A light weight supplement to a medium weight FRE SV

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A guest post from Jed, currently enjoying Florida I think!

In his article “A need to rethink FRES” our friend Monty provided a number of alternative designs for a light weight tracked armoured vehicle to supplement the ‘heavy’ FRES SV in the shape of the GC ASCOD II Scout.

The idea was that these designs were options for a CVR(T) Mk II – that is a highly mobile armoured recce vehicle.

In TD’s original article and in the comments to Monty’s article we discussed the difference between vehicles that can “fight for information” and those that can “sneak around”.

Smaller, low profile and quieter are the kind of attributes for a sneaky vehicle, but with protection and offensive armaments sized for what is basically as self protection requirement.

Other commenters seem some what hung up on the operational utility of having a vehicle that can be slung under a Chinook for air-mobile ops.  I had suggested that both the planned (?) WMIK version of the new Foxhound, and perhaps a dedicated recce variant my fill these needs, however there were many answers that tracks might be better than wheels, in order to traverse really adverse terrain, and thus use it to our advantage.

So, our requirements then as I understood them were these:

  • Tracks – for good tactical mobility
  • Small size – a small volumetric footprint aids strategic (ship and air) and tactical mobility, and to some extent visual ‘stealth’ – so if possible a similar footprint to the original CVR(T)
  • Protection – armour and active defenses if available, but only at a level commensurate with keeping the weight down and the mobility up !
  • Commonality – if possible be based on a vehicle already in use, for logistical simplicity
  • Recce smarts – sensors and comms kit essential to the role.

Taking these suggested requirements into account , I present to you my modest proposal for a non-developmental, off the shelf replacement for the CVR(T)

The Front Module of a Warthog !

A 'Warthog' Fighting Vehicle is pictured on patrol in the Loy Mandah District of Afghanistan, during an operation to clear out an insurgent hotspot.
A ‘Warthog’ Fighting Vehicle is pictured on patrol in the Loy Mandah District of Afghanistan, during an operation to clear out an insurgent hotspot.

 

 

Yes, that’s right, lets just chop the articulated armoured personnel carrier in half, and use the front bit !

OK, now bare with me for a while, its not as daft as it sounds……..

As we all know the Warthog is an up-armoured / better protected variant of the ST Kinetics (of Singapore) Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier (ATTC). It has been introduced into British Army use for in Afghanistan as a better protected replacement for the BAe BVS10 (originally purchased as an amphibious APC for the Royal Marines).

The STK Eng PDF brochure for the Bronco family is available here

The Army guide page for the Bronco is here

Basically I am suggesting simply ditching the rear module, because we don’t need it in this application. As such the same 350bhp engine is going to be well capable of driving the vehicle over all terrains, even loaded up with mission role kit. The engine is mounted at the rear of the front module, and the fuel tanks are in the front module too, which is how we can do without the rear module.

The front module is rated for 1200Kg load

The open source info says the Bronco is armoured against point blank 7.62mm ball, and artillery / mortar shrapnel. However we know the Warthog has enhanced ballistic and IED protection, but we don’t know to exactly what levels, as this is an operational secret. However I would suggest if it’s good enough for the APC variant for Afghanistan, it is good enough for my scout vehicle.

IBD of Germany are said to provide a “passive” (armour ?) upgrade, and they have also marketed their active RPG / ATGW defense system for the Bronco family:

Adding this is a must for me, more expensive than slat armour, but keeps the dimensions down, and does not interfere with amphibious capabilities.

The front module of the Bronco can hold 6 crew, and I don’t know if that holds true for the Warthog, but I would drop it down to 4 which should give weight and space margin for Bowman comms kit,  EW electronics, (and even a boiling vessel for brewing up).

The British Army doesn’t appear to like / trust transparent armour and the passenger door vision blocks / windows of the Bronco are removed in the Warthog – well I would re-instate them, as I think the additional situational awareness provided to the crew is a good idea in a Scout / Recce vehicle.

With a crew of 4, consisting of driver, vehicle commander / gunner and two “Cavalry Scout’ dismounts, the later two can jump out and belly crawl up to the ridge line for really stealthy recon !

The ST Kinetics RWS brochure is available here

The RWS with (1?) weapon and ammo only weighs in at 350Kg.

I would fit a 40mm GMG with  7.62mm co-ax. The GMG with HEAT rounds should be able to contend with enemy light armoured vehicles, and the 7.62mm can take on dismounts.  Of course if we give STK some more cash, maybe they could add 1 or 2 Javelins to the mount

I think there would be space on the rear portion of the roof (above the engine compartment ?) for a Redback 40mm Grenade Launcher, which provides a second set of optronics, and 4 barrels each with 4 stacked 40mm grenades. 

So, that is my modest proposal for a CVR(T) mk II, based on (half) of an in service vehicle, with excellent tracked driven tactical mobility and a small weight and volume foot print (compared to an ASCOD II SV) – I am not sure, but it may have enough buoyancy to be amphibious without the rear module attached.

Even the STK brochure does not split the dimensions and weights into the two modules, but as the whole vehicle is 8.6m long, I would guess the front module is no more than 4.3m long by 2.3 m wide with a gross laden weight of 8 tonnes. This compares well to the CVR(T) which is 5.8m by 2.1m and 8 tonnes (basic) according to Wikipedia.

Is a 40mm GMG as good as 30mm Rarden – well it depends what you want to do. I don’t really want to be advancing to contact and fighting for information in this class of vehicle, but would it more tactically mobile and better protected than a Panther CLV, or as yet non-existent Recce variant of the Foxhound ?

I think it would.

Add to this the logistics commonalities, and the modest survivability enhancements, I think this is a good example of an off the shelf option to fulfill a specific requirement – but what do you think ?

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Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

“So, that is my modest proposal for a CVR(T) mk II, based on (half) of an in service vehicle, with excellent tracked driven tactical mobility and a small weight and volume foot print”

I do like it, and would take in the absence of anything else………… but i still think a stormer30 with the 40mm CTA would be more ‘warry’?

Cheers Jed, enjoy florida.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

What about raiding some tank museums?:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Carrier

On a more serious note, an interesting idea. Could it retain the ability to have a second unit? This could be various roles such as ground station for UAV’s, sensor masts, etc.?

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel

I don’t think that Warthog has any method of skid steering. It’s also tall and, at first glance, it’s L/W ratio would make it a pig to steer as a conventional tracked vehicle. I like the idea of warthog for the FRES-UV role but I don’t think that it’s possible to use the front module as a scout vehicle.

As for using a 40mm GMG for taking on LAV’s? A 40mm HEDP grenade penetrates far less than an RPG and has a trajectory similar to a rainbow. The chances of hitting a moving vehicle are slim and the puny HEAT round would probably fail to penetrate anything with a modern armour array and even if it di the behind armour effects of such a small round may prove to be less than lethal. Give me Stormer 30 any day!

marcase

Um, one problem – both Warthog and BVS-10 both *need* the aft cab, as that’s how it steers. The vehicle uses push-pull rods to literally push the front and back cabs in opposite directions to make it turn.

Still, nice idea though ;)

You want to go small, go Wiesel. ^^

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ Pete and Marcase- Only a prototype but… “When used on its own, the front unit can be fitted with a number of specialised attachments that include: a propeller for improved amphibious characteristics; dozer with adjustable blade; and even a flail-type mine-clearance system.”

http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product4354.html

@ Jed – “In addition, the AAV has a semi-autonomous rear cabin. When uncoupled, the unmanned cabin can be steered by remote control for dangerous missions such as mine clearance. The rear unit can be customised for a variety of independent or complimentary roles.

When operated under its own electric power, the rear cab unit can move silently and stealthily to a distance of about 5 km. In the autonomous mode it can be used for route paving and reconnaissance missions, which are considered too dangerous for the normal manned role.”

IXION
IXION

PETE

Hard won experience form the early days (WW1) led to a rule of thumb that if the length of the vehicle exceeded a certaain ration ot its width skid steering got increasinlgy in effective (From memmory it was 7-1 but I stand to be corrected).

Likewise if its too short in relation to its width it can start to pitch badly and becomes harder and harder to keep in a streight line at any speed above walking pace.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ Jed – Found this site about skid-steering, but can’t guarantee its accurate – “Longer, narrower vehicles resist turning more than shorter wider vehicles” (right at the bottom).

http://www.gizmology.net/tracked.htm

I vaguely remember reading that separated units of articulated tracked vehicles have a tendency to excessively oscillate back and forth, but I can’t access that site any more. It should be fixable?

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

the AAV variant appears to have a lower, and more relaxed profile that its bronco forbear, which does pique my interest particularly given the other innovations coming along.

i have a lot of time for the bronco, and would happily see the improved version turn up in greater numbers.

steve taylor
steve taylor

I would keep both ends. I have wondered about articulated vehicle with the engine and driver low down in the front car and the rear car used to carry a turret. This was when I found out CH53 could carry BV206 inside.

Now Wiesel may be the way to go. I think they have trialled the chassis with a gun bigger than 20mm; I will have to check. And I don’t think the 20mm Wiesel is stabilised. Alternatively if you wanted to mount a bigger gun but were willing to forego firing on the move and a turret a gun could be mounted rigidly. Like the ASU-57.

Perhaps what is need is two vehicles? One with a turret mounted big gun a la Stormer, Scimitar. And another vehicle to deal with infantry; a multi-car Bv/Bronco vehicle with multiple weapons to cover all arcs.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

I have read an old article from the US Armor magazine (yank spelling…tsk, tsk ;p) that suggested articulating two weasels to improve cross-country performance but also allow them to act independently.

While viewing the wiki page for the Universal carrier I linked above I discovered this Belgium vehicle:

http://www.military-vehicle-photos.com/picture/number3319.asp

Now if the supporting ammo vehicle mentioned can join up with the gun armed vehicle to improve cross-country performance…

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

x mentioning the ASU-57 reminded me of this page. It suggests a compact vehicle hunter/killer but could it also do scouting?

http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/ASU.html

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Gareth J re http://www.military-vehicle-photos.com/picture/number3319.asp

I don’t know what it is. But I know I want one!

A lot of my thinking on this was done because I though Javelin at £50k a go was a bit silly. Wonderfully effective yes, but really? I started having weird ideas about direct fire artillery and spent an age looking at various WW2 anti-tank guns.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ x – I agree but are you talking about Javelin as fire-support in A-stan or anti-tank in general?

Fighting in A-stan:
Apparently this Russian gun fires both gun and motar rounds and was designed with their experience in A-stan.

http://www.artillery-mz.com/en/products/01/120/

http://www.desert-storm.com/VetPages/SMcDonald/2B16.html

or theres the old 75mm pack howitzer;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TM-9-1320-75mm-howitzer-M1A1-carriage-M8-2.jpg

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

In general:
This page suggests mixing ATGW with modern anti-tank guns, their pros/cons being mutualy supportive;

http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/atg.html

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Gareth J

As fire support. I know Javelin does the job well. But I am sure there must be a better way.

The reason why I mentioned WW2 anti-tank guns was range and accuracy nothing to do with tanks.

Look at the pictures bottom here and for the snow imagine it is sand……..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/120_mm_BAT_recoilless_rifle

S O
S O

Back in WW2 there were mediocre bombers and there were great bombers. It turned out that the mediocre bombers were meant to take off, fly, drop bombs, fly, land – while the great bombers were meant to do more than just that.

Now what’s the point for a Bronco armoured reconnaissance vehicle other than driving and having a hard shell? What’s the concept, is there a unique selling proposition?

By the way; 18 tons is usually in the “medium” category, not in the “light” category.

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Jed

What makes it bad idea is the lack of helicopters. As I have said before I could see how being able to drop a vehicle patrol anywhere within a hundred miles or so of say Bastion would have some worth. 12 well armed Bv206 that could could be anywhere within an hour. (In my head we fly CH53. :) ) Remember with armour it is how it used as much it is about what platform. In 1940 the German tankforce was made up of light tanks with small guns. Compared to the French heavily armoured and big gun vehicles.

S O
S O

@Jed:

I see only amphibiousness (rarely used in the event of war with non-amphibious invasion-specific AFVs) and potential for some electronic kit in it.

I cannot see HOW it is supposed to find or fight OPFOR, other than stumbling into it. 40 mm HEAT is of marginal effectiveness – comparable to a shotgun shot on a soft vehicle. It’s not well-suited for hitting moving targets at reasonable distances and if it hits it does very little. 40 mm shaped charges can only penetrate thin armour, and thin armour doesn’t produce much spall, nor is there usually a great amount of sensitive munitions behind it.

In short; a 1930’s BA-10 is a better fighting machine.

Think Defence

Welcome back Jed, hope Florida was good

I like this idea a lot; it appeals to my commonality likes. The link Jed and Gareth provided shows a variant that is designed to work alone and I wonder with some modern electronics if the steering jitters because of its dimensional ratios could not be eliminated.

As for armament, one of the limitations is its height, which makes putting a turret on it difficult but with a spot of redesign and accepting a less boxier superstructure could we not lower the silhouette?

If not, then the space allows for dismounts and mission kit, accepting lower levels of protection as the trade off.

Would like to see better sensors though and its size would allow a decent telescoping or articulating mast for EO/Radar/Acoustic sensors.

Weapons; not a fan of the metalstorm stuff but it would be possible to mount a wide variety of kit, 20mm Nexter cannon or 30mm ATK M230LF for example gives you a bigger punch

What I like more than anything though is its mobility, soft ground, snow, marsh and littoral environments become accessible. It’s a worry I have, Afghanistan and Iraq have shaped our perceptions of what mobility means.

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

“As for armament, one of the limitations is its height, which makes putting a turret on it difficult but with a spot of redesign and accepting a less boxier superstructure could we not lower the silhouette?”

the AAV variant appears to have a lower, and more relaxed profile that its bronco forbear, i don’t see why it couldn’t be lower if a different mission required it.

S O
S O

You wanted it off-the shelf. Have MoD require a lower version and the development bill will exceed GBP 500 million.

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

good point Sven, though i wonder if the AAV version is already lower; it appears lower already but that might be nothing more than the more steeply raked windscreen and bonnet of the new version.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

As this variant will be supporting light infantry, would a secondary fire support role be useful and give it the the ability to fight for info or survival?

The 75mm pack gun or a recoiless rifle?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

I’ve just remembered TD’s mammoth article about CVR(T) and the search for its replacement. It had a model of an early concept with a 120mm semi-automatic recoilless rifle.

The Yanks also developed a reloading turret for their 106mm RR:

http://xbradtc.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/armored-recon-wrong-turn-with-the-acrc/v45404_us-m114-t114-with-an-autoloading-106mm-recoilless/

Salvador

@Marcase “You want to go small go Weisel”

Yep, can’t argue with that. If you can’t undersling by Chinook, then I suggest it adds nothing to the mix.

If it gas to go by road then it mat as well be 28 tonne as 18!

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

To paraphrase you Phil:

If you can’t undersling by Chinook, or pack it in a 20ft ISO container, then I suggest it adds nothing to the mix.

Stormer30/40 should do both.

steve taylor
steve taylor
jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

“Otherwise, a Warthog / Bronco front module is just a compromise suggestion that prevents the need to introduce a new vehicle to the fleet. Far from ideal, but that is the nature of compromise!”

An acceptable compromise provided a useful weapon fit can be accomodated.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel

I think the Foxhound skateboard would be more useful as a scout vehicle if it was driven backwards . . .

The rear wheels already steer and the hull can be made much lower if you don’t have to carry infantry or, more importantly, look out over the engine.

Something like this if you can interpret my rather cude drawings – a more IED survivable Fennek.

http://www.panhistoria.com/Stacks/Novels/Character_Homes/homedirs/14117images/Foxhound%20scout.JPG

(automotive components – skateboard and engine – are grey. Detachable pod is green and the sacrificial suspension and wheels are red . . .)

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel

Not necessarily, Jed, since they can sit on the centreline, inside the V of the hull rather than on the outer edges as the dismounts do. The driver may want to be reclined to reduce height further . . . ;-)

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

I’ve had a similar idea regarding a low profile Recce Foxhound. However, rather than reverse it, the driver is reclined behind the engine and drives via top hatch/periscopes over a wide arc.
Behind him in tandem and with a slightly higher position/cupola is the commander, fitted out with a defensive RWS and high/mast-mounted optics. Behind him is either stowage space or room for a third crewman for UAV/comms operation. The vehicle can be augmented with stowage panniers either side of the thin body. These could also serve as hardpoints for ATGW if more firepower is needed.

steve taylor
steve taylor

I have always struggled with low profile. If I stand on hill with a panorama below me surely it is my aspect to the vehicle that dictates whether I can see it? And surely a yard diminishes to nothing a few miles out? And surely you are looking for shape so if the bulk is hidden? What about natural cover? For example hedges are a lot taller and broader than most of us think. And then there is the built environment. I am not saying make these things as big as pantechnicons but does chopping a foot or two off the height of a vehicle going to help that much. Surely this parallels discussions on small arms calibre? If you can see it you can shoot. But as the range extends there is more and more to see. Just sayin’.

Anyway I thought all these tankers stood on the hull bins to their eyes scanning the horizon…

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel

Makes a real fifference when you have to dig the bugger in, though . . .
I think that a tall vehicle is also easier, statistically, to hit at long range – read that somewhere. Will try to find where lest I am taken for a fool and a mountebank.

steve taylor
steve taylor

Well I don’t think on the modern mobile battlefield the crews hasn’t really time to dig in. And I doubt the wedgeheads would have time to dig them in either. Of course it easier to hit a Transit over say an original Mini. But if you scan the spec’s of these various vehicles they vary so little. There can’t be much that difference in size because 8 + 3 soldiers and engine and transmission to move them can only result in a vehicle of a certain size. There is a reason why Spartan is smaller than FV432 because it only carriers half the bodies. And there is a reason why Wiesel is size below that; if size was everything wouldn’t all (non-MBT) AFVs be that size? But if you study terrain, the folds, the re-entrants, the ridge lines I think vehicle concealment and movement is more about good “fieldcraft” just as it is on when on foot. As I said I am not on about making them as big removal vans. Just saying sacrificing a foot or so isn’t going to make difference.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

Low profile benefits, all else being equal:
* Reduced centre of gravity, so has greater mobility – steeper side slopes can be traversed and corners can be taken faster without falling over.
* Reduced frontal area so less of the heaviest armour on the vehicle.
* Reduced frontal area vs. regular dispersion
* Reduced height also makes a target harder to hit because any ranging errors increase vertical dispersion. At longer ranges the drop increases relative to the distance travelled so a ranging error is more significant, plus it is harder to range accurately over longer distances.
* Makes it harder to get a clean range with a laser rangefinder. As the beam is closer to the ground, there is a greater chance of spurious reflections from intermediate objects or the ground.

There are probably more, but I’m too lazy to think of them. It is worth noting that MBTs are large, but they are also designed to be low profile. Reclined driving positions mean that the Challenger is substantially lower than a Tiger 2, roughly the same weight and massively more mobile and better protected (although developments in armour and automotive help the last two)

steve taylor
steve taylor

All I am saying is for a foot or six inches or what ever on top of a turret it isn’t really worth worrying about. And thank you I have a grasp of why low is better.

To be honest I am not sure looking at the turret of a Chally2 they could have put the driver in a sit up and beg position because of the turret. At the other end of the room I can see my Chally2 and T34/85 models. Now the latter’s driver sits up. And the former is reclined. And the biggest difference between the two? The turret which on a Chally2 is huge. Now both vehicles are the same height. But the T34 looks taller because its basic shape is triangular. But the Chally2 (side) is definitely huge. Of course increasing lengths by small increments leads to large increases in volume.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

x,
1 ft = 300mm = 0.3mrad at 1000m. Also 0.3/2.5=12%. Big enough to make a difference on the percentages as to who gets hit first.

0.3m x 3.5m = 1.05m^2. 50mm of steel is 390kg/m^2, so if you have 50mm frontal armour 300mm less height saves 0.4 tonne on frontal armour alone. Obviously that’s pretty thin for an MBT, so you’ll save more weight, before you account for sides and rear.

Sounds worth it to me.

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Mr Fred

Scan up the thread. And have a look at the nice picture of a BMP1/2 I posted. Look at the silly unworkable but quaint turret because I am talking about turret height. I know about frontal armour etc. You are preaching to the choir.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

I did caveat the benefits of low profile as “all else being equal”

Low profile is desirable. Perhaps it isn’t the most important thing to which all others must be sacrificed, but it should be high on the list for any tactical vehicle. The BMP 1 turret is poor, but then it is a one man turret with too many complicated weapon systems.
I’ve not been able to see a BMP2 turret, but it isn’t inherently flawed unless, like many of the later T-series tanks, the low roof limits main armament depression and hence prevents use of some hull-down positions.

Soviet vehicles are never helped by the Communist view of things where “Human Factors” would simply be party members willing to provide cheap workers.

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Mr fred

I just didn’t want you wasting time on me matey.

BMP1 had a low pressure 76mm gun in a tiny turret.

While the BMP2 has a 30mm cannon in a larger but still flat turret.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave

@x jul17-13:11hr
Looks like a local variant of a carden-lloyd carrier as built by Vickers in the 1930s. Ours all had 2 crew and a vickers HMG in the front. The Italians called theirs CV-22 tankettes.

Although, on second look it’s one of these (look at the exposed front axle):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd_carrier

Bought second-hand from us and converted to mount a light A/T gun in Sturmgeschultz-style.

Definately a lash-up dating from early post-WWII until better vehicles could be purchased.

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ Dave

Thank you. I was mesmerised by its big gun!!

I suppose the ultimate big bore gun on a small chassis is the M50 Ontos.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M50_Ontos

My other favourite vehicle of this type is the Japanese Type 60 with twin recoilless rifles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_60_Self-propelled_106_mm_Recoilless_Gun

Tony Williams
Tony Williams

It seems to me that as well as the choice between “sneaking” and “fighting” recce vehicles, there is also a substantial divide between two different approaches:

1. A small, light, air-transportable vehicle with excellent cross-country mobility which can normally avoid the roads where IEDs are most likely to be emplaced. So it can do without that weighty anti-mine protection.

2. A heavy, mainly road-going vehicle which has to be massively armoured to protect the crew from IEDs.

These two different approaches push the size and weight in opposite directions. For the first requirement, the Wiesel 2 is the obvious solution. For the second, a big 8×8 – or the GD FRES SV…

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

1. is an attractive option that plays to the ego. We don’t need protection because we are so much smarter than the opposition. Sadly it is not true, at least for the line infantry. Special forces can romp around wide open spaces and far from combat areas where this idea can work, but the line infantry is stuck with positions where the enemy know where they are. All terrain has bottlenecks that restrict any vehicle to particular routes, and these can be exploited for IEDs.

2. “Mainly road going” doesn’t apply to a high power-to-weight tracked vehicle, much as you might wish to denigrate it

S O
S O

@TW:
“A small, light, air-transportable vehicle with excellent cross-country mobility which can normally avoid the roads where IEDs are most likely to be emplaced. So it can do without that weighty anti-mine protection.”

There’s a divide between peacetime training nonsense and wartime realities.
Commanders don’t need much if any route reconnaissance in peacetime training because there are few roads in training areas, and those are of known capacity. In wartime, commanders need to know the quality of the road and thus recce needs to move along the roads. “Along” means “on” in wooden and hilly areas (where the soft surface roads are most common).
The permanent off-road driving is something that recce does on the few days on a training ground – it’s not something that was done in wartime when forces are campaigning for weeks and months and need to stay in shape.

I’d rather say that armoured recce doesn’t need much mine protection in its design compromise because it’s supposed to be unexpected most of the time. In fact, it should most of the time be where the opposing force rather expects friends, not foes.

@Mr.fred:
Even main battle tanks drive much on roads. Off-road driving exhausts the crew, increases maintenance requirements and almost doubles fuel consumption.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

S O,
I was making the point that heavy tracked vehicles tend to be at least as good at driving cross-country as a light vehicle, if not better. Plus cross-country doesn’t mean the Bovington off-road circuit, just not on roads.

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

“These two different approaches push the size and weight in opposite directions. For the first requirement, the Wiesel 2 is the obvious solution. For the second, a big 8×8 – or the GD FRES SV…”

Isn’t the Weasel an extreme, rather than a balanced light weight alternative though?

Does a thirteen tonne stormer30 style vehicle achieve much of the same mobility as Weasel, while also providing a serious gun platform with 14.5mm AP protection in a chassis that is; iso packable, bog crossable, urban accessible, chinook liftable, logistics practicable, A400M multiple, format?

that ‘seems’ worthwhile to me………….?

having said that i was talking to some FR guys today who had no use for CVR(t) because we don’t do jungle warfare anymore.

then again, they didn’t know what ASCOD was and thought the new “FREZ” vehicle came with a 50mm main armament!

Tony Williams
Tony Williams

I suggested the Wiesel mainly because, for the numbers we would be likely to purchase, the most economical solution would almost certainly be to buy a current and up-to-date production vehicle from a “hot” production line.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

gotcha, makes sense.

paul g

@tony another advantage of the wiesel is it uses an standard audi engine, parts a plenty!! and i did find a link to trials using the recoiless 30mm on it, but can’t remember where. I like it as the different versions add a nice ace up the sleeve, in one c-17 you could have a couple of 20-30mm, couple of 120mm mortars and a couple of air defence versions.

Salvador

@Paul g, The Wiesel is certainly one of, it not the best airportable, fighting vehicle currently in production and service!

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ x – Always liked the Ontos; I wonder if it could have handled 6 Wombats… :)

A modern version is suggested here, based on the wiesel;

http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/tankita.html#stoat

steve taylor
steve taylor

There are only so many places you can take a vehicle as big as a domestic garage before terrain or just out right need stop proceedings.

I can put Land Rovers into places you shouldn’t be able to put a motor vehicle. A driver in a wartime situation wouldn’t do it; the bods in back would debus and walk as it would be quicker and quieter.

@ Paul G

I note on one of those sites that recoiless rifles have been issued to Americans in Afghanistan. All this direct fire (mini) artillery is very Napoleonic…….

the mintcake maker
the mintcake maker

Hi guys,

Quick question. What are the internal dimensions for a Merlin HC3? After Reading about the Wiesel on wiki, I was wondering if it was possible to fit one internally since the Merlin should be able to lift 1 fully loaded?

Think Defence
ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Jed and GJ,

Only catching up, but congrats to Jed for lateral thinking – a thought provoking article.

As your comments were conveniently next to each other, I quote from both:
“How does it find opfor, same way CVR(T) does – visually, hence the EO / IR sensors on the RWS. For sure take off the MetalStorm Redback and fight a light weight mast mounted EO and / OR Radar sensor”
– Assuming AAV, I would make the back unit an optional extra, with the recce-Jackal type of mast, but operator under armour

Gareth Jones
July 17 6:38 pm
“As this variant will be supporting light infantry, would a secondary fire support role be useful and give it the the ability to fight for info or survival”
– another optional extra (rear-unit): someone contributed a photo of the recoilless 30mm cannon experimentally mounted on a Wiesel
– there we go; AAVs each able to operate as such, but can be enhanced by adding these rear units in a required mix; just that if (say) 1+1 are sent out, that is four helicopter lifts then

As a final thought, Hellfire has been mounted on Humwees (US), boats (Norway) and three man team tripods, so when is Brimstone going to make a similar appearance? Both give a nice reach should opposing side be operating MBTs (so does Spike-ER, 8 km, but that is not commonality nor fire-and-forget, ie. rapidly withdrawing from reach of direct counter-fire after launch)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Jed,

RE “With an absolute max Chinook fleet of 58 (if we actually get 12 new ones), so maybe 30 available for ALL ops (taking out maintenance, reserve, OCU etc) being fought over by all parties for ALL tasking, why does anyone think there will ever be Chinooks available to deploy a light armoured vehicle by air TO THE EXTENT that we need to introduce a new vehicle into the inventory ?”
– you pose two questions, but one rapid battle group/ a bde for longer…or even both; why are 30 Chinooks out there not enough (with other types of helos as per type of operation)?

RE “Personally I think Foxhound WMIK is your underslung air mobility candidate”
– not a bad alternative, but is there any info even on a prototype/ concept?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Thank you, Mr. Fred

All your design ideas good, but especially this one goes together with the question I’ve had for long: why are the add-on missiles always attached to the side of turret?

The much better arrangement would be as you suggest, carried or not, as needed. In this one
http://www.army-technology.com/projects/bmp-3/bmp-31.html the ” stowage panniers either side of the thin body. These could also serve as hardpoints for ATGW if more firepower is needed” are probable exactly that (for a camo net?).
– just add a mechanical spring to the front attachment point, and I see no disadvantages

Mr.fred
Mr.fred

ATGW are usually mounted on the turret because they need to be pointed at the target. On a lightweight scout you could justify them being fixed (and hence having to aim the vehicle) on the basis of weight. Or you could mount a Javelin to the RWS and keep spares in the panniers.

The cylinder on the left hull top of that BMP is an unditching log or similar.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

… bring back the Swingfire?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ ACC – I’ve suggested something similar but using a nose mounted camera and fibre optic wire. As was pointed out to me to be fully effective nowadays it would need a tandem warhead. Would trying to modify an old missile be cost effective? Would developing a new one end up being cheaper?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi GJ,

I was making a philosophical point, not suggesting bringing the, at its time good, design back.

Just that too many design parameters are taken as given (by convention).The about 50-year old technology would give a 120-180 degree field of fire (without even turning the turret).

E.g. why was Michael Wittman such a successful tank commander.He learnt to use the Stug optimally, using tracks to speed up alignment, went on to a superior platform (without the same limitations) and used the Tiger for a devastating effect. I.e. challenged the orthodoxy. The Swedes, decades later, still optimised a new tank design (“S)around those lessons.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones

@ ACC -I’m always looking at historical developments and ideas; I think quite a few ideas which have fallen by the wayside due to limits of the tech of the day or different priorities could be resurrected.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel

I am all for a new Striker vehicle armed with, preferably, laser guided Hellfire and Brimstone. A forward scout with a good sensor fit on an extendable mast would be able to bring down a lot of firepower if it was supported by a couple of such vehicles. Add APKWS for softer targets and I think we would have a winner – so long as it’s remembered that such a vehicle is a support unit NOT an assault vehicle.

Monty

Hi Jed,

Nice article and an interesting idea. The Warthog is a good basic chassis and simply using the front half as you suggest provides many of the desired benefits including better protection versus CVR(T) more crew (the difference between 3 and 4 is considerable when it comes to extended OP duties). What I particularly like about Warthog is the banded track solution. Speed, reliability, quietness and ultimately mobility represent a quantum leap in capability. So, you are right about this chassis being an innovative approach to delivering the requirement.

I’m not sure about the armament. I tend to prefer a .50 HMG and a twin Javelin launcher. Failing that, I would go for a 20 mm cannon in the smallest mount possible.

Actually, I am tempted to go a bit further. What do you think about taking the basic Warthog chassis and designing a new lower crew compartment with an unmanned turret? This would make for a vehicle with a lower silhouette. Given the basic ST Kinetics mechanicals I don’t think this solution would be too expensive. If it is, I like what you have proposed. Perhaps Liam Fox will too. I just hope we will have enough soldiers left to man these vehicles.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

i hadn’t appreciated that the bronco was ISO’able at less than 2.3m wide.

if the 7-1 track ratio on a single cab can be overcome, and a useful armament be attached as a RWS then I’m sold.

particularly on the new bronco AAV which appears to have a somewhat lower profile.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave

@ x:18 July
Ah, x, obviously a fan of “things with big guns” eh? Maybe you’d appreciate this pic? :-)

http://www.games-workshop.com/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m1860185_99120101070_40kSMRedeemer2_445x319.jpg

AFAIK the Ontos (the Greek word for “thing”, see what I did there? :-), was more dangerous if you stood behind it, than in front. The M-40’s were pretty inaccurate and the huge backblast from the weapons made it an instant target for any opposing vehicles that saw it. :-(

IXION
IXION

Dangerous Dave

I think it was French general (speaking about artillery circa turn of the century who said something like…

‘In peace the call is for mobility, in War it is for weight of shell’

Given a few givens (Rumsfeldt speak rules!), Bigger is better.

JohnHartley
JohnHartley

Has anyone thought of the Panhard Sphinx? 40mm CTA gun, 17 tons,level 4A against mines, level5 ballistic. 5.5 metres long.
Wonder if we could licence build it in the UK?

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ John H

Yes I have thought about it. Then I think about,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvis_Saladin

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Jed,

“and the 5th (Household Cavalry) get the Sphinx for missions where a lighter, wheeled vehicle fits the bill !”
… and the part attached to 16 AAB hangs on to the new-build Spartan/Scimitar/Fox combos, in whatever numbers they will be available (which turret is it, by the way? Easy to retrofit with the CTA gun when – not saying if – it will have become the standard?)

This enthusiasm for wheels somehow makes me feel that you guys see the expanses of Africa as the likely next operating arena?

Tubby
Tubby

Hi ACC,

Cannot speak for others, but I am convinced that Africa is where Europe’s defence interests will be post-2020, I think we will back to the modern version of the old colonial game, this time it will be the EC attempting to say African countries away from China’s sphere of influence in order to keep valuable food and mineral resources flowing into Europe while preventing economic migration.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Tubby,

I subscribe to your view.

We have not heard much about the joint Anglo-French intervention force (set at a strength of 50 or 60 thousand)?

Not very different from the Helsinki Headline Goal of 60 thousand (for which the EU BGs were only meant to be the rapid element).

Won’t even mention St. Malo… but this autumn we should hear more about the Anglo-French thing , as clearly the more broadly based thing is going nowhere (at least, not very fast).

Why do I mention all of these? Well, the French have always kept their eye on Africa… and kept wheeled armour at the ready, to send there

Think Defence

Tubby, very much agree, that and very cold places maybe

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

i do like the sphinx, and i love the turret, just wish it sat on tracks, was 2.3m wide and weighed 11 tonnes. :D

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ ACC

Yes Africa. Very much so.

But if we move over to a force bulked out with TA we need a vehicle they can exercise with that can be used on the roads of the UK without too much difficult. One of the French ways I hope the UK picks up is regular exercises at large in the country so that the people get to see their armed forces.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

exercises at large in the country so that the people get to see their armed forces?
– normally, when you drive out of one village, you come to the next one in 2-3 minutes
– not much space
– hence: Salisbury Plains, Brecon Beacon, and I hope some moorland expanse in Scotland that frequently freezes over

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ ACC

The French seem not to pen their military in. For that matter neither do the Scandinavians.

Sometimes I think you forget that this blog is about thinking about defence in new ways.

You do tend to snipe from the side lines and bring little else……..

Tubby
Tubby

Hi ACC,

I had not realised that Anglo-French joint forces was planned to be as large as 50,000 – 60,000. Given the reduction of the army to 82,000 I would have expected the combined force to be 12,000 – 15,000 instead.

As an aside I think the UK should be using our support of the rebels in Libya to sign a deal where we get base in Libya for 25 years for our help, then we could rotate in and out a reasonable sized force that acts as our spear-tip in Africa.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hello x,

What is going wrong tonight as in ” Sometimes I think you forget that this blog is about thinking about defence in new ways.”

– I am doing my very best; so are you (and I never insult other contributors, except that I took FBOT to task with the “can’t extend the mini” or whatever it was… when people get precise with feet and inches, then (and only then) I blast them off

… RE “For that matter neither do the Scandinavians”

Hmmm… I do agree, right next to me grand parents’ farm:
(this relates to one of the technologies I have posted here about)…
The range, located just inside the Arctic Circle some 90 km east of the town of Rovaniemi, accommodates catapult and runway launched air vehicles. The range flight envelop comprises some 11 000 km2 of air space with UAV flights conducted in segregated airspace. The main field has a 1400 m sealed runway and basic airfield infrastructure that supports year round civil and military flying operations

Does it make the size of Wales; over to you!

Mike W

@ArmChairCivvy,

No, I hadn’t realized either that the planned joint Anglo-French intervention force was set at a strength of 50 or 60 thousand. I think Tubby’s estimate is likely to be closer to the mark, given the cuts.

Incidentally, I think that you are probably right about the topography of the UK militating against military exercises. We have become far too urbanized and now, apparently, even more houses are to be built on greenfield sites. So that, as you quite rightly say, there is a need for Salisbury Plain, the Brecon Beacons and, come to that, the BATUS training area in Canada.

I think, though, that ‘X’ is right when he implies that the people need to see their armed forces. Military shows have dwindled to almost nothing (Aldershot Army Show, for instance, was cut down this year and nearly didn’t happen). With some of the multi-purpose brigades being sent to Scotland and, I think, Wales too, we are perhaps likely to see even less of our Army. Perhaps, though, with the planned improvements to the TA, we shall see more troops out locally. I hope so.

@Tubby

“As an aside I think the UK should be using our support of the rebels in Libya to sign a deal where we get base in Libya for 25 years for our help, then we could rotate in and out a reasonable sized force that acts as our spear-tip in Africa.”

What an absolutely brilliant idea! Marvellous thinking. What’s the betting it doesn’t happen, though? The Government will claim the base will cost too much to build or support or something. Or were you thinking of using an existing base?

Tubby
Tubby

Hi Mike W,

I think it would have to be an existing air base, partially for the cost basis and partially because we want the base up and running quickly. I think the best choice would be an existing air base with plenty of room to build barracks, then you could fly in and out of the base with out have to transport people by road, plus we could base helicopter’s and A-400M’s there as well.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Absolutely, as in “‘X’ is right when he implies that the people need to see their armed forces”

– how will that happen, though?
– I drive through Ashford. I never see the gurkhas ( I would love to), I see their family members on the zebra crossings. How do I know that? Been in Asia many years and can tell the ethnic nationalities apart

Tattoo-type of things and manoeuvre exercises do not mix?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

I have met people who did their national service there in the early sixties:
” an existing air base with plenty of room to build barracks, then you could fly in and out of the base with out have to transport people by road, plus we could base helicopter’s and A-400M’s there as well”
– Ceuta & Melilla are well garnisoned
– Ivory Coast used to be so (until the whole thing fell apart, and the French contingent became one of the involved parties)
– Djibouti is a jumping off point

Why would we have something on the edge of a huge expanse that is not crossable by other means than air… can start a bit further away, and still do the same thing?

paul g

don’t forget fellas on UK exercises normally the blue forces “rush” (usually at a whopping 50km in the hour) oop north to stop invading forces from scotlonia, who on a regular basis sign a treaty with the cornwall and devon militia 3 days after we arrive which means another “dash” back down to keevil airfield, before returning home for tea and medals on friday afternoon! Public liked meeting us at motorway services as long as we stayed 6ft away (pongy)!!! nah they loved us!!!

Tubby
Tubby

To be fair ACC, the armed forces are fairly present in Ashford, they quite often turn up in the town centre (opposite WH Smith’s on the band stand type thing we have here) and do a bit of recruiting, put up stands and the like. Plus you get one or more the cadet forces raising money in the local super market’s (often the Cadet force’s chocker block with Gurkha’s kids). Still I take you point, I lived in Ashford on and off for the last thirty year’s and I have never seen a parade through the town, and I cannot remember them ever being part of the carnival (not that we have one any more) – though that might have been because of the more classified bits of the armed forces we had at the barracks that they turned into Repton Manor. The local regiment might still do recruiting in schools (I remember as a lad the local regiment came to my school in Canterbury and I got to fire a blank firing machine gun and play with a training aid for a man portable anti-tank missile where you could see through the sight) – but I be surprised if they did things like that now.

paul g

oooh can’t go into schools anymore that’s targeting the poor kids, luring them in with false promises. what like even if you don’t go for trade you’ll still be taught to drive, look after yourself, learn about operating in a team and even becoming the team leader.
f**k off do gooders!! Fellow mess member was a regional recruiter and if it wasn’t nulabour sounding off there was always a teacher complete with beard and sandals to finger poke him in the chest

steve taylor
steve taylor

@ paul g

Further to what you say. The conurbation to my immediate east is one of the worst places to live in Britain. The forces have been an escape route for many good kids let down by schools and, dare I say, some poor parenting. And once they are out of the services they never go back home. They have nothing in common with those they left behind.

Jedibeeftrix
Jedibeeftrix

“No, I hadn’t realized either that the planned joint Anglo-French intervention force was set at a strength of 50 or 60 thousand. I think Tubby’s estimate is likely to be closer to the mark, given the cuts.”

As far as i am aware it is set for a brigade apiece, so somewhere in the region of 12,000.

Maybe you could lift the veil on our confusion AAC? :)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Somewhere around here (not in Ashford) it was deemed not health&safety for the cadets parade with their guns
– the kids then simply refused to do it at all!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

Hi Tubby and Jedi,

I went back to the agreement text and our part is set at 6.500, so your perception of the overall must be right ” it is set for a brigade apiece, so somewhere in the region of 12,000.

Maybe you could lift the veil on our confusion”

I must have been thinking of the Eurocore. It is interesting to see if that will become defunct as France is at the same time shrinking overall budget and improving readiness (does the theme sound familiar)?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix

This is why I believe there is a place for a light-weigh supplement to the medium weight FRES-SV:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8681903/Taliban-dont-want-to-know-in-Warthog-fight.html

“You can put Warthog into places you would not dream of with other armoured vehicles as it has very low ground pressure giving us the ability to move around the battlespace in a completely different way,” Major James Cameron, the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment squadron commander, the first to use the vehicle on operations.

“We have been able to manoeuvre in an extraordinary way. Literally we can go over ditches, swim rivers or go up ravines getting right in behind the enemy where they least expect us.

“We run on them at speed and before they know anything about it we are right on top of them.”

And I am coming to support Jed in thinking if we are to have a shot at having one, then the warthog is probably a decent vehicle to base it upon!

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