FRES Plus Fries

One of the debating points around FRES Scout is its size and weight.

In order to accommodate the necessary electronics and protective measures the size will increase, hence a 34 tonne scout vehicle but this does put limits on mobility.

Not sure there is a right and wrong answer but having seen the clip below and the benefits of a small vehicle I think we should include the ability to ‘drive thru’ as a Key User Requirement :)

 

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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 15, 2012 9:24 pm

Fairly classic recce tactic: bit of a show and display on the drive through front to get the ooh and aahing going, some of the sneaky boys remove 25 Big Macs from the unguarded walk in side.

I do recall something similar happening at the Parc Margam Services on the M4 on the way back from Castlemartin to Tidworth after Gunnery Camp in 1985, and only ten miles later Ticking Tom’s wagon throwing a track while in the fast lane. Took about an hour to get everything sorted, which royally buggered all of the Friday evening traffic, and Tom was still chomping the last Big Mac when eventually we got going again.

(Can we take 73 other offences into consideration?)

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 16, 2012 9:07 am

whenever i see a CVR(t) i am reminded how much i like the BAE CV21:

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120509/DEFREG01/305090001/BAE-Scouts-Reactions-New-Lightweight-Tracked-Tank

How about them for the three orphaned light cavalry regiments in the Adaptable Force?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 16, 2012 10:08 am

keeping nine (of ten) cavalry (?) regiments was a surprise, i would have expected it to drop to six given the three RF heavy brigades, but since we have these three extra light cavalry (BRR?) regiments in the AF they will need to remain affordable to equip and run.*

that means no ASCOD, but is jackal really a viable end-point?

a light-cavalry regiment with light-armour has the ability to provide a little muscle to either 3Cdo or 16AAB when required, what does a squadron of jackals really add?

unless someone who knows what they’re talking about (i.e. red trousers) can tell me why BAE CV21 is a rubbish idea of no relevance to any FF2020 cavalry regiment, i want some!!!!!

* especially since the carter review is adamant that the success of FF2020 will be determined by closely integrated reserves, and i don’t think yeomanry regiments will be getting multi-million dollar wundertanks.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 16, 2012 10:39 am

Jedi, cavalry rgmnts are so small that cutting them does not contribute much
– did RT say 480 in each?

Maybe there is an expectation of operating in fluid situations over large areas? With 3-4 bdes to commit, a bigger number of cavalry units that can operate independently has value

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 16, 2012 10:41 am

Jedi, you were unsure about the total number? One rgmnt is still (to be) dedicated to providing replacement crews to regular formations

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 16, 2012 10:56 am

i thought it was the TA yeomanry regiments that were to provide replacement crews, not the regular cavalry regiments?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 16, 2012 11:03 am

yes… so what is the total total (in FF2020)?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 16, 2012 11:30 am

according to gabbie it is nine.

3x Armoured – RF
3x Heavy Cav (BRF) – RF
+
3x Light Cav (still brigade Recon, or just Cav?) – AF

Not entirely clear where these three AF Light Cav Regiments will sit, or what their primary/secondary function will be.

The lack of clarity makes them seem like rather vulnerable orphans at present.

Mike W
July 16, 2012 11:49 am

jedibeeftrix and TD

Unfortunately, the CV21 appears little more than a design at the moment. Money has been obtained by BAE to build a representative, rolling demonstrator demonstrator later this year but a fully-fledged one has not yet been given the go ahead. At the moment I think BAE are simply floating the idea and weighing up reactions.

Howevever, I agree with jedi that the vehicle would be ideal in the light cavalry regiments in the Adaptable Force. It certainly could provide a little muscle to either 3Cdo or 16AAB when required. I really cannot see the much, much heavier FRES SV Scout vehicle being appropriate to supporting such units.

Before Red Trousers comes along and dismisses the idea in his usual dashing, cavalier-like fashion and firing verbal pyrotechnics in all directions, on the grounds that CV21 is too light, too small, not spacious enough, let me just say that it weighs 17 tonnes and is 2.7 m wide, as opposed to the 8 tonnes and 2.24 m width of the present Scimitar.

x
x
July 16, 2012 11:56 am

We have 3 types of cavalry regiment now all with own vehicle. One size fits all soon went out the window didn’t it? :)

I supposed that had happened with the SA80. One weapon to do it all. Then we had the belt feed for support. And then a year or two into Afghanistan along came a 7.62 for reach.

Makes me wonder with modern logistical systems if economies of scale pay if what is being bought doesn’t fit need.

Tubby
Tubby
July 16, 2012 12:25 pm

Wasn’t there a piece in an official MoD publication on the Scimitar 2, which mentioned that in the long term there was a plan of rolling upgrades, which in effect meant that by the time you got to the end of the programme you would have Scimitar 2’s which are effectively completly new vehicles?

Jim
Jim
July 16, 2012 12:55 pm

You also have to remember the other traditional cavalry roles, of rear area security, flank protection and convoy escort. Not ideal tasks for CH2 and FRES SV, but Jackal fits the bill.

I would also return a Jackal equipped cavalry squadron to Cyprus alongside a protected infantry battalion in Foxhounds as a forward presence.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 16, 2012 12:57 pm

RE: One size fits all. I’ve always liked the CVR(T) family – when I was a kid I used to imagine whole armies equiped with them.

I later thought you could do the same with the Stormer; given the same armour/armament of the Dutch AIFV I thought it could be cheaper, lighter and more flexible than Warrior.

Childish thoughts and going against the flow with the focus on IED’s…

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 16, 2012 1:03 pm

Seems that I am confused about the cavalry plans: thought that heavy and armoured were the same? Surely the distinction between tankies and cavalry will be maintained, even though they are lumped together at the Corps level; Household Cavalry/Royal Armoured Corps strength stood at 5,490 as of May, which was 20+% of the respective total for infantry.
– a straight division (which one cannot do) would produce 11 formations

Mike W
July 16, 2012 1:10 pm

@x

“Makes me wonder with modern logistical systems if economies of scale pay if what is being bought doesn’t fit need.”

I agree and would say that what does not fit ALL reconnaisance needs is the FRES SV Scout.

@Tubby

“which in effect meant that by the time you got to the end of the programme you would have Scimitar 2′s which are effectively completely new vehicles?”

Yes, probably correct but in CV21 you would be getting a new vehicle that would be much heavier and therefore roomier than Scimitar 2 (I, think. Anyone going to prove me wrong?)

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 16, 2012 1:29 pm

@ ACC – “Surely the distinction between tankies and cavalry will be maintained, even though they are lumped together at the Corps level”

I believe so yes, but:

Armoured = Type 56
> 3x Cha2 squadrons
> 8x Recon Ascod (platoon?)

Cavalry (RF)
> now = 3x CVR(t)
> future = 3x ASCOD

Cavalry (AF)
> now = ????
> future = Jackal

(warning – inept understanding of the details supplied by Gabbie – off the top of my head)

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 16, 2012 1:37 pm

One problem with CV21 – too wide for ISO container…

Being serious – doesn’t match TD’s break points for future recce vehicles:

“Keeping a vehicle 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.”

” 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.”

https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/07/the-future-of-the-british-army-08-istar-and-formation-reconnaissance-03-a-not-so-sensible-future/

martin
Editor
July 16, 2012 1:46 pm

I understand the need for the heavier FRES SV but to would be nice to keep some lighter platforms especially for air mobility. Would 16AAB be a good home for them?

CV21 looks great especially if some one else will pay for the R&D and we can just buy a few. However did we not just pay for an extensive upgrade of 100 or so CVR(t). Could we not continue to use them?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 16, 2012 2:00 pm

@ jedi, that matches my understanding

@ swimming trunks: Did we find any such ““Keeping a vehicle 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.”
– I think Jed wrote his piece on the Warthog front unit afterwards (what a lucky coincidence that planting of palm oil/ rubber trees is done at intervals matching the container width)

@ martin, I think it was only about 55, other models too, not just the recce wagon, included… there’s the 16 AAB seen to (they are not amphibious, so RM “armour” will need to be something else)

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 16, 2012 5:57 pm

@ Mike W,

you misunderstand me. I’m a fan of smaller, lighter, nimbler, quieter, and sod the weather protection for proper recce tasks. Jackal and downwards, even unto the Holy Grail of the Chenowth Desert Strike Vehicle (there are some issues with that one, particularly in deep wet snow, but as a concept nothing some better barge boards and a different diff lock would not begin to sort out).

You do need a proportion of the force in something with some armour and a stabilised weapon with counter AFV punch – call that a FRES SV, CV21, CVR(T) 2, whatever, and those units associated with RF, although I am uncomfortable only having those wagons in RF, and the lighter stuff elsewhere. I think RF would benefit with a Jackal / DSV Regiment as well. Jackal would be top end for the rest, DSV an alternative, with perhaps a heavier recce force for the lead AF Brigade.

So basically, swap a Jackal Regiment into RF, swap a FRES SV / CV21 / CVR(T) 2 Regiment into AF, and the job’s a good ‘un.

You’d also need a cadre to provide proper recce for 16 AA Bde and 3 Cdo Bde – that should be Jackal / DSV based, in my view. Something airportable and LC-able without too much hassle, and which has the terrain match for areas where those 2 brigades go. Get a squadron para-trained to provide a feed in for 16 AA Bde BRF, and a squadron Commando trained as well. Those two squadrons could also be used as the in-house recce test bed for soldiers wanting eventually to go to SF or SRR, although of course both of those units would correctly remain open to all Arms. But good recce soldiers seem to have the skills, attributes and character that SRR is looking for, in the same way that the SFSG is now used as a test run for full blown SF selection.

No verbal pyrotechnics there….

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 16, 2012 6:58 pm

@ acc – yeah – liked that idea. Personaly I think a two part tracked articulated vehicle with a front cab similar to a Scimitar or Weasel which can operate on its own but can also brind along a rear cab, depending on the mission: sensor mast, ATGM’s, mortar, dismount scouts, etc.

Mike W
July 16, 2012 9:22 pm

@Red Trousers

“You misunderstand me. I’m a fan of smaller, lighter, nimbler, quieter, and sod the weather protection for proper recce tasks. Jackal and downwards, etc.”

Yes, my apologies. I do remember now you writing in favour of the lighter, nimbler stuff (on several occasions actually). It is just that I also seem to remember you writng about the deficiencies of the CVR(T)and I think those criticisms included one about cramped space or something similar. Look, you have all the knowledge and technical expertise of someone who served in the Cavalry (I would imagine) for many years and are likely to floor me whatever arguments I put forward concerning recce. It is certainly not my area of expertise. It is just that on seeing the articles about CV21, I thought, “Yes, that sounds just about right, lighter than the FRES SV, twice the weight of CVR(T)(more spacious too) and far more substantial than something as flimsy as the Jackal.” Not very scientific, I know.

“No verbal pyrotechnics there….”

No, remarkably restrained and serious. However, this time you have got me wrong. I enjoy your lively, colourful comments. You have a vibrant, dynamic style, reflecting a pretty full life, I would imagine.
Not for me, though. My style is grey, reflecting a certain sobriety but then I was brought up a Methodist!

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 17, 2012 9:15 am

@ Red Trousers “So basically, swap a Jackal Regiment into RF, swap a FRES SV / CV21 / CVR(T) 2 Regiment into AF, and the job’s a good ‘un.”

Would you go the whole hog on an additional light-cav regiment in the AF brigades, or just run the RF brigade BRR with a 2:1 split on sabre squadrons with ASCOD/Jackal?

Would the same logic in reverse; running AF brigade BRR with a 1:2 split on CV21/Jackal?

Jim
Jim
July 17, 2012 9:32 am

jedibeeftrix a 2:1 split is a good call, historically they used to have 2 scorpion to 1 scimitar squadrons for medium and close recce.

Has anyone heard if the HCR will remain with four squadrons one always attached to 16AA? that’s another way to go, have two FRES regiments with an extra squadron for 16 AA and 3 CMDO equipped with Jackals. Of course the RM could bite the bullet and form their own recce squadron separate from the army’s resources.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 17, 2012 9:53 am

RE “Of course the RM could bite the bullet and form their own recce squadron separate from the army’s resources.”
– Warthogs seem to have disappeared from the picture (at least from the Parliamentary answer on inventory; I immediately thought they’ve joined the Navy)
– also, there was a not-easy-to-decipher announcement about the Vikings, on their return from A-stan, being used for training. It did not say “only” but that was easy to read into it

RM has something called Armour Support, but so far the fleet has been “armour” only at a pinch of imagination

Monty
July 18, 2012 2:31 am

As far as SDSR is concerned, there are still a lot of blanks to be filled in. We seem to evolving the Army’s structure into three sizes:
– Heavy armour (tracked): Challenger 2, Warrior 2 and FRES SV ASCOD Scout
– Medium armour (8 x 8 wheeled): FRES UV, FRES UV 40 mm CTA and FRES FSV
– Light armour (4 x 4 wheeled): Jackal, Foxhound and TBC

The benefits of buying new ASCODs versus using existing upgraded Warriors are not clear and I wonder if ASCOD will see the light of day – I don’t believe it has received funding yet. I share the concerns of other TD members who think that it is gradually becoming a light tank and will be used in this way – that being the case why not use suprlus Challenger 2s instead?

I wonder whether we’ll buy something to supplement the Jackal? I’d like to see a Recce version of the Foxhound with a turret and light cannon. I also agree that BAEs new CVR(T) replacement could be a good solution. But let’s not forget, it is still based on the existing, albeit upgraded Scimitar 2 chassis. The increased width is due to modular armour that could easily be removed for transport, which explains slightly increased width.

The big unknown is FRES UV FRES UV 40 mm CTA and FRES FSV. The FRES FSV (something along the lines of the Centauro) could mount a 120 mm gun. Ultimately 8×8 mobility would be less good than a tracked equivalent, but still not bad. As such it could prove to be a very flexible solution. I’d rather have an 8×8 with a 120 mm gun than a tracked vehicle with a 40 mm cannon.

All in all, I like this new force structure. The only thing that worries me is the total number of tanks we will have. It seems like too few.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 18, 2012 9:34 am

@ Mr Fred – “But let’s not forget, it is still based on the existing, albeit upgraded Scimitar 2 chassis. The increased width is due to modular armour that could easily be removed for transport, which explains slightly increased width.”

Your referring to the CV21, right, and not the CVT(t) 2.0 rebuild program?

I’m delighted if so, the only think i don’t like about CV21 is the width thing.

Mr.fred
Mr.fred
July 18, 2012 5:26 pm

That wasn’t me, it was Monty

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
July 19, 2012 12:57 pm

@ Monty 18/07:
Put a turret on Foxhound? Surely anything over and above a simple RWS would add about 50% to the weight (and high up too) making it inherently unstable and top-heavy!!

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
July 19, 2012 12:59 pm

Oh and just to get into the current spirit of posters names, from now on – when James is on a thread – I shall go by the name of “Loon Pants” :-P Highly appropriate, yes?

JustBeef Trousers
JustBeef Trousers
July 19, 2012 1:57 pm

An excellent notion Dave.

Mr. Fred – apologies

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 19, 2012 2:16 pm

@ Loon Pants – someone (Peter?) has come up with the idea of making the most of the Foxhounds modularity and have a rear engined, low body armoured car with turret or RWS. I bookmarked it but can’t access my computer at the moment.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 19, 2012 3:32 pm
Observer
Observer
July 19, 2012 5:19 pm

I can see one problem right off the bat with the CV21.

Is what you’re going to get at the end of the development cycle what you expect going in? I can say I want to design a tank with all the armour of a Challenger with the weight of 8 tons and a width of 2m, and I might even be able to get it all down on paper, but how likely do you think that the hardware is going to match the picture on the can? Only when you finish the production cycle with a working prototype, do you get a working idea of what you will end up with.

And all this on something that has not even been costed to design yet. More “research” dollars going down the drain?

This has yet to even factor in:

1) niche: While the roles of the “light” tank (recce, rear area security etc) are well defined, there is a problem that most of the roles of this proposed toy has already been taken up by other pre-existing platforms that are not near the end of their service life yet, meaning, there is no intent to change horses in mid stream, along with the problem of disposing the “old horses” and the replacement cost of the new ones.

2) market: Is anyone out there in the market for a new scout vehicle? You can have the nicest looking tank on the continent, but unless there is a demand for it, it’s not going to sell, and I’m finding it hard to find anyone who has not already have a mature, fairly young platform in service, or not cash strapped that buying 2nd hand surplus from ex-Warsaw Pact countries is not a better option than funding an experimental design.

So, CV21, yes, nice tank. Sales? Very unlikely.

“Warthogs seem to have disappeared from the picture (at least from the Parliamentary answer on inventory; I immediately thought they’ve joined the Navy)”

Yes, they’re the new submarines. :)

Seriously though, I think they’ll be left in place to be the ANA’s “heavy armour” for a time.

Mike W
July 19, 2012 9:06 pm

@Observer

“I’m finding it hard to find anyone who has not already have a mature, fairly young platform in service, or not cash strapped that buying 2nd hand surplus from ex-Warsaw Pact countries is not a better option than funding an experimental design.”

Really? The CVR(T) family (Scorpion, Scimitar etc.)sold very widely abroad: to the Middle East( Jordan, Oman, Iran, UAE etc.) to SE Asia and the Pacific(Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines etc.) as well as to countries in South America and Europe. I know that some of these states have withdrawn their CVR(T)s but won’t other countries have vehicles coming to the end of their life and in need of replacement? Are any other firms developng a similar type of vehicle? e.g Is ST Singapore plnnaing to supply a new recce vehicle to SE Asian and Pacific countries, for instance?

I think a tracked recce vehicle in the weight range of CV21 might do very well indeed.

Observer
Observer
July 19, 2012 10:50 pm

@Mike

As they say on the prospectus for stocks:

“Past performance does not garuntee future returns.”

The problem is not with quality, as I said, even if you have the prettiest tank on the continent, it still might not sell due to lack of demand.

With the current economic crisis, those countries that are using old equipment in need of upgrading is finding it a little harder to cough up money and a little easier to keep using existing kit until the wheels drop off or buy 2nd hand in what is essentially a buyer’s market, and there is a lot of high end surplus equipment many countries are letting go, again because of the economy.

You pointed out ST Kinetics as an example, yes, they have been “trying” to sell, same problem, no luck. And this is off a production line ready to go mind you, not something still “in design”.

Their offer

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

23 tons instead of 17, and 10km/h slower, but the rest of the stats match closely. If you want an open turret for better sit-awareness or to cut weight, there is a AGL/HMG combo with an open turret. Along with landing bridge and minesweeper variants already in service.

Not outstanding, but usable. Would getting it over 20 tons be a problem?

Observer
Observer
July 19, 2012 10:52 pm

On another note, what’s wrong with using a Scorpion? Old, but it still works.

Mike W
July 20, 2012 6:58 am

@Observer

Thanks very much for your interesting reply.

I’ll have a look at the Wikipedia/Bionix reference when I have a bit of time later.

Mike

Mike W
July 20, 2012 3:43 pm

@Observer

Have now had a look at the website. Seems an interesting vehicle. Was it designed primarily as an Infantry Fighting Vehicle rather than a Reconnaissance vehicle, though? Presumably you are referring to the Bionix II when you talk about it as an alternative to the BAE idea? At 23 tonnes, don’t you think it might be slightly heavy for the light recc vehicle we are talking about?>

Observer
Observer
July 20, 2012 4:38 pm

It was an IFV first I believe. Actually I’m fairly indifferent to it.

Is there a weight class of “recce tank”? Or is that role a function of the ability of a vehicle? I think the latter. Case in point, the world’s most heavily armoured APC, the Namer, by weight, should be classed as an MBT, but since it’s function is troop transport, it is an APC. Likewise, I believe “recce tanks” are not a function of weight, but of the ability to do the job.

Personally though, I’m more a Warthog fan for the recce role. Especially the STORM variant with an extra UCV and control station attached to the back. Nothing beats a suicide recce of an armed UCV proof up to 7.62S. Drive it into the enemy position and count the number of soldiers running around in the chaos trying to look for a heavier weapon. :)

Mike W
July 20, 2012 9:06 pm

@Observer

“Likewise, I believe “recce tanks” are not a function of weight, but of the ability to do the job.” In general terms, you’re probably right. I understand the British used Cromwells as recce vehicles during World War II. However, what about formations that are light (e.g. 16 AA Brigade or 3 Cdo Bde? What do they do about recce? Wouldn’t, say, a FRES SV be incongruous supporting such formations?

“Personally though, I’m more a Warthog fan for the recce role.”

Now you’re talking! You are probably right when you say: “Seriously though, I think they’ll be left in place to be the ANA’s “heavy armour” for a time.” However, if you are right, I wouldn’t be able to really understand the British Army dropping a vehicle like that. The Army will almost certainly have to fight future conflicts in terrain similar to that found in Afghanistan (or in some kind of desert), where the all-terrain ability and protection of the Warthog would prove invaluable. If the rumours are true, a mad decision.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 20, 2012 9:32 pm

RE “be left in place to be the ANA’s “heavy armour” for a time.” However, if you are right, I wouldn’t be able to really understand the British Army dropping a vehicle like that”
– quite agree!
– they were bought because Viking was not up to the task
– should we now have the Viking(only) again, and again (perhaps?) not have anything up to the task?
– and “this” news piece about “Vikings being used for exercises”: are they that knackered, or are they so badly protected that going on ops again is not to be countenanced?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 21, 2012 12:31 pm

perhaps the intention is to return to something that is amphibious, like the viking mk2, rather than our overweight warthog (bronco+) which apparently is not?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
July 21, 2012 1:25 pm

Observer can advise (when he wakes up), RE
“overweight warthog (bronco+) which apparently is not?”
– I think it amphibious in the standard set up, but not very much so with the British TES added armour on it (it can come off, I presume?)

Mike W
July 21, 2012 1:41 pm

and ACC

Yes, I think ACC is correct. It can swim and its swimming speed is given in one or two sources as 5 kph. I think that it might very well be the TES armour that makes it non-amphibious. I think it still has wadeability, though.

If the Army and RM lose Warthog, how long do you think it will be before we encounter a contingency where we need a vehicle with just that kind of all-terrain capability and protection?

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 21, 2012 2:03 pm

cheers both.