Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) 2014 Update

A number of readers who were there have chipped in with photos and information so to all, thanks.

DVD will now be on a two year basis, timed to avoid DSEi, so either DVD or DSEi in any given year.

FRES

Plenty of news and information out there that is just a short Google away but the main attraction was the General Dynamics FRES Specialist Vehicle (SV) Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) variant.

http://www.army-technology.com/news/newsgd-displays-first-scout-specialist-vehicle-prototype-at-dvd-2014-4303386

http://www.janes.com/article/40036/dvd-2014-general-dynamics-uk-completes-first-scout-pmrs

http://defense-update.com/20140625_scout_sv-recce.html

From the Janes article;

The PMRS is fitted with a Kongsberg Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS) armed with a stabilised .50 M2 HB machine gun (MG) with a fire-on-the-move capability and banks of grenade launchers.

General Dynamics UK is quoting a combat weight of 38 tonnes for the PMRS but with a proven stretch potential to 42 tonnes to take into account any future requirements.

PMRS has a maximum crew of six including commander, gunner, and driver, plus three dismounts.

PMRS has a host of new features including a laser warning system; cameras for day/night situational awareness through 360°; flat panel displays for commander, gunner, and driver; electronic architecture; configurable modular armour system; electronic counter measures; and environmental control system for worldwide deployment.

I suppose you could loosely say this is the CVR(T) Spartan replacement.

CVR(T) FV103 Spartan
CVR(T) FV103 Spartan
CVR(T) Spartan Chinook sling load
CVR(T) Spartan Chinook sling load
CVRT) Spartan being loaded into a container on Exercise Lionheart 1984
CVRT) Spartan being loaded into a container on Exercise Lionheart 1984

It is of course a statement of the obvious to say the new girl is a bit lardy in comparison.

FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support
FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support

FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support

FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support
FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support
FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support
FRES SV Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support

Also reported in the linked articles is that the PMRS will start a 3 years trials programme at the end of this year with a view to deployment in 2018.

On display were a few contenders for the upcoming FRES UV programme, or UV Wheeled as it is now known (H/T Monty)

General Dynamics LAV III
General Dynamics LAV III

 

Challenger and Warrior

Initial Gate for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project looks like next year but the numbers are unlikely to match those currently in service, even post SDSR cull, if the costs don’t fit within the estimated budget.

All sounds very sad for Mr Challenger

Confirmation also that there will be no main gun change

The Battlefield Support Vehicle is also edging closer to fruition in tiny steps, always the bridesmaid never the bride. This will possibly utilise surplus Warrior in some of the roles currently being carried out by the ancient FV432 series, or more accurately Bulldog 2 and Bulldog 4.

On display at DVD was the a de-turreted Warrior equipped with a selection of protection and other upgrades, sporting a sand coloured paint job.

Warrior ABSV
Warrior Mortar Carrier

Apparently, the working number is 380 vehicles but hard to see that many being converted given the size of the fleet.

Protected Vehicles

We have discussed this programme several times the Multi Role Vehicle – Protected and it predecessor, OUVS.

MRV is a Land-Rover  and Pinzgaur replacement with some level of protection in two flavours, short and long wheel base (with 6 variants)

This basic requirement should at least benefit from a wide variety of suppliers although commonality with Foxhound is obviously a dirty word.

Thales Hawkei
Thales Hawkei
Thales Hawkei
Thales Hawkei
General Dynamics Ocelot 'Open'
General Dynamics Ocelot ‘Open’
Foxhound
Foxhound
General Dynamics Ocelot WMIK Variant
General Dynamics Ocelot WMIK Variant
Hawkei
Hawkei
Husky
Husky
LM JLTV
LM JLTV
Oshkosh MATV
Oshkosh MATV
Streit Scorpion
Streit Scorpion

Janes also reported that a support contract would be let for the two thousand odd Afhanistan/Iraq protected mobility vehicles after open competition, the manufacturers would not get an automatic support contract.

That might be interesting with regards to intellectual property issues.

After selling off the Ashchurch vehicle storage depot Janes reported that the MoD will be creating a new home for Army vehicles, continuing with the whole fleet management approach of storing the majority of a units vehicles in humidity and temperature controlled storage until they are needed.

Ashchurch Vehicle Storage Depot
Ashchurch Vehicle Storage Depot

Bridging

WFEL had their Dry Support Bridge on display

WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14
WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14
WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14
WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14
WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14
WFEL Dry Support Bridge DVD14

I suppose the choice of vehicle was no accident

More details on an earlier post about the BR90 bridging system upgrade/life extension project, apparently it is now called Project TYRO, BAE will be pitching an upgrade to BR90 but WFEL look as if they are positioning the excellent Dry Support Bridge as an alternative.

Further Reading

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/army-and-industry-join-together-at-military-vehicle-event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

90 Comments
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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
July 1, 2014 4:41 pm

What a disgrace selling off Ashchurch.

Any indications yet where the new storage site will be located? And more importantly will it have a rail link?

Hohum
Hohum
July 1, 2014 5:48 pm

Wow, the FRES hate continues…

That LAV III with the Kongsberg 30mm turret is fugly.

AAMR
AAMR
July 1, 2014 6:06 pm

As for the bridge, TD can you do an article about river crossing of various armies in modern times?

mike
mike
July 1, 2014 6:27 pm

Ready to go….via land or sea because I wont fit in anything else!

Looks good though, like it holds a lot of kit… a lot of Armour for only 3 dismounts though O.o

Frenchie
Frenchie
July 1, 2014 6:35 pm

38 tonnes for the PMRS version, what is the weight of this vehicle with its turret ?

mr.fred
mr.fred
July 1, 2014 6:41 pm

I rather like the Kongsberg turret, but the Piranha 3+ isn’t an elegant vehicle to start with and IMHO most wheeled vehicles with turrets look a bit off. Something to do with the height.

As for FRES hate, I think it’s as much about confusion about what it’s supposed to do as anything else.

Mark
Mark
July 1, 2014 6:54 pm

Stupid question but why isn’t the mrv land rover replacement not just buy more foxhound?

monkey
monkey
July 1, 2014 7:30 pm

“KMW and NEXTER merging”
A replacement for Challenger after its LEP has expired one would hope.
Note to MoD don’t get involved in a Joint Programme we will only f**k it up and massively delay the programme so much the Chinese will have invaded in their Invisibility cloaked Rail Gun Armed Hover Tanks before the first track rolls.

Gewyne
Gewyne
July 1, 2014 7:42 pm

Shouldn’t we have just stayed with Boxer – we could have stuck anything we want on the back of that and had a vehicle whos engine/drive/suspension/body etc has commonality but flexible by it’s modular design and ability to have a upgraded armour package giving light and heavy armoured versions of the same platform.

The boxer could have carried just about every platform we need – from the common APC to MLRS / AA systems – can’t help think the bods at the MoD need to put their egos away, and stop wasting money.

Observer
Observer
July 1, 2014 7:43 pm

Ouch monkey, if the Chinese do get that, it would be time to seriously worry.

On a more practical note, I think that with the pressures of the Cold War over, there does not seem to be any more drive to create bigger and more powerful tanks. Sure, the US GCV does give an increase in weight and maybe capability, but there doesn’t seem to be the same “desperation” that drove things like the increase in cannon size from 75 to 90 to 105 to 120mm (and 125 for the Soviets). There was even the proposed 140mm tank gun and the electro-chemical guns.

Currently, we seem to be seeing a lull in technological development and improvement for MBTs, with most of the attention focused on 8x8s.

mr.fred
mr.fred
July 1, 2014 8:06 pm

Arguably the thing to have done would have been to invest in the Warrior family, gradually replacing FV430 series vehicles with Warrior-based equivalents, then try out things like band tracks, electric drives, upgrades with Warrior 2000 and so on. Who knows, with a decent installed base, we might have got more export sales?
That way the FRES programme wouldn’t have been trying to replace FV430 series vehicles as well as all the others. It might have resulted in something sensible, but perhaps not.
But that’s all by the by now.
If KMW and Nexter join up, one wonders which product will take primacy. Boxer or VBCI? Leclerc or Leopard?
What will carry forward?
It must be remembered that the MoD design houses produced some pretty fine vehicles. The rot seems to have set in with joint programmes.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 1, 2014 8:08 pm

Oh. My. God. That FRES variant is HUGE!!! So wide. How are you going to drive that into a woodblock, or hide it in a bit of dead ground. Ludicrous. Recce by stealth is clearly a thing of the past.

monkey
monkey
July 1, 2014 8:14 pm

@Observer
I possibly was exaggerating a little re the Chinese Tanks but if my other half would have her way she would use them tomorrow against Japan.
With regards to the focus in the West on 8×8 that’s true ,the Germans , French , US and ourselves are just extending the lives of our own MBT designs and so will probably those who bought them. The Russians on the other hand have other ideas the Armata main battle tank and its family, Kurganets-25 tracked medium weight family and the Bumerang wheeled medium weight family all share a lot of components. Common weapons systems like a standard remote controlled turret all three chassis families will be the norm for the latest generation. The families are all ready in low rate initial production with final deliveries due about 2020 for many many thousands of these variants (2300 MBT’s alone)
Two links from Janes
http://www.janes.com/article/33162/russian-armata-mbt-trials-under-way
http://www.janes.com/article/33152/russia-moves-to-universal-turret-system

The Other Chris
July 1, 2014 8:15 pm

@mr.fred

Usually in tech mergers the platforms wholly or largely owned by the merging parties are the ones progressed. Existing platforms normally continue to be supported (why upset a perfectly good existing stream of revenue?) and normally inform the progressed platforms.

Mark
Mark
July 1, 2014 8:40 pm

Thanks TD I knew there would be a rational explanation!

Phil
July 1, 2014 8:51 pm

Those optics look very vulnerable.

Hohum
Hohum
July 1, 2014 9:11 pm

TD,

At 38 tonnes (remember that it with appliqué which is probably just there for show) t still has another 4 tonnes to go before it reaches its max.

As for why no more Foxhounds for MRV-P. Well they are hardly cheap so tuts probably a factor and a long wheel base version (I know some work has been done) is going to be well, interesting, to design. That said, there is nothing stopping GD from bidding it. IMO, the one to keep a crafty eye on is Renault and the Sherpa family.

The Other Chris
July 1, 2014 9:16 pm

We’re up to around 400 Foxhounds currently?

How many more would be purchased for MRV-P?

El Sid
El Sid
July 1, 2014 9:51 pm

the new girl is a bit lardy in comparison.

Translation – no pics of loading her into a container.

So there’s containers and bridges, did I miss the Mexe?

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 1, 2014 11:42 pm

RE: Foxhound and Protected Mobility. I have a cunning plan…

We’re looking at a protected replacement for the Land Rover right? 2 crew, 4 dismounts? Foxhound sounds perfect… But its expensive. What about we use the Foxhounds we already got?

What about the Light protected mobility requirement you ask? Well Foxhound isn’t actually that good for that due to the small number of dismounts – so we buy a new PM vehicle which can carry 8 dismounts…and is cheaper than Foxhound, so saving money and ensuring the right vehicle is used for the right role!

(Of course this plan hinges on getting a PM vehicle that’s cheaper than Foxhound… Anybody know how much for Bushmaster/RG35?)

Mercator
Mercator
July 2, 2014 12:42 am

@ST

According to this article, Bushmasters cost approximately AU$670,000 which is apparently about £370,000.

http://www.stratos.com.au/Page/bushmaster-a-success-story-in-battlefield-protection

Edit: whoops! That’s the ambulance variant. The base model is probably cheaper.

Chris
Chris
July 2, 2014 7:57 am

Cost of basic armoured vehicle (ex weapons/comms/sensor systems/DAS etc) assume between £35/kg & £40/kg. Sounds a bit daft but the correlation is spookily close to reality…

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 9:12 am

The Ashchurch vehicle storage depot is moving to somewhere in Wiltshire. Ashchurch apparently required extensive redevelopment to continue in its role, so relocating the depot was a timely and cost-effective opportunity.

ST, four dismounts is ideal for the Foxhound patrol vehicle, it wasn’t designed to be a bus. And four seats was all you got in the back of a Snatch also.

I don’t know why people are so sure that Foxhound won’t get its nose into the MRVP program. It might fulfil the requirements, it might not. And if it doesn’t get picked, there could be good reasons for that. Foxhound was bought for a specific role, it won’t necessarily make a satisfactory multi-role vehicle; commonality at all costs may not be the best option.

John Hartley
John Hartley
July 2, 2014 9:17 am

I do not hate FRES, but I do question its cost & weight. Every specialist magazine seems to have an item/advert for lightweight armour. Just picking one at random (the nearest) “NP aerospace a leading provider of advanced composite armour systems, armour solutions for US tactical vehicles has various STANAG threat level solutions, including samples of composite armour solutions for 14.5mm and 30mm rounds. The armour is part of the company’s patented CAMAC armour systems……Using sophisticated ballistic laminate technology, CAMAC is based on high-performance, glass fibre & carbon fibre reinforced composites, which are consolidated under pressure. for precise dimensional control & consistency. Camac armour systems are…..25% lighter than the equivalent steel armour”. source Military Technology 7/2012. If FRES weighed 25% less, it would be a darned sight more deployable.

The Other Chris
July 2, 2014 9:21 am

How much of a vehicles overall weight does the armour typically account for?

A 25% decrease in armour weight may only result in 10% weight reduction overall, for example.

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 9:36 am

JH, you may well need a strong steel hull to hang that composite armour off.

The web doesn’t suggest that a naked ASCOD has any significantly better ballistic protection than a naked Warrior, so applique armour kits will be what makes the difference.

It’s a misconception that newly developed and lighter armour will make vehicles lighter. Applique armour allows armies to take advantage of new technology, but the trend is generally to provide better protection within the same weight class. Same with active defence systems.

Monty
July 2, 2014 9:43 am

Re: Foxhound for MRV requirement

No doubt that Foxhound is an excellent vehicle, but it is also expensive and heavy. I believe that it costs well over £1 million per vehicle and that the weight has grown well above the quoted 7.5 tonnes. I know that Supacat are readying a new version of the SPV400 for MRV-P. It should be much less expensive than Foxhound, offer decent protection and have the same drivetrain and mobility as the Jackal.

Re: FRES SV

Yes, it is big and heavy. But i believe the protection levels are outstanding for a vehicle of its weight ( and suspect it may on a par with CR2) while it also offers exceptional cross-country mobility. That’s what the Army is saying.

If we need more IFVs to supplement Warrior, then the Scout SV ASCOD 2 platform is ideal.

RE: Warrior CSP

The larger turret reduces the vehicle’s capacity for carrying dismounted soldiers by one. Total crew size will be 9: driver, gunner, commander plus six dismounts. Is this the new standard?

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 9:47 am

Gewyne,
“The boxer could have carried just about every platform we need – from the common APC to MLRS / AA systems”

The Donar artillery system was plonked onto a flatbed ASCOD 2 hull. Presumably such a vehicle could carry GMLRS or ‘Land Cepter’ (?), or all manner of stuff.

Chris
Chris
July 2, 2014 9:58 am

Monty – ref Foxhound cost – does the £1m unit cost include the protected ringmount weapon, the Bowman and ECM kit and all the other stuff MOD will add to any vehicle purchase? Or it that the GD off-the-shelf basic vehicle price? If the latter its expensive.

Ref Warrior CSP – until last weekend I thought Warrior seating was 3+6; I was put straight by someone that knows, but his description of the 7th dismount seat was that it was cramped pokey unpleasant and uncomfortable and no-one sat in it unless absolutely necessary. Sounds like that particular seat probably doesn’t meet Def Stan 00-250 Human Factors guidance anyway…

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 9:59 am

“the protection levels are outstanding for a vehicle of its weight ( and suspect it may on a par with CR2)”

The internet widely states that ASCOD is protected against 14.5mm AP across the front, Monty. The Spanish ASCODs are often shown with a smattering of applique said to improve that to 30mm.

I don’t recall seeing SV sporting any additional armour on its nose, which might suggest that those big metal saddlebags on the recce support vehicle do little more than bring SV’s fragile hardboard sides up to the same level of protection as the bare front.

The Other Chris
July 2, 2014 10:03 am

The £1m often quoted comes from £371m spent to date divided by the 400 equipped vehicles, or £927,500.

monkey
monkey
July 2, 2014 10:14 am

The original ASCOD weighed 28tonnes naked
The ASCOD variant we are buying is 38 tonnes , I know they have reinforced the floor but where is the remaining metal been put ?
IF they used to reinforce the side armour the Bainite Armour system from TATA @ 140kg/m2 at 7m long by 2 m high sides equates to 28m2 x 140 kg/m2 = 3.92tonnes .That is its stand alone weight to stop 14.5mm rounds including spall liner. What have they done with the rest of the weight increase I ask again. I suspect it will stop more than a 14.5mm or they have lined the bottom with Gold bricks which would explain the cost :-)
http://www.tatasteeleurope.com/file_source/productrange/steels/brochure/1320%20TATA%20Pavise%20data%20sheet%20MAY13%20(1)%20(2).pdf

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 2, 2014 10:55 am

If that’s 38 tonne combat weight, Monkey, then it won’t be 10 tonnes of additional armour only.

There’ll be bullets, sandwiches, lemon squash to factor in. Some fat squadies, a shovel -there’s always a shovel- radios, fireworks, a full tank of diesel, an Xbox, guns, crisps, porn… it all adds up.

monkey
monkey
July 2, 2014 10:58 am

@BB
That’s a lot of crisps :-)
(and don’t forget the Kleneex)

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 2, 2014 12:06 pm

Seriously, look at FRES. In what environment can that vehicle conduct Reconnaissance as we know it? Operating with an Artillery FOO in a Warrior was always a nightmare for CVR(T), because it was too big to hide. That thing is preposterous! I’d expect Light Cavalry (whatever that is) to start picking up any Recce by stealth taskings as there is NO WAY that FRES can operate covertly. That will mean creating some sort of ‘Recce mast’ for Jackals/WMIK, which is possible. So you will end up with guys at ‘the tip of the spear’ (Battle group recce), potentially exposed to MBTs whilst in a screen or similar, in a 4×4, whilst ‘Medium armour’ (a non-existent concept doctrinally) sits off to the rear with a weapons system incapable of dealing with the MBTs anyway! This is what happens when you buy vehicles before you’ve written the doctrine. It’s a dogs dinner!

MSR
MSR
July 2, 2014 12:18 pm

There’ll be bullets, sandwiches, lemon squash to factor in. Some fat squadies, a shovel -there’s always a shovel- radios, fireworks, a full tank of diesel, an Xbox, guns, crisps, porn… it all adds up.

And a kettle. Will there still be a kettle? Does that get us up to 38 tonnes, yet? If not, there must also be a tea service to go with it. Proper Jubilee China in a protected, insulated, shock-proofed glass-fronted cabinet built like a miniature Tokyo sky scraper.

Observer
Observer
July 2, 2014 12:18 pm

Ed, you do have a point. My *guess* is that the FRES will end up in roles that are less “recce” but more “scouting” and “screening” similar to the conops of the American M2 and M3 vehicles, so technically, the conops for that has already been written, just copy it from the Americans.

Most of the recce guys here believe that the best recce vehicle is either a light strike vehicle (particularly the Chenowth) or a motorcycle or even a bicycle.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 2, 2014 12:32 pm

@ Observer and EZ – Similar points made here (you have to register but its free):

https://www.tjomo.com/article/38/Manned_Armoured_Reconnaissance_Why_and_How/

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 2, 2014 12:42 pm

Observer,
It’s not as easy as just ‘copying’ it from the Americans. It’s about changing the entire philosophy of the Royal Armoured Corps and the wider Army, for no reason other than we ordered the wrong vehicles and frantically need to hammer square pegs into round holes.
As a former recce troop leader myself, I would NEVER want to be reporting back to the Brigade commander on the movement of enemy armour to my front from the confines of a Chenowth, motorcycle or bicycle. CVR(T) was ideal for many years, and is still capable of doing a job to be honest, because it was fast, small and you had a fighting chance of surviving provided you didn’t take a direct hit. Plus 30mm SABOT might give an MBT a mobility kill if you were lucky, or damage the optics with HE etc.
Having done an exchange with the Bundeswehr, the Fennek is a terrific platform. Reasonable armour, reasonable firepower, very small and very fast. Whoever does our recce should have something similar. FRES is a jack of all trades, master of none.

Observer
Observer
July 2, 2014 1:15 pm

Be fair Ed, even without the recce role, your army would still need a screening/scouting vehicle operating close to the battlegroup, so it isn’t as if the FRES is out of a job. They would also need infantry carry, so the FRES does do double duty as the APC/IFV of the armoured brigade.

I believe RT has did a tour in GWII where 30mms were used to cause catastrophic kill of an MBT and that the Americans have used the medium calibres in their Bradleys with similar results. Those were export versions of the T-72s though, not sure if a T-90+ would fare as badly, but still , a T-72 is an MBT.

As for the Fennek, it does look good as an infiltration vehicle. Personally though, I still see a need to be air lifted past enemy defence lines, just in case you can’t go through by land.

And interestingly, there seems to be heaps of recce guys hanging around here.

Must be the *Wet Paint* toucher in all of us. :)

Chris
Chris
July 2, 2014 1:37 pm

Obs – I have heard from multiple sources that ought to know that big turreted ASCOD/FRES-Scout-SV has lost its dismount seats because of mission electronic stuff. Presumably there will be an ASCOD/FRES-APC somewhere along the line; it may have a light turret or RWS, I don’t know. But it doesn’t look like double duty applies.

Ref Rarden vs. MBTs – several rumourmill tales of mobility kills by Rarden, things like popping holes through final-drives. Whether by skill or accident isn’t noted. But on balance showering MBT with ordnance from 30mm guns is probably not a success oriented strategy.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 2, 2014 1:39 pm

Fennek weighs 10 tonnes, and is air portable.
I think we are operating from a different lexicon Observer. The British Army doesn’t do armoured ‘Infiltration’ as far as I’m aware.
You can’t do a screening/scouting job from a massive, noisy piece of armour. CVR(t) has traditionally done it. FRES will, I suspect, be incapable of doing it in the way that we do now. It is too damn big. Any defensive screen around a BGHQ is likely to be done by Challenger 2, so no role for it there either.
The Scout variant has no space for dismounts, so can’t be used as an IFV, but Warrior will pick that up anyway. It has no job! It’s best hope is that it is made into a PM variant to take over from 432.
As for your argument on the potency of 30mm, that was rather my point! It was ‘good enough’.

The Other Chris
July 2, 2014 1:43 pm

Is the process of recce changing with the volumes of increased ISTAR, mast lofted sensors and UAV’s?

I’m not talking Reaper here, more along the likes of Black Hornet, Desert Hawk and T-Hawk.

Are these situational awareness augments suited to light recce whereas the medium recce role requires the larger heavier vehicle?

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 2, 2014 1:53 pm

ISTAR is about layering assets, of which ground-mounted manned reconnaissance is just one.
Black Hornet is great for chucking over a compound wall but eff all use for identifying the Russian vanguard.
Larger UAVs have their uses too, but a man on the ground saying what he can see and making an informed assessment is still a key part of the process. That man on the ground is best kept alive and stealthy if possible, which is where the concept of Armoured reconnaissance comes from, and CVR(t) has proven to be great. Put him in a hulking great London bus (FRES), that he can’t hide anywhere, and his chances of survival against a T90 are non existent (and they were low to begin with!).
Simplistic but that’s about the sum of it.

CBRNGuru
CBRNGuru
July 2, 2014 11:06 pm

@ TD “Does anyone know doctrinally and procedurally what PMRS is meant to”

In a nutshell and without releasing sensitive information into the public domain yes.

Only thing I would say is KRH BG in BATUS are trying out the ISTAR Troop, consisting of CVR (T) and CH2. I was trying to rattle my brains as to what the Russians called it as part of the formations during the cold war. I remember all the diagrams we had to learn but the names escape me, Advanced Vanguard is the only name that springs to mind.
I would also say you should not believe all the shite you hear about CH2 LEP, there are lots of options on the table. The gun is not one of them though. Same as fleet management, that will not be an option either. All tank regiments will have 56 in camp, not as current a mere Sqn now and then.

Observer
Observer
July 2, 2014 11:31 pm

CBRN, the ones where they use BRDMs to probe the enemy? Think it was “Forward Security Element”. Which was part of the “Advance Guard” (your Advance Vanguard), so technically it is an advance guard of the advance guard. :P

Hey, if it works for them, who am I to argue. Results > pretty formations.

Jed
Jed
July 3, 2014 12:29 am

Ed, I don’t want to seem rude or challenge your probable considerable experience in a crass way; but…..

Both you and RT often come across as a little hide bound at times and desperately devoted to the platform you have worked with For the whole (?) of your career. Now I am no cavalry man having been Signals, but my father did “armoured Recce” in Korea in a Centurion, any way……..

Our U.S. friends have written much since GW1 about their own trials and tribulations and vacillating back and forth between sensor equipped Hummers at one end of the scale and M1A1 at the other.

Personally I question the concept of stealthy Recce in the face of thermal imagers, ground based radar, seismic sensors, acoustic sensors etc etc….

So, do the force structures of Army 2020 provide a heavy “Recce by fire” capability with FRES Scout and protected mobility. variants carrying. UAV teams, dismount scout teams etc with the Reaction Force; with the so called Light Cavalry units of the Adaptable Force in their Jackal’s providing the nearest thing to the old CVR(T) capability ? (Although the Jackal is hardly small and quiet – perhaps we would replace them with Fennec if we had the cash ?)

I think RT suggested the Cavalry establishment had become enamoured with the GW1 conops of fighting for information against an armoured opponent within a manoeuvre based campaign composed of a lot of “meeting engagements”. His point being that they had bamboozled themselves and were just plain wrong.

However surely there is no simple one size fits all answer ? Just as CVR(T) was not actually perfect and has its own weaknesses, so to does FRES SV have a different set of weaknesses. However to equip the majority of just 3 Cvalry (ex-formation Recce) regiments that are to fight alongside Chally 2 and Warrior, it doesn’t seem out of place to me. Attach a squadron of Jackals to each regiment to cover the “slightly more sneaky” element – alongside Helos, infantry Recce teams, UAV’s of various sizes, and Light Recce Regiments of the Adaptable Force, how do we not have all the bases covered ???

The Other Chris
July 3, 2014 6:08 am

Thanks CBRNGuru, and for the Fuchs details earlier.

What’s your opinion on the CR2 gun? Is it a major failing to not replace it or would it be a “nice to have”?

CBRNGuru
CBRNGuru
July 3, 2014 7:39 am

Personally I have never had an issue with the L30, doctrinally the tanks killing range has always been between 2 to 2.5km, even in the Gulf. Yes engagements have been recorded further out but for destroying armoured vehicles with Fin the optimum range is as I have already mentioned. HESH is a wonderful round to fire live, because of the slow velocity you can see the trace all the way to the target and the effect is impressive on buildings, trenches etc.
In my view there is no need to change it as it still performs an adequate function and of course has been mentioned in previous posts, Tanknut Dave gives an excellent summary of why it will never be smoothbore.
We used to practice urban environments a lot and I still think it is the vehicles biggest weakness, without intense mutual support from infantry, who even then cannot cover every nook and cranny, you are a sitting duck. I think the recent videos from Syria have born that out.

CBRNGuru
CBRNGuru
July 3, 2014 8:16 am

@ Observer Thanks
Yep the ones with the BRDM’s but also the T72’s, they were like forward recce probing about and reporting back and if engaged used the tanks as a back up to move around.
We seemed to have an obsession with stealth and smaller is better, where the soviet mind set seemed to be prod about, get picked on by the opposing force, decide if you could take it out, if not carry on and leave for the next part of the formation to deal with.

Monty
July 3, 2014 8:55 am

May I begin by saying that the standard of professional knowledge and quality of the comments made on this blog make it truly distinctive. Thank you and congratulations to all for engaging in such a high quality debate.

Jed,

Your reply to Ed raises an interesting point. As you know, I was also a Scimitar reconnaissance platoon commander in BAOR. Back in 1984, CVR(T) was considered a good vehicle for the close reconnaissance role, but I (along with many of my peer group) was under no illusion about the level of protection it provided. As RT himself has noted elsewhere, 12.7mm rounds will turn a Scimitar’s aluminium armour into Swiss cheese in short order. I would have felt very vulnerable had Soviet hordes started a shooting war. A generation later, the power of modern sensors, imaging equipment and information technology simply exaggerates the problem. I just don’t think there is any way to conduct covert battlefield recce missions any more. Doing so in a CVR(T) might well have become suicidal.

The thing is, I am not sure whether FRES SV is any better. I just wonder whether the traditional use of heavy armour has become redundant. With FRES SV, I am concerned that we have bought a vehicle we may never use. However, as you say, with only three regiments worth of vehicles we have simply got the bases covered. I don’t think we can go wrong with three tank regiments and six IFV battalions either. The traditional set piece attack may still have its place in certain situations. I also believe that main battle tanks still have utility, even if they are used only as mobile pillboxes.

However, a fundamental level, I believe we need to rethink how we prosecute land warfare. I don’t know the answer, but my fear is that we are like horse-equipped cavalry regiments shortly after the invention of the machine gun. The modern equivalent is air power, including strike aircraft and attack helicopters. Air power has become the deciding factor of modern combat. I don’t think we can be in any doubt about the vulnerability of large armoured formations in the face of overwhelming air superiority.

Indeed, there are so many weapon systems designed to neutralise armour that protection is no longer a viable strategy for battlefield survival. We need new types of vehicles. Are modern wheeled APCs the answer? Not necessarily and certainly not if they are used like traditional armour. The need for protected mobility seems to have been firmly established, but this is about moving out of contact rather than in contact and providing the minimum level of mine and kinetic protection necessary to ensure a formation can get from A to B reasonably intact so that infantry units can dismount and operate on foot.

Observer
Observer
July 3, 2014 9:20 am

@CBRN

Didn’t we have something similar called “recce in force” or as the “real” recon guys jokingly call it “recce by pissing people off”? :)

Very, very good questions, with really hard to figure out answers. Part of the solution is people concentrating on the “do not be seen” part of the “survivability onion”, hence all these recent “stealth tanks”, but you are right in saying that more and more people seem to see killing MBTs as a viable goal to aim for.

One of the goals that needs to be looked at is counter-ISTAR. More and more countries are going into the information warfare and systems integration route. Sooner or later, you’re going to bump heads with someone that has a decent C4I network which should be taken down fast. RT mentioned a jammer mortar round before. We might also need to look into cheap counter-UAV solutions and maybe not so cheap anti-MALE/HALE solutions. In normal usage, even if the enemy does not have a good C4I net, playing music over his radios is still a good way to mess his coordination up. No air support, no artillery support, no reinforcements.

jed
jed
July 3, 2014 12:02 pm

Monty

Thanks for your considered reply. I had not got that far down the pessimism road, especially when you look at the performance of all arms combat teams including heavy armour in Fallujah and other iraqi cities by the yanks.

I am also not so sure ref the out and out efficacy of tactical air power although our army like most of our western euro allies is sadly deficient in sir defense. However would Opfor equipped with Hinds and Frogfoot
Have been insurmountable for the US in the urban combat in Iraq – no I don’t think so; although as Syria and other wars illustrate the casualty rate would have been higher.

I just read a book on D Day: pertinent to this conversation most Cavalry rests whether British, CanadIan, Free French or American used armored cars or My light tanks NOT ma deuce equipped Jeeps which were the realm of Infantry r ecce platoons. Also how passed off the RAF was with the operational research branches real numbers of enemy armored vehicles actually destroyed by Typhoon squadrons !

Stephen Barnard
Stephen Barnard
July 3, 2014 12:06 pm

Nice to see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (my former mag) being quoted – thanks John Hartley!
:-)

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 3, 2014 12:19 pm

Jed
The trouble is that under Army 2020, a Reactive Brigade will not have any Light Cavalry to take with it in order to achieve the ‘force packaging’ that you describe.

Ref: “Personally I question the concept of stealthy Recce in the face of thermal imagers, ground based radar, seismic sensors, acoustic sensors etc etc….”

All of these assets are only as good as the operator/analyst sat behind them. Thermal Cam nets to mask vehicle heat sources have existed for years and are extremely effective. Similarly, there are numerous stories of people being told that ground based radar had picked up an enemy armoured BG to the front, only for it to be a camel or similar. They are fallible.

I firmly believe that a well trained, manned recce element will always be invaluable to a commander. Don’t forget that many CVR(t) equipped Troops would simply laager the vehicles in a hide miles from the target and then TAB in to conduct the recce element. I sometimes feel like people imagine a line of ‘tanks’ sat bare arsed on a hill staring at a target. There are ways and means of being sneaky.

The Other Chris
July 3, 2014 12:29 pm

Would FRES SV preclude the Laager and TAB approach?

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 3, 2014 12:35 pm

No, but it would make it a damn site more difficult to put the vehicles into a ‘hide’. Trying to find a bit of dead ground that you can fit 4 FRES SV and an Artillery Warrior in, or a wood block that you are capable to driving them into will be bloody difficult. Tactics will adapt I’m sure, but out of necessity rather than expediency.

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 2:03 pm

@ CBRNGuru

” I was trying to rattle my brains as to what the Russians called it as part of the formations during the cold war. I remember all the diagrams we had to learn but the names escape me, Advanced Vanguard is the only name that springs to mind”

Was that not a Disruption Group, in between Bn Recce and Main body, designed to flush out the enemy Recce screen and provoke a response hence the smattering of tanks?

Personally I think Recce with medium weight vehicles is the future (Controversial I know, waiting out for a sh*t storm from RT). The days of hiding in wood lines and allowing the En recce group to slip you by are over, whether mounted in CVR or said London bus. I agree with the earlier comments about future surveillance systems advancing in such a way to make recce through stealth all but impossible, especially in the area of MMW Radar for which there is very little a crew of a vehicle can do to counter. There are also new technologies in the pipeline (borrowing heavily from old ideas) that can passively detect optical/elecrto-optical sighting systems being used against you. All this I believe points to a more kinetic style of recce for future conflicts for which we need a more “fighty” vehicle.

The biggest problem I have with CVR is its inability (compared to CR2/Warrior) to more over rough ground quickly, yes on a gravel track it moves like sh*t off a shovel but you do need to slow down to a crawl (if you value your kidneys) over ground that a Warrior will just glider over. I believe this is a major problem with light vehicles on a whole especially during a withdrawal to handover to the BGs. If your lead C/S with eyes on the track gets overtaken by Ivan in his T-90 the whole thing turns into a cluster and anti fratricide procedures go to rat turd.

Just my two pennies worth (Be gentle I’m on the Biff)

BV

Jed
Jed
July 3, 2014 2:20 pm

Ed

Thank you for your responses sir. Good points well made, but:

Yes indeed, surely the whole point of a FRES SV Protected Mobility Recce Support, or just a bloody APC variant, is to deliver the Cavalry man to where he can indeed shuffle forward through mud and such to get into a good position with his binos / thermal image / laser range finder etc ?

Different scenarious and uses of a Formation Recce / Cavalry regiments capabilities, there are times when debussing is going to put the crew at great risk of artillery fragments or even small arms fire. Again, manouvre warfare against a neer peer opononent or COIN in the sandpit (or in the Jungle) will require different approaches.

To your point about FF2020 structures, I did suggest a FRES SV Scout equipped Regiment might have one Jackal (or even better Fennec) equipped squadron, or being that what we really seem to be good at is creating ad hoc scratch formations, add a squadron from an Adaptable Force Light Cav. Regiment to the “Heavy” Cav regiment for the deployment. Of course that might screw up follow on rotations a bit……..

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 3, 2014 2:22 pm

BV Buster

Good points all round, and I’m not against the idea of a bit of recce by fire in a bigger vehicle. My main gripe with FRES is that we can sit here and work out why it MIGHT be a good choice. However, that is not why it was chosen! The Doctrine has not been written, the vehicle requirement has not been met and we’ve ended up ‘alles uber der platz’.
CVR(T) needed replacing. Of that there is NO doubt. But we are now trying to create reasons why we have ended up with the vehicle we have. Similarly the only arguments against a small CVR(T)-type vehicle seem to be when it is placed in a ‘conventional war’ environment against a high tech, shit hot adversary. And how many of those have we done…..?
An 80% solution that you can sling on a plane at a moments notice was all we needed/need. Or Fennek.

Jed
Jed
July 3, 2014 2:24 pm

LOL, off topic sort of, by while typing my last comment, got a work IM from a Canadian colleauge asking what “take a Recce” means in British English…… :-)

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 2:54 pm

Zeppelin

I was speaking to a chap a few months ago who gets paid a hell of a lot more then me (no not the sedexo cleaning lady) and he said the doctrine has been written and will be tested in up and coming BATUSs. So agreed its all a tad arse about face if you ask me, how did the fine people on the SCOUT team come up with the spec for a vehicle for which we don’t know how to use?

Keeping with the future doctrine vibe, any ideas on how the future ORBAT will look in them there FR/Armored Cav regiments once scout comes in? Organic DH3? mortars? What would the lovely people on TD like to see?

BV

Observer
Observer
July 3, 2014 2:56 pm

BV, call me a cynic, but I suspect the new orbat will be, surprise, surprise, similar to the old orbat. What do you think?

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 3:13 pm

@ Observer

We have a great opportunity here to rewrite the rule book on armored reconnaissance. We can absorb all the information we have learned from years of operating BRFs in Afghan, take what we can use from our cousins with their years of operating mahoosive recce cars, look at how the French and Germans operate and come up with something revolutionary. Unfortunately what we will probably get is a photo copy of the old ORBAT with CVR(T) crossed out and SCOUT crudely scribbled over in crayon.

BV

CBRNGuru
CBRNGuru
July 3, 2014 4:58 pm

@BV Buster you are totally correct the doctrine has been written and tried out on the SPTA. It is now as I mentioned in an earlier comment being trialled in BATUS. It could of course fall by the way side but more likely to be adjusted.
Don’t worry I’m on your side, the days of “Dinky Toy” size recce is over. Big is beautiful, can we hide it, of course we can. If we can hide a god damn Titan with a No10 bridge in the woods then SCOUT/PMRS is a piece of piss.
I always thought it was a pain in the arse putting up cam on a tank and always wondered how the hell the three man crew of Titan managed. With lots of cursing I would imagine.
Yes there is the air transportability issue, but am sure the RSGD, QDG’s and LD’s would be quite happy to take that task.
When people talk of CBRN doctrine these days, it’s not of the enemy blasting a 1km square of 300 rounds of 122mm sarin rounds or MBRL firing hundreds of rockets filled with blood agent. Those days have gone and we have moved on. The same for Recce, we talk a lot about capability but where is the next big conflict where the enemy is going to have the same level of sophistication and technology as us.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
July 3, 2014 5:05 pm

I have to say I don’t really remember Titan hiding in the woods.

Observer
Observer
July 3, 2014 5:56 pm

” but where is the next big conflict where the enemy is going to have the same level of sophistication and technology as us.”

China. Those bastards are into cyber war in a big way.

mr.fred
mr.fred
July 3, 2014 6:11 pm

Monty,

Are you announcing the demise of the tank, again?
The arrival of the anti-tank gun, the arrival of the shaped charge, the arrival of the guided missile, the arrival of the helicopter, the arrival of the artillery cluster munition, the arrival of precision weapons for fighter-bombers, the arrival of guided artillery, the arrival of a different kind of ATGW, the arrival of artillery-delivered smart munitions and the arrival of another kind of ATGW. All of these things have presaged the end of the tank, which it bewilderingly still of great utility across the globe.

Just because armour is vulnerable to something doesn’t mean it is obsolete. Infantry is horrifyingly vulnerable to almost everything the modern battlefield has to offer. If tanks are obsolete, then surely infantry are even more so. Slow, vulnerable and with limited lethality.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 3, 2014 7:40 pm

Just thought I’d throw a hand grenade into the Recce debate…

Dedicated reconnaissance units are a hang over from the time of the horse, who only had the role because they lacked utility in combat, and it would be better to replace them with more combat units as they get used for this role anyway if they’re heavy and held back if they’re (perceived to be) too light. Reconnaissance tasks could be performed by the lead combat unit(s)…

Or so says this PDF…

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/cgsc/carl/download/csipubs/scouts_out.pdf

Observer
Observer
July 3, 2014 7:53 pm

ST, that “new paradigm” is SOP from decades back. It’s at least 20 years old or more.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 3, 2014 8:15 pm

Yowser! Recce wars!

There are lots of types of Recce, from LRDG style long range / long time stuff through to BG Recce about 10 minutes before the Chally’s and Warriors tip up to the FUP, and then there’s stuff like Close Observation Platoons as we had in NI, the SF and now SFSG do their thing differently, and along the way there’s Sapper recce and you need to invite the Gunners along as well sometimes. It is not a “single solution”.

I come from recce experience in Formation Recce, which is normally characterised by “get out there somewhere quite far away, don’t get seen and importantly, don’t get killed because otherwise we won’t have a Scooby as to what is going on. And whatever you do RT, don’t start a fucking fight”. Monty and Ed Zeppelin have different and equally valid experiences, but in their cases OPFOR is rather closer, and possibly already suspicious, moving up the heavy weaponry and prepared to shoot on sight.

I’m all for stealth and not being sensed at all, but that calculation works best with not having to fight or at least stand your ground for information.

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 9:27 pm

@CBRNGuru

I have honestly never thought about how the armored engineers cam up Trojan and Titan, those poor poor bast*rds, my heart goes out to that fine body of men.

@RT

Vehicle problem solved for SFSG and Close Observation Platoons. FCBHSNHS (Future Combat Boot High Size Nine and a Half System) ultra light weight, air transportable, low logistics footprint and I have heard the same ground pressure as a Infantry solider.

In the two philosophies of Recce we have looked at so far (Stealth V Force) I fear Scout falls short in both areas, not enough firepower to deal with anything substantial and way too big to hide. Should the problem of close recce and FR be dealt with by two different design specifications? Close recce by a medium weight large caliber vehicle and FR by a small wheeled vehicle optimized for stealth. I am sure this has been covered many times before on TD, I am just interested in what conclusions were drawn.

BV

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 9:58 pm

@TD

Well we now have a trilogy of Recce philosophies, Stealth, Force and build a bar and hide. This has been a productive night.

BV

Simon257
Simon257
July 3, 2014 10:05 pm
BV Buster
BV Buster
July 3, 2014 10:13 pm

Hardly harebrained, during the gulf war (the second time around I believe) the chaps from across the pond dismounted their recce operators from their M3s and stuck them in the loaders side of their M1s, instant heavy recce.

Re CR2, you wouldn’t need to loose any ammo, just stick the mast and related “white boxes” in bin C at the back of the turret, run a wire through to the commanders and loaders display, you even already have the controls in place, cheap bolt on really.

I have seen pics of Leclerc with a system like that, looked like the love child between a tank and a JCB.

BV

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 3, 2014 11:14 pm

Replace Armoured Cavalry/FRES SV battalions with C2’s?

Modernity
Modernity
July 3, 2014 11:20 pm

How about resurrecting RDF/LT 75mm ARES? Well ask the US nicely…

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
July 3, 2014 11:41 pm
The Other Chris
July 4, 2014 5:46 am

What’s normally in Bin C on a CR2?

BV Buster
BV Buster
July 4, 2014 5:53 am

@ The other Chris.

It’s supposed to be cam kit but that normally gets stuffed in the barrels on the back while on exercise, it’s normally full of all the stuff you can’t fit else where like stag bags and a minimi for the ground stag.

BB

Obsvr
Obsvr
July 4, 2014 7:14 am

@ RT

The task of arty recce is very simple because they been properly trained to do, but it is beyond the wit of other cap badges. The job is to select the next gun position and decide what will go where in it.

Of course there is the SOP battery, but their task is to keep unseen and deliver destruction onto the ungodly/wrong sort of godly when and where they least expect it. I believe they attend the same dismounted recce course as cav and infantry and normally operate zu fuss, although in GW2 they did a quick re-mounting but that was not a problem because being arty they had lots of track drivers.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
July 4, 2014 7:58 am

Obsvr,

Was not thinking so much about the gun position type of recce, more about scoping a piece of terrain with a FOO to work out how best to spring a nasty on OPFOR with arty. Start from the west or east, all at once or herd them somewhere? What’s the exact time of flight? From where are the aircraft coming, will it conflict with shell trajectories (Kevins worry about such things)?

Recce’ing a gun position is probably a low importance task, otherwise it would not be left to Gunner subbies. Here’s a grid square, park up somewhere and don’t bunch.

Malter
Malter
July 5, 2014 3:55 am

Review of the Ocelot Utility during Australian trials: http://www.w54.biz/showthread.php?61-All-Terrain-and-High-Mobility-Vehicles/page24

Mike W
July 12, 2014 4:22 pm

TD

As promised on the “Plain Military” website, here is my question and it is on the WFEL Dry Support Bridge on display at DVD 2014. I think you mentioned in one post that the BR90 System might be upgraded but that it might experience competition from the aforesaid WFEL bridge. Now, speaking as a non-expert, I understand from its name, the the Dry Support Bridge is exactly that, a DRY Support bridge. Is it possible that it can do the work of the BFR90 Bridging System, which, I believe, can also span wet gaps. Or would it simply supplement BR90?

A fantastic series of pictures of the BR90 system from you on “Plain Military”, by he way.