The Future of the British Army 11 – Wheels (A Less than Sensible Future Part 2)

With enduring operations in a high threat IED environment we seem to have lost the enthusiasm for highly mobile vehicles. In the context of these operational environments it is entirely legitimate to use heavy protected patrol vehicles but some operations will demand ultra mobility, over extremely soft ground, high angles and even across water features.

Mobility is also described by the means of transport to the area of operations; this may mean helicopter transport or even air dropping. Air despatch of vehicles is a capability area few possess and although it might be considered rather niche it is still something we should maintain.

In general, to deliver against this requirement means a lightweight vehicle which equally, generally means low levels of protection. It’s a trade we must accept and realise that in non enduring operations this trade is a reasonable one.

If we look at typical helicopter payloads a number of break points appear, typically an ultra portable vehicle should be sub 5 tonnes to enable lift by Merlin and sub 10 tonnes to be lift by Chinook compatible. In the previous posts I made a case for a post Chinook world where the CH53K or European Heavy Lift helicopter would be in service, a payload of 15 tonnes would therefore be appropriate and air despatch using a Type V Airdrop Platform still possible. We might class this heavier break point as too heavy for the ultra lightweight category though so for the sake of this section, anything beneath 5 tonnes might be classed as ultra lightweight.


Although many have been disposed the Harley MT350 is still a reliable and useful vehicle, however, they are showing their age and will need to be replaced at some stage.

The specialist US manufacturer Christini has recently supplied a number of their innovative 2 wheel drive motorcycles to the 82nd Airborne Division.

More impressive videos here

Christini 2WD

Although the Christini motorcycles are relatively new and Yamaha have also recently developed their 2TRAC system there is a manufacturer of 2 wheel drive motorcycles that has been in existence for some time.

The Rokon Ranger is a rather unconventional looking motorcycle but with serious off road credentials. Its 2 wheel drive system provides the tractive force to negotiate difficult terrain and the large ‘optional extras’ list provides flexibility and versatility.

It’s pretty cheapas well

There are plenty of videos on YouTube but my favourite is this one

For certain air drop niche type applications we could also purchase a handful of Di Blasimotorcycles, painted green of course, click here for a video

If you don’t fancy that then the ultimate might be one of these, from Poss Industries

OK, only joking on the Di Blasi bikes.

Lightweight personnel transport does not necessarily mean 4 wheels, at these weights they can be easily air dropped or carried many to a helicopter and whilst tabbing might seem rather warry to some there is no doubt a motorcycle is still a valuable vehicle for certain applications.

Quad Bikes

In Afghanistan quads have proven enormously useful for running replens, casualty evacuation, transferring stores to and from helicopter landing sites and a million other odd jobs. Recently introduced lightweight gap crossing equipment and trailers that use the same tires have also extended their usefulness.

These are useful pieces of equipment that should be absorbed by the main equipment programme although it may be preferable to start from scratch given the likely wear and tear on those in theatre.

We have paid for the development work of the Resolve/Roush DRV that uses diesel or JP8 and is useful at high altitude. The recent UOR for quad bikes was fulfilled by Roush, taking the standard Yamaha units and adding a NATO towing hitch, winch, run flat sealant for the tyres, IR lighting and other minor modifications.

Light Strike Vehicles and Logistics Platforms

I have always thought the Hollywood style light strike vehicles were never that useful and tended to divert attention away from vehicles with more utility and relevance but that doesn’t stop manufacturers from constantly pushing them out.

A small step up from the Quad Bike is the 4 or 6 wheel light all terrain vehicles that usually offer a payload uplift and more space. The Army has tried a number of these and has in service in very small numbers the Roush LAS100RE , page 17 of this document.

Roush LAS 100 RE Balter
Roush LAS 100 RE Balter

The LAS100RE is an incredible piece of equipment, air portable by Lynx, very light weight, diesel engine and a 1.3 tonne payload. It can be easily carried internally aboard a Chinook or Merlin and an A400 could carry about half a million of them!

The MoD paid Roush Technologies £3.5million to develop and bring it into service in the latter half of 2005, rumoured to be with special-forces. With ECM protection, standard NATO compliant electrical system and an engine that can use diesel, JP8, JP5 and B20 bio diesel the LAS100Re is a fully militarised vehicle, not an adaptation of a civilian type. The project was known as ‘Harewood’ and one of the key requirements was that it was able to be underslung by a Lynx or internally carried by a Chinook.  Although relatively low speed it’s off road performance is said to be excellent.

Towards the end of 2008, Roush launched a two seat model (image above) that was significantly faster yet retained the same mobility, weighing only 750Kg it has a payload of 1,450kg.

Roush also helped to develop the Light Tactical All Terrain Vehicle (LTATV) in conjunction with their US parent. The base vehicle seems to be the ATV Corporation Prowler II Side by Side. Quite what the relationship between Roush UK, Roush UK and ATV is not known, perhaps Roush licence build the vehicle with UK specific requirements or different engines. Using the same diesel engine common to its diesel quad bike, payload performance is inevitably not as high as the LAS100, rack capacities are 136 kg on the front and 272 kg for the rear. The unit also offers a towing capability of 680 kg. The LTATV is designed to carry a forward facing crew of two, plus an optional rear facing crew member position if required. Rollover protection to SAE J2194 ROPS standard is fitted, including fold-down pins for air-portability. The vehicle also includes three light machine gun mounts, all-terrain tyres with run-flat systems, a 4000lb synthetic winch rope and both white and IR driving lights.

Why the LTATV or LAS 100RE were not deemed suitable to fulfil the Springer UOR is not certain, commercial, technical or other factors may have come into play, perhaps Roush didn’t even bid but interestingly, the product remains on the Revolve website. The requirement was urgent, so perhaps the Springer was the only option available in a short space of time.

The contract for the Springer was awarded to a UK company, Enhanced Protection Systems Ltd of Leicester, a company better known not for vehicles but ballistic protection. In this June 2009 article the EPS Business Development Director (John Stoddart) details the history of the requirement. The article describes how EPS is better known for ballistic protection rather than automotive integration and the business development director has a background in procurement.

The company’s Business Development Director, John Stoddart, who had just returned from a specialist training area in the Southwest where he had been involved in a driver instructor programme. As a former soldier with 35 years under his belt, first as an infantryman and then commissioned REME, who served out the closing years of his armed forces career in Defence Procurement, there can be few better qualified than Stoddart to carry out this urgent operational requirement through from drawing board to frontline deployment

In what was an unfortunate turn of phrase, Dr Andrew Tyler (Chief Operating Officer for the MoD’s Defence Equipment & Support) stated

The Springer dune buggy will be an added capability for the troops

Springer is designated the Light Role Load Carriage Platform and is based on the Israeli designed, US manufactured 4×2 Tomcar. Whilst billed as a logistic donkey the company also believes there is potential for other roles and has developed a patrol variant, the Terrier.

The article goes on to state

EPS, which is primarily known for its supply of ballistic protection to the UK MoD but is also a key supplier in the UAV scene had doubled its workforce to cope and subcontracted out some of the work. In its current configuration Springer is fitted with a 1400cc Lombardini diesel engine although larger options are available.

Taking a quote from the MoD’s web site

Lack of armour is a benefit. Armour would be paid for with impaired versatility. In any case, Springer’s main purpose is to carry casualties and cargo between relatively safe helipads and base facilities.

So that confirms the requirement is to shuttle between a HLS and FOB, via a relatively safe lane and that high levels of mine protection, for example, is not a key requirement. Self evidently, some degree of ballistic protection is required, as is the ability to self load a tonne.

One might be forgiven for wondering if the ability to moves pallets of ammunition, food, water and other materials from one location to another is not something that is fundamental to air assault operations and might have been thought about before.

Of course it had.

Entering service in 1988 after a series of trials a year or so before, the All Terrain Mobility Platform from Supacat, is designed for just that, clearing landing sites and shuttling equipment short distances in difficult terrain.

As is common with anything to do with Supacat, its history is complex.

Supacat designed the ATMP but were not able to manufacture in quantity so entered into production sharing contracts (the same as with the Jackal) and in the early eighties the ATMP was accepted into British Army service, manufactured by Fairey Engineering.

In 1995, an agreement was made between Alvis (now BAe) and Supacat in which Supacat would retain design and production rights for civilian markets but Alvis would be responsible for military markets. In 2005, Supacat regained sole marketing rights.

In 1996 the MoD purchased a further 86 ATMP’s and 84 SLLPT trailers for approximately £4 million after 10 organisations were invited to tender, these included Aircraft Maintenance Support Services, Alvis Vehicles,  BI Engineering, Clarke Chapman Manufacturing Services, Glover Webb, Hawtel Whiting, Penman Engineering, Ricardo Special Vehicles, Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Stewart & Stevenson Services.

Specifications for the Mark 3 include a 1,000kg payload increasable to 1,600kg with reduced performance, a weight of 1.6 to 1.8 tonnes, limited amphibious capability, a top speed of 65kph and permanent 6 wheel drive (the Springer is a 4×2). Although open topped, it can be equipped with a number of hard or soft cabs, winches and even a track kit to improve mobility even more. In addition to clearing landing sites the ATMP can be used for a wide variety of tasks, everything from vehicle recovery, ambulance and radio rebroadcast. Live firing trials were even completed with a mounted Milan anti tank weapon.

Supacat ATMP 2
Supacat ATMP 2

Its winch can be used for self loading pallets using a ramp, the same as with the Springer but interestingly a number of dedicated trailers were designed to enable rapid loading and unloading. The FLPT (Fork Lift Pallet Trailer) and SLLPT (Self Loading Lightweight Pallet Trailer)

These trailers answered the question of how to rapidly collect ammunition and stores pallets from a landing site. There are a number of variations but the basic trailer has an electro hydraulic tipping mechanism and forks. The driver simply tilts the trailer in the down position, reverses onto the pallet, tilts the trailer back up and drives away. The whole process is very quick, simple and can be carried out without getting out of the vehicle. Maximum payload for the ‘flipit’ trailer is 1,400kg and can be converted to carry three stretchers. The trailer is fitted with demountable corner posts to which are fitted `ratchet straps’. These form sides for loose loads such as boxes from a part used pallet. Conversion takes only a few moments and the ‘kit’ is carried on the trailer.

An air mobile crane has also been developed which allows the ATMP to self load up to 1 tonne at 2 metres reach. Because traction is high the ATMP was also designed to tow the 105mm Light Gun and ammunition trailer. The total carried and towed payload is in excess of 3,500kg. There is also an Air portable Fuel Container.

Air portability was a key requirement; they can be parachute dropped on medium stressed platforms, carried by helicopter as a sling load or netted load and are internally transportable in a Chinook. Given the length of time the ATMP has been in service, all necessary Joint Air Transport Establishment (JATE) clearances have been approved including various combinations of slinging and air drop with different aircraft, including the Westland Blackhawk. Whilst the Springer can be carried as a netted under-slung load, it does not have the necessary recognised and approved tie down locations for internal Chinook carriage or air drop. The Chinook has been cleared to carry 2 ATMP’s internally without lowering the roll cage or 4 as a single under slung load. Multiple stacking options also exist for carriage in larger aircraft.

In short, the ATMP and air portability/air operations go hand in hand.

As of October 2009 the Mark 4 was said to be in development that would incorporate the usual raft of improvements including a Euro emissions compliant engine.

What are we doing with these superb vehicles, that have given such stirling service and are still available from the manufacturer.

Flogging them off cheap of course, via the usual disposal routes here and here

They were withdrawn in Herrick 10 to be replaced with the Springer. Rumour control has it that they are suffering extremely poor serviceability levels, have nowhere near the load carrying capacity as quoted, cannot be carried internally in a Chinook and are not as versatile as the ATMP. Now of course, these are only rumours but interesting nonetheless.

Remember, the Springers were only £7 million!

The MoD has previously used LSV, the DML manufactured Wessex Saker was trialled about 15 years ago but didn’t enter service in any numbers beyond those used by ‘those with a big tache’ and had a payload of 700kg including mounted weapons. There was also a similar vehicle called the Longline Light Strike Vehicle.

Light Strike Vehicle

A quick cast around the internet reveals many competitors including the rather impressive hybrid powered ST Kinetics Spider Light Strike Vehicle.

They even have a version with the 120mm Super Rapid mortar!

EPS are also promoting the Dingo and Whippet

Land Rover Class

Despite various Land Rover variations that have pushed the weight up and up we should also not forget the lightweight, cut down versions that used to be very popular around Hereford and Aldershot.

Entering the frame this week was the Supacat Wildcat that is derived from the QT Services Wildcat

At a quarter of a million pounds (about half that of a Jackal) the Wildcat weighs in at a mere 2.5 tonnes and in the demonstrator in equipped with a lightweight remote weapon station from Thales.

Just for fun, have a look at the Fast Track amphibian vehicle, videos here

And, not forgetting Gibbs Technology

A Few Suggestions

As the per the introduction I think we need to retain the mobility advantage even if we have to accept a compromise in protection, applying the right piece of equipment to the right operational requirement.

When it comes to the larger end of the weight spectrum the choices become more interesting, assuming such a lightweight, potentially amphibious logistics carrier requirement remains extant.

Do we continue with the Springer and bring it fully into the main equipment plan, replacing the ATMP, or, do we invest in the ATMP3 or another platform for example?

Is there a need for those very Gucci light strike platforms as typified by the ST Kinetics Spider or Supacat Wildcat?

Motorcycle and quads/trailers definitely need to remain within the main equipment programme and the diesel powered and 2 wheel drive options seem to be reasonable, low risk routes to capability improvements.

The Roush LAS100RE development has been bought and paid for and would seem to provide an ideal ultra lightweight air portable/air droppable logistics mule that can be used for variety of applications, again, we should note that this is a British design and obtain them in quantity for light role units.

I also think there is still a need for a very lightweight stores carrier although I remain unconvinced by the fast strike vehicles beyond niche special-forces applications. Equipment weights remain high and driven by increasing protection and power requirements for ISTAR and communications equipment.

The light role units, especially those that need helicopter mobility, could retain their ability to rapidly move across short distances whilst carrying the ever increasing weight.

The future is not necessarily all about hot and dry places with excellent ground conditions so the ability to traverse soft terrain, marshes, snow and waterways remains.

It would be good to see a development of the ATMP, a new build and with evolutionary features, it’s all terrain capabilities remain impeccable and a higher powered and Euro emissions compliant engine would only improve this. They are extremely mobile, easily carried by a range of in service equipment and even stackable using a standard forklift!

The same modern materials as used in the LAS100RE could also be used and the range of useful ‘optional extras’ like the fuel system, hydraulic job and pallet trailer. The seating arrangements would normally be changed in favour of a harness and blast resistant arrangement but rapid ingress and egress of the simple bench seating has a lot to commend it although the position might be centred and some degree of blast protection provided.

Add on armour kits should be developed but we would have to be realistic about the degree of protection possible. In addition to the stores carriage and 105mm light gun limber role a simple weapons mount would enable light role forces to enjoy a measure of fire support from Heavy Machine Gun, Grenade Machine Gun or similar weapons.

A small tipper body or lightweight excavation arm option would also provide some degree of combat engineering capability for light role units.

Longer term technology insertion programmes might see hybrid drives but the true genius of the ATMP is its relative simplicity, this must remain.

The ability to traverse water obstacles is also an essential (in my opinion) and any ATMP3 development should consider this a baseline requirement. Another development on the ATMP flight path might be a tracked variant or an ability to use add-on tracks.

There are many other manufacturers of similar vehicles; Havel, Hydrotrax, Argo, Alligo,Shangyu,Max ATV and Land Tamer (the donor vehicle for the Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System and Nitek Minestalker)

None of this is technologically challenging, unless of course we want to turn a vehicle costing tens of thousands of pounds into an unmanned one costing hundreds of thousands. The SMSS is an interesting development, designed to provide light logistic support for infantry patrols but I think it is very expensive for the capability it provides, even though personnel are expensive. The US have just cancelled the larger FCS MULE programme

To sum up, bikes, quads and ultra lightweight stores carriers, yes.

And, a new development ATMP for light role forces.



The Future of the British Army Series…

The Future of the British Army 01 – Scene Setting

The Future of the British Army 02 – Tasks and Capabilities

The Future of the British Army 03 – Rank and Size

The Future of the British Army 04 – Structures

The Future of the British Army 05 – Heavy Metal

The Future of the British Army 06 – ISTAR and Formation Reconnaissance (01)

The Future of the British Army 07 – ISTAR and Formation Reconnaissance (02) A Sensible Future

The Future of the British Army 08 – ISTAR and Formation Reconnaissance (03) A Not So Sensible Future

The Future of the British Army 09 – Wheels (A Sensible Solution)

The Future of the British Army 10 – Wheels (A Less than Sensible Future Part 1)


Supporting Articles

The Need to Rethink FRES

A Brief History of FRES

Medium Armour – what is it, and what does it mean for the post 2020 force structure?

FRES UV – A Modest Proposal

A Lightweight Supplement to a Medium Weight FRES 

Future Army Vehicles


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paul g
August 1, 2011 6:12 pm

bizarrely i went to DVD in 2000 and ST kinetics were doing driving demos on 2 vehicles the bronco (warthog) and the spider, the bloke giving cabbies in the spider was a card carrying nutter! blasting around the trees at the aldershot arena at warp speed, and then taking off to hit the puddles (lakes) soaking passengers, i loved it!!!
The springer gets a massive slating on ARRSE by users, well and truly seen off there and deal done by an ex REME guy (the shame) although i recognise the name and he was a gravel technician (mil skills instructor, kept away from spanners).
final note looking at the wildcat rover anyone else completely in awe of the army guys on top gear training for the dakar rally. Oh by the way hammond when a guy asks for a minute when losing composure it means fcuk off and not film him crying, dickhead

August 1, 2011 6:31 pm

Paul g well said. The BBC at it’s best but they should have given the guy some space. Good luck to them.
I will take a Wild cat in any colour!

Mike W
August 1, 2011 8:42 pm


What an outstanding post – so very thoroughly researched.

I shall have some other questions and comments later on but I would like to start with one about motorcycles. Are any combat-type motorcycles (not convoy escort types) serving in the British Army at the moment? I thought I read somewhere that they were being quietly withdrawn and replaced by the quads. So the Harleys and Hondas are gradually disappearing, I think.

I cannot believe that something as light, fast and flexible as a motorcycle can actually be being dropped by the British Army. Something similar happened some decades ago now but they were re-instated. Do you know anything?

paul g
August 1, 2011 10:43 pm

Don’t worry about the buggies, I’ve never seen them used for anything other than fat boys taxis around Bastion. Quads come out on the ground, but I’ve yet to see these on actual Ops

We never got bored of the ATMP’s (supacats) at JHF, we tried to hold on to them however they’re being withdrawn if they haven’t already been from service. We used these for moving AH munitions on FARPS, we could put 2 platforms each with 2 ammo loads straight onto a CH 47 and deploy out onto the ground with them. The Springers struggle to carry 1 ammo load and at the time weren’t cleared for air carriage so we wanted to chin them off. All the Springers JHF recieved packed in pretty quick so don’t know how they’re fairing out in the FOB’s.

To answer your second question, at the time of changing over vehicle types Springer was not cleared to be carried internally on Chinooks. I believe it wasn’t fitted with a recognised tie down system and we know how unhappy the crabs would have been about that. I can’t confirm if this has been resolved but I’ll speak to some of the lads and post an answer if I get any joy.

Out of 27 Springer in theatre, 19 were BLR’d!! They are complete shite! The trial wagon was a 2ltr version, we were sold a 1.4 shite-bucket that struggles to pull off, even without a load (engine burn out)…Worst piece of kit purchased for a long time… looks cool though

comments taken from a thread about springer on ARRSE in 2010, 19 beyond local repair (BLR) ie well fcuked is unbelieveable

August 2, 2011 3:06 am

TD – great as usual

Paulg – thanks for the “intel”

As I got a ride in an ATMP courtesy of 5th AB’s Pathfinders once (scary experience), I vote for a mk 4 !

Mike W
August 2, 2011 9:56 pm

I just wanted to say a few words about light all-terrain vehicles, as I think that these will come to play an increasingly important part in some of the limited-scale conflicts we shall be facing in the future. They already are of particular value to rapid deployment forces, many of them being very mobile and airportable, and some amphibious.

The Supacat ATMP is a case in point. This vehicle was described by TD as “superb” and its performance since entering service certainly seems to suggest that it is a very valuable asset indeed. It appears to be appreciated by the troops (see the comment from one of the soldiers quoted by paul g: “We never got bored of the ATMP’s (supacats) at JHF, we tried to hold on to them however they’re being withdrawn if they haven’t already been from service.”

Now I don’t know whether they have been withdrawn completely from service. I would imagine that 16 AA Brigade would want to cling on to theirs and they are still shown on the MOD website s being part of the current British Army equipment inventory. However, it does seem odd that they were withdrawn from Herrick 10 to be replaced by Springers. TD says of these vehicles: “Rumour control has it that they are suffering extremely poor serviceability levels, have nowhere near the load carrying capacity as quoted, cannot be carried internally in a Chinook and are not as versatile as the ATMP.” These rumours certainly seem to be borne out the evidence supplied by paul g.

What I would really like to know, though, is whether any attention is paid nowadays to the views of the ordinary soldier, or are decisions (eg. to replace ATMP by Springer) simply made in a high-handed fashion by some kind of hierarchy (top officers, procurement people, etc.) without any consultation with the troops whatsoever?

One more point. “Project Harewood” certainly seems to have produced a fine vehicle in the LAS100RE. From the description by TD: “very light weight, diesel engine and a 1.3 tonne payload. It can be easily carried internally aboard a Chinook or Merlin, etc. etc.”, it certainly seems as if he is right in describing it as “an incredible piece of equipment”. What’s more, I am a great believer in the old maxim: “If it looks right, it probably is right” and that vehicle certainly looks right. Why not more of them?

Brian Black
Brian Black
August 3, 2011 3:31 pm

Who needs expensive F35 when we can simply catapult Citroëns off the end of the carriers?

August 3, 2011 4:37 pm

You are welcome.

You can go along way off-road with 2 wheel drive and not much power with good technique. Knowing that is one of the reason why I question the needs for tracks for everything military. (Even though I love tracked vehicles!)

Mike W
August 3, 2011 5:14 pm


On the subject of Light Strike Vehicles, I think the Longline Light Strike Vehicle also entered service, in its case with 24 Airmobile Brigade, before it was amalgamated with 5 Airborne Brigade. It only remained in service for a relatively short time before it was withdrawn. I was talking with a captain from 24 Airmobile a few years ago and he told me that the main reason for its withdrawal was that it was insufficiently robust for helicopter work.

I, like you, remain ‘unconvinced by the fast strike vehicles beyond niche special-forces applications’. However, if their robustness could be increased by the use of some of the modern materials you mention in your article in connection with the LAS100RE, then we could see more use of them by mainstream forces. They are immensely useful for the “quick-in, quick-out” kind of operation.

I must say I agree with all of your conclusions regarding light vehicles, namely: bikes, quads and ultra lightweight stores carriers and a new development ATMP for light role forces. All seem eminently sensible and very necessary. I mentioned in my previous post on this thread how impressive the LAS100RE seems.


August 3, 2011 5:56 pm

Across the pond there a whole host of capable ATVs. If they were deployed 1 to 2 men you could put a whole battalion on wheels for about the same cost of a wheeled APC. (I am jokin’ before somebody replies.)

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 4, 2011 8:01 pm
Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 4, 2011 8:25 pm

Would an extra wheel be any benefit to the ATMP?

One idea I was thinking about was crossing the amphibious skirt concept with Tarin/liquid cloth armour. Would it work, and would it fit on a ATMP?

August 4, 2011 9:11 pm

@ Gareth J

I am aware of some the more left field stuff out there. The thing is with left field thinking is it institutional inertia or are the ideas truly flawed in some fundamental way the layman doesn’t understand?

As I see it the main problem with the ATV is mechanically they are not robust enough. They may be OK for forestry, farming, and law enforcement but as something to go to war on deployed en masse? Scale an ATV up a notch and you virtually have a Land Rover. It is an attractive idea. Especially an ATV mounted on tracks would have a lower ground pressure than a soldier. And it does get around the weight problem. Interesting.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 4, 2011 11:38 pm

@ x – I think someone’s gone left field…

Apparently its only experimental but very interesting;’s-latest-experiment-mobility-fire-power.html

Allegedly you can fit both an 8×8 and a 4×4 in a M-17… Just stirring… ;p

August 4, 2011 11:52 pm

We are back to the heliborne tracked vehicle aren’t we?

I suppose it makes more sense than having paratroopers and marines at peak physical fitness then loading them down with 60lb bergens and extra ammunition for the support weapons.

Nothing new…..

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 5, 2011 9:27 am

@ x – I have previously suggested a modern take on the Universal (Bren) carrier for easing the solider load and increasing mobility; however, after reading TD’s article above it might be more sense to go for an improvement of the ATMP. Especially if you can add tracks

August 5, 2011 3:01 pm

The Dodge weapons Carrier of ww2

(Names a dead give away)

One of it’s roles was to carry the packs etc of a full platoon it even had a marching gear so it could proceed easily at 4mph

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 5, 2011 5:35 pm

Interesting info on WW2 universal carrier platoons attached to infantry battalions;

would a platoon of ATMP and quads serve similar roles such as recon, supply ferrying, fire support, etc?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 5, 2011 6:50 pm
August 5, 2011 8:50 pm

@ Gareth J

It was more a parallel. Troops sitting virtually on top of and not in a small all-terrain vehicle but 60 odd years apart.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 7, 2011 11:02 am

@ x – they certainly perform the same role, universal workhorse and the squaddies can probably find more roles in the field. Certain roles appear to always be necessary or reappear, such as light cavalry/light armour for recon, etc. Universal carrier/ATMP would be mules/workhorse?

August 7, 2011 1:17 pm

@ Gareth J

Yes. This is why I have been saying that foot patrols should be accompanied by a few (suitably silenced) ATVs and trailers to lessen the carried weight.

August 8, 2011 2:51 pm

This is why I have been saying that foot patrols should be accompanied by a few (suitably silenced) ATVs and trailers to lessen the carried weight.

ATVs and trailers, hmm, maybe; but you want something that is every bit as mobile as a foot soldier otherwise it’ll constrain the patrol. Maybe the answer is to give every patrol a few HULCs.

August 8, 2011 5:06 pm

Not all patrols are conducted over terrain that is suitable for ANY sort of vehicle. In fact, most patrols are conducted over this sort of terrain. So it sucks to be on those patrols.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 8, 2011 8:09 pm

@ a – RE: hulc. Are we starting to go down the power armour route?

we could afford about 7? ;p

August 8, 2011 8:25 pm

a said “ATVs and trailers, hmm, maybe; but you want something that is every bit as mobile as a foot soldier otherwise it’ll constrain the patrol. Maybe the answer is to give every patrol a few HULCs.”

Obviously if the ATV is going to inhibit manoeuvre it would be prudent not to take them. But I am not convinced that this is the majority of patrols. Obviously something that could walk like the Boston Dynamics Big Dog would be ideal. My only concern as always is the bod on the ground.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 9, 2011 8:22 am
August 9, 2011 1:51 pm

Though not wheeled, I wonder if there’s a market for a flat-bed version of the Wiesel 1? It actually has a smaller footprint than an ATMP (6.5 m^2 vs 7 m^2).

Though the base vehicle is heavier, a flat-bed version would be lighter. Plus, it is actually armored.

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 17, 2011 7:21 pm

If we had some MI-26T, with their 20 ton payload, we could heli deploy the 17 ton Panhard Sphinx with its 40mm CTA gun, plus goodly amounts of IED/ballistic protection.

August 18, 2011 8:12 am

Hi JH,

Someone else has thought of that. There is an experimental LIGHT Mechanised Regiment, LMR, in China’s Chengdu Region. An excerpt:

“At the 2006 Farnborough International Air Show Russian helicopter manufacturer Rostvertol announced that it was opening a joint venture in China to market its Mi26T HALO heavy-lift helicopter. Should this massive aircraft make its way into PLA hands it would exponentially increase the capability of an LMR. Heavier armored vehicles of the LMR such as the ZBD97 IFV could be internally loaded in a HALO, and large vehicles such as the PTL02 assault gun could be sling loaded. The PLA is known to have developed a new light tank based on the type 89 chassis. If this new tank were to replace the Type 96 tank in the HMIC the entire LMR would be airmobile via Mi-26 HALO.”

The light and heavy in their kit tends towards the light for most pieces, and makes the whole logistics tail to be seen to by MI-17s feasible while the rgmnt is on the move.

Why Chengdu? Vietnam to the South and Assam to the SW, and plenty of mountains plus some jungle-like terrain, so not exactly tank country. As far as I can remember China and Austria are the only countries that have bothered to build a “mountain-capable” tank. Now India is looking for some 300 pieces, not to be outdone on that border… if there is anything in the market

paul g
August 18, 2011 11:35 am

plus, on another thread i put up pictures of the now restarted mil26 production line,glass cockpit which means crew reduced from 5 to 3 and new engines which it means it can now lift 24 tonnes, somewhere there is a shot of a “normal” helicopter parked next to a 26, it’s bloody mad!!

can’t find the photo, but this one is recovery mech porn!!

John Hartley
John Hartley
August 18, 2011 10:25 pm

Paul G
Love the photo.
You could carry my family in a Gazelle, but we would need the MI26 for my sisters luggage.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
August 19, 2011 9:21 am

@ B.smitty – I have been trying to re-discover a tracked German prototype for a light armoured vehicle which had cargo version but can’t seem to find it again :( I know the wiesel 2 was suggested with a ammo carrying variant.

@ JH and ACC – best link I’ve found on 155th Chinese Light Mechanised Infantry is this one:
This link has more pictures:

August 19, 2011 11:44 am

Hi GJ,

Thanks for the second link, had not seen it before. Some good analysis, but they miss
1. the likelihood of Mi26T being attached (it is 6 years since the production line for China was announced)*
2. connected to the above, there is a stated intention to replace the MBTs with a lighter type (why it has to be a new one, when they have several in service is anybody’s guess)
3. there only being one MI coy and a plethora of supporting units must be down to experimental nature of the rgmnt

But all in all, this is very much the same kind of self-contained all-terrain unit that I was proposing could be built reassigning the Warthogs and converting some to more specialist/ support uses. In this experimentation they have gone for
– higher degree of helo insertation (we are not planning to do anything in the Himalayas region, I hope)
– and longevity of taskings as the whole logistics tail can be done by helos (e.g. the daily fuel requirement is stated)

* an afterthought about the announced options for the next Chinook:50% more lift, with or without larger internal dimensions (if “with” won’t go anywhere anymore inside a C-17)

A different Gareth
A different Gareth
August 21, 2011 4:15 pm

With a hat tip to the advert that appeared on the right I suggest (in jest) a ride on pallet truck.

How about a cab forward cut down Ocelot to aid commonality? Or maybe have the cab at the back. Anything with the driver at the front would be reversing at the helicopter, aeroplane or whatever for loading and unloading. With the driver at the rear the bit you might need to do in a hurry is done facing forwards instead.

You could put a rotating seat in and dual controls (or the controls move with the seat). You can then approach the loading/unloading job forwards and drive away forwards.

July 24, 2012 9:23 pm

Funnily enough there are 75 ex-MOD Springers on the disposal market at £12,500 a pop, guide price.
One was put in the last tender sale and the winning bid was £9,100.00.
Which is just under 10% of the original purchase price three years ago.

The way forward for MOD procurement is to task the individuals who make and authorise these purchases to introduce the equipment personally into front-line operational proving conditions over a six-month tour of duty.