From CVR(T) to FRES to Ajax

The Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) was the project name for a class of medium weight armoured vehicles that were intended to replace a number of legacy British Army vehicles such as CVR(T) Scimitar and FV432. FRES has been called the poster child for all that is wrong with the Ministry of Defence and the British Army; hundreds of millions of Pounds and many years frittered away for no value.

Based on a previous Think Defence project, this is a substantial re-write, bringing the story up to date.

The story of FRES, what went before and what came after;

From Scorpion

CVR(T) Prototypes

To Ajax

Scout Ajax 1

Table of Contents

Introduction

The Sixties and Seventies

The Eighties

The Nineties

A Trip Across the Sava River

FCS and the Birth of FRES

2000 to 2005

2006 to 2010

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

2011 to 2014

Generic Vehicle Architecture

2015 to Today

 

 

 

 

 

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Allan
September 21, 2015 10:15 pm

As an outsider looking in – and a child of the original ‘Space Lego’ generation – hellfire….some of the shots look like giant Lego vehicles…. :)

Observer
Observer
September 22, 2015 3:13 am

I loved Space Lego.

I suspect some of the cost overruns is the result of “covering your arse” by the people in charge. Tests after tests with no firm results, or rather with results but no one dared to take the plunge and stamp their name on the conclusions lest it comes back and haunt their careers. So, more “tests” which absolutely do not matter. Most of the vehicles are analogous in performance so even if you picked X over Y, the “effect” is still the same. How much money could be saved if someone just went “screw it, pick a company with a good reputation and after sales service and place an order.”? A “super UOR” with long term maintenance and parts included?

Hohum
Hohum
September 22, 2015 8:43 am

First we should abandon the disingenuous attachment of the TRACER and other earlier costs to the current Scout/Ajax programmes- it helps nobody.

The current project is sensible, at reasonable cost, more-or-less on time and delivering excellent capability.

The earlier efforts failed for a variety of reasons ranging from over ambition down to (I would suggest) a lack of money to actually fund a procurement.

“More tests” are a very good idea, reducing risk as far as possible in the assessment phase cuts down on later nasty surprises and help fulfill requirements derived from operational experience. UORs are very effective at solving singular urgent operational problems (ie; my vehicles don’t have enough mine protection) but they are terrible at producing a well rounded product capable of operating in multiple scenarios for decades.

Observer
Observer
September 22, 2015 12:49 pm

@Hohum

I do get the sentiment of “looking before you leap” that more tests provide. Unfortunately, there has to come a time when someone has to say “Enough information, make a decision already!”. As someone who worked in a Multi-National Company before, I have noticed a tendency for procrastination until close to deadlines even for major projects. I suspect with an open ended deadline, no one wants to take any action until something blows up.

As for the “UORs are bad for long term”, that is speculation and more importantly a situation very, very dependent on the product. Some are short term, short duration items. Others can be very robust and long lasting. It is not the selection process that produces a quality/non-quality product, the product stands alone regardless of the selection process. The selection process just chooses or rejects the item.

Hohum
Hohum
September 22, 2015 1:12 pm

Hohum,

A platform acquired today may well serve 30 or 40 more years and have a procurement cost in the billions, I am quite happy that a few more million is being spent to make sure its right.

UORs are bad for the future, its not speculation its fact, we already know it.

Rocket Banana
September 22, 2015 3:22 pm

Excellent series TD.

Although rather laughable. I think whatever happens they’ll be damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 22, 2015 4:15 pm

Ajax will be almost identical to the Warrior, except it will be equipped like a cavalry / scout vehicle, such as for the family of the American Bradley, except for one detail, it does not have missiles on its turret, if it comes across a T-72 it will be destroyed. It will be a vehicle that cost about £ 6,000,000, which consume a lot of fuel, relatively slow, and no means to defend themselves against a tank, this leaves me very skeptical. The Scimitar had the Striker, who will protect Ajax.

Observer
Observer
September 22, 2015 4:17 pm
Reply to  Hohum

“UORs are bad for the future, its not speculation its fact, we already know it.”

Prove it. Prove that a selection process will change the quality of a product.

Hohum
Hohum
September 22, 2015 4:34 pm

MRAPs. Great for driving up and down roads in IED dense environments, wholly unsuited to anything else.

UOR is great at solving specific problems it is useless fir providing long enduring capability for diverse environments.

The fact you even wrote this “Prove that a selection process will change the quality of a product.” suggests you are completely out of your depth.

JamesF
September 22, 2015 5:08 pm

, I thought the whole point of a £6million network enabled recce vehicle with a glitzy day/night long range surveillance and targetting system is that if it comes across a T-72, the tank will be very unlikely to be able to know it’s there and quite quickly feel the benefit of Mr Apache or Uncle Brimstone.

JamesF
September 22, 2015 5:20 pm

On UORs, we learn a lot fighting wars, and technological advances are usually accelerated by that process. In a way I think FRES also got lost in that process. If we ever have to go to Syria, God forbid, MRAPs will be useful, as will the lessons we learnt which required all of the other UORs. We learnt from Afghanistan and Iraq that land forces need to be armoured – scooting around in softskins is no longer an option. Its interesting that a basic MRAP with good off road performance is what we are looking at for MRV-P, not a light truck. UORs help us to respond rapidly to lessons learned, which then feed into better requirements for procurement processes, but of themselves they are often not perfect solutions. Personally, I’d rather we learned the lessons than saved a few pennies.

stephen duckworth
September 22, 2015 5:39 pm

On the subject of UOR’s vs replacement programmes the new Humvee replacement might be a good example. The JLTV is costing £280k Inc R&D from Oshkosh ,a 4×4 with a little turret and a flatbed at the back to carry a pallet. 4 seater 4×4 bought by us costs £1m+ , no turret , no flatbed aka Foxhound.

as
as
September 22, 2015 5:51 pm

That T72 will get a LAW 80 shaped whole. No need to fit an anti tank missile system at great expense when you can just carry two to three in the back of the vehicle.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 22, 2015 6:02 pm

as,
1) Law 80 is out of service
2) The T72 outranges the Law80 (or the NLAW) by quite a margin
3) the T72 takes much less time to fire and hit a target than it does for one of the vehicle crew to dive into the back, grab a LAW (or two) get out, get a firing position, set up, aim and fire a shoulder-launched rocket.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 22, 2015 6:08 pm

JFMBE – ref MRV-P – not really MRAP territory as the cash per vehicle can only deliver something like 7t armour. The JLTV costs more than MRV-P’s required price and that’s being bought in bulk (17,000?), not in small batches. The MRV-P DE&S information page that carries the target spec states they want sets of vehicles in the range 5t – 15t (all protected) – I suggest it would be a frosty night in hell before they get a 15t armoured vehicle for the price they are prepared to pay.

as
as
September 22, 2015 6:35 pm

@mr.fred
Run and hide, then get out to shoot back or don’t get spotted in the first place.

Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) has a range of up to 600m.
Javelin has a range of 2500m.
That T72 can hit you out to at a push 4000m.
There are not many systems with that sort of reach.

So hide and wait till the get close enough to shoot back.
Its what anti tank teams have been doing right from the beginning.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 22, 2015 7:11 pm

I am not a fan of Ajax but we are getting it so we should make the most of it. I am now focusing on how we intend to use them, conjecture I know, but this is a forum after all.

Do we, given the reduced size of the Army, still need numerous Recce Regiments? Again Tier 1 opponents the Ajax will have to be paired with the Challenger 2 as it is outgunned by the opposition and to big etc. to avoid contact by stealth. The idea of relying on a few Javelin teams for self-protection, seems to be more a bit of spin to cover a gapping capability gap in the Army, that of a long range ATGW.

An Ajax equipped Regiment is going to be no less deployable than either an Armoured Infantry Regiment or even an Armoured Regiment. We will probably deploy combined arms Battalion level Battlegroups with a Squadron of Ajax, which leads me to the usage of the Ajax.

At most we should form a single Recce Regiment held a divisional level (Household Cavalry) like we plan to de with heavy artillery. It can deploy as a whole if we actually deploy on a divisional scale or squadrons to reinforce other formations. The bulk of the Ajax should be deployed as Recce Squadrons in each Armoured and Armoured Infantry Regiment. Other Ajax variants would also replace the Spartan and Sultan in these Regiments.

This will remove a Regiment form the Reaction Force Brigades, but hear again I think these formations are not what we really need for the future. They have a role and I would advocate retaining two, but I would also form two brigades equipped with what we are now calling the MIV. These would also be based around four Regiments. Each Regiment would have three infantry Companies equipped with a MIV armed with a RWS (12.7mm/40mm AGL), a Recce Company equipped with a MIV carrying the same turret as the Ajax, and a fire support Company with the Regiment support weapons. Ideally a direct fire support variant of the MIV should be developed in the future to equip a fifth company in each regiment, carrying either a 105mm or 120mm gun.

If you combing the above four brigades with the existing Rapid Reaction Brigade, you have a far more flexible force than the current planned three heavy Brigades. With the four brigades we have fourteen infantry Regiments, far better equipped than we do now. Once this is sorted out we would need to address the greater number of basically un-useable light role Regiments the Army retains. We will retain a Brigade for public duties, with a secondary role of rear area protection/support initially using many of the MRAPs brought back form Afghanistan. What is really need in the future is a cheaper protected platform able to operate as a battle taxi if required, a sort of a son of Saxon but with far better cross country mobility and mine protection, able to carry 8 dismounts. It would also be used to equip part of the RAF Regiment, supplementing or replacing their Panthers in a number of roles. If such a platform is ever procured it would equip at least one other brigade, preferably two, giving the Army a total of between twenty six and thirty Infantry regiments far more relevant to current and future needs that what is currently planned.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 22, 2015 7:28 pm

LJ – youch! MIV with Ajax turret atop? That’s a very heavy lump of ironwork to put on top of a wheeled APC; the thing would be forever falling over. Even worse with the extra tonne or so to fit a tank-sized gun.

Observer
Observer
September 22, 2015 8:03 pm

@Hohum

I suspect you are unable to differentiate an opinion, specifically your opinion, from facts. UOR is a purchasing system, it does not affect the quality of the product. It seems like you are simply regurgitating “common knowledge” that has been repeated in opinion pieces again and again without understanding the logic behind the “knowledge”. “They” say that because long term logistics sales was not a primary consideration during UOR selection. There is nothing stopping you from adding after sales support into the contract in the first place. Or even later for that matter. This makes the “future maintenance will be difficult” line a bit moot. You bought COTS or MOTS, there is going to be a fair bit of spares floating around in the market, much more than a specialized limited localized design and build, adding a post-sales maintenance contract should be easy, especially if it was a global company with wide reaching sales. After all, it is what companies all around the world do. It is just that the British government call it by a fancy term “UOR”. And pretends that having a “U” in the term gets them the equipment faster than any company in the private sector. It doesn’t.

@as

LAWs are unguided weapons, if the target is moving, the chances to hit go way down. IIRC RPG-7s have a hit probability of about 50% at >100m for moving targets (can’t remember how fast), other unguided weapons should have similar characteristics.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 22, 2015 8:05 pm

Son of Saxon with better cross-country mobility sounds like the ideal role for the 8×8 (or perhaps 6×6) wheeled platforms, to me.
Make sure that it has a hole in the roof that you can use for a Protected Weapon Station or Remote Weapon Station or even a small turret (1 man or remote, keep the top weight and silhouette down).
Protection against infantry weapons and artillery – these things should not be going up against armoured vehicles with mounted cannon.
If you want a recce version with a manned turret then you’d have to look at some way to reduce the hull height, a la Centauro.

as
as
September 22, 2015 8:24 pm

@Observer
NLAW guidence
http://www.army-technology.com/projects/mbt_law/
“In the predicted line-of-sight (PLOS) mode, the gunner tracks the target for three seconds and the missile’s guidance electronics makes a record of the gunner’s movement as he aims and computes the flight path to the predicted position of the target. It is unnecessary for the gunner to consider the range or angular speed of the target. After launch the missile flies autonomously to the target. The missile’s position in its trajectory always coincides with the target irrespective of range.”

Observer
Observer
September 22, 2015 8:28 pm

@as

I was thinking of things like the LAW80 that you mentioned and the old 66mm LAW.

mickp
mickp
September 22, 2015 8:39 pm

@LJ “a Recce Company equipped with a MIV carrying the same turret as the Ajax,”
So something like this then – 40mm CTA?
http://www.armyrecognition.com/french_army_france_wheeled_armoured_vehicle_uk/jaguar_ebrc_6x6_reconnaissance_combat_armoured_vehicle_ebmr_scorpion_technical_data_sheet_pictures.html

Other the projects in train, Ajax, Warrior, MRV-P, MIV etc, I think the missing link is just some truly air portable firepower to support RM / 16 AAB or to act as recon in the adaptable brigades or firepower for RAF regiment say. This one even has built in missiles

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 22, 2015 8:43 pm

The LAW80 had a ballistically matched spotting rifle built into it for the purpose of increasing the hit probability against moving targets.

as
as
September 22, 2015 9:24 pm

The 40mm CTA Cannon Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APFSDS-T) round is able to penetrate more than 140 mm of RhA (Rolled homogeneous Armour) at 1500 m. That is not that bad.

Ok no good for third gen tanks but most other Armoured vehicles should be able to deal with them.
Some older tanks like the T54 that have garbage amour.

as
as
September 22, 2015 9:34 pm

@TD
That’s an interesting one. I’ve never seen any mention of the cost per round. How does it compare to a normal 40mm or 30mm round?

as
as
September 22, 2015 10:22 pm

The GAU-8 avengers 30×173mm rounds supposedly cost something like $65 (£42) a round.
So our 40mm cost something like $650 (£423) per round if @TD Is right.
Ok that is expensive but compared to any missile its still cheap.

stephen duckworth
September 22, 2015 10:35 pm

The cost per round should come down IF they can get more orders for the gun , more users , more rounds used etc . With only us and the French using them in very limited numbers its going to be very low production rates. In the end though aa 40mm 21st Century developed round is going to properly F**k up any equivalent opposition as well as trash the thinner bits , more vunerable bits of any tank whilst Ajax is accelerating backwards behind the nearest hill ;-) Sometimes its not just how you use it , its how big it is!

as
as
September 22, 2015 11:08 pm

http://www.pmulcahy.com/ammunition/autocannon_ammunition.html

30mm Rarden
(APFSDS) $413 per case of 36 rounds

30x173mm
(APFSDS) $1172 per case of 100 rounds

Can not find a cost per round anywhere

whitelancer
whitelancer
September 22, 2015 11:38 pm

I have to say I don’t like Scout/Ajax. I don’t understand the rational behind it. I believe it is too heavy, too large and under-armed. But even if you accept that a large heavily armoured vehicle is the way to go, its been poorly executed. Putting a large turret with a large sensor on what amounts to a standard APC/IFV hull does not produce an effective vehicle. It just makes it larger and heavier than it need be. Compare for instance Scorpion/Scimitar with Spartan, same basic vehicle but with different hull superstructure, this means that with turrets fitted Scorpion/Scimitar were no taller than Spartan and lighter. If the same had been done with Ajax at least it would have been a step in the right direction.
Moving on to the press release from GD when the order for Scout SV was announced I quote

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.

To pick up on just one of the statements made, “…with a reduced logistic footprint”. Reduced compared to what? The only combat vehicle with a larger logistics footprint is Challenger 2, at best it will be no worse than Warrior. Unless the intention is to replace Challenger 2 with Ajax that statement is completely false. In fact considering it is replacing CVR(T) the logistic burden is going to increase enormously.

wf
wf
September 22, 2015 11:41 pm

Actually I think is correct. Ajax needs some form of anti-tank weapon as does the M3 Bradley. In an ideal world, it would be a high velocity kinetic energy missile like LOSAT or the proposed CKEM to match the killing power and rate of fire of a tank gun. More likely, a few Brimstone in bins to the side of the turret….

as
as
September 23, 2015 1:12 am

Really we need a dedicated anti tank version. A replacement for Striker. Vertical launch tubes with brimstones in sounds good. Striker carried five plus five reloads so if it Ajax is a larger platform so may be eight with four reloads would be nice. Lease reloads if it gives you more room for launch tubes.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 2:23 am

But how will the heavy focus in missiles be matched against the Russian preference for ERA and ADS? No point getting a missile based ATGM system, no matter how fond I am of them, if the enemy has defence against it, and layered defences at that, and for better or worse, the Russians are most likely to be the people you are up against. Or at least their exports.

HK
HK
September 23, 2015 2:27 am

I think Frenchie means that this would have been a better choice… 22 tonnes, gun and missiles ;-)

http://s3images.coroflot.com/user_files/individual_files/174543_w7gbydei7lf2efjwfh_m8lobr.jpg

(Nice CGI, more here: http://www.coroflot.com/RoberDigiorge/Project-EBRC-Jaguar)

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 3:05 am

@HK

Whatever works. :)

Dahedd
Dahedd
September 23, 2015 7:14 am

The UK does seem loathe to equip its armoured vehicles wIth additional missiles. Didn’t the Kuwaiti Warrior come with a TOW system fitted?

I know they won’t want IFVs engaging enemy Tanks but “shit happens” Surely the addition of a Javelin to the turret or the purchase of a dedicated missile overwatch vehicle makes sense. That and a Tank Destroyer variant.

Would the current setup on the Stormer work vs a Tank? Would Starstreak or a variant of be an effective anti tank weapon?

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 8:01 am

@Dahedd

I think they used to. They had Swingfire missiles on quite a lot of things IIRC, then for some reason it fell out of fashion. It got replaced by the Javelin, but I guess mounting the Javelin hasn’t trickled down to a lot of units yet, especially considering that COIN was the BA’s biggest headache in recent years instead of Soviets pouring across the Fulda Gap.

Hohum
Hohum
September 23, 2015 8:23 am

Observer,

You are talking crap, you are genuinely trying to argue that simply buying stuff without proper evaluation is a good idea for generating long-term capability. You will be arguing against oxygen for humans next.

Obsvr
Obsvr
September 23, 2015 8:26 am

In service, Swingfire was only mounted on two AFVs, FV438 and Striker. The former served the mech inf, the latter armd recce. Swingfire was ‘fly-by-thumb’, a mode significantly inferior to SACLOS and automated guidance.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2015 8:31 am

May 2014 saw successful trials of a LM turret with Javelins mounted. That particular turret had a 30 mm gun installed, so even though the test firings were in the UK, the effort may be directed at the US upgunning initiative (from their current 25 mm).

LMUK Ampthill is the UK party in that project.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 23, 2015 8:41 am

TD’s viewing pleasure included a short vid which must be from those said trials. So a little bit of tweaking with turreted AFVs and something like this
http://armyrecognition.com/israel_israeli_armi_light_heavy_weapons_uk/spike_nlos_rafael_electro-optically_guided_missile_israel_israeli_army_pictures_technical_data_sheet.html
onto the SV Overwatch versions that will number about 1 in 10 vs the turreted versions
– handy though, direct fire and indirect fire in the same package; no need for line-of-sight gives a far greater “overwatch radius”. This may be the explanation for the relatively low total number planned?

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 23, 2015 8:48 am

All the images of EBRC (Jaguar as now named) look narrow, short in length and tall? I noted before that the modern turreted wheeled vehicles seem too tall for their own good, especially when they teeter on a narrow track short wheelbase chassis. I suspect there is a hint of ‘looking modern’ about it – making all armour cheese-nosed and externally featureless? In doing so the annoyances of wheelarches and suspension pockets and driveline accommodation all give the underlying armour structure unnecessarily complex shapes with lots of internal corners to trap blast pressure fronts. More fashion than functionality, trying to look sleek (if such a thing is possible with armour) in the eye of the purchasing government as a lever to gain sales.

mickp
mickp
September 23, 2015 9:03 am

“All the images of EBRC (Jaguar as now named) look narrow, short in length and tall? I noted before that the modern turreted wheeled vehicles seem too tall for their own good, especially when they teeter on a narrow track short wheelbase chassis.” I agree, there was an earlier vehicle called the Sphinx (not sure if it got beyond demonstrator) that looked lower and better in my view- a modern day Saladin!

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 23, 2015 9:09 am

I thought Sphinx (Sphynx?) was a good effort too. A lot of thought went into that design, from the information available online.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 10:25 am

@Hohum

So what is stopping you from getting the supplier to sign a long term maintenance contract? He gets a fixed rate, any long term problems are his problems, not yours. I think you did not work out quite what the “evaluations” affect. And quit it with the ad hominem attacks if you please, it has no place in a serious discussion.

So can you tell me why signing a maintenance contract for a fixed rate means more cost for the UK when you have actually shuffled most of the risk to the supplier?

AKM
AKM
September 23, 2015 10:39 am
Reply to  as

AS, that website you link to is a resource for the game Twilight 2000, not really applicable as a source of real world data! :)

Hohum
Hohum
September 23, 2015 11:00 am

Observer,

Epic misdirection, we were talking about UORs are unsuitable for developing long-term capability and you start banging on about maintenance agreements- where you still manage to be wrong.

Contractors have a choice in what they bid for, try and put too much risk onto them and they walk away. I know of several who have been burned badly and are actually reducing their risk tolerance as a consequence. For a public example look at Serco and the Australian Armidale contract. The alternative is to make the contract extremely expensive so the contractor can still make a profit even if things go badly.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 11:03 am

@AKM

:)
Believe it or not, some game vocabulary did “infect” our army jargon. Specifically THACO from D&D. It became a slang term for “luck that doesn’t depend on skill”.

“He shot the ground and the round bounced into the target? That’s just THACO (prounounced Thy-ko).”
“His friend shot his range target by accident and he got his marksmanship badge? THACO!”

:P

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 23, 2015 11:21 am

Lets get started. I suggested that a MIV carrying the same turret as the Ajax would be a good fit for the Recce Company in the Infantry Regiments I proposed by equipped as such. This was simply the easiest option. Modern 8×8 can carry such a turret and many demonstrators have been shown doing so. Yes they are large platforms but that is reality. In addition the CTA40 would give the Regiments some direct fire capability. It would also allow the correcting of one recognised omission in the Ajax, in that the Recce MIV could be fitted with a Telescopic mast as there would be plenty of space to do so.

Regarding heavy ATGW, I was under the impression the British Army intended to replace Swingfire with TRIGAT LR, but that this was cancelled at the same time as TRIGAT MR. By the way Swingfire was in its final version a SACLOS missile and very accurate and effective against many targets due to its long range and large warhead (excluding ERA etc.).

Why the Army has not brought in a replacement seems to be purely as a result of higher priorities. Long range AT work is now the domain of the Challenger 2, partly justifying its retention and of course the Apache. NLAW and Javelin give the infantry some punch, but the Infantry battalions lack an integral long range AT capability. If the MIV brigades were formed I am pretty sure the priority for a long range AT capability would rise, either as a direct fire platform or a ATGW carrier. My preference is for the former as active protection systems are going to become more affordable in the future and hence more common. Fine you can overwhelm these with numbers but given the cost per round and probable shortage of launch platforms this would be far from ideal.

Could a platform such as the MIV carry a large gun. Well yes but It would be better if a platform “Based” on the MIV was developed, as has been suggest like the Centauro, rather than just bolt on a turret to the standard platform. In principal this could also replace some or all of the Challenger 2 fleet if the protection, both active and passive was acceptable.

It is a great shame, if as suggested, the Boxer is out of the running for consideration in filling the MIV requirement. its modularity gave it many advantages over its rivals and it was basically designed to UK specs. If politics can be ignored I would like to see the AMV being adopted, rather than the VBCI, as it is far more developed. As for the Piranha, well I believe it has reached the end of its development potential. It is still an effective platform, but with out a complete redesign, becoming a totally new platform, it should not really be considered, and the VBCI needs much greater development which I believe the UK should not fit the bill for.

I truly hope the CTA40 becomes a success. Its small size compared to other weapons of a similar size and the compactness of the ammo should make it very appealing to other customers. The problem is at present it is the new boy on the block and is not actually in service. Once it is I think things will look quite bright as countries overhaul and replace existing platforms and look to counter opposition that has improved their defences against ATGW and smaller calibre auto-cannons.

Finally giving the Ajax and AA capability using the planned AHEAD style round would be very useful against smaller UAVs and other targets. I would also like to see the Ajax being used to replace the Stormer as the platform for the Starstreak, with the turret being modified to the Thor configuration allowing alternative weapons to be fired such as the Martlet (LMM) and ATGWs, allow a multirole capability and flexible support platform. The Thor has been developed and tested so should be low risk option. With both a SPAA based on cannon and missiles, but being effective against other targets, yet more holes in the Army’s capabilities would be filled, but again it is a matter of priorities.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 23, 2015 11:32 am

Talking of cannons/guns, at DSEi Denel had a similarly compact 30mm gun called GI-30; described as a 30x173mm externally powered cannon. The NATO standard ammunition is held in 25-round magazines attached to the breech so no belts or chutes to contend with, and spent cartridges (the flyer says) are punched out forward above the barrel. Quite a neat device to integrate I would imagine.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 11:36 am

@Hohum

If you see it as “Epic Misdirection” and cannot accept any viewpoint but your own, then I think any further form of conversation or even communication with you is useless.

Hohum
Hohum
September 23, 2015 11:59 am

Observer,

I accept fact based viewpoints, that is where you have fallen down.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 23, 2015 12:06 pm

TD – that’s the one. In the image there the LH magazine has less capacity presumably to leave space for a coax MG (or gunners sight?)

Martin
Martin
September 23, 2015 12:33 pm

we might have lost an empire and no longer be a world power but at least we can still come up with awesome names for stuff. Loving Athena.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 1:09 pm

Personally, I think that one of the weaknesses in the trend towards RWS is the fact that a lot of the ammo storage is outside of the hull. It is going to be a very brave gunner who is going to have to stick his head out of the turret, sans even a gunshield and reload the weapon. If someone even thought of carrying extra ammo inside the vehicle and not just rely on the “ready to use”. Call me a traditionalist, but I still think the internal ammo-bin/feed chute system is still the way to go, even if you have to mount the HMG/GPMG/GMG on its side.

@LJ

Regarding telescopic masts, I’m not sure if they are really worth the extra cost and effort. Like RT, my idea of the perfect recce is 2 men deployed belly down on the crest of a hill with binos while their “recce vehicle” hides on the reverse slope. If you want to engage with ATGMs, EO missiles carry their own camera, so there is no need for a mast mounted camera when you can use the missile’s. I just don’t see the point in adding another thing that can break for a marginal capability that proper deployment and other equipment is able to cover.

As for the gun/missile systems et al, I do agree that it seems like a sensible way to go. I was thinking that one of the possible “future” developments for ATGMs to bypass ADS might be a standoff trigger somewhat similar to the old SADARM where the round fires the metal “spear” into the top hatch before the round enters the engagement range of the ADS. Might help bypass the Russian tendency towards anti-missile systems.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 23, 2015 1:54 pm

@Lord Jim
I don’t think that you need a large 8×8 for your wheeled vehicle program, it would make a new heavy vehicle, a wheeled 33 tonnes vehicle like Boxer would be redundant with tracked vehicles, it would make more sense to take a median vehicle . Patria AMV 6×6 version would be a better choice, or an American Stryker. I am for the creation of one or two “Stryker Brigade” which would expand the options for action of the British Army. Otherwise you will only be involved in conflicts of high intensity due to lack of operational mobility by the fact that these vehicles are not transportable by A400M and that the British army would not be able to deploy a brigade anywhere in the world in a short time.

Observer
Observer
September 23, 2015 1:55 pm

@TD

Guess I’m just old fashioned. And paranoid. Seen too many things break in normal usage, even when they are “theoretically” not supposed to. Especially during rollovers. Unless the mast is stowed really well, the vehicle is going to roll over it. There goes your camera, TI and NVB. On the other hand, that is what happens to turrets and RWS when a rollover happens too so I guess it’s just my “comfort level” doesn’t reach up to the level of masts. :)

wf
wf
September 23, 2015 3:10 pm

@Lord Jim: be aware Javelin has the kinematic capability to go out to 4750m, it’s the resolution of it’s IR sensor that restricts it to 2500m. At the moment, anyway!

stephen duckworth
September 23, 2015 3:40 pm

With GDLS Europe building both the AJAX and the Pirahna V ( the European Stryker) could commonality be a factor. Same engine series , a manufacturer already familiar with the British Army’s needs and wants in detail of fit out etc could sway the choice and a cast iron guarantee to manufacture in the UK along side a greater UK involvement in AJAX (@ units 200 up IIRC) perhaps on a side by side production line. The US version has used a heavy cannon(105mm) in service and much will of been learnt in this respect.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 23, 2015 5:32 pm


In my idea of an ideal world the proposed MIV would actually replace the Warrior, possibly using the turrets designed for the upgrade to turn the MIV into a wheeled IFV. I agree that the MIV I envisage will be on the heavy side (30t+) but it is going to be a front line platform and need protection. For the two to three brigades outside the reaction force something like the AMV would be ideal if the price was right.

What I would like to see is the UK following the US example and try to borrow (both Italy and Spain need the money) a number of wheeled platform variants, enough for a company say, to carry out operational trials to see what works and what doesn’t in regards to organisation, tactics and so on. I would prefer this to ordering platforms and then adjusting their roles to fit.

With Javelin, for a vehicle mounted version would it be possible to have a larger sighting unit to increase its effective range? That would certainly go someway to fill the lack of a Heavy ATGW in a British Army. Adapting the Thor turrets sighting system to be compatible with Javelin would be useful in theory.

Turning to two man team, EO Masts etc. well this works but we will have the wrong platform. Using the Wolfhound for Recce sections would be a way forward for the dismounted option, and probably be the cheapest. Better still would be something like the Fennek which combines the best of all worlds, small, “Stealthy”, excellent sensors and can carry its crew plus 2 to three dismounts. One issue currently with using dismounts is the amount of gear they need to observe, communicate to everyone, target etc. A platform like the Fennek carries all that. As things get smaller and lighter I am sure things will get easier for the footslogger though. When mentioning my theoretical Brigades I was trying to avoid introducing a new platform such as the Fennek for the recce role in the MIV Regiments, but that would be my first choice, even using it in the ATGW role as the Dutch are.

Dahedd
Dahedd
September 23, 2015 5:44 pm

Thanks TD for the link to the old thread on missiles.

The first comment features a Spike being launched from a Plasan Sandcat. The Foxhound would surely be an excellent platform for similar use.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 23, 2015 6:46 pm

Replacing the Warrior with an 8×8 seems to me to only be an option if we were five years ago and it hadn’t happened, or if someone came up with a substantial sum of money to compensate for the wastage.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the gap in the British Army’s fleet is that currently filled by Mastiff. A relatively cheap, wheeled and hence mobile, protected mobility asset.
Weapons stations and support weapons are probably a good idea, but thirty to forty tonne armoured fighting vehicles are too heavy to provide the mobility needed, especially on wheels. It is also a hollow force as it has nothing to back it up.
6 wheelers look useful, but I wonder if an 8 wheeler might be more appropriate for long range transport, more of a tour bus than a battle taxi. Maybe there is room for both and a vehicle platform with both chassis available would be useful.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 23, 2015 6:49 pm

mr.fred I bet you’d never guess my set of vehicles includes just what you ask for…

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 23, 2015 7:00 pm

Thank you for your reply Lord Jim, I understand better what you want to do and I agree.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 23, 2015 7:23 pm

I would also add that the limitation on the Javelin’s range is more likely a limitation of the seeker’s resolution (64×64 pixels) than that of the sighting system (240×2 scanning)

JamesF
September 23, 2015 7:39 pm

Interesting to see that in the Army 2020 reorganisation each of the 3 artillery regiments attached to 3rd mechanised divsion now has 3x AS90 batteries, 1 xMLRS battery and a troop of Exactor in addition to a HQ battery with Joint Fires Teams (who will probably get Ajax as targeting taxis). A troop of Exactor is not a lot, maybe 2-4 systems, but that’s some long range anti-tank punch too.

JamesF
September 23, 2015 7:48 pm

I think we underestimate what bringing the Ajax family, Warrior II, Wildcat and Watchkeeper into the fold will do. Overnight we will have gone from rather elderly metal box and power whisk force to a network enabled new armoured infantry, cavalry force with excellent tactical ISTAR. If we can add to that an air mobile wheeled IFV brigade (for urban/hybrid conflicts at range), AH-64Es with brimstone, reasonably good CLEP or new buy of MBTs and enough MRV-P to make sure all of our force troops and elite light infantry can have protected mobility if deployed, we will be in a very good place. A few more heavyweight ATGWs and some more capable artillery and ammunition would help too – but one thing at a time.

Observer
Observer
September 24, 2015 2:26 am

@James

Maybe. Before you decide what to buy, it might be a good idea to decide how you want to fight beforehand. For example, if you are on the defensive, it would be a good idea to strengthen your infantry, which is ubiquitous and suited for holding territory. This means a long ranged light support tank along the lines of the CVR(T) is viable since it is the infantry that is taking the bulk of the work of taking enemy fire and that investments into infantry ATGMs would yield good dividends. Inversely, if you are taking an aggressive stance that involves penetration into enemy held areas, the need for mobility almost certainly calls for vehicles, while the need for protection and hence the weight of the vehicle shoots up like a rocket. So before the buying spree, let us think of how we are going to use the Army first.

As a broad brushstroke, I think we can peg the operations into 2 components: 1) Aggressive or defensive and 2) Against a military or against an insurgency. Aggressive vs defensive I already broadly laid out the differences, against a military or against an insurgency affects things like “IED” protection. Against a military, “IEDs” or “mines” are actually less of a threat, uniformed enemies don’t have access to your lines of supply that an insurgency has. Levels of protection also differ. It is rare for an insurgent to have a 125mm high velocity cannon, usually you get things like RPG-7s or Kornets. Weapon wise, MGs and GMGs are usually more than enough, 105/120mm on insurgents is usually overkill. Not that it is a bad thing, just that the armoured vehicles that the 120mm is meant to kill are not usually part of an insurgent’s toolkit.

So what is the concept of operations for the “New British Army”?

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 24, 2015 3:12 am

Well it seems someone has well and truly lit a fore under the British Army’s ideas department. First we recently has the announcement of the MIV programme to provide the Army with a wheeled platform. Them came the announcement of the “Land Joint Strike Concept. Now the Head of the British Army has announced that the future of Britain’s MBT fleet is rising up the priorities ladder, with options ranging from a basic CLEP replacing obsolete parts, to a major CLEP to actually buying a new platform. No timescale has been announced but it appear the appearance of the Russian T-14 Armata has stirred things up. Given that in the past only the first option has been thought likely, and even that was on the slow burner, Are the Army ramping up the ante ahead for the SDSR to make the case for additional funding to cover all these new concepts and programmes?

Monty
September 24, 2015 12:11 pm

I had a good look at Ajax at DSEi. It isn’t MOTS, but a comprehensive redesign of the ASCOD 2 platform and gives us exactly what we want for heavy armour reconnaissance and medium weight strike roles. The level of protection is astonishing for this class of AFV. It seems as though it will be a highly flexible and capable platform and much more so than the French EBRC Jaguar wheeled vehicle. (As Chris points out, a 6×6 configuration weighing 25 tonnes with a 6-tonne high-mounted turret is not an ideal recipe for cross-country agility). The Scout SV family will go anywhere without a problem. Of course, Cold War 2 underlines the enduring need for heavy armour and the tank killing ability of CR2’s 120 mm kinetic APFSDS projectiles. If we deployed Ajax against a peer threat, it is almost certain that Javeline launchers would be added and i think you’ll find that Javelin’s range is now well beyond the original 2,000 metres.

Also at DSEi was the latest version of CV90. This has matured into a truly an excellent vehicle. It now has hydropneumatic suspension, banded tracks and a pretty impressive digital backbone. We may not have bought it for Scout SV, but that hasn’t stopped BAE Systems from developing it further. Norway has just acquired a bunch of CV9035 Recce vehicles with the 35 mm Bushmaster III. I think it will be interesting to compare it to Ajax.

Where both Ajax and CV90 will struggle is in operations that require independent self-deployment over long-distances. Neither will be able to keep up with an 8×8 fleet on roads. Fleet mechanical availability tests I’ve seen show that tracked vehicles still don’t have the same degree of reliability as wheeled ones. Those armies that have 8x8s love them because they genuinely offer a superb range of capabilities across different operational scenarios. For this reason I welcome the adoption of MIV and I’ll take as many as we can afford, please. AMV, Boxer, VBCI 2 or Piranha 5 have all come a long way since the 2007 Trials of Truth. They’re very close in performance and we’ve seen the category converge in terms of specifications, weights and variant types. What the BA chooses will be a great vehicle. I guess it will boil down to cost. However, as US Army experience in Iraq and Afghanistan shows, whatever we choose will need a larger weapon than a 12.7 HMG in a RWS mount. Germany is considering adding 30 mm cannon-equipped regiments to its Boxer infantry battalions to create wheeled rapid reaction brigades. All US Stryker Brigades in Europe are getting the 30 mm Bushmaster II. We should do the same. I would mount 40 mm CTA or 30×173 mm Bushy II in an unmanned Kongsburg MCT-30. It weighs 2 tonnes instead of 6. By the way, 40 mm APFSDS rounds cost well north of £1,000 each – they’re eye-wateringly expensive; some would say unaffordable.

In terms of our overall Army 2020 structure, two proper UK divisions would make a lot of sense. I would have one heavy armour division on tracks with CR2, Warrior 2 and Ajax plus a medium division on wheels with MIV, MRV-P and Jackal. Add 16 Air Assault Brigade plus ad hoc infantry regiments to reinforce the two primary divisions and such a structure is definitely achievable within manpower levels of 82,000. This structure would enable us to do anything anywhere with a pretty fast reaction time.

MikeKilopapa
MikeKilopapa
September 24, 2015 2:36 pm
Reply to  as

@as

Some older tanks like the T54 that have garbage amour.

The T-54 and early T-55 have more than 200mm of armour (RHA) on BOTH turret and hull front and as such will have no problem stopping 40 mm APFSDS-T rounds , even from point blank range. T-62s and later versions of T-55 have much better armour so are even more immune.
Now the CT40 might be able to puch through the side armor of these tanks but then again so will any other medium caliber round from 30mm and up.
In short…as good as the CT40 might be , its NOT a “tank killer”

MikeKiloPapa
MikeKiloPapa
September 24, 2015 2:51 pm
Reply to  Monty

. Norway has just acquired a bunch of CV9035 Recce vehicles with the 35 mm Bushmaster III

While the upgraded norwegian CV90’s are indeed now mkIII’s, AFAIK they are retaining the 30mm Bushmaster II/Mk44 as their main armament,

http://www.tu.no/industri/2014/02/28/her-er-norges-nye-panservogn

google translated excerpt

When Norway runs from CV90 Mk I to Mk III, it is short, a transition from analog to digital tanks with better protection. In the first generation are no so-called vetronikk. Now, each carriage 200 IP addresses.

For the untrained eye looks new and old cars alike out. When it comes to match part of the system, the 30-millimeter machine gun the same. The point is that it be assisted by far better sensors, and aiming and upgraded towers.

Monty
September 24, 2015 4:15 pm

CV9035 is in service with Denmark and Netherlands, not Norway. My bad. Holland is selling its vehicles to Estonia. (Holland also sold its entire Leopard 2A6 fleet to Finland too. Nuts if you ask me.) CV9035 turret with Bushmaster III turret will be used on AMV CRV for Australian Land 400 bid.

http://defencetechnologyreview.realviewdigital.com/#folio=34

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2015 4:42 pm

Monty,

In the main I am in agreement with your argument, but this
” The Scout SV family will go anywhere without a problem”
is not true as there is no bridging capability provided within the same weight class. [ And Ajax, of course, is not amphibious either.]

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 24, 2015 4:48 pm

The Dutch are now going to lease back a Sqn’s worth of Leo’s from the Germans after they have been brought up to 2A6 standard. They are also going to integrate their 43 Mech Bde with the Germans 1 Panzer Div.

Dutch mechanized brigade to be integrated into German panzer division
http://www.janes.com/article/54636/dutch-mechanized-brigade-to-be-integrated-into-german-panzer-division

JamesF
September 24, 2015 4:48 pm

TD do you think the reason not to go for an elevating mast on Ajax is beacuse;

1) Not as good as a UAV and a lot more expensive than a day/night panoramic commander’s sight?
2) Cost – part of vaunted the ‘growth potential’ of the platform?
3) they want them to be dual purpose – light armour with a RWS or recce with the Orion commanders sight?
4) any combination of the above?

JamesF
September 24, 2015 4:53 pm

Also the ‘joint fire control’ and ‘ground based surveillance’ roles are due to have dismounts with addtional equipment, presumably for targeting and optical/radar surveillance. Do they think that a couple of guys climbing the nearest minaret or ridge is a better solution to a mast maybe?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2015 4:55 pm

Monty, great find, that last link:
” soon to be three users in *Europe*, not speculating on the Australia deal.

As NL has only a training squadron of tanks, Estonia none at all, I feel the supershot for the ATK 35 mm soon coming? One CV buyer (of the std 30mm Bushmaster) assessed the kill capacity of the 40 mm Bofors and the supershot to be the same… and chose the (potential) upgrade path, rather than the dead end with a gun that has not been developed since the 90’s, or probably 10-20 years before).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 24, 2015 5:02 pm

With reference to other comments on the thread.

1. The biggest gap in the army is not Mastiff, it is a Bulldog/432 replacement which could be replaced by an 8×8 if you want to go down the route of mixing wheels and tracks. (I am personally not a fan of doing this)

2. If you want something lighweight and portable then you are really looking at nothing above 15t. Anything heavier and you do not gain any advantage from the reduced weight of the vehicle. All of the new French vehicles are in the 22-24t range which excludes lifting by C130 and only allows one in an A400, so a vehicle in the weight ranges of Boxer, AMV etc would give you better protection and growth with pretty much the same air portability.

3. There is zero point in giving just the Infantry a new vehicle without also making it available to the close support units that support them. Mounting your CS units in Mastiffs will drastically reduce the maneuver capability of your formations. We have had a problem with CS units keeping up with the armoured formations since the introduction of Warrior and Challenger and they are mounted in Bulldogs so a Mastiff is going to be of no use in those formations.

4. There is no longer such a thing as a front line any more, it has been proved from the Balkans to Afghan, Hybrid, 3 block war whatever you want to call it is here to stay so we need a vehicle that is usefull enough in these scenarios and capable of supporting heavy armour when needed in the usual ten year dust up (if recent history is any indication) which generally points to an 8×8.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 24, 2015 6:03 pm

‘is not true as there is no bridging capability provided within the same weight class.’

We purchased a few sets of REBS for Afghan so there is assault bridging available or you could launch from a TBT plus we have ABLE.

@TD

Are you aware of what has happened to REBS since the draw down , has it been taken into core?

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 24, 2015 7:48 pm

Jaguar is currently only a vehicle that does not exist, but from what we can see from the specifications, there are many relevant things.

1- variable ground clearance. This gives an accurate driving profile.

– Down to the high speed highway;

– Medium for off-road;

– Up to the trapped areas.

2 – rear axle steering is a very good thing. This is a very big plus. Also for its inflation pressure variation.

3 – panning viewfinder is paramount. The observation skills, especially at night, are improved.

The shooter and the driver can control. This will be night observation without moving the turret. Low acoustic signature and energy saving.

The disadvantage of my idea is to extend the front of the survival of the cell frame. This increases the weight because it takes more shielding.

And don’t forget that it will be amphibious.

as
as
September 24, 2015 8:11 pm

T54 armour:- Frontal glacis 120 mm (4.7 in), sides 80 mm (3.15 in), rear 45 mm (1.77 in), turret front 200 mm (7.87 in), roof 30 mm (1.18), bottom 20 mm (0.79 in)

T55 armour:-Frontal glacis 120 mm (4.7 in), sides 80 (3.15 in), rear 45 (1.77 in), turret front 200 (7.87 in), roof 30 (1.18 in), bottom 20 mm (0.79 in)

T62A armour:- 20 (hull bottom) to 214 mm (turret front)

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/coldwar/USSR/coldwar_soviet_tanks.php

The 40mm CTA Cannon Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APFSDS-T) round is able to penetrate more than 140 mm of RhA (Rolled homogeneous Armour) at 1500 m. So it can pierce everywhere but the turret front which is 200mm.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2015 8:14 pm

Don’t know about any of these, and would be happy to learn:
“We purchased a few sets of REBS for Afghan so there is assault bridging available or you could launch from a TBT plus we have ABLE.”

My point was that if you have a recce formation that has high mobility and and high protection, but the bridges have been blown… is there anything in the same category that can get them across?

The Chally2- based assets are numerous (now that the MBT number is much down), but they don’t really fullfil that definition.

Observer
Observer
September 24, 2015 8:31 pm

@as

RHA numbers are only approximates, not to mention weapons testing is done fired 90 degrees at the target. In real life, the armour would be sloped which throws calculations off, especially on the front glacis. Add to that the effects of ERA and spaced add on armour and any calculations would end up very suspect.

I don’t think anyone uses RHA anymore, the measurement is a historical standard, not an “in use” armour type.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 24, 2015 8:34 pm

as,
my source says 100mm hull front, but sloped at 60 degrees, so that’s 200mm line of sight.
Side is 80mm, so that’s resistant to 40mm fire over a 30 degree frontal arc.
And that is neglecting any up armour work or limited behind armour effect on a marginal penetration.

ArmChairCiccy
ArmChairCiccy
September 24, 2015 8:36 pm
Reply to  as

@as Re comment 90,

I don’t know why we are discussing ancient tanks, except for the reason (perhaps?) that there are actually stats on them . A forum called InvisionFree says:

” Always hitting the side armor is unlikely, as that’s what the Israelis did during the Six Day War yet close to 35% of the hits are registered to hit the tank front 60º. During the Yom Kippur War near 55% of the hits were registered on the front 60º and during the Second World War (the most ‘copied’ war of NationStates) this percentage increases up to the 70% mark!

This doesn’t even begin to take into consideration the armor protection between the 60º and 90º protection arc in main battle tanks, or up to the 120º degree arc! The Black Eagle, for example, has explosive reactive armor integrated into the front 120º arc of the turret. One source claims a turret armor protection of up to 880mm for the Black Eagle, although if an improvement in side turret front armor over the T-80U is assumed then we’re looking at more than 400mm worth of protection against kinetic energy (KE) threats in terms of conventional armor.41 If Kontakt-5 provides 300mm worth of equivalent armor against APFSDS,42 then it’s possible that the Black Eagle has a side turret front protection level of over 700mm RHAe, and possibly up to 800mm RHAe.”
– quite different from the 120 to 204 mm RHAe?
– that nice frontal nose, around a modern Leo’s gun turret probably beats these numbers (from 2007) by order of 2 x ?

as
as
September 24, 2015 8:47 pm

@ArmChairCiccy
“I don’t know why we are discussing ancient tanks”
Because to this day the T55 is still the most numerous tank in service world wide so they have a tendency to be the tank that any enemy will have. A lot of these country’s use stock no upgraded examples.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 24, 2015 9:03 pm

Ok, let’s fight the Ogaden and Angola tank battles again. Can’t remember any, barring the Arab-Israeli ones where the thousands of tanks involved required the young & old to be put into the line, where the at least a T72 standard would not have been the main one to contend with?

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 25, 2015 3:09 am

Saying that the Ajax will not be able to fulfil it recce role as it isn’t amphibious and there is no AVLB in the same weight class ignores the fact that the CVR(T) was in exactly the same position.

The Iraqi army had far more T55 and Chinese knock off that T72s. The latter only equipped the Republican guard division where as the former though updated somewhat, provided the armour in all the Army divisions. Some ex soviet clients still use the T62, especially North Korea where it is their main tank. Yes there are many operators of the T72, but with the exception of Syria, the majority have at most 150, and many of these are actually second hand from ex-Warsaw Pact militaries. If we move to the T80, these are few and far between with Pakistan being the main export customer, with other user having less that 100 each. Finally with the T90, the main operators are India and Russia, the former having four times as many in service as the latter which was a surprise to me.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 25, 2015 3:24 am

Ok the CVR(T) could cross rivers if it use a flotation screen, but rather you then me.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 25, 2015 4:43 am

Regarding the Iraqis, I was of course referring to the first Gulf War and meant to say Republican Guard Divisions.

Chris
Editor
Chris
September 25, 2015 6:54 am

LJ – ref floating CVR(T) – a story. There was a sales team sent to South America to push CVR(T) exports. One of the selling points was that the armour could cross rivers without bridges. A demo was set and officials were invited to watch. One of the company team was on the ball – noticed that the river crossing had enough of a flow compared to the pedestrian speed of a swimming Scorpion for the vehicle to be washed downstream and out of sight before reaching the opposite bank. Not good for the spectators. So there was a conflab; the decision was made to run a line across the river to the obvious exit point onto which the vehicle would be hooked front and rear (so it kept pointing in the right direction and could continue to make its slow progress across). Big-wigs arrived; the demo team erected the canvas floatation screen; the top of the screen was as decided hooked onto the crossing line front & rear. The driver set the vehicle off into the water. All looked just fine until buoyancy lifted the tracks clear of the river bed… The force of the current pushing against the bluff side of the vehicle and its screen tried to push it downstream but the tethers at the top resisted – with a pivot axis at the top, the vehicle tipped with the force of the flow and the upstream edge of the screen dropped. It took just a few seconds for the canvas bucket, and the vehicle below, to fill with water. The driver reported that despite the flow of water piling in, his exit was the fastest he’d ever managed. I believe the senior officials left a bit unimpressed.

In all the attempts of floatation screens they share the same blindingly obvious issue; that they are wide open at the top and generally float with less than a foot of freeboard. that gives precious little resilience against choppy water, uneven terrain on landfall, or leakage. It would seem obvious that a spraydeck of canvas drawn in from the upper rim would dramatically increase resistance to water ingress over the top – shame this wasn’t tried. As it is, the effectiveness of floatation screens beyond the point where tracks can keep contact with the sea bed/river bed would seem best illustrated by this D-Day DD Sherman:
http://image.digitalinsightresearch.in/uploads/imagelibrary/IMG_7%20wrecks%20of%20D-Day.jpg

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 25, 2015 7:14 am

@LJ, sure, but when I said “to contend with” I meant what you have to be prepared to meet. Then there are the other assets, down to 1t trucks with a canvas cover over the back.

@Observer, if RHA as a std has been abondoned , how would you make any comparisons? Is there a new std (I believe it is still customary to convert into RHA equivalent while, of course, OpSec plays a big role).

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 25, 2015 10:02 am

UK explores Stryker vehicle platform at US exercise
http://www.janes.com/article/54803/uk-explores-stryker-vehicle-platform-at-us-exercise

‘Brigadier Robin Sergeant, the brigade’s commander, said the bulk of the UK contingent was at the AWA “to demonstrate that we are able, as a UK brigade – an organisation of five to seven thousand men and women – are able to fit into a US division”.’

Is there a possibilty of Strykers being purchased for MIV with the new brigade being seen as slotting straight into US formations?

Observer
Observer
September 25, 2015 10:18 am

Think you misunderstood. as(the person) used RHA as the benchmark for penetration, then assumed that any armour thickness figures was automatically RHA, which is not a given. It could be 200mm of composite for example, or ERA, or spaced armour, which would make like for like comparisons unreliable.

Observer
Observer
September 25, 2015 10:26 am

I really should compile all these into one reply.

@DN

I’m really not so sure about the Stryker, in my eyes, it looks light. Very light. I know the later models have weight creep up to the 25+/- tons, but that is using up their growth potential early. Might as well get a 25 ton monster at the start (and all the protection that implies) and have some room left over for weight creep, applique etc. It might be a visual illusion but it looks to me that the wheeled IFV/APC might have a bit more protection than the contemporary tracked IFV. Or it could simply be a matter of newer armour technology. Or simply an illusion. Compare how a Warrior looks with how a new Boxer looks, it does seem that the Boxer is tougher.

Peter Elliott
September 25, 2015 10:41 am

I read it that the Army is experimenting with how a company and a brigade can use 8×8 in the generic sense. It happens to be Strykers becuase this exercise is with the Americans and they’ve got enough of them not to mind lending us a few, plus they train at scale. So far so interesting but I wouldn’t conclude that Stryker is put at any significant advantage in the MIV competition by this exercise.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 25, 2015 12:19 pm


I understand, it brings up a question I have asked many times but all I have received in return is silence. That question is, “Who are the opponents we should be using as a benchmark the planning the future procurement, ad structure of Britain’s armed forces”?

Many people talk about the need for Heavy formations but not who we are likely to need them against. If the heavy equipment is to be used to support lighter formations them do we really need three large heavy Brigades?

There is also the size of possible deployments, and the much vaunted ability to deploy a Heavy division to support the Rapid Reaction brigades, actually down to one as 16 Airmobile Bde, has lost its integral Apaches and so is now a very weak formation with only two battalions plus support units. Yes we will be retaining this ability on paper, but even if Mr Putin rolls into the Baltics I cannot see us deploying more than a heavy Brigade, two at most.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 25, 2015 12:45 pm
Reply to  Observer

Observer @10:18, sure, the conversion to RHA is the dark art… worth a lot of money

Monty
September 25, 2015 1:41 pm

DavidNiven said:

1. The biggest gap in the army is not Mastiff, it is a Bulldog/432 replacement which could be replaced by an 8×8 if you want to go down the route of mixing wheels and tracks. (I am personally not a fan of doing this)
MIV IS CONCEIVED TO BE A REPLACEMENT FOR BOTH MASTIFF AND FV430 SERIES VEHICLES. MOST MODERN 8X8S CAN DO EVERYTHING THAT FV430 COULD DO BUT ARE BETTER PROTECTED AND MORE MECHANICALLY RELIABLE. I AM NOT A FAN OF MIXING WHEELS WITH TRACKS EITHER: TRACKS CANNOT KEEP UP WITH WHEELS ON LONG ROAD DEPLOYMENTS.

2. If you want something lighweight and portable then you are really looking at nothing above 15t. Anything heavier and you do not gain any advantage from the reduced weight of the vehicle. All of the new French vehicles are in the 22-24t range which excludes lifting by C130 and only allows one in an A400, so a vehicle in the weight ranges of Boxer, AMV etc would give you better protection and growth with pretty much the same air portability.
FOXHOUND AND JACKAL FALL INTO THE SUB-15-TONNE CLASS AND WE ALREADY HAVE PLANS TO EQUIP THREE INFANTRY BATTALIONS AND THREE CAVALRY REGIMENTS WITH EACH TYPE RESPECTIVELY.

3. There is zero point in giving just the Infantry a new vehicle without also making it available to the close support units that support them. Mounting your CS units in Mastiffs will drastically reduce the maneuver capability of your formations. We have had a problem with CS units keeping up with the armoured formations since the introduction of Warrior and Challenger and they are mounted in Bulldogs so a Mastiff is going to be of no use in those formations.
THE MCC TEAM AT ARMY HQ ANDOVER WOULD LOVE YOU FOR THIS REMARK. YOU ARE 100% RIGHT. WE NEED CAVALRY REGIMENTS EQUIPPED WITH A DEDICATED 8X8 MGS / FSV VEHICLE AND ARTILLERY REGIMENTS WITH AN 8X8 MOUNTING SOMETHING LIKE A 120 MM BREECH LOADED MORTAR AS A 105 MM GUN REPLACEMENT.

NOT SURE ABOUT USING M1126 (PIRANHA 3) AS THE MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE WEIGHT FOR THE VEHICLE IS ONLY 19 TONNES, MEANING IT CANNOT CARRY THE SAME AMOUNT OF ARMOUR AS BOXER, VBCI OR AMV WHICH NOW ALL GO TO 32 TONNES. PIRANHA 5 WOULD BE BETTER THAN PIRANHA 3.

4. There is no longer such a thing as a front line any more, it has been proved from the Balkans to Afghan, Hybrid, 3 block war whatever you want to call it is here to stay so we need a vehicle that is usefull enough in these scenarios and capable of supporting heavy armour when needed in the usual ten year dust up (if recent history is any indication) which generally points to an 8×8.
AMEN.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 25, 2015 1:46 pm

ACC,
RHA conversion also comes with the entertainment that it is different depending on what the threat is. CE vs KE and AP vs blunt to name a few.

Lord Jim,
Whatever the answer is, it ought to be consistent and should not delude itself.
I would suggest the broadest range of utility available, so some wheeled, lightly protected AFVs would seem sensible. What I wouldn’t want to do is try and put these large silhouette, thin-skinned up against a half-way competent fighting force with modern weapons. Defences against 30mm cannon, for example, is deeply questionable since the only place these weapons are found are on AFVs, If you are fighting someone operating AFVs then you need something equivalent.
An example opponent, at the moment? Russian or Chinese equipment seems the most likely adversary right now. We might want to consider the likelihood of systems traditionally linked to the Western hemisphere being used against us. Since we are likely to procure systems for the long haul, the ability to cover all bases would seem sensible, even if that requires the dreaded FFBNW.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 25, 2015 2:13 pm

Monty,

Why do you want a 32 tonne wheeled vehicle? What is it going to be protected against?
The capability to go that high might be nice if you could also reliably and efficiently run the vehicle at a 10t level.
120mm Mortar might be good off the shelf, though I’d like to consider a 105mm light gun update.
A modern vehicle beating the 1960’s FV430 in terms of mobility, reliability and protection (at twice the GVW) shouldn’t really be any kind or surprise or really anything to crow about.

The FV430 series is to be replaced by SV and ABSV, both of which make more sense for supporting their respective battlegroups in terms of logistics and mobility than a wheeled vehicles.
So the Mastiff-equipped formations, brought into core from UOR and wearing out, are for me the gap in capability.

Observer
Observer
September 25, 2015 3:09 pm

mr fred, think the more appropriate question might be “What do you want to do with a 32-ton wheeled vehicle?”, and the answer is probably something along the lines of “Replacement for the Warrior/Bradley”, a medium weight cav screen vehicle. I disagree on the 10-tons low weight limit because by the time you uparmour it to 30 tons, there is no longer any more margin for error. Unfortunately, this might mean a dual vehicle fleet, one high mobility 10-ton vehicle and another high intensity 30-ton combat vehicle.

On the other hand, the characteristics of a 10-ton light armoured vehicle and a 30-ton medium armoured vehicle is so different that both of them can’t possibly use a similar playbook, so maybe a split might be for the best lest a 30-ton configured vehicle hides from 14.5mm rounds while a driver forgets that he is driving a 10-ton missing applique and drives into penetrating fire.

Personally, I think the main problem we have is that there are 2 types of possible wars to plan for in the future and both have somewhat contradictory requirements, along with a few other unique quirks of the NATO army. First you have possible high end opposition like Russia or more likely other Middle Eastern states, which require fairly heavy protection and firepower and mobility to strike deep into the enemy. This is counterbalanced by the COIN wars that you have been sucked into post-invasion, which do not need heavy firepower or protection, but require substantial presence, route security and IED protection. Parts of these 2 conflict with each other and finding a vehicle to suit both is a very herculean task.

The quirk of NATO that I mentioned before is a bit strange, at least in my eyes. To defend the outskirts of the countries in the organization, NATO forces require a high degree of mobility to actually reach the area of ops in time, and when they reach the location, they are required to take up defensive positions, which is where the contradiction arises as mobility is more of a criteria for an *attacking* force rather than one on the defensive as the defenders are usually more able to… I forgot the term for it… reposition in the interior?…shorter lines to reposition?… the term will probably come back to me when I least need it, but the jist of it is that the defenders usually do not need to move as much as the attacker and can afford to lose a bit of mobility, which was why light infantry is still so effective despite being as mobile as tourists on a tour bus. NATO on the other hand is a high mobility long ranged *defensive* force, which does end up having a mish-mash of expeditionary qualities and local defence qualities. Not to mention that your “defensive” force is often used recently in a distinctly none defensive way.

So you end up with equipment that tries to do it all. Good luck. You really might have better luck splitting the requirements to get something that won’t be neither fish nor fowl.

Frenchie
Frenchie
September 25, 2015 3:11 pm

I don’t understand why you want wheeled vehicles for the infantry of heavy brigades. I don’t see why you don’t use the Warrior that you have in surplus, with the enhancements, to make the same thing. I know why the French have wheeled vehicles, but the heavy brigades of the British army, I don’t know.
Then to light forces, the Jackal and Foxhound are too lightly armed and protected for conflicts of medium intensity. The French will have the Jaguar in the role of the Jackal and the Griffon in the role of the Foxhound.
Similarly we will Leclerc in the role of Challenger 2, the VBCI in the role of the Warrior, the VBL, the Griffon and perhaps the CRAB in the role of AJAX. I don’t know if tracked vehicles are better than wheeled vehicles, it would require a real war for see, what I don’t want.
Well, that’s all I have to say.

Mike W
September 25, 2015 4:46 pm

“. . . AND ARTILLERY REGIMENTS WITH AN 8X8 MOUNTING SOMETHING LIKE A 120 MM BREECH LOADED MORTAR AS A 105 MM GUN REPLACEMENT.”

You seem to be more than a bit of an expert on wheeled vehicles. I just wanted to ask whether a wheeled vehicle, even an 8×8, would be a) stable enough and b) sturdy enough to mount a 120mm Mortar. I don’t know much about the subject but I do know that the Americans had a considerable amount of trouble with their attempts to mount a Direct Fire weapon on Stryker. I think those problems have been mostly resolved now but would there be similar problems with a mortar of such a size and weight?

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 25, 2015 4:51 pm
Observer
Observer
September 25, 2015 5:01 pm

@Mike

Then there is also the AMOS mortar. Or the ST Kinetics 120mm SRAM on the Saudi Agarab. Or even a light strike vehicle.

DavidNiven
DavidNiven
September 25, 2015 5:14 pm

@mr.fred
‘The FV430 series is to be replaced by SV and ABSV’

What FV43’s are the the SV variants replacing? I was under the assumption that they were replacing the CVRT series of vehicles. The ABSV as far as I understand are going to replace the 430 series within the armoured infantry btn’s such as those used for mortars, command and ambulance etc. What will you use to replace the 430 series within the close support units of the armoured brigades?

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 25, 2015 5:32 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lyn5uWCXgJg Rosomak (AMV) with heavy mortar, and
a direct fire (support version Wilk of the same

While I was looking for them, a new Polish MBT (with a citadel and active protection… Armata-like) seems to be emerging:

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 25, 2015 5:53 pm

DN,
Good point, I’d forgotten about the armoured regiments. I’d recommend SV for them but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.
On that subject, anyone know what vehicle will fill the recce role of CVR(T) in the armoured regiments and AI battalions

ACC,
The PL-01 is a dressed-up CV90 with a 120mm gun. Interesting, to be sure, but nothing radical.

Mike W
September 25, 2015 6:26 pm

Many thanks to all who have replied, providing examples of 120mm mortars on wheeled 8×8 vehicles. I was obviously worried about nothing really.

whitelancer
whitelancer
September 25, 2015 9:07 pm

@Observer
Interior Lines?

@Mr.fred
I’m assuming that Ajax will replace Scimitar in Armoured & Armoured Infantry units, taking on the close recce role. A role I think it is more suited to than Medium or Formation Recce.

JamesF
September 25, 2015 9:23 pm

I should think each Armoured Cav regiment will have not more than 40-50 turreted Ajax, so plenty left over for Armoured Regt. and Armoured Infantry Bn. close recce. troops. and for RA OP (or Joint Fires Teams, as I think they are now called)

JamesF
September 25, 2015 9:37 pm

@Observer. Very interesting post. Yes interior lines (Napoleon and all that). I beleive the thinking coming out of the US is about having to fight hybrid wars against mixed SF and militia in large coastal cities very far away in the blurry space between war and peace (Sevastopol, Tripoli or Lagos). Need something to provide protected mobility in urban spaces against infantry weapons and ieds, maybe amphibious, very rapidly deployable by air and with a punch to deal with legacy amour. Not a replacement for heavy armour, but a rapid response force. In a peer to peer punch up on the Ukrainian Steppe or Syrian desert you need tracked armour. But that’s not the most likely scenario – more likely some sort of shadow world where Russian SF are supporting lower grade Syrians and so on, everything deniable. Reckon medium wheels are more survivable than light infantry and and can get to the fight much more quickly than heavy armoured infantry. They might be wrong though ;-)

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy
September 25, 2015 10:23 pm

@JF, 23 of those “and for RA OP (or Joint Fires Teams”

Peter L
Peter L
September 25, 2015 10:34 pm

“The UK does seem loathe to equip its armoured vehicles wIth additional missiles. Didn’t the Kuwaiti Warrior come with a TOW system fitted? I know they won’t want IFVs engaging enemy Tanks but shit happens”

I think that the most elequont answer that can be provided is this clip from “Pentagon Wars”.

I think it answers that better than anything I could say in a reasonable amount of text.

whitelancer
whitelancer
September 25, 2015 11:57 pm

Fitting Ajax with ATGW would be a sensible option, particularly as its meant to fight for information! Making it so large and heavy isn’t.
The Land Joint Strike Concept seems rather confused as the talk is of combing the future MIV with Ajax, wouldn’t it make more sense to either base it around MIV or around Ajax and its derivatives?
Not knowing what the Land Joint Strick Concept actually is and how its to be implemented, apart from the above, I suppose we will have to just wait and see.

Jeremy M H
September 26, 2015 12:39 am
Reply to  Peter L

Yeah fitting the Bradley with missiles was such a dumbass idea that no one has followed that model going forward…clearly the Russians and Germans who really know armor took one look at that and said hell no.

Thy movie is funny, but it really has little basis in reality.

Observer
Observer
September 26, 2015 12:43 am

I always hated how people treat that movie like it was the gospel and not tabloid media sensationalized to an inch of its life.

Observer
Observer
September 26, 2015 12:49 am

The Bradley was not developed in isolation. It was a counter to the Soviet BMP, it was found that when the Soviets armed their “APC” with medium calibre weapons, turning them into the first IFVs, a battlegroup that did not have similar weapons is at a severe disadvantage, simply because in a maneuver environment, they can kill your APCs and threaten your tanks while an M-113 simply can’t reply effectively except at closer ranges where the M2 “might” penetrate. People don’t slap things on armour for the sake of looking pretty, they do in in response to certain threats. Something the show never told you.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 26, 2015 12:57 am

Here is another issue I have with the planned Heavy Brigades in the Reaction Force (I know yet another issue). If, for want of a scenario, Putin decides to threaten the Baltics and move force to the region to reinforce those already there. NATO responds by deploying its forces. How do ours get there? Remember we will not have any troops remaining in Germany. We have only a fraction of the HETs required to move a Heavy Brigade I one go so it would have to be a relay. The Heavy Protected Infantry Regiments can easily self deploy, but driving the Challenger 2s, Ajaxs and Warriors all the way from the Channel ports to Talinn would result in a fair number of breakdowns etc. I would argue that trying to ship them in by sea through the Baltic, though possible could end up with us regretting the lack of our platforms amphibious capability as they sink to the bottom.

If however we have decided to use the MIV to form the core of the new Army, replacing not just the FV430 series and Mastiff, but also the Warrior and planned ABSV, using the new Warrior turret for a MIV-IFV for example, and producing sufficient combat variants like Mortar Carrier and LR ATGW Carrier we could drastically speed up the deployment as only the Armoured and Cavalry Regiments would need HETs.

Finally as our use of Javelin in Afghanistan has shown, ATGWs have more uses that taking out tanks, be it expensive.

Observer
Observer
September 26, 2015 1:04 am

@LJ

That is a disturbing scenario in more ways than one. If the wheeled armour outstrips the tracked on the way to Poland for example, it is highly likely that your 8x8s are going to be facing off with T-80s and -90s without the help of CR-2s. In a case like this, you’ll probably need to develop a doctrine that allows them to take on MBTs by themselves and survive, be it defilade ATGM shots or long range standoff pseudo-artillery.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
September 26, 2015 2:52 am

@Observer

Yes I agree, hopefully we would have deployed at least one Apache Regiment and 16 Airmobile already as things escalate but before the shooting started, and more importantly other NATO member that are nearer such as Poland have sent what they can bearing in mind they have a very long border with Russia. I would also hope that at a minimum NATO would deploy enough air assets so that the airspace is at least contested.

We have often discussed the need to be able to get units to the front fast, by air usually when we talk of what is now MIV. Hopefully the example I used above shows how the mobility of 8×8 allows them to self deploy around a theatre whereas tracked AFVs cannot effectively. Using MIV equipped Regiments, fully kitted out with the necessary variants can get places quickly with their reduced logistics tail an added bonus. With air support they could be an effective holding force until the Challenger 2s and other heavy units arrive.

This is also where Ajax has problems. It will be great for close recce operating as integral assets to Armoured Regiments, but having Cavalry Regiments solely equipped with Ajax may have no more offensive and defensive power than the MIV Regiment and lack integral infantry support. Fighting for intelligence is a expensive option without MBT support, as the day of the opposition being made up of armoured cars with nothing more than a 14.5mm HMG and paper armour are over against tier one opposition. Given our limited number of HETs I would rather transport Challenger 2s that Ajax to the front personally.

An out of the box suggestion would be to Reorganise the Armoured Regiments so that we have four each with 2 squadrons of Challenger 2 and 2 squadrons of Ajax. Then form four Regiments of Armoured Infantry with MIV-IFVs and eight Mechanised Infantry Regiments with MIV-APCs and you have four effective Brigades with far more flexibility to deal with different tier levels of opposition, be they conventional or not. Round this out with three Brigades of four Infantry Regiments in the Light Protected platform and we have a two Division Army fit for purpose, now wouldn’t that be a change.

Observer
Observer
September 26, 2015 4:40 am

I’m not sure if armoured vehicles *can* be efficiently deployed to the front via air. Sure, people are going to tell me about X,Y and Z vehicles that can be carried by C-130, C-5, C-17 etc, but look at what you give up. A single plane can usually only carry about one or two vehicles and maybe their add-on armour. Or 200+ infantrymen. Sure, the infantrymen may not be as mobile as a tank(ette), but in comparison to their respective firepower, 200 infantrymen properly equipped will rip apart any 2 vehicles that you can transport. The US only got over that inefficiency by using huge amounts of air transport. It was still inefficient, just that they had a *lot* of inefficient to make up for that. That being said, I do understand that sometimes, infantrymen need the support and firepower vehicles can bring to stand a chance against heavy enemy armour, so some vehicles are necessary, but the less and smaller there are of these, the better.

Wonder if anyone is interested in resurrecting bicycle infantry? :) I’m sure 200 men with foldable bicycles should give both a fair amount of firepower/manpower and mobility.

mr.fred
mr.fred
September 26, 2015 7:10 am

I really don’t understand the desire to replace Warrior with wheeled vehicles.
Warrior is supposed to operate with Challenger. The improved operational mobility and reduced tactical mobility of wheels doesn’t seem like a good complement. I’m not convinced that the operational mobility advantage of wheels over tracks isn’t horribly overstated either.
Trying to add turrets to everything doesn’t seem like the best idea either, since each turret means you have one (or more) less vehicle.

Chris