Venerable is an often overused word but quite apt for the FV432.

It has been in service so long, no one sensible believes it will ever be replaced!

We all know the joke about the FV432 operating on Mars in 2157, but it will need to be eventually replaced beyond 2030.

A few thoughts on the matter…

Don’t Replace the FV432

Planned variants of either Ajax or Boxer cover most of the FV432 roles.

On Boxer, those aren’t could quite easily exploit modules in service with others or those in the pipeline. On Ajax, there might be some development work.

Therefore, don’t replace the FV432, expand Boxer and Ajax roles.

This to me is the more logical choice

Although one might argue that Boxer or Ajax are ‘too much vehicle’ to replace FV432, the reality is that doing so might make more financial sense as we would realise the benefits of a fleet-type elimination.

There was an ambulance variant in the original Ajax/SV concept.

You save money by deleting fleets, not reducing numbers here and there.

We failed to do this with the various planned Warrior variants, and we know how that story turned out, so let’s not make the same mistake again.

Do Replace the FV432

The basic design is about as simple as it gets.

We have all the components already available in the supply chain.

From engines to tracks, from vision systems to suspension, readily available from UK manufacturers

With robotic welding and steel shell manufacturing from the like of MTL, I have no doubt we could easily produce a modern version of the design classic that is FV432.

Or, we might exploit the M270 chassis, as we do with the Armoured Recovery Variant.

There were also proposed US variants of the same chassis.

With newer M270 variants coming into service with the British Army, extending the order and using them for armoured ambulance or other roles could be possible.

There is a danger of creating what appear to be very high-value targets (it is 3m wide, more on this later).

Purchasing some additional BVs10 Vikings could be an option, although the British Army has not been keen.

As with resurrecting FV432, doing likewise with the Stormer chassis seems technically feasible.

I suspect legacy designs would struggle to meet modern requirements and a new design would be preferable.

The FFG G5 looks interesting but, like the M270, is quite a large vehicle

Maybe even the Borsuk without a turret, or even the BAE AMPV.

The G5 in the video above echoes the early days of the FV432.

The direct forerunner of the FV432 is the FV420 series of vehicles, developed in the late fifties.

The FV420 vehicle family was to comprise; the FV421 Load Carrier, FV422 Armoured Personnel Carrier, FV423 Command Vehicle, FV424 Royal Engineers Section Vehicle, FV425 Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Section Vehicle and the FV426 Orange William Anti-Tank Guided Weapon Vehicle but only a small number were built.

Using experience from the FV420, the FV421 Load Carrier was the first of the family.

FV421 Load Carrier
FV421 Load Carrier

It had an armoured front section and could carry a 3-tonne payload. FV421 was also amphibious and could be fitted with ammunition stowage racks.

Hold this thought for a while, FV432 started life as a load carrier (see the next post for further development of this idea)

FV432s As they Leave Service

Perhaps a more interesting question is not about replacing them, but instead, can we find additional value in the fleet as it leaves service?

I think perhaps so.

The fleet is a reasonable size, so we could cherry-pick and harvest for spares.

Strategic Reserve

Given their utility in Basra, where reasonable protection combined with compact dimensions and a small turning circle, meant they were reportedly valued.

Retaining 50 or 60 as a strategic reserve in storage, alongside Mastiff and Ridgeback would seem to be a relatively low-cost hedge against future risk.

DCE demonstrated their Marionette teleoperating system on Warrior, fitted in less than two hours.

Picking fifty or a hundred Bulldogs and converting them to teleoperation could be a relatively low-cost, low-impact method of extracting the last ounce of value from the 70-year design.

In addition to DCE, teleoperation systems are already in service on Terrier.

A soldier uses a games consol style controller to control a Terrier armoured digger, which is controlled by remote control

And EOD JCB Wheeled Tractors.

The ADF is doing a similar thing with their M113 AS4 Optionally Crewed Combat Vehicles (OCCVs)

We should keep it simple, with no autonomy, all remote control, and keep costs down.

There are a lot of potential uses; targets, decoys, engineering or breaching, logistics, smoke generators, Python tractors, minelayers, flails…

Or just loaded up with explosives and used as remote mines.

We could even try out some innovative approaches to contracting.

Set up a part public part veteran-owned company, give them some space on MoD estate, get them to strip the whole fleet down, harvest parts, rebuild and store, and convert over a five to eight-year contract.

Provide some employment for retiring REME and RAC personnel, and team up with DCE, a British SME.

Be creative, I might even use the word agile!

We could be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

Gift to Ukraine

The timing would need to align, but it is always a consideration.


The most likely option is to replace them with Boxer modules or Ajax variants, but a small batch of modern-day FV432s like the Anglo Engineering or FFG designs would be worth looking at.

I don’t think we have the budget or appetite.

Cherry-picking the salvageable ones and creating either a small reserve fleet for urban protected mobility or teleoperated utility vehicles also seems possible, but it all comes down to needs and budgets.


Vehicles between a Boxer and a protected 4×4 are a completely different post!

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. oldreem

    Taking some 432s into reserve for possible extra tasks has attractions, but the great enemy of "just in case" is resource accounting, imposed on us by the bean-counters in 1990s. This led to clearing out of stocks that were subsequently needed – even including spares for new equipment initially supported by the manufacturer…

  2. AO1

    Regarding AJAX as Ambulance (or any other variant), have the resolved the vibration issues yet? I've heard conflicting reports from "Yes, they're using the same on the M10 Booker" to "No, they have rubber seat mounts and cushions".

  3. HarryB

    Question. Does FV432 need replacing? Any replacement will have to perform one task, deliver specialist teams under armour and across country. Which is exactly what the 432 can and does do. Both Boxer and Ajax are incredibly impressive systems but these come at a cost, as the vehicles are packed with the latest technologies in everything from suspension to information management and electronics. Very much necessary in a frontline AFV but not in 2nd line supporting AFV. Perhaps the 432 is the armoured equivalent to the Horseshoe Crab. Designed almost perfectly to perform its particular role from the get go. Any parts that are easily warn such as Tracks, Engines, Suspension, and Wheels can be easily replaces, But surly the basic Hulls on the Vehicles should be serviceable indefinitely if given a modicum of care?

  4. Paul

    The FFG G5 is bigger (like everything else) but not huge. 2 meters longer and 0.5 meters wider than a base M113 (which I assume is very close to the FV432). The BAE AMPV is huge, partly because everything has grown, and partly because they designed it around operations in Iraq and wanted every version protected like a fighting vehicle. I'm not sure the actual dimensions but have seen it listed at 3.2 and 3.7m wide.

  5. Bloke down the pub

    Something new build with the option of using Boxer modules would seem to have some benefit.

  6. AJB

    A comprehensive, wide-ranging, article that raises many questions and guarantees a busy Easter weekend, as the alternatives are explored and considered.

    [ . . . I am reluctant to even mention AJAX. In spite of all the very recent publicity proclaiming the successful introduction and adoption by British forces in northern climes, it is suggested that the vehicle’s reputation has been so badly compromised before it is even in service, that it would not be a surprise if it the type was to be totally withdrawn from service, whilst its predecessors trundle-on !].

    I am far less jaundiced about BOXER, even if the philosophy does seem to be “Go Big, or don’t bother”.

    BOXER is certainly too big, too over engineered, and certainly too expensive for the 61 (sixty-one) examples, that are to be inappropriately employed as ambulances. Those 61 should be re-rolled so that the vehicles’ considerable features and abilities are not under-employed.

    The article does speculate about the continued service of the venerable FV432 (and re-engineered BULLDOG). It is suggested that as BOXER (and AJAX), replace FV432/BULLDOG in such roles as infantry command vehicles, 81mm mortar carriers, and recovery vehicles, etc., the better, low mileage, examples should be re-equipped to join those others already serving as ambulances.

    + + + + + + + + + + + +

    WIKI informs us that the UK will procure (523 number), Boxers in three/four (source dependent) main variants.

    [Such is the confusion of the different types in the WIKI entry, that to better understand the break-down of the numbers involved, I had to first order them in a LIST, and then employ coloured ink, to help identify the numbers involved for each variant. Unfortunately colour formatting can not be employed on this part of the internet. However, for the convenience of others, I will post the following . . . ].

    These are:
    the baseline protected mobility (PM) variant (MIV-PM),
    a repair/recovery (MIV-REP) variant,
    a command and control (MIV-CC), and
    an ambulance (MIV-A),

    + + + + + + + + + +

    In terms of numbers: 285 personnel-carrying variants are on order, divided into . . .
    85 infantry carriers,
    60 engineer section vehicles,
    62 recce/fire support vehicles, and
    28 mortar carriers.

    Another . . .
    50 of the APC variants are to be configured as repair vehicles (MIV-REP) and these
    are dependent on source presented as the fourth variant.

    + + + + + + + + + +

    A total of 177 Boxer are ordered in the C4I configurations, again divided into . . .
    123 command-and-control (C2) and C2 utility vehicles,
    19 observation post vehicles,
    24 beyond-line-of-sight observation platforms, and
    11 EW and SIGINT platforms.

    + + + + + + + + + +

    The remaining . . .
    61 are to be ambulances (MIV-A).

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