FRES Scout Order – £7m each

Seems like I finished my series and revision on FRES not a moment too soon.

The BBC and FT have reported the MoD will be announcing a deal for 589 FRES vehicles at a cost of £3.5bn with deliveries between 2017 and 2024.

Time to get the calculator out…

Making the assumption that this order is for FRES SV with the caveat that not all the variants will cost the same

Unit price £5.9 million

If you take the £500m development costs and other programme costs such as its share of the 40mm cannon development the FRES SV cost goes up conservatively to £4.2 billion for 589 vehicles.

Unit price £7.1 million

And whilst we are at it, we might as well add the £131m wasted on TRACER, the last time we tried to replace CVR(T), FRES SV cost goes up to £4.3 billion for 589 vehicles, with a bit of rounding

Unit Price £7.4 million

This also fails to include various sundry costs to the legacy fleet in time time it has taken FRES to get into service so in reality, the actual cost to the MoD and UK is much higher than even that inflated figure.

FRES SV, in service 2017; 16 years afters first Hansard entry, 29 years after FFLAV and 44 years after the CVR(T) in service

RAPID, ha ha ha

As the press releases come out this week about the number of British jobs might be worth comparing them to the claims made at development contract award;

80% of ASCOD SV’s full rate production will be based in the UK, securing or creating over 10,600 jobs for British workers

But lets take the positives, despite the long and shabby history of FRES and arguments about industrial matters or swapping a 7 tonne vehicle for a 35 plus tonne vehicle, the simple fact is, this is a bit of good news for the Army.

Read the full story of FRES here

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Statement in full from General Dynamics

General Dynamics UK has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to deliver 589 SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms to the British Army to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020.

The platforms, consisting of six variants, will be delivered to the British Army between 2017 and 2024, alongside the provision of initial in-service support and training, and will serve at the heart of the Armoured Infantry Brigade structure.

This contract directly safeguards or creates up to 1,300 jobs across the programme’s UK supply chain, with 300 of these at General Dynamics UK’s Oakdale site.

SCOUT SV represents the future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) for the British Army, providing best-in-class protection and survivability, reliability and mobility and all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition (ISTAR) capabilities. Its range of variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. SCOUT SV can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted that on the eve of the NATO Summit, we can announce the biggest single contract for AFVs for the British Army since the 1980s. These new vehicles are testament to the world class engineering skills in South Wales and across the UK, helping to create the Army’s first fully digitalised armoured vehicles. Not only will they be crucial in helping to keep Britain safe, they will also underpin nearly 1,300 jobs across the UK and showcase the strength of the UK’s highly skilled defence sector. With the second largest defence budget in NATO, meeting NATO’s two per cent of GDP spending target and investing in new capabilities to deal with the emerging threats we are ensuring Britain’s national security, staying at the forefront of the global race and providing leadership within NATO.”

Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP said: “Today’s multi-billion pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile AFVs to overcome future threats. This is the biggest single order placed by the MoD for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe. It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.”

Kevin Connell, Vice President General Dynamics UK – Land Systems, said: “We are delighted that the UK MoD has awarded us this important contract. SCOUT SV provides essential capability to the British Army to allow it to dominate the battle space for years to come and it secures thousands of jobs right across the UK for at least the next decade. General Dynamics UK and our partners have worked hard over the last four years to develop a world-leading vehicle, and we will maintain that same work ethic to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army on-time and on-budget.”

SCOUT SV has been developed at General Dynamics UK’s AFV design and engineering centre in Oakdale, South Wales, maintaining the UK’s sovereign expertise in this important capability.


And a new set of images (click to enlarge) that clarify the variants in this order.

Scout, PMRS, Repair, Recovery, Reconnaissance and Command & Control

SV Scout front
SV Scout front
 SV Scout
SV Scout
SV Command and Control
SV Command and Control
SV Reconnaissance
SV Reconnaissance
SV Recovery
SV Recovery
SV Repair
SV Repair




The contract is to deliver 589 new armoured fighting vehicles, known as Scout specialist vehicles, that will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of the British Army on the battlefields of the future.

Designed by General Dynamics UK, based in Oakdale, south Wales, the new vehicle will give the army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities, and it will be able to defend itself with a highly effective 40-millimetre cannon.

As the army’s first fully digitised armoured fighting vehicle, the Scout will be effective in even the most difficult terrains around the world.

Speaking on the eve of the NATO Summit, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

Today’s multi-billion-pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile armoured fighting vehicles to overcome future threats.

This is the biggest single order placed by MOD for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe.

It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.

Scout specialist vehicle prototype
The new Scout specialist vehicle has been designed by General Dynamics [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown copyright]

The Chief of the General Staff and head of the British Army, General Sir Peter Wall, said:

The Scout family is a transformational programme that will refresh our armoured capability and ensure the army remains a first-tier manoeuvre force.

It provides advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities and will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of commanders on the battlefields of the future.

With digital links to all of our other systems it will be able to fulfil a wide range of combat roles.

Replacing the army’s existing force of combat vehicle reconnaissance (tracked) vehicles, which have given exemplary service for the past 40 years all over the world, the Scout specialist vehicle will be built in 6 variants to provide 9 different roles:

  • reconnaissance; including ground-based surveillance and joint fire control specialist capabilities
  • equipment and support repair; repairing and towing damaged vehicles
  • equipment and support recovery; recovering damaged vehicles
  • command and control; providing a mobile battlefield headquarters
  • protected mobility reconnaissance support, including formation reconnaissance overwatch and engineer reconnaissance; delivering and supporting specialist troops across the battlefield
  • engineer reconnaissance; carrying specialist engineering equipment and personnel

Deliveries of Scout specialist vehicles are planned to start in 2017. The training establishment and first squadron will be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.




More clarity on the order breakdown

  • Scout, with 40mm turret and 3 crew, QTY 245 broken down into 3 sub variants
    • 198 Reconnaissance and Strike
    • 23 Joint Fire Control for the forward observers
    • 24 Ground Based Surveillance with man portable radar
  • Protected Mobility Recce Support, with Kongsberg protector RWS, 2 crew and 4 passengers, QTY 256, broken down into 3 sub variants
    • 59 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)
    • 112 Command and Control
    • 34 Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch
    • 51 Engineer Reconnaissance (3 crew and no passengers but specialist equipment?)
  • Engineering Variants, with Kongsberg RWS, QTY 88
    • 38 Recovery (3 crew plus an extra seat)
    • 50 Repair (4 crew)

Confirmation that although the MoD reserves the option to place additional orders, none are planned.

Also that the contract includes some additional support and training


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September 3, 2014 8:06 am

With a price tag like that I expect they won’t want to risk them on an actual real-life deployment :-)

September 3, 2014 8:17 am

With that number the Army should be able to equip not only the three Armoured Cavalry Regiments in the Reaction Force but also the six Cavalry Regiments in the Adaptable Force.

I wonder whether the 589 includes an ambulance version and/or a replacement to carry Starstreak SAMs?

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 8:41 am

Workers: 10% of the originally promised jobs? How many employees will be engaged outside of the UK and where?

Ambulance: Presuming that’s still associated with the protected Mobility variant?

Cost per unit: At most £185,000 a year over their 40 year life-span ;)

HVM: How many Starstreak’s are left in inventory? Is LMM rolling out to the vehicle- and man-portable launchers?

UV Wheeled: Waiting on this news now.

£3.5b price tag: Going back to the contingency budget. £4.5b was earmarked for army vehicles.So we have a few questions about funding:

1) Is the £4.5b from contingency a contribution with the rest coming from equipment plan and Treasury (note the economic benefit rhetoric in the releases)?

2) What is UV Wheeled anticipated to cost? i.e. presumably more than £1b! Or is it? MOTS?

3) Can we expect a similar approach to funding MPA next year? i.e. However Scout SV and UV Wheeled is funded will be the model? (Still reckon MPA will follow the “Project Airseeker” model, mind.)

September 3, 2014 8:47 am


Sorry but this is just a shoddy hit piece. The unit cost (even with the ridiculous and misleading addition of the TRACER costs) is entirely reasonable and almost exactly (if not below) where I would expect it to be for a platform of this type. Adding the TRACER costs is absurd, virtually nothing of that programme has fed into FRES-SV as it stands today.

Also, you are getting less jobs because you are ordering less vehicles, the programme has shrunk dramatically since 2010, the number 1,300 being used with reckless abandon back then- I see you failed to mention that too.

September 3, 2014 8:49 am

Personally I think it is great news, as I was fully expecting that we would not see an order for FRES SV block 1 to some time after the 2015 SDSR. Lets hope that the situation in the Ukraine will also lead soon to a contract for FRES UV, and that there are no delays in any of the other recapitalisation programmes for the Army. This also applies to the other services, as I for one feel that the situation in the Ukraine plus the rise of Islamic Caliphate rewriting the borders of the ME shows that we need to significantly increase defence spending.

BTW do we think that the timing has been influenced by the realisation that the likes of Mastiff would be of little use in we had to move to reinforce one of the NATO countries with Russian minorities that are sure to be the next target of Russian expansionism?

September 3, 2014 8:50 am

According to “The Manufacturer” the official line on jobs is:

This contract directly safeguards or creates up to 1,300 jobs across the programme’s UK supply chain, with 300 of these at General Dynamics UK’s Oakdale site.

Not quite the “over 10,600” promised; then again neither this nor any other proposed vehicle would have been really UK based anyway.

Very pleased that something is finally going ahead, but I tend to agree that given the unit cost of the vehicles there cannot not be a bias towards not using them where they might get scratched (by a $100 RPG7 or IIED)

September 3, 2014 8:54 am


There is no indication that this money has come from anywhere other than the existing equipment budget, after all, SV was built into that budget back in 2010.

SV cost obviously depends on how many they but but it is difficult to see (based on usual western 8×8 unit costs and Army gold plating) them coming out at much below £2 million each.

September 3, 2014 8:55 am


Since when was 589 eight more than 1,300?

September 3, 2014 8:58 am


If you want to illustrate how much MoD has spent trying to replace CVRT then say that in the post, but it looks very much like you are trying to attack FRES-SV as an individual programme rather than the wider CVRT replacement programme.

September 3, 2014 9:03 am


I think we can be sure that they will be used, even with a high unit cost, as we have operated vehicles in Afghanistan with high unit costs. The Mastiff wasn’t exactly cheap at $27.4 million for 47 vehicles in December 2011, that works out $574.5k per vehicle, and they are hardly as useful as FRES SV block 1 will be.

If I did my maths right, 589 Mastiffs in 2011 would have cost us $3.37 billion which using the exchange rate for 1st December 2011 we get a amount in Sterling of £2.14 billion, so I think of £3.5 billion for FRES SV looks like a bargain.

PS I used the Bank of England exchange rate to get the official exchange rate for the 1st December 2011. Obviously without knowing when the payments where made I cannot actually get an accurate unit price in Sterling (which compounds the problem of calculating a unit price without seeing the contract to know exactly what was included).

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 9:18 am

If that’s the case for budget we’re in a far better place than imagined:

Last NAO release:

Equipment procurement plan*
Allocated: £63.4b
Unallocated: £9.3b
Contingency: £4.7b

I had assumed the £3.5b was dropped from the Contingency from the previous report into Unallocated, though that still might be the case.

If it’s already in-budget, worst case Scout SV comes from Unallocated, leaving £10.5b for UV Wheeled and MPA.

Better case, Scout SV is Allocated leaving £14b for UV Wheeled and MPA.

Best case, Scout SV and UV Wheeled is Allocated, leaving £14b just for MPA.

Or anything else we need, of course, not advocating a £14b spend on P-8’s ;)

Absolute worst case is that Scout SV, UV Wheeled and MPA are Unallocated and/or Contingency.

*10 year plan to 2023

September 3, 2014 9:31 am


Back in 2010 people were still talking about 1,300 vehicles with 580 as just an initial order and only intended to cover 3 variants, this order covers six variants, the medium armour requirement is confirmed as dead and the manoeuvre support element and other latter FRES variants now seem to fall under the ABSV programme. Note that this announcement makes no reference to any further tranches or blocks.

Mike W
September 3, 2014 10:20 am

I am rather intrigued, as AndyC seems to be, as to what the other two variants will be. The four we knew about are shown in the captions to TD’s illustrations. My guess would be command and ambulance but I have been unable to find out either from the General Dynamics UK website or others, exactly what they are.

September 3, 2014 10:30 am

Mike W,

I suspect the GDUK image Gallery in their media department answers this question, it shows the following:

[Engineering] Reconnaissance
Recovery SV
Command and Control
Repair SV

That collection of vehicles (plus one other, JFC) was once both Recce Block 1 and Recce Block II and totalled 730 vehicles, now it is 589 vehicles according to this press release with the medium armour portion dead and no reference to either manoeuvre support or recce block III (which may now fall under ABSV) which would have taken the programme to 1,200 to 1,300 vehicles.

September 3, 2014 10:35 am

@Mike W

On the General Dynamics media page there is an image for Command and Control Variant. There is also a variant called Reconnaissance which looks almost identical to the Recovery variant – I thought it was a typo, but I suppose it could be an engineering reconnaissance variant.

EDIT: Looks like Hohum beat me to it.

September 3, 2014 10:47 am

This is good news that the Army is finally ordering a vehicle. however their is only £5 billion in the allocated equiptment budget for Army vehicles out to 2024.

The warrior upgrade and this contract pretty much take up all of that. Its estimated that half on the £8 billion in un allocated budget out to 2024 is earmarked for the Army. so best case scenario for the army is another £4 billion over the next decade. with prices like these that won’t go very far and their is a lot to cover. Challenger 2 upgrade,Fox hound and that is before we get to the ubber requirment of FRES UV. The finacial picture in 2024 and beyond is likley to be worse as the succesor submarine program will be ramping up by then and will take much of the equiptment budget for a decade after that. Will all those 40 year old armoured vehicles last another 20 years? What was boxer working out at? seem to remember €2 million a pop. Probably a much more realistic vehicle for the MOD given its finances.

September 3, 2014 10:55 am

Interesting note. The November 2013 document “Combat Capability for the Future” described FRES-SV as a £5.4 billion programme and made reference to an ambulance capability, if we assume that number has not changed and that the development phase is included then there should still be £1.4 billion left to spend, which based on the unit price from the production contract leaves cash for approximately 237 vehicles. Admitted that’s an awful lot of assumptions, the 5.4 billion could include support and introduction costs above what GDUK is getting, the plan may have changed, etc, etc.. and note that the press release makes no reference to any further vehicles beyond this 589.

September 3, 2014 10:59 am

I know its comparing Apples to Oranges but last year Qatar ordered 62 Leopard 2A+ for delivery in 2017 onwards @ £23m each. Yes a bigger order may of help get the unit cost down but not that much. The FRES SV is allegedly with full fat applique is as well armoured and with an ATGW fit just as deadly. We are getting multiple variants not just a single well proven type. I think the lack of British input is ridiculous but it seems that the way of things now , at least RT’s wife’s relatives will have some work , can be allocate some of this order out of the Overseas Aid Budget as its helping Spain? :-) As most of the money is flowing overseas and it will not help our balance of payments much.

September 3, 2014 11:04 am


UV was never, post 2010, going to happen before the early 2020s, a lot of that role will now be taken by Mastiff/Ridgeback and others fleet within the heavy protected mobility battalion structure anyway. Foxhound is pretty much done at this point too. The emerging problem is that the light and heavy mobility battalions are going to be operating an eclectic range of mostly UOR specified kit. The armoured battalions (cavalry, infantry plus tank) with life extended Challengers, upgraded Warriors and FRES Scouts looks in much better shape.

Mike W
September 3, 2014 11:04 am

Hohum, Tubby and TD

Thank you very much for that info. So, no ambulance then? Presumably that variant, like many others, will come under ABSV and not be a part of the FRES plan at all.

September 3, 2014 12:14 pm


I think you are right, going through the list of nine roles listed and comparing them against the original FRES list for all three Recce blocks the only things that seem to be missing are the following:

RDMS (Remotely Delivered Mine System IIRC)
Medical variants x 2 (ambulance and UAP?)
C2 variant x 1 (a different one to the one referenced here- it was always shown as being a high roof-line variant)

So nine out of the original 13 roles in the three recce blocks have been provided within this 589 number (according to the press release), medium armour is officially dead and manoeuvre support is almost certainly in ABSV. If I recall correctly Shielder has been withdrawn so the requirement to replace it has gone so no need for RDMS, the two C2 variants could have been merged into one and that just leaves the ambulance requirement. I have never seen exact numbers for the Warrior conversion but they must have been small though if insufficient I imagine some more Warrior hulls can be found for conversion.

So there it is, based on this press release a 1,200-1,300 vehicle programme is now a 589 vehicle programme, over a 50% reduction.

Mike W
September 3, 2014 12:28 pm


Many thanks. Your message seems incomplete, though. However, perhaps you meant to delete the sentence fragment.


Many thanks to you too. I don’t know whether the RDMS programme is completely dead, though. I read something recently about the procurement people still having a section dealing with Counter Mobility. I was more interested in whether there were going to be Fire support and Anti-tank GW vehicles (both originally part of the FRES plan). Seems not now.

September 3, 2014 12:35 pm

Mike W,

I can not see any reference to fire support in any of the variants although that (in direct fire form only) was part of the now dead medium armour element of FRES-SV so its not surprising to not see it here.

Interestingly, “formation reconnaissance overwatch” appears as one of the roles to be performed by the PMRS platform, I imagine that is your ATGW vehicles and that it is under PMRS suggests its just going to be dismounts with Javeline.

Mike W
September 3, 2014 12:37 pm


Although the MOD website does mention “formation reconnaissance overwatch”, whatever that involves!

Mike W
September 3, 2014 12:40 pm


You got there before me! Many thanks.

September 3, 2014 12:42 pm

Mike W,

See my post above, Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch was always the term used for the ATGM over watch vehicle in FRES-SV, there was a similar requirement in TRACER to replace the Swingfire equipped (and now long gone) Striker.

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 12:45 pm

Dismounts with Javelin. How very Dragoon-like.

September 3, 2014 12:46 pm

This one looks like its ready to party Ibiza Style
comment image

September 3, 2014 1:17 pm

IHS Jane’s has the exact numbers per variant and sub-variant:

Of course because it is IHS Jane’s they also manage to get some details wrong, Recce Block III was not dropped- some of the variants have been abandoned and the others rolled into this 589 procurement. They also forget about the now dead medium armour and manoeuvre support that would have added another 220+ vehicles. The statement that the MoD is maintaining and option for a Recce Block II procurement is curious as this press release states that all the variants included under that Block are now in this procurement. The only thing outstanding (see above) is the ambulance vehicles and separate manoeuvre support element. I suspect the option relates to ABSV which is apparently not certain to be surplus warrior conversions and could theoretically be an additional SV-CBP purchase.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
September 3, 2014 1:33 pm

From TD’s article –

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted that on the eve of the NATO Summit, we can announce the biggest single contract for AFVs for the British Army since the 1980s.”

Is the coincidence that this is being announced on the eve of a summit supposedly dominated by alleged Russian aggression on NATO’s Eastern border, so obvious that only I have decided to comment on it???

I can just imagine Call Me Dave now – “Come on chaps, we’ve just started upgrading all our Formation Recce and Heavy Armour units, time for you to dip your fingers in your pockets, too!”

EDIT: Maybe a proper existential threat was all that was needed to give the whole FRES project the kick up the arse it needed! Maybe we should actually be *thanking* the Russians for all the Real Politik!?!?

September 3, 2014 1:35 pm


At one point manoeuvre support included an AVLB- I know BAE displayed a Warrior conversion at one point (2011?), I suspect if this requirement still exists it now falls under ABSV.

September 3, 2014 2:07 pm

Anyone think that we might get an announcement on MPA before the NATO summit.

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 2:11 pm

If we do it’ll be those rumoured four leased P-8A’s.

September 3, 2014 2:16 pm

For a standard tracked heavy armour division (the Reaction Force) Scout SV will provide a worthwhile increase in capability. If the 40mm CTA cannon is as good as people suggest, then we really have acquired a fleet of medium tanks as well as recce vehicles. Scout SV-equipped units will be able to neutralise BMPs, T-55s, T-62s, T-64s and T-72s as well as a whole range of wheeled Russian vehicles.

The trouble is, I just don’t see us getting involved in a major peer-to-peer conflict any time soon, and especially not with Putin. (He’s just reminded us that he has one of the largest nuclear arsenals which presumably means he’s not afraid to use it if we start messing him about.) Moreover, at 40+ tonnes apiece these rapid deployment vehicles aren’t going anywhere in hurry, because they don’t fit in an A400M let alone a C-130 Hercules.

I very much believe that we have to rethink our armoured vehicle needs as the armies of the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and the former Warsaw pact have. This is about acquiring the capability to deliver large numbers of infantry soldiers rapidly to where they are needed. The USA has more than validated the Stryker Brigade concept – it has 8-9 such brigades now and has decided not to acquire more M1A2 Abrams tanks despite being offered more by the US DoD. France has made the VBCI a part of its core future structure.

I would have prioritised FRES UV / UV(W) before FRES SV / Scout. The UK’s AFV strategy seems stuck in a time warp.

September 3, 2014 2:51 pm


Yes they do fit in an A400M, 42 tonnes is the stretch weight, only when loaded up with applique armour does Scout get a combat weight of 38 tonnes.

C-130 will be out of British service by the time these vehicles are fully delivered so that type is not relevant.

The US Army refused more Abrams because it has thousands of them already- the type is still the central part of the heavy brigade combat teams alongside the Bradley (equivalent to the UK armoured battalions- infantry, cavalry and tank)

UVW will replace the heavier wheeled UOR vehicles in the heavy protected mobility battalions- it wasn’t a priority because of those UOR fleets, this will be the UK equivilant of the Stryker brigade combat team.

This has been discussed in multiple threads and nothing has changed.

September 3, 2014 2:57 pm

, I think you are putting the cart before the horse (terrible joke I know). There’s no way a Stryker brigade would last more than a few hours against a Russian armoured unit, since the latter has far more and better anti-vehicle weapons and off road mobility. There’s precious little point in mounting fantasy deployments over thousands of kilometres. Even if a FRES(UV) had all the fightiness of a BMP, the distances concerned would require half of the Army to be driving lorries between Bremerhaven and Kiev. If you have to deploy via sea, you might as well deploy tanks, which would at least be capable of fighting off serious opposition.

Stryker is actually a failure as a program, as evidenced as to the current DVH program where the vehicle is effectively being replaced because it’s incapable of dealing with current threats. Since it only has a 50 cal, I daresay it will be incapable to dealing with future ones either, unless it goes through another “Trigger’s Broom” upgrade. The US would be better off using those 10000 M-ATV’s as a C130 capable vehicle.

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
September 3, 2014 3:25 pm

Interesting to look at the GD UK image gallery and see that the vehicle has, as far as those computer images go, changed in some subtle and not so subtle ways since it was last discussed here.(The images that were available then compared to now)

Subtle: The body seems more symmetrical now. Previous Scout SV had one top edge flat and the other side with a small step in it and the PMRS had a small step up on one side and a large step up on the other. This Scout SV has has flat roof lines on both sides and PMRS looks much more symmetrical.

Not so subtle: The side armour covers less of the sides. No idea if this is just for illustration of the intended end product. Might the previous slab sided version have impacted mobility?

I wonder whether these changes are

a) Real and not just a product of making the computer images.


b) Represent greater or reduced modification of the original ASCOD design.

Rocket Banana
September 3, 2014 3:38 pm

What does FRES SV give us over Warrior?

Is there any way to quantify the improvements?

40mm rather than 30mm

Dan R
Dan R
September 3, 2014 3:50 pm

The thing which does seem to be missing if the FRES SV is ever going to be used against a near peer would be any form of active protection.

Since the late 90s excersises with fire and forget ATGM’s with top attack have shown that advancing in armour against infantry armed with such weapons is asking for trouble. Even the Israelis ended on the wrong side of this in 2006 vs Kornets, which functionally aren’t even an advanced on TOW-B.

I can only assume that the MoD don’t want to stimulate the development of counter APS systems/spend money and that such systems would be brought in via UOR. Which is of course not much help for a vehicle which could be part of rapid response force.

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 3:59 pm

@A Different Gareth

The modular armour is just that. Pick the type and amount for your theatre/requirements and apply.

Sprinkle slat armour around the whole to taste.

September 3, 2014 4:00 pm

OK, if ambulance is through conversion of battery command vehicles? Far fewer batteries now.

OK, if overwatch is ATGW (which one… another thread for that)

Very few FOP vehicles. Are they the ones that the RA wanted anyway, but would have had to use TWO Warriors for a working combo, i.e. power, protected work stns, dangly bit on the outside…
– and will the Warriors continue for non-Joint Fires? How do you know when you will need Joint or non-_joint; or will you have two different type of vehicles operating together? Just that the fewer in the pool can do the “tech” needed for Joint?

Actually, wrote a half an hour piece on the Economics one of one , and how that relates to the different vintage contracts/ announcements re: FRES. Everyone will be greatful that the (darned!) web page expired, except me

September 3, 2014 4:03 pm


– better armour
– better weapons
– better automotive (Warrior engine is obsolescent)
– already fitted out for GVA
– not 25+ years old

I find it instructive that some people are of the opinion that military vehicles can go on and on in a way they would never accept their family cars doing. They don’t do much milage, but they are around for a damn long time :-(

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 4:10 pm

What other systems are capable of taking on Overwatch/FOP/etc?

Watchkeeper? Reaper? ASTOR? Foxhound? Black Hornet? Exactor?

Are the roles still applicable? Does Scout SV make up for CVR(T) volumes?

Rocket Banana
September 3, 2014 4:20 pm


Just trying to gauge if there is a decent uplift in capability or if it is really just a track-for-track replacement as Warrior wears out.

I’d expect each new generation of vehicle to be slightly better than the previous and after 25 years would have expected FRES-SV to represent the same level of improvement over Warrior as a Ford Focus has over a Ford Escort… which, to be honest, it probably does.

September 3, 2014 4:23 pm


Warrior is an IFV, the SV family does not provide an IFV, they are different vehicles and will serve alongside each other. Why do some people, after all this time, still not get this?

September 3, 2014 4:25 pm

ToC, actually maybe none of the above. Think Kent once mentioned that TOW missile on overwatch was jokingly called the weapon of revenge because by the time the round reached the target… this sort of implies that a missile based overwatch system may not be the best fit for the job. Of course, this also has to account for what you mean by “overwatch”. If it is just doing security on a road, sure, missiles carried by dug in units on the reverse slope, spotters in shellscrapes in the front. But if you are doing “overwatch” as in providing cover fire against any intruders while another unit moves, a missile that takes its’ time to get from your guarding unit to the target might just be too late to suppress the enemy.

wf, Strykers are not anti-tank armoured units, they are technically and conceptually wheeled APCs. Their teeth are supposed to be the infantry, so you’re not going to see a lineup of Strykers going mano-a-mano with T-80s :) That is like saying M-113s or F-432s are designed to go head to head with Soviet armour!

I had to look up PMRS. Gee, another new four letter word.

September 3, 2014 4:34 pm

Turreted Warriors will be Ifv’s.the other half will not be
– loadsa room for confusion

Dan R
Dan R
September 3, 2014 5:13 pm


Surely vs Warrior CSP

– better armour – debatable, the vehicles weigh about the same and the Warrior is getting a new modular armour. I would assume that it would be the same technology as FRES SV. The Warrior has already had some modifications for IED resistance but I would expect the FRES SV is going to lead it there.
– better weapons – The Warrior CSP will have the 40mm CTA
– better automotive (Warrior engine is obsolescent) – At the moment this isn’t in the upgrade, I guess it could be in the future
– already fitted out for GVA – It’s getting some form of electrical systems upgrade, is that not the GVA standard
– not 25+ years old – true but I pressume with getting a new turret and electrical systems, plus the existing upgrades for IED resistance and the fact the the suspension, tracks and engine and gear boxs must have triggers broomed a few times would mean that its only really the hull which is that old.

I guess where the SV is better is the sensors suite and the role specific equipment fit.

Dan R
Dan R
September 3, 2014 5:22 pm


Surely the issue with missiles being slow on overwatch would suggest that there is merit in the hyper velocity missile concept.

The US demonstrated LOSAT and the compact kinetic energy missile but then cut these once they got involved in Iraq/Afghanistan. CKEM was intended to fit the TOW form factor, hit mach 6 and deliver a 120mm APFSDS sized long rod to the target.

I’d go as far as to argue that given we are going to have to spend real money on the challenger just to keep it’s 120mm gun capabilities that it might actually be worth spending that money in spinning a kinetic energy missile out of Starstreak. I’d argue a uparmoured FRES SV (or a NAMER) with a hyper velocity missile would be able to be functionally equivilent to a Challenger and we could field a lot more of them.

September 3, 2014 5:41 pm

UK Calls on European NATO States To Boost Spending

“When we talk about spending, quality as well as quantity counts. … So we are urging all allies to spend 20 percent of their defense budgets on new equipment, research and development of capabilities,” Fallon said.

To emphasize the point, Fallon announced the British MoD had agreed on a £3.5 billion deal with General Dynamics UK to purchase a new fleet of specialist armored fighting vehicles starting in 2017

September 3, 2014 5:49 pm

1st post. Long time lurker.

Can someone explain why the heaviest weapon they want to use in the rws is a 50cal ? Seems a little underwhelming. Couldn’t they possibly utilize a similar cannon to that on the Apache ?

I know ideally certain scout variants won’t be in direct contact but it just seems a little light.

September 3, 2014 5:58 pm

@Hohum, SV is not an IFV, but it’s an IFV chassis, and most ASCOD users use it as an IFV. Hence, rather than make all sort of imperfect engineering compromises with Warrior, which is now approaching 50% greater weight than it’s design value, spend the same money on buying SV without all the recce electronics in the crew compartment as an IFV, and get a better vehicle and greater commonality?

R: I always thought CKEM was a great weapon for IFV’s. Not quite as good as a tank cannon, but something that like most tank shells, can be relied upon to at least disable whatever it hits, and with a high rate of fire, which can then free the tanks from having to do close protection.

The Other Chris
September 3, 2014 6:08 pm

In other news, the UK has a healthy Defence Sector primed for exports…

September 3, 2014 6:34 pm

For someone who finds FRES all rather confusing (and just a little bit tedious) can anyone tell me in simple terms what this vehicle is going to replace?

So all of the CVR(T) family including Scimitar? Anything else?

What other components of FRES are as yet unresolved?

September 3, 2014 6:51 pm

Talking of the:

34 Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch

Could anybody see the Protector RWS being fitted with Javelin? I’m pretty sure Kongsberg have done a demonstration of it.

Likewise they also did a demo of a modified Protector fitted with Hellfire on a CB90, would be an interesting system if it could work with duel mode brimstone.

Or more likely given our budget two dismount teams in the back with Javelin.

September 3, 2014 7:28 pm

@ all….Do these orders mean that all all 3 reaction force armoured cavalry regts plus all 3 adaptable force cavalry regts are to be equipped with fres scout? Cant work out whether numbers of fres scout equip just the reaction forces ?

September 3, 2014 7:34 pm

I strongly suspect a lot of them will be issued to replace the various other roles the CVRT series are used for outside of the cavalry regts. E.g. recce platoons of the armoured infantry units.

The number of PMRS compared to the scout version would seem to emphasize this as well.

Does anybody know if the new Type 55 Challenger 2 based regiments will still have a scout element as well even without the medium armour squadron?

Slightly Agricultural
Slightly Agricultural
September 3, 2014 7:42 pm

Being the perverse pedant that I am, my first thought (after admiring the very shiny new CAD renders) was “how are blokes going to climb on top of it?”. Doesn’t seem like there are many holds for the approved “3 points of contact at all times” malarkey and the pictures from DVD with the lads leaning on the front deck made it look actually rather high.
comment image

Then I realised what I took for a towing A-frame for the stowed cable, folded over the front, was suspiciously small and superfluous to the eyes on either side. In fact, it looks distinctly ladder-like…

Is it me, or are people going to have to unfold that to get on top without flopping onto the deck like a seal? Much as I love to see the cav making arses of themselves, seems like it could be a bit of a nause!

September 3, 2014 7:56 pm

Why do you Engineers need a specialist vehicle? What kit does it carry? What are they using now?

Rocket Banana
September 3, 2014 9:26 pm


I really think I have missed something :-(

Warrior = 25 tonne, armoured, tracked, 75kph box with 30mm cannon and room for 10.
ASCOD/FRES-SV = 34 tonne, armoured, tracked, 72kph box with 40mm cannon and room for 11.

What am I missing? Does FRES-SV not actually provide any space for troops?

A Different Gareth
A Different Gareth
September 3, 2014 9:27 pm

Slightly Agricultural said: “Is it me, or are people going to have to unfold that to get on top without flopping onto the deck like a seal? Much as I love to see the cav making arses of themselves, seems like it could be a bit of a nause!”

I think you are right about having to fold down a set of steps. This may just be due to the side armour in those images not covering the entire side but being like a fat waistline. If you have a look at this page at least one version of the PMRS variant so far shown appears to have some foot holes in the side armour that is more complete:

Similar foot hole type features are apparent on some earlier computer models that show bar armour mounted too.

September 3, 2014 9:41 pm

Actually, Warrior TES(H) is supposedly pushing 40 tonnes, and SV is approaching the same figure. Warriors design weight was 25 tonnes, but with the plates they developed for GW1 it’s about 32 tonnes.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
September 3, 2014 11:03 pm


It’ll do a grand job in wide open deserts. It’ll do a crap job in complex terrain, or in areas with little developed infrastructure. It’s too heavy, IMO, it will be canalised.

That was always my opinion, still is, but I accept that others hold different opinions, and that they carried the day.

I posted a link on the Open Thread to a recce bike that could take a Honda 50cc motor and still have pedal power. Nothing like as good as a KTM 500, but then nothing like as loud, and it cost about $2,000, and is manhandleable. Strap one of them on the back of each of these monsters and you’ve got instant improvement and more options.

Still think the biggest error in FRES was not thinking about forward dumping the wagons plus ammo in the Gulf, west Africa and DG, and having a small training fleet in UK, Germany and Canada. I tried to raise that idea, too difficult given then budgetary responsibilities.

Separately, formation recce over watch is vital. Killed more Iraqis in Gulf One than recce troops did, exactly as it should have done. Time of flight is a bit of an issue, but manageable. That’s what your Squadron Battle Captain does dynamically as distances, vectors and relative ranges change (among a whole host of other coord shit), move the overwatch back and forth. I did that for my Squadron in 1991.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
September 3, 2014 11:12 pm

….at Endex in Gulf One, my Squadron’s GW Troop had done twice the mileage of the recce Troops, largely because I kept them shuttling around to points of current threat. Sometimes I had them in optimum visual overwatch of a broad sector, sometimes concentrating in pairs or even the full troop on a canalised area around a small area, sometimes 2 clicks back, sometimes forward to maximise Swingfire reach. I know what 28 seconds time of flight looks like on a 50k map.

Small little factoid.

September 4, 2014 1:02 am

RT, good to know. I’ll file the TOF as “not a problem”. Which might mean a missile turret version might just work. If you can take out the 40mm and the assorted recoil control mechanisms and trade it for a low recoil turret mounted ATGM backed up by a GPMG, I wonder how it will fare. Not fibre optic guided, those have a problem of only “one at a time” and armour that carry active defences might need to be overloaded by 2 or more incoming rounds.

Dan R, I was hoping for something more off the shelf. The CKEM is officially dead.

dahedd, there is a gap jump between the 0.5cal and the 20mm. If you checked, you would find that once you hit 20mm+, the cannon starts to be wrapped in a turret. A 0.5 cal RWS carries its ammo in a simple box connected to the RWS itself, a 20mm has an ammo feed going into the vehicle, or at least to an ammo supply stuffed into the turret. They do have RWS 20mm+ though, you’ll find that the RWS stops looking spindly and starts looking like a turret itself.

The other trend I see is the 8×8 phasing out tracked APCs/IFVs to a common hull form. Currently, an 8×8 comes very close to matching tracked APCs/IFVs operationally, and soon it will start to make sense to turn it into a common platform. Think some countries have already made steps in that direction. Which would be ironic since your next generation platform is a tracked vehicle. Oh well, no big harm, and it’s also hardly a given that the trend would hit 100%, and the reverse is also true, if an 8×8 can match a tracked vehicle, then a tracked vehicle can also match any 8×8. Just a bit more maintenance.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
September 4, 2014 2:59 am


I’ve fired a mini gun from the side door of a Blackhawk (yeeeee-haaaaaah!), and separately a 40mm AGL. Wonder if you could combine the two into an RWS?

Probably not practicable, but hell, if it was….. :)

September 4, 2014 4:10 am

RT, think it is possible actually. Practical? No idea. How was the ammo situation in the UH-60?

Our new APCs have one thing I nitpick about. Our old APCs/IFVs have a mount we call the 40/50 (40mm AGL tandem with a 0.5cal HMG), our new 8x8s don’t. RWS was bought off the shelf, so they had to downgrade the capabilities to a 40/7.62. Thought things were supposed to improve with upgrades, not take a step back.

A 40/50 mount, standard for IFVs and our old M-113s. Hands go to the extreme left and right handles. Right thumb for 0.5cal, left thumb for 40mm.

September 4, 2014 6:22 am

News is that US army is preparing to operate in megacity. Remembaring that US army operated in iraqi towns what will be the imapct of megacity operation?
What kind of impact will happen in terms og weaponary and infantry tactics?

September 4, 2014 7:55 am

RT, interested in your thoughts about the FRO idea being dismounts with Javelin than something with a bit more reach.

September 4, 2014 9:06 am

TOC – ref modular armour ( – Its a fair bet that the vehicles will never deploy to hostile areas without the full set of protection, even if that makes the thing so unwieldy as to be operationally ineffective. The Gov’t, the MOD and the senior service chiefs will be more concerned about media accusations of lack of duty of care if a soldier gets hurt. In all likelihood the media analysis will have been garbage, taking none of the proper risk/benefit judgements into account, but it is clear those of a political mind spend most effort making sure they are not in the firing line themselves.

The Other Chris
September 4, 2014 10:29 am

– Completely agree.

@RT & @Defiance – In place of Javelin, would a whizz-bang target designation gizmo be a suitable replacement?

A clever binocular sized box to determine target ID and location which then calls in Artillery/Exactor/Brimstone/NGS allowing the Infantryman to keep their heads down?

Intention is to remove smoke trail or the need to constantly paint the target.

Ultimately provide a man in the loop “abort” button should the situation change?

Or do we need that Infantryman armed with an ATGW?

September 4, 2014 11:29 am

, I think you are putting the cart before the horse (terrible joke I know). There’s no way a Stryker brigade would last more than a few hours against a Russian armoured unit, since the latter has far more and better anti-vehicle weapons and off road mobility…”

No one for a moment is suggesting that we employ FRES UV as a combat vehicle. Indeed, armour-on-armour clash unlikely in many future scenarios – you’d want to smash enemy tanks with strike aircraft or dug-in infantry with ATGMs. Nor am I saying that tanks are obsolete. There are still many occasions when they will be vital. They can seize and hold ground which aircraft cannot do.

However, we still need to transport large amounts of infantry around the battlefield quickly, safely and reliably. That’s what 8x8s do. I think we should have prioritised this requirement before FRES SV. That’s all. As things stand, only 15 infantry battalions out of 31 have protected mobility. (6 x Warrior, 3 x Mastiff and 6 x Foxhound0.

“Stryker is actually a failure as a program, as evidenced as to the current DVH program where the vehicle is effectively being replaced because it’s incapable of dealing with current threats. Since it only has a 50 cal, I daresay it will be incapable to dealing with future ones either, unless it goes through another “Trigger’s Broom” upgrade. The US would be better off using those 10000 M-ATV’s as a C130 capable vehicle.”

Utter bollocks. Stryker was acquired in 2002 as an off-the-shelf buy before the current IED threat was fully appreciated. It was always billed as an interim solution. In addition to DVH, Bushmaster II 30mm cannon is now being fitted. M1126 infinitely better than armoured Humvee. It has undoubtedly prevented a much higher number of US casualties. Do read “From Transformation to Combat”. It is glowing in its praise of the both concept and vehicle.

RT is absolutely right in his FRES SV analysis: good in wide open spaces, but compromised in difficult terrain. And he should know. We need to recognise it for what it is an MICV used for recce.

I also agree that mounting the M230 Chain gun from the Apache would be a better option than only having a .50 Cal HMG in a RWs.

September 4, 2014 11:55 am

TOC, the USMC reported that it took 30 min for fast air to respond for calls. Can’t remember which conflict. Do you want to wait 30 minutes for air support?

Alf Tupper
Alf Tupper
September 4, 2014 11:59 am

Can anyone explain how GD received this order when their SV development programme is, what, 40 per cent complete? With deliveries to commence in 2017, it all seems just a touch sporty.

I know that the first vehicles will just be the relatively simple Protected Mobility Recce Support battlefield taxi version with no sensor systems but still, those computer images don’t just morph into in-service metal by themselves y’know.

Perhaps the MoD has learned something new about the management of programme and acquisition risk and worked out some way of not putting itself completely at the mercy of the contractor – as GD’s confession that they will now manufacture these ‘British to their Bootstraps’ vehicles in Spain proves.

Or maybe CallMeDave wants something to encourage the others at the NATO summit just down the road this week.

Just askin’ like…

Peter Arundel
Peter Arundel
September 4, 2014 12:10 pm

“SCOUT SV has been developed at General Dynamics UK’s AFV design and engineering centre in Oakdale, South Wales, maintaining the UK’s sovereign expertise in this important capability.”

I’m glad I wore my corset as I fear my sides may split.
I wouldn’t mind so much if they were honest about the provenance of this vehicle instead of still trying to spin it as in some way british.

September 4, 2014 12:41 pm

: hmm. I actually think if you are going to buy a 30 tonne armoured vehicle, it needs to be a fighting vehicle. It sticks out way too much and as a wheeled cab, it will be restricted to too few routes to hide. Buying more Foxhound for the light combat and more IFV for the heavy side makes more sense.

For something “interim”, Stryker is sure sucking up a lot of money: still. The US bought 10K M-ATV, and I’ll bet they are good for a long while.

The Other Chris
September 4, 2014 12:44 pm

Re: ATGW’s

Those are the kind of questions.

Commenters are advising that ATGW equipped Infantryman are unduly exposed by smoke, trailing wires, painting the target for extended periods or a combination.

CAS is reported as taking an excessive amount of time (though that time may be worth it for some missions).

That leaves the likes of loitering munitions, precision artillery/mortars, persistent drone presence and static/vehicle mounted NLOS solutions (e.g. Spike/Exactor).

Should the ATGW Infantryman instead replace their heavy Javelin-style equipment, that will see them receive return fire, with a lightweight “fire and forget” designation device to call in these rapid-response heavy weaponry, while carrying a simple point and shoot RPG/Gustav analogue for the straight-line FISH/FIBUA close-in work?

September 4, 2014 2:07 pm

I think we should go back to the old days as suggested by Sidney Jary in his most excellent book 18 platoon:

If I remember correctly, he resorted to using the 2 inch mortar in a direct fire role when engaged in FIBUA.

September 4, 2014 2:40 pm

TOC, a laser designator is anything but “light weight and handy”. The bloody thing is almost the size of a small ATGM itself. In fact, usage is almost like a rocket launcher, you shoulder and hold the beam there. Or if you are lazy, mount it on a tripod and lock it in place.

There is a world of difference between reality and computer games. In games, you hit a button for instant airstrike, or one point and pull and mortar rounds come raining down. Reality is “Target, target, target” “Wait 30, out”. or “Hold the beam there for 20 seconds while the round homes in.”. Hell, even a radio triangulation beacon needs about 20 seconds, I was told to count from one to ten, then backwards before cutting off so that they could triangulate the (ad hoc beacon) radio set location.

I’d say the best solution would be ATGMs in the second bound line. They are far back enough to keep out of the worst of the fighting, but close enough for ranged support. Chris’s light tanks would do well, or a modified version of RT’s LSVs as ATGM carriers or even an ATGM armed IFV for moderate range indirect fire.

The Other Chris
September 4, 2014 2:59 pm

I appreciate that, I fear I’m not communicating my point clearly.

I’m envisaging a binocular sized piece of equipment sufficient to provide target identification and location.

Infantryman sticks their head out of cover, zooms in on target, presses “click” and ducks back into cover to review the image.

A combination of built-in recognition software to suggest target classification modified by the Infantryman’s analysis selected from a database.

GPS/INS/Manual entry determines Infantryman’s coordinates.

Bearing/Rangefinder to target location stored with data.

Upload to local battefield network.

Exactor armed IFV/PMRS/Foxhound/Whatever located nearby (did they drop off the Infantryman?) and in-cover launches their NLOS munition with target location and classification.

Terminal guidance kicks in as munition reaches LOS, finds its target, hits.

Well aware this is not in operation anywhere. Is the concept superior to an Infantryman sticking their head out of cover and operating a Javelin?

EDIT: Infantryman could be Son of RT deployed via earlier linked bike.

September 4, 2014 4:12 pm

@The Other Chris: I think @RT’s son doesn’t even qualify for the Hunger Games yet, let alone the infantry :-)

If he joins the latter when he grows up, his father would explode!

September 4, 2014 4:15 pm

TOC, you’re really optimistic ain’t you. I’ve had “recognition software” class a lorry as an A-vehicle. And to get that, I had to lug an overly armoured laptop out into the damn field.

And this piece of equipment is laser only

5.2 kg. Add all your other stuff to it like memory for maps and programming for the aimoff and GPS and image capture equipment, you’ll get a huge weight and size increase fast. The CPU I had to bring out had a GPS, video camera, low power transmitter and a seismic probe, which would be similar to what you wanted but still short of a few features. It was half a meter long and weighted about 12kg.

I won’t say it is impossible to get it down into a binocular sized unit, just close to it, and to get that degree of miniaturization, you’re talking about very expensive material and more than cutting edge technology.

I’ll recommend something more practical. A compass, a map and someone who knows how to navigate. He should be able to figure out where he is and call in fire without all the lasers, GPS, radio beacons and INS. Sometimes the simplest methods are the best.

I have great faith in the irony of the world. RT junior is going into the Navy. :P

September 4, 2014 4:16 pm

I have a feeling the wheeled UV is dead. The MRV-P is due in the next few years so I can’t see there being a UV being bought, maybe we should look at upgrading the Bulldogs (like the Aussie M113) for the rest of the units without protected mobility?

The Engr recce vehicle is a cheaper way of giving a recce capability to the Engineer units. It’s basically the PMRS version with maybe some extra comms and a range finder, the Engrs used the Spartan for the same role.

With Scout SV Deal Done, UK to Sell Surplus CVR(T)s to Latvia

‘Fallon said the deal is just “one way we are supporting our Baltic NATO allies. As a leading member of NATO, the UK is keen to restate publicly our support for the collective security of its members and enable our partners to contribute to international peacekeeping and security operations.”’

September 4, 2014 4:58 pm

TOC, just ask for it… And you’ve got it

(LTLM) technology that BAE Systems officials say will enable infantrymen recognize targets more than 2.6 miles away in daylight, and about half a mile away in total darkness.
Northrop Grumman systems designers, meanwhile, will draw from technology they developed building the company’s Mark VIIE Hand-Held Target Locator that can identify enemy positions and locations during the day or at night using electro-optics, laser rangefinder, and embedded GPS.
The Army’s point of contact for the upcoming JETS TLDS solicitation is Peter Buckless, who can be reached by phone at 410-306-1887. More information is online at
Follow Military & Aerospace Electronics and Avionics Intelligence news updates on Twitter


Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
September 4, 2014 5:48 pm

The other Chris:

Not quite as Gucci as your suggestion, but the SSARF is a (albeit chunky) bino sized thermal sight that provides a point and click ten figure grid. We used to use them to call in Fires in BATUS etc. Never done it for real but I guess it as close to your principle as I can think. Leave the wagons in a hide somewhere, crawl in with the SSARF and various other sights and do the damage with the assets on the other end of the radio. Once complete, back to the wagons to ride off into the sunset for tea and medals etc.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
September 4, 2014 7:48 pm

I would be entirely relaxed about my son joining the Navy, because at a stroke he would improve them, and Lord knows, they need improving. He’d have a decent tailor, proper cotton instead of polyester, and know how to hold his cutlery at the Admiral’s table (might even beat a modern Admiral on that score), enough mathematics to trounce them on techy courses, but most importantly, a correct attitude to delivering bad news to HMtQ’s enemy, and good leadership to his Division on board. I’d think he was wasting his time, as war is not about the sea anymore.

He doesn’t really know this, but the night before he went to Dartmouth I’d tell him about his paternal Grandfather who joined the Wavy Navy while drunk in 1937, earned a DSO while commanding a Motor Gun Boat off Dunkerque, and who later on went on to be the producer of the Goon show. That’s what the Navy needs, not conformist drones.

September 5, 2014 8:49 am

This from Defense News:

So just as DN stated here the instant result of a firm order (delivery years in the future) is the selling off of assets to raise treasury cash. On a much smaller scale, but vaguely reminiscent of the rapid decommissioning of the CVS and instant scrapping of associated Harriers when the decision was made to build new carriers and to put orders in for JSF.

September 5, 2014 9:06 am


The Latvia deal was announced months ago, the signing at the NATO circle-jerk seems to be, like the Scout order, timed almost entirely to make the French look uncomfortable. I see no indication that money will go to the treasury.

The UK Armed Forces have a long history of realising that spending money to hold obsolete bits of kit in reserve is wasted money.

September 5, 2014 9:47 am


I can assure you that UVW is not dead. The Army briefed next steps at DVD in July and the User and Buyer are currently defining the revised requirement. A buy of 450 has been authorised, which should be enough to equip 6 infantry battalions.

The weight of most modern 8x8s unloaded is less than 20 tonnes. It is their gross combat weight that approaches the 30 tonne mark. They are medium armour not heavy armour; they are designed to prioritise mobility more than protection, although most of the latest 8×8 designs have better IED / mine protection than many tracked ICVs and tanks. Though current doctrine advocates using them as battlefield taxis, of course, they need to be able to fight. It is much easier to mount a cannon on Piranha than a Foxhound.


It is HMTQ not HMtQ.

The Other Chris
September 5, 2014 10:05 am

450 8 x 8’s at £2m a pop with support and spares? A cool billion puts us back at the £4.5b ball-park for combined Scout SV and UV(W).

September 5, 2014 10:34 am

Is 450 enough, what about the CS units and what time frame are we talking? Still leaves a lot of units with shanks’s pony and MAN SV as their transport.

The Other Chris
September 5, 2014 1:20 pm

On the Gucci target designation theme, a look at DARPA’s “smartphone” in action:

Followed up the kits that you kind Gentlemen very nicely provided links for. What leaps out is they’re all pre Gallium-Arsenide and low-interference planar array revolutions. Definitely a promising future for significant miniaturisation. Batteries still being the problem point.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
September 5, 2014 4:15 pm

The Other Chris

What a great article!
Provided they don’t end endless extra capabilities, rendering the devices impossibly complex to use, that sounds like terrific kit.

September 5, 2014 5:08 pm

Ed, that is a matter of opinion. We got quite a fair number of idiots who use smartphones to take pictures in camp then blog it. Which led to a blanket “no camera phone in camp” ban.

TOC, don’t see any mention of it being usable as a target designator.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
September 5, 2014 5:46 pm

Observer, I have no idea what your comment relates to. This isn’t a smartphone for Trooper Snodgrass to take pictures of his balls on whilst stagging on a range gate in Kircudbright. Did you even read the article?
I don’t know what your experiences are, but this would be a seriously good piece of kit. The maps that we had printed for each Op in Afghanistan were done with ink that rubbed off, so come the end of the day you were holding a blank piece of paper!

September 6, 2014 3:42 am

Ed, go back a bit and look at Chris’s wishlist. He wants one that can take pictures, and yes, in the field I’d agree that it would be a nice piece of kit. The problem lies in that once off the field, how can it be misused by bored and stupid troopers? As an example, one case that happened was a posted and blogged shot of someone pissing on the bed of an officer he disliked. He was grandstanding for the camera. There were a few other problematic cases, like one who took a picture of his CO beating a stray feral dog that wandered into camp and sent it to an animal rights activist organization.

If your maps were photocopied/printed, it sounds like the heater in the printer is spoilt, so the ink didn’t get heat fixed properly. Fairly common problem, get a piece of cloth that you don’t need any more, lay it on the map carefully so it doesn’t smudge and go over it with an iron.

September 6, 2014 8:32 am


The DARPA smart phone looks like a very useful bit of kit.

Ed Zeppelin
Ed Zeppelin
September 6, 2014 10:32 am

Totally agree DavidNiven.

Observer – “The problem lies in that once off the field, how can it be misused by bored and stupid troopers? As an example, one case that happened was a posted and blogged shot of someone pissing on the bed of an officer he disliked. He was grandstanding for the camera. There were a few other problematic cases, like one who took a picture of his CO beating a stray feral dog that wandered into camp and sent it to an animal rights activist organisation.”

I don’t think that this is a bit of kit that LCpl Ballbag will use to phone mum and dad on as well as use in the field. Given that it is almost certainly digitally encrypted it will go straight into the store the second an exercise or tour has finished. I hate to say it, but you are totally missing the point.
Also, if your soldiers are taking phones on tour with them I suggest you get in touch with the RMP, as they are not supposed to leave the secure store of your unit in theatre.
This is not a iPhone replacement, it is an aid to the soldier in the field.
Regarding maps, I am talking about the Operation specific maps that get sent down to your sand blown patrol base prior to H-Hr, where irons are at a premium. I was just trying to suggest that a digital ‘tablet’ with mapping might be a better solution, but never mind.

Slightly Agricultural
Slightly Agricultural
September 6, 2014 4:42 pm
For the record, designators (in the marker sense) have got pretty small. MFCs have gucci binos and fire control computers (think toughened netbook) to kind of do what you’re talking about too. Given the widespread use of GPS and general navigation skills, infantry could probably get by with the handheld marker. Good for precision and ROE collateral damage rules, less good if you can’t stick your head out long enough.

I think a Swingfire replacement is sorely lacking though, whether it packs LMM, Brimstone or Spike Nlos etc. A Javelin det is the make-do-and-mend solution…
Wonder what happened to all the EXACTOR kit? Given the concerted effort to keep it quiet I suspect it will disappear during the drawdown never to be seen again, except as a new requirement.

The Other Chris
September 6, 2014 5:07 pm

Excellent stuff. The technology for the designation/call-in is there in a package far lighter than a Javelin already, thank you.

Next step, to build on Slightly Agricultural’s points, what nearby weapon package(s) are suitable?

– System
– Where to mount it
– Flight time to target
– Effectiveness

And does that combination provide a superior, or equivalent but more survivable, capability for the infantryman?

September 6, 2014 5:27 pm

What about a derivative of the CAMM family to replace Swingfire and Exactor? 3rd party targeting 2way data link, good range and can be mounted on any flat bed.

September 6, 2014 5:38 pm

CAMM is pretty big, 3m, about 10 feet long, 100kg. Think your best bet would be to go as you are, Spike NLOS or ER, but first, you got to remember that motorized support vehicles are only for motorized or mechanized infantry, the normal light infantry won’t have anything to carry them with. I don’t think the trucks light infantry use to haul themselves around are organic to the unit, they are indented from the MT line. Only motorized and mechanized infantry have vehicles organic (think along the lines of “owned”) to the unit itself.

September 6, 2014 6:02 pm

‘I don’t think the trucks light infantry use to haul themselves around are organic to the unit, they are indented from the MT line.’

We are not discussing replacing Javelin in the Infantry units, we are discussing getting an overwatch system that the Swingfire provided to the formation recce units.

September 6, 2014 6:10 pm

DN, we were not?

“Is the concept superior to an Infantryman sticking their head out of cover and operating a Javelin?”

September 4th, 2014 2:59pm.

The Other Chris
September 6, 2014 7:04 pm

It stemmed from the news that overwatch would be supplied by vehicles carrying infantryman with man portable Javelins.

September 6, 2014 7:52 pm

Slightly A – Exactor (aka Spike NLOS) is being brought it the Precison Fires Battery’s in the 3 armoured artillery Regts and 101 RA.

September 7, 2014 7:53 am

By my calculations the 589 SCOUT SVs would be enough to either:

1. equip all of the Reaction and Adaptable Forces Cavalry Regiments plus the Reaction Forces Recce Troops in the Tank and Infantry Regiments but not the Recce Platoons in the Adaptable Forces Infantry Battalions or

2. equip the Reaction Forces Cavalry Regiments and every Recce Troop and Platoon in both the Reaction and Adaptable Forces but not the Adaptable Forces Cavalry Regiments.

If the Army wanted to use the SCOUT SC for every single Cavalry and Recce unit they would need to increase the order by 100-120 units.

Peter Elliott
September 7, 2014 8:59 am

Is there not some thought that Armoured units may use MBTs for their organic recce troop in the future?