The Tank is Dead, Long Live the Tank – Part 5 (Future Protected Vehicles)

Armoured Vehicle

This is a multi-part look at the role of armour in recent conflicts, their relevance in the future and a look at current programmes;

Part 1 – Introduction

Part 2 – Selected examples of recent use

Part 3 – Looking into the crystal ball

Part 4 – SDSR, Army 2020 and the Challenger LEP

Part 5 – Future Protected Vehicle

Part 6 – A Few Ideas on the Future

The MoD, through DSTL, has a vision of what a future armoured vehicle might look like and initiated a research programme called Future Protected Vehicle Capability Vision.

We are looking for highly innovative ways of delivering the same capability as our current Main Battle Tanks, but in a significantly lighter package that is more easily transportable, fuel efficient and less reliant on the supporting military infrastructure.

A potential solution is the use of

Hybrid Electric Drive Technologies that can significantly enhance mobility over demanding terrain with the benefits of good fuel efficiency and high reliability. Creative ideas that will provide the overall systems architecture that will host all military vehicle functions should also be included. We will award a number of contracts to demonstrate proof of principle of innovative technologies and applications of technology that will improve the mobility and overall effectiveness of the Future Protected Vehicle.

Delving into some of the documents at the DSTL Event Call, click here the headline scope was;

An Electric 30 tonne Armoured Fighting Vehicle with the ‘punch’of a current Main Battle Tank

An electric 30 tonne vehicle which will embody the effectiveness and survivability currently associated with a Main Battle Tank but with high tactical mobility, reduced logistic footprint and strategic mobility of a rapidly deployable, air portable system

It will employ a modular, open architecture approach to underpin a future generation of mission configurable platform

A ‘Troop Carrier’ variant capable of carrying a fully equipped eight man section is to be the main demonstration focus

So the main focus was to be a troop carrier variant but the base vehicle was of a single type.

That is a pretty stretching objective, it being the point I suppose and a few interesting images and concepts appeared as part of the call.

Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle

Future Protected Vehicle (2)

Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle (6)
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle (6)
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle
Future Protected Vehicle

It really was a sci-fi vision.

Responding to the programme BAE Systems also came up with a number of concepts;

BAE Pointer
BAE Pointer
BAE Raider
BAE Raider
BAE Wraith
BAE Wraith

There was also Safeguard and Atlas

Safeguard; a large infantry carrier or command/control vehicle, which can also carry other vehicles

Atlas; a retrofittable convoy system with automated systems for following the vehicle in front, to remove drivers from harm’s way

In a press release, BAE stated

Overall, 567 technologies and 244 vehicle concepts were explored as part of the FPV Programme in collaboration with over 35 industrial organisations, universities and schools. From these, 47 were identified as having the potential for immediate exploitation to boost the effectiveness of lightweight armoured vehicles.

Bearer reminds me of the QinetiQ HED

More details on each vehicle type here

In 2010 the Future Protected Vehicle Capability Vision was revised (surprise surprise) and turned into ‘Virtual Phase’

The Future Protected Vehicle Capability Vision – Revised seems to have gone quiet and BAE haven’t been talking about it much either. The MoD turned it into a virtual programme in 2010 so the Experimental Operational Capability by 2013 seems a tad unlikely?

It sits within the Defence Technology Plan in the Systems – Land – Protected Mounted Operations segment. Click here to see a nice image and the funding pipeline (I will give you a clue, it’s small, the funding pipeline that is, not the image)

I suspect it will remain as a technology programme only and not progress beyond informing items like Generic Vehicle Architecture or fuel reduction work, for example.

The UK simply does not have the appetite, cash or even industrial research capacity to complete the vision so we might view the programme as a waste of money, accepting the spin off benefits to other programmes.

By the time FRES SV finishes its development programme the MoD will have spent over a billion pounds without a single production vehicle to show for it and FRES SV is hardly at the cutting edge, using an adapted design that has been in service over 20 years.

Clearly the MoD does not have pockets deep enough for an in hub motor, hybrid electric, articulating wonder tank straight out of the pages of a Star Wars paperback.

You have to admire the ambition though.

Meanwhile, in the real world

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