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CV90 Armadillo and Other Contenders


In a pathetic attempt at prolonging the good discussion on APC’s v MICV’s the video shows the CV90 Armadillo that will be competing for the Danish Army competiton to replace their M113’s

An earlier video

The CV90 is not the only vehicle in the competition, there are another 2 tracked and 2 wheeled vehicles on the short list.

You might recognise the first one, and maybe the second one

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52 Responses

  1. I like the G5 because of the driver’s windows. Looks like something Gerry Anderson’s team would have dreamt up.

    But I think the Danes will go with CV90 because of this trend of Scandinavian defence consolidation.

    If the Danes were after a new aeroplane they would buy Gripen.

  2. Pathetic TD, just pathetic.

    If you think that the APC/MICV debate is dying, your idea of “alive” may be more spirited than most people would consider normal. :)

    Interesting replacement programs though, might it mean that the global economy is finally turning the corner enough for armies to rearm?

  3. To be honest, I don’t care as long as it can be launched off the back of an amphib and or delivered by a Hercules (or equivalent).

  4. CV90 is an impressive vehicle. I suppose we chose ASCOD for FRES Sv because it was cheaper?

    The debate over CV90 / ASCOD tracked vehicles versus 8×8 platforms is likely to rage for sometime to come. While undoubtedly tracked vehicles still have an advantage, the mobility of 8x8s seems to get better with every successive design.

    I was wondered what had happened to the UK’s FRES UV and see it is mentioned as a replacement for Mastiff in multi-role brigades without any date being given as to when. Then the piece on the Piranha V mentions that FRES UV is dead in the water. Can someone please shed some light on this?

  5. How long are the vintage Bulldogs expected to soldier on?
    Considering how Snatch and Bulldog have been paired up and used in recent times, it wouldn’t be too bad to see the Adaptable Force brigades built combining an ASCOD APC battalion and wheeled battalions with a Foxhound-Mastiff mix.

    I do think we need a light (relatively), wheeled APC within the lumbering Reaction Force brigades. The French VBMR 6×6 is interesting. The Piranha too, with 6×6 and 8×8 options.

  6. Are the Bulldogs soldiering on? I haven’t seen mention of one since the last Telic.

  7. @ Brian Black

    Yep. FRES was supposed all the FV432 (Bulldog) and Sultan too within the armoured infantry battalions. I would like somebody who knows about these new structures to comment on what is replacing what because I am confused too. For me as I have said elsewhere I would get as many troops mounted in Warrior (for example RSM in amoured infantry battalions had a personal FV432). Even if that means only having 2 armoured brigades as such. Replace chunky tracked vehicle with chunky tracked vehicle. Even if that means for some roles going turret less (to cut down on cost and maintenance) or having a dummy gun. I don’t think Foxhound can be a substitute for Sultan in what is a supposedly heavy armoured tracked formation. But I don’t think procuring CV90 or even something way left field like buying M113 (or a derivative) would be ideal. Um. Saying that Bronco or perhaps Viking?

    I am not entirely convinced at the moment we need an 8×8 in great numbers. I think “our” next war will involve chasing AK47 armed men on foot around Africa which mean MRAP; the latter going back to its roots. Perhaps 200 or so 8×8 would be enough, 3 battalion worth or so plus some spares? Me being me I like that the majority of the models off the shelf swim and swim well. I still want that Army battlegroup that can get itself across a beach.

    All good fun.

  8. I still like the rg-35 in both 6×6 and 4×4 modes for urban work in the future, it’s just had a facelift to use a motoring world term. seats just as many as an 8×8. it could be used as the TA ( i mean reserves) vehicle if we aern’t smashing round foriegn parts!

    As for that G5 couldn’t/shouldn’t we model some warriors on that shape for stuff like ambulances, the 432 version must be held together with bungees and black masking tape!! Plus if cv90 and it seems every other new vehicle is coming out the factory with (rubber) banded tracks why o why haven’t included this in the warrior upgrade or have BAe got a hissy fit on and not playing!

  9. @ Paul G

    RG-35, Bushmaster, or Serbia Lazar would be better a compromise between APC and MRAP. I don’t understand this MRAP battalion business in the new brigade structure. I know a soldier is a soldier and he will be trained to do his job and go where he is told. I am just wondering why we are tying troops to specific brigade types, even taking into consideration force regeneration, if we live in this supposedly super-duper flexible world. One because we will never have enough armour for more than a week or twos fighting at best with three brigades (one fighting (2 days max), one out of the line (resting and refitting), one the next to go). (Also who are we going to fight with massed armour anyhow, which isn’t to say we don’t need some.) And two the next war as I say will be chasing men with AKs around the bush. If we have to tie men to kit tie them to MRAP formation (or a compromise vehicle like RG35 or Bushmaster which is protected or motorised formation because they are cheaper than wonder 8x8s).

  10. Bulldog is here to stay for the medium term, saw a contract notice for a a 5 year enabling framework for track links yesterday, will post it in the morning.

    It did say that bulldog had enough stock for the next two years though

  11. The mechanised battalions are mounted in Bulldog and Foxhound aren’t they?

    It is all very confusing.

  12. It’s alright if bulldog breaks down it can just get on the next bus and use it’s free pass!!

  13. x it sure is cv90 has lots of variants it seems could be our only tracked armoured vehicle and foxhound and future variants our only wheeled vehicle ruthless commonality in action.

    Paulg is it not Lockheed Martin doing the upgrade to warrior?

  14. @ mark yes it’s a LM turret another one BAe lost out on! I’m not sure if anyone else does the rubber tracks so i meant maybe issuing a contract so all warriors get it, and if they get it hey ho.

    just 10 sec vid of the improved rg35 with the tactical remote turret, me like!!

  15. @ Mark

    Yes I like CV90. I would have bought for FRES Scout. I would have bought the Bofors 40mm too. And the AMOS mortar. On the YouTubes if you look there is some pretty impressive footage of CV90 being tested against Bradley in the snow. The US motor doesn’t get too far while the Swede effortless surfs across the snow.

    My failure is understanding the new army structure. We are to have these three brigades based on 1 x Chally, 2 (or is 3) x Warrior inf batts, and 1 x Mastiff battalion. Makes no sense to me. As Phil will quite rightly say it all about force regeneration and getting hung up on kit is wrong and force structures is wrong because the Army will send who it wants where it wants when it is needed. If armour costs and it does and the next bun fight won’t be a re-run of Kursk why not go for 3 MRAP (read Mastiff and Foxhound and Jackall; oh look we are up to 3 vehicles) based brigades? We could then have an armoured brigade with everybody mounted in Warrior for that once in a decade armoured punch up. There must be some mystical subtle army thingy I missing in all this. To me we need a fire brigade (RM, Para, and SF), a sustained op group (the majority of the army), and a little slice of the armour.

  16. Not sure where Bulldog is gonna fall. That army 2020 brochure/strategic map/temporary-plan-till-the-next-politicos-get-in thing makes no mention of Bulldog, so it might be that by 2020 we just let them go.

    Can’t see RG35, as nice as that vehicle is, going anywhere with us as we have Mastiff/Wolfhound/Ridgeback, Foxhound and Jackal/Coyote already. Though the structure of what these adaptable brigades will look like seems to still be very cloaked in mystery, other than having a recce, foxhound, and light infantry element.

    @ x,
    Theoretically you could get rid of the Mastiffs (off to the adaptable force) by shuffling three armoured brigades down to two. So one would be 2x Tank and 2x Warrior battalions. The other would be 1x tank and 3x Warrior. Leaves you a Warrior battlion spare for whatever (OpFor at Sailsbury? Retirement?) but now you have to treat the armoured force much more like you would the Albion’s, as in a capability that is sometimes active and ready to go/training etc, and sometimes is at rest and not quite as alert for deployment.

  17. @ Chris B

    Yes. It all shuffle. Smoke and mirrors. Since the end of the Cold War all operations have been mix and match cap badge wise. A company here. A platoon there. And so it just makes me wonder if things have got a bit too granular. Which is a way of saying we are short of numbers. I am big on unit cohesion and specialisation; I am rugby minded. :)

    As I have here now a few times I would have one armoured brigade based on Salisbury (nowhere else really it is all done down there now) and have the units assigned for 4 to 5 years. 1 x full Challenger regiment. And 3 infantry battalions mounted in Warrior as much as possible. (Leave artillery to one side and FRR because it just complicates things). And all this brigade does is armoured warfare. Trips to BATUS and elsewhere for training yes but have them just sitting there for that once in a decade event which we will have plenty of warning. A couple of worries mainly to do with boredom and it not being good for recruiting. But many of the world’s armies go nowhere. And perhaps things like 4 day weeks or the Army investing in Salisbury’s FE colleges (trade and academic courses) may mitigate things. Then again 3 years in without the “risk” might attract some. Also I think this would be a better formation for TA support (a la BAOR) than expecting them to do what MoD is expecting them to do now. That would leave rest of Army to rotate through 6 months away in 18 months when the next COIN war blows up. Rest of Army once back from Third World hole can perhaps supply an extra tank battalion and an extra Warrior battalion. Those additions would put us at GW1 levels give or take.

  18. x

    The desire to be able to deploy a brigade-sized force and maintain it in theatre for long periods, has created this rather bizarre multi-role structure. It doesn’t make sense to me either. I believe we should have created six role-specfic brigades as follows:

    2 x Heavy armoured brigades ( 2 x Challenger 2 MBT tank regiment, 1 x FRES SV Scout reconnaissance regiment, 3 x Warrior IFV armoured infantry battalions, 1 x Bronco/ Viking Infantry battalions, 1 x 155 mm M109 artillery regiment, 1 x Engineer regiment FRES SV APC);
    2 x Medium armoured brigades (2 x 8×8 120 mm medium tank destroyer regiment, 1 x 8×8 reconnaissance regiment with 40 mm CTA, 3 x 8 x 8 FRES UV infantry battalions, 1 x Foxhound 4×4 infantry battalion, 1 x mobile / towed artillery regiment with 155 mm guns, 1 x Engineer regiment in 8×8 FRES UV)
    2 x Light mobile brigades (2 x 8×8 120 mm medium tank destroyer regiment, 1 x Jackal 4×4 reconnaissance regiment, 4 x Foxhound infantry battalions, 1 x light 105 gun artillery regiment, 1 x Engineer regiment in suitable 4 x 4 platform)
    1 x Rapid Reaction Force (3 x Airborne / Parachute infantry battalions, 1 x 4×4 Jackal reconnaissance regiment, 1 x light 105 mm artillery regiment)
    I would support this with Corps / Divisional assets including MLRS artillery units, additional 155 mm gun regiments, AAC units including AH64 Attack helicopter units, Engineer units including bridging, EOD and demolition units.I would add a further four to six infantry battalions as a central reserve. Ideally I’d mount them in FRES UV 8x8s or Foxhounds, but suspect we could only afford to trucks and land-rovers.

    Based on this structure we would need approximately 1,000 8×8 FRES UV variants and 1,000 Foxhounds.

    I am not advocating that 8x8s replace tracked vehicles. Challenger 2 and Warrior clearly have their place. The 8×8 type of vehicle merely gives us an improved rapid strategic deployment capability versus the existing and lamentably obsolete AT105 Saxon 4×4.

    Actually, 8x8s are much more than that. Their cross-country ability is not as good as a tank’s but nevertheless they are extremely agile. 8x8s are preferable to 4x4s and 6x6s because more axles = greater mobility. Versus tracked vehicles, 8x8s are an order of magnitude easier to maintain. They can travel independently , i.e without tank transporters, to deploy trans-continentally and provide Mastiff levels of protection against mines, RPGs and MG fire up to 14 mm.

    Ultimately, FRES UVs will allow infantry battalions to deploy long distances independently, self-sufficiently, quickly and efficiently. They facilitate inherent supply chain advantages and provide their crews with a level of protection that simply doesn’t exist at this time. They are not invulnerable and due to their size are likely to become targets for MBTs and cannon-equipped IFVs – but 8x8s are not IFVs themselves and so long as they are not used as such, the risks of using them remain substantially less than using Mastiff or existing soft skinned vehicles.

    We ignore this capability at our peril. Not only does it have a general war application, it is also extremely relevant to COIN operations. The French have used VCBIs / VABs very effectively in both Afghanistan and Mali with very low casualties.

  19. The reasons for ASCOD winning over CV90 were largely financial. BAE wanted to build CV90 in Sweden and then add a turret in the UK. GD offered a package that (in theory) maximized the number of UK jobs, including getting DSG to assemble the hulls (though I understand that the initial batch at least will be built in Spain). Basically, GD did a better job of convincing the politicians about the number of jobs in the supply chain and also played down the work involved in developing the SV from the original Austro-Spanish vehicle. To get UK assembly of the CV I suspect that BAE would have tried to get the taxpayer to pay for the total rebuild of the old the old Newcastle (Vickers) plant, clearly a non-starter even under Labour. BAE thinking assumed that the contract was a shoo-in and as usual they did not exert themselves to win it until (too) late in the day. It beats me how they stay in business.

    Having said that there is probably not a lot in quality between the two vehicles – they are both too large (Sherman tank weight) and expensive for the recce role required and the export prospects of the Scout are not likely to be great for those reasons. The number of Scouts being planned is falling steadily and the rising unit price is starting to make the project unaffordable for the UK.

  20. @ Monty

    I like 8x8s and on the days when my fantasy budget is bottomless I will buy them by the bushel. As I said I like them because many are amphibious off the shelf. (Big shelf.) But on others day I think not. Lighter MRAPs like Bushmaster give us the advantage of easy self-deployment. If you like back it was South Africa who favoured wheels over tracks to cover distance in Africa. We have lots of armour we do it well. We will need MRAP for these peacekeeping actions. Just don’t know where the 8×8 fits in. FWIW I don’t buy into wheels, especially 8 wheels, being a poor choice for offroad. Yes tracks will always win. But a modern 8×8 on well designed tyres, diff locks, automatic box, good articulation, big diesel engine, etc. etc., will go almost everywhere you would want to take a vehicle the size of a good domestic garage. MRAPs are cheaper too. I don’t know. I would buy more Foxhound or Bronco/Viking to fill the gaps in the MRAP and armour formations. And as you identify a wheeled cavalry vehicle. Though I would like a Stormer on steroids really.

    Above I said 6 months in 18 months and I meant 36 months. I just don’t buy the idea of high readiness armour for the UK. The UK decided to send troops to GW1 on September 14 1990 and the ground war started February 24 1991. Nothing was going happen until the vehicles and supplies were moved to the Gulf. Yes the Army was busy getting prepared. But 5 months isn’t high readiness. QRA is high readiness. CASD is high readiness. If we have one brigade with everything they need, top notch kit from tanks to orgnic UAVs and everything in between, super-duper 4CIR (or whatever it is), and trained to the nth degree that is more than enough heavy armour for the UK.

  21. Monty,

    Are wheeled vehicles really an order of magnitude easier to maintain? You need 1/10th the maintenance effort of a tracked vehicle?

  22. @fatman- any other options with lower weight then? Having Warrior and FRES SV – seem a bit simlar in size if not capabilities. Should we be looking at something more in the spirit of the CVRT?


    Light recce

    MRAPs light / heavy
    8×8 IFV (‘OTS’) for all utility roles and deployable ‘armour’ for reaction forces


  23. @Monty

    I like many of your ideas on “six role-specific brigades”. However, I would query one of your statements on 8 x 8s. You say at one point that they “provide Mastiff levels of protection against mines”. Is that strictly true, even today? It certainly wasn’t true of the Piranha V, which was at one point to be our solution for FRES UV. Having said that, I don’t know to what extent the technology has moved on but haven’t the Americans turned to double-hulling their Stryker vehicles? That kind of solution is not common to many wheeled 8 x 8s, though, is it?

    That’s not to say I am against wheeled vehicles of that type. They possess many of the advantages you list and will certainly be needed in the British Army of the future. In particular I like your points about such vehicles’ mobility and their ability “to deploy long distances independently, self-sufficiently, quickly and efficiently.”

  24. No idea about the % but I would definately say yes. Remember how often armoured vehicles had to change their tracks? And how often they would throw those tracks? Compare it with how often you change the tyres on an SUV or the old Landrovers. Hell, just scrubbing the roadwheels after an exercise is a pain, as opposed to just driving into a washing bay filled with water and reversing a few times.

  25. Mike, the solution is not common to many 8x8s because the problem is not common to many 8x8s. Most of them actually come off the shelf mine resistant. Got to check the timeline, not sure if the new ones were designed in light of the Stryker experience or if the US was attempting to unwisely cut a corner, but mine resistance is not a problem for most 8x8s. I’ll even go as far as to say 8x8s are better set up in that department than a lot of IFVs or MBTs.

    Oh for the want of an edit button!!! :)

  26. @Observer

    Many thanks for the reply.

    “but mine resistance is not a problem for most 8x8s. I’ll even go as far as to say 8x8s are better set up in that department than a lot of IFVs or MBTs.”

    Well, you do surprise me! However, I do know that technology has moved on.

  27. I have just looked over Army 2020 again. And I still don’t get it. Nor ASCOD.


    ( x leaves stage right wondering how he can turn the conversation around to CVF…)

  28. Not really a problem with tech but more with the design and maybe the age of the platforms, a lot of in service tracked vehicles were designed a very very long time ago, and so may not have been built for IEDs in mind considering that the thinking behind them was “fast exploitation”. It was only until recently that IEDs and mines became a greater concern due to recent experiences.

    Tanks are also designed for a lower profile, so they sit closer to the ground, which hurts them in times like these, and there is some difficulty V-hulling them as their axles sit very close to the ground too. Compare the underbellies of 8x8s and MBTs and see the difference in height from the ground.

    It’s all about roles and tradeoffs.

  29. I have just watched this again. And though all looks wonderful there is something about it I just don’t get. We are upgrading 640 Warrior and buying this. Warrior will have the same gun and be lighter. I appreciate that FRR are more about stealthy recce than fighting for intel. But SV seems under armed for some reason. Further either Warrior protection upgrade is enough or its not. It seems the FRR have gone from aluminium armour to a better package than the infantry will be getting. Not saying they don’t need an upgrade. SV just seems to overlap Warrior and offer little on top.

  30. When he was “standing” in front of the IFV, I kept thinking “Squish!! Squish!! Squish!!” :)

    I’m either a sadist or a comedian. Or both.

  31. Good grief, that video on ASCOD SV is truly cringe-worthy. I shall ring up my old mucker from recce days who now works for GD and give him a earful. I’m sure he will be embarrassed as well.

    All I can really think is that is not a proper recce wagon, it’s a Warrior with an identity crisis and a CANBUS system that is known to be buggy and to demand more crew attention than they are able to give it. And who wants a 34 tonne recce wagon? Well clearly the MoD do, but as someone who with others wrote the initial FRES Recce URs back in 2001, I can tell you there’s clearly been a vast amount of requirements creep.

    FRES Recce was initially a separate set of URs than for the medium weight specialist role platforms (i.e. AVLB, CV, ambulance, etc), which were never meant to be right up on the FEBA, and so could afford to be bigger. FRES Recce really would have been satisfied by Jackal with de-mountable weapon options of Javelin and 40mm AGL mixed in a troop, and an AI sniper rifle as part of the vehicle pack.

  32. …a different thought. The whole anti-IED / mine blast paranoia is a political, not a military requirement. War is a risky business, and drives vehicle design in non-military ways. The crew may survive, but the wagon is going to be completely nadged. We don’t have enough in-theatre spares to put the survivors into a new wagon and send them back in.

    What no-one has the political bravery to calculate is how many people will die because they are in a grossly over-weight behemoth that stands out like the balls on a shaven poodle and becomes an ATGM magnet, against those who carry on sneaking about because they are in a truly low-observable and quiet wagon.

  33. @ Observer

    No that is a perfectly normal reaction. If you had thought anything else we would have had to send around the men in white coats.

    @ Red Trousers

    I am not sure but isn’t there a “plan” (in a loose sense) to buy the APC somewhere down the line as the Bulldog replacement? That would mean the mechanised battalions would be in a heavier vehicle than the heavy armour battalions. Scrap the third reaction brigade and move its Warriors to the other two brigades in 3 Div to replace the Mastiffs. Integrate Javelin into the new turret (a la Bradley and TOW) ; no loss of firepower as extra Warriors with guns replace SV guns within the two brigades. You are the expert so you can have Jackal. As I am civilian armchair commodore with little idea I will stick with tracks and either buy a fresh build of Stormer or modern iteration of this….

  34. So in a way FRES-as-is-now isn’t just about replacing FV432, Saxon, and the light tracked vehicles but it is also a long lead in replacement for Warrior at some point.

    Well at least the Chinese will have replaced all the bridges in Africa by the time that happens.

    No problem with Mrs Jones’ son being protected, no problem at all. But at an existential level the Army doesn’t seem to know where it is going.

  35. Sorry X, should have been clearer

    The Protected Mobility variants of FRES SV is a replacement for CVR(T) Spartan, in a package that’s heaver than Warrior

    No, I don’t understand it either

  36. @Observer

    “Tanks are also designed for a lower profile, so they sit closer to the ground, which hurts them in times like these, and there is some difficulty V-hulling them as their axles sit very close to the ground too. Compare the underbellies of 8x8s and MBTs and see the difference in height from the ground.

    It’s all about roles and tradeoffs.”

    Have only just seen this. Thanks for clarifying matters. It does rather beg the question, though: If 8 x 8s are so well protected as well as agile, mobile etc, then why were we procuring MRAPs like Mastiff for Afghanistan?

    One last question. I read somewhere that the developers of the Ranger (UK) vehicle were now interested in the FRES UV programme. Do you think that kind of vehicle (developed as a an MRAP but faster and more agile than most) stands any chance of being the kind of vehicle we need.

  37. A Dutch Lynx with the Oerlikon-Bührle GBD-ADA turret mounting a 25mm KBA cannon.

    With these new Reaction Brigades when they say cavalry regiment do they mean FRR or hybrid? How will these formations fight? If the MBTs are sliced up one squadron per infantry battalion then what about the cavalry? They bring no more firepower than Warrior. In fact with Javelin the infantry probably has more firepower. I though FRR were divisional assets? So with the MBT and infantry batts all having recce troops/platoons what will a brigade do with a whole FRR to itself? If the cavalry regiment is to be used en masse as cavalry wouldn’t it be better if resembled a US cavalry regiment with 120mm guns, dismounts etc. Wouldn’t have been better (read cheaper) to just put better sensors in a few Warriors? Why are there so many questions about this topic? Who knows? :)

  38. x

    Certainly looks a tough beastie. The basic armoured protection looks pretty robust and can be upgraded through laminate and “NERA”. I must confess that I do not understand the term “NERA”. Is it some kind of explosive reactive armour?

    Speed looks half decent too.

    Seriously, though,do you feel that, in the case of 8 x 8s (or FRES UV, which is what I suppose we are really talking about) that we have benefited from the earlier cancellation/postponement? By the time that it eventually comes into service, we shall have had another decade for technical advancements in protection, mobility etc. to be incorporated in the vehicle we eventually get.

  39. Mike, MRAPs are not APCs or IFVs (hybrid tank/APC), they are supposed to be used for everyday transport or small size patrols. Think in terms of land rovers, humvees or your basic police car with armour.

    8×8 APC/IFVs are actually light to medium weight “tanks” designed to be right in the middle of a serious battlefield, the kind with tanks, anti-tank missiles, artillery and airstrikes.

    NERA is Non-Explosive Reactive Armour, basically 2 pieces of armour with rubber in the middle. Theory is that the middle lining will vapourise when hit with something hot and under high pressure, and the gas that is formed will push back/deflect the hit. Not as effective as ERA, but safer to use around troops.

    And as for waiting… well, when would you stop? :) You can say we can wait 10 years for more advances, but in 10 years time, we can wait another 10 years ad infinitum.

  40. @Observer

    First, thanks for the information on NERA. Seems like a poor man’s ERA, although maybe I am being unfair to it.

    Take the point you make in your last paragraph. As you say, we could go on waiting. Actually, I wasn’t actually advocating waiting, (although it might have read so), simply asking whether we might have benefited from the wait so far.

    I still can’t fully see the point in your first paragraph, though. If MRAPS are “not APCs or IFVs” and, unlike 8 x 8 APCs/IFVs, not “designed to be right in the middle of a serious battlefield, the kind with tanks, etc”, the why on earth have we selected Mastiff for the Heavy Protected Mobility element of the Armoured Infantry Brigade Structure? Are the Mastiff battalions simply a rather desperate short-term measure?

  41. @X

    You make a good point. Had the Army been equipped with a suitable 8×8 FRES UV IFV prior to GW1, we could have deployed battalions within 48 hours. Essentially, modern 8x8s are the same as Land-Rovers. You check tyre pressures, hydraulic fluid levels, engine oil, and fuel, load your kit on and you’re ‘good to go’.

    @Mr. Fred

    Hopefully the above comment answers your question. Yes, 8x8s require about 1/10th of the maintenance of tracked AFVs. Prior to a long journey, you will want to check all fluid levels, grease key bearings, check all track pins and so on. After a long road journey, the tracks and suspension and wheels will be very hot. This causes expansion which can lead to loose pins and track degradation. Much of the maintenance on a tracked AFV is preventative. Finally, before you leave, you ensure you have good LAD back-up following close behind with a fairly extensive supply of key spare parts. There is absolutely no question that an 8×8 fleet is simpler to maintain, faster to deploy and more reliable in getting to its final objective.

    @Mike W

    8×8 design has advanced substantially since the US first established Stryker Brigades in 2002. In particular, the advent of spall linings, double V-hulls, modular armour, hydro-pneumatic struts with real-time damping control and advanced gearboxes have all made a huge difference to protection and cross-country performance. The latest designs (4th Generation 8×8 IFVs) are the IVECO Freccia, BAE Systems RG41, ST Industries Terrex, Patria Lockheed Martin Havoc, and BAE Systems Alligator.

    Many 4th generation vehicles, such as the latest GD Stryker, are simply 3rd Generation designs with bolt-on V-hulls and appliqué armour. The KMW Boxer, Nexter VCBI and Piranha V are 3rd Generation vehicles, albeit very good ones. Some firms are already evaluating 5th Generation technology, which provides vastly improved protection in vehicles with a much lower weight. Many of the innovations found in the FP-Ricardo Ocelot / Foxhound – which is the best protected vehicle in its weight class – are now being applied to 6×6 and 4×4 designs. For all these reasons, it is fair to say that modern 8x8s are as well protected as MRAPs like the Mastiff, but much more agile and mobile.

    @Everyone who thinks MRAPs like Mastiff are sufficient

    Wise up, guys. The mastiff is no more than an armoured truck. They are heavy and slow and with such limited off-road ability that even rutted tracks can break their axles. One of the unpublished scandals of the Afghan Campaign is the number of breakdowns experienced with this type of vehicle. When they’re off the road, then they can’t do the job for which they were bought: protecting lives. That makes them about as much use as an ashtray on Harley-Davidson. In all fairness, they were bought as an expedient, but now we need to replace them with a proper 8×8, which is exactly what the Bundeswehr has done with the KMW Boxer.

    The final point I want to make about 8x8s is that they’re not perfect and they’re vulnerable to hand-held ATGMs. So long as they’re used for protected mobility instead as IFVs, they represent an excellent means of getting troops to where they are needed to fight in dismounted operations. Think of them as armoured coaches not MICVs.
    Tanks and tracked MICVs may ultimately be better AFVs, but not if they remain parked in barracks while their crews have been deployed in Land-Rovers. If it takes weeks to position tracked armour to were it is needed, then it’s pointless.

    I think it is shocking that the US, Canadian, German, French, Italian, Swiss, Polish, Czech, Turkish, Swedish, Dutch and Finish Armies all have good 8×8 fleets (many in addition to tanks and MICVs) when the British Army has none. It’s all the more suprising when we have deployed troops more times and greater numbers than any of the above armies (except the US Army) over the last 20 years.

  42. @ Monty

    Many thanks for the detailed and fascinating reply. Unfortunately am off on holiday early tomorrow and She-who-must-be-obeyed is concerned that I don’t get a late night. Therefore no chance of a detailed reply from me until I return (if you can remember to look!)

    Anyway, all good stuff. I particularly like your last paragraph, especially the sentence: “I think it is shocking that the US, Canadian, German, French, Italian, Swiss, Polish, Czech, Turkish, Swedish, Dutch and Finish Armies all have good 8×8 fleets (many in addition to tanks and MICVs) when the British Army has none.”

  43. “why on earth have we selected Mastiff?”

    “your basic police car with armour.”

    They are for “presence patrols” where using an all up APC is too “provocative”. More useful in COIN than in actual peer vs peer balls to the wall fights. Literally family cars with armour.

    Our army has 8x8s but even so, we UORed a few MRAPs for the small engineering/radar/UAV detachment in Afganistan for daily travel, shipping them an APC to go shopping would be a bit ridiculous (though think of the bargains you could get haggling with a 25 ton monster looming omnimously behind you!! :) ) so for normal travel in a COIN area, guess it is something you can’t do without.

    Monty, not THAT weak against ATGMs, not with cage/wire mesh armour, AMAP, ERA/NERA, DAS etc. They can be a problem, but properly outfitted, the problem is managable.

    Though I am interested in the container vessel you said could get from the UK to Kuwait in 48 hrs :P

    Mike, the question once again becomes “who do we send the bill to?” along with “who are we going to kill with that 8×8?” If stabilizing operations are your game for the forseeable future, MRAPs are sufficient, insurgents are not likely to bring in IFVs or call for artillery, so medium armour is not really going to be an issue. Your biggest threat would be IEDs. The fact that your armoured brigades are going to have a large core of MRAPs would indicate the kind of battles they are expecting in the future. Or that they are really tight with a buck and are recycling.

    Think you still have the 432s as APCs, so it is not really an all or nothing on the MRAPs

  44. You hit the nail on head Observer:

    “The fact that your armoured brigades are going to have a large core of MRAPs would indicate the kind of battles they are expecting in the future. Or that they are really tight with a buck and are recycling.”

    Both – if we have to go into a “balls to the wall fight” against armoured opposition, then its that “best efforts” brigade / small division with most of the Chally and Warriors deployed. Mastiff in rear area roles only.

    Otherwise, “Protected Mobility – Heavy” is a way of putting an extra infantry battalion into the ready force deployable brigades for those two very reasons:

    1. We are not expecting / forecasting / planning for GW1 type armoured battle scenarios (rightly or wrongly, I will not comment)

    2. We have no cash, we have spend a lot on the Mastiff fleet, so we might as well lever the investment and keep them until the a) fall apart or b) we find some more cash (probably a) I suspect).

    The potential problems with this view, IMHO are;

    1. the lack of off road mobility of the Mastiff

    2. If we really are not planning on getting into armour on armour scenarios, whey do we need FRES SV Ascod 2 for our Brigade level armoured recce force ? (mind you if we are planning on it, why dont they have an ATGW capability as well as their medium calibre gun ?)

    Hey, fantasy fleet time……

    1. Buy NL Leo 2’s – that way we have the “NATO standard” MBT firing NATO standard 120mm smooth bore ammo, with many companies offering competing upgrade options

    2. Sell all the Chally 2 hull’s to Jordan, or get into a marketing co-operation with them, and they can fit the Falcon 2 man turret with it’s autoloader, and sell the newly built “Challenger 3” on the second hand market……

  45. Jed, they might not be so stupid. :)

    Without any future upgrade potential of the CR2s, the chances of them accepting are low. Buyers will probably be the same people getting T-54/55s etc who cannot afford to buy equipment with higher upgrade potential. And are unfortunately also the ones you least want to get their hands on MBTs that can match the latest Western MBTs in a head to head fight.

    If the Mastiffs are rear area only, cross country mobility is a bit moot isn’t it?

    The 2nd hand Leo option really is a good one for an initial MBT buy. It is unfortunate that external circumstances turn it into a less than ideal solution.

  46. Observer and Jed already answered the “what will we have the Mastiffs for”,
    but in short:
    1. If the reaction force is deployed as brigades (one or several), each will have a mobile reserve
    2. If we go into another COIN/stabilization, you can strip those bn’s off the reaction force (without a major impact on its readiness) and make the 3 bn’s – or at least their kit – into a core of a fielded brigade group, and then keep them there while rotating troops

    What is not clear to me, and does not seem to have come up in the discussion above – is the use of Scout vs Jackals in the future recce formations.
    – anyone in the know whether the idea of 1 heavy + 2 Jackal formations per rgmnt has been reversed, as this was the thinking announced at the time of announcing the start of Scout roll-out from 2015, converting 2 such rgmnts per year? Converting 3+0 type rgmnts at this speed would take half a decade… lost count of how many of each type is being envisaged

    The suggested 1000+1000 calculation for the need of tracked and wheeled SVs/IFVs/APCs/MRAPs was quite interesting (even though not strictly based on the planned order of battle. Compare that with
    – 100-200 MRAPs and 500+ Bulldogs (both going, I think for the Army the 2020 date is now 2024)
    – 640 Warriors (about half of them with turrets) and an initial order for under 400 SV variants
    – is the total order (deliveries included) for Coyotes now standing at 300?

    So some 300 more SV variants (RA; engineers’ protected mobility and whatever to allow for the FV variants finally to be retired), but at least double of that number of wheeled UVs?
    – and even though aspirationally the UV proc will be reopened in 2016, I doubt it that all of the above will have been delivered by 2024

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