Challenging the IFV Concept

Sven takes a look at the Infantry Fighting Vehicle…

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2009/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-1.html”] [browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2009/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-2.html”] [browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-3.html”] [browser-shot width=”600″ url=”http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.de/2014/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-4.html”]

A multi part series that spans 4 years!

And a couple of late entries

[browser-shot width=”600″ url=”https://www.tjomo.com/article/17/Wrong_Technology_for_the_Wrong_Tactics_The_Infantry_Fighting_Vehicle/”]

And this link

https://www.rusi.org/downloads/assets/RDS_2013_Owen.pdf

148 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 26, 2014 9:39 am

An excellent read. The promoted MBT- “Namer” on MBT hull – “Terminator” on MBT hull combo is a valid argument, and the outstanding question is how to organise it.
– when I say that, I am not excluding BG formation on-the-hoof, but scaling logistics to sustain the overall unit (bde) once fielded

Assuming that such versions were available on a (mainly) common hull, I would go with a tank regiment (UK parlance, close to 50 heavies in it) with also some “Namers” organically in it, too. Plus, have a stand-alone “Terminator” squadron to distribute (in packets, even one can make a big difference in how the OpFor will have to think). Finally using the battle-field taxied infantry (some auto-cannon mixed in, onto a shared hull here,too) in 2-to-1 proportion to the afore mentioned heavy unit, and a third one as a high mobility/ high speed reserve (Warthog/ AMV). Add CS/ CSS to taste (tasking), and shake well.

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 10:03 am

To be fair, there are 2 ways to hit a target, infantry first, or armour first, and deciding which is actually part of the job of recce. If there are heavy AT defences on a target, the infantry will dismount and do an infantry advance to flush or pin the enemy AT teams in place before the big(ger) guns come in to silence them.

If there was a lot of infantry and anti-infantry weapons, what is used is an armoured advance, where tanks and IFVs resistant to anti-personnel weapons rush through the killzone, overrun the target, and drop ramps to disgorge the infantry into the lap of the enemy.

So how you use your men and equipment depends on the situation on site, and you can adapt to the problem. IFVs are very good for the 2nd scenario.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 26, 2014 10:14 am

Observer,

Part 3 deals extensively with that. Sven does omit the role of recce, probably because he has written extensively about (armoured) recce in another series.
– would be nice to hear about the structuring of armoured and all other recce in the Singaporean forces
– the articles are very much structured on the German evolution (the thinking and the kit) on the topic, and most of the comments, on the other hand, have been posted from the US experience

As we are on a UK site, bringing in all the English-speaking people…

monkey
monkey
June 26, 2014 10:18 am

We invented the APC/IFV with the Mark IX back in the end of WW1 , they even got it to float. It could carry 30 dismounts ,a useful payload! It never saw active service and the idea was discontinued until the next war. I agree that the present options we are considering carry far too few dismounts for the cost of the vehicle 7 to 8 being the normal load ,less if a lot of kit has to be moved under protected cover. Surely the Namer’s capacity of 12 i.e. 2 small sections should be the norm?
When you spend several millions on a vehicle surely it needs to carry heavier weight of infantry. The bulk of the cost an APC/AFV is its weapons/electronics fit out which won’t get bigger if the vehicle stretches a bit, granted it will get heavier and need a bigger engine/transmission etc but for a 50%+ payload increase the trade off in being a bigger target (I don’t think any one fires over ‘open sights’ anymore ) and more expensive per unit but it should be worth it. You could even argue that you would need less units but that would reduce flexibility and firepower.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e1/British_Mark_IX_Armoured_Personnel_Carrier.jpg/450px-British_Mark_IX_Armoured_Personnel_Carrier.jpg

MSR
MSR
June 26, 2014 12:25 pm

I’ve always felt that the best infantry fighting vehicle yet built is the Israeli Merkava. All others shuold be armoured battle taxis as the author says. iFVS are a halfway house. Maybe the delay to fres is a good thing : time to consider this?

MSR
MSR
June 26, 2014 12:42 pm

I’ve always been a secret admirer of the Merkava. That’s the only kind of IFV worth having. IFVs are a poor compromise between not having enough money for more MBTs and, because if this, wanting to make every vehicle capable of contributing firepower (so that you get maximum “bang for your buck”, which means you don’t want battle taxis that are only capable of self defence, even though that may be the best doctrine).

Perhaps the delay in FRES is a good thing: might give time to think about what is really needed as opposed to what industry can roll out cheaply and quickly. One point the author doesn’t seem to make is that industrial needs and vehicle design are governing doctrine (especially regarding the number of dismounts) rather than the other way around.

Hohum
Hohum
June 26, 2014 1:40 pm

MSR,

Merkava can only theoretically carry dismounts, and when it does is sacrifices ammunition sotwage for its main armament. The overall design, which places the powerpack at the front, further degrades the overall design of the Merkava by raising the whole profile of the vehicle.

FRES is not meant to produce an IFV and is thus not relevant.

MSR
MSR
June 26, 2014 2:06 pm
Reply to  Hohum

Okay.

Carrying out my education in public, as usual!

Despite the drawbacks you mention, the Israeli’s are still building them. They’ve clearly found utility in the urban and semi-urban conflicts, which is exactly where the British army has been for 10 years.

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 2:08 pm

ACC, not much to say about Singaporean recce, we’re fairly young. When the army was smaller, recce tasks were taken on by limited number of LURPs drawn from the commandos, but as the army suffered from capability creep and size expansion, they created the recce units to take over some of the slack for the LURPs, which started to take on forward fire control roles. My batch was only about the 4th recce unit created, though that was about 20 years ago, at 1 batch every 2 years, they should have reached batch 14 by now.

Not much to say about recce, the type we do is long ranged recce, so no cav screening jobs, which means we can get by without armour, our only vehicles used to be pathetic 125cc motorcycles and a single land rover fitted with a vehicle comms set. At least they upped the engine to a semi-decent 175cc now. The old one couldn’t even climb a steep hill without us getting off and pushing it up. :)

Drop into an area by helicopter with bikes underslung, deploy from there. No “flying tank” crap. Bike to within 500m of the objective, walk/crawl the rest of the way, find a hollow and hide. Or if the OC feels that we are getting flabby, no bikes, walk all the way. Been on 72km training marches a few times now. You get used to it.

Structure wise, we are a 2 platoon company of 24 men each (6x 4 men teams) .There is also a 3rd platoon for reservists to slot into, so in times of war, the 3rd platoon will be staffed with the old guys, or if they have been out of the loop for too long, the other platoons can spread out their experience and training to the 3rd one and the “new” guys can slot into pre-existing teams.

MSR, the smaller IFVs have a slight advantage over the Merkava/Namer as an infantry vehicle. Smaller and easier to handle in tight spots like urban terrain, and in long ranged deployment, they can use a lot more routes and bridges than MBT analogs. In an open field fight, the Merkava is very good, but try using them in areas like forests, jungles and cities? They suffer a bit. I know the IDF used them in Cast Lead, but usually only through main roads, not side alleys. So it’s not “armour beats all” or “bigger gun the better”, but where you plan to get your infantry to and your opposition. Try rotating your turret in a rubber plantation… or getting in there in the first place. Ramming trees does not work. That one is from practical experience.

Hohum
Hohum
June 26, 2014 2:34 pm

MSR,

Israelis are still building Merkavas (just, the line has survived by the skin of its teeth in recent years) because they are Israeli and because the opposition possesses nothing much more than warmed over T-72s. Merkava is a great tank, but for fighting other tanks I would rather have something else.

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 2:47 pm

Hohum, that and the fact that up north, they have a ridge with long sightlines and flat plains to their west. Their country is prime tank/big gun country. Until you hit the cities that is. Even there, some armour for cover to rush a gunman is useful some times.

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 26, 2014 4:06 pm

As a raving civilian, I wonder if he is right about 20 to 40mm autocannons? Perhaps we should go lighter with that FN 15.5mm heavy machinegun that can outrange 12.7 & 14.5 HMGs? Perhaps for the mobile firepower/tankette variant we should go for that Israeli semi-auto 60mm HV gun?

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 4:23 pm

John, who is your enemy? The IFV’s enemy was the Soviet BMPs and with their 73mm guns and BMDs and armour resistant to MG fire. The IFVs had to have a gun with a fair chance of a first round kill, or the one being killed might be them. MGs can penetrate light to medium-ish armour, but the range you have to close to before it might penetrate is greater.

The weapon choice was not selected in isolation, but in consideration of the enemies.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 26, 2014 4:30 pm

I was planning a post about how the debate about FRES (and other areas such as SA80 replacement) really depended on what we believed the role, tactics and doctrine of the infantry was, and I was going to use Svens’s articles too! Will post some relevant links later when I’m less busy and see if I can do the post tomorrow.

S O
S O
June 26, 2014 5:29 pm

“A multi part series that spans 4 years!”

It took me that long to notice how much I hadn’t mentioned … quite embarrassing.

“The IFVs had to have a gun with a fair chance of a first round kill, or the one being killed might be them.”

Explain why this should be true for the vehicles transporting the infantry, but not for the mobile HQ vehicles, the armoured combat engineer vehicles, the electronic warfare vehicles, the vehicles carrying supplies for the battle group, the self-propelled mortar vehicles, the self-propelled artillery vehicles…

It’s the assumption that the APC/IFV will be used as tip of the spear just as MBTs are being used that drives the demand to be able to defeat hostile AFVs, right?

Assuming this assumption was a good one; why don’t you expect the IFV to withstand 125 mm APFSDS like MBTs? After all, your logic applies to this challenge as well. Same with firepower; Javelin/Eurospike are no equals to a 125 mm gun, but lightweight substitutes with a critically longer target detection->kill process.

See, that’s what I wrote about in Part 4: People think about the IFV with the assumption of the IFV as the normal, justified case. Hardly anyone thinks about if beginning with a blank sheet or attempts to understand how the IFV came into being, and whether this process is still valid. You bought into the “IFVs need to fight AFVs” idea, but that one is merely an assertion, and difficult to support.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 26, 2014 5:36 pm
Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 5:55 pm

SO, what makes you think people did not try to armour up IFVs to defeat 125mm? Isn’t that what the Namer is?

And why would IFVs which need to fight on or near the front lines not be designed to fight the vehicles that they might most commonly encounter? In fact, your assertion that there was no design factors at all under consideration is even more difficult to support. It assumes that everyone in design and planning for some reason or another have all put their brains in park. And turned on the breakdown lights.

Why it needs to be true to arm IFVs with 20mm+ is that IFVs are armoured support and expect to take their place in a battleline too. In fact, without MBTs around, they are expected to fight by themselves if they can against light to moderate opposition. There are a lot more IFVs than MBTs in most organizations, no surprise if the smaller stuff gets detached for independent duty, and MBTs can’t be everywhere.

S O
S O
June 26, 2014 6:30 pm

@Observer
The Namer is an HAPC, not an IFV. The Israelis never bought into the IFV/MICV/SPz concept. And its protection is more oriented against HEAT than APFSDS.

“why would IFVs which need to fight on or near the front lines not be designed to fight the vehicles that they might most commonly encounter?”

Because a cut has to be made anyway – you cannot prepare all your vehicles on the battlefield to fight against MBTs or BMPs. And a manoeuvre element includes more than just MBTs and IFVs. It’s also useful to have armoured engineers and SP mortars very close. Why would one group the infantry carriers with the MBTs, not with the bridgelayers, sappers, FO/JFST vehicles?
It doesn’t make much sense to expose a vehicle carrying more souls than any other on the battlefield to the greatest risks by tasking it with the fight against MBTs/BMPs while being much less protected than MBTs are. And the more vehicle combat capabilities are loaded onto an APC or IFV, the less infantry it will carry (or the more cost-inefficient it will be in €/dismount).
This trend has driven us towards very infantry-weak manoeuvre brigades. Some armies are now responding by adopting motorised infantry as infantry reinforcement as did the Soviets already; Germany groups mountain infantry forces with armoured forces and the Heer wants more Jäger battalions, for example. This leads to a APC/IFV divide anyway; much infantry WILL be unable to fend off BMPs with vehicle weaponry anyway.

“without MBTs around, [IFVs] are expected to fight by themselves”

I saw this in the doctrines of several armies, but not in military history. Smells like peacetime nonsense to me. In practice, MBTs and IFVs are mixed, as bot an MBT-only company and an IFV-only company are way too troublesome on independent manoeuvres. A MBT platoon would support the IFVs whenever possible. I expect to see IFVs independently only when weak bridges prevent the MBTs from keeping the pace, and keep in mind Russian MBTs can cross almost all bridges a fully equipped Puma or Bradley can cross.

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 6:49 pm

SO, the US Bradleys got the most tank kills in the Gulf War…. that is obviously “peacetime” and a very rough training exercise. And RT has testified that even 20mms can kill an MBT if you hammer on it hard enough.

BTW when I say “battleline” I do not mean the 2nd bound and 3rd bound echelon. I really mean 1st line. Your IFVs are going in WITH the MBTs. Reason is that the tanks cannot be left unsupported too long and cannot advance without their rear being cleared, which means that they have to stop at the first house or trench on the objective until the IFV trundles up and tosses a fireteam into the trench or building to clear it before it can move forward. If the MBT overextended, someone could pop up with an RPG behind him and put a round through the engine.

Long story short, just because you don’t agree with the logic or do not get the logic does not mean that there is no logic, it just means that you disagree or don’t get it. It does not make others automatically wrong. Leave the damn IFV alone, it does the job well, which is more than I can say for some other things.

S O
S O
June 26, 2014 6:56 pm

“SO, the US Bradleys got the most tank kills in the Gulf War”

… and CVR/T didn’t serve as scout much because MBT sensors had a huge range on desert terrain.
Did you read up on how the Americans fought in ODS? Entire brigade on paradeground-like wedge formation, for example. Bradleys were not sent on independent IFV-only manoeuvres.
The Bradleys ended up with most tank kills because it was open field turkey shooting. Without their TOWs, the Abrams would have killed the AFVs just as easily a minute later.

“IFVs are going in WITH the MBTs”

…or MUCH BETTER protected HAPCs.

On your last paragraph: I don#t merely write “I don’t like it” – I actually provided plenty arguments.

GAB
GAB
June 26, 2014 7:10 pm

“It doesn’t make much sense to expose a vehicle carrying more souls than any other on the battlefield to the greatest risks by tasking it with the fight against MBTs/BMPs while being much less protected than MBTs are. ”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

This argument seals the issue above all others.

That said, I do think that an BMD-like vehicle for airborne forces is entirely valid.

GAB

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
June 26, 2014 7:13 pm

I’m with Observer,

The tank is the breakthrough weapon. But it needs infantry support. So you stick the infantry in armoured boxes. Those armoured boxes are going into a hot zone in amongst the enemy. Under those circumstances the ability to take out chance encountered IFVs, scout vehicles, possibly tanks etc is very valuable. Better than sitting back and watching helplessly as a pair of BMPs break into the formation using surprise/accident and proceed to pick off the Warriors/Bradleys/Whatevers one by one as they wait for a tank to come back and help.

And that’s before the IFVs start lobbing precision 30mm HE from a safe distance at fixed enemy positions that are too well dug in/protected for 7.62, before driving arounding blatting everything insight for shock/suppression effect with a combination of HE and chain gun fire before disgorging their infantry loads into some poor buggers trench.

mr.fred
mr.fred
June 26, 2014 7:42 pm

I don’t think any system, vehicle or weapon should be given a free ride. Every so often it should be held up to a critical light to determine if it still makes sense in the form it is in or if it should change with technology, either its own or the common threats.
I can see a logic for IFVs accompanying MBTs, armed with a weapon system that supplements the armament of the MBTs. Especially now when overhead weapon stations permit reasonably heavy weapons to be carried and used without impacting the crew and dismount space. These rapid-firing machine cannon can give a sustained suppression capability that an armoured formation otherwise lacks.
Granted, you could place these weapons onto a dedicated support vehicle like the Terminator, but perhaps you then risk watering the formation down into myriad specialist types. A fighting vehicle, capable of direct fire against precise and destructive fires against all battlefield targets and an infantry carrying vehicle that can lay down discrete suppressive fire in support of its own infantry or against suspected positions (particularly ATGW positions) whilst on the move.
Suppressive fire works better against command to line of sight weapons, but it could also have a discouraging effect on fire and forget weapons.
Ultimately, rapid fire machine cannon with time-fused airburst shells could also be effective against small UAVs, which might then argue for the specialist support vehicle again, to make best use of the sensor fit needed. Alternately gun range, particularly against such small targets, might demand that such weapons are distributed to be effective.

S O
S O
June 26, 2014 9:44 pm

You don’t need IFVs or dedicated autocannon AFVs to get high angle autocannons into a tank force mix:
http://img.bemil.chosun.com/nbrd/files/BEMIL085/upload/2007/01/T72M2Moderna.jpg

Interestingly, MBTs with coax autocannons (such as some early Centurions) proved to not have much use for the intermediary calibre. All targets could be handled by main gun or coax machinegun.
Strange how the IFVs are supposedly so very important in the fight when tanks themselves don’t need them!

I suppose the niche is mostly about high elevation angle firepower, and that can be covered by SPAAGs and 12.7 RCWS on tanks. There are also autocannons such as the French M621 or the ASP-30 which can be mounted in place of a HMG.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 26, 2014 9:54 pm

Are we moving in that way anyway? The number of dismounts is going down and size of weapons on IFV’s is going up while protected mobility companies are required to support Armoured Infantry battalions. Are IFV’s becoming fire support/Cavalry Fighting Vehicles? There was a similar concept in the ’70’s:

http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php?topic=25495.0

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 26, 2014 10:13 pm

Sorry, SO, but Observer is spot on here. The MBT and the IFV complement one another.

Did you ever wonder why the HE round for the Bradley’s 25mm gun self destructs at 3000m? Because that was as far as they needed it to shoot. It’s primary purpose was to suppress (not necessarily destroy) AT-3 Sagger teams, either ground mounted or BRDM/BMP mounted. And while MBTs are busy engaging the enemy MBTs, Brads are busy engaging BMP/BTR/etc.

Taking a step back and challenging the assumptions that lead to a doctrine and weapons development is a good idea. And I’ll admit for some missions, the US mech/armor brigades were dangerously short on dismounted infantry. But for what they were designed for, they weren’t. There was a very, very great deal of though put into why the US needed an IFV, and what that IFV should be as well as thinking about how the M1 tank and its capabilities would influence the design of an IFV.

As for why IFVs don’t have the protection that MBTs do,- cost. Achieving MBT levels of protection on a vehicle that has space to carry significant numbers of dismount infantry is very expensive.

John Hartley
John Hartley
June 26, 2014 10:28 pm

Observer. I was going with the authors idea that the troop carrier should just have a HMG, thus freeing room for troops (& ammo) while it gets escorted by mobile firepower/tankette which if it has something like a 60 mm HV , should be able to deal with all enemy vehicles bar modern MBTs.

Observer
Observer
June 26, 2014 11:01 pm

You got to understand a bit of history too. 2 rather major events shaped the design of the IFV, one was the Yom Kippur war and what happened to the Israelis got when they went into battle against Sagger teams with pure MBTs. They got a colossal black eye, which resulted in emergency mortar teams and infantry squads being assigned to the tanks to suppress AT teams. This is also one of the reasons the Israelis insisted on keeping a 60mm mortar on their frontline MBT, most people don’t notice it, but it is also a historical artifact of the war. Their Centurions did not suffer as much as their other tanks because that mortar could pound the lee side of the hills that AT teams set up on. This raised the infantry’s stature vs the armoured corp when their doctrine until then was a tank heavy force. Now they need infantry and tanks together just to survive.

The second was the development of the BMP. The BMP was in some ways the “classic” IFV, light armour, medium gun, dismounts. The US at that time was using M-113s. An M-113 vs a BMP, the BMP will leave the lightly armed and armoured APC in shreds in short order, and the possible counterweapon, the TOW, can be negated by killing the firing unit before the round hits you (wire guided don’t mean squat if the operator is dead). The US needed a unit to rebalance the unfavourable overmatch, hence the development of the Bradley.

Think of it this way. Alternative situation: An MBT force with APCs bump into another equal force with IFVs. The APC armed force do not have weapons that can penetrate anything of the enemy’s with reliability, hence they are literally ineffectual in influencing the fight other than to release the infantry and hope for the best. Inversely, the IFV force has a lot of options. They can let the MBTs handle each other while they go nuts on the infantry and APCs, or they can add to the misery of the enemy’s MBTs by harassing them while their MBTs occupy the enemy’s attention. Ignore the IFVs long enough and even an MBT is going to get penetrated.

If you don’t have an equal counter, you’re going to look at a fair bit of overmatch on your forces.

No way people are going to remove the 25mm+ for an MG. It’s simply too useful.

S O
S O
June 26, 2014 11:26 pm

“Yom Kippur war and what happened to the Israelis got when they went into battle against Sagger teams with pure MBTs”

Ahh, the old ‘autocannons defeat ATGM teams myth!
(1) The Israelis made this experience, and they still laugh at IFVs, deploying APC and HAPC instead.
(2) Autocannons are close to irrelevant against ATGM teams, particularly with today’s ATGM technology.
(3) Ainet and APAM are great substitutes for full auto 20-30 mm HE.

And seriously, you would know the roots of IFVs are older than what you assert here if you had read the articles. And my point is exactly that the IFV recipe was created to match a techno-tactical environment which simply doesn’t exist any more. The events which led to or reinforces the IFV idea 40 or 70 years ago are thus no pro-IFV argument any more at all.

“An MBT force with APCs bump into another equal force with IFVs.”

IFV or not will matter in such a situation rarely. The party which reacts quicker will win. The engagement sequence from detection to kill is less than 10 seconds for a trained MBT crew.
A prepared party will defeat the other no matter what, even platoon vs. company, company vs. battalion. An unprepared party may open fire, but then use smoke – the odds of killing anything with ATGMs in such an encounter are slim.

Besides; to replace IFVs with APC and HAPCs may easily allow for an increase in MBT numbers, if one was really bothered by the scenario. And the body count of losses in those scenarios would certainly be higher for the party which carries infantrymen in IFVs than for the one carrying infantrymen in less HAPCs, and more in APCs with the support troops.

“No way people are going to remove the 25mm+ for an MG. It’s simply too useful.”

Except the Israelis didn’t even begin to fall for the IFV concept.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
June 26, 2014 11:54 pm

It is not just the IV that supports the MBT, it is the IFV+Infantry.

I usually choose to ignore ODS as an example as it was a Turkey shoot and some people I know refer to it as the largest ever live fire exercise especially as most of the coalition casualties were caused by friendly fire which was a disgrace. I do have full respect for the personnel who took part though who were outstanding. A classic example of training hard and fighting easy.

Back to the IFV, and whilst I can see value in the Namer and what the current US plans are, I see their use mainly as breakthrough platforms and very specialised to meet definite requirements. Unfortunately they fall into the nice to have category for most armed forces including the UKs.

The Israelis have a history of using converted MBT hulls for assault infantry and pioneers, with the bulk of their infantry using either M113 variants or even the old M3. The Namer has come about form lessons learnt but mainly form the happy coincidence that they had a platform that was ideal for conversion , namely the Merkava with its front mounted engine. Earlier Assault vehicles usually shifted the rear mounted engine sideways to provide a very narrow rear exit.

The US has gone totally 180 degrees from the FCS concept and now wants to protect everybody from harm. Whether these concepts go anywhere is yet to be seen but I am doubtful.

Mixed MBT and infantry formations whether in APCs or IFVs are proven but with the changes in modern warfare I am beginning to think the IFV in its present form is not what we need. The French with the VBCI I think are showing the way forward, retaining the firepower of a traditional IV but gaining mobility and flexibility by using a wheeled chassis. Those who have read my previous post will surely see where I am going with this! The argument about the weapon load out for IFVs revolves around the threat of enemy IFVs etc up to and including MBTs. If IFV/APCs run into enemy MBTs without support their commander deserves the resulting outcome. IFVs and MBTs operate in combined arms formations including artillery and air assets. Ground units operate in company sized battle groups containing infantry and armour. The MBTs can take care of enemy AFVs whilst the Infantry engaged enemy infantry. In this role the IFV/APC does not need an AFV killing weapon but rather one that is good at suppressing enemy infantry such as a HMG, AGL or at maximum a 20mm AC. The suppression role is even more important in urban conflict where the infantry take point, whist the MBTs are excellent at opening doors etc. RPGs are the bogeyman of urban conflict but with the right ISTAR and air assets their treat can be greatly reduced. Giving the infantry improved situational awareness will allow them to suppress and/or engage the enemy far more effectively as well as call in other assets. Add to that Active protection systems like the Israeli Trophy and the chances of surviving a first round strike are pretty good allowing a rapid response.

Nowadays in theatre mobility is becoming more and more important. Tracked AFVs require transporters to move large distances while wheels AFVs can easily self deploy. Needing to only use transporters to move MBTs dramatically reduces to logistical footprint of a military force. Wheeled AFVs can survive an mine hit and often drive away minus a wheel or two. A tracked AFV will suffer a mobility kill through the loss of a track at the minimum and it and its crew will remain in the threat zone until fixed. Yes some of the large IEDs will do greater damage but even MBT and their crew are vulnerable to these.

So what am I getting at? Well in a nutshell I would rather see the UK MoD cancel Other FRES(SV) and the Warrior upgrade and purchase a fleet of wheeled AFVs, Boxer of course being my preferred choice. These would replace nearly all the Warrior, CVR(T) and FV432 variants in the Armoured and Armoured Infantry battalions as well as the Mechanised battalions and Artillery Regiments etc. The initial purchases would be of existing APC, Command and Ambulance variants to be followed by additional specialised platforms which I am pretty sure will also appeal to existing users which may reduce development costs. These would include a 120mm mortar carrier (Allowing the use of PGMs such as STRIX), a fire support platform with heavy AC and ATGW, an Engineering platform, a Artillery command platform based on the standard command variant, an air defence platform with CAMM, an Artillery tractor and Ammunition carrier for the M777 (Again allow the use of PGS such as Excalibur), or an SP 155mm variant.

On the issue of the M777 replacing the L118 105mm, with its use of PGMs and munition dispensers 155mm ordinance offers more effective options than the L118. Trails by 3 Cmdo Brigade and the conclusion that we did not possess sufficient rotary assets to support the M777 do raise suspicions as to the scope of such trials. If the Canadians can support the M777 surely we can. The reduction in ammunition usage will help the logistical support, but we will not have to manoeuvre the M777 by Helicopter alone. The Army would use a Boxer variant and the Marines could use the Bv210 with the M777 even being on skis if required! The collateral damage caused by massed conventional artillery is making the use of standard HE more and more frowned upon by the media and hence its use is going to be more and more restricted in future.

Turning to the MBT component, the UK is heading for a major problem with the CA2. The reason for being for the 120mm CHARM is becoming a liability. The use of the Charm 1 & 3 rounds is becoming unacceptable due to their DU penetrators and a Tungsten based replacement is proving costly. Stockpiles of the much vaunted HESH are no longer available with their shelf life expiring in 2009 and together with the smoke round, their non-compliance with insensitive munition legislation. I am unaware of any new HESH and smoke rounds being developed, and any used in GW2 must have received an emergency waverer to allow their use. Without a HE or dual purpose round the usefulness of the CA2 is limited to its anti AFV capability. So we need to either develop new bespoke ammunition with the aid of the Germans as we no longer have the ability to produce ammunition in the UK, or change to a 120mm smooth-bore by either retrofitting the CA2 or purchasing a new MBT. The latter two make far more sense in the long run but funding is probably going to result in the former. The CA2 is still a useful platform due to its superb protection, only equalled by the M1A2 by the use of DU armour which is going out of favour for numerous regions. Its top armour is superior to any other AFV and was included in the original design as top attack ATGWs were know to be one of the main threat MBTs would face in the future. Its Fire Control and Optics are equal to the M1A2 on which they are partly based, and are more than up to the job against likely future threats. Its mobility and range are far better than that of the M1A2 due to its superior suspension and automotive components and can equal the speed of an M1A2 across country as a result.

Finally with developments like the sensor fused munition dispenser used by the USAF and Brimstone, massed armoured combat is now as likely England winning a World Cup over the next 20 or so years. With one F16/F35 able to neutralise an entire tank battalion on a single pass out in the open, hostile armour is going to have to disperse. This means that the fear of massed older generation AFVs swamping the smaller number of western AFVs through numbers is becoming a more and more unlikely scenario. Future conflicts are going to revolve around smaller units, most likely in urban areas or rough terrain, with media coverage limiting what weaponry will be acceptable to use. On the ground it will be the infantry at the for being supported by various assets providing intelligence and fire support etc. The platform they ride in needs mobility as well as protection, but going as far as to armour an IFV/APC to MBT levels is a dead end for most militaries. Psssive and active protection against small arms, automatic weapons, HEAT based weapons and artillery fragments should be the core requirements. A BMP may be able to take a 25mm hit to the front but at the side an HMG will penetrate. This may all sound like the spin used for the FSC and original FRES programmes but their protection level owed more to science fiction and were unattainable for the weight limitations. The Interim Striker Brigades showed the way and more modern platforms like the VBCI and Boxer meet the current and future needs of modern militaries including the UK.

I shall now crawl into my fox hole, await the incoming barrage and than resurface to respond

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 27, 2014 12:29 am

I’m sorry, but anyone who doesn’t think the 25mm cannon can suppress even modern ATGM teams simply has no idea of mechanized infantry.

And the time from detection to kill with the 25 can be as little as 3 seconds.

Just because the Israelis chose to go with the Namer, rather than a more conventional IFV doesn’t mean every other army should. As noted, the primary reason they have is that they happened to have quite a few early Merkava hulls available.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 1:07 am

“Of note, the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command based the need for an IFV on their analysis of the 1973 Yom Kippur War. They stated that the war illustrated the requirement for a vehicle that was able to produce large volumes of fire to suppress anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) teams. What they failed to realise, however, was that while the Israel Defense Forces agreed that ATGM teams needed suppressing, experience showed that the best way to do it was with tank fire, MGs and even light mortars mounted on main battle tanks.”

And thats assuming the IFV is intended to suppress infantry rather than kill tanks/IFV’s:

“Prior to the Bradley the mechanized M-113 infantry battalions had 12-18 TOWs depending on the size of the anti-tank platoon. After the Bradley, every squad had a TOW and we still had the 12-18 M113 hull based Improved TOW Vehicles with their excellent hull down shooting capability. The number of heavy TOW tank killers in an infantry battalion zoomed from 12-18 up to around 60+. The 12-18 TOW M-113 battalion design had zero chance against a Soviet tank regiment assault with 100 T-72s and 50 BMPs. The 60+ TOW Bradley design had a very good chance with all those missiles plus the 25mm chain gun which was lethal against anything short of a tank.”

Essentially a tank destroyer with seats?

Edit: Forgot link to quote:

http://www.g2mil.com/bradley.htm

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
June 27, 2014 3:03 am

ATGW teams will probably get one shot before coming under return fire. Modern electronics allow an AFV to detect the launch of such weapons and also an idea of from what direction. Even before now ATGW teams were trained to shot and scoot but with persistent observation the act of moving more than firing will make them vulnerable.

HEAT warheads are less of a problem for AFVs compared to kinetic rounds and the passive and now active protection available means that the chances of one shot one kill are rapidly reducing. In addition modern ATGWs are expensive. At most western armies can only expect to face SACLOS type weapons which require the firer to stay put whilst the missile is in flight rather than the latest fire and forget systems. Having rounds up to 25mm hiting the ground around you and nor being distracted would require major balls. In addition I referred to a fire support variant of the IFV/APC above. This would carry a larger cannon up to 60mm plus ATGM and co-axial MG to provide additional support to the infantry, especially in areas less suited for MBTs to provide close support.

A lot of arguement for and against where AFV design should go seem to look fondly on the type of warfare found in Red Storm Rising and use ODS and their prime example. I have great difficulty in imagining a country that would realistically come under the title of enemy that would result in such a conflict. Russia would be the most obvious choice for some followed by China. Iran isn’t worth considering as although their military is large it is based around 1970s and 80s technology and any conflict involving land forces would be a rerun of ODS if not worse for the opposition given how technology has moved on since.

Russia and China do not want to get involved with the West in a major shooting war. More likely we are going to return to fighting through proxies as happened during the Cold War. Their economies are too closely tied in with those in the west to be able to afford direct conflict. So who is left to fight a large mechanised conflict against western forces? I welcome any thoughts on this.

Regarding the US Army, well ATGWs especially TOW were seen as the great equaliser in West Germany should the Soviet hordes come west and so put the damn thing an anything that moved. Many NATO countries followed fitting adaptors to allow MIlan to be fired from M113s for example in addition to their dedicated Tank Destroyers. This is all great when you are fighting a defensive war, but in any future conflict we and other western nations are likely to be on the offensive. In ODS US Army M3s did engage Iraqi armour on their own but not by choice and if the Iraqis had be more competent the Americans could have run into real trouble. IN offensive warfare ground based ATGWs are best used in an overwatch role from cover to provide support for units going forward. It is very difficult to fire them on the move and there are few if any stabalised platforms with Fire and forget ATGWs in service that can do this. If and IFV stops to fireits ATGW in the open it will probably be the last thing it does.

as
as
June 27, 2014 3:06 am

Anti tank technology has moved on as well. The missiles have a longer range.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9M133_Kornet
8 km anti tank
10 km Thermobaric, Which would I kill you dismounts if they are in the open depending on how the warhead detonates.
ok its wiki but thoughs might not be that far out.

S O
S O
June 27, 2014 3:18 am

“I’m sorry, but anyone who doesn’t think the 25mm cannon can suppress even modern ATGM teams simply has no idea of mechanized infantry.”

25 mm hasn’t even the range of an elderly AT-5, and the Bradley crew will hardly be able to spot a competent ATGM team at 2 km even if given a full minute to find it in a 90° arc while on the move. The only components which need be exposed are as small as a helmet, can be camouflaged with flora and emit no body heat. Even assuming you’re able to find it and shoot at it timely, you’d still need something as the Puma’s 30 mm ABM to have a good chance to hit the exposed part in time at 2-3 km range.
Modern ATGMs are wireless and thus faster than practical with wire guidance. A platoon routinely moves with turrets in different directions, so approx. one turret per platoon will face the direction of ATGM teams and be able to respond within seconds.
Locked-on ATGMs such as Javelin or Spike allow their ATGM teams to run behind cover or concealment immediately, during missile flight.

“And the time from detection to kill with the 25 can be as little as 3 seconds.”

At maximum range (3 km), even flight of grenades is more than 3 sec. A proper detection-identification/traverse/aiming-fire-flight-effect sequence takes much more than 3 seconds. It’s almost 10 seconds for APFSDS at 2-3 km.

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 27, 2014 3:32 am

I guess you’re right, S.O.

I mean, it’s not like I spent years shooting the thing.

S O
S O
June 27, 2014 3:52 am

Well, then you KNOW that 3 seconds is a pretty irrelevant extreme, and irrelevant against ATGM teams.

Allan
Allan
June 27, 2014 4:07 am

Given the most detailed comments on the site, this may seem like a dim question…..but…..in order to keep costs down, why don’t we ask the US what they intend to do next with, for example, the Bradley and then piggy back their work and build units under licence in the UK…..

…then spend the rest of the cash on tank / IFV / vehicle destroying drones.

It’s just a thought, driven by the idea that HM Treasury isn’t going to be expanding the defence budget any time soon.

S O
S O
June 27, 2014 5:31 am

There’s little reason to believe that the U.S.Army or USMC will get their act together in AFV development. They didn’t develop and introduce an all-new combat (not mere transport) AFV since the Abrams/Bradley generation despite plenty attempts. The AAAV/EFV scam even ran since 1973, with evolving program names.

I’d rather look at Japan, South Korea or even Turkey or Poland for new AFVs than at the U.S..

mr.fred
mr.fred
June 27, 2014 6:45 am

Autocannon on tanks never really took off, possibly because it distracts from the vehicles main task.
A primarily autocannon-armed vehicle, especially one with a deep ammunition supply, can focus on autocannon-type task, provide much closer support to infantry, engage in speculative fire and that sort of thing.
ATGW teams are not always perfectly hidden and equipped with the very latest systems.
Fire and forget systems take time to lock on before launch so need to be exposed before firing. If you can stop them taking a second shot then that curtails their effectiveness.
Modern auto cannon-armed vehicles with ABMs are a counter to more modern ATGW systems. While ATGW systems may outrange them on a billiard table, combat ranges are not so unfettered.

If you have an IFV protected to MBT levels, then the addition of an overhead mount doesn’t cost much in terms of weight, although it might make the vehicle more expensive.
For smaller vehicles, the turret mount is an increasingly large part of the weight and it is increasingly hard to justify such a large gun.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
June 27, 2014 9:19 am

LJ gives the reason for the come-back of 120 mm mortars (with precision rounds):
” The suppression role is even more important in urban conflict where the infantry take point, whist the MBTs are excellent at opening doors etc. RPGs are the bogeyman of urban conflict but with the right ISTAR and air assets their treat can be greatly reduced. Giving the infantry improved situational awareness will allow them to suppress and/or engage the enemy far more effectively as well as call in other assets.”
– call in other assets is the part that won’t work (if they are not hovering in the area); the lead time is too long, even with a taxi rank system for fast air (which itself is far too expensive to maintain, except when you have initiated the Op and therefore are in charge of timing… initially, and only if things go to plan)

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 9:19 am

Actually, 3-5 seconds to a kill is fairly standard.

Face it SO, you just don’t like the idea and are trying to poke holes in it.

“IFV or not will matter in such a situation rarely. The party which reacts quicker will win.”

Yes and no. Your IFVs can punch through MBT armour with enough time, and rapid fire medium calibre rounds smacking into your hull is a great distraction, not to mention with the ability to engage MBTs, you got 3 targets focusing on one if your distribution is good. APCs can’t affect tank armour with only an MG, so they become fairly irrelevant in an armoured vehicle fight. This means that an IFV equipped force has the number of threat platforms needed to overwhelm an APC one since they can ignore APCs until after they finished the bigger threats. Your “quicker will win” is only true on equal number of threat platforms. At 3v1, you have to shoot and react 3x faster than your enemy to stand a chance. (assuming a fairly standard 1 MBT:2 IFV/APC distribution)

Just leave the good working platform alone, it does the job. Which if I were really snarky would ask when was the last time you did an armour job?

BTW ST, that guy taking down the Bradley is a rabid M-113 fan, so he’s obviously going to be a bit nuts. He keeps calling the M-113s “Gavins” which is either a local term or self labelled. No one I know has ever called them that.

x
x
June 27, 2014 10:20 am

I am just trying to picture a chap in at ATGM team turning around to the others chaps “Don’t panic they cannot harm us they are shooting at us with a 25mm……….” a la Batfink with his wings of steel.

As I have said before IFV aren’t tanks, but the modern IFV makes the tank the Germans used to strike across Europe like a tradesman van. Against light infantry the IFV may well as be a tank. If ATGM were so potent then Israeli armour losses in the border conflicts would be much higher; they come in at a few per cent. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why they IDF don’t put to much emphasis on cannon? And not reasoning it in reverse. In the 70s and 80s I could chunk of BAOR would have been moving about in MKs and would have depended on MILAN. Never mind Soviet numbers or their other diffidences in command I think in contact the BAOR would have been shattered. That is why the West started to build to IFV and use cannon. A BMP-1 may be crap but it sure out guns an MK.

monkey
monkey
June 27, 2014 10:35 am

It seems the outcomes from actual urban combat experience have developed. The US with their experience in Somalia and Iraq(2nd Battle of Fallujah specifically) have decided to continue using AFV but upgrade them. Deciding it is too lightly armoured and with the new up armoured GCV having some form of cannon.
The Russians with their experience in Chetneya have decided to continue existing AFV but upgrade them. Deciding it is too lightly armoured and with the new up armoured Boomerang having some form of cannon. They have also developed a specific Assault weapon armoured like an MBT but using twin 30mm , missile launchers ,30mm AGL , 7.62mm MG , the BMPT.
The Israelis with their experience in the Lebanon and on their own turf continue using APC as the are whilst deciding it is too lightly armoured and introducing the new up armoured Namer having an 0.50 MG , 40mm AGL , 60mm Mortar but are looking into a 30mm Cannon also.
It seems the consensus is bigger is better and stick at least 30mm cannon on top , we obviously have gone larger still with the 40mm CTA :-)
In ‘open’ country the cannon on top will at least make the enemy Infantry commanders alter their tactics to consider the response of a combined MBT/IFV assault/defence . With the cost now dare I say it of a hard kill on an IFV v MBT now being more expensive if the IFV brews up , both monetary and casualties (11v4 ) will enemy AT teams choose IFV as their first choice?

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 27, 2014 10:55 am

I think the Heavy APC idea is quite reasonable. The emphasis on vehicle and occupant protection has increased for the UK and other Western armies.

If it’s increasingly a struggle to equip IFVs with the desired level of protection, and fitting ever larger weapons while retaining a useful passenger capacity, then it seems a logical progression to prioritize the infantry carrier role in one vehicle and let the tanks carry the heavy weapons.

The H-APC need not be completely unarmed; a HMG on a remote mount does not impinge on the concept, and rear hatches or MG swing mounts could be used if appropriate.

The Americans experienced the problem in Baghdad, where they had infantry vehicles that could not accompany tanks. It’s a potential liability to have different elements of your armoured force unable to operate together.

I’m not sure that any of this means that the IFV concept is entirely dead though. IFV are often used in support of lighter infantry, outside of armoured warfare and outside of high-intensity combat, being used themselves as something akin to a light tank with dismounts.

We see with cannons being proposed for US Stryker units that mechanized infantry, routinely employed without heavy tanks in close support, need heavier weapons to avoid slogging it out in long and deadly firefights. French mechanized brigades already mix VBCI battalions with lighter VAB equipped battalions. The French and Americans also support those middleweight infantry formations with light tanks and the MGS.

There could be room for both IFVs and H-APCs in the future. For the British Army it seems to be business as usual though, with 2020 armoured brigades that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1980s.

wf
wf
June 27, 2014 10:55 am

It’s interesting that you can see some consensus in the thread about the necessity for armoured infantry to have MBT levels of protection, plus the utility of small calibre cannon. You also hear a lot about how the modern armoured unit is a little light on dismounts. Since someone has now mentioned GCV, I’m sure we will now hear how IFV’s are now impossibly heavy.

So, instead of building a heavy IFV for a full section (since an armed one will end up being impossibly heavy) and an MBT, why now combine the two by reducing the dismount count to a fire team instead? Building equal numbers of “tank” and “ifv” variants with tank guns or auto cannon, you get a somewhat increased number of dismounts, more weapons overall, and a AFV design that’s not horribly compromised :-)

Random
Random
June 27, 2014 11:01 am

How many engaments are going to be outside the range of the autocannon? The idea that the ATGM are going to be able to hold the IFV at their desired range seems to be based on average engament range that is higher than about 2k. is this the case in the majorty of places we exspect to fight? 10k seems like it would be limited to dessert and open planes. If your IFV are going through hilly terrain with engament ranges around 1k then would not the autocannon be the supiror weopan?

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 11:23 am

Actually, the separation of “IFV” and “APC” itself is a bit of a historical anomaly. Practically, an IFV is simply an APC with a bigger gun and “maybe” smaller crew capacity. It’s more of a sliding scale of firepower vs carry capacity than an actual hard line dividing the 2.

We have M-113s (APCs in theory) with 25mm cannon which would make it an “IFV”, IFVs with MG/40 AGLs only and more space inside, which would make it an “APC”.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 11:27 am

Makes a lot of sense to me in the UK context. Out furure medium armour (Fres UV) is likely to be 8 wheeled for better long range on-road mobility, but will not be tough enough to go into the highest threat enviroments.

Our tracked IFV (currently Warrior) needs to be able to occuply the same threat environment as our MBT (currently C2). So the replacement for both platforms should be conciously desinged ‘heavy’ trading away mobility for protection. And from that it follows to maximise hull and systems commonality ala Merkva.

Still leaves a space somewhere in the mix for tracked ‘light’ armour. We may yet see a chinook liftable TRACER revived at some point for the Light Cav, for recce tasks and to provide some extra bite to 3x and 16x brigades.

Brian Black
Brian Black
June 27, 2014 11:28 am

SO was saying that there is not much use for a coaxial autocannon on a MBT.

Taking Challenger as an example, the coax gun is an inaccurate 7.62 gun. That’s fine for the era in which it was designed; an ideal coax gun for the purpose of hosing down tree lines to suppress Soviet infantry and RPG teams.

Challenger and other Cold War tanks though have been used in peacekeeping and COIN operations. The Cold War options of spraying 7.62 in the general direction, or firing the big gun at the target might not be appropriate for some of the more sensitive modern-day operations. A precise coaxial cannon could be used to engage particular point targets, like specific vehicles in populated areas, without resorting to using the 120mm gun and causing undue destruction in the neighbourhood.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 11:35 am

@ Observer – I believe its Mike Sparks who has a thing for the M113; Carlton Meyer is more inclined towarda the CV90:

http://www.g2mil.com/Spring2006.htm

x
x
June 27, 2014 11:39 am

During WW2 the coaxial gun saw more use than the main gun. The US Army would hose down every small wood and hedgerow they approached.

One of the reasons why I think CTA is a bad move is that development money (and costs to set up a new line to manufacture the ammunition) could have been used to buy an off the shelf system from Bofors and go for their smart munitions.

@ wf

Because you still need mass. The Army likes its multiple because it provides mass. I think spreading the same amount of infantry around more vehicles would dilute force (even if the effect is localised and transient) never mind the need to man the vehicles.

wf
wf
June 27, 2014 11:48 am

@x: I’d aver that actually, my concept would provide more mass than the current setup, which I understand it to be 4 4-tank troops and 5 Warrior platoons per battlegroup, with each of the latter with 3*6 dismounts plus the PC party: about 21 per platoon dismounts, so 105 per BG. Assume 9 mixed tank/ifv platoons, each with 15 dismounts, and you hit 135.

Warrior doesn’t usually carry much more than a fire team at the best of times. The opposition to such an idea will come from the cavalry :-)

Hohum
Hohum
June 27, 2014 11:49 am

x,

Why the hell would you buy an IFV gun from bofors? Their only offering is the massive 40mm that the Swedish Army have been wanting to replace for years. They may do some sexy naval ammo but they are not an IFV gun manufacturer.

CTA provides a physically small weapon with impressive firepower for its size.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 11:50 am

I do think what types of vehicles we want/need does depend on how we intend to use them, and that depends on the infantry doctrine we use. Both the US and UK have “armoured infantry” but as I understand it their equipment, structure and the tactics they use are different; the British army AI more like mechanised infantry with fire support, the US AI treated as separate from mechanised (medium Striker nowadays) infantry.

Rocket Banana
June 27, 2014 12:00 pm

You all know that I struggle to understand the relative merits of army kit but whilst trying to rationalise much of the recent IFV, APC, MBT stuff I seems to hit on the fact that they’re all extremely important and there seems to be no “one size fits all”.

My rationale goes along the lines of the first requirement of a vehicle of any kind is to move the troops quicker and carry some of their heavier kit/weapons > IMV. Generally these are not hugely armoured so we have to build an APC. These require the troops to dismount to use their weapons (I know it’s not strictly true). We now have a vehicle well and truly capable of carrying a proper cannon (20-40mm) or missile/rocket launches of various shapes and sizes. The bigger the weapon/mag the less space there is for troops and their kit. You eventually end up with no space for troops and a whopping great gun. We call this an MBT.

They all have their place and all offer genuinely useful capabilities to the infantry that rely on them.

The question in my mind is then not about the platform (IMV, APC, IFV, MBT) but more about the weapon it carries. When would you use a .50 cal, a 20mm, a 30mm and a 40mm? Can a 20-25mm punch a hole in Foxhound or any other IMV? Does it take a CT40 to kill another IFV/ASCOD/Piranha/Boxer?

Finally what is it that something like VBCI gives us over and above Foxhound/Cougar/etc?

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 12:01 pm

For me its not actually about the armament.

Its about the level of protection and the commonality of the hull, powerpack and systems. You can mix and match what goes on top: MBT turret, 120mm Mortar, 40mm cannon, MMG-RWS. Clearly the weapon choice impacts on the number of dismounts carrried: 0, 4, 6, 8 etc. But once you have equpped your Brigade you task org your battlegroups depending on the threat scenario: sometimes firepower heavy, sometimes dismount heavy.

The key thing is they are all equally well protected and all draw from the same logistics supply train.

x
x
June 27, 2014 12:06 pm

@ hohohum

I missed the word “like” out sorry. Allsow I kan spel Bofors butt knot oeralikenns.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 12:10 pm

Simon

Its all about the trade-offs between Mobility, Firepower and Protection. Broadly:

Light vehicles (up to 20T?) have various degrees or air portability but trade this for really quite poor protection.
Medium vehicles (up to 40T?) have become too heavy for much significant air mobility. They do their mobility bit on the roads. Their protection and firepower can be pretty good. But not the best.

Heavy vehicles (up to 70T) maximise protection and firepower but have to be shipped to theatre, have a big logistics tail, and can’t move very far per day. Their mobility USP comes by using tracks to get across country where traditionally wheeled vehicles couldn’t go.

The problem Warrior and other IFVs have is that they have only medium protection and firepower but lack any USP on mobility. With all their armour on they can’t go far by air, and being tracked can’t get far fast by road. And even with all their up-armouring they still aren’t as well protected as an MBT.

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
June 27, 2014 12:19 pm

Two other issues with IFV-based mechanized infantry are leader training and span of control.

An IFV squad or platoon leader has to be well versed in both mounted AND dismounted combat and may never become “great” at either.

And if you look at a modern Bradley IFV platoon, the platoon commander has two sections of IFVs to command, as well as three infantry squads. Five separate units is a lot for a single commander to handle.

I’d be interested to hear xbradtc’s experiences with these issues, as well as other mech inf leaders.

Phil
June 27, 2014 12:30 pm

Dismounted infantry in the attack need direct fire support and need to work closely with those providing it. History shows us that without much doubt. So it’s just a question of which platform does it – the tank or the vehicle the infantry ride in. Seems logical to me that it should be the infantrys own vehicle since co-ordination would be better and tanks can concentrate on scanning for bigger threats and shooting them. You do come up against the fact that IFVs are being expected to do the job of an infantry tank without the protection but it’s a wider trade off between platform numbers and mobility. You simply couldn’t have the number of tanks you’d need to get the same effect of on platform per section.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 1:06 pm

Seems we have a bit of a dilemma – we have made our infantry transport a fighting vehicle to assist the tanks in the firefight. This increases the chances of winning the firefight (good) but at vehicle cost and complexity, as well as total number of infantry transported. The trade off between cost and less troops may or may not be justified by the extra firepower at the tactical level, but what about operationally? If the Armoured Infantry takes casualties, will it become incapable of combat quicker than better maned mechanised infantry? What if IFV’s are knocked out – what will transport their section to the next battle?

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 1:08 pm

Phil, exactly. And sometimes you do get IFVs detached to take out smaller objectives on the way while the main MBT force heads for the main objective. Tanks can’t be spared to take out every side hamlet along the route of advance, so you end up having “baby tanks” i.e IFVs doing the job.

Smitty, the “one person can only be good in one thing” is a bit of a myth. People can be good in more than a single task, your brain does not have a “skill capacity limit”.

PE, I agree, ideally, it would be nice if all of your front line vehicles could be well protected. Unfortunately, to do so requires big $$$.

ST, we call it bus number 11. Walking.

wf
wf
June 27, 2014 1:11 pm

: AFAIK, riding onto the objective and then debussing close in or on the objective has been standard since Warrior came in. No FV432’s frantically dumping the PBI at 400m and frantically reversing away anymore, and Warrior is supposed to remain close by to provide fire support. I am aware that it’s generally unwise to assault a position without a fire group, preferably on a flank :-)

It’s interesting that the US and UK experience in Iraq of urban warfare is that tanks should lead since they can shrug off the inevitable rain of RPG’s in the way IFV’s cannot, as well as having the ability of knocking out an MBT at short range which the terrain makes all too likely.

Lets face it, whatever the vehicle, it’s going to cost. Combining the roles as Elliot says, will drive up the numbers and the costs down.

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
June 27, 2014 2:10 pm

Observer,

Certainly someone can be good at more than one thing. However we are talking about an entire Army’s worth of somebodies. Some leaders may have more ability to do this than others. We need them all (or at least most), to be able to do both.

Also, it stands to reason that a leader who has to split his time between mounted training and dismounted training won’t gain the benefits of complete immersion in either.

I don’t think this necessarily dooms the IFV concept, it’s just an extra hurdle that must be crossed.

Perhaps adopting an organization along the lines of the USMC and their AAVs would help. A mech inf company would have 1 x IFV “platoon” with 14 vehicles divided into 3 sections and a command element, and 3 x infantry platoons. The IFV and infantry platoons would have their own leadership and training schedule. IFV sections would be habitual attached to an individual infantry platoon. This essentially beefs up the leadership of IFVs and could allow them to operate semi-independently, bronegruppa-style.

The infantry platoon leaders would then focus more on infantry training and allow their attached IFV section leader to concentrate more on IFV employment.

Phil
June 27, 2014 2:17 pm

We shouldn’t follow the US example in 2003. They’d never have gotten away with it against a half competent and coherent enemy. Grozny II should have been the result.

And is not the IFV vulnerability in FIBUA simply a doctrinal issue. As in, in such fighting you must dismount and go forward with tanks with the IFVs hanging back or acting as security because they are too vulnerable. Against a competent enemy you’re not going to have much of a choice in that respect.

Kent
Kent
June 27, 2014 2:39 pm

It’s beginning to sound like the “ideal” heavy brigade should have a armored reconnaissance squadron/regiment* with three heavy battalions/regiments* of what I’ll call “Dragoons.”

Just grabbing something off the shelf, we could use an M3 Bradley-equipped US divisional cavalry squadron for the recce unit, although I’d really prefer something lower profile like Scimitar Mk.2s. (Since your folks are modernizing the CVR(T) family with new hulls, why not just put them back in production with upgrades? Electric turret power, laser rangefinders/designators, stabilization, 30x170mm RARDEN-chambered chain gun? But I digress.) We’d also have a 120mm mortar platoon (4-6 guns) equipped with the NEMO mortar system as well as 120mm NEMO mortar sections (2 guns) at each company/squadron*.

The “Dragoons” battalions/regiments* would have their own reconnaissance platoons/troops* with the same type equipment as the larger recce unit and 120mm NEMO platoons mounted on Namers. Each “Dragoons” battalion/regiment would have two tank companies/squadrons* with three platoons/troops* of four Merkava Mk. 4s and two infantry companies having three platoons of four Namers with the infantry companies having a 2 gun Namer-mounted 120mm NEMO section. Each one of the maneuver companies would have a Namer-mounted fire support team (what we called FIST back in the olden days). If you really wanted to heavy things up, you could have an anti-tank company with missile launchers mounted on Namers, too. (Pick your favorite AT missile, but I think a vehicle launched Hellfire/Brimstone would be ideal.)

Comments?

*(US/UK usage)

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 2:40 pm

Smitty, in that case, all armour or infantry officers should not learn Terminal Air Guidance because they are supposed to specialize in armour or infantry tactics only? It’s an extreme example, but it is the logical progression of your hypothesis.

In practice though, think the officers take charge of the IFVs while the CSM takes charge of the dismounts, so you do get a bit of specialization, just not to the extent of exclusivity.

Anyway, we are way off topic, but from what we have already covered, most of us can see that the IFV is still a useful and working proposition instead of the dead end, should be scrapped concept that was implied.

Ouch Kent, that is a super heavy unit! :)

Nice! lol. It looks more like a warhammer than a sword you thrust at the enemy, a “smash everything out of the way” weapon.

wf
wf
June 27, 2014 2:41 pm

: we found it essential to have intimate armour support in FIBUA, as did the Yanks, when fighting against a highly motivated light infantry. I would submit that against a more heavily armed crew, we would find them even more essential. That says your vehicles will have to be within direct fire distance to me, and there’s no avoiding it. So design them accordingly.

Phil
June 27, 2014 2:47 pm

Im not denying the need for intimate fire support, I’m just saying it should be tanks doing it. If you design IFVs to take that level of punishment you’re going to have precious few of them full stop. So instead of making IFVs like tanks, just use tanks and accept that a balanced IFV design just can’t cut it under direct contact in FIBUA. COIN is perhaps different, that always twists requirements more toward protection and sensors / optics.

Phil
June 27, 2014 2:53 pm

Oh and what I meant from following the US was we shouldn’t be doing thunder runs. A cool way of saying, BLAG.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 2:56 pm

We’re getting back to my original point regarding Infantry doctrine and tactics. Is there a separate doctrine/role/tactics for Armoured Infantry vs mechanised/medium infantry?

I came across these two articles while doing some research (aka googling): although from 1985/5 and focusing on the European Cold War situation I still think they’re relevant to the present discussion.

English, “Thinking about Light Infantry”
http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/1984/NOV-DEC/pdfs/NOV-DEC1984.pdf
(Pages 19/21 – 25/27)

De Czege, “Three kinds of Infantry”
http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/1985/JUL-AUG/pdfs/JUL-AUG1985.pdf

Obvious difference is English places the APC mounted units in with the IFV units in the AI; De Czege separates the Light Infantry from the “Regular” Infantry, who travel in APC’s (suggested M113’s then, modern version would be Stryker, etc?). However, both agree that Armoured Infantry’s primary role is to support Armour and it is not suited to “Traditional” infantry roles.

English suggests the IFV might need more than autocannon firepower and that it is separated from the troop carrying capability and De Czege suggests the Bradley be replaced with a heavier, better protected vehicle.

Modern thinking appears to support this division of infantry types/roles with Armoured Infantry, Protected Mobility and Light Role Infantry in the British Army and Heavy Combat Teams, Stryker Brigades and Infantry Brigades in the US army.

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
June 27, 2014 2:59 pm

Observer,

That would be one conclusion. However, to me, it’s more about training someone to be an “expert” in an area vs merely “proficient”. Certainly we ask our soldiers, and especially leaders, to be proficient in a wide variety of tasks. But can we expect to train the average mech inf leader to be an expert in both mounted and dismounted ops? Do they need to be? Perhaps merely proficient is enough.

I agree though, I think IFV-based mech inf is still a valid concept.

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 3:04 pm

But then Smitty doesn’t that presuppose a “learning limit” for a human being? It assumes that a human cannot be expert in 2 different things, something that is not true in real life because there is no “points pool” for humans. Besides, the difference between “expert” and “proficient” isn’t hard and fast either. How would you rate someone as “expert” and not “proficient”? Humans don’t come with a meter for that.

Kent
Kent
June 27, 2014 3:14 pm

@Observer – As a former tank platoon leader and tank company commander, I was also required to understand how infantry tactics worked and how to best use them. When we task organized, my company picked up a Mech Infantry platoon equipped with Bradleys. They seemed surprised when I had them dismount to clear defiles and “wooded” (mostly scrub) areas. I didn’t lose any tanks or Bradleys to RPG teams. After that, they didn’t have any problem dismounting to do their infantry thing. I was told later they bragged to their infantry company compadres that their team commander (me) knew how to use infantry and that they’d earned their “walking shoes.” As a platoon leader task organized with then Captain Carter Ham’s infantry company, I had to understand my role as the bringer of the big guns to the infantry. Once after getting briefed on a movement, his infantry platoon leaders asked why the tank platoon always led road marches. He told them, with a straight face no less, that tanks had cruise control and could better maintain convoy speed.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 3:18 pm

Where does the cost come in building an Armoured vehicle? Is it the design? Building the metal box? Drivetrain? Fires system? Anyone care to take a stab at the percentage splits?

If we are replacing both C2 and Warrior (as we will do one day) we will have to design a big well protected metal box with a modern drive-train anyway. Only the fires system is different. Instead of a Leopard MBT turret can it really cost that much more to turn it into a ‘Heavy APC’ with options of RWS, or a ‘Heavy IFV’ Autocannon or Missiles?

And can we quantify the through life logistics saving of only having one type of hull to maintain and support in the ‘hard as nails’ brigade? How much does it cost us in logistics tail to lug two types of powerpack and god knows how many other bits and pieces around?

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 3:24 pm

Kent, I wasn’t the one who claimed that armour officers can’t understand human.. er I mean infantry tactics. :)

It certainly is possible to do both.

The Other Chris
June 27, 2014 3:28 pm

22 UK A400M has been mentioned between the threads lately when talking about air lifting (insert vehicle here).

Add in assistance from France with their fleet of 50 A400M (currently) on order and you can modify your upper use cases accordingly.

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 3:31 pm

ToC, problem with all the airframe numbers being tossed is that transport aircraft are not allocated on the basis of how big your force is, it is allocated based on “availability”. You might have a brigade, but still only get two aircraft allocated to you.

Kent
Kent
June 27, 2014 3:31 pm

Look at the CVR(T) family as the inspiration for your future ground combat systems. Same engine/transmission, same basic hull, same suspension/running gear. Scale it up and you get your medium forces. Scale it up again and you get into Merkava/Namer type platforms. Simplify, simplify, simplify!

GAB
GAB
June 27, 2014 3:33 pm

You got to understand a bit of history too. 2 rather major events shaped the design of the IFV, one was the Yom Kippur war and what happened to the Israelis got when they went into battle against Sagger teams with pure MBTs. They got a colossal black eye, which resulted in emergency mortar teams and infantry squads being assigned to the tanks to suppress AT teams. This is also one of the reasons the Israelis insisted on keeping a 60mm mortar on their frontline MBT, most people don’t notice it, but it is also a historical artifact of the war.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Yet the IDF has largely ignored the IFV in favor of HAPCs and APCs…

GAB

Hohum
Hohum
June 27, 2014 3:34 pm

Good job the French are just going to leave those A400Ms laying around waiting for a scenario when the UK needs to lift some AFVs….oh..wait..

The Other Chris
June 27, 2014 3:35 pm

A pool of 72 aircraft is likely to result in a higher number of available aircraft, n’est-ce pas?

Kent
Kent
June 27, 2014 3:37 pm

@Observer – I was merely illuminating your point. I was not criticizing it. :D

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
June 27, 2014 3:45 pm

Observer,

I’m not claiming armor officers can’t understand infantry tactics either. But there’s a difference between understanding infantry tactics well enough to use attached infantry effectively, and being an effective leader of dismounted infantry.

While there may not be a fixed set of learning “points” per human, there certainly are a fixed number of hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month. We can’t realistically double the training hours for a mech inf leader to train at the same rate as a light infantry leader in dismounted ops, and train at the same rate as an armor leader in mounted ops. There will be compromises. But perhaps that’s ok. If Armored Infantry is treated as an armor/infantry hybrid meant to support tanks, then they don’t need to be as proficient in “regular” or “light” infantry roles.

monkey
monkey
June 27, 2014 3:46 pm

Elliot
With you all the way on a MBT and H-APC having common power plant / drive train / track / road wheels / drive sprocket / APU / fire suppressant system / NBC system / drive controls / sensor suite / Driver station / Comms /Active Protection System / Passive protection such as Nakidka etc . All that needs to be different is the shape of the same weight metal box they are attached to and the weapons fit.
(How many of the list from APU( inclusive) could be brought over ‘as is’ from the FRES family , even the CT40 turret layout fit for the IFV version just again a different metal turret to take bigger hits) . Chris would probably have a much greater list from headlights to interior lights to BV to seats to control panels , there would be no end of potential IDENTICAL components and parts that could cross over. The same if we eventually sought the need for ‘dare I say it’ air transportable version. A seat is a seat , a bulb a bulb , switch a switch , if it does the same job why have a different one from the one that already works and is in stock and had all the f**king endless paperwork drawn up on ‘how to change light bulb(Part No. B1224616GHJ213535KGGJD-X-CLEAR- 10W) , the health and safety way’

Chris
Chris
June 27, 2014 4:03 pm

Haven’t read it yet but this month’s Jane’s IDR has a feature on “APC or IFV?” which might feed the fire here.

As for commonality of bits, obviously the automotive components form one system, with arbitrary demarcation of functions per unit at designer discretion, and different interfaces as a result.For example one designer might chose to mount the driver instrument panel on the main power switching unit, another might make separate units joined by cable harness. So while there is the ability to use common parts, in reality unless the vehicles are designed from the outset to have common components the interfaces will be incompatible. Only off-the-shelf items like BV, tail-lights, seats (maybe), CBRN filters etc, or small items like brackets and door latches get carried over. Obviously in my set of designs, as they were done by the same person at roughly the same time I have a lot of commonality, but had someone suggested I use CVR(T) electrical panels for example, I would have found the imposition quite constraining. The situation gets more difficult if the vehicles are from different manufacturer where all sorts of IPR muck gets stirred up.

Observer
Observer
June 27, 2014 4:03 pm

GAB, the Israelis have M-113s with 25mm guns. The rest of their APCs are MBT conversions. Cheaper that way.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 4:23 pm

Agreed. The fact that Warrior and C2 will both be OOS by around 2040 gives us a big opportunity for commonality. But that still relies on MoD to get their act together and take said opportunity.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 4:53 pm

The US considered a similar idea:

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

Chris
Chris
June 27, 2014 5:00 pm

Peter – don’t bother waiting for MOD to get sensible. They are mandated to compete everything as stovepiped cradle-to-grave packages (design qualification manufacture support disposal) therefore there will be no strategic application of common support – that would destroy the concept of open competition which is far more important than getting the right kit with a rational efficient support strategy.

Phil
June 27, 2014 5:08 pm

There will be compromises. But perhaps that’s ok.

Battles and wars don’t tend to be won at the margins.

All human organisations are to varying extends compromises. It doesn’t really matter if your infantry platoon is not quite as brushed up on dismounted operations or vice versa as long as you have enough of them and are supporting and fighting the units they are with well. Nobody loses a war because their tanks had 105mm guns and the enemy had 120mm guns. What matters is the system as a whole, armies can afford to have the component parts operating at less than optimal levels – indeed it pretty much is a given they’ll be degraded before the first shot is fired.

A fire-support unit seems too much like going back to Churchills and Matilda’s. And IFVs solve the problem of fire-support co-ordination because you’re being supported by the same blokes you were making brews with a few hours before.

IFVs offer the potential of one infantry tank’s worth of fire-power per section. Now they don’t have the same protection levels relative to enemy ATGMs as the old Churchills and Matilda’s perhaps had (although the 88 seems to have been more than enough) but that is simply facing the reality that all units and all vehicles are compromises and the extra numbers you get, and the massive and extensive level of fire-power your dismounted infantry get goes a long way to making up for that. Not all of them might survive the first engagement but that is perfectly normal. A battalion attack against a determined peer enemy is going to ruin that battalion even if it wins. It’s the nature of battle.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 5:11 pm

Chris – it depends if anyone realises in time that it could be a single programme rather than two. There’s plenty of history of combining 2 requirments togther into 1 programme. Unfortunatly its usually 2 that fit poorly rather than 2 where there is a genuine synergy!

monkey
monkey
June 27, 2014 5:30 pm

and Peter Elliot
from the link above “Army (US) studies showed that using …….common components could reduce future operational and support costs.”
Through life costs are often put ‘out of sight out of mind’ by many organizations not just the MoD. How often have accountants wanted to dispose of complete systems due to the on going costs of maintaining the skill set , stores , facilities and equipment for a particular weapons system ? When we are now talking platforms that are expected to last 50 to 60 years in service (including combat use ) a longer term structure would seem appropriate going from operator training to maintenance training to long term spares acquisition (a manufacturer is much more likely to be willing to remanufacture/hold spares for you if the quantity’s are of sufficient volume. What is the logistics trail for all the kit we bought on UOR for Afghanistan going to be? Huge and overly complex I bet , and how many of those pieces of kit are going to be sold off cheap well before their life expectancy is due because of the expense of the requirement to train and maintain such a diverse range of kit.
We need to approach one Design house with this in mind (and if his name starts with a C all the better :-)

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
June 27, 2014 5:40 pm

This is a fight where I can contribute little but whilst i still had access to copies of BAR* a long time ago, there was an article by an infantry Coy OC who fought in the advance to Germany in WWII. He described being taken to the objective in an APC that was a turretless tank.

I have found this on Wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kangaroo_(armoured_personnel_carrier)

If I remember correctly the crews were RTR and the Kangaroos a divisional asset collecting the dismounts allocated for a particular operation.

As with the German half tracks Sven mentions, they had no top cover.

Seems we have been there before. So there is a precedent, nay even a tradition.

Convert some of our stored Challenger 2 hulls and replace the turret with top cover and cut doors in the sides for dismounting (between making sculptures)? They could be organic to the Armoured Regiments but with the passengers supplied by the brigaded battalions.

* Regarding the BAR if you can remember your army no (if … probably remembered when all else has vapourised) then you can register with the Defence Gateway even if you are long retired,
https://www.defencegateway.mod.uk/

You can read current copies of BAR. That’s the only use that I found, but you never know, and Army Net even remembered my rank which I found strangely satisfying.

Peter Elliott
June 27, 2014 5:46 pm

Deja Vu – difficult to cut door in the sides: that’s where the tracks are. And I’m not sure a converted C2 would do the job. Becuase:

The clever thing the Israelis did was turn the tank back to front so the engine becomes part of the front protection and you can then design a crew door in the back. As well as making a turretless hull suitable for use as a Heavy APC it gives the tank crew an alternative escape route in case of a rollover and (if not carrying dismounts) some extra internal storge for ammo, kit, or whatever else.

So I think it would have to be a new design. To coincide with the natural replacement cycle for both Warrior and C2.

DivedNiven
DivedNiven
June 27, 2014 6:32 pm

Ref DV’s Idea

Use AS90 hulls, and just up armour I’m pretty sure after the weight of the gun and turret, ammo etc you could add at least 10t of armour and still not effect mobility.

Chris
Chris
June 27, 2014 6:58 pm

x – this had side doors too: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_L1vlbK3vPMk/TMlOSITin_I/AAAAAAAADQ4/BSM_i1EFpKk/s1600/file015.bmp But then it was designed to a requirement for cracking through trench systems because the War Office senior strategists were experts and knew best and knew that any war with Hitler would be stalled in Northern France and would stalemate into full-on bloody trench warfare. Its good to know the process of buying stuff to fight the last war ‘because all wars in future will be fought this way’ is such an established and well-loved waste of money.

Monkey – can’t think who you mean. But I have the LAV bit nailed down already. Just send money.

PeterE – turn the tank backwards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODEJuJjh50E

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 27, 2014 9:29 pm

@ DN – Similar idea with PzH 2000 here:

http://www.casr.ca/mp-army-combat-systems-hiav.htm

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 27, 2014 11:40 pm

B. Smitty-

Good question on the span of control.
First, the Platoon Leader (PL) generally has better command and control ability than a light infantry platoon leader. There’s the digital map/orders system FB2C2. Plus more radios available in a Bradley platoon.

Second, the a Bradley platoon only has two rifle squads. Doctrine says that the PL goes with the main effort if the dismounts are deployed while the Platoon Sergeant stays with the supporting effort. In practice, the PSG usually goes with the dismounts, or depending on the mission, the senior dismount squad leader simply takes charge of the dismount effort. In any case, the PL tends to only be directing two sections of Bradleys, and treating the dismounted element as one clump, rather than two separate squads.

As for the expertise level. most of what we want a PL to learn is the same either light, or mech. The planning and decision making processes. The ability to use that span of control to influence a fight. The ability to do all that while also painting a clear picture for the company commander, and integrating indirect fire support.

Having said that, for many years, the common perception was that the cream of the crop went to light infantry and airborne, while the “also rans” found themselves in the Mech side of the Infantry community.

As Kent has noted, the similarities are enough that even Armor officers are capable of properly using Infantry. Heck, the similarities are enough that now the Armor and Infantry Schools are combined, and all US HBCT are using Combined Arms Battalions with two Armor and two Bradley companies.

B.Smitty
B.Smitty
June 28, 2014 1:10 am

xbradtc,

Thanks for the reply.

I thought they added a third squad to the Bradley platoon.

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 28, 2014 1:20 am

They added 2 MG teams. But they still tend to get treated as one gaggle.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 1:31 am

Knew about the CSM or PS taking the dismounts, but didn’t know that it was supposed to be the PC’s job.

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 28, 2014 2:27 am

Observer, it’s not explicitly one or the others. job. The PL (what you call the PC) determines whether the mounted effort or the dismounted effort is the primary effort. In Bradley units, it’s usually the mounted effort.

FM 7-7J described it as “where he can best influence the battle.” There’s times when the PL does lead the dismount element, and leaves the PSG with the mounted. There might even be times when both the PL and the PSG accompany the dismounts, and leaves the four vehicles under the charge of the senior section leader.

For those of you not familiar with US Army Bradley platoons, the four Bradleys are usually commanded by the PL, the PSG, and two Staff Sergeants. The Staff Sergeant led vehicles each as a wingman to either the PL or PSG vehicle.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
June 28, 2014 9:08 am

@Swimming Trunks

Great minds and all that :-) I do not think it would be hard to cast the hull of an AS90 out of Chobham armour and using the running gear of the Challenger 2. Should help to keep costs down rather than designing everything from scratch.

Rocket Banana
June 28, 2014 9:42 am

PE,

Thanks for your response. I sort of get it but… you’ve bonded protection and firepower together and that is where I think we’re going wrong. It tends to sideline the APC and I think that is a major mistake in terms of commonality and simplicity of procurement. It’s akin to the split between AH and utility/lift copters. Let the “fightier” one flight and the other one deliver payload.

70t MBT and 60t APC on same chassis.
35t IFV and 30t APC on same chassis – deployable by A400M.

Aside from cost I see no benefit in a 6-8 wheeled AFV… unless you can get two into an A400M (~15 tonnes).

Then comes my main lack of understanding. The relative protection the various weight categories offer. The reason this pi$$es me off is because we band around VBCI, Boxer, Piranha, etc, but can they protect the pax from RPG and prolific ATGW strikes? Where is the line between the probability of attack from particular weapons and the protection necessary to defeat them?

Hence my statement about the weapon. If we’re putting a vehicle into theatre that forces the enemy to mobilise a 40mm gun in order to defeat us then great, but if an infantryman can take out VBCI (et al) then I see no point whatsoever, they may as well dismount from Foxhound when necessary.

Lastly, I think (but am happy to be corrected) that the MBT+APC pairings above provide for the “armour before infantry” or “infantry before armour” tactics that Observer mentioned. So there’s no tactical advantage offered by the AFV.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 10:58 am

Simon, advantage is in tank vs tank, which is why IFVs are often in armour units and APCs are usually motorised infantry. More chances of meeting something nasty.

Ron.F
Ron.F
June 28, 2014 1:59 pm

Observer

But there are better ways of dealing with tanks than using IFV’s. It’s not very sensible using a vehicle that has considerably less protection than your MBT to take out another MBT, especially as its main weapon isn’t up to the job, while at the same time carrying 8 or maybe more soldiers.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 2:05 pm

Ron, you win whatever method it takes.

And the gun can punch through MBT armour, ask RT. Practically, their main targets are the BMPs and BRDMs that can tear tanks apart if you left them alone, though there IS the option of focusing on their MBTs and leaving their small fry for later once you have finished off their big stuff. If you used APCs, the enemy will just ignore your APCs until your MBTs are dead by piling 3 on 1, then go rampaging. It is the APC’s weapon (0.5 cal/40mm AGL) that can’t break MBT armour.

It’s complicated and more of a “whole picture” situation than a “My MBT had better stats, I win” situation. One MBT and 2 IFV flankers pouring fire onto an enemy MBT can seriously cause a lot of pain, even if the target is qualitatively superior.

Ron.F
Ron.F
June 28, 2014 4:38 pm

Observer

I should have phrased the bit about the gun on the IFV differently, what I meant was that it isn’t the best tool for the job. Though I don’t quite get why there is one MBT and 2 IFV’s to your one MBT ? From a UK perspective if you simply had all our tanks and AFV’s deployed against another nations we would most likely be outnumbered by more than this margin! Not to mention if they did ignore the APC’s how long until they have to worry about the infantry carried aboard them?

By choosing to have larger APC’s carrying say 12 men instead of 8 in an IFV doesn’t mean that you will automatically end up in a situation where you have 1 MBT and 2 APC’s to your opponent’s 1 MBT and 2 IFV’s. Plus the advantage of carrying 50% more infantry per vehicle hasn’t even been discussed and what impact this would have on any given scenario. Also assuming a fixed defence budget the money saved by having these APC’s, cheaper to maintain and build on a 1:1 basis not to mention the fact that you need less of them to move the same amount of infantry. That money can be spent on other items which are more suited to take out tanks and IFV’s, be it more or improving existing MBT’s, ATGM’s, attack helicopters etc.

Also assuming a force was deployed by the UK if we were able to carry 50% more infantry per vehicle what impact would this have on the number of each type of vehicle deployed, potentially we could be able to bring a lot more MBT’s. The UK has limited number of assets to deploy equipment to theatre so this also has to be taken into consideration.

The problem with your last point is that by using APC’s rather than IFV’s doesn’t mean your be in a 3 on 1 situation. Though if you are doesn’t mean your going to lose, for example the Israelis have shown how a qualitative advantage in equipment, coupled with better tactics have given vastly superior quantitative forces heavy defeats.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 4:52 pm

Ron, infantry don’t carry much anti-tank weapons, the worst a section has is a pair of LAW tubes for smaller enemies, so most often, dismounted infantry in a mobile fight are a non-issue because of their lack of AT weapons and the lack of chances for a side shot when you are advancing forward. Can try for a mobility kill, but frankly, with unguided rockets vs moving targets, chances are pretty low.

The 1:2-1:3 ratio is fairly standard for a few armies, very common to find either 2 MBTs:1 IFV/APC or reversed, 1 MBT: 2 IFV/APCs, with the latter more common as MBTs tend to be fewer in number than IFVs. Not really a hard and fast number but the rough ratio is there.

As for “more infantry”, I already pointed out, unless the unit carried is a dedicated ATGM team, more infantry isn’t going to matter in an armoured engagement, they really don’t have much that can kill tanks.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 4:54 pm

“Taking exception to what he described as “some cost numbers bounced around,” he offered that he could not vouch for the origin of the information but that “some of the comparisons that say that a Bradley based AMPV would cost as much to operate as a Bradley are pretty ‘unfounded.’ The most expensive components on a Bradley are the turret and turret components – the lethality components that are not included in AMPV. And our projections say that a Bradley-based AMPV would have about the same operating cost as an M113 does. So the Army is going to get sort of ‘improved performance for like money'”.”

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/bae-submits-bradley-based-armored-multi-purpose-vehicle-ampv-proposal/

Ron.F
Ron.F
June 28, 2014 5:04 pm

If you were outnumbered 3 to 1 though its unlikely your going to be the one advancing forward. But why can’t the infantry have more or better AT weapons? Especially if your going up against a lot of armour? The ratio’s don’t matter its the numbers e.g they could have 50 tanks and 100 IFV’s but you have 200 tanks and 400 APC’s. Both sides have the same ratio of tanks to infantry carrying vehicles.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 5:06 pm

@ Observer – the extra autocannon equipped vehicles argument could be used to support SO’s RFCV concept rather than IFV’s, particularly as they can have ATGM’s.

US is heavily equipping their non-HBCT infantry with Javelin ATGM’s; I believe the Stryker squads have one CLU each. A FOGM like Spike LR could be even better, allowing the option of keeping it with the APC and allowing it to support with indirect fire.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 8:23 pm

Ron, it matters if you are “outnumbered” because of your equipment selection. The example I gave was for equal number forces, but with one side APC armed instead of IFV armed. If you cannot even defeat an equal numbered foe, it shows that you are a bit behind in the rankings.

As for “bigger better AT weapons”, have you seen an infantry section weapons loadout? (2 LAW, 2 SAW, 2 M-203) Or compared how many men it takes to man a Milan or Dragoon or Spike with their reloads? It’s easy to say “MOAR!! BIGGAR!!”, but what is the cost? The cost is that a single AT ATGM team takes up the resources, both in space and lift capacity of an entire section for a specialized ability to kill tanks at the expense of anti-infantry capability.

ST, ATGMs are an option, and some countries, like the US, went with ATGMs on their IFVs as well (TOW on Bradleys). The joke to that is that you are doing the same thing essentially as the IFV concept, giving more firepower to the APC, this time via missiles instead of autocannon. Both sided have their pros and cons. The AT missile is certainly more lethal in the mobile engagement and can be used to support the dismounted infantry too in clearing hardpoints, but at the expense of sustainability. I.e you run out of missiles much faster than you run out of autocannon ammo. Our “pocket” IFV carries 600 rounds of autocannon ammo. Using the US M2 as a baseline, I think they only carry 7 TOW missiles. If you went with a missile only turret in an APC, think you can safely go up to 14 before you run into the need to cull the infantry. Risky but possible. You are essentially turning the vehicle into a mobile AT team instead of using infantry AT teams.

Think this is what you were looking for?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1134_Anti-Tank_Guided_Missile_Vehicle

Technically though, (the US servicemen reading can correct me if I’m wrong) I think you need to be stationary to fire the TOW.

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 28, 2014 9:36 pm

HBCT infantry squads also have one CLU/Javelin per. The issue isn’t that the squads don’t have decent AT weapons. It’s that they can’t carry much in the way of reloads. They’re heavy and seriously impede foot mobility. So they store extra rounds on the Bradley. But that displaces TOW rounds, which is generally considered a more effective weapon, due to its greater range.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 9:58 pm

xbradtc, does it replace or supplement the old LAW? You guys use an 8 man team + 1 with the 2 SAW, 2 M-203, 2 LAW + 2 TC that I mentioned, just wondering where the extra manpower to man the Javelin came from. I know, it’s old, but I did the basics in the 80s.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 10:00 pm

@ Observer – I suggested Spike because it can be fired from cover and has a range of 4km – therefore avoiding the direct firefight for which the APC (and IFV?) is ill suited. Obviously being man portable this would be only one option.

@ xbradtc – I stand corrected. I thought that with the TOW they wouldn”t have Javelin.

Ron.F
Ron.F
June 28, 2014 10:12 pm

Observer

If the infantry have so little impact as you say then why even bother having them on board then? May as well then just attack with MBT’s accompanied by these “light tanks”. Have the infantry following in trucks several miles behind.

Also one point I would like to make about your 3:1 scenario. As soon as the challenger tank has taken out the enemy MBT it can turn attention to the 2 IFV’s, now I’m pretty sure that the challenger is going to be able to take them out at a much greater distance than they can take out the tank, so then the whole situation descends on to tactics and training. As long as our force can keep them at a distance it will win. While numbers are a factor they are just one of many. So to say well If you take the gun of your IFV’s then your going to end up fighting with 1 MBT and 2 APC’s to everyone of their 2 IFV’s and 1 MBT and lose is just ridiculous.

xbradtc

What’s a realistic range on the TOW missile?

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 10:18 pm

ST, the 4km version (MR) is not man portable, the man portable one is the SR and the mini-. 1km range more or less. Though if you want to mount it on an APC/IFV, you can. Lots of people mount ATGMs sidecar with their cannon or MG, and as I said even going full ATGM is an option, and a fairly good one, though you sacrifice a bit of the flexibility of the cannon, especially in suppressing enemy infantry.

As I said, sliding scale of effect, not an absolute either or. You can “IFV” up an APC or “APC” an IFV. It’s just the degree of equipment loadout.

Edit: Ron, that was exactly what the Israelis used to do. And yes, infantry are fairly useless in a mobile battle. What they are used for combined with tanks are 1) clearing of trench and building objectives. Places that tanks cannot go into. 2) route proving of closed terrain and 3) extension of visual overwatch in defensive positions.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 10:26 pm

@ Observer – I thought the infantry was not important and the cannon was to kill tanks?

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 10:32 pm

“The Spike-LR is a lightweight, Fire and Forget and Fire, Observe and Update, multi-purpose missile system with a range of up to 4,000 meters. State-of-the-art seeker and fiber-optic data communication link provide Spike-LR with the unique ability to:

Update or switch targets after launch
Achieve real-time intelligence and identify friend or foe
Perform battle damage assessment
Achieve extended range and pinpoint accuracy
Minimize collateral damage”

http://www.rafael.co.il/Marketing/343-997-en/Marketing.aspx

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 28, 2014 10:40 pm

In the 9 man rifle squad, there’s the Squad Leader, two Team Leaders, two Autoriflemen, Two Grenadiers (M203/M320) and two riflemen. One rifleman is the Designated Marksman. The other rifleman is the squad anti-armor specialist, and carries the CLU and notionally one round of Javelin. Any extra rounds tend to go to the Grenadiers, but they’ve already got quite a load. The old LAW is still used in Afghanistan, because it is light, but for anti-armor the Army uses the M136 84mm AT-4 disposable rocket. It is not a specialist weapon, and is issued as ammunition. If the anti-armor guy for some reason isn’t carrying the CLU, he’d carry the AT-4. Otherwise, they’re just distributed throughout the squad.

Ron F, when the mounted elements enter close terrain such as woods, villages, etc, the dismounted infantry clears those areas. No reason to give any dismounted ATGM or RPG teams a free shot at your vehicles.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 10:44 pm

ST, yup. Infantry are not important. Until you have to clear a fu-king trench network or buildings. Then what is your IFV doing? Tea time? That is the flexibility of the cannon I was referring to. Decent anti-tank capabilities that can also be used for infantry support in the mopping up (damn old term nowadays, the “mop up operation”).

BTW ST, that is the LR version according to them (but I think their marketing goofed, the MR version we got is also 4km capable, so calling it a LR from the MR is a bit strange). Not man portable.

xbrad, so the Javelin does replace the LAW in the fireteam (2 LAW, 2 SAW, 2 M203 changed to 2 Javelin 2 SAW, 2 M-203). I see. Thanks.

Ron.F
Ron.F
June 28, 2014 10:48 pm

observer

The 2.5km one is man portable and so is the 4km, just, although its very heavy but as it doesn’t have to be carried the whole time its not to bad. You can’t say that infantry have very little impact/effect then say but you lose ability to suppress enemy infantry. If they have very little effect then being able to suppress them is irrelevant.

I disagree with infantry being useless in a mobile conflict, being carried in vehicle’s that can keep pace with the tanks means that they are a relevant factor.

But if you put a big gun on the APC you are increasing cost and reducing the number of troops carried, the question being asked is this viable. I don’t think it is. The cannon is not a decent anti-tank capability, only effective at close range. Also you carry a lot less rounds with your cannon than a machine gun, so how is it more effective against infantry, especially for the extra cost.

Observer
Observer
June 28, 2014 10:58 pm

Ron, they are an irritant, not a killer. You have to wipe them all out before you can declare an area clear.

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, which is why to get lots of “suggestions” on how to “do it better”.

Xbradtc, you explain it to them, I got a headache talking in circles. Basic topic is to replace the 25mm/30mm Bushmaster and use it for more infantry.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
June 28, 2014 11:35 pm

MR and LR Spike weigh the same – I can only surmise that either the MR range is limited to lock on range while fibre optic linked LR can lock on after launch or MR is faster because it doesn’t have to worry about trailing a fibre optic wire. Just to be confusing MR can be upgraded with FO/lock on after launch…

xbradtc
xbradtc
June 28, 2014 11:36 pm

xbrad, so the Javelin does replace the LAW in the fireteam (2 LAW, 2 SAW, 2 M203 changed to 2 Javelin 2 SAW, 2 M-203). I see. Thanks.

No sir. The Javelin replaced the old M47 Dragon. The LAW and AT4 are simply ammunition. If your Javelin gunner is carrying the CLU and a Javelin round, the LAW/AT-4s will be carried by others. How many are carried depends on the mission and what other gear you have to tote along. If the Javelin gunner *isn’t* carrying the CLU/Javelin, for whatever reason, it just makes sense to dump a bunch on him since he’s suddenly got the lightest load in the squad.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/fm/3-21-11/image628.jpg

RMAT is Rifleman/Anti-Armor

Observer