FRES, Here’s One We Made Earlier

In all the best TV cookery shows the presenter does a spot of preparation and then swiftly opens the oven and with a ‘here’s one we made earlier’ statement, out pops a fully formed dish, ready for serving.

As we know General Dynamics UK have been awarded a £500m demonstration phase contract for FRES Specialist Vehicles to include 7 prototypes. Reconnaissance Block 1 of the FRES programme consists of scout, repair, recovery and protected mobility vehicles, roughly analogous to the CVR(T) Scimitar, Sampson and Spartan.

Despite my significant reservations about its weight and bulk creating serious strategic and tactical mobility issues, the vehicle will be good news for the Army, finally replacing the 40 year old CVR(T) that is definitely showing its age.

What causes more concern is the cost of developing 7 prototypes.

£500m and not a production vehicle in sight.

Just to repeat that, £500 million for 7 prototypes.

To put that £500 million into perspective;

  • In 1996 Spain ordered the first batch of the Pizarro (Spanish version of the ASCOD), a total of 122 Pizarro fighting vehicles and 22 command post variants for the grand total of £207 million with the order completed in 2002
  • In 2003, Spain ordered the second batch of their ASCOD Pizarro’s, 170 IFV’s, 5 command post, 28 forward observer, 8 recovery vehicles and 1 engineer variant, total cost of £454 million (different web sources cite slightly different numbers)

Even taking into account variations in numbers and costs from different web sources this still looks like a good value for money deal, Spain has a fleet of about 350 armoured vehicles of various types, including upgraded batch 1 vehicles, for, lets call it it £800 million, give or take the odd 40 or 50 million.

And this was for a vehicle developed from scratch along with multiple variants.

If General Dynamics were developing a brand new vehicle from scratch, chock full with the latest automotive and electronic technology then fair enough, but it is not.

There are no elevating sensor masts, no hybrid propulsion and no composite construction for example. It really is a design that shows so little design ambition it is pretty depressing when one looks at the advance that CVR(T) made 40 years ago and the massive advance that TRACER was striving to make 10 years ago. Successive programme failures have knocked the innovative zeal out of the MoD and FRES SV represents a low risk solution that will be better than what we already have, but not that much better.

ASCOD, on which FRES SV is based, started its trials 20 years ago next year.

That’s right, our brand new vehicle is based on a 20 year old design.

This of course, matters not one bit if the vehicle meets requirements but back to £500m for 7 prototypes.

From the General Dynamics website

The demonstration phase will see the development of seven prototypes for the Scout reconnaissance vehicle and supporting variants built on the ASCOD SV Common Base Platform, as well as providing associated training equipment.

It is not very clear what the ‘supporting variants’ will be but it has been reported that the demonstration contract consists of three Scout with the balance being made up of protected mobility (common base platform) and repair/recovery

Ambulance, command, direct fire and bridgelaying may come in later.

Whats new?

To justify the significant cost in developing the UK variant of the Pizarro/Ulan then surely it must be a new vehicle.

FRES Scout will use the General Vehicle Architecture, a brilliant concept that seeks to create a unified vehicle electronic and electrical architecture but much of the work for this has already been done.

The sensor systems appears to be military off the shelf, the engine, transmission and track systems likewise.

The 40mm CTA cannon has been in development for a long time, it’s certainly paid for.

Lockheed Martin INSYS will be providing three turrets as part of the demonstration phase, a new turret perhaps?

Not really, it will be based on a modified Rheinmetall LANCE turret, another off the shelf design.

Engineer variant, in service with the Spanish Army

Recovery variant, already in service with the Spanish Army

Direct fire variant, already in production, development costs paid for by others. Take your pick from Denel or Oto Melara turrets.

ASCOD 105 LTE
ASCOD 105 LTE
ASCOD 105
ASCOD 105
ASCOD 105 LTE
ASCOD 105 LTE

 

 

 

The Royal Thai Marines will be taking delivery of 15 ASCOD variants equipped with the Denel LT105 turret. They will also be receiving the Command and Recovery variants as well.

Protected mobility variant, not in service but here is a picture of one GD made earlier

ASCOD Protected Mobility Variant
ASCOD Protected Mobility Variant

 

Fancy a hybrid drive version, Renk and General Dynamics have already worked out the details

 

Training vehicle, already developed

ASCOD Ulan Driver Training Vehicle
ASCOD Ulan Driver Training Vehicle

 

But aren’t we getting a more powerful engine and transmission capable of dealing with the extra power?

Yes

The Austrian Ulan is powered by an MTU 8V 199 TE20 8V-90 diesel engine developing 721 hp at 2,300 rpm, or 530kW in new money.

The transmission is the Renk HSWL 106

FRES SV will be fitted with the Renk 256B Transmission and the MTU 8V 199 TE20 engine but a version that develops 600kw or 815hp.

It is worth noting that the dimensions of these two engine variants are exactly the same but the 256b transmission is larger, it is still commercially available, straight off the shelf.

What are we getting?

There is no doubt FRES SV will be a superior vehicle to Pizarro/Ulan, FRES SV is definitely not the same as a Pizarro; new turret, better weapon, more power, more advanced sensors and an open electronic architecture but are these changes really worth half a billion pounds to develop?

We must be very careful to recognise that ASCOD is not the same as FRES SV but given the start point, are we getting value for money?

In fact, are we getting upgraded military off the shelf at boutique, bespoke development prices?

 

PS

If you fancy a look at brochures from GD, here is a set for ASCOD variants and here for FRES SV

50 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
paul g
July 8, 2011 7:37 pm

time to play chicken i think, get them show this post, get an explanation (jesus has someone from BAe defected over to GD) and either bin it now before cash gets handed over or get a much better deal, FFS do we need to develop a bridgelayer either now or neverand as for ambulance, de turret the warriors that will be spare after the latest chops and stick some stretcher racks in the back!! Obviously that’s a piss take however, i’m sure if you gave a warrior to the RAMC and said come up with a plan for the back, you’d get want they want and no multi-million consultancy fee either.
TD you should those facts and figures to the broadsheets it’s shocking reading

Bob
Bob
July 8, 2011 7:46 pm

Simples, whilst we are getting a collection of ‘off-the-shelf’ bits we are getting the stuff from the very top of the shelf in Harrods, with some more stuff from Selfridges and then some nice little extras from Holland and Holland. The bits and pieces being ordered are all very high-end and they are being put together within a very impressive vehicle architecture.

Secondly, something we will likely not know about fully until we read it in a history book, the armouring. It has been made clear that FRES-SV will have a very impressive protection package, everything from the hull structure, the seats, the armour etc. It will probably have little resemblance to the Ulan family and will be an infinitely better vehicle.

There is a story here, but the FRES-SV development contract is not it. The story is why, after having outlined a requirement for multiple families of vehicles representing one of the largest markets in Europe did the MoD then see fit to deconstruct the UK armoured vehicles industry?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 8, 2011 8:15 pm

Actually, the story I’d be interested in reading is how BAESystems, with all it’s apparent advantages and UK-based facilities none-the-less:
a) offered a vehicle based on a warmed-over, foreign, 20-year old design (CV90)
b) Lost.

I would also like to read about Terrier as well, as perhaps there is a link?
Terrier that is three-and-a-half years late.
I would also like to know why we chose the CT40 gun.

W
W
July 8, 2011 8:25 pm

Just wondering, apart from the fact that the 105mm gun already exists on an ASCOD turret is their much difference in performance between the the ASCOD 105mm gun and the CV90 120mm gun?

Chris.B.
July 8, 2011 8:31 pm

“jesus has someone from BAe defected over to GD”

No, I think they’ve all just learned that if they take the piss and make a ridiculous offer then there’s a good chance the MoD will bite their hand off for it.

Phil Darley
July 8, 2011 8:40 pm

Fools, it’s great value as we will only ever get the 7 vehicles as thats all the Army will need when these eventually role off the production line! ;-)

Seriously this smells of corruption? What the fcuk are the MoD doing?

Someone us going to get a hell of a job offer in a few years time, maybe the whole fcuking MoD senior management and Army top brass to boot!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 8, 2011 9:36 pm

RE ” I would also like to read about Terrier as well, as perhaps there is a link?
Terrier that is three-and-a-half years late” the latest NAO major defence projects review is a good start (it is referred to in the carrier decisions report)
– when you count in % rather than absolute money, Terrier was the worst project (the thing itself might be good?)

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 8, 2011 10:18 pm

Something like 6% cost increase over the whole project using the NAO yearly forecast.

Costwise it wasn’t that bad, at least compared to Astute, A400M, Type 45 and CVF. Typhoon was less, percentage-wise, but the programme was larger.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
July 8, 2011 10:19 pm

“within a very impressive vehicle architecture.”

Well it gave me a laugh. What’s the benefits package like at GD, Bob? :-)

Mike W
July 8, 2011 10:30 pm

I’m inclined to agree with Paul that such facts and figures should be exposed. At the very least those responsible for agreeing to pay out such an enormous amount of money for seven prototypes should be subjected to the most rigorous questioning.

Now Bob might very well be right in his assertions that “the bits and pieces being ordered are all very high-end and they are being put together within a very impressive vehicle architecture.” and that “FRES-SV will have a very impressive protection package, everything from the hull structure, the seats, the armour etc. It will probably have little resemblance to the Ulan family and will be an infinitely better vehicle.”

However, it still seems an incredibly excessive figure for a few prototypes. Perhaps, as Paul suggests the broadsheets should be contacted, if anyone has the time and energy. At the very least some MPS should be informed so that some searching questions can be asked in the House. The House of Commons Defence Committee would also almost certainly be interested.

Good grief, most modern armoured fighting vehicles don’t cost more than a couple of million apiece and for £500 million we should be able to obtain over 200 of the finished article! Moreover, as TD says, we don’t even yet have a single production vehicle in sight. This whole FRES business is beyond belief! How much money has now been spent out with nothing tangible to show for it?

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
July 8, 2011 10:42 pm

Put in context half a bil makes perfect sense when you understand just how corrupt European defence procurement is.

Tony Blair made the decision, alone, to buy Panther CLV to circumvent EU rules on making personal loans to other EU government members. By all accounts the army had asked for up armoured snatch land rovers and got Iveco’s to cover the fact the money was a loan.

The thing is, this was exposed on a documentary but nobody seemed to care.

Could be worse, Imagine what goes on in the US defence industry!

Phil
Phil
July 8, 2011 11:24 pm

This baffles me. We have over the last hundred years become quite familiar with making boxes on tracks move around. We’re quite good at the moving thing. We’re also quite good at making these boxes armoured and putting a spinning thing on top that enables what is known as a cannon to fire. All this is pretty mature technology and know how.

Now, its a recce vehicle, so having state of the art optics is a good thing.

So, seeing as we’re good at 90% of this vehicle building thing, why aren’t we putting all the risk into just the optics and using a normal box on tracks that moves with a spinny thing and a cannon that is easy and simple to make.

Christ, this thing is meant to throw itself over mud and water and terrain, it is not a bastard destroyer.

IXION
IXION
July 9, 2011 12:15 am

Phil

Hear Hear.

Chris.B.
July 9, 2011 1:12 am

“So, seeing as we’re good at 90% of this vehicle building thing, why aren’t we putting all the risk into just the optics and using a normal box on tracks that moves with a spinny thing and a cannon that is easy and simple to make.”

Where would the fun/money be in that? Besides, what will the MoD do all day if they have nothing left to F*%k up?

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
July 9, 2011 4:32 am

I do despair of the military way of doing things. The problem is, once you’ve got an organisation set up to manage procurement, manage it is what they’ll do – and they’ll think they’re doing an excellent, worthwhile job despite adding years and lots of noughts to the cost. Corruption is merely an optional extra.

I recently saw a very small example of exactly the same thing over the other side of the Pond. A few years ago the US Coast Guard adopted a new pistol, in .40 S&W calibre, to replace their 9mm guns. Now the .40 S&W cartridge is very popular in the USA, it’s been around for quite a few years, is in extensive police service, and several manufacturers offer a wide variety of ammo types on commercial sale. So at first the USGC simply bought COTS ammo – very sensibly. But this year they proudly announced the development of their own ammo (of two types), leading to formal specifications and type classifications, military labels, the lot – and have then awarded a contract to one of the big manufacturers to produce. You can imagine what the cost of that exercise was, and what the ammo will cost compared with similar stuff which can be bought off the shelf from the same manufacturer.

That’s the way it is, the world over…

Tubby
Tubby
July 9, 2011 7:49 am

Could the high cost be down to high capital costs? I will admit to not knowing how much in the way of new tooling’s they need for this project, but presumably there will be certain amount of capital costs involved buying new toolings (plus possibly training of the UK based staff) and given that it is only a contract for 7 examples (would they also be instrumented?) then GD UK likely loaded all the costs up front on the demonstration contract. This should mean that the production contract is significantly cheaper…..

Tubby
Tubby
July 9, 2011 7:57 am

I forgot to ask, do you treat new armoured vehicles like new aircraft – test some of the early examples to destruction, i.e. test suspension until it breaks, stand an example in a hot humid test chamber and then have it rained on continuously using salt water until it rusts, launch a wide variety munitions against one example, set fire to another example and work out if the fire suppression systems work? If so does the £500 million include these costs as well?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 9, 2011 9:31 am

I suspect that as many of the subsystems that can be tested independently will be. For example, most of the armour would be tested as standalone plates, suspension would be destructively tested on a rig with one or two units, subcomponent would be tested in environmental chambers to ensure they last long enough/work in those conditions.

You would still need to do whole-vehicle tests to ensure that the entire vehicle can stand up to the conditions and no unexpected flaws pop up.

The current contract is called the “demonstration phase” so one would hope that such tests are included.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 9, 2011 11:12 am

Hi Mr. Fred,about Terrier

Rebasing and reclassification (into bigger categories) are all tricks of the trade. Following through with Terrier from the beginning
“During 2008-09 Terrier was subject to an additional slippage of 16 months. In September 2007, BAE Systems entered contractual default as a result of slippage in the production of the development vehicles and failure to demonstrate the required reliability on the prototype vehicle. In December 2008 the commercial agreement was amended to reflect a revised programme.” p.17 NAO 2009-2010, also specifies BAE paying £9m in liquidated damages

I did not compare Terrier’s 55 months (net, only 9% slippage in cost) to mega-projects, which bettered it; these two
– A400M 83 months and 25% slippage (we all know it went wrong with the built-from-scratch engine choice, which in turn was political and can hardly be blamed either on the military – for specs management – nor Procurement – for process management)
– Astute: 57 months and 35% slippage (have not followed with the details as we a) have them and b) they are superb)

Why do I look into 2009/2010 report, rather than 2010/2011? Because the category has been collapsed into a bigger one… normal practice in business world when there is either something to be ashamed of, or for legitimate reasons the competitors should not be informed

Let me rephrase: “winner in the Mature Technologies Category”?

-BTW: where did you look?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 9, 2011 1:18 pm

I was looking in the NAO project sheets up to 2009/2010 as it vanishes thereafter.

It’s something I know very little about,but it seems to have been hanging about for a while as the only core AFV project since CR2 and the only one actually run by BAESystems as BAESystems in the UK.

Phil Darley
July 9, 2011 1:22 pm

I suppose the £500 million could include a bung to soften GD to give the UK IPR for the Piranha V !!!

Sorry to be so synical

Grey
Grey
July 9, 2011 5:18 pm

And perhaps it could include the cost of blowing up around 20 hulls for protection certification at the UK deployment spec.

Grey
Grey
July 10, 2011 4:29 am

I know 500 million sounds like a lot, but if we’re talking about a new armour spec (UK designed applique), comms certification, comms fit, ecm et al, plus the cost of setting up the line in the UK, we can see where some of it is going, and before I took to my soap box I’d also want to see the follow on per unit costs.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 10, 2011 8:35 am

RE FRES Scout and “comms certification, comms fit, ecm et al”
-if it to be a true scout, there will be extensive integration with UAVs (and other sensor sources)
– someone might know different, but isn’t that a new thing *within a fully protected AFV*?

Stryker unit costs were halved within the first year of full production. I am not saying we divide 500 by 7 and then halve that… but clearly there is potential once the numbers get to three digits

Tubby
Tubby
July 10, 2011 9:53 am

Hi Grey and ACC,

It will be really interesting to see the unit cost, but what’s the betting we cannot afford enough of them to get it down to single digit millions, and I reckon they will come in costing over ten million a unit when they really should not come in anymore than £3 – 4 million a piece (taking into account inflation).

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 10, 2011 10:15 am

Tubby,

Germany paid about £7m apiece for their Pumas. What is your justification for only £3-4m?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 10, 2011 10:27 am

RE “Germany paid about £7m apiece for their Pumas”
– this, alone, is a good justification to consider (paid-for) MBTs’ role conversions?
– not just the discussed infantry-support version, but also recce (sensor masts, even a forward deployed drone launcher – Sagem’s Finnish subsidiary provides them for a range of UAVs with launch weights from 50kg to 500kg. A lot of launching power needs big batteries; big batteries need a big engine…)

Tubby
Tubby
July 10, 2011 11:12 am

Hi Mr.fred,

I was inflating the approximate unit cost of the 184 Pizzaro’s brought in 2003 which comes out at around £2.4 million per unit (obviously as it was a mixed bag some would cost a lot more than others).

If you add 4% interest per year then this pushes the unit cost to around £3.3 million in today’s prices.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 10, 2011 7:25 pm

Admin,
Brand new I’ll accept, but tons of innovation (or is that tonnes? ;) )
What precisely is so innovative?
Deck penetrating remote turrets are not innovative.
The drive train is not innovative.
Neither the tracks or suspension are innovative.
The modular armour system is not innovative.
Weapon systems with airburst capability are not innovative.
I can’t think of any aspect of it that is particularly innovative.

Maybe the commander’s sight – that’s quite neat.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 10, 2011 8:05 pm

It’s different, but not that unusual. Case in point, look at the Marder.
As for modular protection, Bradley, Warrior, CV90 and ASCOD all have modular armour in the form of applique protection. Puma integrates its a little better.

Chris.B.
July 10, 2011 9:39 pm

One thing caught my attention watching Top Gear tonight. The new Land (Range) Rover Evoque.

All around cameras to aid crossing rought terrain. Computer aided traction system with various settings for different terrain.

What comes to mind then is why we don’t seek out such companies from day one?

Instead of going to a defence contractor who knows how to build weapons, who then seeks out sub contractors to do the machinery, why don’t we seek out the experts in making vehicles first, who can then stick a gun on afterwards?

And maybe, on a wider question, this is the problem with people like BAE. They’re reliant on defence business to keep themselves afloat, whereas someone like Land Rover has other interests that can fund their company when defence is not high on the agenda?

Just a thought.

paul g
July 10, 2011 10:55 pm

hey chris, on earlier fres (wheeled)threads, we were discussing why the “trials of death” (sack the PR man for that one) were so limited in choice and the st kinetics terrex came up which indeed does have multiple cameras for driver and commander. I’m such good lad i’ve dug out the link cameras are best shown at the 2.30 onwards. another point if somewhat moot the large drop down door is good for stretchers for an ambulance version, saves have to spend billions on someone coming up with that idea after about 2 years of thinking!!!

(thank goodness for edit i forgot to put the link on first go)!!
double edit, first minute of this shows the cameras off as well

Chris.B.
July 11, 2011 12:08 am

Nice links. This is precisely the kind of thing I was talking about. The Evoque has its cameras placed to give you the optimum ability to observe the terrain around the wheels. It’s primary purpose is to aid you in off roading, coupled with the computer adjustable suspension etc.

That’s what always makes me wonder. How is it that Land Rover can do this without spending billions of pounds in development? Yet military manufacturers want half a billion just for their prototypes?

Alan Garner
Alan Garner
July 11, 2011 12:14 am

.B.

Military Industrial Complex, Eisenhower did tell us…Well he told the Americans, but applies equally to UK.

Grey
Grey
July 11, 2011 2:05 am

Chris B Said:

“That’s what always makes me wonder. How is it that Land Rover can do this without spending billions of pounds in development? Yet military manufacturers want half a billion just for their prototypes?”

Commercial companies do spend tens of millions turning out a new model, and that is on something like the Evoke which doesn’t have a single technological leap forward on it (cameras aren’t new, the terrain response system is from the proper range rover, the chassis is freelander 2 etc). Just go and look at how much volvo is spent on its crash est centre.

Chris.B.
July 11, 2011 2:36 am

Millions is different from the billions we’re used to though.

And you kind of made my point about the cameras and the terrain response system. It was already developed and in action, so why couldn’t a company like Range Rover be involved in something like FRES?

Instead we’ll probably end up forking out new money for old hat as we pay someone to just redesign an already existing system, etc.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 11, 2011 6:47 pm

Local awareness cameras are in use on military vehicles at the moment.

Terrain response sounds impressive, but is it hardened to military standards?

Part of the high cost for military vehicles is down to how robust they are and how rarely new ones are produced. Commercial vehicle producers have a pretty fast drumbeat, with new models produced every year or two. As such, the design teams have a wealth of experience that they can build on or use to short-cut the development process. With armoured vehicles there is much, much longer between products. For example, the CVR(T) design team will mostly, if not completely be retired by now. You have to start again, which costs. Your savings are in the four decades between procurements.

Grey
Grey
July 12, 2011 3:46 pm

Chris.B. said:

“And you kind of made my point about the cameras and the terrain response system. It was already developed and in action, so why couldn’t a company like Range Rover be involved in something like FRES?”

Because the the military has been using all round cameras for years, and as for terrain response, it is an overy complicated system designed for light use, anybody who does seri0ous off road work (as a military vehicle would be expected to undertake) still uses uses much more simple difflocks etc.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 12, 2011 10:15 pm

I don’t know quite how valid a comparison between the motor industry and the defence land vehicle industry is.
I look around an average supermarket car park and I see:
* More cars than the British Army will ever buy of an AFV.
* Less than half of the cars will more than a decade old.
* Few will be more than two decades old.
* Almost none will be more than three decades old.
* Hundreds of marks and models.
* Huge variation between low and high end.

By contrast, an AFV park will be
* Relatively small numbers
* Between one and five decades old
* Limited differences between vehicles.

Now I still agree that more innovation should be displayed in the development of armoured vehicles, but it cannot be so easily compared to civilian motor vehicles because the market demand does not support it.

Chris.B.
July 12, 2011 10:39 pm

This is part of what I’m getting at Mr. Fred, combined with what TD was saying about innovation.

Defence contractors don’t have regular orders for stuff so it’s imperative that they make a healthy blob of cash everytime the opportunity comes up to do so.

A company that had a much broader business base but was also sometimes involved in such work wouldn’t be so highly dependent on getting a fat pay day when the next order for new military vehicles arrived.

Coupled with the fact that a company that has lots of experience in regular vehicle design and manufacture probably has a much better understanding of how to mitigate future costs etc.

I accept that some modern AFV use cameras, but speficially one of the advantages I noticed on this Land Rover was where the cameras were placed, not just for situational awareness but also down by the wheels to help the driver tackle obstacles. This could already be in use, I don’t know.

And while the computer system used on a civilian vehicle might indeed be desgined for more moderate use than expected in the military, I’m sure they could adapt if it were needed. Every little helps as a certain supermarket is keen on telling us.

Rupert Fiennes
Rupert Fiennes
July 13, 2011 4:27 pm

A lot of the benefits listed for the production phase are conjecture: why the hell do we not have a combined R&D and production contract? Futhermore, why the hell didn’t the MOD order another 600 to replace Warrior at the same time, and save a shedload of more money? Just 200 at a time is not going to help per unit costs….

Phil
July 13, 2011 4:41 pm

This is stupid. There are a multitude if vehicles in service, in production now that are perfectly capable of moving around a battlefield with a crew who can gather intelligence. When will they learn that we don’t need every single bell and whistle. And the services need to stop publishing requirements that are so taxing. Is it so hard to conceive of simpler vehicles that are low risk and cheap and those vehicles being replaced with evolutionary marks at more regular intervals which are also cheap because they are not as risky. Yes defence companies have to make a packet per order but if we had simpler vehicles we’d buy more through the life of the model and it would probably be very competitive in the export market. Market the risky expensive stuff at the middle eastern countries obsessed with style over substance when it comes to mil kit.

The Chieftain for example hit what, 12 or 13 marks? Out in the ulu, bouncing over terrain, isolated and living under ponchos, engines running all the time, most of the gucci kit breaks down and fails but missions are still accomplished as long as it’s not the BV that’s gone down.

Chris Werb
Chris Werb
July 13, 2011 6:36 pm

The Chieftain hit 11 marks (12 and 13 were proposed but the Berlin Wall fell before they could be implemented) but they weren’t sequential ie.e you didn’t start with the Mark 1 and gradually add improvements ending up with a Mark 11, there were four base models three of which, the Mark 2,3 and 5 entered service and were successively upgraded. I think a 10 started out as a 3 and an 11 as a 5.

Chris.B.
July 13, 2011 7:51 pm

“but missions are still accomplished as long as it’s not the BV that’s gone down,”

Never underestimate the value of a good cuppa!

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 13, 2011 8:56 pm

The split development/production phase worries me. Too much leeway for the MoD to run out of money and bail on the project after another five years and another £500m wasted

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
July 26, 2011 11:47 am

The news in today’s Jane’s Defence Weekly is that a “fully funded and balanced 10-year equipment plan” will be published by September. Final details are still under review, but it has been announced that several major projects will go ahead. These are:

– additional CH-47 Chinook helos

– RC-135 Rivet Joint aircraft

– development of Global Combat Ship (Type 26 frigate)

– initial spending on the F-35

– installation of cat+trap on one carrier

– upgrade to Warrior IFV

So the WCSP has survived – but no mention (so far) of FRES SV. Probably a sensible choice – get the most out of what we have, and maybe install some of the FRES recce equipment in some Warriors.