for heli-lift. As artillery, if you put a light gun in a 16t package, it won’t be very armoured. And 30t is still air portable.
For an underslung protected vehicle, Jackal carries a 40mm gmg, and there are 20 and 25mm cannons within the same weight bracket. Split Warthog units weigh in at 8.9t and 7.1t, I think. There’s a 120mm mortar carrier hog if you want it. And is a new 16t vehicle gonna be more survivable than a 16t Warthog?

Phil Darley
June 25, 2011 8:07 pm

@Tubby I was simply answering mr.Fred”s comment on those two vehicles. Yes the RG41 is a closer fit to the likes of Boxer than RG35. I was simply stating why on the one hand we DO have a need for that sort of vehicle as the existing UOR supplied Mastiff/Ridgeback are lacking in certain areas and that’s why the Army was do reluctant to buy them.

They probably wouldn’t buy them now either as they fall short of the FRES UV type vehicle. Both the RG35 and RG41 look like superb vehicles. The RG35 4×4 looks like an overgrown Scarab
and as you say would fill a recce type role very well.

All the RG series do seem to be very
comparatively priced but I think BAe Systems us so unpopular with the MoD that they seem to be boycotted at the moment . Which is wrong, as failings in one area should not impact another and the LsndSystems division has some excellent products, the RG series, CV90, and M777 to name a few.

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 25, 2011 8:23 pm

On the Weisel. Not withstanding the open top, Jackal probably offers better protection than the Weisel. And Jackal is capable of modification to carry a wider range of weapons than are currently seen mounted. However, I mentioned t’other day, the robot Weisels tinkered with by the Germans and French.
I feel that UGVs will fill key roles on the future battlefield, for some of the issues thrown up here as well as for reducing casualties. We should be developing the necessary tech and tactical concepts today!

June 25, 2011 8:24 pm

to me a pressing question is retaining the compact dimensions against the increase in weight.

the cvrt was specified at 2.1m to fit between rubber trees, and regardless of whether it ever did precisely that its compact dimensions have proved a boon.

the question is what is the modern equivalent of the rubber plantation, i.e. the upper limit on its size beyond which its utility vis-a-vis larger alternatives is so diminished it ceases to be a valid separate requirement.

the reason i point this out is because the CVRT is tiny, but we are talking about nearly doubling its weight. this will have an impact on its size.

as a contrast the stormer30 is up from eight tonnes to thirteen, and up from 2.1m to 2.4m (2.7m if you include the skirts?)!

the same question must be asked about weight; how heavy can it be without destroying the advantage its lack of weight has over larger alternatives?

re dimensions – admin suggest a very sensible 21st century equivalent of the rubber plantation; the ISO container, but we are already in a pickle because the stormer30 is already 100mm too wide and it only weighs 13 tonnes.
solution – do we just want an iso sized cradle that permits easy transport of a ‘packaged’ tankette? If yes then stormer30 remains feasible, and I would suggest that at 66% of the width of ascod it represents a significant advantage in manoeuvrability.

re weight – i would suggest that forces designed to be rapid-reaction must be designed with the principle of air-transport at their heart, and that means working to the lowest common demoninator our lift fleet; the A400m.
the ambition should be to transport two at a time, so less than 15-16 tonnes loaded up. is the reported thirteen tonne weight of stormer30 an empty weight?

there are three criteria that a CVR(t) 2.0 must be judged against when looking at value for money versus an enlarged ascod fleet:
1. strategic mobility – how quickly can you fly them there in a useful quantity?
2. intra-theatre mobility – can you heli drop them on target (stormer30 underslung on a chinook….)?
3. tactical mobility – can you scare the shit out of the opfor by appearing from ‘improbable’ terrain?

re Mr. Fred’s point about infantry support; surely this can be provided by warthog?

frankly speaking the stromer30 sounds nearly perfect, though i’d ask BAE to stick a CTA40 turret on it instead.

but at the end of the day, what matters is whether a vehicle can achieve whatever criteria we decide represent a step-up in the three forms of mobility described above…….. and if it can’t then perhaps we should give up on CVR(t) 2.0 and stick with an ascod/fennec mix.

@ brian black

re. 16 tonnes – precisely the kind of questions i am driving at.
would 13 tonnes make a difference, and would the presence of CH53e helicopters significantly affect that equation?

what benchmark would make such a vehicle worthwhile?

June 25, 2011 8:48 pm


Sorry I realise I was being a bit nitpicky with my last post – I think BAE will be forgiven in the long run for refusing to allow its (and the other members of the carrier alliance) investment to go down the pan (not to mention the the loss of the naval shipbuilding skills that would have resulted from cancelling CVF) and it should be a plus that the RG family of vehicles are made in South Africa as it allow them to pretend that it is BAE only in name. Also IMO given the number needed (I have read that we need to buy around 5,000 new vehicles) then the options are limited if are going to afford it – basically if I was the MoD it would be RG family or ST Kinetic’s Terrex in terms of keeping the costs down and I prefer the RG family over the Terrex, though if you go with the Terrex you could also buy the Bionix II in the SV role and have three family of vehicles from ST Kinetics.

June 25, 2011 9:11 pm

@ Chris B re A400m

The Germans have the money. The French cook the books. And the C160 was a generation behind C130 when new and it is far from new now.

If it is one thing TD has convinced me on is that A400m (or at least an aeroplane with its specifications) is a good one to have. The RAF should have bought it for tankering and MPA too.

@ All

If you look at CVR(T) and Wiesel as exceptions and then look at the dimensions for the various tracked and untracked APC/IFV/MICV you will see that give or take a foot or two or a kPa here and there they are are all very similar. There is only so far you can take a vehicle the size of a garage before the terrain and flora get in the way however good the vehicle’s ultimate off road performance. You can push off the shelf Land Rovers at some terrific speeds off road and stuff them into some remarkable tight places. But the average squaddy driver wouldn’t do this in combat situation. He probably wouldn’t have the skill. And the thing is with tight places is it takes along time to extricate yourself. For military vehicles off-road performance is about getting the vehicle to sensible places in a sensible safe way away from metalled roads. In many ways they are more like tractors than something you would see on vehicle trial or comp’ safari.

Phil Darley
June 25, 2011 9:16 pm

@Tubby no offence taken!

Yes if you add up all the vehicles that now need replacing plus the fact that utility and support vehicles need to be built to resist mines etc. The number if new vehicles is easily 5000+

The ST Kinetics vehicles look fine. I have seen
them both up close at various exhibitions. My view is that we need to support our own Industry, especially where we have good products. Failing, that buy German, the Puma, Boxer etc. Take some beating. I personally would not have selected the Ascod 2 for FRES SV, the CV90 should have been selected, especially when it is supposed to be an URGENT requirement! Why the fcuk would you choose a paper design?

The smell of corruption fills the air!!

June 25, 2011 9:34 pm


Normally I would go with you on buying British (and if not actually British I would always support licensed production of a European design in the UK), but given the urgency and the lack of budget I think in this case we should compromise and go with buying a cheap of the shelf a design that does 80% of what we would like at a price we can afford, and accept that the only UK bit would likely be fitting out with remote weapon station/turret, sensors and radio fit.

June 25, 2011 11:13 pm


One of the more perplexing aspects of the SV competition was the apparent disparity between the two bids. One had a functional vehicle and the other did not. If this appearance was true, then BAESystems should have been able to massively undercut GDUK because it would need much less design work to reach a final product.
Considering that the MoD have dedicated project teams to investigate these bids and then has independent scrutineers to check the project teams, such a discrepancy should be immediately apparent.

The other option implies that BAESystems design, despite having a demonstrator, was not as advanced in terms of design as it might seem superficially and in fact bid an equivalently sized bid to GDUK.

I do like the Stormer family of vehicles as a successor CVR(T) to the Scorpion family, but I’d stick with the Bushmaster because I don’t think that the CT40 is good value for money, or suited for integration into a manned turret. Firepower of a Bushmaster 2 plus missiles >> firepower of CT40.

Brian Black,
Most likely right that the Jackal is more survivable than the Wiesel, especially vs. buried charges. I suspect that the Foxhound would be more survivable again, and I would be very interested in seeing which has the edge over most terrain for mobility. Given the current situation and not the idealised where we can bring Stormer back from the dead, I would suggest using Foxhound as the light recce/firesupport asset. Interestingly, the US Force Protection Website has a Minigun on the top ring, so it might be possible to mount this:
up there instead (both electrically driven)

I also have a notion that it may be possible to create a tandem arrangement land-gunship out of the Foxhound for a more survivable weapons platform. Enclosed pod for top protection, semi-reclined seats (for lower profile), vision block sighting (for better armour), a stabilised weapon system with a moderately sized cannon, a mast-mounted sight and a couple of launchers each side to allow the use of hellfire-class missiles (or guided 2.75″ rockets). As it is tandem, it would be no wider than a regular Foxhound and not much (if at all taller)

Certainly for the RWS, we have no indigenous designs. If you want a RWS you go to the Norwegians or the Israelis. More recently, the Germans, French, Swedes and Canadians have managed some self-made systems but the only such systems used on UK vehicles are licensed off the Israelis or Norwegians. Radios likewise – we fit offshore systems to our specs. Sensors and turrets, for the time being at least, remain kind-of onshore. I certainly agree with going for an 80% solution, in part because it would mean getting shot of the CT40 millstone, but also because then it couldn’t be used as an excuse for delaying a project over and over. It would allow us to make evolutionary (and much less risky) improvements at a much faster drumbeat (better for industry, more attractive for the export market) rather than reaching for the revolutionary each time (and frequently missing)

June 26, 2011 12:17 am

“I certainly agree with going for an 80% solution, in part because it would mean getting shot of the CT40 millstone”

I accept that CTA40 might not be all roses and light, but if we are to select CTA40 for warrior CEP and fres(sv) would it not also make sense to use CTA40 for CVR(t) 2.0?

June 26, 2011 10:23 am

The actual design of a vehicle, plane ect is only about 10% of the total cost. It is the development of brand new electronics and there validation that costs money and takes time. It how Sweden get thing cheaply. Design something that’s suits there needs but use off the shelf engines electronics to do it.

June 26, 2011 11:16 am

I know this CTA wotsit is supposed to be super duper. But as I have said before why didn’t we just buy Bofors 40mm and live with it. HE is still HE. The Bofors comes with smart rounds. More money to re-invent the wheel.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
June 26, 2011 12:18 pm

X – have you seen the amount of turret space a Bofors L70 takes up? As for smart rounds, that is mainly a fusing issue and such fuses can be fitted to rounds fired from a 40mm CTA gun as easily as they can be fired from a bofors – assuming the MOD is willing to pay for them, of course.

June 26, 2011 1:01 pm

Personaly I think we are getting into angels on pinhead territory.

CVRT was originally designed to fit between rubber trees. (imagine suggesting that today)!

That design criteria brought with it problems- lack of room inside and thn armour (although lots of add ons later)

That design criteria also brought with it .a lot of benefits being perhaps the most easily deployed, most mobile and cheapest to opperate tracked armoured vehicle of it’s generation. The 75 mm and 30 mm guns in particular did give it quite a punch:-again for it’s day.

The point is the rubber tree thing gave the vehicle lots of uses it was not probably designed for and it proved modifialble into anti tank/ anti aircraft uses.

I cannot help thinking that we are rotating about the same axis all the time when we get into tactical discussions about what is’best’.

Sure I would rather be in a Namer (preferably with more than a machine gun on top), when the shooting starts in a hot war. But I would not rather be in Namer trying to cross the bogs of the FI or the marshes of southern Iraq, and I doubt it would fit on any of the mountain tracks of Afghan.

In short whatever vehicle we buy will be slightly ‘wrong’ for most tactical situations.

surely the obvious thing is that we can use two teams of vehicles- one light one heavy.

The light one to replace cvrt and F434 in most roles the heavy to replace warrior and everything else bar Chally2 (and even that possibly as addressed in other threads).

The light one should fit in the shipping container , be liftable by CH53 and chinook, and be deplyable by c130 and even c27, be able to be mainatined and fueled easily.

Guns should be CTA40 . + 120 mm morter verison, + anti tank missile + APC (if we can fit enough in) and perhaps a light gun version?

They would form the basis of 16 AAb vehicles marines and recon forces for the Army. I bet they would see a LOT of use if they proved to be as fuel effcient and relativly reliable as the cvrt.

The heavy version will have as many versions, although I am in favour of putting as big a gun as possible on top ala Anders.

But if the choice is it seems between CV90 and ASCOD really? is any one any better than any of the others? in all tactical situations, I strongly doubt it.

Wheels or tracks again the pin head time.

But I am very concerned about the size of some of the wheeled vehicles – the increase from Saracan to Boxer is I think unsustainable and these things are going to make very big targets. They are outside the 2.5 metre max width for road vehicles which will cause tactical problems, have the turning circle of a wetherspoons pub, and no one has yet dealt with the vulnerability of tyres. For all the ‘bullet resistant’, ‘runflat’ etc there is no such thing as tyre that will stop a 5.56 armoured peircing round or won’t catch fire, There are reasons why the US abandoned wheeled combat vehicles after WW2. And Striker has many critics (they love the networking kit it carries but there are persistant cricisms of it’s mobility, protection and maintainabilty.

I could see the smaller vehicles as wheeled, but no matter how sexy the rookat looks I remain unconvinced by big wheeeled combat vehicles over 20 tons.

PS. Do like the big wheeled SA army G6 though as not a direct combat vehicle. Npt convinced there is a tactical need to mount 155mm on a tracked chassis and the various trcuk mounted designs do seem more efficient financialy

June 26, 2011 1:08 pm

Thanks Mr.Fred I had no idea we did not make RWS (I naively thought that as we made RWS for the T23 we could do it on a vehicle). I guessing from what you said that Bowman is not a UK product (I am not sure to be pleased that its someone else’s cock up or disappointed that we paid good money to licence build it).

Anyway I have been day dreaming over what I would do if I was the MoD and I have come up with what I would do. Its likely a crock of shit as I lack the knowledge to do a proper job, so everyone please be polite when you kick it to pieces.

Basically I would concentrate on buying BAE as they are still 40% UK and it makes it easier to build parts overseas and assemble in the UK with a 100% UK based support contract.

I would use CV90 as the basis of SV, recovery, IVF (to replace Warrior), APC (to replace the Bulldog) and command post vehicles. I would skip over the 105mm and 120mm direct fire versions as I worry that if it looks like a tank the Government will treat it like a tank and use it to replace the Chally 2. However I would go with BAE 120mm mortar turret mention in Jed’s earlier guest post. Other versions I would go with if the budget allowed is a version of the CV9040 with the same radar fit, but the 40mm replaced with a 76mm gun with dual ammo feed for Davide/HE rounds allowing it to switch between anti-air and fire support role, with the higher elevation on the turret allowing it to engage targets under light cover in an urban environment.

I would then supplement the CV90 with RG41, mostly in basic types like APC, ambulance and a possibly load carrying version. If the 76mm gun mentioned above was deemed insufficient to provide fire support for the infantry then maybe I would go with 105mm gun on the RG41, but only if it could use the same ammo as the 105mm light guns – have no idea if this is possible.

For a replacement of the CVR(T) I would go with the 4×4 version of the RG35.

To replace the Mastiff and similar family of vehicles I would go with a 6×6 utility and crew carrying versions of the Foxhound, I would sell off the Panther, and replace the SNATCH, Husky, Vector and Panther with the 4×4 version of the Foxhound. If we need to replace Jackal and Coyote then I would go with the weapon carrying version of the Foxhound.

For the most part I think we should continue to use Protector M151 for our lighter vehicles (possibly along with versions mounting Javelin in addition to the gun, and if its not a crazy idea I like to see a version with LASM mounted in addition to the gun), and I guess we would use the BAE TRT RWS for the APC’s though I am not sure if I would go with the 25mm, I might be tempted with fitting the F2 cannon (as used in the GAMA helicopter turret) as while it is a 20mm cannon it will also fire 12.7x99mm so it can use .50cal as well.

As I said above, let me down gently on how flawed my idea is :-)

June 26, 2011 1:13 pm

How do you do a blank line between paragraphs as I cannot get my monster post to format correctly. Should I be enclosing my paragraphs between HTML paragraph tags?

June 26, 2011 1:29 pm

The Bowman radios are indeed overseas sourced (ITT and Harris – Selex PRR/PRR-EZ is not part of Bowman anymore) with UK crypto. The rest of the Bowman programme or BCIP, for good or ill, is in the UK’s court:
Radios: US (ITT, Harris)
Terminals: US (still Paravant? haven’t checked)
Initial battle management software/underlying tech(?): Canadian
Majority of UK requirement software – esp ComBAT: UK (GD)
Specific to role apps – the BISAs: UK (various coys)
Prime/System Integration/Vehicle Integration: UK (GD)

June 26, 2011 2:16 pm

@ Pete

Yes I know it is a big un! But as I said lets with live it. I can’t believe the stylish and ergonomically minded Swedes would make a turret that is totally unworkable. Remember too they have an armoured vehicle industry still. As for smart rounds. Well as you say they can be fitted to any round. My point is lets buy system of the shelf instead of paying for somebody else to build another one from scratch. Isn’t that the point of this thread?

I am assuming Pete we had done the sensible thing and bought CV90………

FYI the stabilised 40mm mount is CV90 is even bigger.

Your argument does illustrate something. A lot of us are here saying adapt and re-use. Somebody suggests using something proven and a bit clunky and it is “ooh we could build a better one” and we wonder why the politicians and senior forces bods get suckered.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
June 26, 2011 3:03 pm

X – adapt and reuse? NO!. CVR(t) has been a huge success and made Alvis great huge wads of cash because it wasn’t swedish, austrian, american or spanish. CV90, ASCOD or, indeed, any off-the-shelf AFV will provide exactly fuck-all in the way of export earnings for UK PLC. So, get DSTL to design the specifications of our CVR(t) replacement then get Supacat or Ricardo to design it and, finally, get JCB to build it.

Sorry. Bit of a rush of blood to my head there. No, of course you’re right. Just buy whatever is available and let’s pin our future on banking.

June 26, 2011 3:11 pm

x – understand your point ref Bofors, but what is done is done and CTA is developed.

Mr Fred – you seem to forget that the CTA was designed specifically for IFV turrets, and is actually the most compact gun of its type available, there are plenty of graphics depicting this if you google for it. The rounds being case telescoped are as ‘fat’ as a standard 40mm (obviously) but are about as long as 25mm round.

If the army wanted TD’s ruthless commonality they may have stuck with a gun able to fire the same ammo as the Apache’s 30mm – but they didn’t they wanted something that would give maximum air – bursting HE fragging anti-defilade goodness and maximised armour piercing performance.

As for talk of adding new calibers such as 20mm, think of the logistics….. please just think of the logistics……. ‘wink’ :-)

Think Defence
June 26, 2011 3:17 pm
Reply to  Jed

i would replace 50cal with 20mm any day of the week

June 26, 2011 3:33 pm

Just thought I would have another rant against 16 AAB and “air mobility” :-)

16 AAB is the bastard child of 5th Airborne Brigade (the old proper brigade strength use of the Parachute Regiment) and 11th Airmobile (the cold war helicopter based anti-armour force).

I fail to see what purpose it is fit for, or why we fool oursleves by hanging onto it.

As a “helicopter” based force it has no strategic utility as we do not have the ships or aircraft available to move it all into theatre rapidly – sure we could use the RN amphib squadron and hire enough container ships, but that is hardly what I would call rapid. Not all the helo’s assigned have long range self deployment capability.

In the ‘light airborne intervention’ role we could just use the remaining strategic lift assets of the RAF to deploy the 2 regiments of the Parachute regt as ‘light infantry’ (Para-Rangers / Para-Commandos) with LandRover WMIK, Jackal / Jackal 2 / Wolfhound WMIK and lots of Javelin launchers as required. Don’t forget even the US had to deploy light ‘airborne’ forces to Saudi first as the initial element of ‘Desert Shield’.

So in my humble opinion 16 AAB is never going to be used in ‘air assault’ mode in one way or another as it is currently configured – SO……….

In this case why do we need a light weight recce tankita ?

Jackal / Wolfhound WMIK will under sling from a Chinook – can’t we make do with this capability for lifting mobile fire power (12.7mm, 40mm GMG and Javelin) to be used in probing / diversionary attack mode of use ???

I remain unconvinced by all the arguments that what we absolutely, definitely need to remain a flexible and responsive force is a CVR(T) mk II – if we still had cold war sized army and bigger budgets then maybe, just maybe………

Oh, and finally for every, but they were so useful in the Falklands argument, yes they were, but so what ? Would a BVS10 with 120mm mortar have been more useful for indirect fire support ? Would more BV’s or more helo’s able to carry more Carl Gustav teams with ammo have been equally useful in direct fire support ? Would more Chinooks, or really big VT2 hovercraft have been more useful, or small hovercraft or armed Lynxes……… on and on and on – if you really, really want an armoured force just for a potential fight in very boggy fields, then you need to think a little more out of the box than a fantastical Chinook carried CVR(T) mk II / Stormer 30.

Pete – I think we are well past looking at Defence to save / revitalize the manufacturing sector !

June 26, 2011 4:30 pm

For me it breaks donw like this:

— Keep the Mastiff and use them to build “Motorised” battalions,
— Keep Foxhound or whatever the hell they call it now and use that as a light utility/scout vehicle,
— Keep the Jackals and Land Rovers, give to the lighter forces/special forces,
— Run Warrior ragged then replace with CV90

Job done.

June 26, 2011 4:33 pm

@ Jed

It isn’t the weapon it is the process I am questioning.

June 26, 2011 5:48 pm

I don’t presume to guess what the CT40’s designers were thinking when they built it, but I don’t necessarily follow the propaganda associated with it either.
Much is made of the small swept volume, but this comes at the cost of the pretty large lump of mechanism sticking out to the side, plus the volume and weight of all the ammunition handling systems needed for the shells. It cannot be balanced about the trunnion because this is fixed by the feed path.

There are a number of companies capable of building AFVs. Most you wouldn’t know because only the prime system integrators are in the news. Announcing or even deciding that you go only to one is ultimately self-defeating because it removes any impetus to improve (no competition)
I do like the idea of a 120mm mortar for the support vehicles, especially if also equipped with PGMs so it can be used in concert with designator-equipped infantry or other vehicles.

June 26, 2011 6:12 pm


I am not convinced we need CVRTmk2 to remain flexible and responsive.

I am convinced the smaller and cheaper to run you make it the MORE LIKELY it is to be deployed, thats just human nature.

Not obsessed with re fighting FI either, just if you are going to be smaller and less welll armed than the other guy , you better be more mobile / able to go where he isn’t.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
June 26, 2011 6:13 pm

@ Ixion – totally agree with the heavy/light divide, and that combat vehicles should be tracked. I’d personally go with the CV90 as I thin it’s just better and it’s Swedish (big fan of the Swedes).

@ Tubby – Agree with the CV90 (see above) but disagree with the light armour being wheeled (see above). I do like your 76mm AA idea – do you think the 76mm gun could replace the 40mm n in the IFV? If you used TD’s “Lego” army units you could then have superior fire power for supporting the carried infantry or an excellent Cavalry/scout vehicle. If not then I’d go with the 35mm as you would have commonality with the 35mm C-RAM.

As for lighter fire support/recon, if you could fit a 90mm gun on the CVR(T), could you fit the SA 76mm on a Stormer? The yanks had a number of light tank designs in the 50’s/60’s with 76mm guns but they tended to be around 17.5 tonnes in weight. Using modern tech could we do it lighter?

June 26, 2011 6:13 pm

Mr Fred – fair enough, but being ex-Psyops I have to be pedantic about your use of the word propaganda :-)

June 26, 2011 6:43 pm

Well, marketing literature then.
You’ve got to admit that it’s often pretty close.

Rupert Fiennes
Rupert Fiennes
June 26, 2011 6:43 pm

My apologies for the late comment. A well thought out article, but I would disagree with these two points:-

– wheels will/are already providing just as much off-road mobility as tracks; this is just flat out not true once weight goes past 2-4 tonnes. Even assuming hybrid direct drive to each wheel and great feedback control, the friction developed from wheels is always going to be less than on tracks. In turn, wheels are always going to be better on roads. If we pick either wheels or tracks, there are trade offs; I would aver that for a vehicle that is designed to go off-road the majority of the time, needing more mobility comparable to a walking soldier, tracks are the only choice

– the implicit assumption that tracked vehicles cannot have v-shaped hulls is false. Tracked vehicles tend to have the presumption that direct fire is their primary worry, and hence move to reduce their profile, which pushes them towards flat hulls. If you discount the use of hybrid electric drive trains, tracked vehicles are actually more suitable for v-hulls, as the requirement for transmission to occupy the base of the vehicle no longer applies.

The use of unmanned turrets is going to revolutionise design. Partly because the turrets themselves, often the most heavily armoured areas can be far smaller and hence lighter, and partly because the turret ring no longer needs to extend into the hull, allowing a large increase in internal space (or a smaller vehicle). Combined with the elimination of conventional transmission (for wheeled or tracked), we can greatly improve the use of space.

A CVR(T) replacement is actually the ideal opportunity to introduce these innovations, because we don’t expect them to be firing on the move the way a CR2 squadron would be expected to, and the push to get the vehicle weight low is so much harder

June 26, 2011 7:01 pm


I had actually started a post when my browser died saying that while I like the idea of 40 tonne tracked, 30 tonne wheeled, 16 tonne tracked (as suggested by Jedi) and 10 tonne wheeled fleet that maybe from a ruthless financial point of view we should go with just 40 tonne tracked and 10 tonne wheeled.

The question is are the time when we need something smaller and lighter than CV90 but better protected than the 10 tonne wheeled going to result in UOR for a 30 tonne wheeled if end up in another land based enduring operation after Afghanistan?

I think 40mm about as large as you want for a IVF though being a civvy I have zilch appreciation for what it is like to be dismounted infantry under fire and needing fire support from your IFV so it may be that if you can fit 76 mm in turret that did not eat into the space available for the embarked troops and it did not cost a fortune that you could go with a 76mm turret on all your IFV. If 76mm is a bit oversized (in terms of size of turret, and space required for ammo) then you might be right about 35 mm, just not convinced that if you take advantage of the elevation of the AAA armed CV90 to neutralise targets at short range in elevate positions in an urban area that a 35mm HE has enough punch, still this another area where I will have to wait for those with practical experience to chip in.

I think Stormer could fit a 76mm gun as the Alvis Scorpion had them, though I imagine something based on the OTO Super Rapide would be a bit bigger than the old L23A1.


I get your point about lack of competition. Could we run a competition for the design and another for UK based manufacturer and then get a range of vehicles built under license by one manufacturer, and would this leverage unit cost down?

June 26, 2011 8:12 pm

Just watching top gear where Richard Hammond is pratting around in a Marauder which appears to be a civvy version of RG35 4×4, looks bloody good (and massive, but it can carry a section) – just ended with blowing up 7lb’s of plastic explosive under it and it shredded the tire and damaged the rear “bumper”.

Think Defence
June 26, 2011 8:32 pm
Reply to  Tubby

Had their PR company contact me this week, they will be sending me some vids and images etc so I will post them when I get them

June 26, 2011 9:35 pm

RG31, surely?
If you have a competition and then select one manufacturer for a family of vehicles, that would be fine. What I would want to avoid doing is saying to one manufacturer: “you are going to be the manufacturer of choice until Satan is seen buying ice-skates” because it takes away any incentive to excel.
Rupert Fiennes,
I’m not convinced that unmanned turrets, especially for recce vehicles, are quite there yet. Getting close perhaps, but there’s a whole bunch of soft issues that they don’t address as well as a manned turret.

paul g
June 26, 2011 9:36 pm

thing is chris come 2015 all the ridgebacks, mastiffs etc will be well and truly shagged out,plus factor in the cost of bringing them back be easier to hand them over to the ANA. can see call me dave (if he’s still around in 2015) using it as a PR stunt not leaving them in the shit etc etc

June 26, 2011 9:46 pm


Never looked at the RG31 until your post so I just thought it looked like a RG35 with extra windows, but I see your right, still pretty cool, though why you want to buy one for £300k to drive around in. I guess it will be the vehicle of choice for Columbia drug lords.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
June 26, 2011 9:48 pm

@ Tubby – Got some links to somre interesting 75/76mm gun US light tanks;

The T 92 – was going to enter service when the US congress started obsessing about amphipious capability.

The Rapid Deployment Force light tank – fully automatic 75mm cannon or a conventional 76mm gun for export.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
June 26, 2011 9:49 pm

Having some real problems posting today

June 26, 2011 10:30 pm

@ Paul G.

We’d better get on the blower then and start ordering the replacements.

The thing that has always annoyed me the most about the MoD is that they’re always trying to come up with super, dooper new solutions for a collapsible, heat resistant platform on which to press clothing etc.

June 27, 2011 10:58 am

@ Pete A

I think in the other FRES thread I spouted off about getting some of our brightest and best engineers (we do have them) to design a vehicle with a company like JCB as a catalyst for skills growth, fiscal stimulus, and refitting the Army too. Like all good defence watchers I was going to use the aid money…….

But that was me being wildly optimistic. I do believe in big rethinks and out of the box thinking. But some times I have to remember the world doesn’t work like that.

If we had bought CV90 instead of ASCOD and bought the tried and tested Bofors 40mm to arm it a good proportion of the production work could have been done here. This would have meant real job and money being spread out more widely into the economy. It is good to innovate, but re-inventing the wheel isn’t innovating. It seems firms like BAE milk the MoD on research projects. They keep a small team of engineers and then test and test and re-jig and then test and re-test and modify. It is all waste but lucrative for the defence companies. Employing a production workforce eats into their margins. It seems to me they don’t want to produce anything. The trouble is what do you do with the workforce after the project is completed?

I do know what you are saying about real jobs etc. But I can’t see an easy solution. The UK through away its manufacturing industry. I blame both management and workers for this, but the biggest culprit was the labour movements and unions.

@ All

June 27, 2011 4:48 pm

Hi BB,

I’ll go with those two (and whatever number of newly manufactured Spamitars will be available):
“For an underslung protected vehicle, Jackal carries a 40mm gmg, and there are 20 and 25mm cannons within the same weight bracket. Split Warthog units weigh in at 8.9t and 7.1t, I think. There’s a 120mm mortar carrier hog if you want it. And is a new 16t vehicle gonna be more survivable than a 16t Warthog?”
– as said, Ascod for the 5 MRB’s, and then other variants after the SV Scout, the SPG to take over from the current one (a good one) last

June 27, 2011 4:50 pm

… and of course, I will take the photo montage NEMO any day, over the 120 mm available from Singapore Industries, as a standard fit

June 27, 2011 5:14 pm

Hi Tubby,

RE “Bowman is not a UK product (I am not sure to be pleased that its someone else’s cock up or disappointed that we paid good money to licence build it)”
– twenty years wasted, and what amount of money
– the whitewash washed with you; in the end they bought an off-the-shelf system, instead, and called it the same!

June 27, 2011 5:18 pm


Yes “CVRT was originally designed to fit between rubber trees. (imagine suggesting that today)!”
– the Warthog was built to the same spec (expeditionary warfare, seen from a Singapore perspective)

June 27, 2011 6:08 pm

Hi Tubby,

There was a Toyota Landcruiser special that “civvy version of RG35 4×4, looks bloody good (and massive, but it can carry a section)” could also carry a section, and was only made for S. Africa. A couple of them have made their way to the UK (lots of sleeping space, and can go anywhere)

June 27, 2011 6:30 pm

Hi Monty,

I am intrigued by your summary: “requirements in terms of protection from KMT6 mine, RGP7 and 14.6 mm HMG. This level of general armour would additionally provide limited protection against small IEDs. This is surely the bare minimum for any modern AFV. …

Option B comes closest to fulfilling the requirement. This is the Scimitar 2 with an unmanned turret. The advantage of this design is that the crew could be contained within a specially reinforced armoured cell. The idea is that they will survive an IED even if the vehicle does not. With this approach I think you can keep the weight to around 10-12 tonnes and use add-on armour modules for extra frontal and side protection against larger IEDS to create an all-up weight of 15-16 tonnes. Using an unmanned turret for the main armament would help save weight as well as allowing for reduced width…

This vehicle configuration would easily lends itself to mortar, command, ATGW, and recovery variants. In theory you should be able to use the same chassis for APC and ambulance variants…

If you’ve already got Warthog, however, I’m not sure if you would need ambulance and personnel carrier variants of [this] CVRT 2.0 too.

Does your Powerpoint stretch any further than side silhouettes?

June 27, 2011 7:02 pm

I think that the defence industry would love to keep a manufacturing capability, but the problem is that the MoD alone cannot provide enough business to justify it and the industry cannot generate enough overseas sales to maintain it independently.
These little research contracts are intended to keep the industry going because otherwise the good engineers would go and work somewhere else and that is where you lose the capability.
I would contend that there are many more weapon choices than you cite.
All the ATK products: M242, Mk44, M230, Bushmaster III and IV and the LW25 would be possible, the Mauser MK30 and the BK27 are perfectly acceptable weapons too. At home, Manroy can supply a 20mm HS804, or a 40mm GMG would fill most roles. CMI groupe can help with larger weapons in the 90-105mm class, which would fill most required roles handsomely with modern fire control and could be set up in a remote turret.

Also (picky):
Wolfhound is Cougar Based. Ocelot is Foxhound

CVR(T) 2.0, as described is not a quantum leap ahead of Scimitar in terms of protection. In fact, it’s pretty much… exactly the same

June 27, 2011 7:38 pm

@ Mr.fred

I was going to carry on and say something similar but it was already a ramble so I stopped.

As for the good engineers going abroad. Well surely it is more about having a sector big enough to keep the “average” engineers in work?

June 27, 2011 7:42 pm

re Bowman

Don’t you find it ironic that the radio is named after probably the last system we British deployed that was within budget, cheap to maintain, home grown, built in large numbers, and was a successful war winner (for at least 2 centuries)?

June 27, 2011 7:51 pm


Which sector do you mean? If the AFV sector, then we don’t have the demand for it. The engineers leave that sector (not necessarily abroad) and work somewhere else. You lose the domain knowledge and expertise and the customer isn’t going to want to build that up again in a new generation of workers.

June 27, 2011 8:01 pm


I am sorry to harp on about this, but I just don’t get it:

“Tactical mobility: by air underslung a CH-47 /CH-53” – why ?

What does the ability to move an 12 – 15 tonne light armoured vehicle by air bring to the recce requirement ? I don’t understand, what is driving your requirement.

Can you describe some scenarios that are driving your thinking ?

What is the potential CONOPS ?
How far can a Chinook carry that load, and how fast ?
What kind of obstacles are you crossing – terrain features, or man made (defences) ?
What about the enemy air defence environment ?
Once landed, how do you envision these vehicles operating ?
What kind of effects to you want to achieve ?

Finally why does tactical air mobility by helo deliver what you require, as opposed to alternatives.

Cheers !

June 27, 2011 8:34 pm

@ Mr.fred

I meant the whole sector of “engineering.”

The idealist in me would like to see HMG and the private sector take engineering and run with it. I look at Dyson, JCB, Formula 1 and motor sport sector, ARM etc., world leading naval architecture, and I do see hope. I look at the JCB Academy over the other side of the county from me and I hopeful. We build some wonderful, wonderful stuff in this country.

But as whole engineering is tiny part of the economy. And that I get a bit despondent. Yes we can build Daring. But this was the same ship building sector that couldn’t follow a set of plans to build something as simple as a Bay.

I don’t know. Please don’t pick on me any more. ;)

@ Jed

I think the RM could do with a single chassis slingable tracked vehicle. Especially if FAA gets the HC3 as promised. Either that or some more of these…..

June 27, 2011 9:03 pm

JED @ 8.01

I for one cannot see moving a 12.5 ton tactical vehicle by slung load as an exactly regular or planned for event.


Rather like the rubber tree thing, it brings with it a number of ‘nice to haves’
1) Coupled with a 2.3 mtr width an ability to slot inside a container which for full strategic mobility must be a serious consideration.
2) It makes the vehicle able to fit into a large number of tactical transports (in the case of the C130 with a full opperational range).
3)As observed elswhere reduce weight makes it powerable by readily available commercial even car engines
4) There are still a lot of class 13 or less bridges in the world, In crowded developed England, I live near a salt marsh and i of only 2 only 2 bridges accross for several miles is a class 9, and given the nature of the ground building any kind of serious trackway and brige accross the river a real sod.
5) Finaly the ability to chopper something a few miles across such uncrossable ground to effect a tactical out manouver or flank attack, may well come in usefull.

June 27, 2011 9:15 pm


All understood – my counter being; to what expense do we develop a whole new class of vehicles, that don’t meet other requirements and so must supplement and not replace FRES SV for what are considered “nice to haves” which DO or MAY have alternative ways of being met. So continuing to play devils advocate:

1) Coupled with a 2.3 mtr width an ability to slot inside a container which for full strategic mobility must be a serious consideration.

Why ? There are thousands of charter-able ships ont he worlds oceans that can carry vehicles wider than an ISO container.

2) It makes the vehicle able to fit into a large number of tactical transports (in the case of the C130 with a full opperational range).

Why ? C130 has limited life with RAF and my contention is that we will never have enough A400 or C17 to move usable amounts of armour, so they can be used to rush lighter weight stuff by air if required to support Para-Commando’s e.g. Wolfhound, Jackal.

3)As observed elswhere reduce weight makes it powerable by readily available commercial even car engines

So what ?

4) There are still a lot of class 13 or less bridges in the world, In crowded developed England, I live near a salt marsh and i of only 2 only 2 bridges accross for several miles is a class 9, and given the nature of the ground building any kind of serious trackway and brige accross the river a real sod.

Now this one I can understand and agree with. However, make sure your bigger heavier vehicle can wade, and make sure AVLB or other amphib equipment is available. I know that is not the answer to everything, but is it the cost effective and realistic answer ?

5) Finaly the ability to chopper something a few miles across such uncrossable ground to effect a tactical out manouver or flank attack, may well come in usefull.

Indeed it may, as indeed my Chinooks packed to the brim with tooled up light infantry, and thus can fly to the max of their speed and manoeuvrability envelopes. Or perhaps we could use Apaches for the flank attack ?

June 27, 2011 9:17 pm

DOH – now I did it too – Wolfhound in last comment should of course be Foxhound (Ocelot) – new thread – does the British Army have the worst vehicle naming conventions in the world ?

June 27, 2011 9:23 pm

Hi etc,

I am trying a delete a double comment that just does not want to go away (from 4:48)

June 27, 2011 9:34 pm

For those in the UK, can I recommend the BBC’s “Made in Britain”.
Most interesting.

June 27, 2011 9:39 pm

I would go straight to the first slide there; direct Scimitar replacement, less faffing about and less cost, therefore most likely the most affordable and realistic option.

I would steet clear from wheeled APC’s, the Stryker has had many issues which I dont want our forces to go through… besides, it’s going away from the recon element which is its primary role.

June 27, 2011 10:33 pm


There are many ships that can take vehicles but they can more efficently be shipped – far more to a ship than on a ro/ro/ more easily trucked arround afterwards on any available container truck.

If the Dakota is anything to go on, c130’s will be carrying kit for major armies for the next 30-50 years the line has not shut yet.

(In fact it is probably the last c130 will be carying stuff for 2nd rate powers 100 years after the 1st one left he production line.)

In any event an abiltiy to put 3 in to an IL76 or such like means more per plane

Car engines are so much cheaper due to volumne production, cheaper to mainatin whatever, the differences can be substantial. As can spares costs and avaialbility.

Bridging- the problem as I am sure you are aware is not so much crossing the actual river, but the soil of the marsh and the stabilty of the bank on each side.

5 Horses for courses under some situations the tactical mobility of vehicles over troops on foot could buy a very usefull extra as could te armour and firepower.

Just saying the CVRT turned up wverywhere because you deploy it almost like a landrover.

That just aint going to happen for no 35 ton MICV

June 27, 2011 11:30 pm

@ Mr.fred

I have watched the programme. TBH it didn’t tell me anything I didn’t really know already. At one point though it did say what I had said in that the UK needs to regain some of the second tier manufacturing. That is the slightly higher volume less innovative stuff. AFV building probably more the latter than the former. For the BBC it was good well balance programme with the only occasional hint of left wing bias……. :)

June 28, 2011 12:23 am

This article completely misses the point as to why a new vehicle must be procured versus upgrading an existing one. Power, plain and simple. Legacy vehicles were not conceived with the ability to generate the excess powered required to run the current myriad of electricity requiring modifications and add ons that armored vehicles now carry into battle. Everything from multiple radios, weapons stations, electronic warfare modules, imaging devices, Active defense modules, etc. It is generally not cost effective to upgrade current designs to accomodate all these requirements so armies are currently looking at new designs to full fill these requirements. Otherwise, if you think about it, there have been very little to no advancements in armored vehicle technology in the past 30 years that would demand a new vehicle. Also, the authors contention that Strykers suffered in Iraq dent their design is not supported by te evidence. Strykers offered the amount of protection that could be expected from a medium weight vehicle and they were far more survivalable than HMMV although less so than Bradleys. Strykers faired poorly in Afghanistan where the terrain favors buried IED.

June 28, 2011 12:25 am


Surely theCVR(T) showed up every where because it was what we had, it IS and has been our armoured recce for forty years as you well know, just because we did not have any alternative to send does it automatically give this exalted status.

I am struggling to understand how the protection element of the iron triad fits with this bizarre air mobility requirement and ends up in the suggestion of developing a whole new vehicle family, when we know how much has already been spent on FRES.

Just buy some off the shelf Wiesel if we really, really have to :-)

June 28, 2011 1:10 am


Wiesel will do fine.

I am suggesting that too much is, and has been spent, on trying to break the laws of Physics.

If we want high protection then bollocks to all the new super armours planned or being built. If you want to stop high calibre 25mm + kinetic, or Heat warheads reliably, your looking at 30 tons +.

And 30 ton + comes with 3 metre-ish widths, and that brings strategic and tactical mobilty problems, as well as limitations on stealth. (OK its relative armoured vehicles are hardly quiet or small anyway).

A CVRT vehicle will simply be able to do things an Anders will not, and Visa versa. Is it a ‘capability’ thats worth having?

Thats for the blokes with the cheque books but their judgement is has not really shone over the last 10 years has it?

June 28, 2011 4:30 am

General question; does any one know any reason whybthr front module of a STK Bronco Warthog can’t be used on its own?

I can’t see any reason why from the StK product pdf, except maybe fuel tanks on rear module? Even if true I can’t see that would be too difficult to change. So any use in light armoured recce role?

Retain compatibility with other models; 2 crew, 2 dismounts for sneaking around, STK’s own dual RWS with 12.7mm MG and 40mm GMG and of course the IR and EO sensors.

A Chinook can pick it up too, so that should keep everyone happy…………

Think Defence
June 28, 2011 6:14 am
Reply to  jed

Steering I think Jed, don’t think it uses skid steering but the articulating bodies

June 28, 2011 7:59 am

Hi Jed,

There must be some stored away as the German airportable ambition has been paired down from a division size to brigade size, RE
“Just buy some off the shelf Wiesel if we really, really have to :-)”

June 28, 2011 11:46 am

“On the subject of IEDs, the critical point is…. we have no idea what the future will hold in this regard”

Good point. I can’t help the thought that as we bow to the natural imperative to increase the weight of armour in a response to a greater threat from IEDs and other weaponry, that in about ten years time when we see the next generation of weaponry demolishing FRES on the battlefield, we’ll be saying we have to have FRES MarkII with even more armour. Sort of like battleships that accumulated greater and greater levels of armour from one generation to the next until someone realised that no amount of armour was going to give you the safety you wanted, and there was a collective giving up of putting armour on ships.