FRES SV and Warrior CSP Contract Price Increases


Contracts of course have to change but it seems both the FRES SV (specialist Vehicles) and Warrior CSP (Capability Sustainment Programme) projects have moved up in value

Warrior CSP

Lockheed Martin announced the contract award in October 2011, stating its value to be £642 million

From a recent FOI request, current value of £651 million

FRES Specialist Vehicles Reconnaissance Block 1

General Dynamics announced the contract award in July 2010, stating the value of the contract to £500 million

The same FOI request now puts the contract value at £600 million

Read more on the FOI request, click here




One of the commenter’s wondered if it was some discrepancy with reporting exclusive or inclusive of VAT figures on the part of General Dynamics?

I suppose we will have to wait and see!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

83 Responses

  1. Even with Prime Contractors and Integrator of the Integrators in place, there are still government procured and provided items, where the capital cost is outside the contract, but installing and integration testing costs are not
    – a beautifully transparent system (though it makes sense that the gvmnt buys in bulk, and then the “std” item is distributed for use on various platforms)
    – the borderline does not need to move by much to cause variation: it is found during the programme that integrating osme specified item would cost more than buying it, so a COTS/MOTS gadget already integrated somewhere else is thrown in. So, the costs went up first a lot (not reported), the mitigation for this was found, but the capital cost is now a “new item” while some stuff stays sitting in the gvmnt warehouse

    Pure speculation, of course, the movement by a fifth of the total is likely to be the VAT difference.

  2. Nice to see, though, that the liaising over such a broad area and (likely) over so many local contractors has been delegated to the private sector (from the same FOI answer):
    – a nice quarter of a bn of business signed up for someone who has built the capability and the reach

  3. FRES SV. Off the shelf buy. £600m development contract. For seven demonstrators. £85m each to put together and test off-the-shelf vehicles. Almost makes the £133m wasted on FRES-UV competition look like good value.

  4. @Chris, we could have developed TRACER for service at that sort of cost. Five years earlier into service, minimum.

  5. Lets not forget the big chunk of money on FRES outside the SV contract.

    What numbers do we think we will have for Recce Block 1?

    Divide £600m (at least) across that number

    Any takers for a unit cost in excess of £6m ?

  6. “What numbers do we think we will have for Recce Block 1?

    Divide £600m (at least) across that number”

    The firm order (basis for the agreed unit cost) was something like 320, and the option for more than over 4 and a half hundred. So, an optimist talking would say that with the future heav(y)ier units and their roles now confirmed, the count has been taken by the MOD, it has come to more than the hard minimum, and the movement would be from the volume difference. All the figures above I am quoting from memory, but a fifth on top of the 320 would be a tad under 400… not necessarily all Scouts. The original count was for 5 rgmnts, but with a quirky mix of heavy and light within them, so extrapolating from 5 to 3 would not get the “right” answer.
    – and then making them so slo-owly that there will (maybe) be more money for the next batch, rather than downing the tools at that point
    – more of the workshare being shifted to Spain (is that rumours only?) would suggest that we will get to wait a long time for the next batch

  7. Are these still being touted as value for money? By what criteria? These warmed over/redesigned 20 year old IFVs are likely to cost 50% more each than Challenger 2, for which the IFV doesn’t get C2 firepower nor does it have Chobham protection (not that they’ve admitted to anyway), nor is it small or light or airportable or capable of delivering the rapid effect of the requirement.

    Tell me again – how many MOD types have lost their jobs over the 25 year long stream of missed targets, abandoned projects, funded dead-end studies, and finally signing approval for the modification of old vehicles at exorbitant prices? Perhaps that would be too embarrassing to answer. So how about explaining how many of those responsible received knighthoods and other honours instead?

  8. For the cost of the FRES(SV) developement contract we could have equipped at least eight infantry battalions with Boxer. If we did that we could then retain four Warrior equipped Armoured Infantry battalions and convert the remaining Warriors to equip two Recce regiments. I know the warrior is old but a bit like the DC-3 AFVs can go on and on if properly maintained and put through a deep service.

    FRES(SV) is going to be a very expensive white elephant, rarely used in its designed role but more as a light tank like the CVR(T)s have been used in recent years. We need a APC for the infantry now, not trying to use Afghanistan left overs like the Mastiff in the role and God knows what these planned Light Cavalry units are for?!

    But we will pay way over the oggs for FRES(SV) because after decades of incompetance managing AFV programmes both the MoD and Gov are afraid to be seen cocking things up again and will want to show off their shiny new tank to the public using to show how things have improved under this Government.

    The RAF and RN are getting their shiny new planes and carriers. The Army has shrunk too far and its equipment is either too old or if relatively new, too few have been bought. Requipping the Army properly would cost far less than the other services golden programmes with far less risk, with the exception of FRES (SV). We need;

    Challenger 2 – New Engine
    Warrior – New Turret with new main armament
    Apache AH1 – Whole of fleet upgraded to AH2 (AH-64E)
    Wildcat – Fitted out for Armed Recce in similar fashoin to US Kiowa Warrior
    Lynx AH9 – Overhauled and retained in service as utility platform
    New Wheeled APC – Boxer
    New Mortar Carrier – Boxer
    New Command Vehicle – Boxer
    New Armoured Ambulance – Boxer
    New Starstreak HVM Platform – Boxer
    Armoured Artillery Tractor – Boxer
    New Recce Platform – Fennec
    New Protected Platform – Foxhound in numerous variants
    New Light Weight Artillery – M777
    New Light Weight GMLRS – HIMARS variant on MAN chassis.
    Jackel – Improved balistic protection with Kevlar panels

    Nearly all of the above can be brought truely off the shelf and have finished developement. Most have already entered service with other nations.

    We can retire;
    CVR(T) series
    FV432 series
    All Afghanistan and Iraq left overs
    Warrior variants other than IFV and recovery platforms
    All but four regiments of Challenger 2 each with 41 platforms

    If the Army is to evolve it need proper investment. Future big ticket items like the T-26 and Vanguard replacement need to be put on hold until the bulk of the new equipmet for the Army is on order or in service. IF the Government wants a flexible and adaptable military it has got to invest the resources required and the money is available. A £500 million annual increase would solve the funding issues and enable amny programmes to be fast tracked.

    I know this sounds like fantasy but it is affordable if the MoD and Government have the balls to act.

  9. @Lord Jim

    ‘Future big ticket items like the T-26 and Vanguard replacement need to be put on hold until the bulk of the new equipmet for the Army is on order or in service’

    You are aware of what you have written, aren’t you?!

  10. Lord Jim – obviously I am going to say in place of Boxer and Fennek my vehicles would be more effective (but then I would say that). I already cover the HIMARS option too, a very neat solution, offering proper high mobility and decent armour (blast ballistic & fragment for the personnel only in this case, just a degree of blast protection for the rockets/launcher). As pointed out earlier the track record for MOD is to say they will buy off the shelf but once bought the equipment is torn apart and modified – it was even done to Cougar to make Mastiff and that was supposed to be an Urgent Operational Requirement. So developing something from the ground up just the way the Army wants it would present little more effort than buying off the shelf MOD style. In my opinion.

  11. Yes I am aware of what I have written. The Army needs to be re-equipped as a matter of urgency. It has been put on the back burner time and time again, with project teams underfunded and requirements rewritten time and time again because the pot of money for new equipment has been so small the MoD wanted to make sure it gat platforms that would stay the course. Everytime a new technology or operations doctrine was developed they wanted it included in the requirements causing programmes to stall etc.

    The T-26 and Vanguard replacement are not urgent and can be reset until 2025 at the earliest. The T-23s can remain in service past then as can the Vanguards. Both will need investment but that together with the long lead items for their replacements are going to be less than the cost of both programmes going full speed ahead.

    Together with savings from cancelling FRES(SV), speeding up the retirement of old equipment, and a roughly 1.5% increase in the defence budget and it would be possible to re-equip the Army effectively. Of course if the Vanguard replacement is funded in the same way as the existing platforms it would make things easier as well. In fact there is no way its funding should come from the defence budget at all as it is not a military weapon system.

    The Army’s equipment plan has been on life support for decades, never properly funded and recieving UOR equipment just to stay alive. It needs equipment to allow it to do its job effectively and not do with UOR hand me downs to make do.

  12. Not a bad list from LJ, if you strictly prioritise with “bang for the buck”.

    Let’s not be over-enthusiastic with the Warrior retirement: Engineer recce/ assault sappers, arty observation & command (following with the units they support), not all bridging can be on a very heavy (CR2) platform, etc

  13. That “The T-26 and Vanguard replacement are not urgent and can be reset until 2025 at the earliest. The T-23s can remain in service past then”
    will make one or two extra Astutes for the navy (they will say thank you), and copious quantites of “bridging” OPVs (I suspect a no-thank-you would be likely… but – hey – man the 2nd carrier from 2022 onwards instead).

  14. Lord Jim
    Out of interest, why do the M270 and the L118 need replacing? What is the advantage of the M777 and why should it replace the AS90 (I don’t see any SP guns in your new line up).
    Since Jackal already has composite protection, what do you think you will gain by invoking kevlar? You might at least summon Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight-Polyethylene (UHMWPE, most well known as Dyneema) as that has a better mass efficiency,
    What Warrior Variants do you think that there are?

  15. Lord Jim, besides the points mr fred brought up, you might want to separate the needs of the infantry vs the needs of armour, requirements for both are different. Then you might also add in the requirements of “special needs” units like marines and airborne. All of them have different requirements and mass buying is not going to be the way to solve it. Come to think of it, maybe you should reverse the order and think of the special needs units first, then see if you can get the same for the normal units so that the “specials” can plug into the regular army’s logistics.

  16. Regarding the retirement of the Warrior variants (Command, Artillery Observation etc). Well the roles stated can be carried out by these variants of the Boxer and Fennec. As for bridging I was under the impression the only armoured bridgelayer was the CA2 based platform. We do have existing truck mounted equipment so one idea would be to fit a protected cab to these, plus we would retain the M3s.

    Turning to artillery, I am not a fan of very heavy self propelled artillery. Yes it has a role in high intensity top tier warfare but this is the least likely scenario for future operation. The M777 offers far greater flexibility and can be airlifted. The Boxer would also make an ideal tractor and an ammunition carrier would also be useful. It can be brought in and out of action quickly for a towed piece and has the ability to fire precision munitions which the L118 cannot. Basically the M777 can do anything the L118 can and then some. If funding allowed a Light SP variant on a MAN chassis similar to the French Caesar would be very useful. in fact you could do a variant of the Boxer with a M777 on the back to support armoured formation might work but here we are moving well away form the off the shelf quick purchase idea. A lighter GMLRS also offer more flexibility and in theatre mobility. Modifying the US HIMARS onto a MAN chassis would simplify support and still provide the theatre commander with a long range sniper.

    On the Jackal, I was inferring that it should be given the best protection it can handle within its weight limits. Dyneema sounds ideal.

    If we could cancel the Vanguard replacement all together I would be delighted, as it is a drain on resources we can do without. Building two or three additional Astutes would greatly increase our capability to deploy assets. If we do not bring the second CVF into service the Government of the time should hang its head in shame as the carriers are going to be the corner stone of our military. I have made the assumption that they will both be in service, with one available with a core air group of 12 F-35B, 4 Merlin/CROWSNEST and 6 Merlin HM2, at any one time. Regarding OPVs etc, I think the MoD nees to have a hard look at its maritime commitments. It is a numbers game and if we intend to keep all our eggs in a shrinking number of high end platforms we will not be able to meet them all, as simple as that. With the number of RFA platforms also shrinking and the expense of using platforms such as HMS Albion for these roles we are going to need to either purchase a patrol platform or reduce commitments. If these vessels could be equipped to provide enhanced disaster relief etc, amybe they could be purchased and operated out of the Overseas Aid Budget, and manned by a mixed RN and RFA crew. Ideal for training, showing the flag and providing aid and maritime enforcement. The Freanch Floreal class or the Italian Commondante class would be a good starting point

  17. Lord Jim,
    What do you think you will save in removing the command variant from the Warrior fleet? You still need command vehicles, so something like two vehicles in every fourteen will end up being different in terms of protection, mobility and firepower, not to mention looking different. Want to take out the officers? Go for the wheeled ones.
    Likewise artillery observation, albeit with smaller numbers.

    The M777 may be airportable, but if your tractor vehicle weighs thirty tonnes, then it isn’t. the L118 is more easily airportable and so are its tractors. Yes the M777 can do more than the L118, but it is bigger, more costly and so is the ammunition. The course correcting fuses ought to be transferable to the 105mm.

    Does the HiMARS really have more practical mobility than a M270? If you want something like Caesar, why not Caesar?

    Jackal is already protected with composite armour. It might even be Dyneema. What did you think was on there, lumps of coarsely welded boiler-plate?

  18. RE: bridge laying (OK, LJ wanted to do away with FRES Scout, but let’s take it back into the context)
    – in principle, bridge layers should be able to accommodate all classes of vehicles
    – but now we will have a Scout that does not swim, and even some bridges might not be suitable
    => is the answer that they will take a (heavier) Titan with them, to solve both of he above problems. Even more bridges become unsuitable, and the problem is compounded, not solved.

    – as the article suggests, it is 95% off the shelf
    – for multiple uses, through the same mechanical interface with the base vehicle
    – certainly cheaper than the SV bridge layer that we were supposed to get (but most certainly will not)
    – and the requirement was estimated at something like three dozen…one might be able to fit that number into the overall Warrior conversion numbers (the conversion itself having three layers, the turreted one being an add-on to the other layers, once they have been done. This version would also be an add-on)
    – there are pictures of the static demonstrator, my first search did not bring them up

  19. LJ, for someone not engaged in “high intensity top tier warfare”, your battle line seems very very heavy to me. You armoured almost all your infantry in “combat cars”, every single vehicle is armoured with lots of artillery and utility variants and you got anti-air missiles. Who are you going to shoot with Starstreak? The Taliban or Al Qaeda who have never fielded a single combat aircraft before? CR2s with 120mm cannon? These are almost all “high intensity top tier warfare”.

    I suspect you just had a shopping list without evaluating how the services work and their tactics, and hand waved off everything you did not “like”.

  20. Chris, thanks. Now I am intrigued by what “static” means.
    – was the latter linked picture taken after a DROPS transport placed the “static” piece against a nice background?

  21. @Observer

    ‘I suspect you just had a shopping list without evaluating how the services work and their tactics, and hand waved off everything you did not “like”.’

    Bit of an unfair statement really, from what I see from the list he has replaced all the 432’s, Stormer and MRAP vehicles with Boxer, giving a bit more strategic mobility and lightening the Artillery to suite.

    ‘You armoured almost all your infantry in “combat cars”, every single vehicle is armoured’
    I think you will find that is the case now, google pictures from Herrick.

    ‘Who are you going to shoot with Starstreak?’
    The same peer/near peer enemy you would be using 120mm on.

  22. DN, that “not going to fight near peer” was the reason he tossed out the SPGs. So he’s actually neither here nor there. He has top of the line heavy armour and anti-helicopter/low flying aircraft defences, but toss out the SPG on the reason that there is not going to be high intensity maneuver warfare.

    ” from what I see from the list he has replaced all the 432′s, Stormer and MRAP vehicles with Boxer,”

    Exactly. There was only one high profile item on the shopping list and it got recommended for all the vehicles of the approximate weight class.

  23. I would echo DN on this. LJ provided a strawman-like statement, in lieu of what is being said today:
    – SV family will do this
    – UV will do this (in ten years’ time?); stopgaps will do some of it until then
    – existing MBT/IFV pairing will do this
    – and artillery is good enough, they don’t need anything

  24. Observer

    He stated that he thought it would be the least likely to happen in the future, not that it would not happen, he did however add that he would like a Ceaser type system if funds allowed.

  25. Now you lost me. Thought we were discussing his recommended fleet makeup at 7:51pm?

  26. ACC – looking at the two pictures they are the same photo shoot. The bridge is deployed in both. I would bet the warrior hadn’t been fitted with the hydraulics or controls to deploy or retrieve the Pearson bridge unit, and the vehicle and bridge had been manually assembled on site to show what it might be like? Similarly the Stormer bridgelayer (based on VLSMS Shielder flatbed) has only been photographed with the bridge stowed so that too was most likely a show vehicle only.

  27. Obs – there was further explanation at 3:35 where ideas on wheeled artillery were expanded

  28. ‘Thought we were discussing his recommended fleet makeup at 7:51pm?’

    We are, but if you read what he said at 3:35 am it explains his thinking a bit more.


    Chris just said it.

  29. Ok, not sure how the Caeser came up, but that thing cannot keep up with an armoured advance. It’s literally a truck, not a 8×8 and not an off road vehicle. Or at least not a high performance one. You want to off road with it, you do so carefully. Practically, it’s like your truck towed howitzers. He’s expecting too much of the chassis. Even towed on a Boxer, it’s limited in terrain handling due to the tow bouncing around behind it. The limit is the wheeled tow. You don’t want that one bouncing around…

    The best thing to follow tracks is tracked. Unless you got a hovercraft somewhere.

  30. ‘not sure how the Caeser came up’

    It came up at 3:35am. Sometimes it’s hard to have a general discussion on here without every man and his dog immediately going into the minutia of someones comments or just disregarding what they say immediately without hearing them out, or worse going into peoples poet dissertation mode.

    Lord Jim, made a list of what he would do and when asked elaborated a bit more. Whether someone agrees with him or not is down to their opinion, but it is also down to them to justify their opinion.

  31. Well, I did point out that he seemed to have slapped the infantry and armour together and tried to blanket the list with Boxer. Their concept of ops is radically different enough to require a separate planning list instead. For example, infantry support artillery can sacrifice off road mobility, ammo storage and armour without worry for light weight. Inversely, armour supported artillery has to have off road mobility, fair bit of self sufficiency and enough armour to withstand small arms.

    This also runs into infantry patrol vehicles. What kind of patrolling in town are you doing buttoned up in an APC? Unless you are on a sweep and seizure, you really need eyes out, which means MRAPs and the like, with maybe APC as evac/support. And while we are focusing on cars with guns, you want to take a bet that a lot of straight infantry is still bussed around in MAN trucks? The efficiency of a 3/5-tonner truck is hard to match, and most troop transport armoured vehicles fall short of their efficiency which is why they are still used in rear areas for transport and stores.

    If you want to design a fleet of vehicles for an army, you need to start with 2 sheets of paper, not one. Infantry and armour. And plan how you want to use them so your tools can suit your tactics.

  32. @ TOC, if by LMM you mean Lightweight Mobile Lnchr then it has always been part of HVM system, and the primary lnchr for those batteries mounted in Landrovers or similar (ie the many TA ones).

    @LJ, clearly a bit of education about arty is needed by you. The first point to grasp is that the shell or warhead is the weapon and arty is all about getting these to where they are needed as quickly as possible and in sufficient quantity when the call comes.

    M270 SPLLs are barely 20 yrs old, and their FCS keeps getting upgraded, and that’s the important bit. There is a case to argue that with the advent of GMLRS the requirement to carry two rkt pods is unnecessary. However, UK holds stocks of the AT-2 anti tk scatterable mine warhead (the US does not have these) and this means that the reduced number of lnchrs in the new btys makes twin pod lnchrs even more important. The hoped for arrival of new warheads with a small number of cluster munitions (ie inside treaty limits) will again make maximising the number of pods per lnchr important. Note that it takes c. 15 mins to reload a lnchr. More lnchrs means more manpower which is what UK does not have.

    SP guns, particularly modern ones like AS-90 and PzH2000 offer more that just mobility. Because their turrets are well automated they offer high rates of fire. AS-90 is rated at 3 rds in 10 seconds and 6 per minute for a few minutes although in trials it achieved 10 in 60 secs and I’d be unsurprised if I was told 8 per min has been fairly normal on operations. While you can get high rates out of towed 105mm, 155mm is a different beast altogether, the towed 155mm for a bugger all automation gun like M777 is about what it was in WW2 when there were lots of guns, FH-70 did provide higher rates of fire but it was big. Note that most casualties from arty fire occur in the first 10 seconds of fire. The other point with 155mm is that unless you have heli on the scale of the US you have a problem, this is why M777 was binned from consideration as a gun the 3 Cdo Bde. There is no prospect of UK being able to sustain 155mm arty from the air, even if it is slow firing like M777. Of course the other big advantage of turreted 155 over towed is the capability for wide and fast traversing, rapid touts azimuth is not a strength of towed 155mm, and this is what some types of operation require. Of course L118 being light and on a platform is also quite fast for wide traversing, the same cannot be said for M777.

  33. ‘Well, I did point out that he seemed to have slapped the infantry and armour together and tried to blanket the list with Boxer. Their concept of ops is radically different enough to require a separate planning list instead.’

    But that’s we do, one does not work without varying levels of support from the other.

    ‘What kind of patrolling in town are you doing buttoned up in an APC?’

    Why would you be buttoned up if you want situational awareness? a wheeled APC can transition easier from war fighting to COIN without having to have extra fleets of vehicles.

    ‘you want to take a bet that a lot of straight infantry is still bussed around in MAN trucks?’

    Not on the last two operations within the British army it has not. Every vehicle that ventures outside the wire is armoured. We were beginning to realise this when we were in the Balkans, that’s where the Panther requirement came from, and the beginning of basic armouring up of logistics wagons.

  34. Obsvr, off topic (a bit), what are you thoughts on changing the 105/155 mix

    I know loads of people think we should ditch the Light Gun in favour of the M777. I read about the early stages of TELIC where the air assault chaps artillery was basically outranged and suffered some counter battery without being able to respond, seems like a good reason, but then I think about the logistics of 155mmm. But then I think back to 1982 when the reason we so struggled with logistics for the Light Guns was because they had to move forward, a 155mm could have sat at San Carlos.

    Pro and cons, pros and cons!

    Others have suggested a 155mm and 120mm mortar mix, or staying with 105mm and supplementing it with a lightweight rocket systems like LIMAWS(R)

    Interested to hear your opinion

  35. Just came back from Eurosatory in Paris. A lot of interesting new kit on show.

    In particular, Krauss-Maffei- Wegmann showed the Leopard 2A7 MBT and the production version of the Puma IFV, which has gained an extra road wheel versus the prototype. The Leopard 2A7 has a new BMS, thermal imager, FCS, and day sight. The ergonomics of the turret were deeply impressive. All in all, quite superb. But at 64 tonnes it is difficult to deploy quickly. No doubt in my mind that we should be buying this tank to replace Challenger 2: better gun, better engine, better everything except armour. i am sure could add modular Dorchester slabs without a problem.

    A lot of new 8×8 vehicles were on show. GDLS had the Piranha 3+ (essentially Stryker DVH) and Piranha 5. KMW showed the Boxer with the Puma’s turret. Patria had the AMV. Iveco had a new 120mm mortar version of the Freccia (Centauro 2 was a no show).

    The post-Afghanistan generation of 8x8s have grown massively in weight and size. Piranha V and Boxer are enormous. Both well over 2 metres in height and present a massive defilade target. Boxer with turret carries only six dismounts and weighs more than 30 tonnes. UK will not be buying Boxer.

    VCBI was there. This is a great vehicle. I would say that FRES UV competition is between VBCI, Patria AMV and Piranha 3+.

  36. Chris, that ” the vehicle and bridge had been manually assembled on site to show what it might be like?” is static indeed.

    About 5 of the Stormer version were sold to both Malaysia and Indonesia (lots of plantations with regularly spaced trees there)… the nature of the Internet is that it is difficult to verify whether they were actually delivered (a job for Jane’s and the likes).

  37. iNTERESTING ” I would say that FRES UV competition is between VBCI, Patria AMV and Piranha 3+”
    – all have (by the, will have) long production runs

    Costs are impossible to ascertain, but is there a rank order between these, from that point of view?

  38. @TD about 155mm and 120mm mortar mix,

    Don’t remember who would have proposed it (all for it!), but at least France and the UAE mix them at the battery level (or next up, the integrated system of the S.A./ Denel origin in the UAE having been modified to that effect)
    – there must be written evidence from the French experience in A-stan by now?

    Observer talks about SPGs being proofed against small arms fire. To me the relevant measure is for withstanding 155mm fragments (counter-battery fire) rather than being ambushed by an infiltrated force.

  39. Hmm. LIMAWS(R). To get the system down to CH-47 helilift weight (about 9.5t I think, which left the aircraft some margin for fuel and so a reasonable range transit) there were compromises. A smaller engine, one axle unpowered, smaller tyres even. Its off-road mobility compared to a full-fat HMT600 would have been degraded. And of course the vehicle was not armoured nor could it be to remain within the CH-47 lift envelope. So quite a large vehicle, probably in need of non-marshy mostly flat terrain or trackways, no armour. You begin to wonder if the helilift compromised the design too far? LIMAWS(G) was C-130 lift not helilift after all. If you were going to use helicopter insertion of GMLRS, considering its range, wouldn’t a basic elevation/azimuth turntable be adequate, and lighter? If you want mobility for the MLRS pod then surely it should be on a protected and adequately mobile chassis? Hence as described yesterday I have put a six-pack GMLRS on one of my high mobility wheeled armoured vehicles. Not heli-portable. No, no, no.

    Monty – I agree ref size of Boxer and its ilk. Patria AMV is better; I haven’t seen enough about Piranha 3+ to have formed an opinion yet; VBCI? There’s something about it that feels wrong but I can’t work out what. A bit like when you get the DIY toolbox out and have one of those ‘This isn’t going to go well…’ thoughts. As for Leopard as a C2 replacement, I’m sure its as desirable as all German engineered vehicles are, but perhaps following the lead set by Warrior FLIP turret and Scout-SV turret a good halfway house would be to bring the Rheinmetall system goodies in as a C2 upgrade instead? C2 mobility seems sound, its protection is best of class stuff and if I recall correctly Titan & Trojan are like CRARRV Challenger based, so some support commonality there.

    ACC – maybe Obs can get the bins out to look north for them then?

  40. Monty, from manufacturers dimensions drawings, the height of these vehicles to the hull top is…

    VBCI: 2.26m
    Boxer: 2.37m
    Patria AMV: 2.30m

    So the difference between VBCI and Boxer is 11cm, difference between Boxer and AMV is 7cm

    Not sure I would characterise these as significant differences or enormous

    Same goes for length and width, where the differences are even smaller

    The new VBCI, APC variant only, weighs in at 32 tonnes

  41. Obsvr: Lightweight Multirole Missile based on Starstreak HVM.

    Monty: Do you have enough material (and photos!) to pop up an article?

    VBCI: The model on show at Eurosatory is evolved from the French models. It’s up to 30t weight as well, though the changes appear well thought out (repositional crew stations, increased storage for dismounts, improved architecture for plugging in payload systems, etc). Worth keeping an eye on the Danish APC competition for details, though it will have a tough time unseating the established CV90 fleet infrastructure.

    ASCOD2: Anyone know why GDELS didn’t send ASCOD2 to Denmark? They said its specification was steps beyond the Danish requirements, though it’s unclear what the significant differences between it and the ASCOD are.

  42. Chris, no need. They were delivered, 25 units of them with medium calibre guns I believe. Not the Starstreak variant. Assigned to the 19 Royal Malay Regiment I think (don’t quote me on this, both my memory and the years since I studied this may have caused lots of changes).

    Edit: My bad, looks like the 8th, not 19th.

  43. Obs – those then would have been IFV/APC then? But were there any bridging carriers delivered to your knowledge?

  44. These competitions grade functionality points against £ of investment (total price, not unit cost), and whether true or not that there was functionality/ features not required, the outcome could be embarrassing (someone will leak the results anyway, and unlike in the good old days’ court martials, they won’t get shot, or even shot of).

  45. Chris, no, no support vehicles, only the Scorpion 90 and the Stormer IFV/APC.

    Their AVLB is based on the PT-91 system. Think it was called something like the Iguana.

    And you really don’t want to know my reaction to a tank called Tawdy. :P

  46. in principle, bridge layers should be able to accommodate all classes of vehicles
    – but now we will have a Scout that does not swim, and even some bridges might not be suitable
    => is the answer that they will take a (heavier) Titan with them, to solve both of the above problems. Even more bridges become unsuitable, and the problem is compounded, not solved.

    Doubled up laughing at this. What, the recce screen is going to be made up of MBT-based bridge layer tracks? This project is going nowhere, and all that keeps it going is the fact no-one is willing to cough to it…

  47. @ TOC

    “Anyone know why GDELS didn’t send ASCOD2 to Denmark?”

    No…because they did :

    “They said its specification was steps beyond the Danish requirements”

    They are probably alluding to the fact that the Danish competition is for an APC ( ie. m113) replacement , and so is only meant to be fitted with a RWS , and not a turret with an auto-cannon.

    Armor requirements are probably also less, since we usually buy vehicles with very basic armor initially , and then fitting extra armor when and as its needed.

    Other then that though, it seems to be the same vehicle, same engine, transmission, suspension ,etc etc.

  48. @Monty

    “better everything except armour” ……Hmm…no that’s better in the Leopard as well … P-)

    ” i am sure could add modular Dorchester slabs without a problem” ….On a more serious note….Challenger 2 , Abrams and Leopard 2 all use base armor derived from the same armor technology developed at Chobham in the 70’s . So while the german version might not be called Dorchester, it works on much the same principles.

  49. MKP – give us a warning next time you link to press releases quite so full of corporate porridge – ‘best in class’, ‘innovative’ (twice), ‘increased ergonomics’ whatever more ergonomics means, ‘versatile’, ‘state of the art’ bleargh!, ‘most advanced’. Oh and the word ‘affordable’ is repeated four times in two pages of text – not an adjective anyone in the UK would have thought appropriate; maybe GD is considering giving lots of the contract value back to HM Treasury to substantiate the claim…

  50. From the GDELS press release
    “The original and proven features of the ASCOD tracked vehicles have been enhanced through internal development to provide a 35 ton tracked vehicle with rubber tracks.”
    The key bit here is ‘internal development’ , to me that reads they stumped up the development costs internally , where has our money been spent then? Oh no , it was our money they just spent it internally on developing their product to sell to every one else . On another thread it went on a bit about all end users contributing towards the development costs regardless of when they ‘buy in’ , will we have a claw back of our money? I suspect not even if the Danish buy several hundred, some BS about ‘spec’s’ being different will be quoted (they want it in a different colour and with Bang and Olufsen as standards do they?)

  51. RE “.Challenger 2 , Abrams and Leopard 2 all use base armor derived from the same armor technology developed at Chobham in the 70′s”

    I thought ( have not read up on the details) that there is a “fork” in the road that is called AMAP and it gives the option to Leopard sympathisizers not to follow the A7 and its weight gains, but actually to go down in weight while improving protection.
    – Turkey may have been the first one to apply this to their Leopards
    – don’t know if their new (with Korean fire controls) MBT also has the same

  52. TD

    No …unfortunately i have been pretty much out of the loop since i left the army ( for the navy ;-) …) back in January .

    Scuttlebutt back then had FFG’s G5 as favorite with the Armadillo as close runner up, but have since heard rumors of poor build quality in the G5 , so the CV90 might be leading now…..Its all gossip…nothing official, the Material Command and the army test/ trial unit have been unusually tight lipped and nothing is getting out.

    Before i left though, the ASCOD did seem to suffer from mechanical reliability problems during the first round of trials, and remember often seeing it on the shop floor ( Danish version of REME ) but we were not allowed to get close or take pictures don’t know how serious it was….could have been just minor issues.

  53. @ACC

    AMAP is an add-on armor , just like the MEXAS kit that preceded it, and both are from IBD Deisenroth ( now Rheinmetall)The base armor stays the same, so i would not really call that a “fork” in the road…more just another one of the upgrade kits that is available to the Leopard.
    One of the reasons the A7 is so heavy is because it now has heavy skirts covering almost the hole length of the tank, heavy turret side armor ditto, hull and bottom mine/ied protection kit and a remote weapon station in addition to other gadgetry. Now i’m not sure …but i suspect that the extra armor on the LEO 2A7+ is in fact also made by IBD/ rheinmetall

  54. Chris

    ..Sorry …… really….i am :-) ….my brain automatically filters out the bullshit (lingo)bingo so i didn’t notice ….only posted it because it contained the relevant information.

  55. MKP – no problems – I’m sure MOD and the treasury are delighted GD has promised (on headed notepaper) to make ASCOD2 affordable. I would think modification & qualification costs reducing to £35m (as in £5m each – it is only modification of an off the shelf vehicle after all) and unit costs of around £1.4m would be in the ‘affordable’ ballpark. A welcome if completely unexpected gesture that will ease the path to customer satisfaction.

  56. TD, I have sent you a whole bunch of pictures from Eurosatory.

    The height of most 8×8 Gen 1 vehicles was about 2.3 metres. With Gen 2 versions it has increased to around 2.5 metres. Similarly all-up weight has crept up from 20 tonnes to over 30 tonnes. It was the turret on the Boxer that made it seems so enormous.

    The FRES UV pecking order of vehicles in my view is:
    1. Patria AMV XP
    2. Nexter VBCI
    3. KMW Boxer
    4. GDLS Piranha 5
    5. GDLS Piranha 3+

    The Patria is the only vehicle that combines an all-round double wishbone suspension. It is also the most mature design in terms of advanced modular protection. The Piranha 3+ has archaic coil springs and control arms at the front and state-of-the-ark torsion bars at the rear. The ride and handling is night and day between the two.

  57. @Monty

    Hope your wrong with Nexter VBCI as second. It’s had to be redesigned so as to allow a quick engine change to begin with, which sets alarm bells ringing for myself as since the late 80’s vehicles have started to be designed with that being a factor. Plus the recent design changes after use in Mali. What really puts the nail in the coffin for myself is used to own a French car and nothing was simple to maintain on it, I even needed a special screw head to change the bulbs in the headlights (money grabbing b**tards!) ;-)

  58. I think this myth that somehow Boxer is mahoosive in comparison with the others needs quashing as well, they are all big and the differences between them really are marginal

    They are all lower than Saxon and Mastiff as well, the vehicles they would notionally replace, and the FV432 is about the same height.

    Look at the dimensions

  59. @DavidNiven – “since the late 80′s vehicles have started to be designed with that being a factor. ” Earlier than that – Leo1 had a very quick power pack change in the 60s, and Challenger (1 & 2), Warrior and AS90 aren’t bad – the requirements were stated in the 70s. But this only underlines your point. I had a French car once, too – had to remove the front wings and driveshafts to get to the (inboard) front brakes.

  60. @ TD – noted

    @ TOC – ah that LMM, since RA packed in doing Coast Arty in 1956, can’t see much need. HVM current ‘warhead’ is fine for manned/large a/c targets, the new warhead I mentioned a couple of weeks back is optimised for smaller UAS.

    @ Monty – the fundamentals for tks are the same as for arty – its the munition that matters, stuff the gun. Hi velocity smooth bore is optimised to defeat advanced armoured targets with sub-calibre fancy solid shot. Is this really still the driver? What about the capability for other munitions notably HESH?

    @ Chris – invites the question as to why not trailer mount the lnchr, it would be much lighter. The problem is loading the 2 ton rkt pod, but with suitable stabilisers and a power supply it would seem to be a possibility, but perhaps a bit slower. Of course there’s still the problem of delivering and moving the pods and the FC display and control panel would have to be remoteable.

  61. Obsvr – put a trailer on the back of a vehicle trundling off-road and the mobility drops like a stone. Especially since trailers are generally bought as cheap as possible without fancy suspension or their own driven axles. (I looked at driveshaft powered trailers once but AWD got there first. The trailers were essentially the back half of a rigid truck and had a cost to match, also they needed to be pulled by compatible vehicles with drive quill shafts by the towhook. Obviously.) So trailers are not something to be desired in combat environments. Hence my exercise to fit the launcher on a proper high mobility LAV, maintaining C-130 gauge size/weight limits like I do. Its not small though.

    As for LPC load/unload, the Launch/Load Module systems made by Lockheed Martin have LPC loading ‘gantry cranes’ built in, so all they need is power to operate.

  62. All these ‘sharp end’ programme costs and their increases could be compensated for by setting a realistic level of ambition for UV.

    Buying off-the-shelf unit costs get an indication from here:
    “Bundeswehr to get more high-protection Fuchs/Fox 1A8 transport vehicles from Rheinmetall [external link to their news release]. 25 more for EUR 36 million, in 5 variants”
    – plenty of shielded weapon stations to take off the Bulldogs and to bolt onto those of the new wagons that might need them, at little cost
    – great mobility, great protection, great versatility (as for the versions available)

  63. ACC – unless there have been major redesigns, Fuchs stands on three solid live axles with flat hull floor just above; the hull is formed into complicated interlocking volumes to maximize internal volume within the overall vehicle envelope which means lots of internal corners that trap blast fronts. That’s a high internal floor with no v-hull beneath, a complicated underside construction presenting many blast pockets, three heavy steel beams running from wheel to wheel which would be driven upward like cheesewire if a wheel hit a mine, and no independent suspension. It is a vehicle of Saxon’s generation and has some of the same attributes.

    You may be right; it might have good protection, it might have mobility. But you have to say from its mechanical and structural configuration its starting at a disadvantage.

  64. Quick question about V-hull…

    I understand the point (to deflect the blast away from the occupants) but what if road mines are laid in pairs either side of a route’s center-line and facing inwards. Surely that creates a blast impact that is perpendicular to the slope of the sides of the V-hull?

    Does this not negate the benefit?

    The reason I ask is that in the next war the enemy might figure that one out too.

  65. Chris,

    Either 1A8 has evolved from that stage, or, the DID editorial staff may have picked their wording directly out of the Rheinmetall press release.

  66. Simon,

    IED has the I for improvised. If you actually get your (road side) mines out of a factory, there are plenty with a shaped charge so big that MBTs will be goners.
    – but you have to start from somewhere, and the likelihood of the next opposing force being on the same lines as the experience from the last decade can’t be dicounted

  67. Simon, ACC – many studies using both empirical data and complex simulations along the lines of CFD (fluid dynamics) have determined a V-hull mitigates blast effects better than a flat one. Two thoughts from the wet finger school of “How does that work then?” science; firstly a V-hull naturally comprises two flat planes each smaller width than the flat floor equivalent, therefore the equivalent beam length (going back to schoolboy structural analysis) is shorter and for a given force the stresses on the beam will be less for the same thickness – result: better blast resistance. Secondly thinking of blast as a point generated force, to some degree it depends on the structure behind the blast point for effect in front – equal & opposite force etc. A blast event from the side will have much less to push against than a blast perpendicular to the ground* and in any case will need to travel further to reach the point of impact with the vehicle hull. But assuming the blast is from below there is a short distance to travel and a firm mass to push back against; if then the hull has a flat underside not only is the impact full square but there is no deflection – the blast would reflect between hull & ground until energy was expended. Please note there is no scientific analysis behind these observations, just as I said a dose of ‘how does that work then?’ reasoning.

    *Rumour has it the geology of the ground has a big effect on blast strength too. Rumour is just so knowledgeable…

  68. Not advisable to lay mines sideways though, the fuse is inserted straight in, if crushing force is applied sideways, it might simply crush the fuse instead of initiating. There are offroad, side firing mines though which fires a shaped charge through the side of the vehicle instead of from below.

    Dual mines, beyond the point of how do you know the specific vehicle width to lay the mines precisely at both track/wheel paths, it’s also wasteful. One mine gets you one vehicle kill, it’s out of the battle completely. Dual mines? Still gets you one vehicle kill. So why waste? Your goal is to put the vehicle out of action, not kill people, that is a bonus. You want to kill someone, a 7.62 or 12.7mm round from long range is much cheaper and more effective.

    BTW, mines do not detonate directly under the midsection of a vehicle (unless it is command detonated), there is nothing in the middle to crush the mine. Detonation is usually at the wheel or track. Which means the blast is usually at the side of the vehicle near where the hull ends. One of the reason “V-hulls” are so successful is that it moves the impact surface higher above the initiation point, so the blast has to work its way up to reach the hull as well as leave more open area to the sides to let the blast vent outwards. It doesn’t “deflect” the blast, it just moves the hull further away from it.

  69. @Lord Jim

    Kind of you to decide that the Royal Navy can just forgo two of their most important equipment replacement programs so as the Army can get some shiny new toys. That is despite the Army spending vast amounts as shown be the FRES articles for virtually zero return so far….seem fair? Also the Army have got lots of nice new mine protected vehicles to induct that they got as UOR’s for Afghanistan among other things. Of course just put off the T26 and Vanguard replacements and placate the Navy with some extra Astute class submarines that isn’t going to cause problems down stream is it?

    There are myriad problems cancelling or putting off the T26 and Vanguard programs lets look at a few shall we:

    1) It means gap in production for yards, we haven’t had problems with that before have we
    2) The T23 are flogged, keeping them in service longer means the cost of keeping them going is on the up
    3) Just building more Astute isn’t as easy as one might think, there is only one left to go into production and it’s long lead items including the reactor are already ordered. New Astute would actually have to be a sub class built around PWR3 requiring much design work
    4) Vanguard class can only be extended in service for a small time, they have a hard limit on the number of dives that can make and the life extension you talk of is already on the cards. Extending further could mean stopping deterrent patrols for safety reasons
    5) Both the T26 and Vanguard programs have started with much design work, initial contracts being signed and even some long lead items ordered. Stopping those trains now is a costly waste just to satisfy your desire to give the Army lots of shiny gee whizz toys (sorry to be blunt)

    You know what I am going to go back to the line TD brought up in the F35 articles he wrote, “the credibility of the government, MOD and services are on the line” (sic). Cancelling or delaying the T26 and Vanguard programs now would bring their credibility into serious question. The Army coming (and so far they haven’t) with a big shopping list for new gear and the RN then having to effectively pay for it is not a sign of good governance or procurement.

    The Army need to get their house in order with FRES first of all before they make any more demands!

  70. Fedaykin – Obviously I would be delighted if the MOD found a forgotten hoard of cash down the back of the sofa with which they could buy the Army some new vehicles. But even I can see the RN is in need of hulls more than is the Army; and I dare say the RAF’s fleet of flying trucks (both fast pointy and slow fat) are wearing a bit thin around the edges. The panic buy of MRAPs and cheap wheeled skirmish trucks has skewed the budgets horribly; I was surprised and somewhat disappointed the UOR vehicles were all declared fit to bring into core, with subsequent not very convincing explanations that the vehicle types had each been determined to be just perfect for the Army’s tactical needs. On the surface of things the Army has lots of vehicles that it has declared entirely meet all Army requirements; in reality the fit of vehicle to role is not good and efficiency hence effectiveness will suffer. But the cash is spent and the leverage for putting money into Army vehicle programmes has been snuffed. At least until all the guff about how brilliantly the UOR vehicles will support the New Model Army of 2020 has been forgotten anyway.

    So I agree the RN needs new (and more numbers of) grey hulls. The RAF needs to get started on the replacement programmes for its oldest aircraft (for which I vote for the UK design/build of a new Jaguar basic useful aircraft). Unfortunately despite appearances the Army too needs new fleets, in my opinion, as the UOR vehicles are likely to show their inadequacies in any theatre except the sort of dry hard desert they were bought for. And the services need to get recruiting too…

    I am doing my bit (or at least am trying to) by designing more affordable to some degree more basic vehicles. In cost terms probably in the Mastiff sort of bracket and certainly not that of Scout-SV. In the same way I see value in more slightly more basic fast jets and more slightly more basic warships, I see value in larger numbers of slightly more basic Army vehicles. That’s not to say they are inadequate for the role, but that they are not all fitted out with every bit of equipment ever likely to be used so they can deploy in any role at any time – most of the time the greater part of the multi-role fit will be dead cargo – an expense and a burden.

    Colin Chapman the creator of Lotus made some seriously competitive racing machinery that was cheap and cheerful. Apparently his instruction to his engineers was “Simplicate and add lightness”. As a result his fragile little racers fitted with tuned family car engines beat the likes of Ferrari’s thoroughbreds. So focus and simplicity offer great advantages – providing the buyer knows just what the equipment is being bought for.

Comments are closed.