Random FRES Pictures


A handful of completely unrelated FRES pictures for the weekend

Boxer and Donar 155mm turret illustration
Boxer and Donar 155mm turret illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration
Boxer MRAV illustration showing modular payload
Boxer MRAV illustration showing modular payload
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Boxer on the trials of truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Boxer on the trials of truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender Pirahana Evolution on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender VBCI on the Trials of Truth
FRES Utility Vehicle Contender VBCI on the Trials of Truth
German Boxer vehicle on operations in Afghanistan
German Boxer vehicle on operations in Afghanistan
VBCI Operation Serval - Mali
VBCI Operation Serval – Mali

And just because I like the look of it, the SIKA TRACER prototype, before FRES

Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)
Sika TRACER (before FRES)

Spot the ISO Container :)

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385 Responses

  1. The Boxer is by far the better vehicle for potential growth/modification in its service life. Build the modules in the UK for jobs

  2. @ David Niven – but is boxer too heavy? Could not do what the French did in Mali with it.

  3. @Martin
    One of the pictures of the VBCI shows a bridge class of 32, both Boxer and VBCI are A400 transportable. Plus we could do Mali quicker with Foxhound and Viking/Warthog and husky.

  4. I think Boxer is bloody brilliant and don’t forget, many of the concepts and designs are UK in origin, we did after all pay to develop the thing. It also has all the variants fully developed and in service, ambulance, command, recovery etc

    Boxer plus GVA = FRES UV

  5. How much did we pump into Boxer before we upped stumps?

    I like the BAE Iveco Iveco Superav 8×8 because it swims very well. The Brazilians field a 6×6 version for about £1 million per copy.

    If we go VBCI we go VBCI. The field army needs a proper vehicle not MRAPs and liaison vehicles.

  6. TD picture at the top – “Left to right Boxer, Piranha and VBCI” – looks more like ‘Left to right , Piranha VBCI & Boxer’ from here…

    SIKA (and to a lesser extent the BAE/UDLS Lancer) didn’t look right to me. No doubt they were both full of whizzy electronics and databuses and sensors and datalinks, but the base vehicles were funny little pugs with lots of vertical/near vertical slab faces which would have made getting to adequate protection levels difficult (unless they were to rely solely on ERA or new-fangled electric armour). There was once a concept image on the web (can’t find a better image than on this: http://cdn.slidesharecdn.com/ss_thumbnails/101stspearheadslideversion3-0-130101100129-phpapp01-thumbnail-4.jpg?cb=1357057544) – it looked like it had been designed by people who knew what they were doing. The German Puma looks pretty good except its big and really heavy; it looks from a distance like it ought to be a compact 20t machine but is 31t-40t depending on appliqué. And over 3.4m wide and 3m tall.

    As for Boxer, while the Thunderbird 2 concept might be attractive at first sight, you have to wonder if it would be valuable in operation? Is there going to be a depot at Echelon full of Boxer chassis and mission pods waiting to be put together as and when required? If not then when & where would mission pods be exchanged? Would you have more mission pods than chassis units (for operational role changes) or more chassis units than mission pods (for rapid maintenance turnaround)? Certainly there is a weight penalty for having the removable mission unit. You might assume the standard interface means it might be a bit more slick designing new mission units for new roles, but the interface provides an extra constraint to the design, which might take no less effort than reworking an extant vehicle design as a whole. Oh and the chassis has blast pockets behind each wheel. Brilliant? I’m not convinced. Its clever(ish) and seems a good idea at first, but its unique features probably wouldn’t have much positive impact operationally.

  7. “The three contenders for FRES line up at Bovington. Left to right Boxer, Piranha and VBCI”

    Aka Box on wheels 1, Box on wheels 2 and Box on wheels 3.

    None of them are really so much ahead of the competition that it means anything, so just pick one and be done with it instead of being so indecisive. It’s like watching girls shop.

  8. As amazing as the boxer seems to be it needs to be noted that the VCBI is more than 6.4 tons lighter while carrying an extra bloke and a turret with a 25mm cannon, or as in the version shown two extra soldiers (Which if you don’t use, is storage space) and 8.7 tons lighter.

    The point to note though is that the VCBI isn’t light, it’s the boxer that’s heavy. Those tons aren’t just transport load, they’re off road mobility as well. This of course raises the question of how the hell the boxer comes out so heavy. Both the VCBI and the boxer are rated at the same 14.5mm api proof, so it probably isn’t armour, which leaves the modularity of Boxer. The module swap thingy sounds fairly cool, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the extra cost or weight.

    One last thing to note is that the Army was really quite impressed with how VCBI handled itself in Mali. The fast reaction, suddenly armoured vehicles where you need them to be concept suddenly proved itself a real thing in Mali, and VCBI pulled it off. French sources say the British Army is currently borrowing a few VCBI’s to test them and is interested in buying them for FRES and, critically, that the French Army may reciprocate by acquiring themselves a few watchkeepers in return.

    It appears the UK and France have suddenly discovered that they each make things the other wants to buy. Expect VCBI’s in the future.

  9. DN The Boxex modules were originally Designed in Britain. That was our contribution to the MRAV program. The Germans had the powertrain and suspension. Not too sure what the dutch were responsible for.

    It is a fantastic vehicle and we should have stayed with the program. We could have probably avoided buying many of the UOR vehicles and used the Boxer instead and still had a vehicle for more general war fighting.

    FRES is one hell of a cock-up.

    I was a fan of the SEP vehicle. This could still be considered now as it remain in a modified/simplified form as the alligator 6×6 and 8×8. No tracked version though

  10. Bloody hell, Phil and Ashley

    Did a green thing on wheels lure you out of commenting retirement :)

    Great to hear from you

    Chris, caption updated, can I say but but but, it was the original image caption that was guilty !!

  11. Whilst i’m on the subject, the other reason why the Boxer is better is that its sized so ALL the kit will fit inside. No need to carry bergans and so forth on the outside like a Gypsy Wagon (as can be seen with the VCBI in Mali. Mind you I think the British Army quite like’s that look!!!

    Same as they seem intent on reverting to tucking the f’ing jackets in to their trousers and go from being smart and practical to looking like a bag of shite tied up in the middle… Reckon well be issued puttees again soon..

    Now look what you’ve done i’m off on a rant now!!

  12. TD you know this is my true passion…

    Combat vehicles and Army personal kit / weapons. Can rant for hours..


  13. To be honest I’ve not had the time to keep up to date with things recently, but in this case I happen to have been reading the wiki page for the VCBI yesterday.

  14. Heh before I forget.. One thing that has been going through my mind with regard to the MPA issue.

    Why oh why did they not use a NEW fuselage like say a A340. It already has modified A340 avionics.

    What a World beater it could have been.

    The P8 is really poor its range compared to what MRA4 would have been is pitiful

  15. VBCI makes sense for the UK for a couple of reasons in the context of the Lancaster House treaties and subsequent agreements taken in isolation:

    #1 If we’re working closer with the French Army (120,000 personnel) on the ground, commonality of equipment is advantageous for logistics, support, training, use and for the comfort zones of all involved.

    #2 If we’re working with the French more closely, we’re more likely to be working with the French in theatres where the French have interests. The VBCI has been designed for, tested against and battle proven in these theatres.

    #3 If there’s reciprocal deployments of UK hardware in return, it enhances the commonality between the two allied forces and makes life working together even easier.

    Boxer is certainly worthy of consideration given it is also battle proven. Those involved in the decision would need to brace for a pride-swallowing if we reverse the decision not to proceed with Boxer, however if we believe it is the right vehicle for us after all then a couple of articles in the tabloids is certainly something that can be taken on the chin. Casualties and/or failed Operations, or even not having the right kit to engage in an operation, aren’t.

    I too like the possibilities presented by the BAE/Iveco SuperAV 8×8 and this variant on the style of vehicle should also be considered if we’re looking at this class of vehicle at all (q.v. tracks vs wheels debates). If it handles theatres as well as the Boxer/VBCI and can swim with a combat load of Royal Marines aboard if we see the need, what’s not to like?

  16. @Chris

    Why would you be swapping out modules every week? we don’t with Foxhound and that is a modular design, the modular design gives you the ability of upgrading (Armour?) and modifying the vehicle over its life without having to cut redesign the interiors and try and shoe things in everywhere.

    ‘One last thing to note is that the Army was really quite impressed with how VCBI handled itself in Mali’
    Why has everyone got a sudden wet dream for Mali? Like I said earlier we can do Mali tomorrow with what we have now.

    @Phil Darley

    I agree with the shirts thing, lets turn a practicle/smart uniform into a a bag of shit to show off a stable belt. Thats what TRF’s are for FFS! Some RSM’s need to go and give their heads a shake.

    If we’re working closer with the French Army (120,000 personnel) on the ground, commonality of equipment is advantageous for logistics, support, training, use and for the comfort zones of all involved.

    Who did we work more closely with in Afghan other NATO members or France? Isn’t standardisation what NATO introduced?

  17. @DN

    Doesn’t Lancaster House have the potential to go further than NATO e.g. French forces protecting UK sovereignty (vice versa) without Article invocation?

    I don’t think either France or the UK want an additional overarching organisation controlling interoperation, they want to be organically embedded when called on each other.

  18. @The Other Chris: I agree on the VBCI/Boxer vs Iveco debate. Any 25/30 tonne wheeled vehicle is going to be rather marginal off road compared to tracks, and the ability to travel along or across a slow flowing river for moves (not fighting) is useful in the third world, let alone the amphib side of things.

    @Phil Darley: bring back puttees and DMS? The latter were certainly better than BCH, and both protected the ankle and provided more support :-)

  19. @TOC

    Commonality already exists between us and the French we both use NATO standard ammo and comms. But commonality of vehicles etc is a sales pitch, how often do we go and grab a MAN engine from the Germans in Afghan? as long as the trailer hooks and connections are standard the base vehicles do not really matter.

  20. DN – ref Boxer & armour upgrades – if you upgrade just the mission pod you leave the poor driver with lesser protection, and he’s the one closest to the frontal arc and closer to the most likely blast events. As for shoehorning stuff in, I’m pretty sure whether in a whole vehicle or just in the mission pod the difficulties will be much the same. Boxer might be a good solution, but its a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. In my opinion.

  21. David, your comment about Mali and wet dreams is spot on and if you cast your mind back to the beginnings of FRES, it was exactly because the Army got a wet dream looking at the Russians in the Balkans and their dash to Pristina airport!

    What goes around comes around

  22. Chris

    In the future if new armour is developed we can construct the rear module out of it, rather than bolting it on. We then just bolt on the armour to the front and maybe we won’t need to upgrade the running gear to take weight. I just think that over its life it will allow easier modification.


    I think people are getting fixated with the fact that the VBCI was the reason the French pulled off Mali, but in reality it was the C17. If we did not have C17 for them to use how would they have got VBCI quickly to Mali, Herc? Once A400 is in service most of NATO could do a Mali.

  23. May I ask how many different variants of any future FRES 8×8, are we looking to procure?

    Do we require a dedicated Mortar Carrier? We recently discussed the need for an ARV variant with the Boxer which was stuck in snow. Because at the moment their are no versions of either for the VBCI. And looking at the short video below we may need one!


  24. Phil Darley

    I would like to see us do joint projects with the Poles (who licence produce the Patria) they have similar requirements an industrial base that produces good designs, and as they want NATO troops on their soil maybe we could have a permanent BATUS style of arrangement for battlegroup exercises. And if we can get the other Baltic states to throw some money in all the better.

  25. “May I ask how many different variants of any future FRES 8×8, are we looking to procure?” I wonder if this is how we are going to get around the fact that if we want to buy VBCI we really need to run a new competition? I wonder if the EU procurement rules would apply if we said it was in our national interest and a UK company formed a joint venture with Nexter and Renault to develop and build the different variants required for UK service? Not sure what we need, I cannot see us buying more variants than the recovery, ambulance, APC and command versions of the VBCI?

  26. Apologies for being unclear, the commonality argument mentioned is also along the lines of industrial, training and planning.

    Flip the commonality issue around. If the French Army choose to operate Watchkeeper (une Avions de Quart?), do they need to maintain their own training facilities or do they (more simply?) contribute towards Larkhill instead?

    It’s in these areas that contributes significantly towards a winning bid. The system and what it entails as a whole, not the individual vehicle alone.

    If it’s Boxer or VBCI or Patria (etc), and there’s not much between the vehicles, the other aspects come into sharp consideration.

    Assuming an 8×8 (6×6, Tracks, Half Track, Hoverboard…) is even the way to go with FRES, of course.

  27. @all
    frankly would rather UK concentrate on having a 2nd mech division based on FRES SV let the french piss about in africa and use our reapers and helos to take out any local utes with RPG’S on top
    Having a mech adaptable div doesn’t mean you cant dumb down to light protected as needed????
    On the subject 16AA needs totally upliftin to 3 batts and 3 cdo to 4 batts to give a brigade intervention force from sea and air on call with a inf batt when and as needed.
    Give the russkies something to think about!
    Oh and uplift RN and RAF as required.

  28. @TOC

    Agreed, it makes sense to have common training facilities where its worthwhile and practical, but I don’t see that is a case when it comes to vehicles. What would be the benefit to us or France to share driver training on 1 type of vehicle? as long as we can communicate with each other and use each others ammo then your sorted for joint ops.

    Also if commonality is a major issue then we would be buying the Boxer. Same engine as the Scout SV and it’s variants, and no doubt when Warrior gets replaced with a Scout derivative most of our AFV’s in service will be using a common engine. Are we planning on acquiring anymore vehicles that use a Renault drive train?

  29. I am with Dave on this one and have to admit to being a bit of a Boxer fanboi since MRAV!!

    But, head and heart must be examined.

    Boxer is bigger and heavier because it is bigger, better protected, can go much further on a single tank, incorporates German, Dutch and UK design and operational experience. The variants are in service, not on a drawing board, the modular thing is a bonus, the fleet benefits from a much larger production run, greater industrial diversity and will therefore be much more supportable. There are loads of other variants designed but not in service, the Donar turret for example, and the laser thing I showed a few weeks ago is double interesting.

    When you look at pictures of VBCI in Afghanistan, you see lots of theatre specific mods, net armour for example. Go look at pictures of Boxer in the same theatre, they went as designed, kinda says something to me.

    They are both transportable by A400M and C17 for the odd occasion when you might want to so no difference there.

    The last time we went all girly weak at the knees seeing someone do a rapid deployment was in the Balkans, that resulted in FRES, remind me again how that turned out.

    Boxer is as much more about protection than VBCI, what has the last ten years of operations taught us about that part of the triad.

    It makes a whole lot more sense from an operational, industrial and support perspective than VBCI but because our glorious leaders are a bit jealous of the French in Mali, which was much more about operational and political freedom, than any vehicle, we will no doubt be cooing over VBCI and wondering how many we can buy.

    When will we ever learn.

  30. One of the reasons why Boxer is so heavy is apparently a requirement for protection against DPICM. It has about 120 mm RHAeq CE protection on the roof apparently.

    I think we’ve gone too far with the specs of support vehicles. We should follow a hi-lo strategy in which the vehicles for line of sight combat with enemies get the qualities they need and all others should be very close to civilian specs.

    The 8×8 craze has gone too far. Many of those 8×8 vehicles cost a million or two and don’t do much more in reality than the civilian trucks hauling material onto or off sandy construction sites could do as well.

  31. The VBCI is a IFV, I don’t understand why the MoD wants to multiply vehicles with more or less the same weight and the same size. I would take a 6×6 for have a wider range of use. It seems that the British Army is preparing for a conventional war against the Red Army, while it is very unlikely. A 6×6 would be quickly deployable on all battlefields with flimsy bridges, places where the maneuverability is difficult, bumpy roads, etc …
    If VBCI had an accident in Mali, this is mainly because it is designed for the conventional combat, not to roll over rough roads.

  32. Take the turret off a VBCI and it’s an APC. The Brits shouldn’t buy it though, or the Boxer, only the Piranha and AMV are really worthy of consideration.

    Keep an eye out for the Danish decision, it could be quite telling.

  33. Is there any reason that no one mentions Piranha which was actually selected for FRES UV previously.

    one thing I recon the boxer has going for it is looks VBCI is kind of ugly and has a bit of a 1930’s tank look to it.

    I agree with SO’s comments. I have to wonder if we really need 3000 odd FRES vehicles at £3-5 million a pop and I think its worth asking how many need to be military spec and how many can simply be civilian trucks. I know we have had issues in Iraq and the stan with light vehicles but I seriously doubt we will be committing to a deployment like that for a generation or more and I have to ask if an ubber fleet of 8*8’s is being considered because everyone else is doing it.

  34. TD makes a good point about air transportability of Boxer in A400M. My understanding of the UK’s withdrawal was that they wanted something that could go in a C130 but as we are getting rid of our C130’s I guess its no really an issue anymore.

  35. @Derek

    What’s wrong with the rest? Most 8x8s I know of are very generic, unless there is some extremely glaring fault to them or something outstanding about the Piranha or AMV, then there is no cause to claim exclusive rights. Can you tell us what is wrong with the rest of them?

  36. @Martin

    What does LKR4,000,000 buy you,
    A 2+10 passenger 4X4 MRAP 6Tonnes (you can fit 3 in a C130 ,they will be around for a long time and would be used on again to transport our kit if the need arises)
    The Unibuffel is based on the combat proven South African Buffel itself developed from Mercedes Unimog.
    PS LKR4,000,000 around £20,000 ( I haven’t forgotten any zeros that’s twenty thousand pounds) a Bargain or what?

  37. @DavidNiven

    Thank you for the link, you have allowed me to discover the GFF 4, which would be perfect for us as for you.

  38. The photo with the DONAR/Artllery Gun Module looks pretty tidy, would this fit on all 3 vehicles?

  39. DavidNiven,

    Not all Piranha’s are equal, by a very long way. That said, the Danish competition is interesting from many angles, including the fact they competing tracks against wheels.


    I never said there was anything “wrong” with the others.

  40. If it fitted these vehicles, Patria NEMO auto 120mm mortar turret would also make a great module.
    All these modular modules sound TD territory big time.

  41. Well it’s good to see that one of them at least can get up a step. Money well spent.

  42. @David Niven…you’ve not seen Doctor Who in it’s latest iteration have you? If our AFVs could do what the current Daleks can, we’d have no trouble at all with Putin…

    GNB :-)

  43. The real reason the VBCI impressed in Mali was because of its IFV capability. The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun in very close-quarters combat, and the long-range sensors were instrumental in picking up enemy movement.

    This creates doubts IMHO over the utility of a vanilla 8×8 APC, and may explain the sudden UK interest… it’s not that they now want VBCI for FRES UV, but rather that they are probably reevaluating the FRES UV concept as a whole to determine whether it brings the right balance of firepower/sensors.

  44. @DavidNiven

    I have not watched the specifications of size and weight, but Titus is considered too high for us, we need vehicles passing under bridges and over bridges of medium sizes. The Titus is just good for export, not for the French army, VBMR will be probably unveiled at Eurosatory in June.

  45. @GNB

    Are you trying to tell me steps are no longer viable field defence’s for the Dalek invasion?! were Dooooooooooomed :-)

    ‘The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun’
    But does that not show more about weapons fit than base vehicle?

    Do you know if the Nexter offering for VBMR is based on the VBCI drive train? to be honest I don’t know why the French army just does not ask for a 6×6 VBCI chasis.

  46. @David Niven – Indeed so – they hover – and drop in directly from space… :-(

  47. @Monkey

    Yeah mate it’s on its way out.The FLAADS looks pretty decent though.


    ‘they hover – and drop in directly from space’
    Nice to see someones managed to produce FRES at last ;-)

  48. @DavidNiven

    I don’t know, maybe this will be the case, but the specifications are strict, the VBMR must have a weight of 25 tons, a precise height which I don’t remember exactly, with many common pieces with EBRC , it must have the engine at the front and a windshield .

  49. Picking up VBCI for commonality with the French army has been mentioned; but if you want another big armoured vehicle, then plumping for the APC or IFV cousin of Scout SV would give us commonality with our own army.

    The Donar system is based on an ASCOD vehicle, so an illustration of a new vehicle sporting the turret is not an impressive enough reason for going out and buying that vehicle. The turret has also been fitted to the MLRS vehicle already, so two vehicle types that we already use.

  50. ST – it will have a requirement that includes every possible use against every possible threat and in every possible environment; it will be required to be uber-powerful, more economic than a moped, float, fly, hover and burrow; it will be required to be massive inside and small outside, hugely protected and light, massively armed but without huge ammo racks, packed with every gadget/radio/ESM/ECM/sensor/DAS system imaginable, cutting-edge modern with decades of service with other forces. In other words the requirement will be normal MOD business.

    It was described to me that MOD deliberately writes impossible requirements to weed out those bidders who say they can do everything in one product. What sort of sense is that? Then the ‘credible bids’ are compared to see which has the ‘best’ selection of compliance. If three bidders chose a light fast option and one bidder chose a heavily protected slow option (both equally compliant but covering different aspects), and MOD know really they want a heavy solution, their competition is pointless as only one bidder has what they want. But for the sakes of audit trails the other bidders are strung along spending B&P cash without having a hope of winning. Its a garbage system. Clearly the requirement should be for the equipment desired, and capable of being met in entirety by one product – then the non-compliances mean something and highest compliance is the best equipment for the User.

    Or maybe the requirement writers just don’t know the requirements they are writing cannot all be met? Whatever happened to Smart Customers…

  51. HK said, “‘The 25mm gun saved lives on a number of occasions when infantry were about to be overrun’”

    David Niven then asked, “But does that not show more about weapons fit than base vehicle?

    During (the latter stages) of WW2 the weapon that the tank used the most was it machine gun(s).

    I do wonder if it would get away with turreted HMG and grenade launchers than fitting everything with a proper cannon. Perhaps by on a ratio of 1:2? More rounds. Simpler to strip and rebuild in the field. Perhaps even two turrets? Especially as the new gun seems a bit duff.

    Saying that as 3Cdo returns to the sea I think the 8×8 with cannon is something the brigade could use in the light cavalry role (one squadron per commando) as can be found in a USMC MEU. Resurrect one of the defunct RTR cap badges and recruit from within the RAC. I’m sure there must be some in the RAC who would like to take up the commando baton.

    Lastly as we spend yet more money on FRES in the SV variant I have been thinking whether the better option for 3Div would be to replicate their old brigade structure; 1 x MBT, 1 x armoured inf, 2 x mech. Replace Mastiff and 1 batt’s worth of Warrior with 8×8 and refurb the released Warriors as a recce version. The seems to me a better option than my original thinking of having only 1 armoured brigade (2 at best) or making the 3 brigades square losing the batt supposedly mounted in Mastiff.

  52. @Monkey

    The VBMR is a 6×6, not a tracked vehicle, but I think that you joke with me ;)

  53. @Swimming Trunks

    FRES UV is more than a replacement for Saxon, it’s a replacement for 432 and some CVRT as well. In an armoured infantry regiment it will be required to replace the 432 mortar wagon so will need to keep up with the Warrior. And in close support units, such as the Engineers it will replace the 432 as a section vehicle so will also need to be able to keep up with the rest of the Battlegroup, hence the 8×8 requirement.


    I agree, I see no need to place a cannon on FRES UV (unless we decide to replace some Warriors in the IFV role with some) a .50 and GMG fit should suffice. Would you not use FRES SV as a light cavalry tank for 3 Cdo, to compliment the Vikings?


    I don’t like the look of the VBMR, its very much a vehicle for policing type operations.

  54. Why not take the turret of the fres sv and use that as an apc and develop a 6 wheel foxhound for the protected wheeled vehicle taxi. And forget about the 8 wheeled warrior.

  55. Well, it would all depend on how and where you are going to use your 8x8s.

    Operational concepts differ greatly if you use them with armour as opposed to using them with infantry.

    With armour, they are used as supplemental firepower for lighter targets and to supress enemy infantry while the MBTs slug it out, and to drop infantry on an overrun target to weed out the survivors.

    With infantry, they are used as battering rams to “rush” a building where they get past the enemy arc of fire and drop infantry into the building itself.

    In COIN, they seem to be used as a base of fire platform and sensor systems.

    It’s all about what you are meant to do, how you want to do it and who you are doing it with.

    So before you go shopping, you first have to decide how you want to use your new 8x8s. Armour support? Infantry support? It makes a difference. Armour, a cannon might come in useful as you bump into armoured targets more often. Infantry, an AGL might be a better choice to lob rounds onto roofs or into windows.

  56. Exactly my point Observer. Among the first to develop a wheeled IFV was the South Africans; the Ratel. But it was armed with a 20mm cannon which appears to have been to surpress infantry. They also had fire support versions with eithet 60mm gun mortars or 90mm low recoil guns. Again infantry support may have been the intended role because they great difficulty dealing with the then new(ish) T-62. A ATGM variant was produced, but the Ratel has to be viewed as part of a larger wheeled force including 4×4 armoured cars, later 8×8 Rookit(?) armoured car, mine resistant 4×4 apc’s, even a wheeled G-6 SPH. The only tracked vehicle as I can tell was/is the Olifant MBT. Such a force was suitable for the terrain of SA but is it suitable for the likely AO of the British army? It should also be noted that the Ratel was lightly armoured, proof against 12.7mm across frontal arc and only 7.62mm elsewhere, but did have mine resistance.

    Short but interesting video at the beginning of this page about SA vehicles and their thinking:


  57. @x – “Defunct RTR” – or re-activate 41 Commando as a 3/4 squadron unit, building on the expertise of the RM Armoured Support Group – same deal as the evolution of Commachio to Fleet Protection to a re-activated 43…

    Per Mare, Per Terram… :-)


  58. @ Monkey

    Rapier hasn’t yet been in service for 20 years. Of course I’m talking about the current Field Std C, which was a new system introduced in 1996, although it could still fire the old missiles as well as the newer models. Fd Std A was replaced by FSB then upgraded to FSB1 post Falklands (notably introduction of the tripod mounted ‘pointing stick’) then to FSB2 which was replaced by FSC (AKA Jernas)

  59. Any expansion in 3 Cdo means finding the manpower from somewhere. The army has been reducing its manpower there, eg 29 Cdo Regt has been significantly shrunk. Not forgetting that these days all 3 Cdo Bde has to do in provide two battlegroups, one at high readiness rotating with the other.

  60. @ Obsvr

    Good point. I think I would take maintaining an organic engineering capability in 3 com over a light armoured one. Its not line we are short on armoured units that can be attached to 3 com if an operation requires it.

  61. The ISO container is in the mid-ground behind the Boxer in the Afghan shot, and I claim my packet of Cheesy Wotsits.

  62. Observer is right.
    For me the FRES UV is a APC with resistance to mines and protects the troops for use primarily in unconventional wars. This is a patrol vehicle. Take a big IFV like VBCI, remove the turret and say “this is a APC”, I don’t understand the reasoning. As well take the APC version of FRES SV . But a wheeled vehicle is less expensive than a tracked vehicle , this is the reason of its usefulness . For the war in Afghanistan, you had to buy Mastiff because you did not have Patria or vehicles of the same type to make patrols.
    Future FRES UV must replace Mastiffs, for me the best solution would be to replace the Mastiff with a vehicle of the same weight, about 20 tons, the Boxer is too heavy.
    This is why the French army will replace the VAB by a vehicle that looks like 6×6 truck, that will cost no more than one million € and move anywhere. For infantry support we have already VBCIs and you have Warrior.

  63. @ Obsvr re money and manning.

    You don’t say, really? Don’t panic nothing we bash out here has any actual bearing on what happens at the MoD in wider government. In fact just for fun I will think about RM expanding to corps and give them all a jetpack a piece………….

    If all we did was talk about the status quo there would be nothing hardly to talk about and what there would be would f**(ing boring.

  64. @ X. Don’t be daft, if you give all the RM jet packs then we can kiss the carriers goodbye :-)

  65. @ X

    “I do wonder if it would get away with turreted HMG and grenade launchers than fitting everything with a proper cannon”

    Didn’t the Russians develop a combat engineer vehicle with auto cannon and HMG’s for use in Chechnya? They developed a special version (radar less and manually aimed) of the shilka for use in Afghanistan.

  66. Mike, if you mean the Terminator (even thouigh the original T comes from the Russian word for”heavy”), I would not call it a combat engineering vehicle, but rather an IFV without dismounts.

    There were several prototypes, with a crew of up to 7 so that all weapons could be individually aimed. Those included two AGLs in the front corners. A version is now in production and is used with MBTs in a ratio of 1 to 4, with the main purpose of protecting them from inf. tank hunting teams, both at a distance (autocannons) and close up (MGs and AGLs).

  67. @ AAC

    That’s the one :) Cheers.

    I did not know it had weapons that were individually aimed.

  68. The Boxer is the AFV we should have bought and still should. Its modular design means the you do not have to buy specialised variants but rather a single platform and multiple modules. This has surely got to be a cost saver. It has superior protections as standard to any other wheeled AFV and has sufficient mobility to go where it is needed. Yes there are extremes but then you need platforms like the Bv210.

    We need it to equip not just the mechanised regimets that previously used the Saxon but also replace the multitude of FV432 variants still in service as well as some of the CVR(T) variants. If I had my way it would also replace the Warrior in a similar way the VBCI is replacing the AMX-10P in French service. I would then use the Foxhound to equip the remainder of the regular Infantry regiments as the day of the light role infantry is long gone.

    Yes some are going to say that only a tracked vehiole has the required mobility and protection but they would have the infantry riding around in a AFV called the Namer like th eisrealis are trying to do but only their assault units are going to be equipped as such due to cost.

    There are alternatives to the Boxer but only the boxer can be bought off the shelf as is and go straight in t service. It can take Bowmen with out modification because its specs are what we needed along with the Germans and Dutch and the formner are still the worlds leader in AFV design regardless of what the US may think. I cannot emphasis enough the utility the modular design brings to the party. I believe the Existing users have concentrated on APC, command and ambulance modules but designs exist for everything from mortar carrier, engineer, air defence to logistics carrier. In British service it would be the new “FV432” and would probably have an even longer service life.

    On a lighter side on a visit to Bovington I saw a video of a project to allow an FV432 exit a river with very steep banks. They fitted rocket packs to it but when they ignited it actually took off, did a 540 degree sumersault and landed on its roof, though it did clear the river back.

  69. If were going to buy an 8×8 APC which is what there supposed to be either join the USMC AMV and give the RM an armoured amphibious assault type Vehicle or the Boxer as the costs due to the number of vehicles being bought should lower the price per vehicle and the logistics and R & D I think we will end up doing a deal with GD for Piranha 5. I can’t see any reason to by VBCI with a deal for them to buy Watchkeeper how can the deal be anything like evenly valued.

  70. Lord J, it’s going to cost.. :(

    Not saying if it is a good or bad idea, just expensive, and that cuts down into how many you can really get. But you are right in that the CVR(T) and FV432s need to be replaced, they are getting close to the end of their shelf life.

    Personally, on a POV from someone not with the UK, we’re standardizing down to 1 armour, 1 motorized 8×8 and 2 infantry regiments for a brigade. The armour and motorised are the assault troops while the 2 foot infantry are the follow on forces, which gives a sort of 50/50 teeth/tail split.

    Frenchie, IFV/APC, whatever they want to call it, it all depends on if the vehicle can do the job, so I don’t see anything wrong with using an IFV without a turret as an APC or using an “APC” with a gun added as an IFV as long as it can do the job, but it does help to settle down on a single hull instead of having 2 types of vehicles when one is enough.

    Guess it is just what you are used to. I’m “used to” 25 ton +/- 8x8s, so the Stryker family of the US always seemed a bit fragile to me. I’m sure someone from a Stryker battalion would think that our 8x8s are overweight.

  71. FRES UV are supposed to replace the 432 series and Saxon and CVRT in some roles, that is why the protection levels are quite high and the need for 8×8 to carry the required kit and keep up with the Infantry who are riding in Warrior. This is also why IMO the VBCI is the wrong choice for us, we require the vehicle to cover a myriad of roles and the modular system is better for that. Lets also not forget that we helped to design it to our specifications and requirements, as soon as the C130 airlift capability was dropped it should have been ordered rather than the farce that has and is happening.

    Our requirements differ from yours so a vehicle just for patrolling would not suite us. We sit between you and the Italian requirements at the moment, which requires our 8×8 to step up to the plate and provide close support to the mounted infantry. Personally I think you are too light in some respects and geared a lot more to peacekeeping than peer fighting, I think the Italians have a good mix.

    Why does everyone want to armour up the Marines? they have Viking and CVRT/FRES SV within the Brigade. If you need a fully mechanised force to carry out an amphibious operation just use the Army.

  72. DN, short story. The army can’t swim. :P

    There are really 2 ways to go about an amphibious assault, the LCU/connector way or the USMC amtrack way. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Rough thumbnail, the LCU way is much faster and can put more capable units ashore, but the LCUs act as a bottleneck to deployment. The amtrack way is slower and amtrack capabilities are rather modest (a 50 cal and a 40mm AGL IIRC), but you are not dependent on a connector at all and can toss your entire amtrack force onto the beach in a single wave.

    In some really insane moments, I wonder if Gibbs and ST Kinetic can come up with a crazy love child of an 8×8 and a Humdinga. The yanks will go crazy over it, solves their EFV problems right out. Doubt it though, the Gibbs waterjets only seem to max out at 1.5 ton payloads. 8x8s are about 20x the weight.

  73. Observer,
    The army can’t swim – agreed.

    But we also do not conduct amphibious operations in the same way as the USMC, we like to find a nice quite beach and be civil about it ;-)

  74. @ArmChairCivvy
    Followed think link to the ‘Terminator2’
    What a smart idea an anti-infantry support vehicle as well armoured as an MBT (its a new turret/engine pack on a refurbed T-72 Chassis – they have about 8k of those in storage) to give the fast suppression to those nasty AT Infantry teams.
    Are they in production?

  75. @DavidNiven

    We have the VAB which has a number of variants impressive for a small vehicle, and VBMR will be designed to do the same thing. There will be 1,200 vehicles troop transport version, itself composed ​​into 7 sub-versions, the principal one being version of the infantry (500 vehicles designed to accommodate 11 infantrymen with Félin equipment), other versions are engineering, MMP and Eryx antitank missile, 81 mm mortar, refueling and maintenance.
    Then 270 version command post; 130 vehicles artillery observer; 50 vehicles 120 mm mortar; 240 ambulances and 27 CBRN reconnaissance.
    This done twelve variants for a vehicle of 20 tonnes.

  76. Is that true, CVRT/ FRES SVs in RM?

    Meant to say you could use CVRT/FRES SV. (although I don’t why they do not have a squadron attached like 16AAB)

  77. Frenchie,

    A vehicle in the VAB category is too lightly protected for our requirements. We want our vehicle to be of the same protection as your VBCI as it will be derectly supporting the armoured (C2) and armoured infantry (Warrior) regiments coupled with the off road ability.

    Like I said we intend to operate differently to how you operate, which I still think is too light.

  78. monkey, you have to remember that russian armoured vehicles tend to be lighter than their western counterparts. It’s because of their doctrine and their engine tech being inferior to the west, so they avoided needing a more complicated engine by keeping their weight down. A T-72 is about as protected as an 8×8, with people like RT having experiences or close hand reports of them being killed by 30mm fire.

    I really like the look of that thing, but capability-wise, I can’t see it doing something an 8×8 can, with an infantry squad added to boot. 30mm guns? ATGM/TOW? Co-ax? All can be integrated on an 8×8 as well.

    Looks on the other hand… This one wins hands down.

  79. @ArmChairCivvy
    It is very cool! The new one looks even better.
    I see what you mean by the weight @ about 42 tonnes the same as the T-72 , it seems they have taken note of the lack of stoppability and put the surplus weight from the old heavy turret and its 125mm gun etc and hung it around the sides as applique .Also upgrading the engine by 1/3rd to 1000hp would help with maneuverability .
    I guess being lighter makes it easier to transport (2 in AN125 – @ 90 tons of cargo= 7,100 km OR 1 in Il-76TD – @ 50 tons of cargo=4300km ) and would not to badly damage our modern road bridges to much giving them a bit more freedom of movement. I read once somewhere the US Army Core of Engineers all ways stopped M26 Pershing tanks from crossing their bridges until all other tanks had passed as their weight pretty much destroyed the decking needing major repairs after they passed .This frustrated the commanders somewhat as they where needed at the front to help deal with the Tigers and Panthers!

  80. The Russians never made that much of a thing about air transportability, that was specifically a western thing, usually for plans to reinforce Germany, UK, France etc from the US. The Russians don’t have that worry. They capped their tanks at about 40 tons and their bridges somewhere around that weight to delay any NATO attack into Russia same as how we used to plant trees at 3m apart to let small M-113s through while BMPs get hindered.

    They used to have a thing about air deployability though, but that sort of died out. Don’t hear too much about that lately.

    AN-125? Did you mean the AN-124? Or the AN-225?

    The cap for those monsters isn’t weight, it’s lane meters or space. Or at least I think it was. We managed 5 Apaches in a single load before, so getting some decent frontier aviation is possible with these guys.

  81. @observer, you are talking about the export versions of T72s.
    – one of the big plunders by Israel was that in a Syrian campaign they had to evacuate the crews of several tanks, without destroying the tanks. Anti-armour rounds so new that even the US units had not got them yet went straight to the USSR. The ceramic front plate developed for the Red Army could for several years not be penetrated by anything in service (other than ATGWs).

    They have done rather better than just redistribute steel

    Btw, KingTigers did not have that problem you mention despite their massive weight. By the time they got to service, the bridges they crossed tended to be blown up v soon after.

  82. @Observer,
    Which other country makes a specialised tank for airborne forces?

    And as China makes a specialised mountain tank (shrunk from another model), adjacent countries that also have mountains (India, ROK) have shown interest in this lightweight wonder.

  83. DavidNiven,

    We will not agree, but I think that choosing a too heavy vehicle will deprive the British Army of acting on some operating theaters. Light brigades with Foxhound and Jackal vehicles will not be enough, and take a mid-size vehicle that can act in both a light and heavy brigade will save you a lot of money.

  84. @ ArmChairCivvy
    My bad, An-124 , there are so few of the An-225 and are all ways overseas (aren’t they trying to finish a new one from an unfinished air frame?)
    I see they have used the applique pack on the armour upgrade very well so perhaps they will stand up in a fire fight with one of ours/Chinese IFV’s.
    The lightweight tank seems very interesting , does it have active protection system fitted like the IMI Iron Fist? This would give it a bit more survivability for little extra weight.

  85. Frenchie,

    I know we won’t agree ;-) It all depends on what you want to set your army up for, I have noticed though that most 8×8 are about 25-30t and the ones which were not 9Stryker & Rosomak) have all been up armoured after combat experience.

  86. @ACC

    I know, that Sprut was one of the things I remembered when I mentioned air deployability. Along with their retro-rocket drop concept.

    And I think you meant “blunder” not the Israelis “plunder”ing. :)

    The Russians never really went for ceramic armour in the way the west did actually. They seem to have focused more on ERA than applique.


    Related to what I mentioned about the ceramic armour, I think those are less applique than ERA/NERA blocks. The Russians are really hot for reactive armour. Against them, who knows, maybe a stream of 30mm rounds might be a bit more effective than a single 105mm APFSDS as the 2nd round would be hitting areas that have had their ERA blown off. That’s speculation until tested, but it is something to keep in mind.

  87. @Observer
    Thanks for the update on the applique v ERA/NERA .Perhaps you or ACC or RT would probably have a better idea than I but in terms of defeating Russian armour would a good ‘Hosing’ down of heavy cannon fire (50 rnds?) on a Russian tank/IFV/APC would it detonate the ERA exposing their inner hull to AP/ATGM rounds causing them to either except potential fatal damage ,manoeuvre undamaged sections towards the threat or too withdraw behind cover/retreat. Say our IFV (if we ever choose one) with a combination of cannon and ATGM to use the cannon first liberally and then try a missile shot?
    Or in conjunction with all ready deployed AT infantry to apply liberal cannon fire before they launch? How big a cannon round will set of the ERA? 20mm,25mm or more? If we choose too small it may be ineffective .I believe we are banking on the 40mm CTA Cannon but is it the charge it carries(HE) or the kinetic energy that does the trick? A lot of questions I know but I think valid ones.

  88. Display of ignorance here perhaps but as I understand it part of the game here is to supplant/replace the current recce tracks with one of these very tall and seemingly quite conspicuous vehicles?. Now my land forces vehicular experience amounts largely to being pinballed round the back of several 4 tonners whilst clutching on for dear life…but it seems to me that you’d want something altogether lower profile and more discrete in a recce vehicle?.

    Looking at the Terminator 2 details above the princple raison d’etre for that design appears to be as an anti-infantry screen in tight/urban terrain. Frigate screening the battleship in terms more familiar to me. Its not a vehicle essential to keep up with tracked armoured formations across open terrain as the threats Terminator counters aren’t found in open ground…traditional IFV’s…in our case Warrior exists for that role?.

    So we’re needing a deployable vehicle, used principally for recce so dimensioned appropriately, that can provide fire support as Scimitar has in Afghan. and be nimble/manoeuvrable enough to negotiate tight terrain and that can swim and be air portable in an A400?. That doesnt sound like the same brief that would deliver an 8×8 section hull tipping in at 27tons full fighting load.

    Is there then more sense perhaps in looking at something like Panhards Sphinx design, the one that uses the same turret as the Warrior upgrade, for recce/fire support and leave the heavier tasks to cheaper variants of the larger vehicles mentioned here?. As X notes above perhaps, if fire support is tasked out, can our 432 replacement make do with a basic RWS with an MMG or GMG?.

  89. I was referring to the capfure of newest US anti-tank rounds earlier, which were then used in developing an impenetrable frontal glacis for the T72s in Soviet use… And that was bad news because of their sheer numbers.

    Wiki details for the incident in 1982 (known as the battle of Sultan Yacoub):
    “Fought its way through Syrian infantry in the village of Sultan Yacoub only to become cut off and surrounded. At dawn, the Israelis broke out and escaped to the south with the support of 11 battalions of artillery firing both at the Syrians and in a box barrage around their own troops. In the six-hours ordeal the Israeli Army lost eight tanks and about 30 killed.[3] The Israelis failed to destroy the disabled M-48A3 Magach-3 tanks they left behind and they were recovered the next day by the Syrians.”

  90. Jonesy,

    The FRES UV is not going to replace the recce CVRT, that is going to be replaced by FRES SV.

    The utility variant of FRES is going to replace the Sultan (command), Samaritan (Ambulance) and Samson? (Recovery) versions of the CVRT. Spartan in the Engineer recce and RAF regt role is being replaced by the Panther.

  91. @TOC, yes, but they only just got the budget to buy 200… Aren’t the contenders still the same?
    – btw, our Dutch Marine colleagues use AMV’s predecessor

    I understood this thread to revisit the fres UV (recce being the SV, or more like the first within the SV family)? So patrolling would be as far as one would try to fetch the battle field taxi cum supporting weapon formula.

  92. I’m not a petrol head or an armour buff. Reading this took me to TD’s article in 2011 before I read the blog blog.https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2011/06/a-brief-history-of-fres/

    It all beggars belief. Why not line up the contenders bulled up, paintwork Simonized, tyres painted black and wheel nuts painted red. Then let someone in charge choose the best looking.

    If it’ is fantasy fleets, could Terrier minus the backacter arm and the front bucket but with a remote weapon be used for recce. Especially as it can be used by remote control so we could field a UGV. Could save on development costs.

  93. Ahhh I see now thanks for the clarification David and ACC….this makes far more sense now!

  94. DN – ref “CVRT is going to be replaced by FRES SV” – fairer to say CVR(T) & 430 series are being retired and FRES/SCOUT-SV is being brought into service with the intent to cover some of the CVR(T) roles. Like many, I would not be at all surprised to see an astonished Army gobsmacked that SCOUT-SV can’t get to places like CVR(T) could, either because its too big or because its too heavy. So the 4×4 trucks will be called forward instead (Panther Foxhound Jackal) but they won’t fill CVR(T)’s roles either. Who would be shocked to see a requirement for something like Stormer 30 cropping up in the next decade?

    Its not as if the Army could act all hurt and ask “Why didn’t anyone tell us FRES is too big?” because for years exactly that opinion has been voiced. I’m sure TD could supply a stack of references pages long but really doesn’t have to; they are easy enough to find.

    Or to save face maybe the MOD will stick the collective head firmly into the sand and declare our allies will cover. No carriers? Not a problem the French will cover. No MPA? Norway will cover. Not enough troops to mount a self-sufficient force? The US will cover. No small fighty armour? Maybe the Germans (Wiesel) and French (AMX10/VBCI/Sphynx/CRAB/etc) can cover?

  95. DN, just out of memory re: the SV

    I seem to remember that the minimum run is 320-ish, with an option for more. At that time each of recce/cavalry rgmnts were going to get a sqdrn, putting the Scout numnbers somewhere between two and three hundred. And then almost the same number of ambulance, recovery and command vehicles, exactly the ones you mention for UV? Bridge-layers got crowded out, but as the early Scouts would not be going to many places without mobility support, some thirty Warriors were to be converted.
    – all in all a good 400 SVs, and getting started with UV in 2016 (now looks like it is moving a tad faster?)

  96. Chris

    I agree when it comes to FRES SV, commonality is a good thing but sometimes just the same engine and optics would do. How many times do you need to swap hulls? they could have designed a smaller lighter hull for the scout variant using as many common components as possible from the base model.


    To be honest the numbers get a bit muggy to me, because the FRES UV as far as I’m aware is not intended to replace the 432 in the mechanised infantry units (although I’m not sure which of the two types of vehicle their mortar Platoons will use), they will get the FRES SV (protected mobility or whatever their calling it) based on the Ascod hull. The close support units such as the Engineers (God bless their cotton socks) and the medics etc will get the FRES UV.

    I may be miss interpreting it, hopefully someone will put me straight if I am.

  97. Spam monster ate my replies!

    Here is the shortened version, Chris

    I agree, they could have designed a smaller lighter hull for the recce version using as many components from the base model as possible (hopefully about 80%)

    Numbers get muggy for me, as the FRES UV is not intended to replace the 432’s in the mechanised Infantry units. They will be replaced with the protected mobility version of FRES SV. The close support units will get FRES UV (where that leaves the infantry mortars I do not know)

    That is my reading of it, if I’m mistaken hopefully someone will point me in the right direction.

  98. DN,
    Good to know that yhe protected mobility ambition is still alive.

  99. RE: Terminator
    New version has lost its AGL’s and their gunners. Apparently the requirement originated in lessons learned from Chechnya. The Germans proposed a similar escort tank in the ’50’s.

  100. Is the modularity of the Boxer in part to allow for a surge capability? Say the UK was using them in Afghanistan, a few get damaged beyond in-field repair but the occupant modules are salvaged. You then can use any base vehicle in the available fleet to reuse the modules on in short order.

    The modular nature could be pushed further if you had a tracked vehicle that was compatible with the modules. Perhaps something that can alter its ride height so that normal operations have it sitting low and patrols in places where IEDs are expected it would stand higher. Not knowing much about these things would a tracked version be able to be shorter (more stubby nosed) than the wheeled one? The driver space and controls, a generator and two drive motors might need less space than the gubbins at the front of the wheeled one.

  101. Gareth,
    You are describing how the Swedish (BAE) SEP prgrm was thought out. Translates to enhanced protected mobility for a squad.

    None got ordered, and AMV’s predecessor took the order. Their top plate can stop 152 mm airburst (from the caliber you can tell the threat scenarios that were modelled to get the specs).

  102. A different Gareth,
    If the base vehicle were damaged beyond repair, the likelihood of the module surviving sufficiently unscathed to be re-used is unlikely. Even if it was OK, how much value do you save by shipping it back, even from the explosion site to the nearest FOB, to be reused? All the expensive bits are readily detachable in any (including non-modular) arrangement

    In normal use, how many modules are you going to buy that will sit idle the majority of the time? How much are you willing to change your force structure? What is the comparable cost to buy some extra hulls in high roof or turret compatible versions and swap across the equipment such as engine and drive systems to effect a change?
    Modularity seems desirable, but is it worth the additional mass, complexity and therefore cost?

  103. DavidNiven,

    It seems to me that is planned several additional version of FRES SV (command, ambulance, missile launcher, engineer, radar, forward observation artillery), the FRES UV should be an APC , mortar carrier, CBRN, electronic warfare, carrier equipment, recovery, repair, command and ambulance. This being the plans from BAE, when they developed the SEP vehicles. I don’t know if the MoD provides to maintain the original plans.

  104. Frenchie,
    At least at the moment, going by GDUK’s current site on it, there are fewer SV variants than you suggest. The line up at the moment looks like Scout, APC, Repair, and Recovery. I rather suspect that the Scout variant would be able to fill in the FOO role, provided there is a bit of space in the back for another operator and some role-specific radios of they are not already fitted. Ambulance and command variants don’t seem to be in there, but it’s really an APC with a higher roof, with the difference between being whether they are fitted with radios or stretchers.
    Missile and radar don’t seem to be on the cards, nor a large calibre cannon, which was at one point, and the engineering role is filled by Terrier at that weight class.

    UV would need to stay true to the appellation and function as whatever Utility Vehicle fit is needed. APC, logistics, mortar (perhaps), command, ambulance etc.

    Warrior, as originally conceived, was a family of vehicles, with all the variations under the sun. Never happened though, so FV430 series kept soldiering on. A google image search of “Warrior MICV family” ought to turn something up – although it seems to be on a blog that IIRC is persona non grata at TD Towers. If it isn’t, apologies, but I shan’t link directly to keep on the safe side.

  105. @Deja Vu
    That kind of trial is exactly what the US Army are planning in a few weeks time for their Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) requirement, a successor to the M551 Sheridan to carry 9 men in something that can be dropped from a Herc or underslung from a Black Hawk. Likely contenders are a Stryker with 30mm RWS and a revival of the old M8 Buford (105mm).

  106. SEP is dead, in all is forms, both hybrid and mechanical. The Swedish selection of the AMV (not its predecessor but the actual AMV) put the final nail in the types coffin and BAE has now shut down the wheeled vehicles operations at Hagglunds and the type is no longer being offered.

    Modularity is a complete mirage of flexibility, it serves no purpose, nobody swaps hulls as you end up buying the same number of platforms as you do modules. If anything it actually complicates the engineering problem by forcing different configurations to fit within the mild lines of the standard module rather than allowing modification to the base platform. Commonality between drivetrain components, electricals and C4ISR is what matters, not commonality between shapes.

    For the Army/MoD there is a key decision to make, do they want to push industry to come up with something that fully integrates all the lessons they have learnt in the last decade- in which case someone is going to have to fund some R&D and the programme will/should look a lot like scout (pick all the best high TRL/MOTS components available and mash them together in a semi-custom version of an existing platform), or does it go for something cheaper and near commodity like- in which case I suggest the AMV- it consistently wins competitions and Patria’s approach to market means that the UK would just buy a license for the design and could then use whatever components it wanted- i.e. all production could be done in the UK.

    Neither Boxer or VBCI have won an export order yet- that should be telling in itself. As I understand it those vehicles will have their final deliveries (based on current orders) in 2018 and 2015 respectively so availability after 2020 may be suspect too.

  107. Derek – entirely agree that commonality of systems/components is far more value than commonality of hull shape, and leads to big advantages in support.

    But. I do fear for the future of defence products, and the reason is the approach to risk. It has become the standard now to demand high TRL for every new project; essentially no-one is prepared to buy anything that hasn’t been in service with someone else for long enough for the bugs to be ironed out. This is the path to technological stagnation. The only ‘new’ technology is then a bleed over from the commercial world, where developments may not be to the advantage of the military User. In the UK it appears there is no appetite for Gov’t funded initiatives – all the more since ‘design’ (as in how stuff is combined and integrated) is considered by those who have never done it as 1) easy, and 2) of little impact on the end product – whereas at least in the US there are still formal defence labs (DARPA, TARDEC, TRADOC etc) and US Gov’t funded studies run by industry.

    This is back to an earlier discussion point; the loss of the defence Establishments that did lots of up-front product development to shake out new ideas in technology and design.

    But now MOD (being the risk-phobic organization it is) will only buy what is already developed and fielded – already old – and industry has acquiesced into offering only proven stuff to MOD as none of the cutting edge offerings would ever be accepted. Stagnation guaranteed.

  108. Out of interest what are the chances that we will cancel or dramatically scale back FRES SV, retain some or all of the CRV(T) still in service, re-hull any remaining CRV(T) not already at rehulled for use in Afghanistan and then put them through a rolling upgrade programme that sees over a decade or so them re-engined, new transmission added and in the case of the Scimitar a new turret (with improved optics and a stabilised CT-40)?

  109. Tubby – CVR(T) hull is too small to take CTA40 by my modelling. The gun with significant sized autoloader (particularly wide on the RHS of the gun) would mean the turret would grow in plan, leading to space claim conflict with the driver hatch. Both RO 76mm gun (Scorpion) and Rarden (Scimitar) have very compact breech mechanisms. Autostab Rarden would be entirely worth assessing if CVR(T) were given a life extension.

  110. Off on a tangent. But looking at 3 Div’s proposed new structure and the number of CR2 hulls we have, even given my belief that the next armoured conflict will be GW1-esque-with-knobs-on , we appear to be short of 2/3 tank regiments. In a GW1-esque-with-knobs-on situation all the tanks regiments would need to go but we would still have a good base of (armoured/mech) infantry. This is me just thinking along their lines not mine. The only solution, and it is only a partial solution, would be to upgun part of the buy ASCOD and reorganize the FRR along US cavalry lines (with organic 120mm pgm mortars and Spike in support.)

  111. Thanks Chris,

    Do we know that CTA40 will actually come into service? The French haven’t included it on their VBCI’s and I would imagine that it would represent a significant cost burden for them to re-gun all there VBCI’s.

    I am trying to work out in my head if the various rumours that keep popping up about VBCI purchase represent French marketing strategy, a sign that the Conservatives want to get a few defence deals in place as they know that they will be in the opposition from 2015, or due diligence on part of the MoD reviewing all their options for FRES SV and UV ahead of SDSR 2015.

  112. Tubby – you should also consider an element of panic in response to senior Gov’t types demanding to know what progress on FRES-UV.

    I know nothing about CTA40 other than the physical nature of the beast and reviewing the many presentations available on the web. Many of these were originally presented by David Leslie, Chairman CTAI. Over the years looking at the presentations the ISD always seemed to be 2 years from the then current date; so I’d suggest CTA40 should be ready for production Q2 2016. At the moment…

    In the CTA presentations there was a turret for VBCI, clearly not progressed. But changing turrets over, especially if the ring is common between old & new type, should present few problems should the French choose to go that way.

  113. Thank you Mr.Fred,

    But I wonder how the FRES Scout will be able to fulfill its mission without anti-tank missile launcher. On the turret of the Sphinx there are two missiles, on the U.S. Bradley too. This is a serious problem in my humble opinion.

  114. @Chris,

    There really has been very little in the press about either FRES SV or the CTA40, we are lucky if we get a press release once a year on the progress they are making – in the absence of any information you begin to wonder what the hell is actually going on, and if no news means that there are problems.

  115. I just think even in this day and age we should have a tank/cavalry regiment for every 3 battalions of infantry and one regiment of artillery for every 3 battalions of infantry to be balanced. Oh! And 12 light helicopters too.

    @ Frenchie re turret ATGM for FRES SV

    Oh yes indeedy mon amie. :)

  116. @x and Frenchie

    I am likely being a bit thick but wouldn’t it be better to have the ATGM capability on which ever platform we pick for the FRES UV, this presumes that our doctrine for the use of FRES UV will not be to dissimilar to the doctrine used by the Stryker brigade?

  117. @ Tubby

    Why not both?

    The ability to collect intel using other means is only going to increase just as our numbers in terms of personnel and platforms decrease. Not advocating fighting for intelligence but the SV fielded by the FRR in my opinion are going have to have more capability to fight. ATGM is a cheap way to add that capability; even though it probably equates in money to what about 25 to 30 tank rounds per shot? As I said we need some ASCOD with a proper tank gun; probably about a 25% of them. Luckily Chinese and Russian armour isn’t improving much. In Africa we will need a capability, as in Afghanistan, to breach walls and take out enemy behind walls etc. It pains me to say but we don’t have enough tanks. Or should that be we are short of mobile protected systems that can deliver large amounts of direct fire? Yes I will go with that one…….

  118. @x.

    In an ideal world I am in total agreement with you, however given the reality that we are going to struggle to get enough FRES SV and UV and that we are going to only have a few variants, I would be surprised if we get any more variants for FRES SV than the initial 5 designs proposed, and I think we are going to have to rely on FRES UV to provide ATGM over watch and direct fire versions. Saying all that I can see over on Gabby’s blog (out of deference to TD I will not repost here) that in the Gulf War formations of Scimitar and Striker that Swingfire was used in about 50% of all engagements even though the ratio was roughly 1 striker for every 3 Scimitar. Now this may have been due to the relatively flat terrain combined with better optics favouring long range ATGM engagements or it may reflect doctrine, and in either case supports your desire to have a FRES SV ATGM version, and shows it it to valuable to not be developed. Furthermore there is all ready an ASCOD ATGM variant, so in theory it should be easy to port over the current ATGM turret from ASCOD and certify it for use on FRES SV:


    Alternatively do we have enough spare Warrior’s to create an ATGM version of it?

  119. While I wait for the spam eating monster to disgorge my reply to x, does anyone know what is happening with Stormer? A while ago on the British Army web-site it indicated that Stormer was going to be withdrawn, and I presumed that they had all be flogged off, but they have removed the comment about Stormer being withdrawn from service and it looks like it is still in service. Does it reflect the need to keep Stormer, or are they going to do something else with the hull?

  120. Ah, young Tubby if only you had more organic firepower like a ATGM strapped to your head you could have dealt with the likes of Spam Monster…….

  121. @Tubby,

    I’m not sure to have understood your question, but for me the platform for ATGM must be an version of FRES SV. I think that the British Army is doing a mistake in the choice of vehicle for the use of FRES UV. For not mention the role of APC, regarding the replacement of Fuchs for CBRN missions. I don’t know if this will be the role of the FRES Scout to achieve this mission, if the FRES UV must accomplish this mission, there is no need a vehicle of 30 tonnes. For me the FRES SV is already too heavy. If the MoD want a multirole vehicle, it does not need to a Boxer or VBCI. All this story of vehicles of 30 tonnes is the fear of mines, but what you gain in security, you lose it in mobility, this is a bad choice from a logistical point of view, I think you need to replace your Mastiffs with vehicles of the same weight with more mobility.

  122. @Frenchie and X,

    Firstly I have apologise for all the questions I am trying to understand something that is a bit alien to me. I can just about walt my way through issues relating to the RAF or RN, but the Army is another matter.

    To clarify my question to Frenchie, at the moment (rightly or wrongly) I can see two doctrines in how you use FRES UV, you either use them as wheeled IFV (which is how it appears to me how the French use VBCI) where you standardise on your 30mm cannon or you use them like the US/Italians where you use them as APC’s and where you therefore have penny packets of ATGM and direct fire versions to provide overwatch to the squadron and to support dismounts, as the APC versions themselves only have a .50 cal RWS – if we are following the doctrine that we use them is similar manner to the Stryker then we are going to need to ATGM version of FRES UV. Now it is my understanding that the American’s have learnt lots of lessons from operating Stryker (such as how best to use the direct fire variant of the Strkyer) and at least one of those lessons is that you need something heavier than Strkyer which might be driving our weight requirements for FRES UV.

    Out of interest Frenchie what do you think of the Jackal/Jackal 2/Coyote and our proposed Light Cavalry formations?

  123. Tubby – considering the commonality of parts between Stormer and its smaller cousins in CVR(T), I can’t see the retention of just 100 Stormers (maybe less – some have already gone through the auctions at Witham) being rational once CVR(T) is gone.

    Frenchie – ref weight of vehicles – I believe its possible with careful design to get personnel survivability of the desired level in lighter vehicles than 22t or so. But these wouldn’t be commercial trucks with armoured boxes on top like Mastiff. Note that both Thales (ADI) Bushmaster and the UK Jackal achieve good mine blast protection at light weight; reasonable ballistic/fragment protection is possible at 100kg/sq.m or less. But the design of the hull, or more specifically the personnel compartment, needs to be focused on best protection. Often more time is spent making the outside of the vehicle look smooth and futuristic than spent on genuine protection measures; as a result the armour is thicker/heavier than it could have been.

  124. Frenchie,
    The lack of turret ATGW on both SV Scout and Warrior perplexes me. Both vehicles are likely to operate outside immediate MBT support, so a long range AT weapon would make sense, but seems anathema to the British Army.

    Would stabilised Rarden be viable, if it continues using the 30x170mm round? AIUI that round is not used elsewhere.

  125. mr.fred – autostab Rarden would I think be the most punchy gun you could fit to Scimitar if you wanted to keep some CVR(T) but get some degree of fire on the move. I don’t think any other mid calibre gun would fit. Stormer 30, which had an extra roadwheel each side and wider track centres was just big enough for Oto Hitfist turret which was still 30mm at best (some were 25mm). At one time I believe Oto were trying to make a version of Hitfist with their 60mm gun, but I’m not sure it got through development. Nor if it was still a compact turret on a smallish ring.

  126. “anathema to the British Army”

    Or is it another example of not being able to afford it dressed up as “we” know better? Something that comes here now and again.

    It isn’t the ideal solution. But it seems odd that “we” put so much faith in the likes of Milan in the Cold War and now Javelin that “we” pour cold water on the idea of putting similar on turrets. As I said above missiles are expensive but it is cheaper than buying additional tanks or AH even if it is only a defensive measure. How many tanks do the Chinese, Russians, and Indians have?

  127. @Tubby,

    For me, the Jackal is a vehicle not protected enough, it should have a CBN and a better mines protection. It should be used as our actual VBL, make a work of discovery, to warn the tanks movements, with cameras, a post of missile launch is very helpful too.
    I don’t understand the heavy brigades with vehicles of 30 tonnes and light brigades with vehicles under 10 tonnes. It must have a mixture, a french armored regiment has Leclerc, VAB, VBL, but it is not your doctrine.
    Our future light brigades will have vehicles from 7 to 25 tonnes, this is not a weight question, but what we want to do.

  128. Chris,
    I was wondering more along the lines of could the Rarden be upgraded to 30x173mm or even super40? It may be a punchy gun, but unless it has ammunition, it is not much more than a curiously-shaped paperweight.

  129. @Chris,

    Thanks for the info, I wonder what prompted MoD to stop the disposals. I guess it could be as something as stupid as porting the turret over to M113 (as we seem to have a fair number of these knocking around in specialist roles such as the base vehicle for Exactor).


    Personally I hate the idea of bringing in Jackal to core equipment budget, I see them as being little more than expensive technical’s and I cannot see how we are going to use them effectively if we ever fight a peer enemy. I would have either turned BAE’s powerpoint CV21 into a real product or purchased the Panhard Sphinx for the yeomanry

  130. @ Tubby

    I don’t know. Looking at the Styrker Brigades all I see is LCS-for-land. Lots of IT and clever-clever, yet for what? I think they work mainly because you have First World soldiers in an adequate vehicle supported by the world’s most comprehensive and capable armed forces. Lessons from the direct fire version? I would read it more as work arounds for a compromised design. I remember when I first saw video of one them being fired, egads, as a disciple of St Barbara it made me feel right queasy. An Italian Centauro it is not.

    I think we need to be selective for FRES UV. It will spend its time mostly in Third World peace keeping ops/COIN stuff which means for APC. I would go for a HMG and 40mm combination in a WELL ARMOURED manned turret. As I said above perhaps a two turret version for the MG support platoon to make up again for our falling number of proper cavalry vehicles. Leave vehicles with large cannons to the cavalry. I am going to spend some of fantasy budget and say if I were in charge 1 Div would have 8×8 APCs (choose your favourite flavour) and Sphinx (as mentioned above by Frenchie) for the cavalry. Stuff that can be stuffed into other stuff easily.

  131. mr.f – that’s beyond my knowledge base – I spend my days installing clever stuff clever people have engineered. That being said I did look inside the loading mechanism of a Rarden on a turret trainer; lots of guides and taut wires and pulleys. Hence the manic handle twiddling if the third round of a clip of three is shot before the next clip is in place. Maybe it was just a training device and the real gun was different… As for its adaptability and the issues related to use of different ammunition, you need the wisdom of a Royal Ordnance designer or an Armourer.

  132. I must get round to writing about my hair brained scheme to de-turret a handful of CR2’s and mount a high elevation super rapid slewing 40mm CTA /GPMG / LMM combo remote mount in its place

  133. The various variants of the FRES(SV) seem to simply be a way for the contractor to make the Army spend all its procurement budget of platforms that are more expensive than we need. Starting from the view that I don’t think we need a recce platform in the class of the FRES(SV) to begin with and we really do not need the Recce Regiments anymore I am sure I am going to upset some people. Well FRES(SV) is basically a light tank and it will be used as such, being slightly more deployable than a CA2 and more suited to low intensity operations. IT will probably only be used in its recce role in training and exercises. As for the Recce Regiments, well these are going to be used as medium armour formations and not for recce. Then again will we ever deploy a formations large enough to justify recce on a regimental scale?

    Foxhound, Jackal and ever Warrior can already fulfil the light/medium armour role and recce, depending on the threat level and intensity of operations. I believe the Army is going for FRES(SV) in the same way it went for Wildcat, because it was offered it and has its thinking in the past.

    As a priority the UK needs to armour up its infatry regiments. For me this means Boxer. As I stated above in the APC role it should equip the majority of the regular Infantry. Yes it will cost but by cancelling the Warrior upgrade and FRES(SV) you would have a start. With it replacing the FV432 variants, it is a more capable platform accross the board, and its modularity there will be significant saving down the road especially if we follow the contractor led support and warrenties as used by the Germans and Dutch. With its substantial growth potential and ability to develope plug and play mosules for new roles and technology as it becomes available, the Boxer has a major advantage over the Piranha V which stretches the platforms to its limit, and is more cost effective and flexible then the VBCI. Returning to cost, a Boxer procurement plan would be a multi-year programme with a number ordered each year on a continual basis. This would enable the manufacturers to place order for long lead items at the most cost effective time and rate. With the UK purchasing the Boxer and on going productions, I can see additional countries placing orders, due to its advantages over the competition.

    Equipping the APC variant with either a 21.7mm HMG, 40mm AGL or a AGL/GPMG combo weapon station is more than enough firepower for a APC. At the max give it the ability to fire a Javelin from under armour, but I believe this would be going too far. I know that some will say what if it meets a T-55 somewhere in Africa, well a 40mm AGL will knock out a T-55, and a Boxer is fast enough to bug out damn fast popping smoke as they say, which is the better option. Once you start try to make a platform able to go head to head with nastier opponents you move away from its core role.

    As for replacing the CVR(T), in this I meant the variants such as the Spartan, Sultan, Samson and Samaritan. many of these have been used to replace FV432 variants in non recce formations already. Boxer is an obvious replacement as these variants already exist. In fact these are the roles the dutch use their Boxers for replacing all but he fighting variants of the YPR-765 wich were replaced by the CV-9035 NL.

    To sum up procure a platform such as the Boxer should be the Army’s number one priority and ot is also the only way for it to realise the potential of FF2020, rather than the baker’s dozen approach curretnly under way. Will additional funding be required, most likely but funds are there. Based on the Dutch/German programme, they procured 470 Boxer variants for $1.6 Billion or roughtly $35k per vehicle. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things when weighed against the capability increase it would bring to the Army.

  134. With all the comments like “Making look like a light tank will make people use it like a light tank”, I’ve to wonder how true it really is.

    For one, a misunderstanding on the usage of the equipment in the field is not the fault of politicians, no matter how slimy they may be. It is the fault of the officers and non-coms for not using the vehicle in the intended role or a failure of teaching the officers the proper concept of use, which makes it the fault of training schools. Sure, sometimes you get non-standard use of equipment in extreme situations, but to blanket prescribe desperation measures as SOP is a bit of a stretch. There IS a possibility of usage creep though, the M-113 being the classic case of an APC evolving into infantry support, but that was due to a pressing need for small arms proof support vehicles, not because the APC was overarmed.

    Two, there are limits as to how badly someone can abuse usage of equipment outside of unit tactics. For example, giving an infantry unit 105mm armed 8x8s does not mean that the infantry is going to act like a cavalry unit and go charging off to the front lines while leaving the rest of the unit behind. At least not if they trained together and if being a screaming berserker was not a criteria for 8×8 crewmen selection. An IFV assigned to infantry support and trained for that will act like an APC because “support the infantrymen!!” will (and jolly should be) drummed into them from the start in their training as well as the fact that they are not lone units but are under the command of an officer who with luck will remember that he is there as infantry support, not armour.

    Personally, I have my doubts that any “light tank armed APC will act as a light tank”. It assumes that the vehicle is independently commanded and untrained. In light of this, I see nothing wrong with 30mm+ on “APCs” provided it does not compromise carrying capacity.

    LJ, I have my doubts to the efficiency of the 40mm AGL on armour. I’ve seen an ST Kinetics test plate of a 40mm HEDP round penetration and I was severely unimpressed. Penetration was only about 1-1.5 cm of what I assumed was RHA and this was at the optimum of 90 degrees. I won’t take it as a given that it can penetrate.

    As for bugging out, sometimes you just can’t. If a Boxer was there as infantry support in a defensive position, it would mean abandoning the infantry and if the infantry gets overrun, it would mean a penetration into your rear areas and serious trouble.

    Typo at 21.7mm MG. Just FYI, no big deal. I see the advantages of a 40/50 too, so I’m not arguing against that.

  135. LordJim – agree ref FRES/SCOUT-SV size weight and especially cost. Head-on SV and C2 are pretty much the same profile; hardly a stealthy option.

    Boxer though? Also big, also expensive – maybe that makes it a shoe-in for FRES-UV if only to allow the purchasing team to show what good value SV was in comparison. Note please that your sums are a bit out – $1.6Bn for 472 units is $3.3m each (in local money £1Bn for 472 units giving a unit cost of £2,118,644). The vehicle in APC form is 8 inches short of 8m long and half inch under 3m wide and an inch under 2.4m tall (using standard UK units of measure) and weighs in at between 30 and 36t depending on module & appliqué armour. Funnily enough, its really easy to find photos of Boxer but really difficult to find photos of Boxer with other types of vehicles. But here are a couple that might illustrate the size, first scale models of Puma Bradley and Boxer http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a262/Ferror/2012-11-17132819.jpg – Bradley is not known for being a titch but is by far the smallest in this company – and second a photo of a Boxer ambulance http://www.military-vehicle-photos.com/picture/number9100.asp which really speaks for itself. As has been noted here before, some of Boxer’s weight size and expense is down to the decision to split the vehicle into plug & play modules.

    I believe good protection is achievable in smaller lighter cheaper vehicles than this.

    Obs – in the 60s a mod kit was made for Ferret scout car that fitted the turret with ATGW. It caused the vehicle user confusion over the purpose of the vehicle – as a MG armed scout its job was to see stuff and report. It was not to engage. But with ATGW the purpose was fuzzy – should it try to engage with its limited firepower or should it report and not engage? The ATGW fit was seen to be detrimental to the base vehicle’s capability.

  136. All of the 8×8 vehicles are large and heavy, Stryker is being up armoured with a double V hull from lessons learned so I am presuming weight will go up on the base line vehicle. The Polish Rosomak was up umoured for Afghanistan along with the French VAB (I know its 4×4 but trying to illustrate that everything has had weight added due to current threats). Boxer has been designed with the lessons from Iraq and Afghanistan (apparently) so there should not be a need to add more weight for a while.

    All wheeled vehicles with adequate protection are large, the Foxhound is only 7.5t but is not much smaller than the Husky. We helped design Boxer and so it is a vehicle with our requirements already considered, do we need to look at a smaller vehicle for the light battlegroups? yes, and there was a 6×6 Boxer prototype designed also, job done.

    As to recce I see no point in designing a brand new vehicle for our requirements just buy the Fennek and live with that and the FRES SV.

  137. I really can’t see the attraction of boxer and the like.

    The reality is that large-scale troop movement of things like brigades etc can only take arround roads or on permissible ground like hard dessert or veldt.

    Wheels should be enough for that. We are not looking at a vehicle that can conduct sweeping manouvres against 1st class opposition, nor knock down drag out fights in close country. We have heavy armour and God help us fres sv for that. We are talking about a mobile armoured box to carry infantry to the fight support them in light engagements, and carry all the other stuff infantry need morters, atgw, C4 kit etc. After all thats what fv series vehicles do.

    As a protected mover of infantry, and kit, IMHO We would for the general infantry be better off with a truck based vehicle like Ratel. ok it should be 8×8 or 6×6 version of Saxon based on MAN chassis for commonality.

    For recon of armoured units v the big boys we are supposidly getting fres sv.

    As to weaponry then a 50 cal in a protected ring mount should do.

    But would ask those in the know, given 30 years automotive improvements and a bit of imagination, whats wrong with a MAN based 8×8 Ratel?

    23 sh tons, fits easy in a400, good range, mine resistant, rifle calibre bullet proof all over front stops 50 cal a point blank range, allegedly comfortable, parts commonality, fits on roads bridges and larger container flat racks, Ok armour, whats not to like.

    I usually agree with TD. But Boxer is the size of a small block of flats. Tyres are still tyres and can puncture or burn.

    Once saw a picture of a feench VAB at a Balkan airport near miss by a 155 had left vehicle looking battered but usable…… Tyres however shredded and blown off the rimms….


  138. Ratel is also a large vehicle (7m long), and the MAN chassis is also large. It’s what I have been trying to say, all wheeled vehicles are large there is no getting around it.

  139. Coming late to this thread, but here goes. If “the march of the makers” is to be more than a slogan, I think we should look again at the Warrior & Stormer. Both could have evolved into something quite good had we not abandoned them. Look at the Warrior 2000 prototype. Shame the coalition did not think to fund a Warrior 2015 prototype & likewise a Stormer 2015 prototype. They would have filled the heavy & light tracked roles.
    If you also want an 8×8, my vote is for the amphibious Iveco super AV (licence built in the UK).

  140. IXION,
    Would a tracked vehicle also be mobile following a near miss from a 155mm? Tracks are by no means invulnerable.
    The FV430 series were originally designed to be front line combat vehicles, Only later use had them as more of a second line vehicle.
    I agree that we are looking for a second line vehicle rather than something like a Warrior on wheels, but the thing to remember about Saxon is that it was originally a third line vehicle, meant to bring up reserve units, rather than a regular vehicle.

  141. DN – all wheeled vehicles are large – now. They weren’t always huge. The move to bigger is generally (I believe) to get better protection, that and to accommodate the full Fijian rugby squad in body armour and carrying a month’s supply of chocolate bars and fizzy drinks. I have noted above that the Australian Bushmaster gets pretty good blast protection in a light vehicle by being designed well – a smart focused design could be created for a high mobility well protected smallish lightish vehicle. But it has to be designed from the outset as a protected vehicle – using an extant vehicle or chassis and adding a protected box on top will always end up bigger & heavier. As for the size, as much as it might pain the PC lobby, designing all vehicles big enough for the world’s largest man to sit comfortably makes the vehicle bigger which for given protection level makes it heavier which needs more engine power and more fuel to run it and makes the whole package much more expensive than it could have been. Maybe the right balance is to work on 85th percentile not 97th percentile anthropometric accommodation, in the knowledge that the Fijian rugby team might be a bit squished if they all rode in the vehicle together…

  142. @ Jim 40mm HEDP V T-55 is a bit optimistic, Observer is in and around the right level penetration for the round, also hitting a moving target with a GMG past 1000m would be a challenge due to its low velocity. I normally teach teach HEDP for use against lightly armored targets such as BDRM/BTR.

    Reference stabilizing RARDEN, it sounds good but loading would be a bloody nightmare, its an ancient bit of kit that needs replacing not upgrading. The whole fightability of Scimitar is sub standard, not just the cannon, the manual trav, the cramped turret and more importantly the BV is virtually inaccessible. I think if we are going to upgrade CVR (which is unlikely because Scout is bigger then Jesus) thin i think a stormer hull with an external 40mm would be the way to go.

    Personally i think the Gov needs to make a decision quick and be done with it, even if they use the Ip Dip Dog Shi* method, then at least we wont be fighting Ivan with Mastiffs.


  143. I mentioned the Ratel earlier; looks like SA is replacing them with a modified AMV, with increased mine/IED protection?

    RE: RADEN. Raden was oft called a “Sniping cannon”; the Badger IFV is equpied with a a 30×173 cannon which “As a single-shot weapon, it is also unique for its sniper mode of operation. It is fired from a closed-breech position, which offers more accurate fire because no movement takes place immediately before the round is fired. It has an effective range of 4,000 meters and can fire up to 100 rounds per minute.”

  144. BV Buster,
    Reloading a stabilised Rarden need not be any more difficult than normal – just turn the stabilisation off when you are loading. You could use the fire control to make it easier – build in a pause every three rounds so you minimise the winding. If you keep the Rarden.
    I suspect that it would be possible to fit a larger cannon, in a completely new turret. Going unmanned to do so, however, would somewhat defeat the role of the turreted CVR(T)s as recce vehicles. In addition, only the APC variants would have enough hull depth to seat the crew below an unmanned turret

  145. We haven’t used standard for for fighting for years.

    I was not suggesting bolting an armoured body to MAN.

    Just sticking to 2.5m wide euro road width and using standard axles suspension engine etc.

    Ffs we used to do this with 11 ton 6 x 6 Saracan make it a few inches taller and 2 ft longer get to 15 ton and you can fit the rugby team of your choice in it.

  146. @ Mr Fred

    Good point, it wont be hard for the gun to go into a “load mode” along the lines of CR2, will also come as a handy reminder to throw in another 3 so will also help with less gap in feed problems. To be honest the cannon is the least of the CVRs problems, its cross country performance is shocking which is not a problem for FR but a nightmare for close recce with Chally and WR pushing up your chuff. I think a Stormer with hydrogas (remove torsion bars for a deeper turret basket and better off road performance) throw on a new turret jobs a good un. Do we still have the capability to manufacture CVRTs?

  147. The way an IFV moves across the landscape will be the same as how a MBT moves. Its peer opposition will be other IFV, tanks, and ATGM. While the MBT mostly has to face other tanks, ATGM. and ATGM equipped IFV. Delivering infantry onto their objective is only a small part of their manoeuvre envelope and probably the least complex. An IFV is probably more of a danger to soft skinned vehicles and infantry as a tank; more numerous and a weapon better suited to killing many small targets. It should be remembered that it is how an armoured platform is employed as much as configuration that wins the day; I think the term is violence of action or something The Germans rolled across Europe with tanks vastly inferior to today’s IFV. In the Far East there were occasions where British used UC as cavalry. I have a book written about the war in Angola where BMP2 (the one with the 20mm) were used as cavalry. Perhaps I think we have to separate in our minds “cavalry tasks” and “tank warfare” in an era where the opposition’s main vehicle will be a Chinese 125cc or a rusting Russian tractor and trailer? Against dismounted irregular infantry a modern IFV is for all intents and purposes a “tank”; even if the former has a supply of RPG.

  148. @ Frenchie

    Which SuperAV as it comes in two versions as well?

    I think they are that they are so similar it is hard to choose between them.

  149. “Fired from closed breech”, isn’t that standard for the heavier calibres?

    BV, very true on the 40mm. Personally though, I wonder about the BRDM and BTR as well. Much safer to just engage them with the LAW/MATADOR (you call them the Anti-structure Munition ASM). The last thing you ever want to see is a hit… and the target still active and noticing you. GMGs I feel are best used against infantry in cover/buildings.

    Why I advocate a backup cannon on an APC is because of the profusion of anti-missile active defences these days. For infantry, their primary anti-tank weapon is the LAW or the ATGM, but what happens if you run across a target with an active defence like the bolt on “Iron Fist” that monkey mentioned or the Kord/Arena system the Russians seem to love? Active anti-missile defences takes away the infantry’s main weapon against armour and you need something else to step up to take the role. The 2 backups I can see for the job are IFV cannons and AT mines.

    Chris, if your scout wants to go tank hunting, he needs a good knock on his head. Self defence only. If your scout can’t get that, assign him to an officer’s team or senior non-com’s team so that someone can sit on him.

    I really don’t know on the MRAPs as new APCs idea. It seems that the longer we go on, the lower the bar seems to be set regarding the enemies to be confronted.

  150. @ Frenchie

    Ideally FRES would be one of those vehicles available in 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8.

    But I think we are too invested now in Foxhound for a 4×4. version. Foxhound is great but I think for somethings it is too small and it is expensive……….

  151. @X,

    If I understand correctly, the Foxhound costs £1.2 million, while we are going get a 6×6 that will cost less than €1million with STANAG 4. Yes, It is a bit expensive.

  152. Observer: 40mm is no longer an option anyway, all have been carted off to SF and Marines, only the .50 cal is staying with regular army units.

    “The last thing you ever want to see is a hit… and the target still active and noticing you” : I think that’s the reason we have decided to up-gun to CTA, I have read somewhere it was deemed by some (lets call them boffins) that a K-kill on a BMP2 required an “ironic” number of hits from a 30mm.


  153. ’40mm is no longer an option anyway, all have been carted off to SF and Marines, only the .50 cal is staying with regular army units’

    The good old UK armed forces and lessons learned.

  154. BV, not that normal line infantrymen got to lug around a GMG daily, those things were for the support elements only. Maybe. Won’t be surprised if many regular infantrymen never even touched one in their entire career.

    One thing I would love to see is a test on the effect of HESH on an ERA protected target. I’ve seen sabot and HEAT on ceramic armour test plates before, my old camp had a test shoot exhibit set up on the effects, but HESH is an odd duck.

  155. Observer,
    Most larger calibre cannon fire from an open bolt. All the bushmasters do it, unless something has changed recently. Anything that can switch ammunition natures from the first round must do it.

    BV Buster,
    Irony – where literal meaning is at odds with the implied meaning… not sure what number would be ironic…
    Working on the assumption that you mean a lot of rounds; if Rarden, firing APDS, is OK for BMP1 why, when BMP2 is no more protected, is 30mm not sufficient to destroy it? Furthermore, if KE rounds from a 30mm requires vastly more rounds to destroy a vehicle, why is a KE penetrator from a 40mm any more likely to do it?

  156. Observer,
    I’ve seen a report on HESH vs. Conqueror with appliqué meant to replicate an ERA fit. First round did no damage to the tank but fairly well cleared the glacis plate of all appliqué packs. Second round worked as per normal on that target.

  157. mr fred, I know the Bushmasters do that, but I was under the impression that 75mm+ cannons usually load the round before firing and only go off when the trigger is pressed and not integrate the chambering and firing into a single step, especially the manually loaded ones (round fires the instant you shove it in??). But I could be wrong. Have to go look it up.

  158. Re: ironic number of shots needed to kill a BMP.

    My understanding was that the need to upgrade from the 30mm Rarden to the 40mm CTA was due to the Russians introducing the tougher BMP3, rather than BMP2.

  159. @ Frenchie re Foxhound

    Yes it is expensive. Bushmaster costs about £350,000. I wonder how much better we could make Bushmaster for say £150,000 to £200,000 more, gain lots of flexibility (read volume), and still save a lot.

  160. @ Mr Fred : The number they got for a BMP was 7 rounds, hence ironic, I should have explained my self a little better.

    I’m not saying 30mm is inadequate for dealing with BMPs just 40mm is in order of magnitude better. Yes it’s only 10mm difference in calibre but it’s all about the behind armor effect and having enough energy to do damage after penitration. It also future proofs the vehicle like stated earlier to deal with BMP3s who’s armor isn’t that much thicker to make it relivant. I’m typing on my phone so will make a more in depth comment later.


  161. “I’m not saying 30mm is inadequate for dealing with BMPs just 40mm is in order of magnitude better. Yes it’s only 10mm difference in calibre but it’s all about the behind armor effect and having enough energy to do damage after penitration.”

    Possibly the opposite. APFSDS is basically an arrow which will shoot through a thin-skinned (bulletproof) vehicle (such as a BMP-x without upgrades) largely intact. The effect inside off its path is largely limited to spall (fragments from the wall), which can be mitigated much by spall liners (now standard) or use of fibreglass hulls (less spall in first place). The probability of igniting something important in a modern AFV is small unless it’s directly in the path of the arrow (electronic turret motors replaced hydraulic ones, propellants became insensitive etc.).

    You may want to hit this target multiple times with this kind of behind-armour effect, and the smaller 30 mm cartridge is better for this than the 40 mm. In fact, this may be the reason why 25 mm was used and survived as a calibre at all.

    It’s different with MBT side protection, which is often in the 70-150 mm RHAeq KE range and may be penetrated by 40 mm APFSDS when 30 mm APFSDS would fail (but 50-76 mm would be a safer bet). Up-armouring of MBT sides has become common, though- and Soviet-style tanks have a well-protected turret side and a small hull side target area anyway.

    “It also future proofs the vehicle like stated earlier to deal with (…)”

    Future proofing should rather consist of having the suspension and power for weight growth.
    Whatever firepower you install outright may provoke reactions to mitigate the threat (if your army is relevant enough). To keep a couple tons weight growth potential allows you to adapt once necessary.

  162. An awful lot of guff being talked about formation recce (as practiced by the UK) above.

    FRES SV was always going to replace CVR(T) in FR, only because it made the overall FRES SV numbers make sense, not because any of us wanted it. Still, that’s Abbey Wood and non-FR one stars in DEC DBE, as it was at the time.

    No one in FR needs a stabilised gun. An AGL/Javelin combo would be better use.

    No one in FR needs something with tracks.

    95% of the K Kills made by direct engagement by the FR Regiment in GW1 were by Swingfire. 5% by other vehicles, but that did include a pair of Scimitars taking out an Iraqi T55 (really, a lot of rounds expended on that one, but they eventually got it through the side hull when they’d blown off some road wheels).

    Everyone seems to have forgotten that FRES a actually means Future Rapid Effects System, and most of the System was meant to be the strategic transport enablers to get whatever poxy wagons were eventually chosen to Central Africa in Brigade strength in 60 hours.

    As a rough rule of thumb, you need 5% of a vehicle’s mass in first line logistics per battlefield day. Taking 5 DOS on wheels, that’s 25% or for CVR(T) about 3 tonnes, or a complete Bedford load. Scale the wagon up to 30 tonnes and your logistics become impossible, at least on a FRES sense. Hence why MBTs are useless for offensive warfare unless you have really serious intentions.

  163. @ Frenchie

    No you haven’t you silly Frenchperson you! Why do you think that?

    @ RT

    As always when we reach this point in this conversation where you pop with “but formation recce is like this……….” I will point out the discussion isn’t about how FRR is done now nor light space frame 4×4’s nor whatever, the discussion has moved onto wider concerns about what type of vehicle is really needed in the age of drones and a shrinking army. We all agreed last time this discussion was held that recce is best done by space frame 4×4 (as you say) and UAV, but there is need for a proper “cavalry” vehicle to kill the enemy etc. It is the latter we are talking about.

  164. Actually x, I think that was more directed at Lord Jim than anyone else as he prescribed something specific for FR, so yes it was a bit time delayed, but it does have to be clarified that LJ’s prescription was a bit sweeping.

    I do see where RT is coming from. I just chose to let it by as a miscommunication between the (overly) common understanding differences between the word recce used by the public and the more specific term us arrogant snots like to use to make ourselves feel special. :P

    SO, I would think the more common round for the 25-40mms would be HEAT.

    RT, 5% per day. Interesting. Got to keep that in mind.

  165. Observer,
    HEAT for 25-40mm guns? As in shaped charges? If anything they would be less effective than the KE rounds.

  166. Ref Foxhound price – at least part of this will be an attempt to get back development costs on a very small production run. FRES/SCOUT-SV will be very expensive for the same reason – it costs GD no less to develop a vehicle for the UK customer as for the US customer; the difference is that the UK buys 300 vehicles and the US buys 6000. And the UK customer wants higher spec, obviously. The UK (if it wants to retain a defence industry) needs a different approach to product development. But MOD are glued to Peter Levene’s competitive procurement model and show no inclination to try to innovate.

    Ref 40mm CTA turrets and small vehicles – it is possible to make CTA40 turrets small(ish), but there are compromises. It it possible to make small vehicles that carry these turrets but again there have to be compromises. The Panhard Sphinx is a fine example. Note that in all the original marketing material the turret is credited to Lockheed Martin UK (ex-Huntings at Ampthill) using experience from Warrior FLIP and FRES turret development. In my collection of CAD models I have two turrets mounting the CTA40, one manned one remote. These turrets are also small enough to fit sub-20t class vehicles. I have the hulls designed to carry them as well, each with an easily accessible BV of course.

    Obs – ref Ferrets hunting – the issue was one of instinct – if the little scout car had two seriously effective anti-tank weapons and an enemy tank presented an easy target, in the urgency of the situation the Ferret commander had a choice of shoot or not, with the thought “What’s the point of being given ATGW if not to use them?” ringing in his head. It blurred the role of the vehicle and that wasn’t a good thing. http://www.tankmuseum.org/ixbin/indexplus?_IXSS_=_IXMENU_%3dVehicles%26ALL%3dFV703%2bCar%2bScout%252c%2bReconnaissance%252c%2bGuided%2bWeapon%252c%2bFerret%2bMark%2b2%252f6%26_IXACTION_%3dsummary%26%252asform%3d%252fsearch_form%252fbovtm_combined%26_IXSESSION_%3dlOh6LuZpU1N%26TYPE%3darticle%26_IXFPFX_%3dtemplates%252fsummary%252f&_IXFIRST_=1&_IXSPFX_=templates/full/tvod/t&_IXMAXHITS_=1&submit-button=summary&_IXSESSION_=lOh6LuZpU1N&_IXMENU_=Vehicles

    Ref ERA and active protection measures – you do wonder if the boffins have determined methods of initiating active armour other than by throwing things at it; in the case of active protection the terrain around the previously protected vehicle would be shot up a bit, but I suspect if all ERA slabs went off at the same time the vehicle inside wouldn’t stand a chance. Just saying, like…

  167. So mr fred? That doesn’t mean that they were not used. In fact I very seldom see pointy rounds loaded as 25-30mm, usually blunt nosed HE and HEAT. Not sure why, but no point having the “Pointymatic 2000” in the market if you didn’t buy or load it. Not sure if it is the same in the UK.

  168. @ RT. I agree with you on wheels and lack of weapon system for the current FR doctrine, why have a gun when you have a perfectly effective bypass policy. But in future peer on peer warfare with modern battle field survalence radar and (French) TI, I tend to agree with the fight for information policy, maybe I have just bought into the bullshi#. I personally think the logistics will create a massive problem, it’s ok being in a 6 million pound armored box hidden in a wood line but how do you hide an SQMS packet stickie waggon and all from prying eyes.

    @ SO Then there must be some other reason why a good majority of armys are up gunning. Americans pushing for 30mm, Germans going from 20 to 35mm. more effective HE?

  169. From available Ministry of Def reports on our side, upgunning from 25mm to 30mm improved penetration by 50% for HEAT.

    “how do you hide an SQMS packet stickie waggon and all from prying eyes.”

    Paint it in enemy colours and pray your own people are blind? :P

    Logistics was always the biggest driver for securing “rear areas” and formalizing the Forward Edge of Battle Area. Keeps most of the crap away from your logistics. Not 100% effective, but at least it keeps the crap in check by limiting the forces that can attack your convoys.

  170. Observer,
    While I am no authority on the matter, the only HEAT rounds I am aware for sub 50mm weapons are the HEDP for the 30mm M230, as used on the Apache, and the 40mm HEDP used for either low velocity or high velocity grenade launchers.
    Since the depth of penetration resulting from the munroe effect is proportional to diameter, such small calibres do not get through much armour and the behind armour effect is small.
    Are you sure that you don’t mean APHE – i.e. an AP shell with a burster charge?

  171. Having thought about it perhaps really it is time the cavalry got out of the force recce business and concentrated on fighty stuff. Now I have come up with a rather clever idea. If we need eyes on recce we need soldiers who can walk good distances (that is move over all terrain types) , used to operating at the front and even behind enemy lines, hop in and out of aircraft, and can drive vehicles that aren’t conventional cavalry types too. My suggestion is to use the Parachute Regiment for force recce………..

  172. Playing catch-up, re: the comments on the 40 mm going to specialised units (only).

    So many of the acquisitions have been in drips and drops over the last decade. Considering the force in A-stan, and the gaps in kit being patched with new buys, even at the peak only 30 % of that force were in the field, needing that kit.

    So now, rather than kit up one bde better than the test, the limited quantities go to where numbers are also limited: 3 or 4 cdos and the SF.

  173. @ observer. Ref 30mm HEAT: seems an awfully small HEAT round, almost counter productive, the fuzing would be a ball ache, take the 40mm HEDP round, half of it is fuse leaving a tiny space for copper liner and explosive, probably why it’s penitration is lack luster.

    Ref X : I feel sick.

  174. I have had 2posts eaten by the spam monster.

    So I will try a different computer and amalgamate and expand….

    We want the fres to replace fv. Whatever FV was once now it would be a death trap Vs a modern armoured formation or mobile infantry, that’s why we don’t use it as such. Its a wagon for transporting troops to battle thru ambush shelling and such.

    As I said such units whilst not exactly road bound are road centred for supply purposes.

    So fres is (in this incarnation), is an armoured taxi / gigantic gs landrover FFR, mortar vehicle etc.

    It does need a good off road performance, but and here hopefully I will be forgiven for teaching a few grandmas on this site to suck eggs…… Here area few observations.

    8×8 is the fashion at the moment. Now I have some sympathy with the view that these things are in fact all pretty much of a muchness. Some trade a bit of protection for mobility, or size for off-road performance but the same rules of physics apply to all of them.

    Given that everyone is playing the game with difflocks and or traction controls etc. And everyone has clever multilink suspension ctis etc. Then we are still looking at 8 patches of rubber each the size of a largish tea tray .

    The more weight you put on those patches, the more likely they are to sink, then literally all are equal when crossing fairly level cohesive soils… Now guess which, type of soil is most prevalent. Now guess what happens to cohesive soil when it rains; it turns to mud.All that multi link technological wonder and within limits, power, don’t count for much when its up to its hubs in mud.

    I see no reason why a MAN based vehicle would be any worse than any current contenders off road in most of the situations it is likely to encounter.

    But the vulnerability of tyres to people shooting at them is such that the US gave up wheeled combat vehicles after ww2.

    Ok the Boxheads went with lynx but I know at least one skorpian driver who thought them sitting targets on excercise…..

    I do not think that Ratel is small just that it is based on road going dimensions etc and at about 23ish tons a road going vehicle of that size will be logisticaly easier to get about in and if truck based cheaper to buy and easier to fix.

    I’m pretty sure we can fit what we need in such a hull. And as to armamant then a 50cal seems to have its supporters.

    As far as recon then if we must recon in a vehicle the size of a bus (maybe we should paint them red and put advertising on ;the side)…the definatly a full on anti armour missile, and autocannon and MG. As to calibre of cannonCTA is well matched to fres program as like fres it is fictional and been about to enter service about wo years for about a decade…..

    Being the size of a bus with a turning circle like Westminster Abby…. People will see it comming and shoot at it and it needs to be able to shoot back in a way that matters.

    However since the point of fres is never to produce an actual service vehicle. As soon as it looks like it will the govt or army will change thecspecs and start again…..

  175. Given my choice a modern saracen / Saladin combo for infantry and cavalry 6×6 15 ton etc.

  176. ST, thx for that image of upgraded Jordanian CVRT.

    Theybought awfullymany from Belgian stock piles, for resale. I have not noticed any takeup? Ok, the roll- put was in 2006, so some may have been sold. The boittom line is that someone did our “good idea” already, but it did not sell like hot cakes.

  177. @ BV Buster

    Have a good think about it. The logic of it will percolate up. Promise. :)

  178. “SO, I would think the more common round for the 25-40mms would be HEAT.”

    25 mm HEAT is extremely uncommon, OCSW being one of the few attempts to use it.
    30 mm HEAT is used in the low recoil guns such as the Apache’s chain gun.
    40 mm HEAT (or HEDP) is used in low velocity grenade launcher weapons.
    30-40 mm autocannon HEAT is very uncommon as far as I know (and the story would be similar as with APFSDS anyway – no primary explosion inside as it used t be with with APCBCHE, APHE etc. and SAPHE provides almost no explosion force).

    20 mm APFSDS is uncommon, 30 mm APDS is uncommon – but 25-40 mm APFSDS is standard for AP (armour penetration) work.


    “@ SO Then there must be some other reason why a good majority of armys are up gunning. Americans pushing for 30mm, Germans going from 20 to 35mm. more effective HE?”

    Puma only gets 30 mm due to weight issues (and a new tiny shrapnel AHEAD/ABM round for it).

    The Americans are merely producing CGI. They haven’t created a new in-service combat AFV in three decades despite plenty programs to attempt it. Forget about their wandering in the darkness.

    I have observed that “frontal protection against 30 mm” is a standard spec for many new or upgraded AFVs since the 90’s, and its variance is merely whether the old 2A42’s APDS is meant or a new Western 30×173 APFSDS.
    I suppose the interest in 35 mm stems from this.
    The other standard spec is “protected against 14.5 mm all-round”, and that means it also protects against most 20 mm API at some if not most practical combat ranges.

  179. Can we safely assume FRES is dead in all but name, as per the original concept and now we are just looking at replacing some of our older vehicles, but with the added problem of integrating Mastiff etc into core?

  180. David Niven asked “but with the added problem of integrating Mastiff etc. into core?”

    I know what you mean by that question, but in a way it means nothing does it? Into core? It is not like we are consolidating two complicated software systems into one is it? Its not really complicated. We are just changing the status of vehicle HMG already owns. Let’s say Call Me Dave decides to help the French in Africa by deploying UK forces to patrol and hold a district. Mastiff and Foxhound will be moved in and units rotated through as per Afghanistan . As I have said before if the high readiness brigade in 3 Div deploys it will never ever take Mastiff just another brigade’s Warrior. Why Mastiff appears in 3 Div’s equipment orbat is a mystery to me.

    I forgot this oddity………..


  181. ‘but in a way it means nothing does it?’

    It means money to keep them going, we have panther, Husky (is Ridgeback coming into core?) and Foxhound that are all similar. We then have Mastiff and Bushmaster (Is that staying?). From what I remember of husky is that it uses different oils and not the OMD stuff we usually throw into engines, then there’s the engines are they emissions compliant for the UK?

    Maybe we should give them to the reserves to train with? and reorganise on some standard vehicles.

  182. The Sphinx will not EBRC , the DGA specifies that the vehicle weight must be between 20 and 25 tonnes. Sphinx weighs 17 tons , it is not included in the selection criteria, but you can buy it if you want.

    The French consortium of Nexter , Renault Trucks Defense and Thales , covers one common rolling basis , which will be divided into two programs VBMR and EBRC.

    This unique base will be a 6X6 class from 20 to 25 tonnes, with a level 4 armour and a similar vectronics.

    The consortium has the task of finding the maximum of commonalities between the two vehicles to play on the series effect and thus to save money on the development, production as well as maintenance of fleets of armoured Scorpion project.

    While EBRC will be a light tank with a 40mm CTA gun and missile MMP dedicated to the cavalry, the VBMR will it available in multiple versions which I mentioned above, the most important is that of the infantry.

    The VBMR will be exhibited at Eurosatory in June and a dummy of EBRC will be presented.

  183. If we keep anything it is a given that it costs more money.

    Perhaps in the late 80s early 90s I spent too much time in the various disposal surplus yards wondering just exactly how much more stuff the MoD still owned?

    Let’s not forget that the Army wasted £1billion not buying FRES, is wasting the best part of £500 million on a few examples of vehicle that nobody seems to quite understand, and lastly (it is relevant) spends half its operational budget on helicopters. The Army has money to burn it seems on anything but rationalising vehicles fleet in a sound pragmatic manner.

    As I said this core business is empty double speak. Keeping vehicles (whether it be a Chally 2 or a snow blower) costs. All that is happening is the assets are being moved from one ledger to another.

  184. ‘All that is happening is the assets are being moved from one ledger to another.’

    But the original ledger that was supporting the vehicles was not part of the everyday budget. How much are the treasury taking back because the vehicles are no longer UOR? Agreed the army has wasted a lot of money not buying vehicles.

    If it costs that much to run the helicopters then it does, a break down of the costs would be helpful to determine value for money.

  185. SO, BV, getting old, it was HEIT not HEAT.

    And conversely it might not mean that they don’t have APFSDS, just that I never saw them loading it. Which might make sense if you consider that most of the time they are training and tracer/incin is easier to see for training. Who knows, might be warstock, but I really never seen them load black or pointy blue before, just all orange.

    SO, OCSW? Ug… never… and unfortunately I’m with you on the Americans and their ability to build the GCV.

    At the rate we are going in the IFV armour/firepower race, think we’re going to see 75mm proposed for non-support IFVs soon? :( We’ve already hit 50mm recommendations.

  186. x – you underestimate the cost of the CVR(T) replacement programmes. They’ve been ongoing for well over 25 years now. First was Future Family Light Armoured Vehicles (FFLAV), then FFLAV2 with different requirements, then TRACER/FSCS joint programme with the US, then the US closed down FSCS to move to FCS and TRACER staggered on alone for a short while, then there was FRES. FRES itself started as a 13-15t C-130 capable agile light armour project and morphed through a long series of requirement ‘revisions’ (better termed rewrites) to the heavyweight we now know it to be. But even as late as 2007 it was reported by the Defence Committee that the Committee asked the MoD what credible options had been considered when deciding whether or not to procure an off-the-shelf vehicle. CDP told them “You could not go and buy something off-the-shelf today which would meet the FRES requirement. We have tested it. We did the research, we held a fleet review with the Army, with representatives of all parts of the Army who had an expert view on this, and presented to them what the products available today are.” Finally in 2010 the outgoing Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Quentin Davies stated that “the FRES programme is dead”; the original programme was “too idealised a vision” which had taken “a very long time to agree on the specification” and that it “was very difficult to procure anything” and suddenly the Requirement could be met by buying off-the-shelf CV90 or ASCOD (then modifying almost every part of it).

    So. The costs. First a statement from Peter Flach, one time Army then Cranfield now semi-retired from GD, written for a RUSI paper in 2010: “According to some respected commentators, this brings the total expenditure on FFLAV, MRAV and TRACER to something in the region of £650M, a remarkable sum of money when you consider that we do not have a single vehicle to show for it. Of course the real cost has been felt in the field.” In 2011 according to the NAO, FRES UV had soaked up £133M (although it is impossible to see where this cash was spent). The expenditure on FRES directly leading to the FRES SV programme was £187M and still rising. Therefore the cost of the various CVR(T) replacement programme studies up to 2011 was therefore £970M in round figures. Then there was the ASCOD to FRES-SV development programme involving the conversion of seven ex-Austrian Army ASCOD Ulan vehicles which according to this report last September http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Major-Projects-Appendicies-and-project-summary-sheets.pdf on page number 165 stands at £452m so far. Since 1985 or so when FFLAV was initiated, taking a modest level of inflation into account, CVR(T) Replacement Programme has had something like £1.7Bn invested so far and no production delivery yet.

    But it gets worse yet. Talking with a Major from RTR a year or so back, he offered the opinion that to cover for the lack of a replacement, both in terms of CVR(T) falling behind in technological terms and in age related issues like wear & tear and depleted fleet numbers as vehicles are pensioned off, the UORs like Protected Mobility and Jackal and Warthog etc had cost MOD around the £1.5Bn mark in total. So the accumulated cost of dithering about replacing CVR(T) and studying all options and revising the requirement at regular intervals stands somewhere over £3Bn.

    That’s just a little more than might be expected. And there’s still another £1Bn allocated in the D&M budget to buy the few hundred Scout-SV we will eventually have. By my simple arithmetic that will hang an amortised price ticket of about £10M on each SV delivered. They had better be good…

  187. @ Chris

    Come on now we all know only the RN wastes money on kit on that scale. :)

    As I keep saying we can afford almost everything we want for defence, but we either choose to spend it elsewhere or we waste the alloted defence monies. I used to work in IT I know it is easy to waste money but heck the MoD are Olympic standard at the “sport”, probably better than the NHS.

    £10m a copy? I just hope they don’t get tested too soon.

  188. ‘£10m a copy?’

    Absolute bargain, Is that not the same price as a toilet seat in Astute? ;-)

  189. @ Chris – Good run down of the ongoing costs of the Army’s indecision on FRES. While I can always see the benefit of commonality its possible to take it too far and FRES seems to be an example of this. Trying to replace every vehicle with the same basic design means we end up buying thousands of 5 million pound vehicles when often little more than a truck was needed.

    The Army benefits from having a large pool of vehicles to choose from a large number of suppliers. It proved during Afghanistan that it could rapidly go out and acquired fleets of around 100 vehicles to perform the specific task required. It should take the same approach with FRES and reduce the need for commonality.

    That being said all the money spent not making up their mind has probably saved us. If the Army had a clear vision in 1998 on FRES and spent 16 billion pounds on it they would probably have decided by now what ever they choose was the wrong thing and they would be trying to offload it. Quite like the US Army and striker.

  190. @ X. If the paras are to do the FR role, does that mean the Cav gets the jumpy out of planes role? Have you seen the elite RAC skydiving team? World beaters I assure you.

    @ Observer, now you mention it, the 75mm HV was a good idea (just throwing it out there to pave the way for the 105mm) .

    Does any body know why the scout spec (not that one was probably issued) didn’t include a comaprment for dismounts ala US LAV 25? It seems odd that recce car commanders will still have to dismount to have a poke around wood blocks and gunners still have to dismount for listeneing watch, would make sence just to have a slack handful of Tprs to deploy instead. Apologies if it had been covered else where.


  191. BV, I think there is space for about two in the back.

    One to launch a miniUAV with a sling, the other to operate it from under cover. If that takes a console (likely, for integration with other sources and onward feeds) then it would probably go down to one (multi-tasking) guy.

    Alternatively, a Javelin man and another guy to cover him?

    Why there is no mast, as an option, is another question. I refer to x’s reconoitre cartoon from year 1943.

  192. ‘It proved during Afghanistan that it could rapidly go out and acquired fleets of around 100 vehicles to perform the specific task required. It should take the same approach with FRES and reduce the need for commonality’

    But what about the running costs of running small specific fleets? Hasn’t Foxhound taught anything about buying niche vehicles in small batches? FRES (or common vehicle) can be done, just look at the 432 why the army is faffing about so much is anyone’s guess. There is a wagon available in production that we helped to design for our needs and also had a 6×6 version designed if you want a smaller vehicle and its called the Boxer.

    I agree with the formation recce vehicle issue I see no reason not to have a dedicated vehicle to fulfill that role, and the Fennek is available of the shelf for that.

  193. BV, ACC – talking with one of the Army team at Bovington, the clear impression was that the ASCOD dismount compartment was completely filled in SCOUT-SV with systems boxes, silenced generator and all. No dismount capability. That may not be the case, but it was an unambiguous statement by someone who was in a position to know.

    Martin – ref narrow escapes from buying kit – at the time of FFLAV changing over to TRACER studies, Alvis had 13t Stormer 30 on the drawing board, Vickers had a JV with FMC for the 19t VFM5 air-portable light tank, GKN were toying with a low-profile Warrior (shorter with 5 not 6 roadwheels per side, a bit narrower, much lower hull roofplate) to take medium calibre turrets which would have made a vehicle of (guessing here) 22t or so. Costwise Stormer 30 would have been of the order of £600k per, VFM5 something like £850k, and Warrior recce in the region of £1m (my estimates so anyone with better knowledge chip in). £1Bn would have bought 1600 Stormer 30, 1100+ VFM5, 1000 Warrior recce. As far as I can determine the SCOUT-SV fleet will be in the low hundreds. Within the cash expended contemplating and what-iffing there could have been two generations of CVR(T) replacement and still there would have been spare cash to go buy APC/IFV/8×8 utility vehicles.

    For info, here is description of Stormer 30: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product964.html and Vickers FMC VFM5: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product4407.html. I can’t find anything on short light Warrior (maybe just a figment of imagination on my part then) but there was a Warrior based light tank on similar lines except bigger & heavier: http://www.army-guide.com/eng/product925.html which sort of shows the same thinking.

  194. “At the rate we are going in the IFV armour/firepower race, think we’re going to see 75mm proposed for non-support IFVs soon? :( We’ve already hit 50mm recommendations.”
    “@ Observer, now you mention it, the 75mm HV was a good idea (just throwing it out there to pave the way for the 105mm) . ”

    60 mm HVMS and Russian 57 mm have been considered seriously, but these intermediate calibres are merely bigger 40 mm Bofors guns tactically. You enter a completely different territory once you’re at 75 mm. Suddenly, you’re at a calibre which was once established for indirect fires and once understood to be minimum calibre for ‘single shot HE’ against infantry behind cover (walls).
    The versatility at the 75-90 mm range can be huge.

    But that’s not for a vehicle which doubles as infantry carrier. Two scouts in the back may be fine, but not a full fire team or half squad.

  195. @ David Niven

    “But what about the running costs of running small specific fleets?”

    That’s also true. its a balance though but I don’t believe on both an operational level or a value for money basis we can stick everything on two basic vehicle types FRES UV and FRES SV. Especially when they are costing 5 million + each. I think the Army needs to be ruthless and decide which units actually need such expensive vehicles and which don’t. I think that’s what is happening now but I am sure it was not when the FRES concept was born. Its also in my opinion too difficult to balance the needs of forces operating in a COIN patrolling environment needing very high protection with forces require rapid insertion.

    More vehicle types would make it easier to actually come up with something. Yes the commonality savings would be reduced but it is probably a price worth paying.

  196. Ignoring recce issues, the real problem is whether or not IFVs are worth having. The downside is obvious, probably at least twice the number of battle casualties if the vehicle is hit by a serious weapon before the troops dismount. On balance this doesn’t seem a very good idea, a good way of losing a lot of good men quickly. Basically dismounting needs to be done before the vehicle enters the enemy direct fire zone.

    Wheels are a waste of rations (or fuel), Xcountry performance is woeful, and if you want to dismount in the optimum places to finish the biz then you need a ‘go-anywhere’ vehicle to deliver you there, preferably not too wide to get you through woods and ideally low enough to conceal in domestic buildings (eg garages) in BU areas. The closer the dismount point is to the enemy the fitter the body-armoured troops will be when they close with the enemy.

    Once the troops have been off-loaded then the vehicle can be deployed hull down to deliver suppressive fire. The best means of doing this a valid discussion. HV guns are probably not the answer, and one requirement is a worthwhile onboard ammo load so there’s merit in a smaller calibre. If you want to defeat en armour, particularly if its stationary and hull down then the best bet is probably a 155mm SADARM type munition. It’s called the ‘all-arms’ battle, something lots of people are very good at, but commenters lacking adequate military experience are woeful – – if the cap fits :-)

    Of course if you are only planning to engage mickey mouse enemies then you can safely waste money on expensive AFVs that you wouldn’t dare use against a competent enemy.

  197. Obsvr – I must admit in my collection of armour designs there is no IFV; not because I reject the basic idea, but because it makes the potentially compact APC into a very large vehicle. Compare two GKN vehicles, FV432 and Warrior – each of similar capacity (2+10 in 432, 3+7 in Warrior) but significant size and weight difference. Turret baskets eat a great deal of internal space, the turret structures weigh a good deal and raise the vehicle profile.

    So I favour smaller lighter dedicated APCs. Ideally with very high mobility acceleration and outright speed for use in emergencies (although the dismounts inside would need their seasick pills). RWS offer self-protection if really needed; or a simple hatch/pintle mount or ring mount MG.

    Despite MOD dropping the requirement, I still see much value in retaining C-130 gauge compliance – not just for export potential (not everyone in the world is moving to A400M) but also because the world’s transport infrastructure as a rule copes with vehicles under 20t of width & height under 9ft (2.7m). There will be lanes tracks passes and bridges narrower than this, but they are in the minority. On the other hand, when vehicles are 30t+, and 3m or more wide, a much larger proportion of infrastructure will not support them. Maybe its considered no issue to ride roughshod over the fields, which might be the case in all-out war, but for the majority of the vehicles’ service lives they will be moving under peacetime restrictions. Providing they can be made to fulfil their tactical tasks, it makes sense to make vehicles fit comfortably in the environment they would spend most time operating within.

  198. Chris,

    …when vehicles are 30t+, and 3m or more wide, a much larger proportion of infrastructure will not support them

    So in two words keep it ISO SIZE!

    6m or 12m long, 2.4m wide, 2.5m high and 30,400kg???

  199. I’m a lazy guy and thus I wrote about my of my pet peeves and pet theories publicly, so I can refer to them again and again by simply giving a link.

    I did write some on the “IFV or not” issue. Those who didn’t read it yet are almost guaranteed to find something new to them at least in the first link:


    “We know exactly what we want. We want a fast, highly mobile, fully armored, lightweight vehicle. It must be able to swim, cross any terrain, and climb 30 degree hills. It must be air-transportable. It must have a simple but powerful engine, requiring little or no maintenance. The operating range should be several hundred miles. We would also like it to be invisible.”
    General Bruce C. Clarke, 1960

  200. @ Chris I did have a look see in the back of the ASCOD the scout team were dragging around it did look full of boxes, shame to be honest because having 4 bods in the back would make a massive difference. Think of conducting split OPs, you could have the dismounts in a sub surface with the crew in a mounted OP. No need for extra support, rear security by the vehicle not to mention having a jav team to fend off thoes pesky tanks.

    @ Observer: look at our force structure, it’s fairly obvious we can only engage micky mouse enemy.


  201. Simon – indeed two of my vehicles fit within ISO containers – good for unobtrusive deployment… Others though for good reasons exceed the ISO dimensions; that said while they are beyond nominal road traffic width limits (2.65 or 2.7m width vs. legal max of 2.55m) being just 100/150mm over there would be few routes not passable if with care.

    SO – good to see the requirement for armour has remained consistent since Gen Clarke’s time then. All we need is the discovery of Unobtanium, Invisibilitilium, and Antigravitilium and we’ll be there.

    BVbuster – I heard exactly the same ops concept from one of the Majors I met, where he thought the choice of an IFV as the basis of a recce car was to follow the US example of Bradley with dismounts as an integral part of the recce team. When he heard FRES/SCOUT-SV would carry just the three vehicle crew his exasperation was clear – an opportunity lost, allied to complete confusion why a three man recce vehicle should have to be so huge…

  202. @Martin

    ‘Its also in my opinion too difficult to balance the needs of forces operating in a COIN patrolling environment needing very high protection with forces require rapid insertion’

    The only rapid insertion forces we have are 3 Cdo and 16 AAB, the Marines have their Viking so maybe we should give Foxhound to 16 AAB. The trouble with the strategic raiding policy is that we are going to need a vehicle that can step up to the plate and within reason be capable of taking on a peer and then switch to COIN without having to waitt for vehicles to be shipped in, a lesson from Iraq surely? I read a paper (forgot the name) written by an American officer and his conclusion was that things such as Iraq would become the norm, in that in the initial opening of the campaign we would be fighting a conventional engagement which will swiftly turn into an insurgency style war once the enemy armed forces were defeated. He even went on to state that he could envision a scenario where a unit in one AO would be engaged in a conventional engagement and 30Km away the second unit would be involved in COIN ops.

    The cost of FRES SV is a bit high considering it is nothing technologically ground breaking, but I’m not sure if Boxer is £5 million a piece. As I stated before there is a 6×6 version of Boxer available if we want something lighter and cheaper.

  203. German purchasing price expectations were 891 million € for 272 Boxer GTK including kit.
    I suppose it would be about 3 million GBP apiece today.
    100% import would mean no taxes et cetera flow back, so this would be equivalent of about GBP 5 million for a 100% domestic product.

  204. @DavidNiven. High intensity war with a local coin Op, sounds like 3 block war principle.


    Kicking down doors, clearing red in one city block and nocking on doors and hugging kids (not in a jimmy savile way) in the other, could prove tricky with one vehicle type.

  205. Obsvr, re IFV tactics, I was taught there are 2 ways to hit a target, depending on the target itself. The one you described is for an AT heavy enemy where you use infantry advancing under covering fire to flush them out. The other method is for a more common anti-infantry weapon heavy enemy where an IFV is used to “rush” the infantry through the kill zone and to drop them right on top of the enemy building or trench network with the 25-40mm firing to create a “safe zone” for the deployment of infantry. Which also reminds me why the 75mm may not be the best suppression weapon. Duration of fire. Not a big deal, just co-ax a 5.56 or 7.62 with it and use the 75 as the special finisher. Or just use a 40/50 or 25-40mm turret for the assault unit and leave the 75mm behind as long range support.

    BV, we did cover it slightly when someone recommended a 2 man tracked scout vehicle, to the vehement objection of RT and I. 4 man team minimum. Helps on a rotating overwatch and daily maintenance tasks, especially if the commander goes for his briefing, leaving the men to do the work.

  206. Obs – sorry but trying to fit 4 burly soldiers in one small recce vehicle is extremely difficult (although the German Luchs managed by sticking Man 4 in the boot* facing backwards). What opinion on using two vehicles for one recce team then?

    *trunk for our American readers

  207. Isn’t the FRES protected mobility reconnaissance support troop carrier variant meant to provide the dismounts that you cannot stick in the back of the FRES Scout?

  208. @ Observer : Ref small calibre to suppress. That is why I was surprised about the warriors choice of 40mm, think they could have done with 25mm for uber long suppressive bursts.

    Ref 2 man recce. Clearly a bad idea, your eyes would be hanging out after the first few days, but now we have a 3 man recce car, it’s like the gov doesn’t read TD. Probably not a bad thing as we would be rolling into battle in a ISO on wheels.


  209. When an APC is bigger than a IFV, I am puzzled. If the MoD chose the Boxer, you will have a APC multirole bigger than a Bradley M3. You will have a logistical problem because it is a vehicle that will not go anywhere, that does not will go unnoticed and will be air transportable in the A400M but only one at a time. For me this is not a good idea. Anyway, what your MoD wants to do is confused. The German army possesses the Boxer, but also lighter and more compact vehicles such as the Dingo and Fuchs which shows advantages in narrow areas as well as less well-appointed roads. You have the Foxhound and vehicles of the same type, but you will need combat vehicles of intermediate size. In my humble opinion of course.
    I agree with Chris, but I don’t write very quickly.

  210. Pfft, BV, you do not understand the devious mindset behind the container recce vehicle! Behind enemy lines, the wheels retract and you have a perfectly ordinary looking ISO container that no one will imagine actually contains a recce team! We’ll work out the minor problems like what is an ISO container doing in the middle of the forest/desert later.

    Chris, that works if it is a small bike or compact car. I’m sure recce was also done by a pair of universal carriers before. It’s just how much trouble you want to go through. Worst case, dismount and hoof it the last km or so. Whatever works.

    BTW BV, I think the comment that you can only face mickey mouse opponents might be a bit of hyperbole. You still have a decent stock of Sabre squadrons for the head breaking jobs. As for FRES, well, the problem was never about the platform and platform costs. It has always been about dittering and dittering costs. What do I mean? Remember all the “studies” made? Those studies add to the cost and the longer you “study”, the more your manpower costs go up, even though you have not even bought a single wheel nut yet. Extend manpower costs per hour across a few years in studies and what do you get?…. millions spent and you still have not gotten a single vehicle yet. Great job security though.

    Frenchie, IFV and APCs are jobs, not vehicles or vehicle classes. You can have an APC the size of an MBT (Narmer) or IFV (Merkava) the size of an MBT as well. It’s about the most likely enemy type you have to face and your terrain. The IDF ended up as mostly urban combat with heavy RPG opposition, which was why their vehicles evolved that way.

    And just to point out, the Israeli Merkava is actually an IFV.

  211. Tubby – cripes! Now we have a 42t Scout-SV with a 42t support troop carrier trailing directly behind? There’s nothing like getting noticed…

    TD – congrats! You have found the world’s most puggy tug design! I am beginning to think the personal transport at TD Towers might be http://media.defenceindustrydaily.com/images/LAND_TransProtec_Container_Cutaway_lg.jpg and TD Towers itself might look like http://www.immaglobal.com/images/containers/containers-2.jpg

  212. @Observer,

    You are right, but the Israeli army fight in Israel, and sometimes around. It does not go fight in Africa or Afghanistan.

  213. @Observer
    They are already deployed by the muhjadeen in Afghanistan , theirs a red one hiding in picture 8 ‘German Boxer vehicle on operations in Afghanistan’
    of this blog!

  214. Simon, if it worked with the Klub-K, why not an MBT? :P

    On an evil thought, though this is probably a one shot thing, if you can containerize an anti-ship missile as a surprise weapon, why not anti-tank missiles, or even just repurpose the Klub to hit land targets? One shot only because once you pull it off, they’ll bomb every ISO container they see.

    Monkey, you now know too much and we’ll have to keel you now. We sending ISO container to your house soon.

  215. Re: “Chris May 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm
    Tubby – cripes! Now we have a 42t Scout-SV with a 42t support troop carrier trailing directly behind? There’s nothing like getting noticed…”

    To be honest not sure how we exactly use the FRES protected mobility reconnaissance support troop carrier variant but it is one of the five variants they are designing in tranche one. Though on re-reading the name I do wonder if I have just accidently cut and paste the name from a web-site where someone has made it up, as even in the MoD’s most deluded moments, I cannot see anyone thinking that “protected mobility reconnaissance support troop carrier” was a good name for a 42 tonne tracked APC

  216. @BV Buster

    It was based on the 3 block war, but incorporated lessons from Iraq, such as the organisation for an insurgency is already in place within states that operate para military forces used to suppress the local population (obvious I know) it allows the phase between war fighting to a symmetrical to be that much faster without having a breathing space.

    It is not a single class of vehicles though, it is a wheeled class of vehicles that compliment your tracked IFV etc vehicles.


    What does it matter if your wheeled APC is the same weight as your IFV it’s following? you will still need the higher bridge class for the IFV regardless.

    There is a 6×6 version of Boxer for the light units, commonality in training and parts.

  217. monkey, I don’t know about those… I mean, ice and wheels? How good or bad is it? No ice around here so no idea how that works out. I do know about the effects of pressure on ice though, so all the pressure on the wheels at one point on the ice…?

  218. Puma is at about 7 million Euro apiece, but without Eurospike launcher etc. and without some other anticipated early upgrades.
    I expect the program cost without costs of operation to end up at about 9-10 million Euro averaged per vehicle.

    This is by a fair chunk a subsidy for the industry. They don’t get to sell civilian tech at similar prices.
    Those same corporations, those same engineers and managers, are otherwise developing and selling industrial machinery and civilian automotive components. You can buy dozens of six-axis industrial robots for the price of one RCWS, which is essentially a two-axis industrial robot with a few plugged-in electronics.

  219. DN – its clear you quite like Boxer. I stand by my earlier viewpoint though that size is important, in that even fighty vehicles need to fit the road network for most of their service life. Boxer is wide; it fits on major roads and autobahn but might struggle in towns & villages. Its a limitation I think best avoided if possible.

    Otherwise if size is no issue at all we might buy the tundra jeep that Monkey just posted as our new recce wagon.

  220. I prefer Boxer over VBCI, both are of a similar size (1cm difference in width) and we have had design input in the Boxer plus all the other versions are ready to go. It has engine commonality with the FRES SV versions as well.

  221. What is the width of a Boxer as is, in comparison with say a VBCI or Stryker with the additional slat armour. I only say that because Boxer seems to have deployed to RPG Heaven without the additional side protection that the others need?

    And I wonder which one would be more stable on a side gradient

    Might be interesting to compare it to a Warrior TES(H) as well

  222. TD – a search in Googlespace for images using “bundeswehr afghanistan” will bring up hundreds of photos, in which none of the vehicles carry slat armour. Not one. I suspect this has something to do with their AOI which is all to the north of Kabul up to the borders, a less hostile area than Helmand or Kandahar. I doubt all the Bundeswehr’s vehicles are made of miraculously tough anti-RPG tinplate.

  223. Patria is a vehicle that is used by many countries, it has been engaged in Afghanistan by the Polish army as part of ISAF. It has demonstrated its resistance, several vehicles were hit by RPG-7 and IED without being destroyed. It is amphibious, it can carry a 120 mm mortar and has a 6×6 version, for me it is the best choice.

  224. @Frenchie

    The Rosomak (Polish Patria) was up armoured for Afghanistan and lost its swimming ability.

    Nearly everything has been up armoured once lessons from the current conflicts have been learned.

  225. @Chris

    The Husky or Foxhound do not have bar armour either, I couldn’t tell you why.

  226. @DavidNiven

    Thank you to inform me, anyway the British Army could use the 8×8 version for some roles with the three armored brigades and use the 6×6 version for some roles in the light brigades. Because I don’t think that the Light Brigades can operate with only the Foxhound and Jackals.

  227. @ All : Not sure if this has been reported yet but I will throw this out there. I was not but a few hours ago mincing through a random corridor in an obscure camp in an even more obscure part of the UK when I happened upon a new poster, after a quick look over my shoulder ( don’t want to be labled a geek ) I spotted a fine cut away drawing of the new warrior turret, looked interesting. I then spotted another poster next to it, it was the usual affair, British Army logo in corner lots of specs and pictures and it was of the VBCI. How random. Comments?

  228. I agree with Frenchie about having a 6×6 with the Foxhound units.

    I think there are meant to be half a dozen battalions in the 2020 army where Foxhound will be their primary protected vehicle. The VBMR program would deliver a vehicle that could fill those battalions’ requirements for mortar carriers, ambulance, command vehicles while keeping the benefits of portability and mobility that a whopping great vehicle wouldn’t.

    The same 6×6 could potentially mount a 40mm cannon to replace Scimitar in the light cavalry regiments, working alongside Jackals.

  229. I think Boxes has been suggested to be cheaper for us than other 8×8 because there may be more of them about. Unless the UK makes a joint order, or tacks an order onto someone else’s bigger order, then the number already delivered to customers will not really affect our purchasing power.

    Design input to Boxer is irrelevant, unless we were considering designing similar from scratch. All the other suggested alternatives are existing designs anyway.

    I’m not convinced we need an 8×8. The UK has reduced the number of Warrior battalions. If we needed more big APCs, then surely more Warrior could have been refurbished. We’re not planning on conducting two major wars, and our planned commitment to one theatre can be met by the reduced armour force; so there is no real need to expand it again.

    Would we have anywhere to exercise several more battalions of large armoured vehicles now that nearly the whole army will be based in England?

  230. ‘Design input to Boxer is irrelevant’

    You may be right but I’m willing to bet a fair amount of money that if we buy anything else it will need to be modified for our needs. At least (I’m also crossing my fingers here) the Boxer should not require them.

    Unless the VBMR is a 6×6 VBCI I wouldn’t go near it either.

  231. BV Buster said, ” If the paras are to do the FR role, does that mean the Cav gets the jumpy out of planes role? Have you seen the elite RAC skydiving team? World beaters I assure you.”

    X said earlier, “Having thought about it perhaps really it is time the cavalry got out of the force recce business and concentrated on fighty stuff. Now I have come up with a rather clever idea. If we need eyes on recce we need soldiers who can walk good distances (that is move over all terrain types) , used to operating at the front and even behind enemy lines, hop in and out of aircraft, and can drive vehicles that aren’t conventional cavalry types too. My suggestion is to use the Parachute Regiment for force recce………..”

    The Parachute Regiment don’t get to do the jumpy out of aeroplane stuff much these days. But that can do such , that they work with helicopters (of which we have a limited number), and are trained to move behind enemy lines suggests to me that they are the ideal recce force. Actually instead of scuppering their SF support role expand it across all three battalions. We can’t do heliborne warfare as the Americans do it. In the Sandbox the line infantry showed there is no real need for special trained helicopter troops. Scrap 16 AAB as it stands. Recruit across the line infantry to raise three new Army commandos to complement 3Cdo. Use the support elements of (the now old) 16AAb as basis for nre the brigade. And that would free the FRR regiments to concentrate on cavalry work (where CR2 is too big, expensive etc.)

  232. BB – number of wheels is not really the criteria; vehicle external size/internal volume, weight, mobility, protection are what matter. If a vehicle is right and an 8×8 then that’s the way to go, alternatively if a 4×4 gives all the same performance and accommodation then that’s fine too. Bushmaster is a 15t 4×4, Pandur a 12t 6×6, Piranha 1 was a 12t 8×8.

  233. @Brian Black,

    Yes, I think our future vehicles VBMR and EBRC will be effective, even in a large-scale war, and they will be mobile enough to asymmetric warfare.
    For me, in a large-scale war like Iraq, we must move heavy tanks, so as you can’t carry them with aircraft, they must to be moved by sea, so no matter how long it takes and have heavy or light vehicles does not change anything. But if we must prevent a genocide in African countries, we must act quickly, and it takes light vehicles entering in aircraft, and if you must moved a 33 tons Boxer that will not be appropriate for the mission, as much to have no army. What good is to have an army if you can’t moved it.

  234. ‘But if we must prevent a genocide in African countries’

    I think you’ll find we don’t do that very often.

    At the moment the army is looking at VBCI, what makes that a better choice than Boxer?

  235. Thank you DavidNiven for the “very often” ;) France will be very grateful for the help that you can provide. Thank you for your C17 in Mali. And perhaps in the future we will make joint operations in Africa.

  236. I have serious porblems with the idea we need to tool up the Army to fight pier to peer opposition. This is looking to the past by a number of decades! The talk of increasing the calibre of armament on IFVs mirror the one regarding the main gun on MBTs. Back in the 1980s many nations thought it was going to be neccessary to fit 140mm guns to MBTs to deal with future threats!

    Yes Boxer is a big vehicle but it does what it is designed to do. Yes you can squeze the same number of dismounts in to smaller platforms but having been in the back of a BMP, comfort and space matter if you want to fight effectively once you dismount. Saying that would anyone want to travel in theatre of over two hours in the back of a Warrior, then dismount and fight. Possible but not ideal.

    The mobility of current gen. wheeled AFVs is almost on par with tracked varieties and protecting is nearly equal. Many can lose one or two wheels and still move. Losing a track is a mobility kill for that form of AFV.

    Running costs for wheeled AFVs has been proven to be substantially less that for tracked AFVs and add to that modern support contracts and you are on to a financial winner. Yes it is going to cost to bring in a new fleet of vehicles but that was always going to be the case. Having a mainly common fleets eases this.

    Using the Boxer to support recce was not my intention, but rather replacing CVR(T) variants currently in use in formations where they have replaced the FV432.

    Returning to how to equip the Boxer, well as I said earlier, of all the possible future senarios, peer to peer is the most unlikely. Risk assessment seems to be a trait lacking in many comments here. We are not going to be fighting Regiments of enemy Tanks and IFVs as in a Red Storm Rising reboot. Even without air dominance, western airpower will decimate massed formations of armour. The west has not fought a tier one opponent since WWII and the chances are we never will. I have often asked contributors to name a tier one opponent we are likely to face in the fute and back it up. If someone can I will bow to their superior knowledge. So I still belive a 12.7mm is sufficent, more so if teamed with a 40mm AGL to equip the Boxer.

    Even if we keep the Warrior, many nations especially Germany and the Dutch are moving to an all wheeled support fleet, backing up their MBTs and MICVs. Are they wrong? The Powers that be have be too fixated by US ideas and strategies over the past decades and like the US our AFV programmes have really come to nothing. In the meantime Europe has developed numerous families of vehicles, many of which would have met the UK’s needs and top of the pile in the Boxer.

  237. @ Chris

    A 4×4 as a battlefield taxi yes. But as a fighting vehicle, either APC (something to move infantry on to an objective under fire against a (near) peer enemy) or IFV (the latter plus fight other IFV) then really 6×6 is a minimum. Everything from extra tyres (more shoulder etc) for muddy stuff, increased contact with the ground (diff locks yes, but…), ramp breakover, and so on. There is only so far you can take a vehicle the size of domestic garage but to do it with greater ease you need certain things.

  238. No problems Frenchie, although I added the very often because us Brits have not got a consistent track record with those sort of operations in Africa. ;-)

  239. William Owen has written about the FRES for RUSI awhile back:

    RE: FRES and C-130/ISO container


    This one is about the Warrior upgrade programme and APC/IFV debate buut could equally apply to FRES UV; also mentions armour penetration of 40mm GMG rounds:


    If the APC (wheeled or tracked) can suppress infantry out to 2km with GMG/HMG and GPMG, and carry more troops, could every one in three carry less troops but a heavier direct fire weapon for bunker/MG nest destruction? SO’s 75mm sounds good but if you want pure infantry support something like the 75mm pack howitzer or a 81mm gun-mortar could do.

  240. I think the best cure to “genocide” is usually wire fencing and guard towers, not pocket tanks running around. Pull the people into “protected villages” with manned gates and you can get by with just an infantry regiment and some 0.5 cal.

    Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. Hard to go on a killing spree if you got to get past a wire fence and a guard tower first. And imagine how much wire fencing can go into an A-400.

    TD, if the French deployed without slat armour, guess RPG heaven has a shortage of RPGs. Remember, those things cost $$ and the financial backers probably think they get more PR mileage out of pumping money into Afghanistan than Mali, so most likely it’s just bullets for the Africans. No IED or RPGs for them. Not enough $.

    ST, 165mm demolition gun. :lol: And I strongly disagree with the 5cm penetration for 40mm. The test plate I saw didn’t even hit 2cm and it was definitely a HEDP (complete with cutaway and cone shaped copper penetrator).

  241. DavidNiven, about your question on the VBCI, I think that the better choice is the Patria, to take an IFV for transform it in APC, I don’t like that, it is better to take a multirole vehicle like the Boxer, but Boxer is too heavy for me, even in 6×6, so I can’t answer.

  242. X,

    Re your completely fucking mental ( ;) ) idea to re role the Paras to formation recce, but it’s a combination of being in the vinegar strokes of an epic bid and the very idea of your concept defeating my mental logic gates that has caused delay.

    Short answer. Nooooo! Slightly more detail:

    Paras are as thick as mince, and you don’t want to employ them in a role where the ability to think fast and from the enemy’s perspective are vital. Recce soldiers are a higher SSG grading than tank cavalrymen, the same SSG grading as Signallers and the Int Corps.

    Paras are recruited and selected and optimised for explosive and sustained violence, which is not something that works well with our recce doctrine of recce by stealth.

    Paras would get bored by recce. Spending a week in a hole in the ground is not their thing.

    You would end up with recce officers who like polyester track suits as leisure wear.

    I’ve never met a Para who can read a map, nor a Para ranker or junior officer who is prepared to tell the two star what he thinks, why he should change his plan, and why the ranker or junior officer is right on this occasion. Paras are trained to conform and act as part of a larger team, not to be the odd one out who is prepared to stick their oar in if it is needed.

  243. @ Red Trousers

    Honest I think it is a winner. Not the really specialist stuff as you mention like living in a postbox for a week or hiding in the bottom of a canary cage undetected. But the high end open stuff counting tanks etc. in a proper war why not?

    As for “I’ve never met a Para who can read a map, nor a Para ranker or junior officer ” well the ones I have come across, not many but enough to form an opinion, were a bit rigid in their thinking and glum. Young Phil of this parish says the ones of his acquaintance are nice chaps. What you have to remember is I measure all you Army bods against the Royal Marines so…….. :)

  244. About the genocide that we have prevented in Mali, the French army committed 450 vehicles including 216 VAB, 36 VBCI, 25 AMX-10 RC, 9 Sagaie, 58 PVP and 127 VBL.
    For artillery, 4 CAESAR and 8 120mm mortar.
    For aircraft, the army has deployed 6 helicopters Gazelle, 6 Puma and 4 Tigre.
    In an immense country we have deployed 4600 troops.
    We have shot down 600 to 700 islamist and we have done 480 prisoners, without making any “wire fencing and guard towers”.

  245. @ swimming trunks: I think the article is referring to a dedicated 40 mm heat round not the HEDP that the British army field, HEDP incorporates a pre-fragmented sleeve over the main HEAT charge to give it that lovely frag effect but reduced the available diameter of the copper liner, dual purpose should read master of non.

    Back to my last post, why would the army take time in printing a shiny new poster showing VBCI and plaster it on the walls of random offices? Must be something in that.

    @X : To re-role paras to do a Cav job would require decades of panache training, I don’t think the tax payer would want to spend that sort of money, and anyway they would just look plain silly in tweed.


  246. @ monkey

    Yes expand the Pathfinder function that is exactly what I meant……….

  247. BV Buster said “To re-role paras to do a Cav job would require decades of panache training, I don’t think the tax payer would want to spend that sort of money, and anyway they would just look plain silly in tweed.”


    Seriously though why is recce just a cavalry function, every formation does it in a way? When we talk about FRES SV,UV,LV,RV,etc we always end up down this recce rabbit hole when we should be concentrating on the rest of the light cavalry function.

  248. Monkey, that website link is insane. How the hell the algorithm comes up with “Plaster” = “Recce soldier” defeats me.

    X, you need to remember that the Pathfinders are open to any cap badge, not just Paras, and there is a reason for that. Filling the Pathfinders with Paras only would only mean that the mindless violence and thuggery started early, before the rest of the Brigade is in position. Not an intelligent thing to do. Don’t get me wrong, violence and thuggery are good things and Paras are good at it. It’s just that the Brigade grown ups would prefer it if it didn’t happen until they were ready for it.

    If you have only the RM to benchmark against, I can see where you have gone wrong. ;)

  249. Frenchie, that is if you have a specific enemy organization that is identifiable and illegal. What happens when it is Village A that has a grudge with Village B because they are a different sub-race? Arrest the whole of Village A? Not liking someone is not illegal until they take a machete to the other guy. Bomb Village A and make it look like you are supporting genocide in reverse? The best thing to do in a mess like that is to keep the 2 apart, like you would with fire and explosives.

    X, recce does more than improve basic maths. They are part demolitions experts, part engineer, part signaler, part medic, part CMR (Civilian-Military Relations), part naval diver, part FSO. They basically do a bit of almost everything. Route proving, measurements of river banks for crossing, beach survey, setting up of comms deeper into enemy territory, checking of bridges for demolitions/mines, maybe a bit of civilian liaison to determine the mood of civilians to your military presence. All in a 4 man team.

    monkey, you don’t want to get us started on the piece of equipment called a “penetrometer”. :P

  250. @ RT
    I think they want an open door , you can apply , we will evaluate (on your criteria RT) and “either don’t call us we will call you” or shake of hands and “what yours mines , a Chivas Regal on rocks” . It takes a special type to back pack in your own kitty litter so your lay up don’t smell too bad after the first day your bowels have to move and give your position away to a down wind patrol ,immodium only works for so long.

  251. ‘we have done 480 prisoners’

    Don’t let the Guardian readers find out ;-)

    @BV Buster

    To be honest I think the VBCI will be a done deal. (hopefully I’m wrong)

  252. RT, think they messed up the links to the parachutist site. I’m still trying to figure out how a draughtsman can end up qualifying to do deep infiltration, unless it is to draw pretty pictures of the enemy. Which I do admit has a bit more sense than plasterer.

    “Quick, the enemy’s coming, pretend you’re a statue!”.

    x, nice show on the pathfinders, but where does it show them belly down leopard crawling up the lee side of a dune with binoculars to look at a target for 3 days straight? Most of the time, I see them popping rounds off the instant they see an enemy, not spot them and measure patterns.

  253. X,

    Forgot to mention that I was “additionally” skilled in map reading by the Andrew when I did their junior Lt’s course in Navigation***. APATS tells me he knows that course and has even done some FOST or similar benchmarking of it. So in addition to proper grids and tactical usage of 3-D terrain as the Army taught me, and basically knowing where I was to within 5 metres at any second of the day, I can also get my head around curvature of the earth over significant distances, and currents going sideways and the whole course made good thing. And I came 3rd on the course out of about 20.

    *** I only did it because I was shagging a girl in Winchester at the time and it was 3 months paid time in Dryad when otherwise I’d have been in Herford and paying my own airfare from Hanover to Heathrow at weekends.

  254. @ Observer : ref part engineer. You make it sound so technical, lay flat on your back with your head at the kurb and draw a line at your feet, shuffle your ass down and lay flat on your back with your head at the line = ” yeh I can fit a Warrior down here” yes some people like to use “tape measures” but where is the fun in that? You don’t even get to ass shuffle.


  255. You got me beat on the curvature thing RT, gives me a headache to think that what is on the map really isn’t what is on the map. Damn Mercator projection.

    3-D map reading, did you guys use air photos and a prism like viewer (the name escapes me currently) to read the map?

    BV, :P

    Now make me a map on soil density :) INSIDE the river… that was a cold, wet memorable day.

  256. @ Observer: A map of soil density you say? I will need 4 tent poles, some black nasty, and a slightly disgruntled goat and you will have your map good sir.


  257. BV, you also need the Ark of the Covenant and a consecrated priest to sacrifice the goat.

  258. Back on point a bit anyway about IFV/APC/SV etc,
    Our Oshkosh HET seem to be protected by my mums curtain’s.
    On a more serious note it is a very very light weight RPG standoff armour to replace slatted armour by AmSafe, a British firm , its called Tarian Rocket Protection (Tarian is Welsh for shield) .On this site we often refer to up armouring against RPG’s which cause weight issues over the initial design limits , could this be a soloution. The MOD’s Defence Science & Technology Laboratory DSTL have worked with them and approved it and BAE and TEXTRON recommend it in the form of a patching kit for their armour systems. i.e. if some of mujahedeen has blown a hole in your slatted armour guess where the next ones going to aim 10k down the road. Are planning on using this more extensively?

  259. @BV Buster

    Re: “Back to my last post, why would the army take time in printing a shiny new poster showing VBCI and plaster it on the walls of random offices? Must be something in that. ”

    Perhaps a daft question but are you quite sure it was that new a poster? It couldn’t possibly date back to the days when the VBCI was engaged in trials against the Boxer and the Piranha, could it? (the rather pretentiously called “Trials of Truth”).

    Just a thought.

  260. Back on thread (for me anyway , no 650t AFV )
    More the other way , our Oshkosh HET seem to be protected by my mum’s curtains :-)
    On a more serious note a British company called Amsafe have developed a very very light weight replacement for slatted RPG protection called Tarian Rocket Protection, Welsh for shield. The MOD’s Defence Science & Technology Laboratory DSTL have approved it as well as BAE and TEXTRON as a patching kit for their systems (if a muhudajeen has blasted a hole in your slatted armour guess where his mate will aim 10k down the road).
    On this site we take note that most vehicles have gained a bit of weight due to the slatted armour causing top weight stability problems along with manoeuvrability and fuel economy . Could this be the solution ?

  261. @monkey

    The patching kit you are referring to has a shelf life once it comes out of the protective packet,UV rays etc weaken it over time. I can’t remember of the top of my head but I don’t think it lasts a whole tour there’s a tag located on it where you write the date to be replaced.

    It’s still a good bit of kit though.

  262. monkey, is that just camo panels or the Tarian system? The ones I’ve seen pictures of all have the chain-link fence look. And slate armour isn’t like traditional armour where you blast chunks out of it. What it does is makes the RPG fuse short circuit to cause a dud or to deform the cone for the EFP so that it ends up like a frisbee shape instead of a needle, so you don’t get chunks of slate armour blasted off by RPGs. Dud or splat, not boom.

  263. S O,
    You say you can get dozens of industrial robots for the price of one RCWS.
    A cursory search indicates that new industrial robot arms tend to come in at $50k and upwards, CROWS seems to clock in at anywhere from $50k to $80k. The robot is a bare arm, the CROWS has its sensor fit (if it’s a decent thermal imager that will be a considerable sum in itself) although the weapon will not be included. The RWS will be rated for the vehicle vibration environment and the natural environment in all weather conditions. The robot will be rated for use inside a factory, fixed to a concrete block and climate controlled.
    Even the most biased comparison would have to acknowledge that the cost is similar between them.

    Going back a bit, a SV is not 42t. It can be upgraded to 42t, allowing for growth, but it is not currently a 42t vehicle. PMRS isn’t great, but it’s better than a Protected Mobility Solution or a Protected Mobility System – Light.

    On what basis do you call Merkava an IFV? An MBT with the capacity to stick a couple of infantrymen into the ammunition stowage, perhaps, but an IFV?
    IFV is a vehicle class in my understanding. It might not be indicative of a weight class, but the description of “troop carrier with significant offensive capability” would seem apposite, provided one is inclined to accept the woolliness of “significant”. Likewise an MBT is a turreted, gun-armed, armoured vehicle that is primarily for direct fire combat and forms the mainstay of your armoured forces.
    An IFV with the capacity to carry full dismount section would always be bigger than an APC with the same capacity, although IFVs tend to skimp on seating space so they are not that much bigger. Most 8x8s go for a full section plus turret, so when operated as an APC will have more room. IMHO, too much room hence too much weight and too much volume. Rather than strip a turret off a section-carrying IFV to get an oversize section vehicle, it would seem to make more sense to start from a slightly smaller vehicle.

    On the subject of the armament for an IFV, suppressive fire would seem the way to go. The tanks are there to hit point targets, so the IFV is there for suppressive fire in close support of the infantry, so you wouldn’t want something with too much bang. On the other hand, air busting shells work better when they are bigger, each shell being equivalent to significant volume of small arms fire. Big bullets fly further, but you can carry less, so the fragmentation is an important effect and a balance must be struck.
    Personally I would favour a 30-40mm solution on that basis and if you are not too bothered about enemy light armour, something like the M230 would seem useful. Small ammunition, decent range and target effect and much higher velocity than a 40mm grenade launcher. If you want useful KE, then something like the Mk44 would be useful (in preference to the Mk30 only because the American gun can be upgraded to 40mm without reducing ammunition carried, though the Mk30-1 has an advantage in terms of rate of fire, if that becomes important.)
    That said, the latest Russian 30mm (2A72) gun looks fairly handy and the bottleneck cartridge looks like you might be able to up the calibre as well, if needed.

  264. @Observer
    The link was from the DID website saying it was a Tarian adaptation.
    Your own people are also in support of this product.
    ST Kinetics offer it with the Bionix AFV/Terrex APC / Bronco ATC etc .
    Why the HET pictures differ I do not know.
    The they specializes in very high end netting for aircraft which is were they got the idea from i.e. short sharp loads ,their A400M netting is rated at 9G and no cargo going through the cockpit as well as many commercial suppliers demanding lightweight.
    The Bronco I believe.

  265. monkey, I know. The netting first came out 2011. Just that the camo panels and the netting seem different.

  266. ‘Why the HET pictures differ I do not know.’

    I’m presuming the panels on the HET are the Tarian net with a protective cover to stop it from weakening due to exposure to the elements (from the earlier 2009 version). That is why you do not see it fitted anywhere that vision is required i.e. windscreen.

  267. Observer, nothing so technical as the spectacles on stilts thingies (how is that for a technical description?) that Image Analysts use.

    It is all about intervisibility. From point A to point B is easy, you can work it out by plotting contour lines on a graph and using a ruler, but far more complex is in working it out from point A to points C, D, E, F and any other number of intermediate points between A and B. Again, you can do that by classroom work, it merely takes time.

    The basic skill in any recce vehicle commander is to be able to do that in his head merely by looking at a piece of ground, without even a map to hand, and to be able to almost instinctively judge the best route from current position to next desired position. More than that, it is the amalgamation of uncertainty that OPFOR probably is not definitely at Point X watching you, he’s somewhere else on a whole wide ridge line, or in front of it, and so you don’t know where he is watching you from and so the inter visibility to Points C, D, E, and F from Point X are a bit unknown.

    Still you need your recce wagon Commander to be able to make a multi-variate homogenisation of all possibilities on the fly, and make a nearly instant decision. In other words, squad average, over-ruled by instinct, and big balls. Because you don’t only have yourself in the wagon, you have Drives and Guns, typically two young lads. And if as a recce wagon Commander I ever cocked that up, not only would Old Man RT and the saintly Blessed Mother have been laying flowers on my grave, but the grieving families of Drives and Guns have been queuing up to piss on it as well.

    I used to take enormous care with my Troop’s wagon commanders, on several occasions vetoing “the next in line” at Regimental promotion boards. I’d take the commanders out for runs or bike rides so that we could stop and I could then quiz them on how they would cross from here to the next tactical bound, based only on some vague enemy threat direction of “over there somewhere”. I’d muck about with their heads asking them questions of distance and speed estimation over varying terrain, geometry and how they would adjust sight settings as they crossed terrain. Only because getting from A to B without being seen is fundamental to recce.

    The advanced I asked different questions, such as chosen speed and gear selection in order to mask emitted sound given current wind conditions and directions. Really advanced, we would talk about thermal visibility, particularly of exhaust emissions which will roll over hillocks and betray you even in moderate wind.

    I don’t think Paras worry about such things. Sorry, x.

  268. mr fred, just saw your post.

    To turn the question around, on what basis do you claim that the Merkava is not an IFV? Because the “significant power” it has is really significant? Because it uses direct fire? Like all IFVs are designed to do? Basically, as you pointed out, the definition of IFV is really wooly, any armoured vehicle that carries infantry can join the club, which wrecks havoc with definitions, but English teachers seldom end up in the Army, much less be able to get an international consensus. In fact, the line between IFV and APC itself can be quite wooly. Would an APC that is retrofitted with 25mm cannon be an IFV then? Or an IFV armed with a 40mm AGL and more seats then become an APC?

    “An IFV with the capacity to carry full dismount section would always be bigger than an APC with the same capacity,”

    This is starting to be a bit wooly as well. RWS are getting common, which means more space for troops. Won’t be surprised if an IFV can one day carry a medium calibre gun and a full section as well, which might end up in a common hull or equipment fit.

    As for weapons fits, it might be worth it to keep one or two 40mm AGL/50 cal tandem combos. They can be useful for lobbing rounds onto roofs where direct fire can’t reach. Unless you install an assault mortar like the Israelis.

  269. @DavidNiven and Observer
    The coverings protecting from UV for little weight gain and giving an extra sales opportunity re the ‘cammo’ look make sense. Many plastics degrade under UV especially at altitude (big replacement sales of bullet proof glass in Bogata )
    Back to my original question does this system , a godsend in terms of weight saving , need to be seriously incorporated into our thinking on FRES?
    An annual replacement of some plastic netting does not seem be a big problem if we can get an on weight vehicle .

  270. Chris,

    While I am whanging on about thermal emissions from exhausts, which can roll over hillocks with the wind, would you please think to point the exhausts from your vehicle designs downwards under the hull? No point in putting them upwards as most current AFVs do.

  271. @Monkey

    Yeah it’s a good bit of kit, they might have sorted out the UV weakening problem if they are showing it without the covers. Even if they haven’t its still better than traditional bar armour, that stuff is always getting bent and requiring maintenance, sometimes I got the feeling that if anything big happened it would mangle and trap the occupants within the vehicle, this looks safer in that respect. If it does get mangled it’s easier to cut than aluminium bars.

  272. @RT

    I will ask the obvious DS question here.

    I have heard a lot of how but little of why. You make the assumption that the paras would have to try and copy your methods without explaining why. Surely the starting point is the output of recce and from there we can look at the best way of achieving that in today’s Army with 21st cent tech and force structure :)

  273. If you are really interested, Simon257 posted up a youtube link of VBCI in Mali the previous page. Some of the presentations, you can see Tarian being used. IIRC… which is a big IF at my age.

    APATS!! Heresy!!! If other people can do our jobs, then we’ll be just like them! And I find it an insult to be compared with people who jump out of perfectly good airplanes! Burn him at the stake!!!

  274. APATS,

    The answer of recce output is fused, judgemental intelligence at the correct time to allow the 2 star commander (occasionally, one star) to make critical decisions, normally most starkly as when to commit a reserve, to make the planned decisive strike, or to completely throw away the plan. Everything else falls into the “minor detail/adjustment” basket.

    So part of it is empirical, part a Commander’s trust in his recce force.

    Nothing to say that Paras cannot do it, but the reality is that there is nothing in Para training to prepare them to do so.

    Recce is a full time role, not a part time activity. To hold a full time role in war, you need to practice full time in peacetime. Recce is a state of mind, not a set of skills. I have written a 30 page memoir of the first Gulf War that TD has and has privately commented upon, that I might ask him to publish: his advice was do not as it is too personal, and he is probably right. But what I think came out in that 30 pages is an explanation as to WHY effective recce is a state of mind, and not merely skills based.

    Please do not get me wrong: I have no issue at all with what Paras are trained and skilled in. They are collective and not individualistic in the application of force, they rely upon external information feeds to make decisions rather than decision-making based on direct observation and instinct, they are slower to make decisions as a result. The main difference is that recce make decisions on velocity of thinking and move my, Paras on application of kinetic effects, although both do a little bit of the minor effect. But based on my experience, what they do well is not suited at all to recce.

  275. @RT
    Now that is a proper answer. It does however worry me slightly that you assume people are so pigeon holed and that is a sad indictment of Regimental level recruitment and lack of exposure.

  276. RT – ref exhausts – they are tricky little things. Firstly if the vehicle is armoured then either an armoured elbow (bent route) or louvre is needed to get from under armour to outside – normally such things are on the top side of the vehicle (helps deep fording, doesn’t compromise blast protection etc). Secondly the gases are hot. If they are clean (no soot) then hot gases themselves bizarrely do not show on TI, but anything they blow over and warm certainly does. So ideally you’d have a clean burning engine blowing exhaust out of well lagged pipes into free air away from vehicle structure or terrain. The troubles with blowing exhaust downwards are legion; they are more prone to flooding if deep fording (remember the tennis ball & cage on the back of Fox CVR(W) that sealed the pipe when it went underwater?); the exhaust pipe generally exits armour high up and then runs externally until turning downhill creating a high signature feature; the lower sections of exhaust pipe are more prone to impact damage; they are easier for miscreants to block while the engine isn’t running. An example of a vehicle with a downward exhaust was Alvis Shielder and its predecessor built for VLSMS project: http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i176/Mossie105/General/AlvisSheilderwithoutload.jpg – this one isn’t Shielder but the earlier Stallion as it was named, with highly pleasing nose… The picture shows inside the open stowage locker to the rear of the NBC filter cover the exhaust pipe, heavily lagged. It exited the engine compartment at the top and the open pipe vented through a hole in the track guard. Not only did the pipe occupy stowage volume, but as the sooty black second roadwheel suggests the exhaust heated that wheel considerably. Not ideal if the opposition had TI. Clearly if this was a recce wagon or other static OP role vehicle the ground by that wheel would have been heated nicely too.

    So generally exhausts puff upward.

    One of the tricks (which I’ve used in my vehicles) is to end the exhaust pipe inside the armour envelope so the really hot gas can mix with the fan-blown cooling air thrashing through the engine compartment before departing through louvres. A small help in reducing concentrated very hot sooty plumes by smudging them into larger cooler less dense clouds of soot. Better still is not puffing out soot at all – at the moment my designs include the carbon burning exhaust cleaner fitted to the more expensive diesel cars. The downside of this is the unit itself runs exceedingly hot – oh well, compromises compromises…

    The quietest heavy armour through thermal imager, as in the one with lowest contrast across its structure and lowest contrast to surrounding terrain, would perhaps surprise many. It was Chieftain. We spent three days with a TI on a stick at BAEE watching the engineer vehicles play; the barky Chieftain based offering at full chat looked as dull as a vehicle with engine off. Not even the stubby exhaust cowls registered. Which was strange because apart from the loud and unique exhaust note it was also throwing out white smoke or steam but for some reason it did not register as hot. Sooty Challenger was a different story.

  277. RT – I get the heat haze thing which is why as I said in my case I chose to dilute the smaller quantity of extremely hot exhaust gas into the much larger bulk of fan-blown cooling air so that the temperature difference of the combined gases exiting the louvres would be much lower. The heat haze you look for is a function of sharp temperature gradients.

    Fortunately I never joined the armed forces. I am rumoured to be stubborn (of course I’m not) and plough my own route through problems. I have never been all that responsive to “I don’t care what you have to do, just make it happen!” type requests (partly because the ‘don’t care what you do’ bit always comes round to bite – “What do you mean you spent twice the budget?!?”) but in this case we are up against something bigger and more powerful than either HM Forces or indeed the wisdom of RT. Physics. Armoured vehicles are by their nature very heavy for their size and take a good deal of power to move, hence big engines burning lots of fuel. When parked and observing the vast array of unbelievably thirsty electronics drains batteries fast (as does the BV for making tea) and they need recharging; in any case the electronics demands cooling and the personnel demand heating and cooling which normally means heating using the engine cooling circuit and cooling using air-con with an engine powered compressor. Most vehicles smaller than a block of flats have no room for an APU so the main engine, still big and powerful, has to run. Its not very efficient when idling and a lot of heat gets generated – its got to go somewhere. While the patented RT idea of passing a proportion of engine bay cooling airflow through the crew compartment might seem perfect, in real terms little hot air would be cooled by the diversion, the air leaving the vehicle as a whole would carry the same heat away, and in cases where (as Obs observed) the engine might not be as healthy as hoped, the reek of burning oil, boiling antifreeze and poisonous exhaust fumes would soon make the vehicle a nasty place to be. Trust me I know this; the heating on the scruffy 911 sucks air in from the engine compartment, routes it through cans around the exhaust manifolds and blows the heated fumes into the car. Unless its seriously frosty the heating stays firmly off.

    So, what are helpful options? First the crew heat. There are fuel powered heaters available that use burners to heat either air or water; I have in all but one design made provision for a fuel powered air heater. These use small amounts of fuel with consequently small signature. Secondly the crew and equipment cooling. This is much more difficult. Cooling systems for modest sized vehicles use kilowatts of power to run the compressor. There are different types of refrigerant in the air con circuit – the most efficient now permitted is a complex fluid/gas (R-134a or similar) but there are compressed CO2 and compressed air options – if the demand is to use an eco-hugging compressed air solution then efficiency is halved, requiring much greater power into the compressor to achieve the desired cooling. Freon has been banned for decades but was the best fluid performancewise. The upshot is that trying to power cooling systems from batteries is a lost cause, and the vehicle engine has to run. It is possible to insulate the vehicle better against heat loss/gain through the armour – composite is better than steel is better than aluminium – and constraining vehicle size to a minimum helps although the occupants gripe and grumble an awful lot. In one of my TRACER study offerings I recommended the vehicle crew suit be fitted with internal air ducting and vents plumbed to a quick-release air hose that the vehicle fed with temperature controlled dry air – the crew would connect to the ECS by hose and the heating/cooling would be contained within the suits instead of heating or cooling the entire vehicle volume – much improved efficiency. I suspect the army took a dim view of some greasemonkey in industry telling them to change their beloved standard uniforms. (Interesting to see though that in Jackal, a vehicle where there is no compartment to heat or cool, the crews have been given hot/cold air feeds through small flexihoses that they can wedge up their trouser legs to blow temperate air inside their clothing.) So we are left with heating or cooling the vehicle interior… and the entire world. No matter what careful design we put in place the army bods insist on leaving doors and hatches open, and there’s no fancy cure for that.

    In my vehicles then the measures taken are: exhaust gas dilution with engine bay cooling airflow to minimise thermal contrast of the expelled gases/particulates; a carbon particulate converter to reduce soot in the exhaust; high efficiency diesel engine of modest capacity at least in part enabled by keeping vehicle size & weight down (other reasons for that as well) which helps improve end-to-end air con efficiency; composite armour structure (other reasons for that too); fuel powered hot air heater so the engine doesn’t need to run to heat the vehicle. Other measures to keep the internal environment comfortable: air conditioning; CBRN filter on all but the smallest vehicle which has a paper/felt air filter instead; cyclonic dust separators on breathing air inlets of all vehicles; a BV in every vehicle (obviously). I have not yet addressed the issue of a commode…

    Crew comfort is but one of many aspects that have to be covered – mobility and protection have major effects on the form each vehicle takes, as does installation of appropriate firepower, but above all is the role-fulfilling capability of the vehicle and crew as a whole. All the designs started with a role and a set of useful building blocks (commonality in support being another highly valuable aspect) and grew into the final form by trade study, often though using historical guidance where earlier generation vehicles embodied clever useful designs – lessons forgotten for the most part as the years passed.

    Sorry RT – a bit of an essay. Never mind. I have to stand by my earlier view that TI doesn’t note gas temperature (otherwise they would all be blind as all the air they peer through has its own temperature) but I happily concede that the TI, like Mk1 eyeball, does see distortions caused by strong temperature gradients.

  278. APATS,

    I don’t assume individual people are pigeon-holed. Less the SSG gradings, although I would presume that the Navy also have similar IQ/Aptitude tests that sort potential recruits into those suitable for really difficult jobs such as in the – I don’t know – something complex and mathematical in the ship’s Citadel/CIC, and those who are most suited to shovelling on more coal into the engine.

    What I don’t need to presume is that after being assigned to a group of like-thinkers in a Regiment or RN Trade Group, after a couple of years, it all becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, three years after basic training, I don’t think you’d be advocating that Stokers as a branch of the Andrew could suddenly retrain to take all of the roles in a CIC. Or vice versa.

    And yet that is what x suggested.

  279. Chris,

    Sounds like a lot of experience there, but I bear you my former requirement back. Just make the problem go away, how you do it and the compromises you need to do that are up to you.

    (Technical point, you bl@@dy well can see hot air wafting through TI, same as we can all see heat haze with the naked eye. It doesn’t need to be dirty particulate air, it just needs to be hot. You can spot a wagon that is only sights up by hot exhaust gases rolling with the wind over a ridge line. If you are zoned in, you can spot the heat haze rolling over a ridge through binos and then look for the shoebox sized sight, sod the thermal viewer if the wind is towards you).

    I had a Ferret for 9 months at BATUS, five of which months were King Billy cold (down to minus 32 degrees Celsius at the worst), and the Ferret had no on board heating system. Drives and I concocted a solution which was a pair of 155mm shell boxes wired across the upward facing exhaust louvres with circular cut outs at the aft end of each ammo box. We plumbed in some donkey dick flexible trunking that Drives nicked from somewhere, so I had toasty warm Ferret hot air blown across my lap from one trunking, and he had toasty warm Ferret hot air blown down around his feet from the other.

    Now if a thick Cavalry officer and a Paddy from the Sappers can come up with that and make it so, I’m pretty sure that you clever chartered engineers can do similar, and make it enviro-Eco friendly and non-toxic to boot. ;)

  280. … I did have a funny thought that instead of cooling the air, though it will have the same effect slightly, you change the frequency of the exhaust? Can’t help with the heat haze, but it will make the exhaust invisible to TI if you shifted the radiation frequency out of what the TI is programmed for.

    I was thinking of laser cooling, a laser screen over the exhaust should be easy to fit and laser tech has matured enough to be seen everywhere. A very techy solution I admit, but whatever works. It both slows down thermal excitation and emits photons at a higher wavelength than anticipated. But that’s just theoretical until a prototype is made.

    RT, think carbon monoxide poisoning is universal. :P

  281. Test message from a different PC and network using the comment form

  282. The FRES project is an epic failure.

    I think it should be used to make an example of MoD procurement process. We need heads to roll. We need people (not companies, not committees, but real human people) to be held fully accountable and utterly shafted (if not executed) for gross negligence and incompetence.

    It should NOT be possible to get into this mess.

    How many have died due to the cretins that think they’re in charge and adept?

    What exactly has changed since 1940 that has caused the entire civil sector management layer to be crap at absolutely everything they do?

    I’ll answer the last question: a total lack of quality education, a belief that the “world owes us” and the lie that we all have equal opportunities, so that someone with an IQ of ten should be allowed to design road and rail networks and organise the procurement of a steel box on wheels.

    It’s going to take a couple of generations to educate the apathy out of this country. How many grandfathers would turn in their graves at what their beloved country has become?

  283. @ RT

    I don’t think that is what x suggested at all. That is simply how you chose to interpret it which is understandable because everything is subjective.

    I will use Army specific language in a simplistic way to get my point across. All infantry now throw grenades not just Grenadiers. The Rifles have battalions that are heavy infantry. Cavalry regiments don’t go to war with horses and lances.

    As the need to have bodies forward to collect intel decreases their is actually a greater need for more specialisation and training for those we do send forward. That should be balanced against a shrinking army that will go to war without front lines meaning a need for formations to have greater organic fire power and further the need for rapid violent action. That is greater part of the cavalry portfolio, the part you skate over, and unfortunately the part that is now needed the most.

    When we discuss FRES we, not you and me but the collective, always end up saying that the tracked or wheeled behemoth isn’t the right way to go for recce. I would humbly suggest that perhaps the most important platform is in fact that the man. And though I suppose the RAC is full of hardy individuals who run marathons weekly and eat whey protein at every meals I could also suppose it is actually full of chaps who didn’t quite like the idea of walking around a two way range but thought the better way to go to war was inside a nice tank; unlike the average recruit to the Parachute Regiment. You appear to be saying the latter are a bit stupid for volunteering for that work. I would say to survive deep behind enemy lines carrying everything with you takes as much nouse as it does brawn. Surely there is a difference between being dropped behind the enemy’s lines and driving away from you own lines in a go anywhere vehicle carrying everything you need plus a bit extra I also know that during the Troubles lots of blokes from lots of regiments sat in holes on obs not just special forces and RAC. Actually I think the latter spent most of the time guarding static positions and prisoners. And as I said above I am not on about secret squirrel SF stuff, just general battlefield recce the sort all teeth units are trained to do. Don’t the Parachute Reg. battalions actually have patrols companies?

    You are basically saying to me that a formation that drives away from its own lines is better than a formation that can be parachuted, helicoptered, or drive in. That a formation trained to march good distances with heavy loads and could be taught to drive is better than one just trained to drive? How many RAC soldiers could get through the various stages of parachute training? I bet some could. But I better more paratroopers could and would pass a course learning to drive off road. All that leaves then is thorny question of intellectual capabilities of the Parachute Regiment’s officers and (S)NCOs. Perhaps you could go off to ARRSE and start a thread about it? I find it difficult to believe that RAC is so much better at basic soldiering that the infantry but that is what you are saying. The Parachute Regiment could be trained to do recce plus (the stuff drones and robots can’t do), drive and ride various vehicles dropped in by ‘plane and helicopter, walk to collect their intel, perhaps even do other work, and still be able to be used as a formed infantry formation if needs be.

    The upshot is we don’t really need as much regiments of tanks or space frame 4×4 to collect intel. When we need to send bodies forward need to send those who are above average not just intellect but physically. And I think the Parachute Regiment is probably a better place to start than those who ride about……..

  284. You have to admire the gall of the French

    Making the sale of a French product (Thales Watchkeeper) contingent on another French product (Nexter VBCI)

    And the MoD and Government, otherwise known as Dumb and Dumber, are going to fall for it aren’t they?

  285. @TD

    If the Government are dumb and dumber what does that make the people who should have decided what we needed a decade ago?

    Personally I would have sacked the entire FRES team years ago then asked somebody i trusted what the best option was and simply bough it.

    Hey presto, one wheeled box bought.

  286. Observer,
    The Merkava is not an IFV because its primary role is not infantry transport. Being able to stuff a couple of infantrymen in the ammo stowage is a nice to have, not a serious attempt and moving infantry. It’s primary role is employing its turret mounted weapons, while an APC or IFV is focussed on moving infantry.

    If you mount a powerful weapon on an APC then yes, it becomes an IFV. I would suggest that the addition of anything bigger than a crew-served infantry weapon would be the point at which the description changes.

    You make a good point on the use of larger RWS for IFVs. Of course with the turret in place, even unmanned, the vehicle will be bigger overall, but you could keep the same size crew space, possibly shortening the vehicle to 6×6. If designing a troop carrying vehicle I would advocate that all had a standard size ring on the top that could be used for a variety of weapon stations so you could go for manned, protected stations, APC-style, to medium calibre overhead weapon systems IFV-style. If possible, I would also look at keeping the top deck clear so you could upgrade to a larger manned turret with a larger gun for fire support or cavalry work (still keep a couple of infantrymen in the back)

    Also, I think the VBCI uses Qinetiq’s anti-RPG technology, Q-Net, rather than Tarian. Also the mattresses on the transporter (early Tarian) were also as much about hiding what it actually was as protecting the fibres.

  287. I hope it will not happen, I don’t want to be involved in this story.

  288. X,

    You don’t seem to understand what formation recce actually does. It is not BG recce, or patrols companies. And the original proposal put forward was to replace formation recce with Paras.

    It is like trying to replace chalk with cheese. You need chalk to write on a blackboard. You need cheese to eat. Neither does the other’s job.

    You will note that I have been quite careful not to denigrate the fighting ability of the Paras. If you do not show the same respect in not denigrating the sheer bloody courage of men trained to operate without support up to 100 miles away from support, and in small groups (unlike Paras, who operate mob handed by default), then you and I will fall out big time and I will not be merciful in hiding your blushes on a topic that you clearly know fuck all about.

  289. @ Red Trousers

    I think you insulted the Parachute Regiment first.

    I think we had better leave it. I have got to dig a tank trap across the drive just in case the Soviets move through the Fulda..

  290. No, I said the Paras were as thick as mince, and their officers wear polyester.

    The first is true enough: they accept soldiers with the lowest SSG grades. The second is observation: there is truth in it, they don’t count it as a fault, and it is clearly tongue in cheek.

    What I would not ever do is to denigrate their fighting abilities: who could forget the feat of arms at Goose Green, or in history not acknowledge Arnhem?

    And yet you choose to say that recce soldiers don’t like two way ranges, prefer armour etc.

    There is not one of my old Troop or Squadron that I ever had doubt in, or worried that they would let us down by cowardice. And by your own words, you are the sort of person that I would have found good reason to fail to take to war with me.

  291. TD asked: “Does anyone actually know the results of the ‘trials of truth’”

    Defense-Update.com says Piranha won in May 2008 but that by December 2008 the UK was insisting on things GD UK wouldn’t accept.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the MoD wanted to back away from the deal so they could spend that money on other things while the immediate priority was Mastiff, Foxhound, etc UORs. Even if any UK Piranhas had got to Afghanistan they would have been less protected than PPVs so would have been a PR disaster if there were any serious injuries or fatalities from going over a massive IED.

    A mix of pie in the sky procurement introducing delays and pragmatism in then exploiting the timing of that delay to delay it even further, see how the vehicles perform in the real world and sort out a few budget issues too?

  292. @A different gareth,

    According to RT the tender specification required ownership of the intellectual property and that all the tenderer’s thought that it would be an issues that they could negotiate around. Intellectual property and licensing is a tricky subject, I know just enough in my role negotiating research contracts to be dangerous and I long wanted to find out exactly what the MoD was trying to get hold off. Personally I think if the MoD pays a company to develop something, then the MoD should get ownership, at least to what we call foreground IP, which is the new technology/know how developed during the project, where it gets tricky is that spiral development of an existing vehicle means that the MoD’s intellectual property requires intellectual property either owned in the instance of the Piranha V by General Dynamics or licensed by them. Now if turns out General Dynamics was expecting the MoD to pay the full cost of developing the Piranha V and then expected to be able to turn around and sell it to others without at least compensating the MoD for all the development work they have just paid for, I think it is a good job that the contract wasn’t signed.

  293. Tubby,

    You are correct in what you say re Foreground IP. I can’t think of a Defence company in the UK. Who’d have a real MD level problem with that.

    The issue is Background IP, I.e what a company has put it’s own money into before the MoD said “we’ll have a bit more of that, sounds interesting, here’s {some paltry sum} to take it to the next level, and then the buggers want all of the IP that cost the company £500,000 in PV for the ££50,000 they funded to get from TRL 3 to 4.

    The good thing is that DE&S Commercial negotiators are mostly understanding that the MoD’s commercial negotiating rights on Background IP are really unfounded according to copyright law, so they don’t push it. The bad news is that anyone good we discover on the Commercial side in the MoD we normally offer to nearly double their salary to come over to the dark side, and their civil service replacement is normally some child or fuckwit with a risible qualification from some tea room in Bradford Avon who thinks they have hit the big time because they have suddenly been appointed Chief Negotiator for FRES or something.

  294. x, I think what RT says can really be simplified (very very simplified) into something like the Paras are trained to move fast, in big groups, hit hard and screw it if someone sees you, run them over, while deep recce is almost the opposite, slow and sneaky near the enemy, in teams of 2-4 men and most importantly of all, are trained to hide and resist the urge to fire at the enemy when they are suddenly encountered.

    An enemy contact with an assault force almost always involves popping a few rounds at the target. An enemy contact with a recce team involves the recce team pretending to be deep holes in the ground. Which can be surprisingly effective. I’ve counted at least twice where an infantry sweep (everyone line up in a row and walk through the area, call if you find anything) has actually overran me, and missed. Literally by 2 meters or less. Lots of adrenaline then. A group with an aggressive mindset would have been involved in a firefight already. I know of some of the inculcation that goes on for the Commandos. They are taught to be very aggressive. Sometimes to their detriment.

  295. I posted this over on Chris’ site a couple of weeks ago, but it’s worth repeating here to support RTs argument re deficiencies in MoD commercial. Was referring to ship design and build to start with, but the bits on cost estimation and commercial are absolutely relevant here.

    “Similarly, on the Technical side for a ship you need the Naval Archs for the overall design, hydrodynamics, safety and structures, marine engineers (of clanky and sparky variants) for the propulsion system, HVAC, auxiliary systems and that’s before you get to the Weapon engineers for combat systems equipment, which is both hardware (mech and elec) and software (software & electronic engineers). There are a number of specialisms I haven’t included in that little lot, not least among which are competent cost estimators. You can have the biggest nerd box in the world, but of none of them know how to put a design together and cost it reliably (or at least have a clue when they’re on the “Unaffordability Highway”), then you’re going nowhere.

    Those people are not the finance bods by the way – they need real up to date knowledge and experience of how costs accrue and need to be there to hold the prime contractors or tenderers to account. Currently, they’re not there and that is one reason why project after project escalates in cost.

    Another is the lamentable quality of some MoD commercial staff. That’s not “legal” by the way, these are the people who are supposed to understand terms and conditions of a contract offer and make sure that the MoD requirements are met by the T&Cs, as well as understanding the potential liabilities of each offer. Defence contractors do not exist to make the cheapest equipment at the highest performance. They exist to make a profit – something that many MoD commercial staff have yet to figure out. They also seem to be unaware that when requested to make a decision by a certain date, failure to do so affects the company and there will be a concomitant impact on price, availability or delivery date. A few in my experience are very good. However, far too many are what I refer to as “retreads” – career CS who have generally been on the admin side but at some stage (either through shortage of commercial bods or redundancy rounds) have been sent on a commercial awareness course, given a rule book and told to enforce it. These people will go through travel and subsistence sections of bids arguing the toss about the number of rail fares or overnight accommodation assumed in a bid, but completely missing the bit that says the bid is valid up to a certain date, beyond which (either because you’ve taken another contract from someone prepared to order, or because you’ve had to lay off a project team) the price and timescale of the offer will change. So they don’t respond (despite warnings) and you end up starting again. I’m sure our Red-Trousered friend has many similar experiences to relate.

    That is what the upskilling of DE&S is about, trying to get good PMs, good technical staff, good cost estimators and realistic commercial people. CS wage stuctures don’t allow you to compete with industry for those people in this application. That’s what Bernard Gray (despite his charming personality) is trying to do.”

  296. @ Observer

    Nowhere I have said that we should pop down to Aldershot and tell the Para’s starting Monday they are now responsible for the Army’s force recce. Obviously it would take a change in training and as we are hopefully heading for a period of relative peace now would be the time in act change. Seeing as retention in the Army is now a real problem change shouldn’t take to long to take root. For all this and that over operating hundreds of miles behind lines and the other guff I think he is choosing not to see the similarities between what the light cavalry and the Parachute Regiment. Again he has carefully skirted around the light cavalry tasks that a shrinking army with fewer tanks (and fewer IFV) will need to be priority Lastly I am not that happy i that he blatantly said Parachute Regiment were bereft of intelligence and then accused of me besmirching the fighting ability of his regiment when I said no such thing. If we are going to send a person to collect intel we need to get the most from that platform. In the time of drones driving around in little tanks isn’t the way to achieve that end. The Army’s problem is that every unit thinks its elite because though they have much common there are still differences; Marines all share a common experience and it irons out all the rhubarb. I am beginning to wonder if there something in the getting shut of the regimental system argument……….

    Anyway I said I don’t want to discuss it any further.

  297. @RT and NAB

    I am not surprised that the commercial staff in the MoD are ill prepared to understand terms and conditions, particularly regarding licensing and intellectual property, as the key skill in order to agree the license/ownership of the intellectual property is to understand what it is that you are trying to own or license, so you can decide if your really need to own it, and what its commercial value is.

    Most smaller universities pre-award staff involved in negotiating research contracts are not legally qualified, and share a similar background to the commercial staff in the MoD who have admin background and a commercial training course or two under the belt – however there is a world of difference between dealing with a contract where we are agreeing a non-exclusive license for the foreground produced by my university with an SME who has part funded a research project, and working for the MoD where you are trying to work out a suitable license of a contractors background, where some of the background IP will either be licensed from another party by the contractor or already licensed to a third party . I would find it hard to negotiate a contract in those circumstances (and I have twelve years experience of contract management including four years working in commercial roles in engineering consultancy firms) so I really have no idea how the MoD negotiates and manages any of its contracts.

    Since you both have commercial experience, do you mind confirming if my understanding is correct, and a lot of IP paid for by the US DoD is owned by them, and then licensed for free back to the original creator, with the aim being to prevent a situation where the company is sold and the ownership of the IP transfers to an organisation based in another country?

  298. @TD

    The Piranha IV won the Trials of Truth. There was no second or third choice, merely one of the three contenders would be selected.

    Thank God we didn’t buy the Piranha. Its steering system could easily cause an inexperienced drive to overturn the vehicle, even on flat ground, if he turned too quickly at certain speeds.

    It looks like the next FRES UV is between GD’s Stryker DVH and Nexter’s VCBI. Class of the filed is definitely the Patria AMV2. it has the best protection of any 8×8 and also the best mobility.

    Ironically, the US is looking at the AMV for various roles. It would be ironic if we bought the Stryker DVH just as the US switched vehicles.

    The Boxer is a flawed system. Modular system is pointless and adds weight without substantially increasing protection.

  299. @ x and Observer
    A very specialized part of 16 Air Assault Brigade does their recon with their insertion leaning towards as you would parachute. They are also trained on ground insertion. Expanding this to using armoured vehicles and there complexity of use seems a waste as unless the armoured vehicles can be airlifted in easily without taking valuable cargo space ,37t is a lot of kit , a battalions worth. I guess you could borrow some from friendly more local forces /improvise but unfamiliarity with kit just gets you killed at a critical moment.

  300. @ Monkey

    When we discuss recce here, and purely vehicular recce, we all, mostly, end up agreeing, which is some achievement here, that something like this,


    or this,


    is what is needed. But definitely not something with a cannon on tracks or wheels.

    That the pictured conveyances can be delivered by helicopter or shoved out of even smallish aeroplanes is something to note. That is aeroplanes still flying around not on the ground.

    That neither of those conveyances is something you would want when covering about 90% of the cavalry’s other tasks beyond recce is another matter entirely…………

  301. Monty, disagree with you about the benefits of modularity but AMV would be another good choice because as you say, well developed, lots of variants in service, large industry and user base.

    Just not the bloody VBCI

  302. From Wikipedia………..

    Cavalry tasks

    ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Reconnaissance)
    CBRN Recce
    Obstacle Recce
    Route Recce
    OP Screen
    Control Measure Security & Marking
    Location Recce

    Advance and Rear Guard
    Counter Recce
    Flank Protection
    Rear Area and Supply Route Security

    Seize and Hold
    Recce Strike
    Delaying Action

    Traffic Regulation

  303. @x
    I see your point, this is something they and their counterparts in the RM easily use, so you are proposing slowly expanding on this existing model and kit as individuals become available who show the right aptitude from 16 Air Assault Brigade and the RM.
    This would leave the existing Calvary troops to the armoured recce role in support of armoured brigades as specific detachments from each brigade.
    Is understanding correct or are you proposing light recon troops only with the Armoured brigades relying on them to operate around enemy armoured forces?

  304. @Monty

    After everything we had learned, the trials of truth (2007) involved 2 production vehicles in service with other nations and an other vehicle that was in production but a generation behind and only a representation of the final product as Piranha 5 was still on the drawing board.

    And which one of the 3 did we choose? …………………….. that’s right the power point presentation.

  305. @ Monkey

    I think 16 AAB is neither fish nor fowl; I have lots of ideas but (mostly) I would like it to mirror 3Cdo on a smaller scale with all being parachuted trained (that’s where numbers drop I think!) We can’t drop paratroopers in the same numbers as the US, but it is a capability that we shouldn’t lose the capability. I think enough work can be found for them without dragging them down with this heliborne infantry rhubarb. I am no expert on the Parachute Regiment I am concerned about the UK maintaining as much rapidly deployable infantry as possible as I think we will need it more than 3Div’s armoured brigades.

    All armoured infantry and tank regiments had their own CVR(T) mounted recce’ platoon/troop. ASCOD FRES SV is wrong. I think the FRR regiments will be poorly served by it for recce. But it could prove just acceptable as a cavalry vehicle. We are short of tanks. It would enable/allow/permit us to go the APC route with the 8×8 instead of procuring IFV without expensive turrets without us losing firepower which is important because “we” will be fewer in number. And as I keep saying in the time of drones do we need as much FRR? And if the Army is smaller surely there will be less space to reconnoitre? Are little tanks the right vehicle for the urban or jungle environments?

  306. x, drones are not the be all and end all of ISTAR. They have their own set of problems, namely that they are not very survivable in contested space for the big ones, all the way down to a 3x 1 hr only use for the micro ones usable only on express permission from HQ. On a 3 day mission, you can guess how much % of round the clock coverage you can get. And most UAVs can’t look through dirt or walls, so urban terrain and trench networks still need long term surveillance and permanent eyeballs on target to count the people going in and out.

    One of the driving criterias for the creation of our recce unit, which used to have the same job done by the commandos is that it frees the commando unit to do other things besides sitting in a hole counting sheep. Battlefield recce turned out to be a full time job with specialized skills and equipment, and the unit that got stuck in recce isn’t going to be of much else use in battle unless you want to lose your eyes when they transit to a combat role. The LURPS and other formation recce are independent of their combat arms for this reason. Marine recce are not assault units, Paras recce are not either. They do recce recce and more recce. Most formations do have their own recce, even the pointy end units, and all of them end up specialized to the point where they can’t be used as part of the parent organization role.

    My pack isn’t filled with ammo, LAWs, mines, packed charges and grenades. It’s filled with 40-60kg of optics, optics, more optics, the comms set and batteries. I may be “Armour recce” but using me as mechanised infantry is stupid because I don’t carry sufficient ammo and weapons needed for that role.

    And armoured recce is known as “scouting”. Big distinction. Scouting is a lot safer than “recce”.

  307. But… but… but… VBCI has the letter ‘V’ in it! It’s like a Vulcan! Or a Victor! Or… or… a Viscount!

  308. About scouting or armoured recce, I don’t want to be impolite but you will have Bradley M3 without its missiles, it does not make sense, but that’s how.

  309. Frenchie – with FRES/SCOUT-SV we will have Bradley M3 without missiles and without dismount troops. Depending on the point of reference we will either have a new Scimitar-like recce vehicle that is over three times the weight and 40% bigger in each direction, or we will have a new MBT short in length and light in firepower.

    It will have its uses; there will be tasks its just right to take on; it will be a competent vehicle of its class. It might be extremely expensive and might not fit well in the gap its supposed to fill, that’s all.

  310. In recce, if you need missiles, you’re doing your job wrong. If you are a scout on the other hand and are doing screening, then it might come in useful. Or just use your cannon.

    Not sure of the UK difference, but the admittedly vague rule of thumb over here is that scouts keep within 20km of their parent unit as a screen, recce works 16-48 km behind enemy forward edge and the LURPS/SF work 50+ km behind the lines. Which explains the difference in attitude to armour. 20km from parent unit and near the enemy front lines, tanks are of value for protection and to resist until help comes in 15 min more or less. 20-50 km behind enemy lines, all the armour in the world isn’t going to save you if you get detected and trying to get a tank through and hiding it is just making your life more difficult. It’s like asking your SAS to bring along a Warrior. Not much point, more trouble than it is worth and self defeating to the role.

  311. @ observer: Thats along the same lines of how we do it, close recce and formation recce. Close recce being organic to a teeth arm unit providing ISTAR 5k ish ahead of the battle group, setting conditions for attacks and and obstical crossings ect. Formation pushing further out ( sometimes a lot further out ) doing sort of the same thing but on a much wider scale with less channeling and obviously less support.

    Ref missiles, formation recce could probably do without but might come in handy, no one is infallable, every now and then even formation recce screws up and needs to make noise to extract. I believe close recce could do with with a good mounted AT capability purely for screening which will turn to a withdrawal, it’s a nightmare calling in OS on moving targets (for me anyway, timing is everything and you should see this C/S dance) and anything that will slow down a reinforced recon group or disruption group before handover to the heavys would be a godsend. Just my thoughts .

  312. Pfft, BV, Western style armies do not do “withdrawal”, we “retrograde in good order”. Which is similar to withdrawal except you run away in a bigger group. :)

    Do see your point in that the breaking of contact for the scouts does need heavy firepower. Or lots of smoke. Most people don’t like to drive into a dense cloud of smoke. For good reason.

    Formation recce missiles… guess that depends on your vehicle. Light Strikes might be able to swing a Swingfire or Javelin, but the bikes I’m currently issued with can’t. There’s research going on into options for a more capable vehicle, but the arguments are going in circles. The usual stealth vs capability/capacity trade offs. Strangely no one is asking for light tanks though :)

  313. @x:
    A similar list for armoured recce

    Category I
    (The undisputed armoured recce core missions):

    (a) Inform manoeuvre commanders about the situation out of the recce radius of his combat troops (& his own recce element).
    This is the biggest chunk and gets the most attention. It’s well-documented, therefore I don’t delve into its details.

    (b) Cooperate with air power and long range artillery (detection, tracking, identification, target designation, battle damage assessment).

    (c) Probing in order to detect gaps or weak spots.

    Category II
    (Combat missions as auxiliary combat troops or at low force density):

    (a) Defeat hostile recce elements when encountered (possibly hunt them down).

    (b) Coups de main against establishing defensive positions, airfields, bridges, depots, combat (service) support troops, headquarters, SAM sites and radars.

    (c) Flank security

    (d) Advance guard / vanguard

    (e) Deception (attacks) – this is especially an option if armoured recce vehicles look similar to the combat troops’ vehicles.

    (f) Rear guard action

    (g) Convoy escort

    (h) (Last ditch) reserve in crisis (in a defensive battle) together with engineers.

    (i) Assault gun-like support of otherwise imbalanced (combined arms minus armour) efforts.

    (j) Skirmishing combat force for fighting in & control of terrain in low force density (Americans call this an “economy of force” mission).

    (k) Engage (with surprise effect) not battle-ready hostile combat troops.

    Category III
    (“As you’re already there…”):

    (a) Report air situation far forward (passive ground/air sensors).

    (b) Pick up air crews who crashed or ejected.

    (c) Infiltrate/exfiltrate LRS teams and agents.

    (d) Radio relay function

    (e) Capture OPFOR equipment for technical analysis (especially rear unit’s equipment).

    (f) Disable infrastructure (rail lines, land lines, dams, civilian radio towers, bridges, tunnels, power lines, fuel stations).

    (g) Emplace/retrieve unattended sensors.

    (h) Destruction of crashed or emergency-landed aircraft (especially helicopters)

    (i) Ambush hostile (hopefully unsuspecting) helicopters.

    (j) Intercept hostile supply convoys.


  314. I don’t know if you are interested but we have a brigade of intelligence.

    In the French army, if each of the three armies involved in the collection of military intelligence with technical means of Electronic Warfare. Only the Army has called HUMINT means, ie human sensors . These men belong to the 2nd Hussars, having become one of the regiments exclusively dedicated to the research of human intelligence .

    Implementing fifty patrols VBL Panhard acting between 80 and 120 km in depth, with the carrying capacity of these vehicles from ten to twelve days of total autonomy and capacity redeployment hussars transmit their reports distances and needs their liaison detachment and implemented by HF , VHF or satellite means. Grouped into databases of information and command dedicated units of the Brigade Intelligence systems , this information is analyzed and cross-referenced with technical research . The information office of the General Staff of the Commander of the force engaged, can then have his head for a situation analysis to better understand its environment and to anticipate as much as possible adverse reactions to better decide .

    The first part of the set up by the sensor system Regiment patrol deep research . Consisting of six personnel, primarily in infiltrating VBL but also for some light motorcycle patrols or by some specialized water channel through its divers submerged or personal kayaks , the patrol moved on mission area into two sub- sets, an acquisition unit responsible for observing and providing images of the objectives and transmissions cell responsible for transmitting this information to the next level . The added value of the human sensor all lies partly in the permanence of observation, unlike technical means may be limited by their autonomy or the weather, but also and above all the other events in the perception that only man can bring. Thus, if an observation drone can usefully provide images in real time or a site and those of personal or vehicles located thereon , only patrol research can share the attitude of the staff in length through the observation and provide more by comments on the photo it transmits.

    At a higher level, the Detachment Liaison and Implementation , which has determined the location of the plant and gave orders to set up patrols, will constitute the second part of the system. Collecting the information provided by its various patrols on the ground, it will collect and return to his computer system including databases allow him to confront them with any information already held, to overlap with those of other sensor and perform a primary treatment to determine if it responds well to the question posed by the upper echelon of the Brigade Intelligence . The arms of the 2nd Hussars system must provide the theater commander digital evidence or video, with comments for him to get the most accurate picture possible of the situation , with these eyes before it or sometimes respond to attacks misinformation type of the actors of the conflict. Past few years and with specific technical, 2nd Hussars is likely to provide the Force Commander certain transmission capacity of still images or video in real or near real time, depending on speed transmission means available locally .

    Synthesis between the armoured reconnaissance and in-depth research intelligence , leverage a land force engaged in a theater of operations abroad is undoubtedly a model that could well inspire some foreign armies, whose units patrols deep gratitude when they exist, are often paratroopers and are not equipped vehicles.

  315. Frenchie, Simon posted the same thing the previous page.

    SO, that list or rather the presumed intentions are not really correct. Range from the enemy also plays a very important factor. Your category I missions are “scout” mission. Close range, heavy armour, not so stealthy. Your category III missions are true deep “recce” missions, long range, no support, stealth critical missions where using armour is a stupid thing. Different types of units do that. Category I is for armoured scouts. Category III is for infantry/motorised recce. Use infantry recce for Category I is suicide and using armour for Category III has a high chance of failure.

    Those 2 jobs rightfully go to 2 different types of units, even though they are both “armour formation recce”. You have to differentiate “armoured recce” if it is recce using armour or a unit attached to an armoured formation to do recce which might not use armoured vehicles.

  316. Observer,
    yours is but one way to see and divide it. The armoured recce doctrines vary very much between countries and generations. There’s very much task overlap between different kind of armoured recce units in an army, too.

  317. @Frenchie,

    I was looking at the FRES SV and in tranche 2 we are getting a Engineering Reconnaissance variant (I not heard of engineering reconnaissance until recently) – are you able to tell me how the French Army fulfils the same role?

  318. What about looking at the Pandur II 6×6, not sure if this video is the original Pandur or the new model, but it looks like it could do the job if you just want a APC version:

    This one is definitely the Pandur II 6×6

  319. @Tubby

    Engineering Recce has existed for decades, they used to use the Spartan but now it’s Panther (and I think some Warriors that were originally FOO’s).

  320. @DavidNiven

    Cheers for the info, as a civvy I hadn’t heard of it until recently and was intrigued to find out more!

  321. @Tubby

    No probs, Engineer recce is more like close recce provided by the infantry so is slightly different to the formation recce type of stuff. Although in Afghan the Brigade Reconnaissance Force has been an amalgamation of all unit recces including Artillery, Engineers, Forward Air Controllers and Signalers.

  322. @DN,
    And the new ISR bde is… The same as the ad hoc formation in A-stan? Just permanent (a pool and a centre of excellence) and on a larger scale? Don’t know, just guessing
    – also wonder if a similar regiment, of earlier generation, in the RM has become a donor of some or all of its parts to this new bde?

    Jane’s would know, will need to see if any of it hasbeenput oout to the Net.

  323. @ACC

    I don’t know anything about the new ISR Bde make up, but I would have thought it would build on what we have learned with BRF on operations. CBRN Guru maybe able to shed a little light on the subject.

    The BRF was based on the recce units of 3 Cdo and 16AAB and sort of copied throughout the Brigades. Some Brigades used an amalgamation of units and others just used their cavalry units for the role, it depended on the brigade commander.

  324. @Tubby,

    French army in each Brigade has a regiment of engineers . I will talk about the 13th Engineer Regiment of the 2nd Armoured Brigade.

    13th Engineer Regiment has 6 companies represent nearly 1,100 men and women and a reserve company of 100 people.

    – 1 company command and logistics
    – 3 companies fight Engineering
    – 1 company cleanup
    – 1 support company
    – 1 Response Unit and Reserve

    13th RG mission is to facilitate the engagement of troops in contact with the enemy , by various means :

    – land development by the implementation of earthmoving , construction barriers , clearing barricades, opening tracking in infrastructure , etc …

    • Opening routes .
    • Mine clearance and remediation of areas at risk.
    • Implementation of fixed and movable bridges .
    • Development of settlement areas protected for installation command post or units .

    13th RG has developed real expertise in the fight against improvised explosive devices and has a particular ” against – IED course ” available detachments armed preparing for a projection. This expertise is enhanced by the company against – mining with the detachment route opening trapped.

    Companies struggle are equipped armored engineer vehicles , used for opening or route clearance of obstacles, VAB transporting troops and versatile means of engineering, tractor loader also used for clearing obstacles.
    The company is equipped with Buffalo clearance of mined route opening system , used to open a route slightly undermined , high protection for the privacy against IEDs armored vehicles, ways to help clearance zone and AMX 30 B2 DT tanks , part of the section of heavy mechanical demining section responsible for carrying paths through minefields .

    The company is equipped to support specific hardware support :

    – Gear for the terrain organization : development of machine engineering, rapid means of drilling and destruction, trencher , a tracked bulldozer, compactor , hardware support trafficability of soils, gear fast protection engineering , dump trucks .
    – Equipment to aid emergency force deployment : LIEBHER crane , workshop campaign deployment assistance , generators 80 KW electric batch distribution , mobile processing units water treatment equipment and water craft multifunction deployment assistance .
    – Crossing equipment : light means crossing the bridge propelled accompanying gear crossing the front and quick installation system of bridge elements .
    13th Engineer Regiment is SPRAT holder . This system allows for a bridge with a length of 25 meters in 10 minutes without leaving the cockpit.

    Link to photos of engineering equipment .


  325. @Tubby,

    In the role of your future FRES SV Engineer reconnaissance the French Army has Aravis. Aravis is a 4×4 vehicle air-transportable with a high level of protection against mines and IEDs. Required to respond in areas of insecurity, it is equipped with a remotely operated turret, similar to that of VAB TOP employees in Afghanistan since the beginning of 2009. Through his reconnaissance, the Aravis features, in addition to the turret cameras, 7 peripheral cameras to apprehend the immediate environment around the vehicle.


  326. The Pandur 6×6 looks like quite a useful size, particularly the long wheelbase version:
    Possibly it’s a bit dated, technology-wise, but the size is where I would go for a wheeled APC. The 8×8s always seem oversized to me – seating four dismounts shoulder to shoulder needs only about 3m, so I’m a bit lost about what they do with the other five metres. Likewise width. If you intend to use these vehicles for strategic movement, it would seem sensible to make them compliant with road vehicle widths (about 2.5m)

  327. You have already the Foxhound to put only four soldiers, I think you need a 6×6 to put eight soldiers. The Pandur is not a bad vehicle but it is a bit old, the British Army should be able to find better.

  328. mr fred, one thing I did notice in the tends is that in the past, they used to pick all the small sized guys for mechanized infantry. Now, they don’t seem to care, which means that in a way, infantrymen riding in IFVs have gotten a fair bit larger. I heard terms like the 85% or 95% soldier fit nowadays.

  329. The interior of VBCI is 13 m3 is widely expected to accommodate 11 large equipped soldiers (driver + skipper / 9 shooter + infantry with all the public facilities of Battle Group). APC version without turret, proposed for the FRES utility contract, can accommodate 14 soldiers. But I think it’s a little tight though.

  330. Frenchie,
    I was a little unclear. If you can fit four infantry shoulder-to-shoulder in a 3m line (allowing 750mm each) then with four along each wall, facing each other, you can have eight in the back of a vehicle with a 3m long dismount area.
    So a 6×6 ought to have room for eight, British section is eight, so that seems suitable. I agree, the Pandur is dated, but the basic size is what I am looking at.

    I don’t see the point in having three to four spare seats with the accompanying demands on volume, space and weight. Comparing the short and long wheelbase versions of the Pandur, it looks like two additional seats costs you about a tonne, which isn’t exactly chicken feed.

    With volunteer militaries, you cannot afford to be picky for which people go in which units. 750mm is a fairly generous estimate, well over 95%ile shoulder width. On top of that the probability of all four people in the line being 95%ile or more is pretty small – about 6 in one million.

  331. Isn’t the pandur II a reasonably recent development of the pandur? Personally I like it as it will fit on a c-130 can swim in water up to 1.5 m deep, will fit a section and there is a recce version, so if FRES SV is a bust we still have an option. It is also reasonably light at about 17 tonnes so it is still fairly mobile. Downside is that it is fairly lightly armoured.

    BTW thanks to everyone who posted up info on engineer recce.

  332. Thanks Tom.

    So it’s a Bde to draw assets (I know it’s an old school term but I’ve been using it a lot longer than the chinless wonders who decided to modernise the military vernacular, again!) from and does no recce in the current formation recce sense.

    So are we still going with a BRF for each Bde or is that changing slightly?

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