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MSR
MSR
July 15, 2014 1:34 pm

Re: video: why is it funny hearing German pronounced with an Irish accent?

Anyway, serious now. Acknowledging my novice status as someone struggling to understand how the world of armour works (my comfort zone more or less ends in 1945), I’m hesitant yet still minded to suggest the following – is this not exactly what we are looking for?

A big, fast, mobile armoured box with a big door/ramp in the back and excellent driving/command setup.

ISO containerised equipment modules whose fitting does not compromise the basic big armoured box, and which do not come prefitted inside their own big armoured box (as some others seem to) which would make the modules heavier and require a complicated mating of the module to the chassis in the field.

A big, fast, mobile armoured box that isn’t as wide as an oil tanker (looking at you, ASCOD, as if I could see anything else around your bulk) and can, as a result, go places that an MBT cannot (which I, in my ignorant innocence, thought was part of the point of Scout).

COTS/MOTS low cost but proven components and the resulting low life cycle costs, all of which could lead to more units bought for the same money.

It’s made by ze Germans. It’s a tank made by ze Germans. I mean, what more need one say?

I note the absence of a turreted IFV style variant in the concept video, but one presumes this is only a matter of throwing money and end user requirements at the manufacturer.

So, my basic question is this: what’s wrong with it?

Why, in a hypothetical alternative world (in which we weren’t saddled with legacy platforms from the 70’s and an attitude that they’re cheaper to upgrade than replace, and decades of dithering over a design that has morphed into a heavy green blob that hogs three lanes of a motorway) wouldn’t we buy something just like this? Couldn’t this be a good replacement for the FV430 and CVRT (assuming a turreted version is developed)?

Remember, I said ‘hypothetical’. I’m not ignorantly suggesting that this will happen… not at this stage.

Slightly Agricultural
Slightly Agricultural
July 15, 2014 3:59 pm

I don’t really see how the modular bit swaps, and the catalogue isn’t very informative (liked the arabic version, that’s a nice touch).

Some of those interior laybout look a bit dubious from a ‘fightability’ perspective though. When I look in the back of a vehicle my first thought is “Where does my stuff go?”. Where could I stow a small Bergan, daysack, rifle, food, water – maybe an NLAW/Javelin – and still have room to sit? The interior has a big volume, but they aren’t using it very well in those demonstrators.

I’m also not convinced you could sell the Army on windows, and the UV contenders bandied about have all been wheeled, though i’m not sure if tracks have been ruled out?

Martin
Editor
July 15, 2014 4:30 pm

@ TD

Did you design this?

The Yeomanry Volunteer
The Yeomanry Volunteer
July 15, 2014 4:43 pm

At last a reasonable approach to mission module interchangeability that doesn’t involve removing half the vehicle like previous attempts.

WiseApe
July 15, 2014 5:05 pm

Is it a problem that it only seats eight?

Why not just say sod the modularity and buy the versions you want – Paul G on another thread mentioned ambulance/command/ICV – must admit, I don’t know what the last one is. View the potential modularity as a bonus if it works out.

jedibeeftrix
jedibeeftrix
July 15, 2014 5:12 pm

I like it.

Couple of questions:

1. What are the dimensions (somehow the marketing blurb missed this ‘detail)?
2. Is it a repurposed hull, or a completely new design (looks like applique bolted onto the front)?
3. What is the price, i.e. are we talking about something noticeably cheaper than Pirahna5/VCBI/Boxer/etc?

x
x
July 15, 2014 5:19 pm

I suppose it would be easy to substitute vision blocks periscope doodads if windows aren’t the customer’s preference; hardly the same as modding a thin monocoque is it?

An extra road wheel, some flotation mods (side and bow), jets, and perhaps with slightly wider tracks I bet it would swim well.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 15, 2014 5:39 pm

@TYV
‘At last a reasonable approach to mission module interchangeability that doesn’t involve removing half the vehicle like previous attempts.’

Whats the difference?

@X
‘An extra road wheel, some flotation mods (side and bow), jets, and perhaps with slightly wider tracks I bet it would swim well.’

So a different vehicle then? maybe the ST Kinetics Bronco next gen

What improvement does this give us over the Bulldog, would it not be cheaper to just put band tracks, new running gear and a bit more armour on them?

WiseApe
July 15, 2014 6:09 pm

I would also add that this would fit down most high streets. And indeed across most bridges, which is surely a good thing.

One thing though, they make great play about it’s mine/IED protection, but no real mention of the roof armour. I’m thinking of urban environments – rooftops and upstairs windows.

x
x
July 15, 2014 9:18 pm

@ David Niven

No. I was hoping for something that could be pushed through the water a bit quicker than the wonderful Bronco (no jets, twin hull, etc.) . On “paper” this G5 seems to be a good “M113/FV432” replacement/alternative. Probably a bit too narrow and light for modern British Army………

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 15, 2014 10:04 pm

@X

‘this G5 seems to be a good “M113/FV432″ replacement/alternative.’

Or we could save some money and upgrade the 432 a bit more, rather than replacing it with a vehicle that does not really offer much more in terms of capability.

x
x
July 15, 2014 10:05 pm

Then again this was rejected by the Army for FRES SV because it was too narrow, too short, and too light……

http://static1.businessinsider.com/image/53bea4bc6bb3f71272e31146-1680-1120/140709-m-dp650-004.jpg

………but at least it swims. :)

x
x
July 15, 2014 10:16 pm

@ David Niven

I saw that when you first said it. Those things are old. They can’t go on forever. A modern vehicle like G5 and an 8×8 are what the Army need now. I see 432 longevity more as proof that we need more of the same but made an in age when metric not Imperial was used on drawings. Preferably drawings on a CAD screen and not A0 paper. What is annoying is that there are so many options out there yet the powers-that-be don’t seem interested or care. Tendering is supposed to deliver value with ASCOD it hasn’t……..

These, NSFW but not too NSFW, may change your mind………

http://sarah-dettke.jimdo.com/bodypaint-galerie/military-pin-up/

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 15, 2014 10:27 pm

@X
‘They can’t go on forever’

Agreed, but they have just had a new engine and there is an armour package already developed. How much would it cost to upgrade the fleet with raised suspension and add band tracks and a shallow v plate and whatever is required for seating improvements?

For the cost of the FRES SV development we could probably update all the 432’s and issue them to as many units that are without transport at the moment, until we can slowly replace them with the wheeled utility vehicle.

Chris
Chris
July 15, 2014 10:59 pm

DN – ref 432 – I’m amazed/confused on the evidence of the ever so slightly modified Off-The-Shelf buy of ASCOD/FRES that you assume modifying 432 suspension hull track and internal arrangement would be cheaper than designing new? I don’t know how they do it; its a peculiar skill of MOD to set requirements for modifications that cost quite so much. So I’d guess by the time re-modified 432 was ready for service 1) it would be years too late, and 2) there wouldn’t be any cash left in the kitty to buy FRES-UV/UV-Wheeled.

x
x
July 15, 2014 11:41 pm

@ David Niven

I don’t disagree with your thinking I just think they need a new vehicle. And yes the ASCOD FRES SV is complete waste of money; the more you look at the problem the more it is this purchase (and Mastiff) set against the Warrior refurb programme, off the shelf options like this vehicle and say Bronco, and the structure of 3 Div that throw the Reaction Force orbat/structure out of balance. How much money are you going to throw at testing the refurb when you could just start buying a new vehicle? As were discussing there is a need for a 432 replacement? And is 8×8 the answer to all Adaptive Force problems; look at ASLAV vs M113? I would say the 432 replacement for 3 Div makes up say a third of the main vehicle purchase for AF with the rest being the 8×8 (or 6×6) vehicle. There is no logic to 3 Div with ASCOD and Mastiff in the mix.

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
July 15, 2014 11:58 pm

Slightly Agricultural said: “I don’t really see how the modular bit swaps, and the catalogue isn’t very informative (liked the arabic version, that’s a nice touch).”

The rectangular flat part of the roof is what gets swapped, with a frame underneath for seats and equipment to be attached as per each type of module. Rear door stays on the base vehicle. Sides stay on the base vehicle. Front driver and engine space remains as is. The modules are like a cartridge being slotted in from above.

The PMMC G5 was one of the contenders for a Danish APC tender, along with the CV90, ASCOD, Piranha and something else. The G5 is the light coloured vehicle bringing up the rear in this youtube video. The vehicle size is difficult to pin down. The modules are said to be compatible with containers, the vehicle is quite a bit wider than the modules and is by no means dwarfed by the other vehicles in the video I have linked to.

Brian Black
Brian Black
July 16, 2014 8:58 am

Small tracked APCs are quite handy in urban areas. We’ve seen Bulldog used by the British Army, but the M113 has also seen a fair bit of use on middle and far eastern streets in recent years.

I’ve noticed when reading quite a lot of comments on the recent FRES series, that COIN is wrongly considered by many to be a vehicle type – in particular, an enormous 8×8 land-yacht. For running about town though, in various security scenarios, a well protected 430 would be much more convenient than a motorized barn, like Boxer.

The G5 is wider and a metre longer than a FV432. Would still be easier to turn around in a tight spot than Boxer.

I’d like to know what the future is for Bulldog. Might be worthwhile keeping 100 in a shed. Depends on the longer-term viability of the various 430 upgrades though. I notice that the Army’s own website blurb on Bulldog seems to have been altered in the not so distant past, talking down Bulldog from having the same mobility and protection as Warrior, to now having only good mobility and similar protection to Warrior.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 16, 2014 9:28 am

@X

‘off the shelf options like this vehicle and say Bronco’

How many 432’s could we refurbish for the price of one new base vehicle? we got new engines in the 432 for £85 million I think.
Maybe Chris could help with costs, if we

Removed the torsion bar suspension and upgraded with Hydro pneumatic to raise ground clearance and remove the torsion bar hazard with a mine strike.
Add rubber Band tracks.
Fit a shallow V plate to the base (in the same fashion as we have done with the plant in Afghan).
Improve seating with blast attenuating seating in the rear (MOTS)

The added armour package used in Iraq would only need fitting on deployment, and all the Bowman furniture is already fitted plus there is an off the shelf solution to fitting ECM as and when.
Testing wise I would not think would cost a lot, there’s plenty of old hulls to blow up if we want.

No driver training requirements apart from half a day familiarization, and no added cost of introducing a new vehicle into the army.

The 432’s could be used in the adaptable brigades until we get enough wheeled UV in service or whatever we choose. At the moment we have a shad load of light role infantry, not because of doctrine but because we cannot mount them on anything due to money, I see this as an affordable stop gap that should not eat into the FRES budgets as we have an underspend that should cover it.

Chris
Chris
July 16, 2014 9:51 am

DN – the cost of mods is often out of the designers’ control; I noted a conversation with the Spanish minder of ASCOD/FRES protected mobility thingy at DVD where in response to a comment that it was very very wide, he just shrugged and said ‘You get what the requirement asks for.’ MOD loves the idea of ‘stretching’ requirements, even if they are retrogrades – you could imagine the MOD, in the market for some new BMC Minis in the 1960s, issuing a ‘stretch’ requirement that the vehicle should accommodate 8 personnel, not 4. The fact that an 8-seater Mini would be underpowered and unmanoeuvrable and suffer stress-related fatigue failures and wouldn’t fit into parking spaces etc etc wouldn’t matter – carrying 8 is better than carrying 4 therefore the vehicle is better. So I would expect a 432 upgrade spec to be very demanding and stretch to things like climb steeper gradients, ford deeper water, carry double the payload capacity, carry more troops but accommodate 99th percentile personnel in every seat concurrently, More stowage space, increased baseline protection, reduced internal vibration & noise and and and. The vehicle would need a new nose the size & shape of US AAV just to house the huge new engine & transmission needed to drag Frankentank 432 forward.

Monty
July 16, 2014 9:52 am

You cannot be serious?

This vehicle has limited protection, limited capacity, is underpowered and is expensive for what it is: a glorified M113. In many ways, it is similar to the Alvis Stormer with a low, flat floor and we all know how little protection standard CVR(T) vehicles offer. The world has moved on and this vehicle is a throwback to a bygone age. I was amazed that the Danes even considered it.

BTW, ASCOD is wide because of the add-on armour modules. If we acquired this vehicle, we’d need to add similar protection.

Chris
Editor
Chris
July 16, 2014 9:58 am

Repeat post – previous eaten by spammonster.

DN – the cost of mods is often out of the designers’ control; I noted a conversation with the Spanish minder of ASCOD/FRES protected mobility thingy at DVD where in response to a comment that it was very very wide, he just shrugged and said ‘You get what the requirement asks for.’ MOD loves the idea of ‘stretching’ requirements, even if they are retrogrades – you could imagine the MOD, in the market for some new BMC Minis in the 1960s, issuing a ‘stretch’ requirement that the vehicle should accommodate 8 personnel, not 4. The fact that an 8-seater Mini would be underpowered and unmanoeuvrable and suffer stress-related fatigue failures and wouldn’t fit into parking spaces etc etc wouldn’t matter – carrying 8 is better than carrying 4 therefore the vehicle is better. So I would expect a 432 upgrade spec to be very demanding and stretch to things like climb steeper gradients, ford deeper water, carry double the payload capacity, carry more troops but accommodate 99th percentile personnel in every seat concurrently, More stowage space, increased baseline protection, reduced internal vibration & noise and and and. The vehicle would need a new nose the size & shape of US AAV just to house the huge new engine & transmission needed to drag Frankentank 432 forward.

Frenchie
Frenchie
July 16, 2014 10:16 am

I don’t understand why the MoD did not think to buy mid-size vehicles, in small towns or in tropical areas it’s very useful. All future wars will not be in the desert, in the plains or in cities with wide roads.

Observer
Observer
July 16, 2014 10:23 am

DN, think the UOR for the Warthog was 150 million pounds for 115 vehicles, so it was about 1.3 million per new vehicle, so for the 85 million pound engine refurbishment, you would get 65 new vehicles. How many 432s had the engine upgrade? If it is a large number, the refurbishment might be worth it.

OTOH, I do have to remind people that the Warthog is technically a logistics transport which happened to be found useful in a specific situation. An armoured transport to be sure but still a cargo hauler. Please don’t try to use it like a tank unless you are really sure the enemy is a wimp.

But on 2nd thought, the CVR(T) and 432’s protection isn’t really much better, so there may be a possibility since tactics have been developed to compensate for the armour. Need to think this through a bit more…

Monty
July 16, 2014 10:39 am

Frenchie,

The UK is firmly committed to acquiring a Medium Armour capability.

FRES UV / UVW will be a wheeled vehicle very similar to the VBCI (as you know, we may even buy the VBCI) . This is a classic medium armour design. Standard UK 8×8 APCs are only expected to have .50″ HMGs in a RWS mount, so will weigh less, around 20 tonnes in standard trim.

FRES SV is viewed as medium armour vehicle as well. With the full add-on modular armour package it weighs around 42 tonnes, but without it weighs 30 tonnes so can be air transported by an A400M.

If both those vehicles are considered to be too heavy for the role you describe, we have the Foxhound, Husky and Panther. Foxhound weighs 7.5 tonnes while the all steel version weighs 10 tonnes.

We’re certainly on board with the air transportable requirement – our aim is to be able to airlift a battalion’s worth of FRES SV and FRES UV within 72 hours. I think we will just be able to do this with our mix of 22 x A400Ms and 8 x C17s.

All that said, I believe we need a tracked or wheeled recce vehicle with STANAG Level 4 protection that mounts a 20-30mm cannon in the sub-20 tonne weight class. Conceptually, that could be something like a six wheeled Foxhound with a RWS or perhaps an EBRC with a 40mm CTA. I’d like to see a true CVR(T) replacement. Clearly, that’s not going to be anything on an existing CVR(T) chassis, but a brand new design.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 16, 2014 10:43 am

Observer,

I think 1000 were refurbished with new engines, the first being delivered in 2006.

‘432′s protection isn’t really much better’
There is an appliqué armour system used in Iraq that inproves the protection to an acceptable level for the upper hull, we would need to add to the mine protection. The costs of adding the armour and ECM, air con are known and if spread across the whole fleet would probably come down.

http://i151.photobucket.com/albums/s150/buffher/31593990qz01.jpg

Chris
Chris
July 16, 2014 10:44 am

Monty – ref CVR(T) replacement – done. Do I need to say more?

mark
mark
July 16, 2014 11:01 am

Monty

You’d like to see a true CVR(T) replacement. Clearly, that’s not going to be anything on an existing CVR(T) chassis, but a brand new design. With STANAG 4. 40mm CTA, sub 20 tonne.

How about this?

http://www.fnss.com.tr/en/product/lawc-t-light-armored-weapon-carrier-concept

Frenchie
Frenchie
July 16, 2014 11:03 am

Thank you Monty for your answer,
I also think a smaller substitute of CVR (T) for the adaptable force.

Observer
Observer
July 16, 2014 11:25 am

DN, if it was 1,000 units, then I’d say it was worth it. The 432 still does the job, and I’m hardly someone who thinks newer = better. If the vehicle does the job, then there’s no problem. Provided it doesn’t fall to pieces from overwork.

x
x
July 16, 2014 12:16 pm

If this G5 is just 432 redux then seeing as the 3 Div is basically a 70s Cold War formation it should fit in just dandy. :)

We all accept that the UV will be wheeled a vehicle but acceptance isn’t the same “approval”; as I say this site is called “Think Defence” not “Accept MoD decisions”. 3 Div ideally should be all tracked. 1 Div may be running around Africa on hard ground and in the urban environment so yes wheels, but what about elsewhere? Bronco/G5 are streets ahead of 432/CVR(T) in protection terms; if the balloon goes up the opposition will in all likelihood be throwing industrial quantities of 152mm, 5.45, 7.62x54r, and RPG at our soldiers. The reasoning that modern products are death traps when they are substantially better than the vulnerable systems of old doesn’t hold much water with me. A lot of the time here we, well some of us, spend too much time, comparing a modern vehicle’s probable purely speculative end at future weapons that aren’t even in full production against the millions and millions of Cold War Soviet rounds of munitions that are more than likely to be thrown at our people.

Ignore Mastiff and ASCOD. We need, should, have a “light” tracked vehicle to replace 432 in 1Div; be it Bronco or this G5 or whatever. Such a vehicle should have replaced CVR(T) in FRR but that decision has been taken. This light tracked vehicle should make up a third of the buy to equip the AF. Why? Because all the world isn’t nice hard packed earth or tarmac……….

http://www.militaryimages.net/photopost/data/899/ARVL_Recovery_ASLAV.jpg

The whole process is broken.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
July 16, 2014 12:51 pm

If we had the money to buy new, would we not just buy the ASCOD APC version so we have commonality with the SV fleet? The G5 is not really smaller and has a GVW: 26,5 tons.

x
x
July 16, 2014 1:01 pm

I wouldn’t.

I can even play what if and see a scenario where troops are lost in the APC version and the compo claims being made on the back of the Army fielding a heavier better armoured version of the vehicle.

All I am saying is 3 Div should be all tracks and a third of the UV/1 Div buy should be tracks over an all 8×8 buy.

http://www.combatreform.org/LAV25hopelesslystuckinmudiniraq.jpg

And that isn’t to say either before somebody says it that tracked vehicles don’t get stuck either……..

Chris
Chris
July 16, 2014 1:16 pm

x – there is a nasty type of terrain I believe is known as Sabkah; a soft unsupportive fine silt with an apparently hard crust on top. Its absolutely fine while the vehicle stays on top of the crust; once the surface cracks & collapses the wheels have to try to claw their way out back onto the crust, but the edge of the crust snaps away under the stress… result is that every painful step forward uses torque like the vehicle is climbing a step obstruction (which it is) with slow progress, overheating engine and high fuel consumption. I’m guessing in your linked image that’s what the LAV is sat in. The weight distributed over a much greater area with tracks makes progress over this sort of surface much easier.

The Other Chris
July 16, 2014 1:31 pm

Almost describing a heavier SEP :)

x
x
July 16, 2014 1:35 pm

@ Chris

It was just a random image of a stuck 8×8. The planet may be called Earth but it is decidedly soggy.

I don’t want to get into a tracks vs wheels debate because it isn’t worthwhile as they both have their merits. UV being complete wheeled is a compromise, perhaps for a military that sees itself supposedly as global force a compromise too far. Especially as the force’s main formation is heavy tracked and there are two families of tracked vehicles that need replacing. Let’s not forget this is all about saving money not about the optimum solution; it is just that the MoD’s way of saving money is so wasteful.

Chris
Chris
July 16, 2014 2:29 pm

x – I see advantages in both tracks and wheels, hence an even balance between both in my set of designs. I’m not too sure its all about getting effect on the cheap; there are scenarios where wheels would be more effective and potentially less demanding on support/maintenance/repair. In my simplistic world availability and durability go a long way to making a military advantage. So I’m relaxed about the choice of tracks or wheels (or both providing commonality of support exists) for Monty’s Son of CVR(T), either (both) will do, so long as there is something to fill the void.