The last of the long form content articles on Think Defence to get a makeover is the story of ‘Scimitar to FRES to Ajax’
Have decided to broaden the scope to the struggle of the British Army to deliver a medium weight capability, normally, I would just get on with researching and writing, and publish when I think it is ready.
But this time, have also decided to embark on an experiment.
I want to crowdsource, or produce the finished article by collaborative writing with a team, and that team is you.
In the comments, let me know if you are interested, if you have any familiarity with the subject, expertise, experience with any of the vehicles of the British Army since the sixties, or even interesting anecdotes to add.
This will allow me to form a virtual team, a virtual team that will be involved with everything from the table of contents to the imagery.
The introduction is written.
Where do you start with the story of the British Army’s numerous attempts to deliver a medium weight capability?
Should the start point be FRES, the Future Rapid Effect System, perhaps earlier with FFLAV, TRACER and MRAV, or maybe Ajax and the yet to be introduced MIV?
The simple fact is you have to look at them all, you have to look at the roots of the numerous programmes that have come and gone without bearing fruit, and you certainly have to look at the histories of those vehicles still soldering on.
We could also argue that a medium weight capability was discarded, when the Saladin and Saracen were withdrawn from service in the seventies, although the Saracen would continue in service in Hong Kong until the nineties.
Neither can one ignore the operational context, politics, industrial landscape and external history that have shaped decisions that mean today, in June 2017, the fifties and sixties legacy CVR(T), Warrior and the FV432 are still in service, facing down Russia in Poland and Baltics, potentially crewed by the grandchildren of soldiers that knew CVR(T) as a new vehicle.
Not only that, the time-frame over which the British Army has prevaricated over its vehicles has coincided with both the decimation of the British defence vehicle industry, and our key allies getting on with introducing the kind of vehicles we are now looking at, in one case, a vehicle that was developed with British taxpayers money, perhaps the most damning indictment of the whole story.
This document will explore them all.
Are you in?