I challenge the notion that the British tank and armoured vehicle industry is dead, that we don’t buy enough, and should just jack it all in and buy Abrams or Leopard.

Listen to the online doom casting, and one could be forgiven for thinking that all is lost for the British armoured fighting vehicle industry. Feckless governments and an incompetent MoD have allowed it to shrink to the point of irrelevance.

If we cast an eye over our allies in the world, Germany, Israel, France, USA, Italy, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, they all design, manufacture, and maintain a full range of armoured fighting vehicles.

Many others also do so except for MBTs, such as Spain, Sweden or Turkey, and others such as India are rapidly catching up.

Why then, is the UK so uniquely poorly placed, so helpless and all round useless, that we should just give up and buy a Leopard or Abrams?

The Royal Navy has not given up, Type 26 being a great example of British Engineering finding export success.

The Royal Air Force has not given up, and although modern fighters are collaborative efforts, it is still a driving force for British engineering.

So, tell me why the British Army should give up?

It should not

It should understand that British engineering is valuable to it and the nation.

Self-evidently, the industry is not in rude health, and self-evidently, much has been purchased by overseas defence primes, but it is not all gone.

Tank Components

Below is a short list of UK based and UK-owned defence vehicle equipment providers, many of them providing systems for the Ajax, CR3 and Boxer programmes (that are fronted by the big primes like RBSL and General Dynamics)

Let’s Build a Tank…

Automotive and Structures

Hull structures, tracks, transmission, suspension, fuel tanks and fuel management, engine and crew systems…

Structures and Protection
















Suspension and Wheels





Power Management and Wiring










Displays, Interiors and Lighting












Engines and Transmissions

Engines and transmission at the high-weight end of the market are moderately thin on the ground, but Rolls-Royce owns MTU. With MTU powering Ajax and Boxer, there might be some argument to establish at least some onshore capability given volumes and dependencies.

Also included here are APUs, air handling, and CBRN filtration








Sensors, Compute and Systems

Many of the Ajax system investments could be pulled through to any future vehicles, especially the extensive work completed with Thales, Elbit E-LAWS, GE Automotive (ECRIN), Viasat, Esterline, Smiths Detection, Kent Periscopes, Raytheon Power Switching, Honeywell Navigation, and Williams Advanced Engineering for the Core Infrastructure Distribution System (CIDS).

















We don’t make large calibre tank guns any longer and there would have to be a recognition that partnering with Nexter, General Dynamics, or KMW/RBSL would be the only practical option, perhaps even Israeli, Japanese or Korean partners as an outside option.

In addition to the basic gun and ancillaries, stabilisation and turret controls; Meggitt, Curtiss-Wright and Moog as additional options, maybe even Mottrol Defense in the Republic of Korea.

Ammunition, although we do have the potential capability to make 120 mm smooth bore, it seems unlikely to be realised.

RWS and ring mounts are made in the UK, as are some specific components.






Testing, Certification, Documentation and Training









Boiling Vessel


Design and Integration

We haven’t built a new design tank for decades, and integration of complex systems into a 70-tonne armoured box is a daunting task.

This is arguably the best reason to purchase overseas or partner, no argument from me, and just because we have many of the ingredients, doesn’t mean we are a chef.

You might think I am arguing against myself here, and to some extent I am, but I want this to be a realistic view of the subject.

Design and integration skills would be the single greatest challenge, and in reality, any clean sheet design that took us beyond CR3 would need a serious-minded appraisal of the likely decade-long effort to produce something.

Can we sustain what is left of the industry for that decade, should we?

I don’t know, but my point here is that we should not write off the UK armoured fighting vehicle industry because rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Jed

    We already have a brand new turret design for CH3, I think what your article illustrates, in detail, is that if we were not so tight fisted we have all the capabilities required to build new hulls, with hydrogas suspension and with an improved MTU powerpack. Only thing missing is the transmission?

  2. Engineer_Tom

    I had been playing over the notion of what would the UK's options be if they just gave the whole challenger 2 fleet to Ukraine

    My thought on this is that it would be in 3 steps, (ie short medium long term)

    1) they could lease M1A2's from the US for 5 years as long as the US agreed to deliver them in 90 days, no long lead times, this would need to be seen as an urgent operational requirement to replace the entire CR2 fleet being delivered to Ukraine immediately
    (the reason for this is simply availability that is who has the tanks in quantity to spare them in the time frame needed even if they decide to supply Ukraine as well)

    2) use the existing CR3 project as the basis for a bigger replacement rather than upgrade programme, the fundamental difference is they will need new hulls and drivetrains which is viable in my opinion, the buy Leopard 2's argument is fundamentally flawed as it makes the UK dependent on approval from Germany for export etc and wouldn't do anything to improve domestic industry etc, so instead I would suggest they go looking for a partner like the Koreans who are willing to do tech transfers and help set up domestic build capability, then pair the k2 hull with the turret being worked on for the CR3 make this a focused project where they are expected to field operational vehicles in 5 years, no fancy features it would be a current tech quick build to bring in an interim capability, very optimistic approach but it should be possible if they put some effort and money in
    (This would be the basis for establishing a precedent of being capable of building the entire vehicle and allow the establishment and training of a production facility with this capability, using existing industry capability as the jumping off point, would probably require some guidance from government to the industry similar to the shipbuilding industry as well as a commitment by the govt for consistent drumbeat of orders longer term)

    3) establish a long term project to bring in a new modern tank in 2040 this is where all the fancy features can be added, also this was already the plan for post CR3 so isn't really a change, the difference would be committing from the start to domestic production whilst working with a range of international partners and not just the European ones

    There shouldn't be anything controversial about saying that we should be capable of building tanks domestically but it would require effort and commitment long term as well as needing to partner with many of our allies to do so, but short term it would require some creative thinking to give serious numbers of CR2 to Ukraine but if the army/govt were to do it properly it would be an option.

  3. Pacman27

    We can and should partner with the IDF as they are looking at replacing Merkava.

    We could also do worse than buying Merkava.

    The planned replacement is much smaller

    Given technology we should be looking at 40t max weight

    I am with you TD. UK can do this and with a 72k army vehicles will become the force multiplier going forward

  4. Finney

    It's not dead, but it is very fractured and lacking UK-based primes. I don't think developing a new MBT is a good idea, too big a jump, and I would argue not worth it if we're only procuring 150-200. I'm sure countries like Italy and and France will end up joining a collab program. Like CH2, Leclerc and Ariete haven't sold enough to be worth heavily investing in. I would argue we should give up heavy MBT's entirely and focus on medium weight vehicles in the 25-45 tonne category. The US MPF programme is AJAX sized and should be the kind of we look at developing; we could probably buy considerably more than a full-fat tank and they ought to be easier to export
    We should aim to re-invest in our existing capabilities, and make decisions about what industrial capacity we want to re-build. We should treat AJAX as a very tough part of the learning curve, but not something to be totally written off. It showed us what happens when you let indifferent foreign firms supply core components (dodgy hulls) and then lack the design and engineering skills to integrate systems and conduct rigorous QA. Hopefully there are now people who have gone through that process, learn a lot, and whose skills should be retained.
    Regarding industrial capabilities, do we want to produce a full range of armour materials or specialise in one or two and order the remainder from abroad?
    Do we want to produce medium and large calibre cannons (we currently don't), and if so do we license the design from established players?
    Do we insist on using a majority UK-built powerpack and transmission?
    Do we accept that it's pretty expensive to produce a full range of ammunition here and accept that some will come from NATO partners?
    I think we should focus on one or two of those areas and make compromises in others. Most of all we need a long-term "drumbeat" of orders, as has been established with shipbuilding, perhaps insisting on UK final assembly/integration and circa 70% UK content in all fleets over 100 vehicles.

  5. oldreem

    Jed – a powerpack includes transmission (and cooling system).

    OP – you rightly say that design and integration are challenging (no pun intended), but the challenges are contractual as well as technical. You don't go on, however, to mention the development process, not least the extensive series of trials to prove not just the performance and integration but the all-important reliability and maintainability requirements (which must have been clearly and unambigously defined and contracted for from the outset). You may not remember that CR2's introduction was delayed by (I think) 2 years as it had failed its final reliability trial on a randomly chosen early production model; production tanks had to be stored by VDS until mods were trialled, passed and retrofitted before delivery and payment. Further back (1970s), when MBT80 was being developed, the great men said "The British Army will never take Shir" (being developed in stages for the Shah of Iran); when MBT80 was cancelled the great men then said "The British Army will take Challenger [Shir plus], warts and all" – which rather tied the hands of the project management team of which I was a member. A cruel and largely unjustified joke at the time was that Challenger should have been named "Chorister (b***ered by vicars)". It of course replaced Chieftain, popularly described as "the best tank in the world – as long as it breaks down in a good fire position".

    Besides producing the tank itself, the support package (spares, diagnostic and test equipment, publications, training simulators etc) must be scaled, designed and produced in parallel. There would also be a need for an early repair & recovery variant (CRARRV arrived in 1990, just in time for Gulf War 1) and, usually a generation later, Sapper variants.

    Back to the beginning,

    The biggest counter-argument, I'm afraid, is diseconomy of scale – unless a partnership can be negotiated or substantial overseas sales assured (which hasn't happened for a UK tank since Centurion, when there was far less competition). UK MBT buys: Chieftain 859, CR1 420, CR2 227, CR3 148(?) unless the third regiment remains heavy. We'd also need to be confident that the sub-system contractors would remain in business to provide lifetime spares and technical support – although there would be political advantages in not being dependent on overseas contractors. The worst outcome would be if a project were approved on what proved to be optimistic cost, management and timescale estimates then cancelled part way through (we've been there before … ).

    Much as my heart supports your aspiration, my head is less optimistic. But Jed's main point is valid – a Challenger 3 1/2 or 4?

  6. PeterS

    MTU owned by Rolls Royce is already building engines for Boxer in the UK.
    I don't think that the component supply chain would be a major problem. But overall vehicle design and platform manufacture would need to start from scratch. We also need to regenerate UK capacity to design and build guns. If BAE, which bought up the companies that could, aren't interested, then a state owned manufacturer should be considered.

  7. Dejà Vu

    Slight contrarian here let’s start with the Sapper variants get the hull , power train (electric hybrid) and systems integration sorted whilst the tools, bridgelaying elements and bolt on goodies can be developed from the existing In service vehicles.
    Next the recovery variant.
    Whilst these are being tested drop the CH3 turret or similar on and Bobs your uncle you have your MBT. Gives time to open gun factory.

    Suggest engine in front to provide infantry carrying variant easily if required.
    GBAD variant required as well.

    Simultaneously develop replacement for AS90 using same components and systems as far as possible. See above regarding gun factory.

    Have long term commitment to purchases and incremental improvements.

  8. Chris Downie

    I 100% agree but we need to be creating with the right people. This isn't a flame, I'd like a genuine answer. Please tell me why the T-45 GosHawk [USA Trainer Jet] looks almost identical to the Bae Hawk Jet, which to my limited knowledge was initially ALL that Bae was known for, time of Saudi corruption ref the jet. please ignore commenting ref that corruption, I honestly was just timestamping it+why theres a Bae INC+a Bae PLC, one being USA[u think giving foreign because they require it to sell to them is a sufficient answer]; I say now I live in Hull, we have Brough nearby, Bae Brough which produced it[+Hull out of the way of common migratory footfall is an iffy city, it doesnt use BT and is only city in Britain that has its own telephone service, it might be argued if this country is infested+ilfiltrated with ppl set on ruining GB from powers foreign,this is where its communication hub may have been/still is]]. Likewise USA just having its own version of the Harrier was seen as a normal event not worth discussing in detail at the time-really?? I can understand how we bought the Phantom but these 2 later planes, its totally different afaic. I am currently seeking election Glasgow South, both[if its possible], MP+MSP, I believe cut the head off the snake, it goes away, quite obvious if I get to PM but can still occur before then in a getting to stage, if elected Glasgow South, ive or weve started it, if you know anybody Glasgow South can I get their support please. I do have actual furthering policies for Britain unlike ANY current MPs any party so I would be able to get pinned down upon. I served in the RFA for over 10 years and am staunchly British+ believe in Britain. I am a Royalist but believe in GB over Royal-at-time should there appear to be a parting of ways with any particular Royals, I remain however Royalist and think we should have a Royal Family, whomever that supporting Britain Royal is/would be. I believe our military should be bigger. I believe in neighbours but more Europe+Germany than France given existence of EDF in GB, something through ethics they should have steered clear of being involved in. We need to reignite manufacturing in GB. A tertiary country if not supported by manufacturing is a dying country, we need to reverse it. India building up from little manufacturing from tertiary+services abroad is totally different to us becoming tertiary from manufacturing. Our tv is corrupted, can u remember saying we needed to match foreign for wages-why, do you think they meant ALL sectors,industries, no they didn"t and were now suffering. An American Framework is being wrongly built which divides born, longstanding Brits with the very top of wage earners, it can be clearly seen with new to country who can't freely get other jobs elsewhere thus owing those who gave them jobs with lesser British morals+ethics+thoughts-of-history building up a buffer between very rich Britain+Middle Class hoping-for-more Britain. Just look at our tv adverts. I do not wish to take the jobs from those ppl if they hold the correct qualifications and are good at job but the ppl who gave them the jobs, jobs will be at risk if I become eventually PM, if we can elect a country of Independents[MPs], I know I can be as it seems ALL parties have abandoned us+press, care of what Rupert Murdoch brought is corrupt +we can ALL see it. We need an honest Britain back in World. These are not policies, you are correct, look me up on twitter, I have well over 50 that I have promulgated. I have done my upmost to stop GB losing its Challenger 2s, +I think if not just me, ive been vocal enough for others to say too-not just Ukraine issue+what it may mean[Ukraine being exRussia+tank design follows a pattern in my firm belief], talking about when they spoke about losing them+replacing them with a thimble full of Challenger 3s-storing+preservation if running costs an issue better than scrap. I disagree with the big war lorries+mastiffs approach, I'm more an armoured landrover, warriers+tanks person. I think we need a bigger military but that to defend GB not use it to fight for the interests of others. I am not Iranian but I have a bad feeling we've been used and are being used to fight people who may have later supported us given our history in the region and fact we got out for them and we all now have a greater sight on the World as it is. I believe we need a bigger military to fight for our interests, not the interests of others, specifically to fight for British ones they do exist+I can name 4, 3 of which specifically involve British homeland, 1 helping an old friend which is right in the middle of a bed of nails, the last one may not be as relevant now as last year, 2022, it seems like it may have sorted itself, its not spoken about as much. As regards subject, yes we need to produce our own tanks, I know we've only just gone in with Rheinmetal but the world's a big place, I think if it meant an honest GB was coming out the other end I think they'd agree but just a blanket lets produce our own, I'm kind of yes because to not means it gets forgotten about and more distant away from being capable of but I wouldn't trust Bae as far as I could throw them-their name says it all, not just the plc+Inc aspect.."AEROSPACE", And the helicopter guys, well they've done a fine job of turning foreign countries away from us, well tanks, that's Vickers. I don't know too much about them as being wrong, maybe their small, did they produce the aircraft, if so to me that's a huge plus. I'd like to see names back in GB, eg de Havilland. Of recent, it seems we lose the name then we lose the company-was it deliberate, P+O, and Cunard from White+BlueStar, I think yes. What really irks me are these Cunard+P+O adverts now showing on GB TV show as if they're British still when they are USA owned+u can't see even an Inch of that fact in adverts, we're becoming new Japan but to a more obvious owned/controlled from elsewhere extent, same methodology they did there, they are doing here. Tanks, we need to build yes, but we need the right people at the very top to do it, who think GB, GB protection+GB People…

  9. Gareth

    In vehicle manufacturing, volume is key. Production costs per unit come down as production numbers go up, and there is more money available for product improvement. The big car companies prosper, while the likes of Bentley and Aston-Martin struggle. Hence comparisons with countries such as Israel and South Korea must take account of the fact that they have larger land forces than the UK.
    If the UK is to develop and manufacture military vehicles, they should be designed for the export market with minimal input from the army and MOD; the army should buy off the shelf instead of demanding (and dithering) over bespoke requirements.

  10. Mark Forsyth

    As always a very thought provoking article and interesting to see all the UK based companies who could contribute. Some I was aware of and others new to me, so thanks for the time and effort in showing us all. As is often the case, we have the capability, just not the political will. Look at the proposed introduction of "small" nuclear power stations. This would of been a game changer, but it is bogged down in the politics of it all and we will lose out yet again because of political indecision and lack of leadership.

  11. John Bozic

    I fully agree, when will our Governments realise that a contry gets wealthier by selling goods. For too long we have been running down our industries and need to start making things that people actually want. At the moment there apears to be a great demand for weapons and if countries that traditionaly had little indudtrial capacity can do it then why not the UK with its historic industrial heritage.

  12. Bob McBob

    We have fantastic automotive and defence industries in the UK, tonnes of technologies, experience in armoured vehicle production and a fine history of having done so.

    Clearly we have let our prime manufacturing capabilities wither. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get them going again with a bit of energy (and funding).

    The question is, what is the extra delta of expenditure (and perhaps time) to get this going again in the UK vs buying off the shelf? And then what is the GVA back to the economy/treasury of doing it in the UK vs buying from abroad. Finally, then if there is a discrepancy between these figures, how significant is this discrepancy and are the non-financial benefits worth the extra costs – plus of course whether we have a reasonably plausible means of then keeping the industrial capability sustained.

  13. Pacman27

    the key for me is can we create a line of vehicles using the same components that allows the UK to have a min. drumbeat of 1200 units per year indefinitely.

    this may seem like fantasy, but with such a small army, we will need vehicles that make up for the loss of mass.

    normally we would have a range of fleets for different scenarios, each with their own support and logistics chains.

    Example Fleet types are:

    Heavy Armour Tracked: Challenger
    Medium Armour Tracked: Warrior/ Ajax/ Bulldog
    Medium Armour Wheeled: Boxer
    Protected Mobility: Foxhound, Mastif, Jackal
    Light: Land Rover
    Super Light: Polaris / Wilder
    Specialist Combat: BVS10
    Logistics Main: HX3
    Logistics Specialist: OshKosh Transporter

    Historically the UK has been light infantry centric (primarily due to cost I would posture), going forward does this need to change?

    Is there an opportunity to reduce the above 9 fleets into fewer fleets with more vehicles in each?
    Why does everyone assume that a CR3 tank is necessary for the UK?
    Has technology moved on to such a point we can produce a "game changer"

    For me I would like to see us standardise as follows:

    5k units SEP/ CV90/ Boxer Armoured Tracked (£8m each)
    5k units SEP/ CV90/ Boxer Armoured Wheeled (£5m each)
    30k units Polaris / Wilder ((£250k each)
    10k units HX3 (£250k each)
    5k units Specialist (£2m each)

    * Above is averaged target pricing. ability to save on modules for armoured.
    * Big increase in Superlight as part of future soldier.

    The above would see the UK go to a medium force in current language, but with the advent of APS and the need for embedded SHORAD perhaps the benefits of fast manoeuvre outweigh lots of armour.

    My preference is to have more vehicles that can be configured for role – rather than £15m assets that can be taken out with a 100k ATG.

    the Australians have been able to set up an industrial capacity, so can we, plenty of old airfields or mod sites we can use to create an industrial estate for this and the French have done a great job on their wheeled fleets – both with less funding than the UK.

    SEP/CV90 would give us a smaller vehicle that has more utility ranging from 14-30t weight range.

    We should have a long hard think about next steps and what the UK can support and perhaps think radically (Wilder with AAD or Brimstone VLS on the powered trailer for instance)

  14. Mike Ranson

    The lack of faith displayed in the UK's ability to design and build an MBT is probably due, in no small part, to the scandalous and embarrassing experience of trying, for nearly 30 years, to progress an AFV design from paper and prototypes to a production model. It finally resulted in Ajax and, well… perhaps enough said!

    The last time the UK embarked on a project to replace a significant capability after a design and manufacture "holiday", they had to get help from US defence contractors to rescue the design of the Astute class. There are lessons, here, perhaps, for other sectors of the UK defence industry.

  15. Tim Bidie

    There is one outstandingly good reason why we should not build our own tank:

    The UK MOD procurement system

  16. Tim Bidie

    A great deal, of course, depends on what the tanks are for.

    Conventional deterrence in Europe requires a Main Battle Tank.

    Expeditionary capability demands a quick reaction air-portable vehicle, quite possibly wheeled.

    Two different types of tank/tank killer argue for off the shelf procurement which might avoid the mission creep and political in fighting that appears to be inherent within the current procurement system

  17. William hill

    By hook or crook blame the eu or not
    You can't be a serious manufacturer when you allow your steel and heavy industrial complexes to close..
    Once your buying or have to buy from other counties they control what you manufacture and more over the quality

  18. C C

    Industrially I think it is important to understand that the days when most nations could support high volume AFV production, without significant export orders, are behind us. As such traditional production lines are not the answer. In order to support UK manufacturing of AFVs we should be adopting the mindset that we are building "Supercars" and not high volume SUVs. There are many Advanced Manufacturing processes that can be used to implement this such as the "Microfactory" concept and Digital Engineering. The microfactory idea also has the potential to be scaled up into multiple units and thus is a potential way to solve the attrition replacement production problem in times of war without having to continuously maintain an expensive large traditional production line.

    Additionally the MOD needs to address the boom and bust cycle of AFV procurement which has caused manufacturers to exit the market during the famine years unless they can support themselves with export orders. A solution to this is not designing and planning for our vehicles to have extremely extended lifespans of 30/40/50 years. The only way to ensure a healthy manufacturing base for any military equipment is to have a steady drum beat of orders, either new build or spiral iterations, otherwise your design, manufacturing and integration expertise will atrophy. Incidentally the vehicles being replaced could be refurbished and sold onto partner nations, generating more UK prosperity. You are already seeing this mindset in the UK naval ship building strategy and a similar strategy in the AFV sector is required albeit hopefully with multiple primes competing rather than a single monopoly.

    This problem goes beyond having sufficient companies in the UK that could manufacture parts or complete AFVs. It requires an enduring strategic industrial strategy for AFVs which is unfortunately not something I am seeing amongst our Lords and Masters, who very much seem to see this sector as a lower priority when compared to subjects such as Ships, Subs, Missiles and Fighter Jets.

  19. Mark

    Not reason why we shouldn’t. As Rheinmetall are to an extent not involved with the Franco German next gen tank. I would propose to them that we onshore the IP and productionise the KF51 Panther in the Uk. I would engage will all current lepoard users in Europe if they would wish join the program free of end user constraints. This maybe doable if said countries offer up there current inventory to Ukraine.

  20. mr.fred

    It's an interesting list and some good comments. I especially like the point about the long life span impacting the ability to keep a capability going, particularly without upgrades. On the other hand, some of the numbers put forwards for the drumbeat are… optimistic? I do wonder if there is a case for reinstating Royal Ordnance or something like it to maintain the ability to produce weapons and weapon systems that can't be replicated by private industry.

    I think that there's scope to expand the list. For example AEI are listed only as providing weapon mounts, but they make and refurbish guns, including the ADEN-based Venom 30x113mm cannon, and have barrel manufacturing capability up to 105mm.
    Then Horstman is currently a subsidiary of Renk group, who make transmissions. I don't know if it would be possible, or desirable, to transfer this manufacture to the UK but there's a link there. That said, if the future is hybrid, we might be better served looking at Qinetiq's E-X-drive* or Magtec.
    Roballo engineering, now part of Thyssen Krupp (anyone spot a pattern) still has UK capability for slewing bearings which are kind of important.
    There are also H&K UK and FNH UK for machine guns.

    The desire in some quarters for current technology or technology demonstrators like the KF51 kind of miss the opportunity to develop the next generation AFV rather than jumping on the last gasp of the previous generation. CR3 should cover us through to whatever replaces it, something that considers where civilian automotives are going. Personally I'd always prefer to try and make it a family of vehicles with as wide an application range as possible rather than focussing solely on the MBT. Plus I'd prefer to have heavy and light rather than shoe-horning 'medium' in there to split up the funding further. Recognising the need for flexibility, I would be tempted to stretch the upper end of light and the lower end of heavy a bit.

    * I have a sneaking suspicion that this is from the US branch though.

  21. Bloke down the pub

    Perhaps we should start small with a modern take on the Bren Carrier? This could be a good partner with UGVs carrying extra firepower.

  22. S O

    Many components would not be in the global top 5 quality-wise when you source exclusively at home.

    The most obvious example is IMO composite bandtracks. Soucy has matured its tech so far that conventional tracks are no longer bearable IMO. All combat vehicles up to about 50 tons (and a new MBT should not be heavier than that, thanks to hard kill APS and very compact powerpacks) should be equipped with Soucy composite bandtracks.
    The advantages in regard to crew comfort and also outside noise (surprise!) seem to be extreme.

  23. mr.fred

    When it comes to choosing between the best and what you can produce locally, I think it will depend on what the difference is. It might still be an advantage to trade off a some performance for local support.
    Some things will be completely unavailable locally, such as APS or band tracks*, but it might be desirable to either make under license or make sure that there are back ups or alternative suppliers.

    Starting small might be a good idea, Something like CVR(T) on band tracks is a bit of a gap in the market.

    *Band tracks for the win, absolutely. I'd still consider keeping metallic tracks as an option for weight growth, especially since APS can be quite heavy themselves.

  24. Ben DiDonato

    While you have some good points about suppliers, I think it makes far more sense to use the F-35 model than try to design a domestic tank. If you can talk the US and Israel into jointly designing a future MBT, it'll be easy for the UK to jump on board as a junior partner. With the full might of the American and Israeli defense industries behind it, it's essentially a given that the resulting tank will be the best in the world, and the economies of scale from joint procurement the UK will be able to get a small number at a reasonable price. On the industrial side, the fact that thousands of tanks are being built means those UK suppliers will get decades of steady work to keep them viable for future programs. So long as the MoD can remain focused on mediating the inevitable US/Israeli disagreements to keep the program running smoothly instead of adding silly requirements, this approach should be a big win for everyone involved.

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