Welcome to the Future of FRES?

It will be a real shame if FRES gets cancelled but in an age of real austerity, a worsening economy and likely future cuts can the MoD afford it?

Could more of these, plus a handful of upgraded Warriors, a mix of lighter vehicles, UAV’s and a a multi cap badge Regiment of dismounted specialists be the future of Formation Recce?

Hardly ideal, but in the context of the whole of defence spending is this a compromise we will be forced to make, and if so, will it be such a bad one?

367 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chef
Chef
September 22, 2011 6:39 am

I’m away from office just now with some pretty dodgy wifi so cant see the video…is there a suggestion its getting cancelled?

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 22, 2011 8:25 am

I’m in the office, but they dont like us watching video (at one point a few years ago, 40% of webtraffic was BBC iPlayer).

FRES really needs to die.
The whole project has just gone completely off the rails. I swear, all thats left to add is a TARDIS function that allows it to transport 400 Royal Marines and fit in the back of a land rover.

Tubby
Tubby
September 22, 2011 8:40 am

Presumably we need to replace the 30 mm RARDEN with a cannon which is currently in production using NATO standard ammo, ( or 40mm CTA if it can be integrated), if we take CRV(T) Mk II into core equipment budget and increase the numbers?

Phil Darley
September 22, 2011 9:03 am

If we cancel FRES now we will have repeated the mistake with nimrod mra4, I.e spent an absolute fortune, had it nearly ready to go and then scrapped it.

My view now is don’t upgrade warrior, but replace it with Ascod. Thus realising the £500 million just spent for development.

With crrt2, I think it’s too small to take a stabilised cta40, but if they did the same thing on new build stormer chasis it would probably work. The issue is power provision I believe.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
September 22, 2011 9:30 am

While not wanting to bring the Wrath Of Bob down upon me, I am conflicted on the subject of FRES. I don’t think it’s a great vehicle or even a good concept BUT it is starting to look like it will deliver vehicles needed by the Army. Scrap it now and, like Phil Says, it’s another Nimrod debacle.

As for upgunning CVR(t), would it be possible to fit a Warrior turret? I have no idea how big the turret ring is on a Scimitar but if it’s at least as big as that on Warrior then why not use the upgraded Warrior turret on CVR(t)2? When upgraded, the Warrior turret carries a 40mm CTA cannon with modern sights and full stabilisation and, after the last round of cuts, there will be quite a few warriors around from which turrets could be nicked. Then use the newly turretless for other roles.

IXION
IXION
September 22, 2011 9:54 am

Peter Arundel

It will be scrapped.

BTW Am I the only one who was deeply suspicious of Nimrods supposidly “just about ready to fly but HMG scrapped it” status. there were reports of continuing aerodynamic problems.

As for the development cost of Fres ..

Dennis Healy’s First law of Holes

When your in one stop digging.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 22, 2011 10:26 am

Phil/Pete
We have spent £500mn on FRES
The projected project cost is £60bn

We have spent 1/120th of the planned spend

Nimrod this is not.

Yes I know, some of that £60bn will have to be spent on whatever eventualy replaces our armoured fleet, but not all of it, and not now.

FRES does not do what it says on the tin.
It is not Furturistic, it is not Rapid, it will have little more Effect than the current fleet, and it has fewer Systems than the current fleet.

The £500mn has been wasted, its designed a vehicle we do not need and can not afford.
Spending another £59.5bn to avoid having to admit £500mn was wasted is insanity.

FRES’s primary role was to rapidly deployable.
Before final production, FRES will weigh over 45 tons.
Thats not rapidly deployable.
Its just not.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 22, 2011 10:31 am

Ixion
I’m very sceptical about the claims Nimrod was “ready to fly”, but who knows.

Brian Black
Brian Black
September 22, 2011 10:41 am

Sounds like the army is keen to get out the good reviews for this thing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this fills a scout role for many years; someone will certainly point out that they’ve used this in a real war and had no complaints, so why do you need an ASCOD scout?
———
If it were not possible to fit a stabilised cannon to the new CVRT, is it worthwhile having a cannon at all? Will unstabilised cannons quickly become out of date?

If you meet another vehicle that requires a 40mm cannon to harm it, and it has it’s own stabilised weapon, then you either sit there stationary like a prize plum trying to hit it or you are running away and unable to shoot.

Would HMG, GMGs be more suitable for an unstabilised mount? Spray them at infantry while running.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 22, 2011 10:48 am

BB
I must admit.
Couple of .50’s, or maybe a 40mm GMG paired with a Javelin, sounds a lot better than a difficult to fit, expensive, cannon.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 22, 2011 11:23 am

Hi BB,

RE “wouldn’t be at all surprised if this fills a scout role for many years”
– to me, the fact that about the same number of other versions was ordered points to it *not* being just an A-stan UOR for fire support/ convoy escort. Recce against a Taliban type of opponent can be carried out much better by other means.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 22, 2011 12:26 pm

TD

What we already spent?
Was it £500mill / 700mill for some R+D on an existing vehicle / platform and half a dozen drivable chassis?

I have to admit the T26 project looks a paragon of virtue in this company.

Brian Black
Brian Black
September 22, 2011 1:52 pm

How many new Warrior turrets could that 500 million have paid for?

Fluffy Thoughts
Fluffy Thoughts
September 22, 2011 4:28 pm

A few points:

Even before the election of 2010 PPrune was hightlighting the inevitability of the project being scrapped (due to structural faults).

If the current Scimitar ring in too small then should we follow the French idea and go unmanned turret? [May need to find space for the commander, hands-free radio-links and Optronics.]

If the Scimitar could mount a low-cal 76, why would it be so difficult to mount the new 40mm?

Just asking….

Alex
Alex
September 22, 2011 5:30 pm

MRA4 wasn’t ready to fly: it was flying. First flight was 2004, first delivery to the RAF OEU was 2010. Whether it was ready to go into squadron service is another question.

Count me a vote for the chop. As far as I can see we’ve now got:

A vehicle that’s too big and heavy to be rapidly deployable, that’s too big and clumsy and slow to be sneaky, that’s not going to have a better gun to fight with, and that despite being too big won’t fit a complete section in the back. Is there even one project requirement it actually fulfils apart from the oh-so-vital one of not being French?

At least MRA4 actually was roughly what the RAF asked for, just late and expensive. This thing is late, expensive, and doesn’t fulfil any of the key requirements.

paul g
September 22, 2011 5:40 pm

Is this so dead in the water though? We have a shed load of bulldogs, uparmoured and generally updated i know, but basically it’s an old vehicle. So seeing as we have shelved out the national debt of a 3rd world country, then have an order in for the potected mobility version to work in hand with warrior, (ie in a platoon 2xwarrior with CTA 40mm, 2x ASCOD with gpmg/gmg unmanned turret) The sparimitar then cracks on with recce. If the production lines are up and running, then in the future as warrior gets knackered it can be replaced by ASCOD (maybe even in that time frame advances in designs could envoke more space for the toms.
Difference with this compared to nimrod this has options in other fields ie ambulance, recce, recovery etc I’d like to see a swingfire version.

Nimrod did have years of mismanagement i had the unfortunate task of been invited to woodford to recruit guys who were getting laid off, the stories they told me about the cluster surrounding nimrod beggars belief, I’d explore all avenues before shit canning this.

Mark
Mark
September 22, 2011 6:28 pm

The problem I have with FRES is I dont think the army really now what they want. I dont know how it fits with warrior but looking at them I cant really tell the difference. I think the US use the braddley as the bases for all there heavy infantry vehicles is that what we intend and if so let say so get a base vehicle that can do that and get a move on. I however fear this will turn into yet another niche fleet. I think we have the lighter forces covered with ocelot and indeed Viking time for something similar in the heavy stuff even if that means reduced or removing capability now to build it up and pay for it, foreign occupation is off the agenda for sometime so we have a wind to do this right.

Paulg as for nimrod I heard similar stories from some of the engineers that worked on it and you really couldnt make it up.I would say nimrod could also operate across many field also but the shame was theyd done the hard work to get it to field only for the government to deal it fateful hands.

Phil Darley
September 22, 2011 8:40 pm

DominicJ where dud you get the £60billion figure from? The total fir FRES (SV and UV) was only £16 billion and that was when we were looking at 3000+ vehicles!!!

With reference to Nimrod, if it was air worthiness issue then BAE should be taken to court if not then the government has flushed £4 billion+ of tax payers money down the toilet! Whoever made that decision needs to be prosecuted!!!

x
x
September 22, 2011 9:05 pm

Surely if the hulls of Warriors aren’t rusting away we can refurb them? Look at the M113. FRES is a cock-up.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 22, 2011 9:09 pm

Entertaining comparison for you all:
Jaguar Land Rover spends £400m per year on R&D.
80% of the cost of the SV development contract every year. In the four years that SV – an extremely complicated and robust vehicle – is spending £500m, JLR will have spent more than £1200m doing the same sort of thing but with cars that have a much shorter service life and much less stringent requirements.

Mark
Mark
September 22, 2011 9:21 pm

Mr Fred it is interestinstand shows the value of r&d but jaguar sells 250k cars a year we will buy maybe 1500 vehicles total that’s why jaguar can afford the r&d it’s spread over lots of vehicles.

Mike W
September 22, 2011 9:31 pm

Darley

“If we cancel FRES now we will have repeated the mistake with nimrod mra4, I.e spent an absolute fortune, had it nearly ready to go and then scrapped it.

My view now is don’t upgrade warrior, but replace it with Ascod. Thus realising the £500 million just spent for development.”

I’m inclined to agree with the view in your first paragraph, Phil. However, I don’t know whether the the suggestion in your second paragraph is now possible. A public pronouncement has been made by the MOD on the subject of the Warrior upgrade and, for all I know, contracts might already have been signed. Anyway, in terms on numbers I think we shall need both FRES SV and the upgraded Warriors.

Actually, I think ideally we should have Scimitar 2 as well, the latter for armoured support, recce, etc. for 16 AA Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade. In that respect, Fluffy Thoughts’ view is very apposite:

“If the Scimitar could mount a low-cal 76, why would it be so difficult to mount the new 40mm?”

Where’s Bob when you need him?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 22, 2011 9:46 pm

TD,

Less stringent, I would say. You would accept limitations of a commercial vehicle that are not feasible on a military vehicle. The military vehicle includes requirements for: signature, survivability, gun control circuits, accurate optics, radio fits and EMC that either a commercial vehicle does not or only faces a smaller requirement. On top of that, it is the same set of requirements for the commercial vehicles year in and year out.
Value engineering is complex, but coming up with new AFVs is at least as complicated

In short, £120m a year for four years out of ten seems astonishingly cheap by comparison.

Mark,
Just because JLR sells many vehicles doesn’t change the amount of R&D needed for a new model. R&D is expensive and if you want it to go into your vehicle you need to fork out for it somehow. Military vehicle producers can’t afford it because they produce so few vehicles in the usual run of things. Thus the MoD has to pay and the amount they pay is small relative to the motor industry, often held up in these comments as the paragon of efficiency.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 22, 2011 9:53 pm

To address Fluffy Thoughts question regarding 76mm vs. 40mm guns:

The 76mm is a low velocity, manually loaded weapon. It’s pretty small. The 40mm gun is not much bigger, but being automatic it is fitted with a substantial ammunition feeding system that is badly suited to installation in a low profile, manned turret.

A one-man or unmanned turret would suit the installation better, but this would deny what is ostensibly a scout vehicle a valuable source of situational awareness.

An interesting option would be a modern 90mm gun with an autoloader mounted in the bustle.

IXION
IXION
September 22, 2011 10:01 pm

Fred

Lets start with the fact that JLR products must be:-

1) OK to varying degrees off road for many products.
2) Capable of upto 140 mph on the road
3) Handle at all sorts of speeds and weights like 1 – 5 passangers. stick to awet road like glue.
4) Have a 10- 20,000 mile service schedule
5) JLR build about 4 different types of car 180 mph sports car – Landrover defender.
6) Includes engine development.

Fres is:-
One chassis
With offroad maximised on road basic.
Engine by someone else

Etc etc

Not at all the same thing at all.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 22, 2011 10:15 pm

One chassis, multiple vastly different equipment fits.
We can pick and choose a few categories that suit SV

– Weapon systems capable of hitting targets out beyond 1500m
– Able to be repaired in austere condition
– Able to withstand multiple multi-kJ impact events and remain 100% functional
– Able to withstand multi-MJ impact events (a 1 tonne vehicle impacting at 70mph would be the minimum possible qualifying event) without significant injury to the crew.
– have a service life of 20+ years. Not sure how many miles that is, but probably quite a few.

Mark
Mark
September 22, 2011 10:16 pm

Mr Fred

Yes I know that but we’ve spent nearly a billion on fres over the last 5-10 years and are precisely no where then spend 2b buying and upgrading existing vehicle. The car industry will develop a new car every 2 years for that money or even several. They also use a base chasis across various fleets. That money hasn’t done it with fres and if the current vehicle can’t it gets binned and find one with. I don’t see the leap in tech or capability fres offers that we can’t currently buy off the shelf in current apcs.

John Hartley
John Hartley
September 22, 2011 10:35 pm

I still say the British Army would be better off dropping the heavy FRES/Ascod, in favor of Panhard Sphinx doing the armed part with Uni Eng Ranger carrying the troops. These 17/19 ton vehicles are easier to deploy than 34/40 ton (white)elephants.
I liked Nimrod MRA4. The prototypes were flying. Armed with Storm Shadow, they would have given the RAF global strike capabilty.
Now waiting for the “wrath of Bob”.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 22, 2011 10:52 pm

Fred @ 9.09

Your are having a laugh aren’t you, aren’t you?

JLR’s money covers the following –

3000 + engineers.

Body engineering
Chassis engineering
Systems engineering – electrical et al.
Powertrain engineering
Odds and ends engineering.

It covers the vehicle and the production infrastructure.
It covers emissions, type approval and changing global standards.
It covers 6 vehicle platforms and an industrial antique.
It covers 4 engine families and a Volvo IL6.
It covers the move to a low carbon economy.

It is working on a new 2 seat sportscar.
It is working on a new Defender.
It is working on a lightweight Discovery.
It is thinking about a 7str Freelander.
It is looking into using more aluminium bodyshells.

It is designing a new family of 4 cylinder engines – petrol and diesel.
It is wrestling with Stage 6 emissions.
It is helping out the parent company in India.
It is trying to teach Brummies to build cars …
… as good as the Scousers can.

It will deliver stuff this year.
It will deliver stuff next year.
It will make mistakes.
It will fix those mistakes.
It will make an economic surplus …
… And some good cars the world wants to buy.

Now what is Fres doing apart from spending our money badly?

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 22, 2011 11:48 pm

FBOT.

No, I’m not.
An amount equivalent to one third of JLR’s money per year goes to:
Body Engineering
Chassis Engineering
Systems Engineering
Electrical and electronic engineering
Power train engineering
Odds and ends engineering

It covers the vehicle and the production infrastructure.
It covers emissions, type approval and changing global and military standards.
It covers 1 vehicle platform split into four or five significantly different variants
It covers the integration of an entirely new weapon system
It covers the move to a low carbon economy.

It is working on a new 2 man turret.
It is working on a new Command vehicle.
It is working on a new APC.
It is thinking about adaptability into future variants.
It is looking into using more efficient armour systems.

It is wrestling with Stage 6 emissions.
It is trying to teach Welshmen to build AFVs …
… as good as the Geordies can.

It is building an AFV design and build capacity that is squandered between each increasing gulf between new AFV family.

Some things are not covered, undoubtedly there is some waste, but it isn’t so far adrift of commercial R&D as you might believe.

The problem with military procurement is that it comes in lumps, and small lumps at that. The MoD demands the finest vehicles known to humanity so it won’t have to buy new ones until all the engineers who worked on the last one have retired. The car industry has consistent income and production runs that dwarf even the most prolific AFVs. They compete between each other on a car-by-car basis; if they fail at one then there is another in 10 seconds or so. Not 10 years if you are lucky.

It is mucked up, but it’s scarcely the class-war nightmare than FBOT proposes.

jonesy
jonesy
September 23, 2011 12:02 am

My army friend tells me the army are prepared to loose challenger 2 CSP in order to fund fres scout. So no heavy armour in ten or so years time. So all eggs in one basket with fres

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 12:28 am

Mr Fred @ 11.58

Fres SV is badge engineering.
It is £500mill for 7 prototypes.
It is a licence to print money.

AFV production has more to do with ship building than cars.
It is marrying chunks together rather than proper R+D.
You have to ask what are the issues the programme is trying to solve?

The bottom line is how many engineers are currently employed and where are they based?

Remember JLR’s spend puts real production vehicles down a production line.

The FRES SV £500mill is a “demonstration”l contract producing glossy brochures and angle iron engineering.

It has nothing to do with production.
It has nothing to do with diesel engines.
It has nothing to do with new weapons systems.
It has nothing to do with a new chassis.
It has nothing to do with commercial reality.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 23, 2011 7:53 am

Phil
Purchase cost of £16bn
Lifetime costs of £60bn
http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.com/2010/10/savagely-vindicated-again.html

As for Nimrod
BAE is smarter than the civil service, I’m amazed BAE cant take the government to court over the issue!

We can cancel now, or we can build them, realise they are completely wrong and cancel when £20bn has been wasted, or we can just use the wrong equipment, and watch soldier after soldier after soldier come home in a body bag, again.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 8:02 am

Hi jonesy,

10 years counting from now would be good going, as C2 has been increasingly “let go” since 2008:
“Despite the proven combat success of the Challenger 2 main battle tank, severe budget shortfalls have effectively taken the Challenger out of action. By June 2008, the C2 CSP program was facing cancellation due to increasingly severe MoD funding shortfalls. In September 2008, the MoD also canceled its base inspection and repair contract with its Defence Support Group (DSG) organization.

On October 19, 2010, the Conservative-led coalition government unveiled its much-anticipated Strategic Defence and Security Review. Among its other cuts, the SDSR mandates reducing the active Challenger 2 main battle tank fleet by 40 percent. The Royal Armoured Corps must mothball 155 tanks, leaving only 231 active Challenger 2 tanks in the entire British Army.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 8:20 am

About all eggs in one basket; yes
– out of the £9.1 bn (before cuts to the numbers of units to be ordered) the rest (WR and Terrier) are done deals, or (Viking, Titan and Trojan) already delivered

period since the 1998 Strategic Defence Review
Date project commenced
Status, and
expected in-Service Date
number to be procured
Sunk Cost(£m)
Forecast cost remaining(£m)

Future Rapid Effect System –
Specialist Vehicle (FRES SV)
June 2008 Delayed: In-service
from 2017
~1300 142 7,586

Warrior Capability
Sustainment Programme (CSP)
June 2009 Delayed: In-service
from 2017
550+ 38 1,418

Terrier armoured engineer vehicle July 2002 Delayed: In-service
from 2013
60 217 101
Subtotal for costs 718 9,105 (this line includes sunk costs for cancelled projects)

Projects delivered in the period
Viking All Terrain Vehicle (Protected)4 June 1997 In-service April 2006
100+ 60 –
Titan and Trojan armoured engineer vehicles May 1996 In-service Oct 2006
66 347 –
Subtotal 407 –
Total expenditure on armoured vehicles 1,125 down 9,105 to go
Urgent Operational Requirements spending on vehicles 2,813 N/A

Talk about scrapping UORs systematically when they have been paid for (though not from Army budget)!

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 10:15 am

I’ve combined two defence management/ acquisition/ procurement reviews below, and both have ending punch lines that could be 100% about FRES:

the US 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR),
the fundamental reason for the continued underperformance in acquisition activities is fragmentation of authority and accountability for performance, or lack of clarity regarding such authority and accountability. Fragmented authority and accountability exists at all levels of the process, including identifying needs, defining alternative solutions to meeting the need, choosing and resourcing the solution, and delivering the defined capability with discipline on the agreed schedule and within the agreed cost. In the current system, the complex set of processes and authorities so diffuses the accountability for defining executable * programs intended to provide the needed increment of capability that neither objective is achievable
– either rapid response to the demands of today’s war
– or meeting tomorrow’s challenges*

An older review of US Defence Management concluded:

serious result of this [the reference could easily be the above description] management environment is an unreasonably long acquisition cycle — ten to fifteen years for our major weapon systems. This is a central problem from which most other acquisition problems stem:
> It leads to unnecessarily high costs of development. Time is money, and experience argues that a ten-year acquisition cycle is clearly more expensive than a five-year cycle.
> It leads to obsolete technology in our fielded equipment. We forfeit out five-year technological lead by the time it takes us to get our technology from the laboratory into the field.
> And it * aggravates the very goldplating that is one of its causes. Users, knowing that the equipment to meet their requirements is fifteen years away, make extremely conservative threat estimates. Because long-term forecast are uncertain at best, users tend to err on the side of overstating the threat*

bob
bob
September 23, 2011 1:24 pm

No CSP does not mean CR2 dies, the rumour mill has it that a solution to the ammunition problem could be found.

Current planning round appears to be about distributing the armoured fleet around the multi-role brigades in a fashion that does not break the bank- who knows what the outcome will be.

As for FRES-SV being badge engineering, that is just plane nonsense. I have pointed out here multiple times that £500 million for 7 prototypes (+2 recycled test platforms) covering 4 variants with a new drive chain, new turret and modified suspension is entirely reasonable when put against other AFV programmes. Just because you do not have £500 million in your bank account it does not make it a large sum of money.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 3:04 pm

Bob @ 1.24

What new stuff are we getting in the powertrain?
Why are we getting new stuff in the drive train?
What changes are being made to the suspension?
What is new about the turret?

What is being developed from scratch?
What is being leveraged in from outside?
What level of design re-use is involved?

My question still stands –

How many engineers are currently working on the programme?
Where are they based?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 3:10 pm

The Americans did the sensible thing and got their base design from somewhere else. Thereby they got the Stryker in cost terms almost spot on
-Stryker project start in 2004 with a $3.949m price target
– outcome $3.671m, relative to target 0.93

New technologies like F-22 (3.00) and V-22 (2.7) have done much worse (not a surprise)

But we are facing FRES unit prices where the forecast was made based on quantities like 1300 and 3000 (the former inclusive in the latter, even though the products have nothing to do with each other; so who was pulling wool over whose eys at that point in time?).
– we might be in for a surprise? Even after having done the sensible thing and combined many best-of-breed components (to leave room for the risk that comes with innovation; that one still to be defined )

bob
bob
September 23, 2011 3:14 pm

Fatty,

Your question was answered in a previous thread multiple times, it does not stand.

Mark
Mark
September 23, 2011 3:38 pm

TD

I guess it’s up to what you see the army doing in the future. If it sf operations with limited specialist troop operation a la initial afghan operation then fres is out and a readonable capability can be retained with warrior/crt2. If it’s more Iraq or afghan post 2006 ops then fres is needed as a total replacement vehicle. I personally would go with the former.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 3:56 pm

Bobby @ 3.14

Cut the crap and answer the questions?

There are 9 to choose from so you must have the answer to at least one of them.

Mike
Mike
September 23, 2011 4:16 pm

TD, I think in the end, economics will dictate an answer to your question.

If this thing is more inportant than Chally 2’s then perhaps the Army is taking a leaf from the Navy’s book, sacrificing most of its future capabilities for one project.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 5:06 pm

hi Mike,

interesting way to put it. Let’s turn it a bit and say:
– the Navy, other can continuous deterrent, Trident, and sea-denial, Astute, does not think it can carry out major operations if they are not Carrier-Assisted… that could be a fair statement

Is there any such statement that could be made in the Army/ FRES context?

RW
RW
September 23, 2011 6:00 pm

FBOT

“It has nothing to do with new weapons systems”

Cased telescoped rounds are arguably as large an innovation as riffling was……. not new !………the CT fired guided projectile being developed in the background (based on starstreak laser beam riding), not new!

We don’t yet know what CT munitions are really capable of, but the signs are that this is the way to go and that curtsey of Excalibur etc.. modern electronics will withstand the 60,000 G of initial gun firing. This opens the way to a host of projectiles that don’t want a bullet shaped profile but something much more advanced (and hence need to be fired from a telescoped round).

If most of the money is diverted to the weapon, and the rest is procurement of a rough MOTS standard I reckon it’s money well spent.

CT technology, for my mind, is almost worryingly advanced, if today you can laser guide a 40mm round or fit it with a radar fuse, how soon will we have smart .50 cal rounds, and where will it end?

Don’t forget while Nexter are incorporating optical sensors (Starstreak)in their CT rounds BAE are putting small milimetric radars(Brimstone technology) in their new 40mm Bofors naval gun ammunition.

The CT developments could be part of a golden age for British munitions if it combines with the proven Starstreak and Brimstone (including the targeting algorithms) and such innovative procurement as Team Complex weapons… which has just delivered LWMM

Also at a larger scale I think there is a chance to merge rail gun and CT technology (with additiv e manufacture of hybrid barrels and projectiles) for ranges as yet unheard of, but with high reliability and lower technical challenges than all out rail (so lower costs).

So pursuing FRES SV ( for me) has less to do with vehicles and much more to do with weapons.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 6:54 pm

RW @ 6.00

Thanks for those comments although I struggle to understand the whole process.

Is GD handing out sub-contracts to develop all that lovely 40mm CT stuff you describe?

If yes the MOD has got it wrong –

40mm CT is bigger than FRES – it will have a wider use so why should one Army project take the development cost?
GD will get a contractors mark-up on the sub contract.
FRES goes it takes CT with it unless we have a messy round of negotiations.

Consequently I think the CT / weapons systems stuff is separate from the FRES £500mill, however if the info is out their to prove me wrong then I would love to read it.

Also I thought the big advantage of CT was ammunition handling?
Does CT allow a larger / heavier projectile than normal?
Finally on the topic of shell / fuze electronics, where are we now?

WW2 had proximity fuzes in 3″ AA in 1943 / 44 if my memory holds out.
Consequently not a huge step to get it in 40mm now?
Or are you suggesting the the munitions will be “guided” in some way?

Finally, finally if all the good stuff is in the 40mm CT system, why not save money and put new guns in old systems?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 7:12 pm

Hi FBOT,

RE:”40mm CT is bigger than FRES – it will have a wider use so why should one Army project take the development cost?
GD will get a contractors mark-up on the sub contract.”
– if you look at the Warrior upgrade contract, it stipulates that the Gvmnt supply the 40mm CTA (pieces) and the rest of the suppliers (GD in the lead) comply; ie. the cost has already been borne by another project [in the contract], but when you ask for the money (Parliament; Defence Board…) you have to include it in the total cost [request]
– I hope all that speaks exactly to your argument?

“Finally, finally if all the good stuff is in the 40mm CT system, why not save money and put new guns in old systems?”
– cfr. the point above

Mike
Mike
September 23, 2011 7:18 pm

ACC

Fair and true yes but you cant compare the two –

The Army has other assets that can take on FRES’s role, this is what TD is asking – unlike ships that can handle fixed wing aviation, what we have here is equipment that *could* take on the role rather than FRES, maybe not perfectly, but well enough until budgets allow – post 2015, post afghanistan when we can expand beyond the afghan effect.

If projets are pushed forcefully through periods of austerity then cuts will be made in design and equipment for it (T45), or neccessary numbers (Nimrod, F35 and I fear; FRES) – like the T45’s, will FRES have “fitted for but not with”? or Come in too few a numbers to actually be of use in large scale operations? or operations with a peer nation?

I’m not against FRES – but when for afghanistan at least, other cheaper options like the vehicle in the video could be taken whilst development can continue and not be rushed/cut/contstanly redesigned.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 7:29 pm

Hi Mike,

we are thinking alike; I was partly carrying on from jonesy’s “all the eggs in the same basket”. But you brought in the interesting comparison with the navy.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 7:31 pm

ACC @ 7.12

All that tells me is that the £500mill cost of the FRES Demonstration project would not seem to include the weapons system.

The engine and drivetrain look to be catalogue engineering, the suspension is upgraded – if a 50% increase in the maximum weight can be considered an “upgrade”?

Interesting that we are now looking at an infantry fighting vehicle that could be heavier than a 1945 era A41 – we really now seem to have an universal fighting vehicle rather than a universal tank.

Consequently still looking for value for our £500mill.

The Spanish seemingly paid less than £3mill per unit in 2004.
That is 170 real vehicles for less than our demonstration contract.

Interesting!

RW
RW
September 23, 2011 7:32 pm

FBOT

As I understand it CT has been jointly developed by the French and British MODs (using various companies) but FRES SV is the first industrialisation of the technology at which point many problems are solved / resolved

GD had no choice about the weapon it was mandated by the MOD and Lockheed Martin are the subcontractor for the GD FRES turret with the various CT companies being involved as required. The issue for CT and the turret designers being the ammunition feed, the advantages of the short breach etc…….

They may have had proximity fuses in WW2, mainly for anti aircraft but it has never really taken off since you are just sensing when you are very near the target- why not just hit it !!,

With current technologies munitions can sense distance to target (which can be quite large) and detonate for effect . For the simplest effects it’s like the AHEAD munitions but BAE 40mm rounds can be detonated above a target such as a pirate skiff.

Yes laser beam riding CT munitions

You may have missed this link
http://www.aaafasso.fr/DOSSIERSAAAF/ACTES_COLLOQ.LIBRES/ActColloq.06/MissDef.06.NonCompress/papers/35_23_27.swf

Fat Man
Fat Man
September 23, 2011 7:42 pm

The CTA gun has issues of its own:

* Unique and very expensive ammunition that is non-NATO standard
* Lack of a firm market (it remans unclear if it actually will be fitted to the French EBRC, despite their claims) meaning that without exports the production run will be quite small = an expensive weapon given the need to recoup the RD costs
* Dependence on a French supply chain
* Alleged technical problems (presumably to do with the reliability of the moving breech, but I am guessing)
* Lack of suitability as an air defence weapon because of the fixed nature of the magazine which must move with the weapon, which means limited development potential

Has anyone heard of any country apart from the UK and France expressing a desire to adopt CTA for their own vehicle designs?

CTA is another Rarden cannon: a clever concept, but not attractive to many potential customers and one that has additionally sucked up money that could have been better employed. It could not have been justified without the requirement to retrofit the small Warrior turret.

Like the Irishman, I wouldn’t start from here. CTA won’t survive any FRES Scout cancellation.

RW
RW
September 23, 2011 8:07 pm

FAT MAN

so Brimstone is no good because no one else uses it, Starstreak, also no good, same reason Stormshadow the same, LWMM also the same
Fire shadow no good various AA missiles the same

why do we bother since we obviously know nothing

NB the irish have been part of Starstreak and THOR so they may want to argue with you

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2011 8:16 pm

Good list, RW, but they are not as one-off as would seem
– so Brimstone modified from Hellfire (mainly high-speed launch, and of course the all important seeker head)
– Starstreak, so good that the French bought the whole company
– Stormshadow another European JV
– LWMM also the same Frenchies, those who bought Starstreak company (are we buying the “H” from their French factory?)

Fat Man
Fat Man
September 23, 2011 8:40 pm

RW
I am not sure it is worth commenting directly on your observations; ArmChairCivvy has done that nicely. Let us just say that while the UK has considerable export successes in areas such as military support equipment, software and security equipment, in recent years too many of the UK front line projects have not been so saleable.

Compare:
Challenger 2 v M1 v Leopard 2
Starstreak v Stinger
Warrior v Bradley
and so on.

The UK tends to over-specify equipment for its own doctrinal needs and too often those needs are different from those accepted by other countries. CTA is a good example. The concept is technically brilliant, but it is the equivalent of a Morgan sports car. It superficially appeals to many, but sells to few; it is very expensive for what it is; it meets a need for a dedicated group of specialists. It is never going to achieve mass market sales that would bring down the unit price and you have to possess deep pockets to own and operate one. The UK used to have deep pockets, but as you may have noticed is now close to being insolvent. Our attention should be devoted to projects that will sell in significant numbers and export well, not to systems that make lots of money for Nexter and BAE in RD costs, but whose unit costs are too high.

We had the same problem with Brimstone, which has only found a real use over the last 3 years after being modified with a new and expensive seeker. The original project was ideal for the Cold War Central Front scenario and no doubt would have sold well in the 1980-1989 era, but came just too late. The unit cost of Brimstone is eye watering and the only export customer has been Saudi Arabia (and you can guess why).

I am not doubting UK technical excellence, although sometimes UK engineering skills are rather less capable than should be the case (look at the mess of the relatively simple Terrier project, not to mention SA80). What I am saying is that we now have very limited resources and we cannot afford to dissipate them on future projects of the CTA kind. That is not unpatriotic or overly self critical, it is just hard headed realism. If you want to see what can be done by concentrating resources on critical projects and simply purchasing other items off the shelf have a look at the Israeli defence industry. The Rafael and IMI websites are worth a good look.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 23, 2011 9:14 pm

Hmm. I think I agree with Fat Man on the CT40, but perhaps not on development costs.

IMHO, RW is badly off the mark:
Proximity fuses have taken off in a huge way. Nearly every artillery shell and mortar bomb has one to allow them to airburst. Bofors 40mm shells have had prox fuses since the 1970’s and larger anti-aircraft shells have had them in since 1944. In AA work, a miss is as good as a mile unless you can get the round to airburst close enough to hit the target with fragments. prox fuses make that happen better than the time fuses they superseded.

Modern airburst rounds are actually a revival of much older technology. The AHEAD round is a laser ranged, electronically timed version of Major Henry Shrapnel’s Spherical Case. Other air-bursting projectiles are analogous to later developments that used clockwork or pyrotechnic delay to detonate a HE shell at a desired point. The modern slant is that:
1) The timing systems are small enough to fit in 30mm shells
2) The range is determined accurately using laser rangefinders
3) The timing is set automatically using inductive electrical signals.
Otherwise it isn’t that new.

Missiles are a little different to guns. If a missile becomes obsolescent, it can be replaced relatively easily. A gun is inherent to the structure and design of an AFV, especially if you choose something odd, like a Rarden or CT40.
Plus Starstreak has had some export success, Storm Shadow and SCALP are pretty much the same thing. LMM is a private venture with reasonable chances of success.

Fireshadow is a concept I don’t like, but we will have to see how it does.

RW
RW
September 23, 2011 9:33 pm

@ ACC my point wasn’t about provider but about user

Yes there are many French / European contributors but we have selected wisely, and you are also conflating ownership and competence

@ FAT MAN

I’m not sure why you place such value on exports

Have you never considered that there is an element of US” tat” in the lists you a make

The US defense industry has traded for decades not on quality but political influence and price, note that their premier fighter (F22) is a limping disaster, they can’t currently build a ship that doesn’t have to be sent back for years of rebuild and that their basic infantry rifle is pretty unimpressive.

If you want to talk exports, talk about Israel, Sweden, Singapore, South Africa and others who make it on merit, the US don’t come close, with the Turks and India in the mix and the Emirates to follow the US will struggle to export anything in the medium future.

As to challenger and leopard that’s real easy……………….. You sit in the leopard I’ll sit in the chally and then we’ll choose incoming for each other!!!

What type of last rites do you observe?

But your basic point is that we should arm ourselves as others do, and that’s wrong, because we take on more challenges than most others and we need to overcome in the future with even more capability advantage than before. Money is wasted on platforms but much less so on munitions; AAA welded to Toyotas always comes to mind

Libya and the salvo fire of 24 brimstones make the point, it’s not the lack of use that is the point it’s the effect when used that clinches the deal, try buying a comparable munition anywhere else, and what do you think the export potential is now

@ Mr Fred

No storm shadow and scalp are not the same, and I expect you know the differences

I used AHEAD as an example of old technology but modern effect
And yes modern technology proximity is a big thing, but not the type FAT MAN referred to, rather the type I referred to.

@all

I still struggle to understand what you don’t get about a cased telescoped round, does it just seem “kinda the same” ???… its not !!, not nearly, the shape of a bullet or artillery shell is a very poor compromise between the available technology (decades ago) and the optimal shape / configuration from the moment you leave the barrel.

Just think about the round in flight and then ask yourself how dumb is the current design of shell? How many aircraft have such a rear profile ? or anything that’s aerodynamic??

Best I can do to explain

Dominicj
Dominicj
September 23, 2011 9:53 pm

td
cutting fres and the raf f35’s saves enough to cover the procurement black hole.
So yeah, they’re gone.

I just do not get what fres offers over cvrt /warrior /challenger.

Mark
Mark
September 23, 2011 10:10 pm

Before we head off down what gun is best ect can I ask what operational role will we use these FRES vehicles in?. Surely that should decide if we buy them or not.

I think someone mentioned on this thread or the other FRES threas that we may keep 80 cvrt2 or however many we upgraded. Any independent uk operation of the future will most likely look like serria leone or something similar a rapid deployment overseas of a battlegoup. If such an operation required some armour support it will be flown out. As I get 3 cvrt2 or a single fres per a400m I guess cvrt2 will be top of this list or the marines viking vehicle as we have few a400m and as far as I know fres cant “swim”.

That leaves us with a stabilisation missions a la afghan even though we have hundreds of upgraded boxers and hundreds of warriors available we went and bought hundreds of wheeled apc for afghan and deployed few tracked apcs is this because wheeled apc’s are the vehicle of choice for a this type of work?

That leaves us with a high end armoured charge Iraq 91, 03 starting mission. Im guess the explosion of armed UAVs means sending anything on an armoured charge bar a MBT could be considered sucide and maybe very infrequent. My concern is we spend billion on this and then when then next operation come around due to our limit logistics capabilty all we continually deploy is the handful of updated cvrt2’s and UOR wheeled apcs I guess im asking has FRES been over taken by events.

DomJ

Cutting the F35 from the RAF ends UK ability to operate overseas independently and severely limits any operation without US involvement we would be below critical mass in air assets. but thats a whole other thread

Fat Man
Fat Man
September 23, 2011 10:10 pm

@RW
If you get round to reading SDSR 2010 or the recent studies on defence procurement (Gray Report, etc – see http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/78821960-14A0-429E-A90A-FA2A8C292C84/0/ReviewAcquisitionGrayreport.pdf) you will understand that defence exports are now absolutely central to British government defence policy. The Type 26 Global Combat Ship is a case in point.

The domestic defence market is just too small to support the development of national UK programmes except in a few very specialised areas (nuclear weapons, cyber security, stealth, etc). Moreover, since August we have been signed into the EU Defence and Security Procurement Directive (see the MOD website). This has the stated aim of creating a European defence industry by running down national industries. The EU wants remaining national companies to combine into multinational groupings like MBDA and Thales. EU countries will be expected to specialise in certain areas and rely on other EU partners for key capabilities. One example is that 7 EU countries have shipyards that build submarines. The EU wants this reduced, perhaps to 2 or 3. So for example, does it make sense for both the UK and France to build nuclear boats? – surely one nuclear submarine yard is sufficient.

The UK is therefore most unlikely in future to start any major programmes that are not:

a. Exportable and/or
b. Collaborative
Ideally they will be both.

Programmes that meet neither criteria will be rare or minor. So, the UK will not develop another tank to replace Challenger 2. The cost of doing so for a production run of 250-300 is just too excessive and the last British MBT to sell well abroad was Centurion. A new UK tank will probably not export and would violate the EU directive. Consequently the successor will be Leopard ‘3’ or something of that ilk, to which the UK might contribute armour design as part of a joint project. We are all Europeans now you know.

I fear that you are deluding yourself that the UK can go on being different, getting a competitive advantage by deploying unique equipment. In a few areas (EW?) we can, but we are going to have to get used to making do with joint projects or modifying other nation’s equipment. After all this is what most smaller military powers do and that is exactly what the UK is now becoming. Just accept the fact, unpalatable though it may seem.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 23, 2011 10:44 pm

RW,

There is more commonality between Scalp and Stormshadow than any other two missiles out there, but if you feel sure that they are vastly different, I’ll accede to your certainty.

As for Prox, I don’t know what “modern type” you refer to unless it is the gated prox that allows high velocity, more-or-less line-of-sight engagements over ground clutter. That’s just the clever combination of two systems (electronic timer and prox fuse) and something that CT40 doesn’t have.

Modern shells have varying degrees of boat tail and base cavity to deal with external ballistics and the fact that they have to be pushed down the barrel by hot gasses. The CT design doesn’t change that fact. In fact it introduces significant issues with internal ballistics that conventional rounds have safely dealt with for the last seven decades plus, namely interface with rifling at shot-start and obturation.

The CT projectile is no better than the most basic conventional projectile out there. The basic shape of the projectiles seen to date are such that the nose drag is going to be much greater than the tail drag, meaning that the projectile is much more dependent on gyroscopic effect for stability. The shape looks like it channels combustion gasses preferentially into contact with the barrel walls, causing greater erosion and shorter barrel life.

Fat Bloke on Tour
Fat Bloke on Tour
September 23, 2011 11:30 pm

RW @ 9.33

Better / more aerodynamic sub munitions reached the modern world in WW2 with APDS, so the issue has been out there for quite a while.

Consequently why are we doing CTA and what does it offer over the other solutions?

My understanding is that CTA offers improvements in ammunition handling, more rounds stored in a specific space.

A BWoS press release of June 2006 again suggests volumetric efficiency is high on the agenda this time in the context of the swept volume of the system and how this helps with the upgrading of the Warrior turret to contain a longer range, more lethal gun / weapon system.

Unfortunately such sentiments look as if we are trying to paint the hall through the letterbox, taking the difficult way rather than doing some root cause analysis and sorting out the issue from the ground up.

That is if the current Warrior turret is too small and too cramped by today’s standards would it not be better to take a holistic approach rather than try to stuff some exotic new technology driven by the Warrior’s turret ring and then force it’s use onto all other similar AFVs and hope that the British disease of poor development does not blight the new technology as it has blighted so many other projects.

Surely it would be better to –

1) Buy in some new IFVs with a better weapon system and a fully automatic self levelling gun.
2) Turn the Warriors into APCs with a new smaller / remote gun system.

What size is the 40mm CTA sub munitions?
How does it compare with other conventional 30mm / 35mm / 40mm / 57mm sub munitions?

FRES as it stands looks like a make work scheme for the CTA 40mm gun.
That and a bit of R+D work for the folk producing armour.

Finally do we ever cascade vehicles as they get older?
Surely better to bring in new stuff at the top end and re-task the older stuff to pack the batting behind them?
Any thoughts on all the CR2’s going spare now?
Power packs not up to it?

Jed
Jed
September 24, 2011 1:06 am

Just a little comment on the use of crystal balls and the whole “what are we going to use FRES for, we don’t really need it….”

1970’s upto 1982 -the threat evaluation / strategy was based on: the threat is the Soviet Union, that is it. We don’t need naval air, the RAF can protect the fleet out into the North Sea, North Atlantic, and we don’t need to operate East of Suez anymore

Reality – Flaklands

1990’s – threat eval / strategy: No more Soviet Union – peace dividend, the MBT is dead.

Reality – Kuwait, Iraq, the Battle of 73 Easting and other mass armour battles in the desert against an enemy with soviet technology using Soviet tactics

Late 90’s Balkans – threat eval / strategy – Precision Guided Munitions, no need for boots on the ground, its all about tac-air

Reality: Dead Serb civilians, bridges that would not drop, naughty bad guys who would camouflage their kit, F117 shot down, and a presence by NATO ground troops for coming up on 20 years……

2000’s – Afghanistan, special forces and air power is all we need. When it goes COIN it’s all about the infantry…… “we don’t expect to fire a shot in Helmand province…” etc

Reality: Taliban escape across the mountains into Pakistani for the lack of rapidly deployable infantry. MBT, SPG and IFV’s all used at one point or another

Iraq GW2: We don’t need big ground forces, just look at GW1 (yeah, thanks Mr Rumsfeld), MBT’s will be vulnerable in urban warfare, precision guided weapons (again)

Reality: M1A1 and Bradly’s in the heart of cities, snipers make a big come back, the Grunt rules, not the Jet Jockey……….

So based on Afghanistan recce might be a Jackal, but what if we had been asked by the “Free Libya” forces to provide ground troops ?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 9:10 am

Hi Mark,

Your expeditionary example was bang on. The news were a bit vague, but the cvrt2 order totals anything between 58 and 65 of all types. As it is reasonable to assume that post-Afghan they would all operate in one formation [rather than be spread around, despite the spares commonality with remaining versions of CVR(T)], one could deduce from the total what kind of formation would have them. Your Viking is a nice pairing with it (rather than the heavier Warthog). France has already bought the better protected Viking2 and it may be on the cards for UK, too, at some stage. Unknown to me by how much that will up the weight.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 9:50 am

Hi FBOT,

RE:”Consequently why are we doing CTA and what does it offer over the other solutions?

My understanding is that CTA offers improvements in ammunition handling, more rounds stored in a specific space.

A BWoS press release of June 2006 again suggests volumetric efficiency is high on the agenda this time in the context of the swept volume of the system and how this helps with the upgrading of the Warrior turret to contain a longer range, more lethal gun / weapon system.”

All agreed, and makes sense (but then you proceed to suggest that we should start again?) A quick tour of AFV upper end gun market (prices on request only):

Bushmaster: No one has bought the 40mm yet; at least two armies in Europe are looking to add punch to their 30 and 35 mm, respectively, to add punch without having to change (expensive) turrets
– this would be by using “supershot”, obviously two different rounds but exactly the same drivers and the same conclusion (bounded by cost efficiency)

Bofors 40mm: Has even that clever airburst round that was decleared missing from CTA. Has such huge turret intrusion that it practically cuts the turret space in half – not considered good for recce type of work even though might be OK for busting OpFor IFVs (and infantry hiding behind a ground elevation)

CTA: What is wrong with it?

If we get the 300-350 turreted WR upgrades out of the higher “official total” as per below and we get a turret for recce use that is actually fit for purpose (just a couple of hundred to start with) and by early 2020’s are practically standardised on one medium gun (isn’t 40 the lowest boundary for medium?), I’ll be happy with that. I understand that the LM turret design for Warrior use won as the most economical?

Future Rapid Effect System –
Specialist Vehicle (FRES SV)
June 2008 Delayed: In-service
from 2017 [decision in three years from now, so not many in service during this decade]
~1300units [you bet!] 142m spent 7,586m to go [original rqrmnt]

Warrior Capability
Sustainment Programme (CSP)
June 2009 Delayed: In-service
from 2017
550+units 38m spent 1,418m to go

Bob
Bob
September 24, 2011 1:22 pm

Fatty,

You odd ill-informed ramblings are nonsensical, suffice to say you are almost universally wrong- I just can not be bothered to go through this absurdity again.

Think Defence,

Mastiff is a nightmare, they have atrocious mobility, appalling reliability and current exist in 4 different generations (1/1.5/2/3) meaning that their service retention would require a very expensive programme to standardise them all and would still leave a pretty limited vehicle.

Phil Darley
September 24, 2011 1:41 pm

FBOT I’m with you ASCOD SV is nothing more than a revamped/face lifted/warned over ASCOD.

Most of the new whistles and bells are nit really kart of the main vehicle (CTA40, optics etc).

Bob, if we are wrong answer the bloody question abd shut us all up once and for all!

IXION
IXION
September 24, 2011 2:04 pm

Phil Darley

Have to say completly agre I can only go what is published of course. But it looks like a standard upgrade in line with improvements in automotive technolgy, some thicker torsion bars ets, and some bolt on stuff.

Whether the bolt on stuff is exisiting or in development.

It remains a steel box with tracks and an engine.

FBOT’s question like how many people working on it, where for how long etc are perfectly reasonable questons.

Talk of quantem leaps, intigrated systems, etc etc are just smoke and mirrors sales talk.

The whole thing is going to get canned any way – were broke.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 2:10 pm

Hi Bob,

I’ve seen the figure and it was a multiple of “buy them new”?!
RE “Mastiff is a nightmare, they have atrocious mobility, appalling reliability and current exist in 4 different generations (1/1.5/2/3) meaning that their service retention would require a very expensive programme to standardise them all and would still leave a pretty limited vehicle.”
– howabout keeping just the newest tranche and doing nothing to them?

DominicJ
September 24, 2011 2:28 pm

Jed
I’m not saying we dont need *something*, I’m saying we dont need FRES.

I’m not saying a massed armour charge is impossible, I’m just saying that thwe way for us to smash it would be Apache/Typhoon/Tornado Hellfire/Brimstone

I’m frequently wrong, and happy to be corrected, remember, I thought you were mad for thinking PDWs should be main line infantry weapons once upon a time, but, I just dont see what FRES offers for its monumental cost.

I just dont see what it does that new build CVRTs cant do, or that Challengers cant do, or Warriors.

F35 I get, Typhoon I get, these things can smack the **** out of 5 of their predecessors.
Astute I get, Daring I get, Daring is apparently more capable than the entire T42 fleet.

FRES….?
In a stand up fight it would get its arse handed to it by Chally2, and in a logisticaly limited battle, three CVRTs would surround it and blow it apart.

I get that CVRT isnt well protected for the modern battlefield, but neithers FRES, The IDF was losing Merkavas SIX(!) Years ago to frontal hits

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 2:38 pm

Ahh, the ramp up for MRAPs was done as a one-off, the US Gvmnt itself acting as a systems integrator (I bet they have withdrawn from the business by now):

“Ultimately, five vendors received the bulk of the orders, including one company
that was new to mass vehicle production for the military. The program office
ordered three different variants of the MRAP, known as Category I, II and III
vehicles, from each of the vendors. Mission-essential equipment for the vehicles,
such as radios and sensors, were provided separately as government-furnished
equipment. Together, these factors led to a high degree of complexity in vehicle
integration: the designs of each variant produced by each vendor differed, and
the mission equipment installed on them differed by the Service or command receiving
the vehicle. Ultimately, this meant that twenty-seven different major configurations
of MRAPs were being fielded simultaneously.

… Hence the industrial capacity
that would normally have been used for commercial products could be quickly redirected to military production. This ability to rapidly ramp up production is not found in many other areas of the defense industrial base such as nuclear
submarines or fifth-generation fighters.

…DoD’s role as systems
integrator. Because each vendor was allowed to use their own designs and their own off-the-shelf components, more companies were able to enter the competition. It also sped up deliveries to the fielded forces because companies did not
have to retool or redesign as much as they would have if DoD had selected a single
design for all vendors to build. The decision to use multiple designs from multiple
vendors greatly increased integration complexity and risk, but in the end this added complexity did not prove insurmountable.

Perhaps the most impressivesuccess of the MRAP story is that DoD managed this integration challenge on itsown using government personnel and facilities at the Space and Naval Warfare
Center (SPAWAR) in Charleston, South Carolina[:} Twenty-five integration lines were established with a projected capability of integrating one thousand vehicles per month—a figure that was exceeded in April 2008 when 1,157 vehicles were
successfully integrated.”

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 2:43 pm

… does not compare with a Ford factory turning out one Liberator every hour!
– pretty good, though, in modern day terms

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 2:47 pm

Hi DJ,

Absolutely: “just saying that thwe way for us to smash it would be Apache/Typhoon/Tornado Hellfire/Brimstone”

But what then… next?

Gabriele
Gabriele
September 24, 2011 3:18 pm

“France has already bought the better protected Viking2 and it may be on the cards for UK, too, at some stage.”

24 Viking 2 have already been bought as battlefield-losses replacements, in place of Viking 1s.
Not that long ago, perhaps last year.

This despite the Army selecting Warthog against Viking 2 when they had to pick a new all-terrain vehicle.
At the same time, Warthog was bought by killing a budget option for the Royal Marines who needed to replace non-armored, old BV206 vehicles.

Hopefully, enough Vikings will come back from Stan in good conditions, to remedy to that issue.
Unless, of course, the Army, post-afghanistan, does not pass Warthog to the RM.

“What size is the 40mm CTA sub munitions?
How does it compare with other conventional 30mm / 35mm / 40mm / 57mm sub munitions?”

I should be able to provide some data.
In stowage, a 40 CTA round has a diameter of 65 mm and is 255 mm long.
The APFSDS dart weights 450 g and flies at 1600 m/sec.
The HE – airburst weights 1 kg and contains 120 g of HE, flying at 1000 m/sec.
There are two General Purpose Rounds (HE), the GPR-PD (point detonating) and the GPR-AB, fitted with programmable electronic fuze for airburst firing. The projectile is designed to achieve a fragmentation pattern biased to the sides and rear, to engage troops hiding behind cover.

The CTA round contains a 500 g propellent charge, which compares with:

50 x 330 mm Supeshot – 500 g
35 x 228 mm 360 g
40 mm Supershot round – 260 g
30 x 173 mm 160 g
30 x 170 Rarden – ?

Tests show that:

the 50 x 338 round has 96% of the lethality of the CTA round.
35mm = 77%;
40mm Supershot = 70%,
30mm = 60%.

The 40mm CTA is claimed to be able to penetrate all AFVs up to the T55 over the frontal arc at 1,500m. (150 mm penetration at 1.5 km)

The cylindrical rounds of the CTA are wider in diameter, but shorter. The gun in particular is very small, particularly important for fitting in the warrior turret envelope, which isn’t that big.
Currently, the 40 mm CTA gun offers higher performances than the guns even in 50 mm caliber, while having the sizes of a 25 mm gun.

Gabriele
Gabriele
September 24, 2011 3:24 pm

“I’m not saying a massed armour charge is impossible, I’m just saying that thwe way for us to smash it would be Apache/Typhoon/Tornado Hellfire/Brimstone”

It has been said this approach would spell the end of tanks, even since 1960.
Just as the White Paper of 1954 (!) that foresaw a world in which no fighter would be needed, as missiles would do all the work, in both senses, it proved, excuse me, bullshit.

Tanks also tend to have this wonderful quality of being always around so long as logistically supported, and do not stay grounded because of bad weather or other issues. Armoured Vehicles have also the big advantage of providing the infantry with a solid, moving shield, something that Typhoon obviously cannot do.
And the rounds of a tank, as expensive as they are, tend to be endlessly cheaper than air attacks.
The day in which planes will be flying all over the battlefield, 24 hours out of 24, 7 days on 7, and their weapons will be as cost effective as gun rounds and tank guns, we will talk again about it.

Until then, let’s avoid believing in fairy tales.
This reminds me a lot of the “wonderful” idea of fighting wars with a container ship loaded with Tomahawks, to be used against all and any targets, regardless of the cost of the said ammunition…

Realism, i must suggest.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 24, 2011 4:10 pm

Gabriele
I’m not Anti Tank.
I quite like tanks.
What I dont like, are tank armies.

Drive 400 Tanks from Moscow to Berlin, opposed by 12 Typhoons.
How many do you think will make it?

“Until then, let’s avoid believing in fairy tales.”
Knocking down your own strawman doesnt beat my arguement.


This reminds me a lot of the “wonderful” idea of fighting wars with a container ship loaded with Tomahawks, to be used against all and any targets, regardless of the cost of the said ammunition… ”
Well, I didnt suggest that, so, please do me the courtesy of not simply making shit up.
However, if you do intend to put words into my mouth, at least knock them down.
Storm Shadow costs £1mn.
FRES costs £15mn.

Why shouldnt I hit Fres with tomahawk?
Fighting a first world opponant, you could slot individual soldiers with cruise missiles and win on dollars.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 4:38 pm

Thanks Gabby,

the stats corroborate the plans of some armies, which I have believed to be sensible and cost-efficient anyway, but good to see numbers for them.

Where are these sourced from?
“Tests show that:

the 50 x 33[8]0 round has 96% of the lethality of the CTA round.
35mm = 77%;
40mm Supershot = 70%,
30mm = 60%”

Just to point out the obvious: doing a barrel change on a 30mm Bushmaster and going to Supershot and getting a 17% improvement for that money; why not?

Out of curiosity, is that 30mm Bushy or Rarden (the latter renowned for accuracy but not so much for armour piercing)? I take that your “lethality” has been measured in that dimension?

Bob
Bob
September 24, 2011 5:18 pm

Phil Hartley,

As you well know I have answered the question before, multiple times, you just ignore the answer because you do not like being wrong. Why not go back to the previous thread that explains some of the complexities of armoured vehicle development and integration and provides comparative costs. The real problem people here have is they fail to realise that £500 million is really not a lot of money, especially spread over 4 years to create 7 prototypes.

ArmChairCivvy,

Re; Mastiff, the problem with the latest Tranche is that there are just not that many of them- and they are still not very mobile, especially cross country and are unreliable. The sad thing is they have also been expensive, I have seen estimates that suggest they were coming out at nearly £1 million each by the time they had been fully fitted out.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 5:27 pm

Hi Bob,

Yep, putting an exchange rate on “22,882 vehicles, or an average cost of $1.59 million per
vehicle (in FY 2011 dollars)”
– and that’s what they cost Uncle Sam, there may have been a middle man?
– the figure is averaged across 27 different models, all of them ready to use though (so any UK specific fitting out would have been met with some itemised cost reduction, to counter it… of course we are masters in pushing up unit costs of any kit)

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 24, 2011 5:31 pm

It seems to me that if we only talk about FRES scout, we can say that the French SPHINX would be enough, it looks like Ferret, it’s interesting, but here we are talking about a dozen variants of the same vehicle. I don’t know how much costs separately a radar vehicle, command vehicle, an ambulance, a missile launcher, etc … Also, I don’t know if a ASCOD direct fire could not replace the Challenger 2. I remember having read somewhere that the Challenger 2 had been destroyed by mines or just RPG, then ASCOD direct fire, with protection TROPHY or LED, more resistance to mines, may be as effective.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 24, 2011 6:07 pm

Sorry TD about this, it’s just a suggestion and some memories ;)

Topman
Topman
September 24, 2011 6:26 pm

DJ, that’s ok if you are on the defensive, what if you are on attack. Nato really struggled with finding serbian tanks in the air campaign there. Not until the threat of land forces did they pop up, my point you’ve got to find them first.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 6:41 pm

The Serbs had some common sense tricks up their sleeve:
– if the normal AA kept tacair at about 3 km height, that numbed the sensors quite a bit (sure, today they are better)
– send an expendable drone to be the eyes for targeting etc… they are not much faster than good helos, so nice target practice (especially if you have a heave machine gun at the open side door)

Topman
Topman
September 24, 2011 6:56 pm

Yeah they did well with what they had, lots of hills and forests to hide in helped as well. Not sure how well those two particular tricks would work today?

IXION
IXION
September 24, 2011 7:08 pm

Topman

Supporters of Airpower will have it that

‘Next time it will be different’

because…..

There is always a because, and it is never different.

Mike W
September 24, 2011 7:21 pm

During these discussions concerning the future of FRES, I have more than once heard the argument that it might the case that Warrior hulls will be used for some of the variants. The theory runs that if the whole range of variants does not have to be produced on the ASCOD hulls, then we might have some money for at least some of the FRES SV Scout and Protected Mobility vehicles.

In this connection, mention has been made several time of a Warrior Bridgelayer. Contributors have complained that they have not been able to find a decent picture of the vehicle. Well, I came across some very good images of the Warrior MRP (Multi-Role Platform (MRP) on The “Plain Military” website (under the heading “Military Vehicles non SPTA”). These were possibly taken at DSEi, I don’t know. If you are a member of that site or have registered with it, you might be interested in looking at them. There are pictures of the Bridge Launch Mechanism (BLM), the Warrior Multi-Role Patform, etc. etc.

Someone on this site (the “Think Defence” site, I mean) suggested that the Warrior Multi-Role Platform (MRP) still retains the turret. I can see no evidence of this whatsoever and can only conclude that it is turretless.

Mark
Mark
September 24, 2011 8:04 pm

I think the airforce did a pretty gd job of destroying the Iraqi army in GW1. As for kosovo I believe it was deficiencies in European inventories of the ability to bomb thru cloud that was the major draw back there and the ROE. But gd tactics by the serbs also hiding the real vehicles. However that was one of the things that Astor was bought to help with and its down very well in Libya at doing just that. I would point out the biggest tank battle fought by the british army since ww2 was a 14 tank action in basra not exactly a frequent or large scale type of action.

Gabby I think tactical UAVs a la predator B are doing 24-7 armed CAS for want of a better description in afghan now any peer enemy will have something similar though this is manpower intensity 21 crews per 24hr orbat.

Bob mastiff maybe pants or not but the question I think is this we had hundreds of tracked apc but we bought wheeled apcs for afghan which suggests to me they prefer wheeled apcs for stabilisation ops.

Chally 2 is pretty damn gd and a core will remain in the army haven’t heard lots of criticism of warrior either so thats the high sorted out. Medium we seem to like wheeled vehicles and for rapid deployment cvrt beats FRES because its really too heavy for the UK to deploy in any numbers rapidly. Unless its a warrior replacement I cant see were FRES fits in is it needed right now. Medium wheeled apc, ocelot and cvrt2 update would seem a better area to spend money on.

x
x
September 24, 2011 8:12 pm

In GW1 the Iraqi army dug its tanks into open desert. As the Allies had total air superiority it couldn’t have been too hard a task to find them. Especially at night with the disparity in temperature between desert and 50 odd tons of steel (especially if the engines had been running to keep their crews warm.)

Phil
Phil
September 24, 2011 8:13 pm

GW1 produced an unrealistic model of the capabilities of modern air power. There was literally nowhere for a large proportion of the Iraqi Army to hide, especially since it had to be deployed in defensive positions since at the start of the air campaign coalition ground forces were just over the border. So, once air supremacy was gained it was a simple matter of plinking Iraqi AFVs sat right out in the open from clear, largely cloudless skies.

In Kosovo the Serb Army did not have to deploy in defensive positions for most of the air campaign and so their forces could remain in the most robust posture against air attack – dispersed and hidden and cold. Bombing through the clouds was only a problem if you had actually managed to acquire the targets, and if you had acquired a target it was not a dummy.

Had large NATO ground forces been deployed from the start Serb forces would have been forced to take on much more vulnerable dispositions but even then there was far more opportunities for discreet movement and camouflage than there was in 1991.

When air power has air supremacy, and the enemy have to move en masse and target acquisition is aided by ground forces it is very effective – it is not so effective with no ground designation, dispersed and hidden forces and maskirovka being employed.

Phil Darley
September 24, 2011 8:15 pm

Bob… No you haven’t!!!!

Answer the bloody questions and prove to us that fees SV is nothing more than a modest upgrade of an existing vehicle using off the shelf products!!

I believe you are a fraud, you probably no someone, who knows, someone… At GDUK and have told you a few inside gossip stories which you claim as your own inside knowledge. You dont fool me at all I think you are talking bollox?

Sorry but you have not substantiated anything in my view.

Phil
Phil
September 24, 2011 8:26 pm

Bob clearly knows something we don’t or has links or contacts in the industry or in Main Building because he has a very high and mighty, I know, you don’t tone about him.

He is obviously enjoying educating the plebs.

Which is fine, we all like to be educated but he is most selective in backing up his facts with sources, since, presumably, his sources are not on the internet or in literature but come from somewhere else. And his tone has gone from patronising and robust to just, frankly, ugly.

You try Bob, to gain the high ground by employing a tone suited to an academic debate but you riddle it with ugly turns of phrase like “fatty”.

If you said “my sources at GDUK say this…” or “I have read in a memo that…” everyone would be far more inclined to tolerate a haughty attitude since the folk here are interested in armoured vehicles and you’d be teaching them something they couldn’t find out on the internet. Instead you’re keeping your cards close to your chest and now I am not the only one to suspect you’re passing on second hand, hyperbolic, rumour mill stuff.

Monty
September 24, 2011 8:29 pm

A huge amount of stunning common sense is very evident from all of TD’s regular commentators in this thread. Well done, everyone and thank you. I hope Liam Fox reads this.

As a former CVR(T) recce troop commander, I shall not be disappointed if the ASCOD behemoth gets the chop. I also agree that it’s too large, too old and too similar to Warrior to justify its purchase. I think the 40 mm CTA is an interesting and probably a very effective weapon weapon, but it is an expensive one. The cost of engineering the turret and marrying this with the ASCOD chassis is considerably more than it would be for buying an off-the-shelf 25 mm or 30 mm cannon in a proven turret.

This is exactly what Stormer 30 is. A 13 tonne vehicle with substantially greater protection and firepower than the Scimitar and with comparable mobility. it is also air transportable in a C-130 Hercules and can be underslung beneath a Chinook. Heaven knows why we didn’t buy these when they were first appeared in 1995. I guess we wanted the new, new thing, which was meant to be Tracer. Alas, this was an abortive project that only contributed to the £500 million spent to date without a single being fielded.

Now we’re stuck with ASCOD, its only advantage is that it is constructed from steel rather than aluminium and therefore offers increased protection. The penalty for this, of course, is a substantial amount of extra weight.

When ASCOD was originally selected, the SDSR hadn’t occurred. Now that it has, we have 300 surplus Warriors (and possibly more, because of war stocks held in reserve). These could easily be used in the recce role. (Let’s not forget that the US Army very successfully used M2 and M3 Bradleys for Infantry and Recce roles during Gulf Wars 1 and 2.)

Whatever happens to ASCOD, we will need to upgrade our Warrior fleet at some point. It needs a much better weapon than the antiquated RARDEN cannon. A less expensive option than the 40 mm CTA would be the US 30 mm chain gun or Mauser 30 mm cannon used in Germany’s Puma IFV.

Speaking of the Puma, If we really wanted a state-of-the-art FRES, I would have bought this. Like the Leopard 2, it is excellent as only the Germans know how. KMW has offered it to the US Army. It may well be used as the foundation for the new US Army GCV. Given that we’re on an economy drive, upgraded Warriors seem like the cheapest option. Since we had planned to upgrade the entire fleet before SDSR, maintaining this plan but diverting surplus Warriors to the recce role in effect kills two birds with one stone.

In the interests of cutting the defence budget and giving our troops what they need, my advice to the Coalition is to scrap FRES SV and the 40 mm CTA and then reconsider how best to upgrade the Warrior fleet with a new and inexpensive cannon. I certainly don’t think we should be in such a rush to buy a vehicle that isn’t urgently needed now. Or are we expecting to mount an armoured thrust any time soon?

Phil Darley
September 24, 2011 9:10 pm

Monty agree completely with your last post. The thing is, SDSR basically relegates the UK to only fielding a brigade so FRES is simply not needed!

Mark
Mark
September 24, 2011 9:21 pm

Phil

While I agree to an extent with what you say however your comment

“When air power has air supremacy, and the enemy have to move en masse and target acquisition is aided by ground forces it is very effective – it is not so effective with no ground designation, dispersed and hidden forces and maskirovka being employed.”

Doesnt quite hold true with what happened in Libya were it proved very effective without ground designation and dispersed forces thanks to the extensive use by UK and US forces of significant ISTAR assets its just a shame we plan to scrap them all.

But back to all things FRES Monty very interesting post and one that I would totally agree with.

paul g
September 24, 2011 9:22 pm

@ mike w, you’re spot on there someone on the ARRSE site did a little bit on it, he saw it outside at DSEi and stated that the chassis was the REME variant ie turretless.
ps you’ll find on the net somewhere how the chally in GW2 took repeated hits from RPG7 and just shrugged it off abrahms however, had a weak spotat the back somewhere (shades of a tiger tank history lesson there). The only CR2 smashed was hit by another CR2. Recently a driver lost his legs, but i believe without checking i admit, that was a chuffing big IED.
In response to other questions i thought CTA was banging along now? if it’s working or even close to won’t there be a chance of selling it, genuine question, we need tony w to come and clarify state of play with it.
For what it’s worth i think it will go ahead, but very reduced numbers and/or a low volume per annum rate to “feed in” ie recce with turret attached to heavy mech and some PMV. Based purely on how far down the road the south wales factory is going and the govt wanting to invest in Uk jobs to avoid double dip bollocks!!

Phil
September 24, 2011 9:37 pm

I’m not sure I agree. This is conjecture but I imagine that enemy forces were more vulnerable because they were engaged in ground fighting and were not at liberty to go to ground. So although they were dispersed they still had to be drawn out into fights. There must be some ground based target indication since NATO planes would be very hard pressed to autonomously identify a target as enemy and engage it. Someone somewhere is telling the RAF where to find the bad guys, which isn’t hard if they are shooting at you. I don’t know if it’s SF or rebels with NATO compatible radios but somebody must be doing it.

Once ground forces are forced into an engagement they obviously become far more vulnerable in all dimensions.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2011 9:53 pm

The story at the time was that Qatar gave $25m for the US-Libyan entrepreneur (who had originally been setting up the Libyan mobile networks) and in the contested areas it was the rebels who had use of those networks (good map coordinates somewhere further back were perhaps relayed using some “donated” radio sets.

As for lasing from the ground, there were persistent rumours that the French SFs were on the ground in Misrata, where the fighting was so close up that map coordinates were not of much use.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
September 24, 2011 10:24 pm

I agree that Warrior’s firepower needs upgrading but I disagree with cancelling the 40mm CTA. Like the RARDEN before it, it manages the neat trick of making a compact weapon capable of firing a large and powerful round – though at the expense of a low ROF. The German and US 30mm options are looking a little anaemic to me. As the long FRES-SV threads here on TD have shown, MICV’s, APC’s and other light armoured vehicles are , well, no longer light. Their armour is not just getting thicker, it’s also increasingly advanced composites rather than simple steel or aluminium plate. Will a 30mm cannon be up to the job? If it is now it will certainly be obsolescent before the 40mm CTA. A further advantage of the 40mm gun is that it throws a round that is 2.5 times heavier than the 30mm guns. That’s not insignificant for common HE rounds and becomes even more significant if sophisticated (and relatively bulky) air burst fuses are thrown into the mix.

EDIT – As usual when discussing cannon it’s worth having a look at this; http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/WLIP.htm

Phil
September 24, 2011 10:29 pm

If you’re so close your 8 figure grid is the same as the enemy’s than it’s hand grenade and bayonet time, not JDAM or Paveway time!

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
September 25, 2011 12:14 am

The biggest con of the CT40 is that while the gun is small, the ammo feed system that it needs is massive.

Chris.B.
September 25, 2011 12:29 am

To pick up the issue of air power I think that, as always with historical examples, you have to look at the context and all the facts together, then ask yourself what lessons you can learn.

I think we get tied down to the idea of “well the conditions in that war won’t be repeated etc”. It all depends. The conditions of GW 1 were largely repeated… in GW 2. Would the same conditions apply to a war in Finland? Did the Russians use the GW2 as a model for ther campaign in Georgia?

This is important because it can put the “things will be different this time” theories into proper perspective.

Let’s say we were going to re-run the WW2 bombing of Germany, but with modern planes and equipment against a minimal enemy air force. Would it still take 1000 bombers to do the needed damage on a raid. Heck, we could probably hit one factory repeatedly with just two planes thanks to modern precision weapons.

I know the battle of Crete has come up on here before, specifically the evacuation phase. Now back then, ships caught in open water without air cover were hit hard by enemy air forces. However, modern ships, with modern systems, have shown great potential against air attacks in open waters.

I don’t think the end of the tank is nigh. But the tank(ers) do have to be more concious about the potential of air power, and adequate protection against air attack (SAM) needs to be carefully considered.

But anyway, that’s getting off track. Back on track – literally – I look at CVRT 2.0 and think “that thing looks good enough to meet our FRES SV needs”. Let’s can FRES and save the money while we can, instead of pouring good money after bad on another FRES wonder mission.

jed
jed
September 25, 2011 3:46 am

Monty – with the greatest of respect to your considerable experience, I can’t agree with your position. I am sure you loved your Scorpion or Scimitar, but things have moved on! My dad loved his Centurion, and his experience in Korea is that nothing smaller than a 17 Pdr should be used for ‘armoured recce” …… as TD has noted before the Yanks use M1A1 in the Cavalry role !!! As for Stormer 30, well sure when it was first rolled out (20 years ago ?) It would have been a great incremental improvement, but now, well I am just not convinced.

Mr Fred – where do you get the idea that the “problem ” with the CT40 is that its ammo feed system is “massive” ? Why would a weapon system designed from the outset for armoured vehicles, and acknowledged to have a small turret volume have a “massive” feed system? As noted previously in this thread, the rounds are about the same length as a 25m round but are wider. So which components are “massive” ???

Chris.B.
September 25, 2011 5:19 am

@ JED

“Why would a weapon system designed from the outset for armoured vehicles, and acknowledged to have a small turret volume have a “massive” feed system?”

— The current proposed feed systems are quite bulky (not sure is ‘Massive’ is the word I’d use though). Unlike traditional rounds they can’t be fed into the weapon by a belt (the case has no extraction groove).

One method would require a horizontally rotating breech assembly, similar to a turntable design, into which each fresh round is fed. It might be hard to picture this mentally, but suffice to say that it would require the rounds to be fed into the mechanism ‘end first’.

The second solution is some variant of a revolver/gattling gun style feed, with a series of rotating chambers that are loaded, bring the round into barrel alignment, and are then unloaded.

Thirdly, you can have a system where a fresh round is rammed into a chamber, which is then raised up to alignment with the barrel, fired, lowered, and then the process of ramming a new round ejects the old (as proposed for the US LSAT Machinegun).

Regardless of which variant you choose, you end up eating space in the turret for the feed mechanism, with plenty of ‘dead space’ between the ammunition feed and the interior wall of the turret.

However, I’m sure there is a group of clever dicks out there who will come up with a suitably clever solution.

Gabriele
Gabriele
September 25, 2011 9:20 am

“I look at CVRT 2.0 and think “that thing looks good enough to meet our FRES SV needs”. Let’s can FRES and save the money while we can, instead of pouring good money after bad on another FRES wonder mission.”

Even assuming that CVR(T) can be dragged forwards through more years of service – and i remain skeptical about it – you can can the Scout, but NOT FRES SV whole.
Unless you also want to keep FV43X going until they are one hundred years old.

The confusion, anyway, comes from the 2005 decision of making FRES the “one and only” solution to the armour needs of the Army.
That was by far too ambitious.

Earlier, the Battlefield Armoured Support Vehicle (which at the time was an independent programme, which was to consider vehicle bases such as Singapore’s Bionix and ASCOD) was to deliver a very specific set of vehicles (Protected Mobility, command post et) to serve with Warrior and replace the FV43X.

Then there was the Boxer, which had to replace Saxon in the mechanized infantry.

Last came FRES, a C130-capable family of vehicles to replace CVR(T).

Putting everything together, along with the end of the confidence in light, small vehicles being survivable enough to do the job, has caused a huge mess…

“I don’t know if it’s SF or rebels with NATO compatible radios but somebody must be doing it.”

I think NATO air forces receive targeting “hints” by both sources: the presence of special forces is by now kind of official, and radios were definitely supplied as part of “humanitarian” help, which included also armour and tactical vests for top rebels leaders and other stuff.

And ultimately, FRES broke down again, and kind of returned to the original configuration, minus the C130 portability requirement, which just doesn’t get along with survivability and protection requirements.

From C130 to A400 portability. From 20 to 30+ tons.

“The conditions of GW 1 were largely repeated… in GW 2.”

Not really. Iraq fought the GW2 in a VERY different way than it fought the GW1.
Also, despite the success of the air campaign against Iraq forces in GW1, i remember lots of tank battles, especially in the american sector.
Air power dealed massive damage, but did not win on its own.
And there was a moment of the campaign in which weather and sand storms had temporarily grounded air support.
Yes, even today, it can happen.

“When ASCOD was originally selected, the SDSR hadn’t occurred. Now that it has, we have 300 surplus Warriors (and possibly more, because of war stocks held in reserve). These could easily be used in the recce role.”

The first time it was realized that up to 300 Warriors would not be needed was in 2005, labour still in power.
The defence industrial strategy then released fused the Warrior CSP and Battlefield Armoured Support Vehicle: “up to 300” non-updated Warriors were to be released to be turned into BASV, to replace FV43X.
Current status of the BASV effort: unclear.

There is plenty of roles to fill past “Recce”.
The Scout makes for 250 vehicles or so, in a first order planned to be as high as 600, in a programme aiming for over 1000.
We should not forget such “details”, as FRES goes past Recce by a good margin.

“A less expensive option than the 40 mm CTA would be the US 30 mm chain gun or Mauser 30 mm cannon used in Germany’s Puma IFV.”

Any evidence at all of the promised “savings” of canning CTA 40 after investing all that money in it, to buy a less capable gun?
Sorry, it does not feel like a smart decision.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
September 25, 2011 9:33 am

“One method would require a horizontally rotating breech assembly, similar to a turntable design, into which each fresh round is fed. It might be hard to picture this mentally, but suffice to say that it would require the rounds to be fed into the mechanism ‘end first’.”
. . . and that’s the method chosen. As I have said before, read this; http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/WLIP.htm

You will notice that the CTA 40mm is fatter and shorter than the 30mm rounds used by the Rarden.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 25, 2011 9:48 am

Regarding airpower

Yes, Tanks can hide from it.
But only immobile tanks, and only small groups of tanks.
You cant hide 150 tanks storming across the country.

An enemy on the defence has already lost the war.
Either he defends his capital and surrenders the rest of the country, or he defends everything, and you smash his penny packets one by one.

Regarding Tanks
“Also, despite the success of the air campaign against Iraq forces in GW1, i remember lots of tank battles, especially in the american sector.”
I’m fairly certain IFV’s did more tank killing than tanks.
Isolated Iraqi tank units that had escaped destruction from the air were surrounded and annihilated.
They couldnt co-ordinate movements to counter attack in force, so they just hid and hoped to ambush advancing allied forces, which outnumbered and outgunned them.

Yes yes, airpower was ineffective in Kosovo, but we know why, the enemy was allowed to disperse.
Had we landed a Pocket Division, they wopuld have either remained dispersed and been picked apart by our land forces, or massed, and annihilated by our airpower.

I’m not argueing we dont need armour, I’m argueing we dont need FRES, and we dont need 400 Tanks.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 9:55 am

“I think we get tied down to the idea of “well the conditions in that war won’t be repeated etc”. It all depends. The conditions of GW 1 were largely repeated… in GW 2. Would the same conditions apply to a war in Finland? Did the Russians use the GW2 as a model for ther campaign in Georgia?”

The context in GW1 was wide open flat desert in Kuwait and South East Iraq and pretty good weather. There is the vague possibility of fighting another war in such terrain but it is now likelier to be more like Kosovo or Gw2 or Libya where a lot of the action is in urban environments.

Urban environments are the next challenge. Forces can deploy and move around an urban environment with a far greater level of protection from observation and direct attack and still be just as potent a fighting force. There is also now the requirement to limit as far as is possible collateral damage – which is why I believe we are seeing a slew of weapon systems such as the SDB, Paveway IV, SPEAR etc

GW1 was utterly ideal for air power. The good weather, the largely clear skies, the snooker table terrain, the fact that most of the Iraqi Army had to be deployed, the almost complete lack of concealment opportunities.

If we can effectively utilise air power in scenario’s like Kosovo and the more urban settings then we can easily fight another GW1 out in the wide open desert.

As to your other point, there is too much nay saying from some people who think just because a weapon system is vulnerable it means it no longer has a place on the battlefield, that its day has come and gone. Fighting involves risk, exceptionally high levels of risk and kit will get destroyed.

Which is why I advocate a mass of reasonable vehicles rather than a niche of expensive, specialist vehicles.

Tubby
Tubby
September 25, 2011 10:14 am

RE: Gabby’s point:

“Even assuming that CVR(T) can be dragged forwards through more years of service – and i remain skeptical about it – you can can the Scout, but NOT FRES SV whole”

While I think FRES SV base vehicle is exactly what we need, and I understand the future is fighting for information, given that in reality we are looking at a build programme of at least ten if not fifteen years,and we are strapped for cash isn’t there an argument to update all the Scimitar’s to the Scimitar 2 standard with OSD of say around 2027, later if we introduce a new turret programme, and leave the scout variant to the end of the build programme and concentrate on the other variants now – presumably protected mobility for example would have a significantly cheaper unit cost than the scout?

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 10:25 am

“An enemy on the defence has already lost the war.”

A simplistic outlook.

“Either he defends his capital and surrenders the rest of the country, or he defends everything, and you smash his penny packets one by one.”

As quoted by Hitler June 21, 1941?

“Had we landed a Pocket Division, they wopuld have either remained dispersed and been picked apart by our land forces, or massed, and annihilated by our airpower.”

Again, without wishing to sound rude, this is simplistic. Kosovo/Serbia is and was not a billiard table. There was complex terrain and choke points.

Small isolated pockets of determined forces with stockpiled supplies could have effectively blocked an advance by forces who had no choice but to take a particular and easily anticipated axis.

I don’t know what a pocket division is.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 25, 2011 10:57 am

Hi Gabby, a good point
“The defence industrial strategy then released fused the Warrior CSP and Battlefield Armoured Support Vehicle: “up to 300″ non-updated Warriors were to be released to be turned into BASV, to replace FV43X.
Current status of the BASV effort: unclear”

Is that talking to the current (officially) 550+ WR upgrade programme number and the part that is not hugely under a half of it that won’t get the turrets.

Or *was* it talking to the number over and above any currently planned updates (789 minus 550 approx.)
– and what will the numbers turn out to be in the pending decisions (AI having gone down markedly in the number of bns)
– on the one hand the upgrades, averaging 1.5m eachaccording to Bob, present v good value
– on the other, the total funding that needs earmarking will push fielding anything new at all further into the future (not calling cvrt2 “new” in this context)

Chris.B.
September 25, 2011 11:20 am

Right, I’m bloody tired, I’ll try to shifty through these as best I can.

@ Gabby

“Even assuming that CVR(T) can be dragged forwards through more years of service – and i remain skeptical about it – you can can the Scout, but NOT FRES SV whole.
Unless you also want to keep FV43X going until they are one hundred years old,”

— We can can the concept of FRES easily, that is, the idea of some super dooper new(sort of) whizz bang medium vehicle for the modern age. And just buy something that is out there.

“Not really” (regarding GW2 vs GW1)

— They were both fought in Iraq, where allied air power pretty much trashed most of their support and vehicles, is the point I was making.

“Also, despite the success of the air campaign against Iraq forces in GW1, i remember lots of tank battles, especially in the american sector.”

— They weren’t exactly the Battle of Kursk though were they. ‘Lots’ of ‘tank battles’ is a gross over statement of what happened, which was more skirmishes and involved a lot of Bradleys.

“Any evidence at all of the promised “savings” of canning CTA 40 after investing all that money in it, to buy a less capable gun? Sorry, it does not feel like a smart decision,”

— Sunk costs should not factor into the future.

@ Pete A

Yes mate, that link was precisely the thing I was talking about.

@ Phil

“The context in GW1 was wide open flat desert in Kuwait and South East Iraq and pretty good weather. There is the vague possibility of fighting another war in such terrain but it is now likelier to be more like Kosovo or Gw2 or Libya where a lot of the action is in urban environments”

The general thrust I was after is that often people tend to talk in terms of “it worked in GW1, thus it will work everywhere”, whereas I think what we’re sort of agreeing on here is that while one method worked in one place, it may not work elsewhere, hence the allusion to the war in Georgia which was very different to the GW1 due to terrain, weather, infrastructure etc.

So even though both Gulf wars have shown the continued utility of armourand air power, they don’t necessarily prove that those two weapons will always be clear winners in any fight.

Just that under those conditions (wide open spaces, little natural cover, practically zero overhead cover) that armour and airpower can be incredibly effective.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 25, 2011 12:01 pm

Phil
Simple, but true, you cant win a war without going out and shooting the enemy.
Perhaps I should have said static defence.
The Soviet Union had no concept of defence.
There were no defence strategies, tactics, or plannings. In May 1941, the USSR was spending more resources on planning the “liberation” of Portugal than the defence of Poland.

Nor is Barbarrosa what I am suggesting.
The Germans advanced on a dozen seperate lines, with who knows how many objectives, and ground themselves away on multiple concurrant sieges.
Thats not what I suggested.

Use superior mobility (by both being mobile oneself, and deny freedom of movement to enemy) to concentrate large numbers of your own forces against the enemy and destroy them, piece by piece.
Germany did the exact opposite.

Your missing my point.
Ok, Serbia defends a choke point.

What with? 400 Concealed T72’s?
Ok, go to another choke point, they cant all be manned like that.
And they cannot move to another choke point, because if they try, they suddenly appear to our airpower, and explode shortly after.

4 concealed T72’s?
Ram through 40 Challenger 2’s

40 concealed T72s?
Pulse airpower to allow a 12 hour window of mass cover, nibble through with our 40 Challenger 2’s.

A pocket division is just another name for the Multi Role Brigade, I think its more fitting.

Monty
September 25, 2011 12:35 pm

,

I totally agree that things have moved on and that we definitely need a better protected vehicle with greater firepower than CVR(T). As I also mentioned in my post, I think the 40 mm CTA is likely to be highly effective. The problem is simply that we’re trying to filed a new vehicle that is hardly state of the art at a time when we don’t urgently need it and cannot afford it. The 40 mm CTA is a non-NATO standard weapon and is apparently 40% more expensive than a 30 mm Mauser or Chain gun alternative.

What I mean is that I just don’t think the combination of ASCOD and 40 mm CTA is a good one. ASCOD is excessively large and uses the same basic trailing arm torsion beam suspension as Warrior. Indeed, the only real difference between ASCOD and Warrior is that the former is still in production while the latter is not.

@Gabriele

There may be a need for 1,000 vehicles to replace the entire CVR(T) family and various antiquated FV432 vehicles still in service, but the mandate is only for 250 Scouts at this time. I think it is a pipe dream to think that FRES scout will lead to the procurement of another 750 vehicles any time soon.

Looking ahead, we will need to upgrade Challenger 2 at some point. As is, it is an excellent MBT and I can’t see this happening until the economy is well back on track (10 years time!) The need to replace Warrior, however, is likely to be more pressing. Its drivetrain can barely cope with additional protection requirements while its RARDEN gun belongs in a museum. One clear future requirement that’s emerging is for IFVs and Recce vehicles that are as well protected as MBTS, at least frontally. I think that mandates new design.

We will soon need a new IFV. In that respect the German Puma concept makes a lot of sense. It is highly agile, has an excellent 30 mm cannon and automated fire control system and protects its occupants better than any other existing IFV according to KMW.

I would rather soldier on with CVR(T) until we have the money to acquire a UK equivalent of the Puma family. This would include an IFV, Recce, REME, Command, Ambulance, Mortar and Anti-tank vehicles.

ASCOD is not in any way equivalent of the Puma. It is a previous generation design. Fed-up with waiting, I think the Army would prefer to have a second-rate option today than wait for something new and better tomorrow.

One thing i will say is that the Germans who have a much smaller defence budget than we do, yet seem to get AFV procurement right every time. The Boxer, Leopard 2 and Puma are all excellent vehicles. The whole process whereby their requirements were defined, agreed, designed and procured needs to be looked at and copied by the MoD.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 1:01 pm

“Use superior mobility (by both being mobile oneself, and deny freedom of movement to enemy) to concentrate large numbers of your own forces against the enemy and destroy them, piece by piece.”

We’ve been through this before and I don’t agree with you. Freedom of movement is earned through attrition unless the battlefield is sparse enough to allow unopposed or lightly opposed operational and maybe even strategic infiltration.

“Ok, Serbia defends a choke point.

What with? 400 Concealed T72′s?”

I imagine they’d have used the Serbian Army! Which was reasonably well motivated, competent, battle hardened, supplied and would have been dug in tight as a tic.

“And they cannot move to another choke point, because if they try, they suddenly appear to our airpower, and explode shortly after.”

This is very Clancy-esque. Certainly their freedom of movement would be curtailed significantly but there are a number of precedences of a competent army still being able to manoeuvre and and engage under conditions of enemy air superiority in such complex close in terrain.

“Ram through 40 Challenger 2′s”

Ah yes! Of course! Brute force! If only others before had thought of such an approach. Ramming through 40 tanks into complex terrain defended by motivated troops armed with anti tank weapons through a narrow and easily compartmentalized axis of advance. You make it sound very simple when it is not a simple task.

Nibble – another word for attrition and the need to earn your manoeuvre.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 1:06 pm

“I think the Army would prefer to have a second-rate option today than wait for something new and better tomorrow.”

Or, more likely, never. Far, far better to have a reasonable vehicle in existence in numbers than a CAD drawing.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 25, 2011 1:31 pm

Hi Monty,

“I would rather soldier on with CVR(T) until we have the money to acquire a UK equivalent of the Puma family. This would include an IFV, Recce, REME, Command, Ambulance, Mortar and Anti-tank vehicles.”

With all due respect, wait until when?
If it’s only buying 250 scout, he must have a modern vehicle, somewhere in the world, that would suit your needs. How long do you postpone the replacement of vehicles very very old?
A world war may well break out by 2025, and in Europe, it’s only the UK that has an army worthy of the name. But you are at a crossroads in terms of equipment, you can not stay with someone of the vehicles older than forty years, even upgraded.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 25, 2011 1:35 pm

Phil
“We’ve been through this before and I don’t agree with you. Freedom of movement is earned through attrition”

NO IT ISNT!!!
What would the British army need to attrite to travel from Colchester to Salisbury?
You have freedom of movement when there is nothing to prevent you moving.

If the enemy cannot redploy to block you, and is not already in a position to block you, it cannot block you, and you can move, freely.

“I imagine they’d have used the Serbian Army! Which was reasonably well motivated, competent, battle hardened, supplied and would have been dug in tight as a tic.”
What, all of it? To defend one valley?
Cross the next one then.

“This is very Clancy-esque. Certainly their freedom of movement would be curtailed significantly but there are a number of precedences of a competent army still being able to manoeuvre and and engage under conditions of enemy air superiority in such complex close in terrain.”
But how quickly, over what distance, and with what level of force.

Its 150km from the north to the south of Kosovo.
Lets say we’re based in the south, and Serbia sits in our path.
So we head north
4 Hours in a challenger 2 at off road speed?
Say it takes 8 to move everything and get into position to attack.
What can the Serbs move 150km in 8 hours whilst under constant air harrasment?

Either they defend the entire 150km front, in which case, we can attack a 5km front with a 3:1 advantage, even if they outnumber us 10:1, and walk right through.
Or they defend key sectors, but again, we break through one with overwhelming force, and ignore the rest.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 1:47 pm

“You have freedom of movement when there is nothing to prevent you moving.”

But there is, route, terrain, objectives are all immediately limiting your freedom of movement and then so is the enemy.

“What, all of it? To defend one valley?
Cross the next one then.”

Eh? Why would they defend a choke point or mountain pass with their entire army? There are only so many ways into Kosovo, only so much of a road network, only so many possible axis of advance. My point is those could be anticipated and defended, you don’t have freedom of manoeuvre because the enemy is straddling your routes, you have to “nibble” as you put it, to gain your freedom of movement, if you ever entirely can in that sort of terrain.

“But how quickly, over what distance, and with what level of force.”

Who knows, but they are in defence, as long as they can deploy a force only about a third the size of the attacking force and dig in they can conceivably defeat an attack.

“Either they defend the entire 150km front,”

They never would have had to do that. The terrain and road network and objectives dramatically reduce the likely avenues of attack. Your freedom of movement is severely restricted before you even start to fight.

The Serbian Army was quite large in 1999 and moving along internal lines in close terrain, often in bad weather and low cloud cover. Nobody says it would have been easy but it has been done in the past and it could have been done again.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 25, 2011 2:09 pm

Phil
Lets say had 120,000 men.
Defending 10 valleys, thats 12,000 men.
Defending 100 valleys, thats 1,200 men.

I question the 3:1 Ratio, ok as a guide, but ignores technological superiority.
I may not want lots of tanks, but I’m happy to spend a lot on making them very very capable.

“The Serbian Army was quite large in 1999 and moving along internal lines in close terrain, often in bad weather and low cloud cover. Nobody says it would have been easy but it has been done in the past and it could have been done again.”

Maybe it could have, but could it have been done again, and again, and again, and again?
Each time we force them to move to match our movements, we bleed them a little bit more each time with air power, until they’ve lost the war.

Mark
Mark
September 25, 2011 2:17 pm

If I may ask this question if we had 200 of these vehicles right now would they be sent to afghan? If we had a serria leone operation would they be sent there? I would guess its no on both accounts.

We can argue about how useful large ground forces being deployed are or not but the UK has only once deployed more the a single heavy brigade to fight since the ww2.
The US have stated on a number of occasions now that anyone thinking of sending a large western army to asia or middle east needs there head examining which suggests there out of invasion game and both political parties in the UK have stated any military action needs support from countries in the region and the UN can anyone honestly see those conditions allowing a large land army to deploy cause I cant. Most ground forces will be sf/ranger type forces short of all out war.

If thats the politcal reality and with these hard economic time would why are we spending years and hundreds of millions of pounds of the armies budget on something that probably wont be needed for some time or that adds very little above upgraded warrior will do. Its taking so long to field it could be obsolete by the time its in service.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 2:25 pm

Have you looked at a map of Kosovo?

I have 8 fingers and two thumbs and I don’t need all of them to count how many ways there are to get into Kosovo from Albania and Macedonia. And nearly all of those ways are through steep sided valleys, with water obstacles (obviously) and densely urbanised. Once past those there are only so many routes to go and only so many places you need to get to.

Take a look at a map of Iraq in 2003 and overlay the advance axis of US forces and you’ll see an extremely strong correlation between north-south road networks, cross road and bridge urban areas and all arrows converge on one place, south of which was the strongest concentration of Iraqi forces.

It would have been precisely the same in Kosovo. There are only so many ways to skin a cat. Let us not forget that Serbian planning benefited from decades of planning to repel an invasion from all axis, this also meant that their garrisons were not in random places like the UK, but they straddled or sat aside historical and likely invasion routes. The entire FYR and thereafter Serbian army was organised and based to defend the country from invasion.

I’m not saying they’d have won, but it would have been a very, very tough fight.

“I question the 3:1 Ratio, ok as a guide, but ignores technological superiority.”

There’s barely such a thing as technological superiority in such close in, combined arms urban and forest warfare. It’s infantry platoons versus trench systems with fire support from tanks and other AFVs, if they can be gotten to the point of contact.

3:1 exists for a reason and against a moderately competent enemy in close in terrain on internal lines is a time tested rule of thumb.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 25, 2011 2:25 pm

Hi Mark,

If Israel is invaded, you don’t think it will attack Middle Eastern countries.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 2:29 pm

“We can argue about how useful large ground forces being deployed are or not but the UK has only once deployed more the a single heavy brigade to fight since the ww2.”

And it has deployed heavy forces in Palestine, Korea, Gulf, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo over a 60 year period. These replacement vehicles are looking at a similar length of life, so what you are suggesting is hobbling the Army for 6 or so large scale interventions supposing that the interventions occur at a similar rate in the future.

Tubby
Tubby
September 25, 2011 2:38 pm

Wouldn’t a better question be if Israel is invaded and is unable to repel the attack with the assistance of a US carrier group would the UK ground forces be part of the forces used to liberate Israel? I think the answer is no. Just like I suspect it would be no if North Korea invaded South Korea or if India/Pakistan kicked off, hell I doubt we would commit ground forces if Russia invaded one of the Baltic states, or if Turkey launched an invasion of Greece – for the foreseeable future a the deployment of ground forces will an option of last resort, and we will concentrate on using our naval and air power to enforce our will. Just a shame that we cannot afford to fund any branch of the armed forces to the level required to back up our politician’s perception’s of our place in the world.

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 2:47 pm

“Just a shame that we cannot afford to fund any branch of the armed forces to the level required to back up our politician’s perception’s of our place in the world.”

We never have done.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 25, 2011 3:02 pm

We never win a war with an aircraft carrier, we need ground forces, or to have nuclear missiles such as France. France is protected but we are not able to project land forces in sufficient numbers to fulfill our role alongside the U.S.

Mark
Mark
September 25, 2011 4:21 pm

Frenchie

Im sure Israel would do what it needed to defend itself but it wouldnt involve UK ground forces so its not relevant.

Phil

So with out FRES the army cant do any major future operation utter nonsense. Challenger and warrior upgraded are gd for some time yet.
As for the examples you quote the armed forces had a global presence for the first 2 long gone and the others we were part of a coalition and only had to proved a contribution. Why should that contribution be heavy armour formations with hundreds of FRES in the future?.

paul g
September 25, 2011 5:21 pm

looking at what the rebel forces have managed to bolt on to the back of pick ups for obviously peanuts, perhaps we should ask them to knock up something! This thought came to me when i saw a bloke firing 70mm rockets from an underwing pod from the back of the toyota battle bus

Phil
Phil
September 25, 2011 7:00 pm

“So with out FRES the army cant do any major future operation utter nonsense.”

Nonsense is wanting a first world army to fight with vehicles that are 40-60 years old.

I’m sure Warrior and CR2 are good to go for some years yet but there are an awful lot of vehicles that have already reached the end of their useful lives and are turning into wheezing Heath Robinson contraptions.

There needs to be a whole hearted, concerted and realistic replacement for a whole swathe of vehicle types – the FRES (CVRT 21 shall we call it) offers that.

These vehicles have to be replaced sometime and I’d rather the money be spent on numbers of reasonable and new vehicles than getting spent on clapped out monstrosities.

People bang on about the cost of developing these things but I would bet that the life time costs of keeping the diabolical contraptions we have going for another 30 odd years (when their protection, armament and suspension is already maxed out) is going to cost as much, if not more.

A lot of the technology and R&D that will go into FRES will likely need to be developed to keep these things current AFVs viable for the future anyway and then there’s the headache of shoe horning it into these worn out vehicles.

“Why should that contribution be heavy armour formations with hundreds of FRES in the future?.”

I never said it should. But FRES is part of the concept of medium forces, and it can be part of a heavy force too. Flexibility is a key capability.

Mark
Mark
September 25, 2011 8:05 pm

I dont want the army to fight in 60 year old vehicles. We have 700 warriors more than enough to form two heavy brigade that use only warrior.

As for the medium forces bit the vehicles are so heavy they maybe heavy but by any other and unlike the initial requirement offer no real advantage for rapid deployment than what we currently have warthog would seem a better fit if you wanted a tracked medium vehicle. A number of countries including the US and arguably ourselves if you consider what weve bought for afghan seem to prefer wheeled vehicles for the medium bit. I think this is the wrong vehicle at the wrong time.

But I guess well have to agree to disagree

Fat Man
Fat Man
September 25, 2011 8:13 pm

Let’s face it, after the Army is reduced post-2016 to 80,000 by SDSR it will not be able to conduct any major operations anyway. One brigade is merely a small contribution to future Allied operations. We can stick to simple tasks like protecting rear areas. 100,000 strength represents the minimum serious army; so I guess the post-Afghanistan future is peacekeeping and strategic raids. given the lack of likely operations in the European theatre. Will we really need FRES Scout for those tasks? If yes, we should go ahead and buy it; if not let’s cancel FRES, save the money and buy something more suitable and down market off the shelf.

Phil
September 25, 2011 8:35 pm

Numbers are not the whole story. Capabilities are. And the 100,000 man army thing, if I had a pound every time I heard that.

Some of the cynicism on this site is so depressing.

Phil
September 25, 2011 8:39 pm

Medium to me is not a weight. It is the difference between light and heavy. The Bde in Afghan is medium. The vehicles are on the heavy side but that’s the cost of doing business. It has been decided that light vehicles are an unacceptable risk to the occupants. It is a risk perception and assessment phenomena.

Phil
September 25, 2011 8:46 pm

I forgot Warrior. It’s already 30 years old in terms of tech and design. The vehicles would need a massive re build, there isn’t enough of them (they’ll suffer attrition) and I’d bet they’d cost as much keeping them in service as it would be to build FRES and spend to save and do a proper job.

And for the sake of argument we convert the 700 odd we have that is not enough to replace all the vehicles FRES wants to replace. A smaller vehicle fleet means much more wear and tear and lack of training platforms plus increased pressure on the fleet because there aren’t enough to rotate through deep maintenance that it needs even more because of the wear and tear. Plus, the hull is the cheap part, the engine, suspension, weapon systems and sensors are expensive and they all need replacing.

Warrior conversions would be a very false economy.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 25, 2011 9:00 pm

Even if we actually get FRES, future vehicle sizes are lilely to be substantially smaller, with fewer vwhicls held for attrition and allowing vehicles to rotate through deep maintainance. In all likelyhood, units will not have there full quota, maybe half with the rest in storage for use only in time of war.

However and I have said this time and time again the biggest elephant in the room is funding post 2015. At present all three armed services must plan for post 2015 as if there is NO increase in funding. As a result many programmes, especially those of the Army are simply treading water, with UORs providing band aid fixes where possibly and the CVR(T) mk2 is simply another of those. Without clear and predictable funding and its growth, the MoD cannot plan effectively for FF2020 or place the contracts required. THis is just as it was under the previous Government where funding was never secure and so repeatedly a progammmes went on hold, requirements changed etc, the MoD didn’t know whether it was comming or going. Until Politiciams realise that defence planning needs at least 10 year funding plans guaranteed by all parties then things are never going to really change no matter how you reorganise the back office.

A fair bet is that if there is no new funding after 2015 at the levels needed to achieve FF2020, FRES will be in danger, but then again the whole of FF2020 in all three services will be dead.

Phil
September 25, 2011 9:20 pm

What’s the point asking for Ten Year funding programmes when that is never going to happen. Nobody else gets them. And they’re unlikely to be worth the paper they are written on if they did happen.

Chris.B.
September 25, 2011 11:22 pm

@ DomJ

“What would the British army need to attrite to travel from Colchester to Salisbury?”

— You’ve obviously never tried to tackle the A12…

Anyway, on point.

Dom, don’t forget that like Phil said, if you’re attacking any enemy country then there are certain centre’s of gravity to which you’re going to be drawn, such as capital cities, resources etc. Invariably, while it is possible to invade an enemy nation through any conceivable point along its borders, usually there are restrictions imposed by terrain and logsitics.

Think about the Falklands for a second. The bulk of the enemy force was based around one town, because it was the most useful position for them to occupy and it was easily (easier?) to defend due to the high ground to the west. They didn’t really care how many square feet of pete bog we seized, because they knew we would have to eventually come to them and their strongpoint.

Now look at Iraq. How many square miles of desert does that god forsaken country have? But the majority of the population is concentrated towards the East and North, with a major port to the South East. Roads and infrastructure, plus the location of the enemy and all the valuable obectives, dictated a lot of the fighting.

It would have been possible, maybe, to drive an armoured division right up to the west, close to the Jordanian border, and then hook east and come at Baghdad from the North West. But it would have been a ridiculous logistical challenge and potentially would have left the division cut off. You couldn’t have sent the entire coalition army that way either, because it would have left Kuwait/Saudi Arabia/our supply lines (depending on the war) horribly exposed to a massive counter offensive.

Look at Normandy. The one of the reasons for its selection was the proximity of Cherbourg. Any sustained invasion plan had to factor in the need to capture a deep water port. This was part of the reason behind Hitlers winter offensive in 1944. He was after Antwerp, to seriously hamper the provision of allied supplies and perhaps force a truce.

You can’t think of war as isolated armies fighting over bits of land. You have to consider their support and their place in the wider scheme of any war, plus the natural features and choke points of an enemies territory.

Now for FRES.

I accept that we can’t keep plodding along with clapped out vehicles for the next 20 years. But I also think that given the current state of finances in this country, we essentially can only afford a fudge of sorts. That means CVRT 2.0 to fill the scout role and then buying an already developed family of vehicles to fill the other needed roles.

Literally find a vehicle that can take Bowmans and then away we go. Yes, it might mean someone else has to build it and we just pay BAE or whoever to fit the Bowmans kit over here. But tough. That’s the financial shit hole we’ve been dropped in to.

Maybe in the future we can look at something more “Gold Plated” and British, but for now we can’t be arsing about putting new transmissions into old vehicles and then calling that world leading.

And if you don’t like it… well remember never to put a cross next to the word “Labour” ever again, because you know that lot are just about as corrupt and extravagent spenders as you’re ever likely to find.

Pete Arundel
Pete Arundel
September 26, 2011 12:04 am

And if you don’t like it… well remember never to put a cross next to the word “Labour” ever again, because you know that lot are just about as corrupt and extravagent spenders as you’re ever likely to find this side of a Conservative administration.

Do not kid yourself that any government of any political hue would be any less prone to stupid, short sighted or down right bent spending decisions – except a Liberal Democrat one, of course. They can generally afford to be scrupulously honest because they will never actually wield power. . .

Chris.B.
September 26, 2011 12:18 am

Haha, the Lib Dems. Everyone likes a trier I guess.

All I know is this. The Conservatives I expect to be a bit dodgy, but at least we all know they will be already. We know they’ll look after their rich mates. We also know that they like to cut back wasteful spending, usually looking to cut peoples taxes a bit in return. It doesn’t always go to plan but there you go.

The Labour lot though… how many millions was it that Ed Miliband spanked on a “relaxation and contemplation suit” for his department? They always shove up taxes, which I wouldn’t mind if they actually spent it on something worthwhile like defence or like genuine improvement for the NHS.

But no, it always gets spanked up the bloody wall on useless tat.

I consider the Conservatives the lesser of two evils. I get the impression that at least some of them know what they’re talking about, and that some of them care, whereas the red lot seem to be all in it for themselves and their ‘legacy’, with the exception of I think one fella who looks frustrated that to be surrounded by idiots.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 26, 2011 5:55 am

Well given the current and reasonably certain future economic climate, we are going to see defence procurement having the same old problems unless there is a total rethink as to what the UKs role is in the world. As defence spending will never be high enough to meet political aspirations, and no Government will ever be willing to admit this we are going to be stuck in a down ward spiral. Long term planning will become a purely acedemic process with an even greater reliance on UORs when things turn hot. It is even possible that future planning could boil down to a “Dear Santa” list of UORs prepared in advance against possible senarios.

Back on topic, the current FRES (SV) programme should deliver a number of variant of the ASCOD 2, hopefully to an in service “Vanilla” standard and taking the programme to the end of the Developement phase of CADMID prior to Main Gate approval. The numbers bought will almost certainly be less the the current aspirational numbers and there is no way enough are going to be purchased to provide a Recce Regiment for each MRB and Recce platoons for Infantry and Armoured Regiments. I can see enough being purchased for the latter providing Recce, ATGW overwatch, ARV, and command and possibly Mortar and Ambulance, but the current Recce Regiments may have to go. A cheaper platform will have to fill the remaining roles plus others within the new Mechanised Regiments with the Warrior continuing in its current role but in reduced numbers, but even warrior could be replaced but the cheaper platform when one realises that the days of large scale armoured combat are over for the British Army and plarforms that are more versatile and economical to operate are needed.

But then again as the Service Chiefs have stated, without a 2-3% year on year rise in the Defence Budget after 2015, FF2020 simply cannot happen and all bets are off.

DominicJ
DominicJ
September 26, 2011 8:27 am

Chris B
Actualy, Argentinas forces were spread over 4 points.
800 on two sttlements on west Falkland, and another 1400 at Goose Green.
3000 men, 30% of the force.

Thats before you consider the distance the defence of Stanley was spread over, a box, well, more a triangle, 25miles long and 10 miles high, 125 square miles.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 26, 2011 8:28 am

Hi LJ,

What actually is the difference between close and formation recce? You would need to be clear on this to state “the current Recce Regiments may have to go”.

Or is it rather that FRR/ BRR with a heavy C2 squadron in it is the future “armour” and tank regiments will have to go
– the Dutch, who let their all their Leopards go, are suddenly very interested in packing more punch into their IFVs with 35mm on them (through supershot). They still have their “flying tanks” but endurance and weather limitations are obvious

I will call the below a “bean counter -driven” approach. Capability in various, most likely scenarios is of course where we should start from(for real).

Have a look at the NAO document
“Ministry of Defence
The cost-effective delivery of an armoured vehicle capability” p.7 summary graph. Quantities are not included, but for the 2025 snapshot imagine that we will have gone from a 100k army to an 80k army and slice – proportionately – 20% off the top of each category (arrows in the graph, moving through time).
– assuming my devil’s advocate approach of amalgamating armour and recce, adding some punch to AI bn’s through, say, AMOS direct/indirect fire support Warriors, and proceeding with the most essential FRES SV versions (ie. ditching the bridge layer for instance), we’d be quite OK
– the only ones left in the cold in this scenario are MI bn’s; cobble together one with Warthogs, another with the newest AMRAPs and buy off the shelf for the rest (obviously a foreign design, yak, but likely to be good value for money).

Phil
September 26, 2011 9:22 am

Dom your simplifying things again. Overlay argentine force dispositions with settlements and high ground. A perfect correlation. The Port Stanley box did not need to be a continuous front, they just needed to hold key terrain. Which they did. There was only one way into Port Stanley and the Argies knew it.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 26, 2011 10:34 am

Hi ACC

What I was refering to (badly) was that only Recce troops/platoons integral with other formations/Regiments would be retained and independant Recce formations would be disbanded with personnel moving to fill any additional posts created. Other FRES(SV) variants would form ATGW troops/platoons within the former formations as would other variants such as command, mortar etc, but these could also be provided by the cheaper platform I have referred to which would also form the main platform for the Medium/Mechanised formations.

It would also be possible to have 2-3 independant Recce troops/platoons alloted to Brigade HQ but these could be manned by TA Yoemanry units. This goes against the FAS but that programme is aspirational to say the least and again totally dependant on new money appearing after 2015.

Given that procurement of any new platforms is going to be stretched out to keep spending within yearly budgets, platforms such as the Bulldog, Warthog and the limited number of CVR(T)Mk2 will soldier on in the intrim. The latter could however be retained to provide Recce troops/platoons for 16AB and 3 Cmdo.

ArmChairCivvy