Vehicle Mobility Considerations

This is an update of a previous post on the factors when considering vehicle design and selection, especially mobility issues.

Lighter units whose ability to move rapidly may have different needs to others and secondary roles may take on a greater importance. A light armoured vehicle may be compromised when acting in support of a heavy armoured brigade but might be just the ticket for a light role rapid reaction force.

With FRES SV and Protected Patrol Vehicles like Mastiff we have become increasingly ‘weightier’ and this will inevitably have an impact on operational agility around the area of operations. With an increasing focus on protection from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan this weight and size increase has very real implications on mobility.

The ability to quickly move a light force, equipped with a modest degree of protection/firepower, is still a capability we should strive for and enhance. Whether this is air dropping or more likely by helicopter is to some extent, detail. In the teeth of increasingly competent air defence systems this might seem an anachronism but mobility and agility allow one to advance from unpredictable locations, cut forces off and apply decisive combat power to rear areas for example. This means that some equipment has to fit in the payload and space envelope of helicopters and aircraft.

Mobility in all its guises is still a critical design factor and in the general move to favour protection in the protection/mobility/firepower triad we should still give mobility some priority.

This is a fundamental problem that Western forces face, the desire to reduce casualties by increasing protection has an adverse effect on mobility that in turn, could increase casualties.

There are of course no easy answers, just a number of sometimes uneasy trade-offs and compromises.

Arriving in Theatre

We make the assumption that the theatre of operations for land forces is not going to be in the South East of England repelling the French. Modern operations are predicated on playing nothing but away matches and so the ability to transport the personnel, stores, equipment and vehicles to distant places is the first consideration.


For most vehicles the limitations placed on rail travel are not considerable although the weight of main battle tanks usually requires heavy duty flatbed wagons. Unless operations are to be conducted in Europe rail transportation of vehicles is unlikely, even though the British Army operate rail transportation systems in Germany and Canada with specialists from The Royal Logistic Corps and the Royal Engineers.

Rail transportation to theatre is actually very efficient; it is fast at between 30 and 50 mph and very cheap.

As heavy equipment is withdrawn from Germany back to the UK, rail transportation either to the Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre, the Channel Tunnel and other ports may become more frequent.

Standard flat-bed wagons can accommodate loads up to 2.59m high and low loaders, 2.89m high.

Land Rover and Vector Vehicles Rail Transport
Land Rover and Vector Vehicles Rail Transport

Because rail freight business is concentrated on loose bulk materials, liquids and intermodal containers the standard rail flat is the width of an ISO container, 2.44m. Vehicles that are wider can of course overhang but this may be a limiting factor on some routes and Challenger 2 and its derivatives are too wide for use on the UK rail network but CVR(T), Warrior and other vehicles can be moved by rail. Challenger 2 can be moved on some European rail networks.

The Warflat wagon was developed in WWII (images from IWM here) and has seen extensive service since but many of these are now in the hands of collectors, with a maximum payload of between 40 and 50 tonnes, depending on weight distribution, they would not be able to carry the main battle tanks of today. The Warwell is a low loader style flat wagon often used to carry Warriors and because of their width, a special platform is also sometimes used to raise them above the height a platform to avoid fouling. The older FV432 can be carried on standard flats but anything with storage bins or other equipment fitted to the roof must be carried on the low loader style Warwell.

CVR(T) on war well
CVR(T) on war well
CVR(T) Samaritan on a warwell
CVR(T) Samaritan on a warwell

The Movement Control Association has an excellent article on the use of trains in 1942, click here to view.

Modern railway flat wagons can are often fitted with quick opening tarpaulins which obviously avoid prying eyes knowing what is being carried.

If we look at the constraining factors for vehicle design and railway mobility it is the width of a vehicle that is a key issue, to a lesser extent height and even less so, weight. If a vehicle can be designed to be less than 2.35m wide and 2.39m high, the internal dimensions of a standard ISO container then it will be able to use the civilian rail container transport infrastructure in many countries.


As with rail, there may be limited circumstances where we can deploy directly to the point of entry via road, renewed conflict in the Balkans for example. Road transportability is also important for training and UK movements, abnormal load regulations are fiendishly complex, click here, but loads (including tractor and flatbed trailer) over 44 tonnes or 2.9m width require special permissions and notifications.


Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transport and Challenger 2 (Image Credit - Flickr Charles Dawson)
Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transport and Challenger 2 (Image Credit – Flickr Charles Dawson)
Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transport and Warrior Recovery Variant (Image Credit - Flickr Charles Dawson)
Oshkosh Heavy Equipment Transport and Warrior Recovery Variant (Image Credit – Flickr Charles Dawson)

Driving to a European theatre is again possible but with obvious limitations. Outside the UK these restrictions might not apply but moving from the port or point of entry via road will be the norm so road and bridge classification and the availability of suitable transport is an issue concern.


The most common form of getting to theatre will be by sea, at least for any sustained or operation excluding the light role rapid reaction units. Whether by civilian ships, the Point class RORO PFI or amphibious shipping the main limitation is vehicle length and availability of ports and offload facilities

By using RORO ships heavy equipment can be driven straight off a boat and onto waiting road or rail transport for movement to the area of operation.

The Commander's Challenger Tank of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry) rolls down the ramp of the Russian commercial ship Vladimir Vaslyaev in Split, Croatia, during deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor
The Commander’s Challenger Tank of 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards (The Welsh Cavalry) rolls down the ramp of the Russian commercial ship Vladimir Vaslyaev in Split, Croatia, during deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor
Vehicles of the British 22nd Engineer Regiment, are unloaded from the Russian commercial ship Vladimir Vaslyaev in Split, Croatia, during deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.
Vehicles of the British 22nd Engineer Regiment, are unloaded from the Russian commercial ship Vladimir Vaslyaev in Split, Croatia, during deployment in support of Operation Joint Endeavor.

Using ISO container flatracks to move vehicles removes reliance on RORO vessels or RORO port handling facilities and allows a deployment to take advantage of the global ISO container logistics system, ISO flatracks can utilise widely used lighterage and barge systems to move inshore.

Leyland DROPS and CVR(T) 01
Leyland DROPS and CVR(T)

The value of this should not be underestimated; a number of 105mm Light Guns were moved into the Balkans using ISO containers for example.

Domino ISO Flat Rack and CVR(T)
Domino Flat Rack and CVR(T)

Standard intermodal flatrack usage would tend to restrain width to 2.3m. Length of a single TEU is about 6m and a weight limit of 30 odd tonnes. Height is also about 2.2m but this is less critical as they can be double stacked.


Usually a last resort, most air transportation to theatre by air is for highly sensitive vehicle traffic or those that are time critical.

When discussing vehicles most people tend to dismiss air transportability as a secondary consideration, arguing that if a vehicle is going to be operating alongside heavy armoured forces there is very little point in moving them expensively by air where they will sit and wait until the big fellas arrive. There is much common sense in the position but there are certain limited circumstances where deploying by air a modest armoured force can be decisive. Rapid intervention with light forces, reinforced with light/medium armour, can be very effective. The original FRES concept was predicated on moving a medium weight intervention force by air direct to theatre by air. As we all know this was flawed in many aspects not least the amount of aircraft required but there is still some value in the concept and the weight limitations of available aircraft should be considered when designing equipment.

For the UK, those relevant future aircraft are the A400, C17 and occasionally chartered Antonov 124’s.

C17 Cargo Hold Dimensions AN124 Cargo Hold Dimensions

The C17 can lift about 70 tonnes and whilst the UK has never transported Challenger 2 by C17 other nations have done so with their main battle tanks, the capability is proven even if we don’t practice it. It’s not generally recommended though and certainly not a practical exercise for austere locations. Vehicles between 20 and 40 tonnes could be carried comfortably and the UK has transported Warrior vehicles to Afghanistan using C17’s as in the picture above.

In pitching a vehicle at the 20-30 tonne level, 2 are transportable per C17 or at a much lighter weight and depending on dimensions; up to 6 may be transported.

The A400 has yet to fully demonstrate a maximum load but the UK requirement is for 30 tonnes and the A400 website lists a maximum of 37 tonnes. Payload inevitably impacts on range and the same website lists a strategically significant range of 2,450nm at 30 tonnes and 3,450nm at 20 tonnes. The ability to move such payloads at range is one of the significant performance features of the A400, even if it will be concrete runway to concrete runway for most of the time.

A vehicle with a weight of 15 tonnes means 2 at a time or 30 tonnes means one in an A400 or 2 in a C17, there are a number of combinations that can be tried.

To fit into an A400 and C17, the width of a vehicle needs to be less than 4m wide and 3.85m high.

Weight will affect range, as the diagram below shows

A400M Atlas Load and Distance Chart
A400M Atlas Load and Distance Chart

Air dropping direct to theatre might be seen as an anachronism and easily dismissed but it is a capability we should not lightly discard, even for vehicles.

When the C130K leaves service and the A400 enters the existing Medium Stressed Platform will no longer be able to be used so a new platform is hopefully going to be obtained, the obvious choice would be Type V platform from Airlift Technologies.

The Type V can accommodate vehicles up to 19 tonnes, 19.5m long and approximately 2.3m wide.

Getting to the Action

In some locations the point of entry might also be the area of operation, Sierra Leone being a good example, but in others the area of operation might be some distance to the point or port of entry and this leg if often called ‘intra theatre’

If a vehicle is flown direct to Bastion it does not have a long way to get to the area of operation but if the said vehicle goes by a Point class RORO ship that disembarks at Karachi it has a very long and hazardous road move ahead.

Generally speaking, the same options exist except perhaps for rail although it should never be completely discounted because local rail infrastructure might be used depending on location.


Because the intra theatre journeys are shorter and end locations not always endowed with 10,000 feet runways the type of aircraft used will change, tactical airlifters and helicopters. There are a number of grey areas because both the A400 and C17 can be used in a tactical context.

in a typical hub and spoke operation, strategic aircraft will bring in personnel and supplies (sometimes vehicles) to a strategically located main operating base location and tactical airlift aircraft will bring them forward to smaller airfields, Kandahar to Bastion being a good example, at least until the new runways at Bastion were built. There are a wide variety of scenarios here that might affect vehicle design but with the A400 and C17 being more or less capable of both strategic and tactical airlift operations this hub and spoke arrangement might not always be the best model.

The same cargo hold and weight limitations would therefore apply, and equally for air despatch.


There are two options, self-deploy or catch a lift. Self-deploying significant a distance for tracked vehicles is fuel intensive, causes a great deal of expensive track wear and therefore they tend to be carried to the area of operation on a low loader.

Wheeled vehicles can self-deploy much greater distances although segmented band tracks on light and medium weight vehicles can reduce the impact somewhat. This is one of the great attractions of wheeled vehicles, like FRES UV for example.

The UK has a small fleet of 96 Oskosh Heavy Equipment Transporters operated under a 20 year, £290 million PFI with Fasttrax. The original trailer used for transporting heavy vehicles was from King Trailers but given the poor road infrastructure in Afghanistan a number of Broshuis rough terrain trailers have also been obtained to allow the HET fleet to operate.

Another video

A lighter vehicle, like CVR(T) or Viking can be easily transported on more or less any truck, civilian or army. A simple jib can lift it onto the truck bed and move it long distances, even though CVR(T) can move quite effectively on road. DROPS have also been used quite often for deploying small vehicles including CVR(T), the Balkans especially made use of this method

Foden DROPS and CVR(T) in the Balkans 01
Foden DROPS and CVR(T) in the Balkans

One of the implications of replacing CVR(T), which can move forward under its own steam or on the back of any truck, with the 30 tonne plus FRES SV is that road moves forward will not be possible with anything but one of the 96 Heavy Equipment Transporters and specialist trailers. If we are only buying a handful this might not be so bad but given the numbers envisaged, unless we significantly increase the HET and trailer numbers in the PFI then we might have difficulty assembling a sufficiently strong force in reasonable time, this could lead to vulnerabilities as speed of deployment to a forward area is reduced.


Although less likely than road or air, vehicles can of course be moved to the area of operations by a short sea journey and landed via Mexeflotes or landing craft for example.

Cutting about the Battlefield

Freedom of movement on the battlefield is critical to effectiveness and there are many factors that influence battlefield mobility.


We use air mobility to rapidly move light forces.

Internal carriage in a Chinook means that slinging can be dispensed with, drag massively reduced and range and handling increased.

Supacat Extenda inside Chinook
Supacat Extenda inside Chinook

The Germans have developed the Mungo to be internally transportable in their CH53’s

German Mungo vehicle
German Mungo vehicle

For vehicles that can at least stay within the sling load limitation of the Chinook this remains a useful option.

Chinook underslung Land Rover HMS Ocean Chinook underslung BV206 Chinook underslung BV206

CVR(T) and Chinook - Operation Agricola
CVR(T) and Chinook – Operation Agricola

Chinook and CVR(T)


Although absolute weight is often less important than ground pressure it is still important, especially for bridges and road surfaces.

The NATO standard means of defining the ability of a surface to bear particular weights is called the Military Load Classification (MLC) system and common break points are 30 and 70, we use Class 30 and Class 70 trackway for example.

In an area with poor road and particularly, bridge infrastructure, no matter what the ground pressure, the vehicle weight will dictate tactical mobility. Existing bridges can be supplemented with military bridges and here, the classification system is important.

Most close support , general support and logistic bridges are in excess of Class 70 but for lightweight forces the kind of military bridge usually available have a lower classification.

The Air Portable Ferry Bridge currently in service with the Royal Engineers has an MLC of 35 which is close to FRES SV and UV although one might reasonably assume that neither will be in service with such light or air mobile forces.

Whilst CVR(T) could easily cross even poor bridges its replacement, the ASCOD based FRES SV Scout at a weight in excess of 30 tonnes will need more robust road and bridge infrastructure.

German BvS10 in Afghanistan
German BvS10 in Afghanistan

Ground pressure is a critical factor where the underlying surface is soft, snow, marsh or loose sand for example. Soil mechanics and ground pressure is a fiendishly complex subject that simple generalisations defy but the seemingly constant battle of tracks versus wheels is often distilled into simple statements that tracks will always be better than wheels is the soft stuff.

The videos below shows that as 8×8 designs have evolved, or gained weight form turrets, additional armour and electronic systems the degradation in mobility even in what might be reasonably considered to be only mild off road conditions is obvious.

Designs have improved greatly since the video but there are persistent concerns about the mobility of wheeled vehicles, especially the heavier 8×8’s, in soft ground conditions.

As a counter, promotional videos like these from Artec , General Dynamics, BAE and Nexter showcase the mobility of these modern wheeled armoured vehicles.

As impressive as these splashy bouncy videos are they do seem to be suspiciously on dry and firm ground, not much marsh, deep mud or snow to be seen.

Tracks do not necessarily confer immunity from the effects of soft ground

CVR(T) Stuck

Promotional videos for tracked vehicles do tend to focus on soft ground performance though.

An example of extreme mobility over soft ground is the BVs10 Viking, its articulated design, very wide tracks and high power to weight ratio provides superb off road performance.

For many years the British Army has been conducting operations in dry places but operations in the Balkans should remind us of the need for mobility over soft ground, unless of course we only plan on operating in hot and dusty places!


One of the original design constraints for CVR(T) was the distance between rubber trees in what is now Malaysia, vehicle width was a direct response to the terrain.

CVR(T) Scimitar in the Balkans
CVR(T) Scimitar in the Balkans

The images below show a couple of instances where small vehicles can get to places that would be denied to larger vehicles.

German Fennek in Afghanistan
German Fennek in Afghanistan

This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself but if it has an impact on carrying out a given task then size becomes an issue!


In a high intensity conflict this is not necessarily a concern but in counter insurgency or peace support operations heavy tracked vehicles churning up roads and counter-productive and so wheeled vehicles have a significant advantage.

Modern segmented band tracks from Diehl, Astrum and Soucy are addressing some of the traditional disadvantages of rubber pad metal tracks.

CV90 Band Tracks
CV90 Band Tracks

The image above shows BAE CV90 with segmented band tracks, they are currently in Afghanistan.


Gradients determine if the vehicle can traverse steep inclines, head or side one.

Approach angles can be determined by overhang in front of the wheels or tracks.

Contrast this image of a Warrior

Warrior MICV with 40mm CTA

With a Stryker


This video from British Pathe shows vehicles being tested on gradient test tracks.


Top speed and high rates of acceleration and deceleration are always useful and an integral part of battlefield mobility. The general assumption is that wheeled vehicles have a higher speed and greater rates of acceleration but depending on the surface tracked vehicles can demonstrate impressive speeds and it is important to make the distinction between high speeds and useable high speeds over difficult terrain.

I seem to recall CVR(T) holds the track record at the Nurburgring for tracked vehicle and of course, any video of the Ripsaw will show that tracked vehicles are capable of extreme speed.

With wheeled vehicles the geometry of the drivetrain and payload tends to produce a vehicle with a higher centre of gravity that can be dangerous in high speed manoeuvring


Although not necessarily a mobility issue per se it is still an important consideration for vehicle designers. You don’t see many wheeled bulldozers because the transferring the power of the engine to low speed pushing or pulling is greatly aided the increased ground contact area of tracks.

Pulling is usually used for recovering vehicle casualties in the absence of specialist equipment but pushing is used more often.

Pushing examples might include moving a road block or vehicle casualty out of the way or pushing over a tree.

Warrior demonstrating the tractive force of a tracked vehicle

An upgraded British Army Warrior vehicle tows a Mastiff out of a wadi
An upgraded British Army Warrior vehicle tows a Mastiff out of a wadi

Artificial obstacles in urban areas such as barricades, walls and cars etc present challenges to wheeled vehicles, not always insurmountable challenges but tracked vehicles, with their greater surface area on the ground and traction can more easily overcome these obstacles. The infamous US operation in Mogadishu showed that even old fashioned tracked vehicles like the M113 (driven by the Pakistani Army) could deliver winning effects in an urban environment, pushing through rubble and other obstacles.

In the aftermath of the special-forces capture in Basra, Operation Thyme was mounted against the Serious Crimes Unit in Jamiat police station. The outer wall was breached by a Medium Wheeled Tractor of 38 Engineer Regiment and through/over the resultant rubble a number of Warriors from the Staffordshire Regiment entered the compound. The shock delivered by this breach might have been impossible to conduct with a wheeled vehicle, instead of going through a breach a wheeled vehicle might have had to go through the entrance. In the video below the Warriors can be seen entering the compound and pushing other vehicles out of the way.

Bulldozer or obstacle clearance blades can be fitted to wheeled vehicles, especially the larger 8×8 types but they are generally not as effective as those attached to tracked vehicles.


If part of the vehicle is damaged retaining some mobility to get out of danger is a very attractive feature. Once a track becomes damaged, as robust as they are, or thrown then the vehicle is effectively immobile.

Modern wheeled combat vehicles are designed to retain mobility even if one or more wheels are destroyed.

The video below shows an early model LAV without a couple of wheels still being able to move (although the running gear has been chained up to prevent it digging in to the ground)

This video from British Pathe (at about 3 minutes in) shows that even in the sixties mobility in multi wheeled vehicles with one of those wheels ‘missing’


Many water obstacles can be forded, the interesting video below shows fording in Afghanistan, at about 2 minutes 50 seconds.

Wading kits used to be relatively common on armoured fighting vehicles but have fallen out of favour and a small number of vehicles are fully amphibious.

German Leopard tank fording kit
German Leopard tank fording kit

This reduces the dependence on combat engineering but adds penalties related to complexity and weight.


Simple ditches can be surprisingly effective vehicle barriers so the ability to cross irrigation ditches or manmade ditches is essential.

This is a driver training video (so the ditch is being crossed in slow time)

Tracked vehicles can generally cross larger gaps than wheeled and at a greater speed.

This video at about 1 minute


With an increasing likelihood of operations being conducted in urban areas the ability to turn around and extricate oneself from trouble or negotiate tight streets is important.

Turning circle was one of the more challenging requirements for the Light Protected Patrol Vehicle that is being fulfilled by the Ocelot/Foxhound.

Tracked vehicles have the advantage of being able to turn on their own axis but some of the newer 8×8 wheeled combat vehicles can also perform this very neat trick.

Articulated vehicles like the Viking and Warthog cannot perform these turns although their articulation does allow relatively tight turns to be made.


Fuel consumption is an increasing concern, with asymmetric conflicts the need for combat logistics as opposed to logistics becomes a greater demand, absorbing valuable combat power. Every litre of fuel or spare part places a considerable strain on logistics and support arrangements. The larger protected patrol vehicles have increased fuel consumption enormously over previous types. Tracks generally have poorer fuel economy than wheeled vehicles but as soon as difficult terrain is encountered or in stop start activity this is reversed. Run flat tyres are very expensive and the US experience in Iraq with Stryker’s demonstrated that running costs are more expensive for wheeled vehicles than tracks (fuel and tyres).

If operated on hard surfaces for extended periods metal tracks tend to heat up and expand, requiring constant maintenance or running the risk of throwing a track.

The inherent complication of an 8×8 like drive train might need more maintenance than the very simple arrangements of a tracked vehicle but vibration from tracks causes many problems so whilst the wheeled drivetrain might have more parts and be more complex it isn’t necessarily more maintenance heavy.

Future systems are likely to take advantage of automotive hybrid systems, regenerative braking, fuel cells, advanced batteries and the broad technology base that is evident in the civilian sector will eventually find their way into military vehicles.

Break Points

In any design discussion there will inevitably be a series of break points.

One of the burning issues with vehicle design is to what extent we let aircraft payload factors dictate design.

There are two competing thoughts, keep to aircraft weight limitations and take what protection fits within that envelope or design a vehicle with the desired protection levels and buy aircraft to suit.

As with road and bridge classification there are a number of break points and multiples. The table below shows weight as the deciding factor (volume, floor loading and sling point load considerations are ignored)

Merlin Chinook CH53K A400 C17
5 tonnes 1 2 3 6 12
10 tonnes 1 1 3 6
15 tonnes 1 2 4
20 tonnes 1 3
30 tonnes 1 2
40 tonnes 1
60 tonnes 1

Other considerations are road transportation, landing craft and recovery capacity

Class 30 Trackway Air Portable Ferry Bridge LCVP LCU Road Special ISO Flatrack
40 tonnes NO NO NO YES YES NO
60 tonnes NO NO NO YES YES NO

Stacking ISO flatracks is constrained by weight, a typical flatrack such as those manufactured by Domino can stack 9 high but only with a maximum weight of 24 tonnes, a tare weight approx 4 tonnes. ISO flatrack carriage will constrain vehicle width to just over 2.4m. The A400 has a 4m width cargo hold, the C17, 5.5m, Chinook, 2.3m and CH53K, 2.7m.

Keeping a vehicle width less than 2.4m provides the best combination; it could be carried on an ISO flat rack, the A400, CH53K and 2 abreast in the C17 but how would this affect protection, space for equipment and systems and stability?

By keeping a vehicle within the constraints of a 20foot ISO container/flatrack we can not only utilise the huge civilian infrastructure used to move them on the ocean but critically, also the intermodal facilities of ports and trucks. The main reason the UK entered into the Points Class PFI was because the international shipping market was consolidating on larger and fewer vessels, particularly pure car pure truck carriers (PCPT), availability of RORO shipping for expeditionary operations was becoming tenuous. Whilst the agreement provides for 6 vessels the flexibility and additional capacity in the civilian container shipping market could be exploited.

The sub 5 tonne weight bracket is basically for quad bikes and vehicles like the Roush LAS100, Supacat ATMP and stripped down Land Rovers.

10 tonnes is the key point for Chinook lift and 3 in a single A400 or 6 in a C17, 2 abreast

If we were to step up from the Chinook to the CH53K or the Chinook sucessor proposals the 15 tonne point becomes more realistic, 2 in an A400 and 4 in a c17. Given length issues, 2 in an A400 might be more feasible than 3. There is a constant pressure to improve helicopter lift capacity and the US and others have several studies and exploratory programmes, an evolved Chinook may be the result but ultimately, 15-18 tonnes is the likely end point for heavy vertical lift helicopters after Chinook.

Keeping a vehicle below 20 tonnes allows it to be carried on a C130 or some of the newer C130J class aircraft under development, the Embraer C-390 for example.

Beyond 20 tonnes the A400 only carries in singles and beyond 30 tonnes we start seeing mobility issues; ISO flatrack, DROPS, special load, bridges and trackways for example.

With tunable protection these hard limits can be bent a little. The German Puma, for example, uses a modular armour concept, the base vehicle is designed to be transported in the A400 with additional armour carried in follow on aircraft. It is most unlikely that a vehicle will speed down the aircraft ramp and get stuck in straight away so allowing some time to assemble the armour add-ons is a sensible and pragmatic decision.

The US M8 AGS used a scalable armour system and some of the newer Warrior UOR’s have worked on this principle.

The categories below may seem heavily biased to air transportation and when this is compared to actual airlift it might seem ludicrous but if the UK is to maintain its expeditionary capabilities we must carefully tailor equipment to available lift capacity and factors such as bridge classification or surface transportation will also be significant. Modular protection allows air transportability weight limits to be maintained whilst providing for improvements in protection when rapid transportation is not such an issue.

I know I go on a bit about ISO container constraints but if we are at all serious about moving stuff from A to B, the civilian intermodal container ecosystem has much greater capacity than any military logistics system.

With this in mind I think the following is a reasonable weight distribution (assuming we start with weight and not other requirements such as survivability or payload)

Category A; sub 5 tonnes, 1 sling load for a Merlin or 2 by a Chinook and preferably, internal carriage in a Chinook.

Category B; 7.5 tonnes maximum weight, this allows 1 to be sling loaded by a Chinook, 2 from a CH53K and 4 in an A400 or 8 in a C17 (volume permitting). Air droppable, easily carried on civilian trucks or DROPS and able to traverse most if not all bridges and trackway. Going up to 10 tonnes still allows Chinook slinging but reduces the multiples in the A400 and C17, a trade off.

Category C; 15 tonnes maximum base weight with the capacity to handle an additional 5 to 7 tonnes, this allows a base configuration to be slung loaded from a CH53K or future heavy lift helicopter. 2 could be carried in an A400 or if 4 A400’s were used, the combined payload would be 6 vehicles and 6 additional 5 tonne protection kits. A C17 could carry 4 base configuration vehicles or 3 with the protection kits already fitted. Can be carried on standard ISO flatracks, utilise all RE trackway and vehicle bridges and be carried on the back of a standard truck or DROPS. Can also be lifted by the RE Terex AC35 crane and recovered using the FRES SV recovery variant.

Category D; ideally this would be around 30 tonnes base configuration with 5 to 10 tonne additional protection kit, 1 to be carried on A400 or 2 per C17. Additional protection kits would be available but this would reduce aerial transportation to C17 only. However, this might seem too close to Category A and not deliver enough protection whilst still being constrained by the same deployment issues as the heavy equipment it will be supporting. Weight therefore becomes less of an issue because at 30 tonnes plus it is still a special load, borderline for ISO carriage and bridges and at a maximum for A400 carriage. So for this category I would be inclined to worry less about weight and concentrate on protection and firepower, true to the concept of stand up knock down fighting for information in a high threat environment as per many of our recent discussions on fighting Recce rather than sneaky recce. If you need to get the odd one or two into theatre by air, for whatever reason and however rare, as long as it is below 50-60 tonnes it can be carried by C17.

Category E; the heavy 70 tonne plus vehicles that are rarely moved by air

I will expand on vehicles to fit these categories in a future post.


The old norm that only tracked vehicles are mobile over difficult terrain is no longer the case but at higher weights and for extreme off road mobility tracks would still seem to have the edge

With all the extra equipment such as ECM, communications, air conditioning and off board power generation volumes have inevitably increased and with an increase in volume comes an increase in weight. So although, for example, a 10 tonne CVR(T) might enjoy the benefits of this low weight in mobility terms it suffers in protection and equipment terms.

FRES SV Scout, at 30 tonnes plus and the same width as an MICV like Warrior, has clearly sacrificed some aspects of strategic and tactical mobility in order to get better protection and firepower, a conscious trade no doubt, but if we look at the numerous instances where the nimbleness of CVR(T) has been useful then we might wonder what we are going to fill the gap with, Jackal perhaps or Viking.

Before we even get into issues of firepower and protection the number of factors when considering mobility is extremely diverse and inevitably there will be trade-offs and compromises.

Who would be a vehicle designer?

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February 12, 2012 3:12 am

Thank you TD, a very enlightning post. Very well done.

February 12, 2012 3:13 am

… any way to correct typos here? :P

February 12, 2012 3:58 am

RE “If we look at the constraining factors for vehicle design and railway mobility it is the width of a vehicle that is a key issue, to a lesser extent height”
– Brazil being a big place, their Osorio tank was designed to the limitations of railways and their tunnels

February 12, 2012 8:47 am

Excellent post – I’m no expert in either military vehicle design or international relations but I firmly believe that beyond the possibility of the Balkan’s kicking off (or us needing to re-inforce the Falklands) the main areas of operation for the next twenty years will be either Africa or the Middle East, which suggests we should focus on RG35 and RG41 which are optimised for the majority of the terrain in Africa and which should also deal with the terrain in the middle east as well.

Presuming I have understood how the Army manages it vehicle fleets so that there is enough vehicles to train with and deploy one full brigade’s worth of them I would suggest a mixed bag of vehicle weights to cover all situations. Mostly going from other peoples comments I would continue to use UOR to develop CRV(T) until it is in effect a new vehicle as each obsolete system is replaced with a new build one (and I have seen posts suggesting that a new turret will be UOR in the near future – just wish I could find them again to reference them here) and then build both Scimitar 2’s and along with a new command post and protected mobility versions. I would also make sure Foxhound is purchased in enough numbers it’s base configuration, along with a WMIK version and a utility version.

I would then buy the RG35, mostly due to the fact that the base version comes in at 18 tonnes, so imagine even with turrets and armour upgrades it will still be fairly light. I would procure a protected mobility version with .50 RWS,a command post version, a mortar carrier (thinking an 82 mm mortar under armoured roof which you open to fire the mortar, as the simplest mortar carrier possible), an ambulance version, a utility version, a DROPS version, and a recovery vehicle. I would also buy the RG41 in protect mobility, command post, ambulance and recovery versions, and likely add a direct fire version with 105mm gun.

I would keep FRES SV as we have invested to much to drop it for a cheaper, lighter, 90% as good option like Bionix and to be frank I suspect we will need balance the rapid deployability of the RG35 and RG41 against the fact that I suspect that in the future any peace keeping or stabilisation operations we undertake will be covertly opposed by China and Russia by them selling man portable weapons such as modern ATGW’s to our “enemies” where you will need the heaviest armour you can get to increase crew survivability.

February 12, 2012 8:49 am

An excellent and informative post. Thank you.

I will in future treat with great respect any German who appears to be standing in a dustbin in the middle of a lake.

February 12, 2012 8:55 am

Fantastic and very informative post TD. I think that amphibious capable vehicles should be considered as a requirement – perhaps ones that can be deployed via a crane (such as the BvS Viking from HMS Protector), directly into the sea from a stern ramp or even from divats. Couple this with the ability to be deployed by air, rail and road would give a true multirole vehicle which could be built in numbers – lots of compromises required of course but the UK cannot afford different types of specialist vehicles.

We could still have a small high end core of less flexible Challengers and Warriors (or replacements) of course.

February 12, 2012 9:39 am

@TD: great summary. I would make a sub category of A and B that have the width and height to be carried internally in a Chinook, as Bv206 has been.

Long term, if we could find a survey of road transport in various theatres, we might expand the “road special” description. In Europe, we could probably assume that 38 tonnes will run just about everywhere, with 44 tonnes in the majority of trunks. In a lot of the more remote parts of China, it seems it’s assumed that trucks either do verge running or operate a “my way or in the ditch with you” policy (lots of fun if hitching with a nutcase!), with roadways being no more than 4m wide. This seems to carry over to the PLA-built roads in Nepal, which given the Chinese predilection for building infrastructure in Africa, might be worth noting

February 12, 2012 9:58 am


February 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

An excellent and informative post. Thank you.

I will in future treat with great respect any German who appears to be standing in a dustbin in the middle of a lake.”

Good one Hugh :)

February 12, 2012 10:34 am

Great post, puts so much stuff into context.

Now that I finally got to the end, the photo of a Viking (both pieces) underslung reminded me of a text stating that the Warthogs need to be uncoupled for the same to be done.

Is the weight difference so much? The UK version has lots of additional armour – is it still amphibious like the base version? All of this comes to mind because on the one hand it is always commended on the good job done in A-stan (it was a Viking replacement!) and on the other, it is not mentioned at all in the nods and winks re: which of the UORs to keep.

February 12, 2012 11:41 am

The unladen weight of the basic Bronco vehicle is 11,200kg. Max payload of the Chinook D and F is 24,000lb (10,900kg) The G model can carry 11,340kg so would be able to carry a completely unladen Bronco, but more than likely not a Warthog, much less any gear to go with either.

I would hazard that Warthog is not amphibious – that one that got stuck in the Helmand river (and the other two crossing at the same time) didn’t show any signs of floating.

February 12, 2012 12:04 pm

Many thanks Mr. fred,

So no good for the Marines and not much use to support any kind of air-assault/ airmobile manoeuvre, then.

February 12, 2012 12:51 pm

Interesting stuff TD, thanks. I am definitely not well versed in the vehicle debate but enjoyed the resurgence of the ISO container and rather agree. I’ve also been ledt to understand that the British Army has lost much of its inherent mobility by focussing on heavy PPV’s like Mastiff and Warthog, it would be a useful capability to regain.

ACC, I’ve also heard that Warthog is too big to fit 2 abreast in an LCU, whereas I think they could get 2 Vikings in there. Happy to be told otherwise though.

February 12, 2012 1:04 pm

You can always carry it in halfs. The front and back are detachable after all.

Bare bones Warthogs can swim, it’s the add on armour that weighs them down, so you can wade them on to the shore, then add on the armour. No beach assault though.

February 12, 2012 1:14 pm

The two important breakpoints for me are:

15 tonne/2.3m
30 tonne/4.0m

reminds me of a response i put in a CVR(t) 2.0 post:


he desire for a smaller vehicle doesn’t simply stem from air portability, but that portability brings with it a raft of other benefits from reduced logistic support to more capable terrain handling.

to regurgitate a comment i made in response to the “need to rethink fres sv” thread:
I am very sympathetic to a CVRT replacement, particularly given the importance that rapid intervention forces will have to future british expeditionary adventures.


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

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

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

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

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

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

In short; is 16 tonnes an effective compromise?
I still believe that such a vehicle is useful provided those questions above can be answered, but quite where along the weight/size scale that compromise might lie is not something i have an answer for.

still seems a relevant question today…………?

February 12, 2012 1:45 pm

Hi Jedi,

I agree with your higher break point as being crucial
15 tonne/2.3m
30 tonne/4.0m
and the lower one being difficult to meet (in a balanced way, as we discussed on that previous thread).

Considering that a Nemo turret weighs 1.5 t (extra), the below statistics would slot all necessarily required versions of AMV below that break point

Crew 3 men
Personnel 10 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 16 – 26 t
Length 7.75 m
Width 2.83 m
Height 2.35 m

The direct fire version (integrated by the Poles, using a Belgian turret, is weight-wise an unknown quantity to me… you do get some direct fire out of a Nemo, but not out to at all similar ranges)

February 12, 2012 2:21 pm

Your procurement specification, as delivered, is fatally flawed for a number of reasons.
1) You do not identify the role to which this vehicle will be put. Knowing the required role would allow you to identify:
1a) The required lethality
1b) The required protection
1c) The required mobility
1d) The required situational awareness and sensor suite.
2) You mandate a weapon system without defining what it is that you want to do
3) You do not identify the cost that can be sustained. For unlimited cost, a vehicle with exotic materials and systems could fulfill the requirement.
4) You do not identify the required supporting logistics.

The base idea may be something that can be built on, but more clarity is required before it is something that can be realised.

February 12, 2012 2:29 pm

If i had to choose it would be –

7.5 tonnes:

15 tonnes:
Is 4×4 good enough?
Is 2.7m too wide for overload (oddly 4×4 is listed as wider than 6×6)?

30 tonne:

February 12, 2012 2:30 pm

@ Mr Fred – “The base idea may be something that can be built on, but more clarity is required before it is something that can be realised.”

For sure, but then i don’t make doctrine, or specify the requirements that fall out from that, i’m just engaging in fantasy-fleets.

February 12, 2012 2:43 pm


As much as I like the Warthog, I’ve to point out that while it’s IED protection and 7.62mm protection is good, it’s bad against HEAP and sabot rounds. Conversely, a Challenger can be pretty badly damaged by an IED, but HEAP and sabot will probably bounce. So even if armour is heavy, what type of weapon is it configured against also means a lot.

And I agree with mr fred, the question is too open ended. 40mm is fine city fighting infantry, but against a MBT, you might have better luck with paintballs, you might gunk up a viewport or sensor. So what is your target?

February 12, 2012 2:53 pm

well the original comment stemmed from a discussion about the requirment for a CVR(t) 2.0, i repeated the text here because it seemed useful in light of todays discussion about break-points in mobility.

the point i was trying to make (in the text) was that weight was a factor in equally important mobility considerations such as width, ground pressure, etc.

take it in context.

February 12, 2012 3:23 pm

TD- a truly fine article.

Don’t we just have to find what we already have within a particular category and maximise it’s potential ? Viking, Warthog, Foxhound family, FRES SV family etc ?

As for ‘dry sandy places with hard ground’ – you could have thrown in countless youtube videos of Stryker and Canadian LAV’ vehicles bogged down in mud during the Afghan winter :-)

Jedi – I though you were attempting to fulfill requirements set by TD himself, to provide a useful vehicle within a set of weight and space constraints – TD doctrine being one of delivering a useful vehicle to the edge of the battlespace by air ??

February 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Yes even though I think 8×8 getting bogged is more bad luck more than bad driving or bad route planning per se it should be remembered that the Ozzies struggled in Timor with their LAVs and had to ship out M113s.

February 12, 2012 4:01 pm

@ TD

Well isn’t that a question of route planning and a question for the wedgeheads?

BTRs can rotate on the spot like a tank (can’t for the life of me think what the correct term is!)

I think in the future if these vehicles move to electric drive systems it would be trivial to have a driving cab both fore and aft like a locomotive.

February 12, 2012 4:08 pm

Yep, x, as you say the latest model only needs 10% more than its own length
“BTRs can rotate on the spot like a tank (can’t for the life of me think what the correct term is!)”

As to your futures idea, why not just make the drivers seat and the controls around it swivel – there is a facility to drive through sensors only; and the sensors need to give 360 situational awareness for other reasons

February 12, 2012 5:02 pm


Yes you aright I suppose it doesn’t matter where the driver sits! Though I think it is preferable that the driver faces in the direction of travel to prevent motion sickness. Though apparently it safer for passengers to sit facing to the rear; as the RAF and Captain Scarlet know!

Removing the transmission and replacing it simple hydraulics to move the wheel/motor assemblies would allow the vehicle to crab sideways and pivot steer.

BTR-90 turning in its own lenght 4m 40s on…..

February 12, 2012 5:03 pm

And didn’t the German’s have an 8×8 recce vehicle that had two driving positions and also didn’t require its officers to wear red trousers……

February 12, 2012 5:11 pm


Crabbing sideways, turning on the spot within the length of the vehicle etc is all well and good in response to TD’s question, BUT

a tracked vehicle is going to crush cars beneath it’s tracks, use it’s better track-tion (do you like that ?) to bulldoze barricades out of the way, it is going to grind over rubble etc.

So again we have a difference in scenario:
1. COIN – U.S. Army liked Stryker on the good roads in Iraq for fast mobility, ability to manouvre, not chew up roads etc etc

2. FIGHT – U.S. Army cavalry units supporting U.S.M.C in Fallujah would have been screwed with wheels ! M1’s and Bradley’s involved in street fighting a la Stalingrad and Berlin.

Yes I know there were many more un-armoured Humm-Vees in the USMC units than their army brethren had tracks, but the tracks did the bulldozing, tracked ambulances came to pick up casulaties, and tracks delivered ammo.

So again, within the expeditionary emphasis of the last set of ‘orders’ from HMG in the form of SDSR, and the requirement to tighten belts, how do we achieve a cost effective, and affordable solution to the conundrum of operational “balance” – with enough kit to cover every potential option ???

February 12, 2012 5:12 pm

Excellent article boss.

Personally I’m think we’re reaching the point now where we just need to fill a room with a bunch of SNCO’s from the Infantry, Recce, Logistics, REME, Marines etc, a few officers to add a touch of dash and elan to the process, give them a bloody great playground to run the vehicles through their paces and then just buy whatever they recommend and be done with it.

February 12, 2012 5:41 pm

@ Chris B

Said similar myself. All these vehicles come in at a similar price and all offer the same levels of protection. So……

@ Jed

I have several books recounting tales of American armoured adventures in the Iraqi urban environment. I think you will find find a Stryker can climb a vertical obstacle slightly higher than a Bradley and traverse a ditch slightly wider. Diff locks bring many advantages. Clearing obstacles needs tracks, but tracks that belong to engineers. I don’t believe there is an answer to tracks vs wheels. All I know is that wheels can self-deploy and that is an advantage.

February 12, 2012 5:52 pm

Interesting reading.

General wall recently said we may just have to accept increased risk if we operate on future campaigns. I would extrapolate from this we need a vehicle perhaps that is good enough in 80% of cases in most places around the world. Maybe along the lines off initial deployed as a base vehicle IED threat tends to grow so having bolt on armour that can follow a month or so later maybe acceptable? This will all boil down to where we are likely to fight in the future and if that will be conventional high end warfare or more littoral/irregular warfare or jungle mountain type warfare. I dont think we can cover it all anymore so something will have to give. Anything that can work across africa and Falklands terrain would get my vote.

February 12, 2012 5:55 pm

Chris B.,
isn’t that ATDU, with Bovington test track in the role of the playground?

February 12, 2012 6:38 pm

Perhaps there is some room for innovation here?
Over the Tyre Tracks (OTT).


Self deploy your 8*8 to theatre. Fit OTTs as required once there (along with Puma-like detachable armour too no doubt: as has been said, you aren’t going to drive straight into a fight). Run tracked for additional mobility until you want to knock ’em off.
If the tracks get blown off by an IED, you are not immobilised as you can still use the underlying wheels and transmission of the 8*8.
If the tyre is deflated by small arms fire: either have run-flats or let the OTT be thrown and carry on.

Disadvantages: Will not be so unthrowable as current tracked solutions (long product improvement hill to climb). Inherently weak, degradable/disposable, depending on construction, possibly inflammatory when hit for same reason.

A tolerable 80% solution with a bit of development?

February 12, 2012 6:49 pm

@ Jed – “I though you were attempting to fulfill requirements set by TD himself, to provide a useful vehicle within a set of weight and space constraints – TD doctrine being one of delivering a useful vehicle to the edge of the battlespace by air ??”

I was indeed, but more broadly than just weight.

As TD noted the width issue is important for more than just ISO containers, notably the old malaya rubber plantations and the fact that a vehicle capable of both is equally dextrous in a MOUT environment vis-a-vis a 40 tonne ASCOD.

I suppose what i’m driving at is looking for naturally convergent requirements and bundling them up together. “Joined up thinking” is i believe the jargon? ;)

i.e. if a vehicle that can fit on an ISO container (and a rubber plantation or MOUT environment), is realistically going to fit in the 10-20 tonne weight category, and we have a natural 15 tonne breakpoint due to airlift requirements, then let us ensure the vehicle weighs 15 tonnes and not 20 tonnes.

To take this further, we can agree that a lighter vehicle will have an easier job of having a low ground pressure, then let us ensure our 15 tonne vehicle is equipped with tracks/wheels that meet some useful ground-pressure breakpoint……. whatever that may be.

FRES SV/UV suffered from being all things to all men, but it is still a useful exercise to consider naturally convergent operating parameters.

My quote above was trying to explore what combination of naturally converging design citeria would justify a CVR(t) 2.0 in addition to the 30 tonne behemoth known as ASCOD.

It may be that CVR(t) 2.0 cannot justify its existence, but I think you were persuaded that if such a vehicle were needed then bronco could make a good case for itself……….?

February 12, 2012 6:53 pm

@ Ant

I think you may have something there. But wouldn’t the suspension have to be locked to keep the tracks in tension. Skidsteers have no suspension as such relying on their tyres. If the vehicle had diff locks (it would have to) then losing a track wouldn’t be to problematic. Um. Going to have a think.

paul g
February 12, 2012 7:09 pm

@ x, it’s called a neutral turn, get it wrong though and you can throw a track, which is normally followed by a decent cuff to the back of the head!

b, if i remember rightly BAe followed your suggestion with viking, gave the final prototypes to the royals and then made over a hundred modifications based on their feedback.

I wonder if the CET was ahead of it’s time with it’s rocket launched self recovery anchor?

February 12, 2012 7:24 pm

@ PaulG

Ta muchly. Couldn’t remember for the life of me.

@ Jedibeeftrix

Why does the vehicle have to fit in one container? Let’s build it from modules that fit into a 20TEU. So for an 8×8 vehicle we have a module for each pair of wheels, a module for the tub etc. I am assured there is always host nation theatre in support. Drop the modules off and then crane them into position…….. ;)

February 12, 2012 7:26 pm

@ PaulG re Viking buying

Better 100 mods to a real prototype vehicle than starting with a blank sheet every time.

February 12, 2012 7:38 pm

@ Paul G and X and whomever else is interested,

I just remember back when I was researching that article on the TSR2 and the fact that the cockpit was designed by a committee of managers etc, rather than being designed by a group of pilots.

I can understand having the overall specifications laid out by government and the higher end of the MoD (for example “we need a new vehicle to do x y and z), with the engineers doing the initial basic design work (“it’ll need this sort of shape and that sort of engine to be able to achieve x y and z), but at some point you have to turn to the end users and say “right, how are you going to use this piece of kit in the field? Would it be a problem if we put this knob over here and that pipe over there?”.

If only Microsoft would try this using ordinary people (not gadget gurus/knobheads) to help them design windows, then maybe putting a powerpoint presentation together would be a little less like having your f**king teeth extracted.

February 12, 2012 8:02 pm

@ Chris B

You are preaching to the choir!! :)

As I said get all the infantry RSMs, a handful of REME SNCOS, et al and a selection of 8×8 vehicles all in one place for a week. Problem solved.

I know when the MoD does trial vehicles with the troops but…..

February 12, 2012 8:04 pm

I agree there are lots of problems and whether they are solvable to an acceptable degree is a moot point.
Steering mechanism would change on application of tracks: you would have to lock the steering, and then split the transmission left and right to control the tracks.
I assume an 8*8 has the ability to lock some or all diffs however not in the way we would want.
Track tension will change with wheel motion and also pressure, so compared to a normal tank a tensioner with more play would be needed.
The complexity will end up greater than a current wheeled arrangement, which is more than tracked already, so whether the cost will be worth it will become a factor.
I wonder whether a Warthog type split with a front and back part (both 4*4 and articulated) would be easier to manage Over Tyre Tracks with steering on?
Hold on a minute.. to pick up your modularity point above, you could have different rear ends for different purposes too.

February 12, 2012 8:18 pm

@all, I must admit the idea of over the tyre tracks looks very appealing, making an 8*8 into a “4 track” would seem to give us the best of both worlds. Does anyone have an info into track lifetime?

February 12, 2012 8:20 pm

@ Ant

I find stuff like that to be very interesting. I like to push this sort of tech’

February 12, 2012 8:24 pm

What is the warthogs road performance like compared to other tracked vehicles and wheel vehicles. Is the warthog as well protect across the range as say a Stryker vehicle for things other than ied.

I like the track over the wheel idea.

February 12, 2012 8:34 pm
February 12, 2012 8:35 pm

@ X – “Why does the vehicle have to fit in one container?”

No problem with the idea of splitting vehicles, for airlift as well as ISO constraints. The warthog being a case in point.

But 2.3m width does seem quite important.

February 12, 2012 8:37 pm

@ Mark

February 12, 2012 8:46 pm

@ Jedibeeftrix

Well if it is modular the container’s length (6.1 meters for a TEU) is the maximum width….

February 12, 2012 9:02 pm

Remote drive some of these from the back of an SV Scout

– that’s driver, commander, gunner? and a remote driver
– then you still need a sensor fusion guy, and can fit in a sniper or a Javelin team in the back if you want to

At three and half minutes you can observe a sensor tower, taller than Fennec’s
– so that’s wheels and tracks for you, combined?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
February 12, 2012 9:02 pm

Could the 7.5 and 15 tonne requirement be combined? As was discussed during the CVR(T) debate, there is a prototype Bronco which has separable front and rear units. Front unit similar to the CVR(T) capabilities, rear unit attached it becomes a IFV, Mortar carrier, SAM /ATGW Carrier?

February 12, 2012 9:04 pm

More than likely the Stryker will be better protected – sloped surfaces and no windows. It weighs more and has similar weapons/troop carriage so that weight may well be additional protection.

February 12, 2012 9:47 pm

Why when we talk about high mobility wheeled vehicles does everybody jump to 8 x 8 things like the Saladin did very well with only six – which reduces complexity / vehicle length and weight. Saladin etc came in at about 10 tons.

Not suggesting a re hash but Modern materials engines etc could produce a huge increase in protection levels / armament for the same weight/ 15 tons.

Just a thought….

Once you leave behind the 7.5 ton bracket, Everyone seems intent on galloping off up to striker 20 tons and above size.

Brian Black
Brian Black
February 12, 2012 10:02 pm

Assuming a four infantry battalion MRB, perhaps a reasonable trade off between tracks, wheels, weight and dimensions might be – one armoured battalion with upgraded Warrior, and one mechanised battalion with Bulldog (later replaced with an ASCOD APC) to provide the heavyweight protection and tracked mobility; and two battalions with Bushmaster as the primary troop carrier, to provide the flexibility and ease of deployment that comes with smaller, lighter wheeled vehicles. It’s a well tried and tested vehicle – and aside from the personnel carrier, the single and twin-cab cargo varients might fulfill the OUVS requirements too.

Mike W
February 12, 2012 10:05 pm

“DROPS have also been used quite often for deploying small vehicles including CVR(T), the Balkans especially made use of this method.”

This is not perhaps centrally related to the discussion but I read somewhere that the remaining Leyland and Foden DROPS vehicles will be withdrawn from service by the end of 2014 (coinciding with the end of our active engagement in the Afghan campaign?)

The original plan, apparently, was for a replacement through the NAVP (Non-Articulated Vehicle Programme). However, not much seems to be happening as far as that programme is concerned and I am not sure how the gap created by loss of the DROPS vehicles will be filled. It is an essential vehicle. Perhaps the EPLS version of MAN will be used for the role but there aren’t that many of them. Anyone any idea what is happening to the NAVP programme?

February 12, 2012 10:32 pm

I don’t like the idea of constraining combat vehicle size to ISO TEU-20 dimensions personally; I am all for levering the hell out of civvy container expertise for logistics and non-combat roles – be that containerised hospitals or HQ,s.

To me, without the benefit of Swaravski crystal testicles, the question remains as to how we afford a heavy to medium tracked, and a medium to light wheeled capability with existing in service or available vehicle types. Should we solidify around a single armoured brigade with the heavier tracked stuff and only 4 MRB with mostly wheeled?

If we did that, and kept Vikings for 3 Cdo, and Warthogs for 16 AAB (e.g high mobility type “protected mobility” in the two “intervention” brigades”) the big question to me then is would we really go with tracked medium armour in the shape of FRES Scout – or would we be better off going the French / Italian route by having a wheeled AFV in the armoured recce role?

In which case would the investment in FRES SV Ascod 2 family be rendered as lost sunk costs, utilised where possible (sensors, optics, turret, vehicle electronics) in a wheeled vehicle, or levered to the max to replace Warrior instead of upgrading???

February 12, 2012 10:41 pm

Jed said “Should we solidify around a single armoured brigade with the heavier tracked stuff and only 4 MRB with mostly wheeled?”

Well that is what I have been saying. Return to 3 infantry battalions per brigade. Concentrate Warrior, a full t58 Chally 2 regiment, and a FRR into one armoured brigade; so all the infantry is in Warrior and then buy an off the shelf vehicle to fill any gaps. This brigade would do nothing but armoured for 3 to 4 years. That would leave 6 brigades for the peacekeeping/UN/COIN stuff on a 6 months away in 3 years rotation pattern. These would be in the Bushmaster/RG3x whatever.

February 12, 2012 10:48 pm

@ Jed re ASCOD FRR

Forgot the armour not in the armoured brigade. For FRR outside the armoured brigade switch them over to ASCOD as can be afforded. (The FRR in the armoured brigade gets dibs on ASCOD.) The MBT reigments get some MBTSs for training with the view to being able to step up one T58 if needed to reinforce the armoured brigade. And when deployed find them a vehicle either spare Scimitars (if available) or even Bulldogs……

February 12, 2012 10:51 pm

Ant – those nice Aussie chaps certainly seem taken with over the tire tracks, certainly makes the idea of using them, or at least testing them on skid steerable wheeled 8 X 8’s a very interesting proposition!

Brian Black
Brian Black
February 12, 2012 11:05 pm

I think you’re right that cost is the big question, Jed. I don’t see filling battalions with expensive 8×8 AFVs as being a realistic prospect; though an 8×8 in its light configuration could serve a light wheeled battalion well for roles such as mortar carrier or fire support. But we have moved into this era of demanding full force protection, we do need to bring something in.
I wouldn’t personally advocate removing the heavy tank and IFV component from the brigades – I don’t see the benefit from setting up another brigade structure to hold those assets separately. However, I think we could make do with one Warrior battalion per brigade and have three light protected wheeled battalions, as the most cost effective solution.

February 13, 2012 12:41 am

X and Brian

I am all for the “four square” brigade, battalions and regiments composing 4 companies or squadrons and a ‘1 in 4’ roulement, and I am one of those radicals who would be happy to have heavy forces mostly retained in a well organised, well trained and well funded reserve force :-)

February 13, 2012 12:56 am

“well organised, well trained and well funded reserve force”

Know where we can find one? :)

I’m actually an avocate of leaning to the other side, having a heavy armour component assigned to the mech brigade at Battalion/Regiment level. This gives them a heavy local reserve as a ready reaction force without having to go all the way to higher command for a counterstrike or spoiling attack. Bad points are probably increased logistics, removing one of the “role” subunits for the armour, which might make it less capable in it’s niche and dispersion of your armour.

Guess it’s a trade off. Flexibility and reaction speed vs specialization and force concentration.

February 13, 2012 8:45 am

@ Jed – “I don’t like the idea of constraining combat vehicle size to ISO TEU-20 dimensions personally”

Nor I, to focus on the TEU-20 is to miss the point of the convergent benefits.

It is the width that matters in TEU terms, but that width is far more valuable than just TEU based logistics.

I am rapidly becoming more sympathetic to the BVS10 or warthog type vehicles, particularly their use in the intervention brigades because their convergent benefits (i.e. increased mobility), will get them to theatre faster and decrease their dependence on logistics support.

February 13, 2012 9:29 am

@ Jed

No I see “my” model armoured brigade as a traditional cav + 3 batts + 1 arty reg set up reinforced with a FRR (light cav) and extra guns. Armoured warfare is too complex and too expensive for part timers to take the lead on. Concentrate the heavy kit in one place and give its soldiers time and training to excel. Until jetpacks and plasma rifles come along we can’t do without armour just in case. But we can’t afford masses of it. What I am thinking about is a GW1 Lite solution. Mixing heavy armoured tracks and 4×4 MRAPs in the same formation isn’t a good idea. Yes before some bright spark chirps up I know that is how the UK mech brigades were organised. But a mismatch in firepower and mobility, even if that is used as a reserve, is a unbalanced force. What do we do under MRB if an armoured force is needed? Collect all the armoured batts from each MRB transport them to one place so they can exercise together for a month, put on them ships on for another two months, and hope it all works at the other end? I think considering the speed of war now as demonstrated in GW2 there is good chance the war could be over. Or I am over investing in the idea that the reason why the British Army is above average is that trains, trains, and trains some more? Or are putting less emphasis on training because it doesn’t fit the rather odd MRB model?

February 13, 2012 3:01 pm

“The images below show a couple of instances where small vehicles can get to places that would be denied to larger vehicles.”

See, I’m a big fan of small vehicles, but in that instance with Fennek, surely a CEV could make that MBT passable in 20 minutes?

“With tunable protection these hard limits can be bent a little. The German Puma, for example, uses a modular armour concept, the base vehicle is designed to be transported in the A400 with additional armour carried in follow on aircraft. It is most unlikely that a vehicle will speed down the aircraft ramp and get stuck in straight away so allowing some time to assemble the armour add-ons is a sensible and pragmatic decision.”

Cheating no?
You can fit three hundred challengers in a lynx, as long as everything but the cup holders can fly down on seperate flights.
As we move towards bigger but fewer transport assets, theres less scope for modular transportation, it still exists of course.

I still struggle to see the case for CatD
It just ends up looking like a worst of both worlds. Too heavy to be sneaky, and too light to survive a proper punch up.
The C’s look fairly nifty though, and a fair guess at what a modern CVRT would be.

February 13, 2012 3:54 pm

@ DominicJ,

it’s always easy to criticise others*, but I am horrified that those 2 Fennecs are using such a canalised piece of ground which has clearly judging by track marks been used dozens of times before. It’s crying out for the Taliban to put an IED in there. I wouldn’t try to improve it with a CEV, I’d get a CEV if one was available to create 20 more openings in that berm.

* that’s me criticising, not you.

February 13, 2012 4:29 pm

I was going to mention it looked dangerous/suicidal, but am trying to avoid starting sentances with “If I was a terrorist” :)

February 13, 2012 6:07 pm

@James, Dominic

Armour Barma. It’s the way forward.

Seriously though, sometimes Stupid Shit™ happens. Mistakes are made, people get lazy etc etc

But often if a channelled route is taken, in fact nearly always, its either because it has been cleared or someone else has gone over it first.

They teach you a lot of stuff on OPTAG about getting channelled, obvious routes etc but sometimes the obvious routes are the safest because they are the ones the locals use all the time, several times an hour.

You just need to get to know your AO and what seems retarded to an outsider you know is almost certainly safe.

It’s all a balance of risk. As you no doubt know.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 13, 2012 7:59 pm

I think the 19 ton limit for airdropping is interesting. 2 fantasy vehicles would meet that. I still like the Alvis Stormer (12.7 tons?). An updated version with the unmanned 40mm CTA turret +2012 IED armour upgrade, would be useful for UK mobile forces.
For the Royal Marines, an updated Vickers Valkyr (10.7 tons?) again with unmanned 40mm CTA turret & 2012 IED protection.
Given the decline of UK helicopter numbers, if the Gov wakes up & orders new helis, do we need something bigger than Chinook? MI26T can lift 20 tons, for example. I once wanted a BAE 146 military variant fitted with 4 Pegasus for STOVL operations. Had a lie down afterwards.
Oh, on rail, should the UK rebuild its Victorian railways to the European loading gauge? (1ft wider & higher).

February 13, 2012 8:25 pm

Requirement check time again.
John Hartley,

Why CT40?
Why unmanned turret?
What is 2012 IED armour upgrade? Modern IED protective systems?
What role will it fill?

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 13, 2012 8:37 pm

CT40 as it is being purchased for UK armed forces. Unmanned turret as it is lighter.
Many firms offer IED upgrades for existing armoured vehicles. The Israelis are good at this.
In Iraq, the RMs had to borrow armour as they lacked it themselves. The Valkyr would give mobile amphibious firepower. Is that so bad?
Stormer would replace those Scorpion family variants still in service.

February 13, 2012 9:13 pm

“CT40 because it is effective against enemy armoured vehicles”
“CT40 because it the airbursting ammunition is effective against defilade positions”

Unmanned turret, providing firepower, this is a fire support vehicle then?
The Valkyr (non-withstanding that it is long out of production) is a pretty lightweight vehicle. Uprated IED protection is all very well but it will eat into your payload if you want to stay amphibious (though there may be a way around that) but fundamentally the base vehicle is only proof against anti-personnel mines (Stanag level 1) so would fare badly vs. larger IEDs or anti-tank mines. Does the amphibious capacity actually add anything to what the RM commandoes do? Is a wheeled AFV designed to fulfil the Saxon role suitable for a light force who’s only other armoured vehicle is the spectacularly mobile BvS 210?

The CVR(T) series, of which the Scorpion was one variant, is being replaced by FRES SV at the current time.

I do like the Stormer vehicle. If it could be light enough to be airportable then it could be a useful support vehicle for airborne forces, but for that it really needs to be 10t or less and it is one hell of a niche role. The army seems to think that the FRR role needs a heavily protected, large vehicle to be able to support the necessary ISTAR and radio gear.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 13, 2012 9:26 pm

Is firepower such a bad thing?
I do not want to sound like a salesman for a particular company, but if you look up the websites for Plasan or Ceradyne, you can see there are firms that can provide modern lightweight IED armour solutions.
If you are a marine, then having amphibious armoured firepower backing you up, is surely not a bad thing.
Arnhem 1944 might have been differrent had amphibious armoured mobile firepower been available. Even in todays Afghanistan, amphibious firepower allows rapid deployment to take the Taliban by surprise.
40mm CTA is not 120mm firepower, but it is better than a .50 Browning, or even 3omm that our troops are stuck with at the moment.

February 13, 2012 11:07 pm

Firepower is good. Is it the right firepower? Firepower optimised in one direction over another, more useful direction is firepower wasted. Does CT40 deliver enough HE to be useful, or would your hypothetical vehicle be better off with a 90mm throwing heavier HE, or a faster-firing 30mm backed up with ATGW and more 30mm ammo than a 40mm?

Above all else I seek to caution against picking an answer then trying to shape the question around it. Therefore I would suggest that you define the role you wish to fulfil, then identify which systems offer a suitable solution.

An amphibious fire support vehicle is of no special utility when the rest of the formation relies on landing craft. If the amphibious fire support vehicle gets stuck easily on soft ground then it is no use to a formation where the rest of the vehicles can get through. From my interpretation of the role you propose the Valkyr for, it is not suitable on the grounds of mobility and protection (the aforementioned Stanag L1 limit – very difficult to improve that to the level of modern vehicles without a lot of weight)

If you seek to define a fire support vehicle for the Royal Marines, I would propose that:
1) It should be similarly mobile on land and sea as the Viking.
2) It should carry a weapon system appropriate to its role.
3) It should have modern levels of protection against fragments, small arms and blast, with provision to fit anti-RPG measures.

Operation Market Garden might have been very different for any number of reasons – Better bridging, logistics, communications, air-landed armour would all have had an impact.

Lastly, RARDEN is much maligned, but it’s right up there for a powerful weapon for a lightweight platform. Still.
Some modification to the feed system and modification to use more modern ammunition, coupled with modern fire control, and it would be pretty effective in the land environment.

February 14, 2012 12:07 am

I think what mr fred is trying to say is that there is no “one size fits all” solution, and that fixating on a particular weapon without considering the job of the vehicle is not the best of design processes. For example, if the job of your vehicle is anti-MBT, putting a 40mm on it and sending it off is suicidal, or if it is a fire support vehicle, a 40mm is pretty anemic for indirect fire support.

So it might be a better design process to decide what you want your IFV to do first, then put in a weapon system that is best for the job rather than going for a weapon system for it’s “cool” factor.


From the looks of the tracks, it seems to be a piece of very well travelled ground. I, for one, won’t hesitate to use it. Besides, muddy ground is not exactly the best place to place an IED, digging through mud is a pain, not conducive to plant and run. Not to say it can’t happen, just that the chances of it is lower.

As Phil said, balance of risk. In fact, knocking half a dozen more holes does not guarantee that the new paths will be IED free either.

February 14, 2012 4:17 am

Look up Fort Hood (home of the US Army III Corps) on Google Maps. Massive rail infrastructure.

February 14, 2012 11:42 am

There was also a thought thats a its, if not IEDable, pretty easily rangeable.

It may of course be that the risk of an RPG ambush on a limited is considerably less than the risk posed by a mine on a larger or multi break situation.

“For the Royal Marines, an updated Vickers Valkyr (10.7 tons?) again with unmanned 40mm CTA turret & 2012 IED protection.”
Why not just stick that on Warthog/Viking? Seems a bit excessive to add further vehicles.

Lets limit the RM to Warthog.
From my very limited knowledge, they’d need a common front section, and then rear sections designed for troops, commanders, ambulance, sigint, comms ect, and fire support.
40mm CTA and 120mm mortar seem a fair combo to meet fire support.
40mm CTA might not be ideal(personaly I think it whips the llamas ass), but we’ve spent a fortune on it, might as well use it.
There is a slight problem with mounting a direct fire weapon so far back, you’d be pushed to operate like a battleship with broadsides.

Since the RM’s current fire support is limited to HMGs and GMGs on vehicles, it appears a giant step up.

“Besides, muddy ground is not exactly the best place to place an IED, digging through mud is a pain, not conducive to plant and run.”

You could offset it, rather than underneath, plant one to the side, not going to have to be big to ruin a fennek

Anyway, my original point was supossed to be, although there are terrain limitations that help smaller vehicles, in that they can squeeze through gaps, we can also make bigger gaps for bigger vehicles in pretty short order.

February 14, 2012 12:02 pm

@ Observer,

it may be a different heritage or experience. I’m against using the same piece of terrain twice. In South Armagh we used to make new holes through blackthorn hedges – at the cost of yet more ripped flesh – rather than use holes we’d used before. I bought from my own money 8 pairs of secateurs for my Troop for just that purpose, as the Army didn’t think we needed gardening equipment on our CES. Perhaps in the Singapore jungle you don’t get that sort of choice (I’m not jungle knowledgeable).

February 14, 2012 12:12 pm


Might want to look up Google maps on Singapore.

You’re going to need demo charges to cut through local terrain.

Though infantry are also taught to fire a pair of 80mm LAWs at the same spot in the wall to make a “non-standard opening”.

February 14, 2012 12:24 pm


… which come to think of it, may also be why we tend to use same terrain twice. After all, there is a practical limit to how many rockets you can carry.

And if we had to invade Malaya (heaven forfend), closed terrain isn’t really a problem. Remember the firebreaks in rubber plantations? Lots of lanes between trees, no guarentee that an enemy will take a particular “lane”.

John Hartley
John Hartley
February 14, 2012 6:36 pm

Can a Warthog/Viking take a 40mm CTA turret?
I am not fixated on either the Valkyr or the 40mm CTA, but I think that combo, or something similar, could be useful. The history of warfare is littered with examples of people saying we will never need that, then a little while later discovering that we do.
Not every UK armoured vehicle needs to be amphibious, but it is handy to have some for the terrain that suits them. I think some sort of amphib fire support vehicle, to back up the warthog/Viking is a good idea.
40mm CTA is not perfect in all conditions, but seems a good general purpose weapon.
Surely the lesson of the last 15 years, is for deployable armour & fire support.
Surprised no one has commented on whether the UK needs a larger helicopter than the Chinook (MI26T or Sikorsky CH53K).

February 14, 2012 6:51 pm

@ John Hartley

The smallest turret designed for 40mm CTA is the automated turret for the French recce vehicle which weighs about a tonne

I presume this is to much for the warthog/Viking as a top mounting but it might be possible as a stand alone special trailer unit in the same way that mortars are mounted on the rear trailer

Probably if ones going that route one would look at the Thales naval air defence 40mm CTA proposal and build on that

February 14, 2012 6:52 pm

@ John H

What you want is this…….

February 14, 2012 7:20 pm

Actually, new news on the Bronco/Warthog next gen. They chopped the weight down 20% to about 16t and reduced the anti-RPG armour weight down 98% without losing function. Chicken wire armour instead of solid metal bars. And the 2 sections can now be independently steered. Reattachment takes 30min.

paul g
February 14, 2012 9:48 pm

@ observer, i actually got to ride in the bronco in 2000, STK were showing it off at a mil trade show, thought it was a good bit of kit then. After that some bonkers crazy bloke took us for a ride in the light buggy, proper pooped my pants!!

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
February 14, 2012 10:25 pm

@ Observer – do you have any links about the changes to the Bronco?

@ paul g – was that the Spider?
you can even get a hybrid-electric drive version.

February 15, 2012 12:38 pm

GJ it’s not the Spider that impresses me, it’s what they managed to cram onto it :)

A 120mm motar.

Can’t find the “latest” news online, but I managed to dig up a pic of the “chickenwire” anti-RPG Warthog from last Sep.

A fair bit down the post.

Sorry, think the online news will catch up soon.

February 15, 2012 12:48 pm

Hi Observer,

Thanks for that “Tarian was developed as a lightweight modular system designed to replace the traditional bar or slat armor at a weight saving of up to 98%. ”
– I just saw a photo of it on some other AFV (can’t remember which)
– good things obviously catch on fast

February 15, 2012 2:06 pm

“They chopped the weight down 20% to about 16t and reduced”

Might actually become amphibious again in British Army spec.

Any news on a putative BVS12?

paul g
February 15, 2012 2:29 pm

don’t think it was the spider as it had no windscreen, memory a bit faded now but think engine was in the back, somewhere i have a photo of me standing next to it, The demo was on longmoor and the driver would go at 60+mph on the sand tracks through the trees missing them by inches!!!

paul g
February 15, 2012 2:46 pm

my mistake it was a spider, just seen photos on observers link, the iron dome system on the drops pallet, looked interesting certainly more versatile if it’s not permanantly attatched to a chassis. Likewise about time we invested in the HIMARS system as well

February 15, 2012 2:54 pm

RE “about time we invested in the HIMARS system as well”
– of course we had to reinvent the wheel
– got nothing, as a result

February 15, 2012 3:29 pm

Can anyone remember the name of the Israeli man portable Anti-missile system? Can’t quite recall it, but I remember it was developed after reports from Operation Cast Lead of infantry being pinned behind friendly tanks by RPG barrages and blast effects.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
February 15, 2012 4:02 pm

@ ACC – I thought of the Tarian when Observer mentioned the Chicken wire.

@ Paul g – I noticed the palletised Iron Drome too. That DROPS system is very flexible…

@ Observer – I too can’t find much on the New Gen Bronco, just this press release:
“Bronco New-Gen
The Bronco New-Gen is the newest iteration of the battle proven Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier, and provides high protection and mobility with increased internal space but lower all up weight. The Bronco New-Gen’s V-shaped front and rear cabin hulls are designed to be stiffer and lighter with greater spaciousness to accommodate various crew and equipment configurations. Its rear cabin is designed to be modular and can be quickly interchanged for a wide spectrum of missions. As the lightest vehicle in the family, the Bronco New-Gen offers growth potential in payload and protection to survive a multitude of IEDs and landmines.”

February 15, 2012 4:41 pm

GJ, you found more than I did online. What I had was printed. And the only scanners I’m very familiar with are at checkout counters.

Which are operated by checkout staff… :/

February 15, 2012 6:08 pm


Are you talking about Spike? Even Spike-ER is manportable (by a team) as evidenced by its use by Finnish Marines in coastal defence.

February 15, 2012 6:25 pm

Sorry! misread ” Israeli man portable Anti-missile system?”

paul g
February 15, 2012 7:14 pm

if bronco is kept, i’d would like to see the drops trailer purchased. Not the most obvious choice (he says quickly before the thread is awash with 120mm suggestions) I just think it could add so much in resupply, in fact i think it should be out with them in the stan now.

February 15, 2012 7:58 pm


No argument there, it’s basically a fast self-unloading trailer. Run in, drop the load, run back out. In Mogadishu, UN food supplies kept being hijacked. An armed trailer per convoy would have helped a lot then. Come to think of it, didn’t convoy vehicle parks get torched 2 or 3 times in alfganistan?

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
February 15, 2012 8:00 pm

@ Paul g – Agreed. I’m intrigued by the new gen Bronco mentioned above – “Its rear cabin is designed to be modular and can be quickly interchanged for a wide spectrum of missions.”

Probably means swapping entire rear unit but may mean rear unit itself is modular; a DROP pallet could carry a lot of things – mortars, light 105mm gun, VL missiles (SAM and SSM?), recon unit with mast/sensors; list is endless really.

February 15, 2012 9:09 pm


I don’t see any difficulty configuring the rear cabin for most jobs, they have a STORM version out that can be used for recce, a trailer version for cargo, and the motar version is basically an enclosed flatbed with some bolting attachments to the floor, so not much problem mounting man-portable missiles to the deck instead, though I think the 105mm’s design and recoil might make it unsuitable. There is always the 106mm RR though.

February 15, 2012 9:47 pm

@ Gareth J re Bronco & 120mm mortar

February 15, 2012 10:00 pm


The STK marketing department either needs a bigger budget, or needs to be fired…


February 16, 2012 2:13 pm

“The Bronco New-Gen’s V-shaped front and rear cabin hulls are designed to be stiffer and lighter with greater spaciousness to accommodate various crew and equipment configurations”

I’m sold, i want them, in numbers, tomorrow!

February 16, 2012 3:13 pm


I sense a great marketing in the Force. ;p

I really wonder about V-hulling the thing, it’s going to increase the chance of Warthogs being tipped over, and IIRC, most of the Warthog serious injuries came from being pitched from the turret.

Remember, the V-hull crowd was also the ones who said that the Warthog will not work due to no V-hull. Considering that no new information has come out on its’ performance, the 11 blasts: 0 fatalities last quoted do show that they were a bit wrong in this aspect.

V-hulling also means that some of the track axle is going to be exposed, meaning you’ll end up breaking more axles in IED explosions.

Guess we just have to wait and see how well it does.

February 16, 2012 4:56 pm


To the tactically illiterate (meaning not a soldier); like myself. STK have been turning out some Very useful looking kit for some years! Seems to be ignored in the west due to very high NIH factors.

But you can build a complete armed forces from it’s catalogue, apart from heavy tanks, and aircraft, (and it can fix those for you even if it does not build them)!

February 16, 2012 7:15 pm

@ Observer – “Remember, the V-hull crowd was also the ones who said that the Warthog will not work due to no V-hull. Considering that no new information has come out on its’ performance, the 11 blasts: 0 fatalities last quoted do show that they were a bit wrong in this aspect.”

True, but the extra british gold-plating (read: armour) left it too heavy for 3Cdo requirements.

Maybe this new version won’t have that problem……?