The 40mm Cased Telescoped Armament System (CTAS)

The CTA International 40mm Cased Telescoped Cannon forms part of the innovative Cased Telescoped Armament Systems that will arm British and French armoured and reconnaissance vehicles

Intended to equip the Ajax reconnaissance and Warrior infantry fighting vehicles, the Cased Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) comprises the CT Cannon, Ammunition Handling System, Controller, Gun Control Equipment, Gun Mount and a range of ammunition natures.

It will also equip a number of French Army vehicles, the system as a whole being the result of a joint development programme and joint BAE/NEXTER venture called CTA International.



Cases telescoped ammunition was conceived by the USAF in the mid-fifties for use as an aircraft weapon;

Cased Telescoped Ammunition and Gun Technology. Air Force laboratory personnel conceived the cased telescoped ammunition concept in 1954. The cased telescoped concept places the ammunition projectile completely within the cartridge, instead of protruding from the top of the cartridge as in conventional ammunition. Further, the cased telescoped ammunition cartridge is formed into a right-circular cylinder, instead of a tapered cylinder as in conventional ammunition.

Despite US research activity, it would be the UK and France that would go on to bring into service a cased telescoped automatic cannon.

Years later the Combat Vehicle Armament Technology (COMVAT) programme was intended to produce an improved M2 Bradley with a 30mm-50mm version of the cased telescoped weapon developed by Armament Research and Development center (ARDEC) with Alliant Techsystems as prime contractor, building on an earlier programme called Combat Vehicle Armament System Technology (CVAST). ARES were also involved with the ARES 45mm XM295 cannon.

ARES would go on to develop the 45mm ammunition for their Rarefaction Wave Gun Programme project.

Recognising the approaching obsolescence of the 30mm RARDEN cannon, the MoD started a series of trade studies in order to develop the concept for a medium calibre weapon to replace it, one suitable to deal with the emerging Russian combat vehicles.

These trade studies prompted GIAT and Royal Ordnance to explore options for a collaborative development programme.

A Royal Ordnance and GIAT 45mm Cased Telescoped Weapon System (CTWS) demonstrator was completed in 1991 with the prototype the following year.

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This demonstrator had some input from the ARES 45mm weapon that had been in development in the USA. Differences from the older US system included a change from metallic to plastic for the ammunition case and the use of electrical drive rather than being gas operated.

Alliant Techsystems and Giat International signed a cooperation agreement in late 1992 to promote the 45mm weapon system but this did not progress and the Giat/RO relationship further developed.

The CTWS was intended for TRACER, a mid-life Warrior upgrade and the French VAD.

In 1992, Staff Target (Land) 4061, more commonly known as TRACER, Tactical Reconnaissance Armoured Combat Equipment Requirement was issued, to be the new CVR(T) replacement. TRACER was intended to utilise the 45mm CTWS.

In 1994, the joint development concept was formalised by the creation of a 50/50 Joint Venture between GIAT and Royal Ordnance called Cased Telescoped Ammunition International or CTAI for short.

The US Department of Defense Inspector General released a technical evaluation in 1996 on cased telescoped ammunition, it was less than fulsome in its praise.

In the same period, the US Army started looking at a replacement for its Bradley M3 in Cavalry squadrons, and the M1114 HMMWV ‘Humvee’ in scout platoons, in a programme called the Future Scout Cavalry System (FSCS). The TRACER and FSCS programmes were subsequently harmonised and a joint project created. Both nation’s requirements would be met by a single vehicle, the Armoured Scout and Reconnaissance Vehicle (ASRV). The Armoured Scout and Reconnaissance Vehicle was specified in a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the US and the UK in July 1998, the original Operational Requirements Document having being agreed in December 1997. France and Germany both requested observer status on TRACER although neither had a comparable requirement.

Contracts for an initial study phase were signed with two consortia, each composed of a mix of UK and US companies, in January 1999. The mix of UK and US companies was intended to facilitate an equal work share between the native industries of the two nations.

In 1997 the decision was made to move the calibre to 40mm and rename it the CT2000 (rather optimistically, as it would turn out to be).

Two years later, in 1999, further interest from the USA resulted in a representative turret containing the 40mm CTAS integrated onto a US Army Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

40mm CTA 40 Bradley 1

Firing trials were conducted soon after.

40mm CTA 40 Bradley 2

In April 2001, a statement to the House of Parliament revealed that the future of the US FSCS was in doubt, describing how the new Future Combat System (FCS) vision as envisioned by General Shinseki in 1999 would need funding and some programmes would be cut to make room for it, one of these was the follow-on engineering development phase of FSCS/TRACER.

In October 2001, a statement was made to Parliament that in a joint US/UK decision, TRACER would come to a close at the end of the assessment phase in July 2002. The information gained would be used to inform FCS and FRES respectively, both programmes were to effectively absorb TRACER and FSCS.

The CTWS 40 was still in development under separate contracts, so it was not impacted by the cancellation of TRACER and would likely form part of the FRES programme.

Various testing activities continued; icing, resistance to impact and fire, aircraft carriage and compound angle firing, for example.

CTA 40 Testing

Although not specifically aimed at any one vehicle the Manned Turret Integration Programme (MTIP) was a technology demonstrator working on the integration of the 40mm CTWS and a number of different sensors.

A demonstration contract was placed with Cased Telescoped Ammunition International (CTAI) to complete risk reduction demonstrations on a manned turret, feed systems and other sub-systems.

CTA was required to demonstrate the CTWS in a manned turret fitted to a Warrior by the end of 2006. The French Délégation Général pour l’Armement (DGA) also placed a contract with CTA for an unmanned turret called TOUTATIS, again, to be trialled on Warrior.

MTIP and TOUTATIS, shown below, left and right.


CTAI had been working on turret integration since 2003 and had demonstrated early models of both turrets on Warrior, the manned turret providing Level IV protection at a weight of 3.8 tonnes and the unmanned turret providing Level III protection but at the much lower weight of 1.5 tonnes.

The unmanned turret also had all the ammunition within the turret and a simpler feed mechanism, carrying capacity was 68 rounds, compared to 42 for the manned turret.

The Objective Future Cannon Programme (OFCP) was initiated in 2002, a joint programme between the UK MoD and French DGA. This defined the future programme activities and a number of key user requirements and specification;

  • Rate of Fire 200 Shots per minute
  • Fire two ammunition types selectable <3s
  • Remote operation
  • Low integration volume <80 litres total swept volume
  • Dispersion > <0,35 mil APFSDS > <1 mil GPR
  • Minimum Fatigue Safety Life 10,000 rounds
  • Operates in safety –46°C to +63°C
  • Satisfies prevailing UK MoD and French DGA safety standards
  • STANAG 4439 insensitive
  • Reliability >98%
  • Supports ‘coincidence’ fire control solution

The first firing demonstration of the CTAS on a Warrior was in January 2002, in the ‘Xena’ turret, shown below.

CTA 40 Xena Turret

The original intent was that the 40mm CTAS would be central to the Warrior Fightability and Lethality Improvement Programme (WFLIP) but in 2005, the MoD announced a competition, despite the significant investment in the CTAS since the early nineties.

The competition originally specified a minimum calibre of 35mm but this was subsequently changed to 30mm to allow other guns to compete.

Competing bidders included General Dynamics with a version of their Mk46 turret, as fitted to the proposed USMC Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and now used in naval applications, Selex offered a Mk 44 Bushmaster in the Oto Melara HITFIST turret, Lockheed Martin/Rheinmetall, a modification of the existing Warrior turret with Bushmaster 30mm, and CTAI/BAE, the 40mm CTAS in MTIP-2.

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Warrior LM

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Additional firing trials were carried out in 2004 at Ridsdale Ranges.

40mm TA Firing Trials

France and the UK agreed on a common certification process for the 40mm CTWS in March 2006.

In April 2008, the MoD announced that the CTA International 40mm CTWS had been selected for both the Warrior and FRES Scout, although the MoD chose not to select a turret design.

In response to the MoD’s requirements, industry had bid for both cannon and turret.

General Dynamics then withdrew from the competition, leaving Selex, BAE and Lockheed Martin, all but one now facing the prospect of redesigning their turrets to include the mandated 40mm CTAS.

Selex withdrew later in the year, leaving Lockheed Martin and BAE to compete the requirement.

At the June Eurosatory show, BAE showed their largely self-funded MTIP-2 turret on a Warrior chassis. The MTIP-2 turret was a brand new design with a fully stabilised 40mm CTWS and applique armour package that provided the same protection level as the hull.


As can be seen from the above, the original MTIP and later BAE MTIP-2 turrets are clearly different.

By the end of 2009, after Lockheed Martin had been awarded a study contract to investigate a common Warrior/FRES turret, it became clear that there would need two turret variants, one for Warrior and the other optimised for the reconnaissance role.

BAE and General Dynamics promoted their respective entries for FRES SV at the beginning of 2010, BAE emphasised the benefits of a common turret, although with slight differences depending on the role. Outwardly there was little to distinguish the two, both used already in service infantry fighting vehicles of nineties origin as the base platform and both were equipped with the mandated 40mm CTA cannon, a range of C4ISTAR, protection and various automotive and protection upgrades.

FRES Scout Contenders

BAE announced their investment a £4.5 million in a Turret Test Rig for both Warrior and FRES programmes in February 2010.

The £4.5m Turret Test Rig (TTR) will mimic the field testing of turrets for Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Scout and Warrior vehicles by subjecting them to tests under extremes of temperatures. The tests are expected to take a turret through a 20-year lifespan in 12-18 months.

Further development and qualification of the 40mm CTA weapon were agreed by France and the UK in February.

In March 2010, it was announced that General Dynamics had been selected for FRES SV Recce Block 1, or more specifically, selected as preferred bidder.

It also emerged that General Dynamics would use a turret provided by Lockheed Martin, the actual design based on the Rheinmetall LANCE medium calibre turret. The selection of Lockheed Martin as the turret supplier was greeted with surprise by many in industry as they had very little or no experience with the CTA system and the decision ignored both BAE and Nexter designs that were relatively mature.

With the General Election out of the way, the MoD and General Dynamics announced successful negotiations in June 2010 and the award of a £500 million contract for the Demonstration and Manufacture phase of FRES SV Recce Block 1.

In February/March 2010, alongside FRES, the MoD was also considering the future of the Warrior Capability Sustainment Project (WCSP), a competition between BAE and Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin proposed an upgrade of the existing Warrior turret and BAE, their MTIP 2 design,

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In late March 2010, the MoD Investment Approvals Board recommended a year-long delay to WCSP. Lockheed Martin was awarded the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) contract in October 2010.

Demonstration was expected to cost £200 million and manufacture £642 million. WCSP was designed to extend the service life of Warrior to beyond 2040. At this point, Lockheed Martin were still insisting an upgraded Warrior turret would be used for the WCSP vehicles.

By the end of 2011, Lockheed Martin had been selected by General Dynamics to provide the Scout SV turret and by the MoD to provide the WCSP turret, as part of the wider programme.

Both, with different turrets, same main gun.

In summer 2013 a number of Warrior announcements were made;

Procurement of Cased Telescoped Cannons (CTC) Ammunition

The Specialist Vehicle Cannon Project Team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to place a further buy of ammunition, with CTA International through an Amendment to Contract No FRES/0075, to support the demonstration phases of the Cased Telescopic Cannon which will be provided to Prime Contractors for integration into the Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV) and the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP)

Total final value of contract(s)

Value: 25 629 034 EUR Including VAT. VAT rate (%) 20

A representative Scout prototype was shown soon after.


Towards the end of 2013, news emerged of problems with the Scout turret. Defense News reported that General Dynamics had agreed to pay Lockheed Martin several million pounds in compensation for failing to keep to a timetable on requirement delivery. It also reported problems with weight growth and a delayed ISD. Defense Industry Daily has a concise summary of the Warrior upgrade programmes, click here to read.

After a series of successful design reviews and 40mm CTA qualification in early 2014, the WCSP achieved Initial Design Approval in January 2014. Qualification firings included the APFSDS-T and practice rounds.

News emerged in 2014 that confirmed a decision by Lockheed Martin to abandon the Warrior turret conversion and proceed with a new turret design, this was no doubt cold comfort to BAE, who had insisted from the start that a new turret would be needed. The whole programme was ‘re-baselined’.

In 2015, the MoD finally placed a production order for the CTWS, although there was an announcement in 2015 for a £75m order

The deal with the joint BAE/NEXTER company CTA International was for £150m and will provide 515 weapons for the SV Scout and Warrior vehicles. The contract also included initial spares, test equipment, specialist tools and some training.


There will be 245 for the Scout and 245 for Warrior, the balance being used for training, trials and ammunition qualification.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said;

Today I can announce we have signed a £150 million contract to fit the Scout with a new Cased Telescope cannon providing it with unrivalled firepower and a new ‘airburst ammunition’ capability.

France has also selected the CTAS 40 for use on their EBRC (Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat) vehicles that will replace the AMX-10RC and Sagaie vehicles, using a common 2 man turret, the T40. There was also some talk of a CT40 equipped Leclerc a few years ago, called the Leclerc T40, also proposed for the  Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance à Chenille (EBRC) programme. Nexter was in competition with Panhard with their Sphinx vehicle, fitted with yet another turret for the CT40 that has drawn on expertise from Lockheed Martin UK and Cockerill. Panhard no longer lists the Sphinx on their website. The Nexter Jaguar (VBMR) will join the Griffon (EBRC) in the 5 Billion Euro Scorpion programme, announced in December 2014.

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Leclerc T40

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The 24 tonne Griffon will be obtained in personnel carrier, ambulance, command and control and artillery observation, to a maximum of 1,722 vehicles, delivery starting in 2018. A lighter 4×4 VBMR variant is also planned for delivery after 2021, replacing the PVP and VBL vehicles. The 25 tonne Jaguar will be obtained in a quantity of 248. The Scorpion programme also includes modernisation of the LeClerc Main Battle Tank that will extend it’s out of service date to 2040.

Nexter has also shown a VBCI-2 equipped with a T40 turret, the same turret that is used on their Engin Blindé de Reconnaissance et de Combat (EBRC) vehicles. If the UK does select the VBCI to satisfy the future Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) and chose the T40 equipped turret version, it will have three different turret designs, each equipped with the same weapon system.


Although the trials and tribulations of TRACER, FRES and Warrior have not significantly impacted the CTAS 40, there is no doubt that it has not been a smooth development, clearly, something that takes nearly 30 years to bring into service is not without problems, but by late 2015, qualification tests passed and a production contract awarded.

In early April 2016, AJAX completed it’s first instrumented static live firing at Radnor Ranges in Powys, Wales.

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AJAX First Live Fire 1

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AJAX First Live Fire 3

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AJAX First Live Fire 2

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Commenting on the test, Senior Requirements manager for the AJAX Program, Lt. Col. David Cathro said;

This a great achievement for the program,the challenges in getting to this point should not be underestimated and today [Friday] is the result of a lot of hard work. Seeing the firings today gives us confidence that the Army will receive this battle-winning and transformational capability on time and to budget.

Testing and qualification continued and in June 2016, the MoD issued a £12.9 million contract extension to CTAI for additional qualification.

The DE&S Specialist Vehicles Cannon Delivery Team, part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) intends to place an amendment to contract MATT/CCAP/003 (Common Cannon and Ammunition Project — 40mm Cased Telescoped Cannon and Ammunition Qualification Programme) with CTA International (CTAI), the designer and manufacturer of the Cased Telescoped Cannon and Ammunition (CTCA) to provide services required to conduct the qualification of a Target Practice Reduced Range (TPRR) type of ammunition on behalf of the United Kingdom and French Authorities. The qualification services will comprise an initial confirmatory phase of ammunition firing trials, plus options to undertake full ammunition firing trials, testing, evaluation activities and commissioning of a production facility thereafter.

In July 2016, Nexter announced the private development of a new turret family built around the CT40.

The MoD issued a contract amendment to CTAI for further qualification of the Target Practice Reduced Range round

Amendment to contract MATT/CCAP/003 with CTA International (CTAI) to provide services required to conduct the qualification of a Target Practice Reduced Range (TPRR) type of ammunition on behalf of the United Kingdom and French Authorities.

The cost of this was 16.5 million Euros.

In March 2016, the first production systems were handed over:

The first production standard Cased Telescoped Cannon System has been handed over to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) in Bourges, France by CTA International (CTAI) – a 50/50 joint venture company between BAE Systems and Nexter Systems.

Ajax manned live firing trials commenced in September 2017, a spokesperson from General Dynamics said:

The start of the CT40 cannon manned industry firing phase is a significant milestone in the AJAX programme. This cutting-edge capability that enables AJAX to pack a significant punch, alongside its wide-range of best-in-class sensors that makes it an Information Age platform, ensures that the British Army has everything they need to do their job effectively

Production and qualification continues on both Ajax and Warrior and the Lockheed Martin Modular Turret has been tested on both Boxer and AMV vehicles.

In March 2018, CTA International demonstrated the 40mm CTWS to US Army personnel at Fort Benning, Georgia. 80 rounds were fired, including a number of the A3B air bursting nature. One of the scenarios demonstrated a typical wall breaching operation, two rounds of point detonating to create a hole that was followed by an air bursting type fire through the hole.

Capabilities and System Description

The CTAS is described by several components; 40mm CT Cannon (CTC), Ammunition Handling System (AHS), CTAS Controller (CTAS-C), Gun Control Equipment (GCE), Gun Mount and a range of ammunition.

40mm CTAS

The gun is designed to be compact.

40mm CTAS Gun

As can be seen from the images below, the payload is fully contained within the case, this is what is meant by ‘case telescoped’, the main reason to do this is space efficiency.

CTAI are marketing six ammunition natures.

CTA 40mm Natures

The first of these is the Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot – Tracer (APFSDS-T) that is designed to defeat armoured vehicles such as infantry fighting vehicles and legacy tanks (although thinking that it can defeat modern tanks would be incorrect, and possibly dangerous), able to penetrate 140 mm of RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armour) at 1500 m.

40mm CTAS Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot - Tracer (APFSDS-T)

The Target Practice Reduced Round – Tracer (TPRR-T), is used for training, is cheaper, and results in much less barrel wear. A normal range Target Practice – Tracer (TP-T) is also available.

There are two general purpose rounds, one point detonating (General Purpose Round – Point Detonating – Tracer (GPR-PD-T)) and the other providing an airburst capability (General Purpose Round – Point Detonating – Tracer (GPR-ab-T)) which can be used against troops on a reverse slope or behind light cover for example, it can also be used in point detonating mode.

The image below shows a fragmentation comparison between a 30mm airburst round (left) and the 40mm GPR-AB


The lethal area for the airburst nature at 1,500m is 125m2.

The point detonating nature can penetrate 210mm of reinforced concrete at 1,500m.

The Anti-Aerial Air Burst (A3B) has a longer range and a payload of tungsten pellets designed to defeat airborne targets.

Not all have these have yet been qualified but work continues to build on the initial qualification of the find and practice rounds.

The round is inserted into the breech block through the trunion and the rotating breech block then aligns it with the barrel, thus eliminating the need for flexible feed guides. There are a couple of variation but the UK version will have a dual feed system, most likely loaded with the APFDS and GPR, although other mixes may be used depending upon requirements. The system can swap from one to the in less than 3 seconds.

A fire control system designed and manufactured by Ultra is the final component of the system,

40mm CTA Fire Control System

Anecdotally, the cost of the new ammunition is said to be ‘eye watering’, reliability and supportability have also yet to be determined in service.

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Although work has recently concentrated on bringing the system into service CTAI have also carried out a number of studies on larger calibre (105mm), guided submunitions and a 12.7mm version.

CTA Developments

Testing has also confirmed the suitability of the 40mm CTAS for use in remote and unmanned mounts, including dual/triple feed and non-penetrating options.

40mm CTA Remote Mounts

The image below shows a non-penetrating remote mount fitted to a French VAB combat vehicle.

40mm CTA Remote Mount VAB

CTAI have also proposed a number of naval applications for the CTAS but the most recent development is the Thales RAPIDFire system, designed to destroy helicopters, unmanned vehicles and combat aircraft.

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Thales RAPIDFire

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The RAPIDFire vehicle can be integrated with a number of air defence systems and uses the specialised air defence ammunition that contained 200 tungsten pellets. Rather than using a very high rate of fire, RAPIDFire is designed to fire fewer but more effective air bursting rounds at the target. It can carry 140 rounds in the turret, ready to fire. Effective range is claimed to be 4,000m and up to 6 vehicles can be integrated with a single control module for wide area coverage, including fire control for Starstreak/HVM missiles. An independent EO/IR sensor can also be used with detection ranges in excess of 18km.

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In 2013, Aviation Week reported interest in an aircraft version;

“Someone was looking at putting the gun on a C-130 gunship,” he says, declining to identify the individual. “It was a U.S. company that got our data somewhere, and maybe it will give them an advantage over other bids. I was surprised when I got it. But the cannon is 300 kg (660 lb.) and has very short recoil. Of course, you have to control the pulse, but why not [put it on an aircraft]? We’ll see what happens next.”

With Airbus recently reported to be interested in developing ISTAR/combat payload enhancements for the A400M and the recent success of the C-295 Gunship conversions for Jordan, this may be one to watch.

A Few Closing Thoughts

Why has the UK and France persisted with this approach when there are many conventional options like Super 40, for example?

Quite simply, it is one of space, although additional armour piercing performance is always a good thing.

Modern vehicles need modern electronics, and contrary to popular belief, modern electronics, at least in combat vehicles, are not getting any smaller. Modern vehicles also need modern people, and modern people are larger and wear combat body armour, we also can no longer insist armoured vehicle crew are small in stature. All this places a premium on internal turret volume, so anything that reduces the volume of one of the main turret components simply means more room for ammunition, electronics and ergonomics i.e., a good thing.

This comes at a cost however, the CTAS is expensive (regardless of arguments about cost per stored kill) and unless others purchase it, only in service in relatively small numbers. The burden of  ongoing qualification and development will fall disproportionately on France and the UK. There are wider arguments about the concept of operation for armoured infantry and reconnaissance forces and their need for such a high performance, and expensive, weapon, but they are outside the scope of this document.

Regardless of whether anyone thinks the CTAS is a good idea or not is irrelevant, to coin a phrase, we are where we are.

The question the UK faces is whether to double down, or carry on with the CTAS in service on just two vehicle types. In order to maximise commonality, realise economies of scale and provide confidence and impetus to an export campaign.

Export customers mean shared development costs and lower ammunition costs.

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Change record

Version Date Description
1.0 06/02/2017 First release
1.1 18/09/2017 Additional imagery of 45mm CTA added
 1.2 04/03/2018 LM modular turret additional information
 1.3 08/04/2018  Information on US interest
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December 12, 2015 9:04 pm

Christ that’s 1/4of a century gone and still not in service. Drag it out long enough and that’s your entire career sorted out.

December 12, 2015 10:22 pm

I think with any review of the Cased Telescoped technology one should also read this:
Just to see where the US got to with the technology.
Why haven’t France and the UK gone with Super 40? Super 40 isn’t made in France or the UK.
I’ve never been particularly convinced that the cased telescoped rounds are particularly space efficient – telescoped conventional rounds do much the same job while being narrower and cheaper.
Additional armour penetration is nice if you want to play baby tanks. Not sure that’s a good idea, or really a tacit admission that we aren’t willing to deploy real tanks. Either way, it’s the 2pdr again.
Having more rounds is nice as well and you’ll get considerably more super 40 rounds than you will CT40 in a given space, provided you have the 50mm extra length you need for the super 40.

December 12, 2015 11:07 pm

Great article TD. One tiny mistake i wanted to alert you to – in the final sentence in the Capabilities and System Description section the words ‘cost of the’ are repeated. Just wanted to point it out to you as i know how hard it is to try and check your own work and how easy it is to miss things like that

John Hartley
John Hartley
December 12, 2015 11:48 pm

The compactness of the CTAS cannon & its ammunition, is a step forward, provided it is reliable & robust enough for real world operations. Only time will tell.
Is any of it (cannon and/or ammo) made in Britain? Or are we just pouring UK taxpayers cash into France? Just asking.

December 13, 2015 12:24 am

Great article, I knew it had a long development period but 20+ years and still no weapon in service is slightly depressing.

Out of interest do you have any further background on the reasoning for the switch to 40mm from 45mm? It seems a strange choice when there were already workable 40mm options in use when it was made (the CV90 already being in Swedish service in its initial version).

Also does anybody know why VBCI didn’t adopt either this or a 30mm/35mm weapon? I assume weight constraints or not being service ready but 25mm without DU rounds is looking dated vs BMP3. Especially interesting when you see the unmanned turret being tested on the VAB, a potential midlife VBCI upgrade?

I’ve often wondered whether it would have been better to take the advantage of the compactness of the rounds and go for a 50mm solution offering overmatch of potential threats for a lot longer. A similar reason to the Dutch adopting 35mm when they saw 30mm might not be able to defeat BMP3+ over the service life of the CV90 buy.

December 13, 2015 12:33 am
Jeremy M H
December 13, 2015 12:46 am

I think you are barking up the wrong tree trying to put the gun on a gunship. The whole point of a gunship is to hit targets cheaply. These are generally soft targets. While I am sure it would do the job I don’t see the cost lining up with the mission. It isn’t enough additional deployment to bend the cost curve. The existing gunships use weapons that largely fire very cheap ammo.

I see the desire to have a secondary anti air capability but I don’t see it as an anti UAV system. It doesn’t have the range to hit targets at their likely operating altitude from what I read here.

The real key to getting anywhere with this will be continued development. The problem is you really need a large scale purchase to get it out there and drive down cost. Seems like an unnecessarily fragmented market in the west. I would probably put money on the German gun being the most widespread in the end. The reality is that in the absence of a European wide solution is that this is likely to be a pretty expensive system to operate. Putting it out there in a few dozen more emplacements won’t make a huge difference. It liely needs widespread IFV deployment in the multiple thousands to see the price of ammo drop appreciably.

December 13, 2015 6:32 am

Compare the Swedish army:
They built a new IFV for their much smaller country and army, and simply added a 40 mm gun that dates back to late 1920’s, and had the vehicles in service since the 90’s as IFV and as a SPAAG version using the latest ammunition types – including substantial export successes.

GBP 131 million – to them that was the equipment of an IFV battalion, not a still militarily fruitless development effort.

December 13, 2015 7:14 am

goes pretty well, too:

But then again, they had already built this one

that doubled as a monitor, sailing up and down their river-line defences in the North of the country

December 13, 2015 7:24 am

“(although thinking that it can defeat modern tanks would be incorrect, and possibly dangerous”. Not entirely true, it depends where where the attacking vehicle is relative to the target MBT longitudinal axis – and this is a tactical matter. A hit in the centre of the hull rear will result in an M kill and sometimes more. Ginge Bagnall and mobile defence lives on.

Symetrical rounds are space efficient., and the breach design of CTA40 is space efficient. This all increases the scope for trade-offs in AFV design. Not forgetting that greater ammo load increases operational flexibility and capability by reducing the logistic support frequency.

The issue is ammo manufacturing techniques to reduce unit cost and maximising the output of each production line (2 day weeks are not cost effective).

Brian Black
Brian Black
December 13, 2015 9:14 am

Jeremy, whether the ammunition has the range to shoot down UAVs depends on what you’re trying to shoot down.

A vehicle like the RA’s Watchkeeper would be vulnerable. The Russians have used similar systems extensively in their recent operations.

Small caliber AAA can also be very effective against low level combat aircraft. In the Falklands War, Argentine 35mm short range air defence systems shot down two Harriers, one Skyhawk, and one Mirage.

On use in gunships, the space saving aspect of CTA becomes largely irrelevant when mounting a gun in a large cargo aircraft. So cost and other properties probably would take precedence in the choice.

December 13, 2015 10:30 am

Silliness being spread here already.

I know for a fact that the Swedish Army would dearly like to replace the 40mm bofors on their CV90s at the earliest opportunity, the money has just never been available. It is no coincidence that all the export customers have chosen a Bushmaster derivative.

Meanwhile the Norway upgrade/new-build deal suggests that CV90 is just as expensive as everybody else’s IFVs.


The larger the calibre the less rounds you carry, no need to make a gun any bigger than necessary to defeat the intended target.

December 13, 2015 11:05 am

That’s not silliness, that’s you not getting a simple point.

The Swedish army has had 40 mm-equipped IFVs in service for decades, while the army of the UK has not – instead it chose to spend funds that would have sufficed to upgrade 100-150 IFVs or build 50-100 all-new IFVs on a development that did not yield any gain in defence or deterrence for two decades.

The Swedish CV9040 has to be compared to Warrior with 30 mm RARDEN, not with a hypothetical CV90CTA40.

In the future the Swedes may adopt the CTA40 without spending anything on its development and little on its integration. Meanwhile, the army of the UK will likely embark on a development project for some magical missile for 20 years, while the Swedes invest the difference between these two expenditures on something useful.

December 13, 2015 11:18 am
the Norway upgrade/new-build deal suggests that CV90 is just as expensive as everybody else’s IFVs.

Nice recce wagons they’ve got

December 13, 2015 11:24 am

The use of this weapon on RN ships seems like a no brainer same with the Rapidfire anti air system. Surely using the same weapon & same ammo across the services make perfect sense.

I wonder if the Rapidfire setup would fit an existing armoured chassis like the AS90 given that we have retired some.

December 13, 2015 11:50 am

I fail to see why the Royal Navy would need to upgrade to 40mm even if its about commonality. Even if you pack that on a OPV its not a leap forward.

December 13, 2015 12:50 pm

Would it not do pretty much the same as this combo, out to the same range
plus have a significant boost on the anti-air side of things?

Jeremy M H
December 13, 2015 1:21 pm
Reply to  Brian Black

Watchkeeper and other UAVs seem to operate at an altitude the exceeds the maximum range this article indicates for the gun of 4,000 meters. The effective altitude would generally be less than the max range as well. Even a Scan Eagle could fly over your range.

It might have a marginal capability against those kind of targets.

If you want to do this over a big area I think you likely need something with more range.

December 13, 2015 2:01 pm

DRACO with its 76 mm RF gun would address all those simple drones well, and the really sophisticated large ones justify the expense of an area air defence missile or two.
A modern army shouldn’t have much trouble with drones save for the really small ones that are more in the league of birds.

The army of the UK is a bit disadvantaged against drones by Starstreak, which as hit-to-kill munition is a poor choice against drones. CAMM will be too expensive against most, machineguns proved to be unsatisfactory, Rapier is on the way out and was never truly good for very forward employment … this burdens the IFV’s autocannons with quite a lot of anti-UAV work.
The RMs are afaik even worse-prepared against UAVs.

December 13, 2015 3:14 pm


I would like to ask what I assume is a ridiculous question, but given the ongoing discussion about light frigates, why do these vehicles not adopt the 76mm gun used on many frigates. I am aware that it is significantly bigger but it has the volcano round and would surely be more lethal whilst adding commonality to our forces. I guess the same could be said for the 127mm on challenger. Commonality of ammunition would surely help with costs wouldn’t it.

I understand that Oto Melara have options for this already – so why are we going with 40mm please?

December 13, 2015 4:14 pm

Fantastic piece, TD :)

Glad that these big projects of yours will get a more front and centre place on the site.

December 13, 2015 4:35 pm

Sorry for bringing up the CV90, dragged things unnecessarily off topic. Although as pointed out its gun is far closer to RARDEN in installation than a modern autocannon (it is clip loaded manually and IIRC mounted upside down in order to fit into the turret). The initial purchases were not stabilised or with a modern fire control system either but at the time of development it was that or 25mm which was seen as potentially outdated when Sweden could not use DU (not out of political reasons but for lack of the ability to produce it).

Interesting that South Korea adopted 40mm as well for K21 despite having the option to use other autocannons. They don’t use the Bofors installation though. They are also BMP3 users so I’d be interested to find any sources in english stating is this effected there reasoning.

My point was generally several nations seem to have accepted limitations to get a system into service now as opposed to some time in the next decade (ie 40mm Bofors on CV90 or 25mm on VBCI). Not just the UK but also Germany with the Puma struggles.

I do wonder if an FOI would get the costs of 40mm CTA ammunition vs RARDEN, I suspect that it would be excluded as commercially sensitive.

December 13, 2015 4:40 pm

OTO-Melara produced the Otomatic which was a 76mm gun mounted on a tank chassis. the south African Rooikat uses a short barreled version of the 76mm gun.
So the concept is out there.

December 13, 2015 5:34 pm

and was never truly good for very forward employment … this burdens the IFV’s autocannons with quite a lot of anti-UAV work.

There are more good news than bad here:
– they cover the gap that now exists, those bird like UAVS that may come in swarms and fly so low that they only appear for a minute (and have a very low radar signature)
– with the IFVs there are more and more autocannons (and in the right place, deployed well forward)
– they have advanced electro-optical sights, and are well networked (with other types of comms, so any visual observations and angle of approach can be passed on and will help to prepare the fire unit, or many of them)

December 13, 2015 6:34 pm


It is silliness when you appear to believe that the capabilities of a gun are defined by what calibre it is rather than any other characteristic. RARDEN as a gun was/is a very effective anti-IFV gun, the problem was actually with everything around it- notably the lack of stabilisation or continual (or electrical for that matter) feed system. There is nothing magical about the 40mm gun.

December 13, 2015 7:07 pm
RARDEN as a gun was/is a very effective anti-IFV gun, the problem was actually with everything around it- notably the lack of stabilisation or continual (or electrical for that matter) feed system. There is nothing magical about the 40mm gun.

Exactly, as in the above, it is all about what is around the gun. Someone commented about clip feeds for the Bofors in CV90… well, that was based on what they have seen on a photo of an ancient AA gun, when the Bofors actually offered 3 (not just 2) varieties immediately switchable.

But that is not the point (who is not doing everything electrically these days?); it is the sights and the integration of everything. So, the gun SPAAGS may have faded into history, but the capability (save for radar direction on each individual fire unit) is not that far off when talking about UAVs… actually, might be better, except for high altitudes, where the UAVs are expensive & complicated enough to warrant a SAM – not quite up their a*r*e, as they don’t have a suitable heat source, but you get the drift.

December 13, 2015 7:48 pm


76mm vs 40mm is not exclusive, they have different roles. The 76mm is for anti-ship work and a bit of NGFS while the 40mm is for small boats, selective disabling and warning shots. People talk about the main gun and the medium calibres like they can be used for anti-missile work but unless it is specially designed for the job like the CIWS or Goalkeeper, I would think the capability for it would be marginal, considering that the guns are usually optically aimed and expecting a human being to visually shoot down a missile on the fly is questionable.


The high end UAVs justify using a missile. The lower end ones, you don’t handle them with shooting them. If a small UAV is in the area, there is a control station somewhere nearby. Don’t bother killing the UAV, a rigorous sweep and search is enough to screw the UAV over, the controller is forced to choose between displacing to avoid patrols and controlling the UAV and it is near impossible to control a UAV and move at the same time. BTW, for the “small” ones, unless you are talking about the Black Nano kind of micro-UAVs, it takes up the entire payload of a person, so you only get one per team, with enough battery power for only 2 1-hour long flights, so they are only used upon express command from brigade HQ and usually just before an assault or during for monitoring/checking for reinforcements. This means you will not get swarms of UAVs. You’ll get only one.

The tactical level UAV problem is solved by better tactics (aggressive patrolling), not by new wunderguns.

December 13, 2015 8:04 pm
the medium calibres like they can be used for anti-missile work but unless it is specially designed for the job like the CIWS or Goalkeeper, I would think the capability for it would be marginal,

We move on (but not off topic?) to naval applications here. Clearly Bofors 57 and OTO 76 Rapide have been designed for those jobs as well, besides others that their calibre/ range/ HE on target allow for.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
December 13, 2015 8:51 pm

Having seen the 40mm CTS ammunition up close along with 40mm Bofors there is a huge difference in the size of the rounds. The 40mm CTS (Coke Can) rounds should enable more rounds to be stored in the same space or the same number of rounds in less space.

I really hope both the UK and France really get on board with the CTA and maximise their respective investment by using it on as many relevant platforms, and maximising its flexibility by developing and bringing advanced ammo types such as sensor fused. I am pretty sure that once the CTS is in service and other nations see its capabilities it will find buyers. One advantage it has is the increased payload for specialised rounds over similar sized 30mm weapon systems. Some 35mm systems come close but their size and weight is greater than the CTS as is their ammo. All of this is very important when you look at what the UK is going to use many of its CTA equipped platforms for, namely being a light tank and providing direct fire support. The previously mentioned Sensor Fused ammo would be incredibly useful in this role being able to engage targets behind cover and in buildings far more effectively that standard HE and especially APFSDS. I understand the rounds are expensive but a 3-4 round burst should still be cheaper than a Javelin or Hellfire/Brimstone.

December 13, 2015 9:11 pm

Our LPDs use the Otomelara 76mm Super Rapid. I won’t call it a missile defence gun.

7:47-7:49 you see the control screen for the 76mm. Ignoring the obvious propaganda aspects (and embarrassment at the whole production), it does give a rather interesting look at how the 76mm works. Just ignore the subluminal message in the background that says “join….us….you… want…to…join…usss….” :)

December 13, 2015 9:18 pm

When I saw the fully sectioned CTA rounds up close the first thing I took in was the lack of propellant forward of the plastic ring – that’s basically solid for the front fifth to a quarter of the round.
As a result I’ve often wondered if you could have made a conventional round with the same base diameter, calibre and case length with a heavily telescoped projectile (slightly longer overall length) and used a conventional gun that did the same job but cost less. The added benefit would be that you could “supershot” a bottleneck cartridge like that up to 60mm or more if you needed a growth path.

December 13, 2015 9:21 pm

Some 35mm systems come close but their size and weight is greater than the CTS as is their ammo. All of this is very important when you look at what the UK is going to use many of its CTA equipped platforms for, namely being a light tank and providing direct fire support. The previously mentioned Sensor Fused ammo would be incredibly useful in this role being able to engage targets behind cover

That is very true, but a bit nebulous.

We have already been through that the Bofors 40 mm has had those varieties for a long time (but is not ideal for fitting within the confines of a turret, constrained by a turret size, which itself is constrained by the IFV’s dimensions etc.)

Where I see the “USP” of the CTA is that, by now, it has all those specialities available, whereas those 30/35 mm guns ( a very wide installed space, and therefore cheap ammo) will have difficulty matching it, except in one specialised job: armour penetration, where you can go, if you opt for it, supershot without incurring a huge upgrade cost in what is already there in the way of the gun, turret, training, logistics chain (same chain, but a different article moving through it).

December 13, 2015 10:45 pm

@ Observer – “7:47-7:49 you see the control screen for the 76mm. Ignoring the obvious propaganda aspects (and embarrassment at the whole production), it does give a rather interesting look at how the 76mm works. Just ignore the subluminal messge in the background that says “join….us….you… want…to…join…usss….” :)”

I imagine it would be very hard to ignore such a message, and can only assume that such toilet related recruiting tactics would be aimed at old fashioned sailors the likes of which are no longer with us. ;)

John Hartley
John Hartley
December 13, 2015 10:48 pm

Well I suppose someone should mention the attempts to use caseless ammo in rifles & SMGs. The Heckler & Koch G11 rifle in 4.7mm being the best known. Janes thinks a small number went to special forces, but the German gov went for the more conventional 5.56 G36.

Also of note was the Benelli CB-M2 a SMG in 9mm AUPO, a semi caseless cartridge. It was designed to be made by conventional machinery & thus avoid the problems the HK G11 faced.

Both seem to have gone into history now.

December 13, 2015 10:59 pm


Oh yes, those were the days. I still remember the Pancor Jackhammer which debut about the same time. Or the old Gyrojet weapons of Buck Rogers fame. The most “successful” caseless I can think of is the VEC-91, which had a niche commercially but not militarily and even then had limited sales.

December 13, 2015 11:06 pm

Oops, I realised that the first part of my reply could be misunderstood, the Pancor was not caseless, just one of the “crazy concepts” that became famous around that time.

stephen duckworth
December 14, 2015 1:52 am

The XM274 ARES Corp 75mm CTA gun was trialed on various platforms in the 70’s and was well liked by its testers (one of whom was a previous contributor to TD) but came to naught. ARES are involved in a new 45mm CTA using burst disc semi recoiless mechanism (and a 105mm version too)

A little on the RDF/LT tank which the earlier ARES 75mm was fitted to

December 14, 2015 5:03 am

Having been a 76 OTO maintainer and system engineer I can say that the 76mm round would be an awful choice for a land weapon. Onboard ship the feed system is very complex and mechanically linked and if something gets broken all of the feed system gets out of sync and the mother of all jams occurs. Due to the use of lightweight alloys and weight saving construction a jam usually is catastrophic in nature with lots of bent and broken bits on the feed system. In addition the 76mm round is not that robust and the bullet end has a tendency to come off of the shell case if miss handled or subject to a jam.

A 40mm gun (I was a 40/60 maintainer, both Mk 7 and Mk 9 mounts) has advantages and a CTA gun would be an advantage if it could replace the current Bushmaster and KCM cannons.
The reason the RN moved from 30mm KCM to Bushmaster are many but the main reasons where:
1. Noise – The aimer in a manned mounting was subject to noise in excess of 180 Db and it was and now is a Health and safety issue as the hearing protection can only cut out around 140Dbs of that.
2. 30 mm KCM ammunition is in short supply and not readily available. Bushmaster ammo is in plentiful supply.
3. The Bushmaster is more accurate with a lot less scatter at its usual engagement range meaning more shots on target especially as it is a remote control mount. The mounts on a T45 are remote controlled but they use the KCM cannon. (Thank you BAe!).

Getting anything certified as safe for use on a ship is a long and complex process. RF hazards need to be investigated. Stowage compatibility issues between differing natures of ammunition, handling and resupply need looking at onboard as well as by the RFA. Saying “lets get a 40mm CTA ” is easy …making it a reality is something else entirely.

December 14, 2015 7:39 am
Reply to  Hohum

I didn’t really write about 40 mm guns. I wrote about getting the job done with funds and MOTS products or spending them on unnecessary development with no defence or deterrence value to show for decades.

The CTA guns are incremental improvements, and it was visible all along that they wouldn’t be more. It’s wasteful to spend much time and funds on that little technical progress.

December 14, 2015 7:43 am

@Stephen Duckworth;That recoilless gun looks pretty interesting,reminds of a german project,the “Rückstoßfreie Maschinenkanone RMK 30” or recoilless 30 mm gun.

Not sure what happened to the german project,I believe it was supposed to arm the Tiger helicopter and there was talk
to use it on a submarine were it would be mounted on top of the sail structure.

The only link I have is this one ;

Btw nice project TD!


December 14, 2015 7:44 am
Reply to  Observer

A power that forces us into war (as opposed to us going into a stupid unnecessary war of choice) would field a mechanised force, and could easily release swarms of hundreds of killer drones with shaped charge warheads from lorries.

I have absolutely no idea why you imply that the opposing forces would be limited in their logistics to men on foot. Nor is it evident why patrolling ought be the answer to a drone that’s going to keep calling steel rain on you if not removed from the sky.

December 14, 2015 8:35 am

That was interesting. USN also seems to have a preference for the Bushmaster over the 57mm Bofors for close-in defence. The reasons have not been clearly articulated* but maybe the anti-air version of the 3P munitions is not all that it was supposed to be against an incoming missile (I think it was optimised originally for land use against helicopters).

The RN 30mm capability is mainly against surface craft? The Phalanx upgrade programme, as in
“Phalanx Block 1B, the latest upgrade, features surface mode configuration and augments the proven anti-air warfare capability by adding a forward-looking infrared sensor and optimised gun barrels to the Block 1A configuration. This not only allows Phalanx to be used against littoral threats such as helicopters and high-speed surface vessels, but also adds control stations with situational awareness that allow operators to visually track and identify targets before engagement.” seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, but I guess the total number of units is so restricted that sending them back for a factory refurb can only be done in small batches?
– anyway, seems to make them more of a jack-of-all-trades, and thereby limit the numbers of 30mm needed
* there was a shoot-out, not against each other, but with identical target scenarios dreamt up (as for size, distance, speed of closing in, manoeuvrability…) by the USN

December 14, 2015 8:49 am
Fully stabilised
Engagement range 2500m,Laser range finding and night operation capable sights

@JJ, what makes that moribund project
interesting is that the US have just evaluated Wiesel 2 for potential use in their 82nd Airborne.
-ok, they are mainly looking for a recce wagon
– however, in the evaluation report they used the term “weapon carrier” as a secondary role for it, and that (since the Bren carrier) has not been such common coinage, but could point to a direct translation of the header for the linked prototype “Waffenträger Wiesel “

December 14, 2015 10:05 am


FYI, hundreds of unmanned platforms with shape-charged warheads- we already have those- brimstone and various sensor-fused sub-munitions.

December 14, 2015 1:01 pm


Please keep in mind that I am from a UAV deploying unit? Not many of the teams have their own personal artillery battery on call. The worst thing that can happen from our POV is a patrol sweeping our OP, we have to pack up everything fast and displace to avoid being caught, even worse if it is a mechanized patrol. I know of teams that were harassed so badly by M-113s chasing them during exercises (yes it was a long time back) that they were even forced to abandon the comms set and run for it. They had to retrieve it after the exercise ended as they kept being harassed further and further away from their original position. Being chased by M-113s isn’t fun.

Talking about “calling artillery” is easy to say but practically, there can be problems like “danger, close”, time of flight and ranging shots. Most rounds don’t home in on target and you are working on an estimate of where the person will be in the minute it takes for the round to travel to your location.

” release swarms of hundreds of killer drones with shaped charge warheads from lorries.”

I can just see my OC telling me to sign for equipment breakage now. :)

December 14, 2015 1:36 pm
Reply to  Lord Jim
Having seen the 40mm CTS ammunition up close along with 40mm Bofors there is a huge difference in the size of the rounds

Not really…….in terms of total volume there is little difference between them . The CT40 is about 850cc’s and 40 mm Bofors a little more than 900 cc’s.

The 40mm CTS (Coke Can) rounds should enable more rounds to be stored in the same space or the same number of rounds in less space.

And yet they have only managed to fit 42 rounds to the manned turret(warrior?)

Some 35mm systems come close but their size and weight is greater than the CTS as is their ammo

I’m sorry but that is simply not correct, the 35x228mm oerlikon takes up considerably less space than the CT40 round , with a volume of less than 700cc’s . As for the size and weight of the guns :

Not much difference in size and the Bushmaster III is actually significantly lighter.
Its true that the CT40 system seems more compact at first but its just arranged differently/ placed elsewhere in the turret,… it still takes up a lot of space, especially with the bulky ammunition handling system.

December 14, 2015 1:52 pm


Warrior has a tiny turret, CV90 has a massive turret.

December 14, 2015 1:55 pm
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy
it has all those specialities available, whereas those 30/35 mm guns ( a very wide installed space, and therefore cheap ammo) will have difficulty matching it

Sensor Fused/ programmable multi-purpose ammunition is hardly something unique to the CT40 , nor is it among the first to offer such ammo natures.
You have things like 40mm 3P , which has 6 different modes, among them one against targets behind cover.
In 30 and 35mm you have ABM/PABM/KETF ammunition that is also programmable against a multitude of targets. And while the CT40 carries a bigger payload than the smaller calibers , a future programmable 50x330mm SuperShot will match or excede the CT40 in this respect and without taking up more space.

stephen duckworth
December 14, 2015 2:13 pm

Thanks for the link to the German 30mm recoiless JJ . I never considered the impact of recoil reduction on accuracy as a significant benifit when linked to modern electronic targeting systems. The old US 105mm recoiless rifle strapped to the back of a jeep had NTFA in terms of such aids other than simple optics. The backblast issue from such weapons of any size for the nearby dismounts is a serious issue but the benifit of being able to put medium to heavy calibre rounds from any light vehicle could be a serious thought giver to any OPFOR commander. Soon to be comming to a ‘Technical’ near you?
Perhaps there is a good reason AJAX is a lard ass :-)

December 14, 2015 2:28 pm

In 30 and 35mm you have ABM/PABM/KETF ammunition that is also programmable against a multitude of targets

If we leave some very sensible people aside (the Dutch and the Danes with their Bushy 35 and the Koreans & Japanese with their 40 & 35 mm guns, not to forget the Swedes), I have been under the impression that the more clever payloads & fuses don’t deliver much when you go down to 25/ 30 mm? And the small quantities that the Dutch and the Danes would be ordering would make the special ammo varieties quite pricey, even when the Bushmaster installed base taken together is vast?
– I may have got some of that reasoning wrong; would be glad to hear which parts
– the supershot upgrade path is clear. fully costed (exc. for the per piece price of ammo, which becomes at least initially rarer than the golden hen’s teeth) and a good insurance against the next-gen BMP turning up, which they have had a habit of doing (Armata based this time around? Not quite the Namer, but headed in that direction).

December 14, 2015 3:05 pm


One of the most spectacular demonstration I saw while I was in the army was an Opfor 106mm RR team giving an AMX-13 tank platoon a lesson in “how to get your arse handed to you” with a 106mm RR on a jeep. First a long ranged shot at the tank column from long range to get their attention, then duck behind a hill. When the first tank came up along the road it got ambushed with a 106mm shot to the flank at 25m before it could reorientate itself along the road. Umpires called it a kill and the whole tank column got jammed, which that guys then used to run off and flank the column again for a shot into the rear of the last tank. The whole tank platoon got played with for the entire exercise, they never had a chance. A recoilless on a jeep in the hands of someone skilled is a joy to behold, especially when they wield it with a smoothness that can allow them to take on tanks.

stephen duckworth
December 14, 2015 3:31 pm
Reply to  Observer

The tank detachment commander must of been mortified :-) But a lesson learnt no doubt , lots of suppressive MG fire and “where’s the bloody infantry?”

December 14, 2015 4:28 pm

@stephen duckworth
Isolated tank platoons of any kind often get embarrassed. A single platoon without support by a 2nd or 3rd platoon is weak.

Calibres really depend on what you want to do. Even 20 mm HE is quite impressive out to 2 km against infantry, light barriers etc. It’s also enough against all those merely bulletproofed vehicles and most BMPs’ flanks. Helicopters don’t tolerate 20 mm visits well either.

There’s relatively little gain at relatively high costs (volume, mass, money) if you go higher, and Germany seems to have chosen 30 mm as the smallest calibre allowing electronic fuzes and a good load of tungsten for effect. The 35-40 mm calibres are seemingly meant for a “IFV vs. IFV” fight.

I myself am not endeared by autocannons at all. Suspiciously, whenever an army tested autocannons as secondary armament of MBTs the result was the same: Not worth it, you can deal with everything using the main gun or coax already. This should make everyone wonder why autocannons are supposedly worth it to reduce a APC’s dismount strength by 30+% in order to have an autocannon (and thus an “IFV”) instead of a machinegun.

This means you need roughly 50% more vehicles for the same dismount strength, but our battalions don’t get enlarged by one or two additional companies, so we end up with 30+% reduction of dismount strength. And that’s putting the combined arms capability at risk.

Brigades and battalion battlegroups tend to be rather weak on arty, weak on air defence, weak on infantry, strong on tanks and strong on autocannon AFVs. It’s a line of sight (“duel”) combat-heavy approach. This may actually work decently on open Eastern European areas if blue air forces have air supremacy, but it’s no recipe for use even only close to settlements with a depth of 7 or more buildings or woodland.

December 14, 2015 5:55 pm

When I wrote “Brigades and battalion battlegroups …” I meant NATO formations. The Russians have plenty artillery and ShoRAD at that level.

December 14, 2015 5:58 pm



An IFV can be designed to carry ma medium calibre gun and an inventory squad- the two operating as one and the gun being extremely useful. We know this as that is what has been happening for the last 40 years. In fact it is the medium calibre weapon that enables that.

Nobody expects a heavy manoeuvre formation to go storming a major town so its not even an issue, thats why Army’s have multiple formation types.

December 14, 2015 8:10 pm


Back to topic;

telescoped munitions are one of those tempting concepts that keep being revisited, similar to maglev trains, flying cars, VTOL aviation, soft recoil, laser guns, cannon-launched ATGMs or HVM missiles. They all have in common a great and disadvantageous disproportion between development efforts spent and operational usage.

The UK may now or soon bring these telescoped 40 mm rounds into service, but the odds of this becoming a commercial (export) success are slim unless some behind the scenes deal allows this to become a NATO standard.

I suppose 35×228 mm with its 50 mm supershot upgrade capability will stay more successful (and IIRC it actually is somehow standardised by NATO).

December 14, 2015 8:29 pm

Much as it may pain me to admit it, S O does have a point. Is the CT40 worth the cost of its development?

Would the British Army have been much disadvantaged had they not gone for a developmental gun and a developmental vehicle (FRES) and instead picked up the Warrior 2000, then made by Alvis with a Delco turret, and converted the older Warriors with RARDEN into turretless ABSV? Would they have been so much worse off deploying the Stormer family of vehicles to replace CVR(T), using the same 30mm turret as the Warrior for the light tank version?

The 30mm of both had growth potential, and round-about now we would be looking at upgrading the fire control systems and the gun to a 40mm solution. Perhaps not so effective, shot-for-shot, as the CT40 or Bofors*, but carrying four times more ammunition has to count for quite a lot in all but the most extreme scenarios. Meanwhile the Delco turret had the capacity to mount TOW missiles.

There are any number of examples, maxims and cliches cautioning against the delay and cost of development projects. Looking back, from the present, what has the CT40 gained us versus what it has cost us? Does anyone think that will change much in ten year’s time?

The Swedes managed to fit the Bofors into an IFV and secured large export orders for the vehicle by fitting it with other, off-the-shelf, weapons.

December 14, 2015 8:54 pm


Warrior in the form it was purchased was a severe error: no stabilised main gun and no Chobham, Rarden itself was perfectly capable of killing all Soviet AFV’s aside from MBTs and associated specialty platforms.

In terms of what CTA has cost us, I am not convinced that in the grand scheme of things it has really cost all that much, especially when put against some of the earlier FRES efforts as a whole. What has it got us, but all accounts an excellent weapons system.

December 14, 2015 9:07 pm


Well, you did start derailing the thread when you started calling him a Russian, so if you want a serious debate, name calling has to stop.


You are looking at it the wrong way round. You are saying “put an autocannon on an MBT” which is totally useless as you already pointed out, the co-ax and the 105/120 would have handled anything. The autocannons are for *IFV*s, not MBTs. IFV/APCs do not come with main guns, so upgunning them is still a valid upgrade path. An old APC, which the IFV evolved from, cannot take part in an armoured skirmish by taking on “equivalent” targets while an IFV can take on IFVs and APCs and in some cases even MBTs, leaving the MBT component of the battlegroup to focus on the enemy MBTs (equivalent targets). Without the supporting IFVs, the enemy IFV poses enough of a threat to force the MBT component of your combined arms unit to make a choice, them or the enemy MBTs. This can lead to target overload. In the 80s, there was a study to determine the effectiveness of the M-113 vs the Bradley by the US NTC. One of the very interesting results was during the simulation, the M2 was seen as an effective combatant by the Opfor and had a priority just behind the MBT while they actually ignored the M-113 because even with the 0.5 cal, the effectiveness of the M-113 on a mounted battle was marginal, which makes a bit of sense, you prioritize the threat that can hurt you.

Another + point for the autocannon is that the old alternative, the 0.5 cal, does not cause breeches in structures. There may be penetration on a structure, especially if you were using SLAP but it does not have the ability to make a hole infantry can exploit. An autocannon using HE can cause “mouseholes” in structures that infantry can use to infiltrate and exploit, something desired in a support gun. The alternative is to use their one shot ASM (Anti-structure munitions)/Matador to mousehole, a bit of a waste to use a one shot on a wall when all it needed was 2-3 shots from the IFV.

In light of all this, I have to support the IFV side of the equation. I know some like mr fred would prefer more men over an autocannon, and yes, in the large scale of things the small difference becomes significant, it is just that the doctrine that I’m used to focuses more on mobility and aggressiveness, so my heavier focus on a more mobile battle and the advantages the IFV brings to that.

December 14, 2015 9:22 pm

Drat! I ALWAYS forget to add the footnote; from my previous post:
* I doubt anyone short of of a forensics lab would be able to discern the two from the receiving end.

Warrior 80 (to coin a description?) was limited. There was an option to replace it with Warrior 2000, which would have addressed most of the faults of the earlier vehicle and provided a surplus of capable hulls to replace the FV430 series.

I’m not against auto cannon on IFVs so much as I am against auto cannon on APCs in an attempt to make them combat vehicles. On a heavy vehicle where the additional weight is not so much of a burden and the additional range and effect adds survivability, it’s a good thing. On a cavalry vehicle with a few dismounts, it’s not a bad thing. On a lightweight, cheap troop carrier the addition of cannon armament makes it neither.

December 14, 2015 9:22 pm

I think it was SO who said that losing 30% of the dismounts, for autocannons, in an all-arms mech formation is not a good deal.

It does not matter who said it, but I tend to agree. Squads should travel undivided and one vehicle with an autocannon, preferably on same chassis as the others, per platoon should be fine. The suppressive powers (and that’s all) of the HMG and/or AGL should not be underestimated, but the trade offs for having them are much lighter.

December 14, 2015 10:01 pm

Observer, keep your advice to yourself, I merely describe what I see.


Good job thats not what happens then isn’t it. S.O is completely wrong when he states thats the case.

stephen duckworth
December 14, 2015 10:09 pm

A little more on Observers comments on autocannons producing moseholes in walls for infantry to enter/leave buildings or compounds. In the sandbox we found adobe (mudbrick) and rammed earth buildings very resistant to small arms and HMG fire and even 20mm having little or no effect. If we are going to have a cannon this experience alone should show us sometimes a big one is better.
And another thing , what did that chicken do to that solider to deserve a boot up the Parsons nose :-)

December 14, 2015 10:43 pm

The trouble with a nice, “uncomplicated” pure APC’s is that they require a major escorting effort, something that may be effectively impossible in urban areas or close country. Having significant firepower under platoon control and under armour is a hard thing to give up.

The fact is, trying to squeeze a full section into a heavy vehicle is getting harder. Getting a fire team in, on the other hand, is perfectly possible. Combine this with the obvious point that an infantry vehicle operating in close cooperation with tanks will need a similar level of protection, we might as well have the same class of vehicle providing both “tanks” and “ifv’s”, and both carrying a fire team. Some would have tank guns, some with an autocannon.

Lets face it, the biggest obstacle to this happy marriage is the “tankies vs grunts” issue. But it’s still something we need to get past.

December 14, 2015 10:44 pm

If you could keep most of your comments to yourself, I think most contributors to this site would prefer it.

stephen duckworth, Observer,
For a formation of lighter vehicles, would it not be preferable to have a dedicated troop carrier and a light tank carrying a decent size gun? Rather than a lot of more expensive vehicles each with mediocre armament and troop carrying ability?

stephen duckworth
December 14, 2015 11:41 pm
Reply to  mr.fred

@mr Fred
I agree that vehicles should specialise and not try to be all things to all men. A troop carrier with a remote MG/AGL , with a decent set of dismounts (12?) capable of operating as a single squad rather than having to pick up extra men from other carriers to fill them out. By the time you’ve stripped out the medic,LAW carrier, GL carrier, LMG carrier etc you have no one left from any smaller sized unit. A light tank with a high elevation gun ( using say the ARES 75mm CTA cannon ) on a dedicated chassis using the same components as the infantry carrier and ahuge load of ammo to take care of stubborn objectives, dug in positions at range or other enemy light tanks or IFV’s etc. That vehicle could be used to carry the expensive optics/sensors and coordinate the local area and provide overwatch.

December 15, 2015 1:06 am

@mr fred

I can see it going both ways. I can see advantages to either side so I would think it all depends on the skill and tactics of the people involved rather than what tool they are issued with. A skilled commander will get the job done even with average equipment by adjusting his tactics while a clown with top of the line equipment will still find some way to screw up.

And of course the question on if the soldiers are trained as mechanized infantry or armoured infantry. Lots of ways to skin this particular cat. I won’t mind a ratio of 1 light tank: 2-3 APC though I won’t be expecting the APC to be in the same firing line with the MBTs :) Just have to adjust tactics.


Nice find! The 5 round 35mm HEI-T looks like what we need though.

December 15, 2015 6:19 am
Reply to  Observer

I consider low priority targeting of a dismounts transport vehicle as a feature, not a bug.
The dual role of autocannon mounted combat and bus for infantry is the core of the IFV problem.
If you need an autocannon or rapid fire gun in the weapons mix, why not use a dedicated vehicle with the protection of a MBT on basis of a MBT hull? Meanwhile, (H)APCs can keep the mounted infantry out of the lines of fire most of the time.

IFVs developed from a rather simple vehicle with a simple manually operated 20 mm gun (HS30) to something with as sophisticated electronics (even CITV!) as a MBT. The result is excessive costs that don’t allow much infantry to be carried in such vehicles. Approx. 300 infantrymen in entire brigades aren’t enough. That’s little more than bivouac close security at night!

Autocannons fail utterly in face of reinforced concrete (and thus most large residential buildings in Eastern Europe), reducing them to hole openers against brick walls only (and typically with more than 3 HE rounds).

Besides, APCs can take on MBTs IF the mounted infantry has an effective ATGM launcher. This would cost one dismount per vehicle, but would make sense in general (with the man-portable launcher belonging to the vehicle and rarely carried by dismounted teams).

December 15, 2015 7:01 am


Given I am part of a small minority that actually posts anything of factual accuracy on this site I certainly won’t be keeping my comments to myself.

There is no “IFV problem”, the concept has been succfully executed multiple times over the last 40 years. The notion there is one is being spread here by someone with a very specific agenda. A medium calibre gun is a powerful battlefield weapon, especially when operating in concert with an infantry squad, on the rare occasions that squad needs something more powerful and no MBT is available IFVs can be provided with turret integrated ATGMs or personnel deployed light rocket weapons.

To be clear, the source of the “IFV problem” myth in this thread is solely from someone with an obvious agenda of weakening European defence capability.

December 15, 2015 7:53 am

I would think that it can be viewed a number of ways. On a heavy vehicle it would be no great weight burden to add a medium calibre gun and it would be a useful addition to an armoured formation, especially if the sensor suite allowed engagement of small air targets. Given modern remote turrets it would also not impact the number of infantrymen carried.
When you move to light, low cost vehicles for carrying infantry formations a medium cannon armament takes a much greater proportion of the vehicles weight and cost. You go from a 20 tonne vehicle capable of carrying a section in comfort to a 30 tonne vehicle with a reduced section. If these vehicles are to carry the bulk of your infantry strength then it’s an inefficient way of doing it. It seems a tempting option rather than developing proper gun tanks in the same weight class to support the troop carriers properly.
I can see a role for medium-weight IFVs in the current western style, but more as light cavalry, or dragoons, to take terms from the musket-era nomenclature. They are to harass, to scout and generally operate on the fringes of the formations, denying the enemy freedom of manoeuvre and intelligence.

No problem with factual comments on the subject, but leave the vendettas and personal attacks out of it?

* Yes, I am aware of the irony implicit in the statement.

December 15, 2015 8:12 am

There are no reduced sections, IFVs are designed to carry full sections (even the Bradley was designed to carry a full section they just changed the section size post design freeze). The vehicle doesn’t park-up when the dismounts engage either, it is an intrinsic part of the section and fights with the dismounts.

What is especially amusing about this discussion is that the US Army Stryker brigade as originally conceived was exactly what some are proposing here- they are now busy trying to turn the Stryker APC variant into an IFV having realised the formations lack lethality.

December 15, 2015 8:14 am

mr.fred, SD (and others) – glad to see you’ve come around to my way of thinking. APCs with big turrets on top are not a good idea. Nasty lurchy handling, reduced protection capacity (something has to give to offset the weight of the turret), much reduced space inside for dismounts, and to top it all a dichotomy for the vehicle commander – should he put his vehicle in a fire-fight and risk the dismounts or should he avoid trouble, keep the dismounts safe but leave potential threats in place?

Obs – I think this statement “they actually ignored the M-113” one of the best justifications for not putting punchy weapons on personnel carriers…

December 15, 2015 8:36 am


A wheeled platform with a full section and a manned medium calibre turret is at this point impossible; the US Army is about to find out if its possible with an unmanned turret. The basic problem being the CoG is too high, I am sure most of us have seen sufficient turned-over turreted wheeled vehicles to know that. Tracked vehicles with full sections and manned medium calibre turrets are entirely possible and have been done on multiple occasions, admittedly some better the others (the CV90 and Ulan/Ascod being best of breed IMO). There also isn’t really a dichotomy for a properly trained vehicle/section commander, he has his role and will execute it as any other commander does.

December 15, 2015 9:11 am


Your facts seem more like opinions from someone else’s viewpoint, not to mention the raving conspiracy theory. You sure the Illuminati isn’t monitoring your internet traffic? Pfft, one person undermining European defence. That guy’s name happen to be Stallone, Schwarzenegger or Willis?

There is a reduced carry capacity when someone slaps an autocannon onto an APC, the turret basket cuts into the seating space and the ammo storage increases as well. The usual cost is seating space for 2-3 men. This has been the case for 2 practical examples I have seen and the literature for other vehicles also supports this. The 2 I have seen are the M-113 40/50 (0.5 cal with 40mm AGL sidecar) vs the M-113 25mm OWS and the Bionix I and II 40/50 vs the 25/30mm Bushmaster. The new unmanned turrets have the potential to mitigate this in the future, I have not seen an IFV with an unmanned medium calibre turret first hand though so I’ve to withhold judgement on that.

I’m of the pro-IFV faction but the way you are going about trying to convince SO is making me facepalm. Not everyone disagreeing with you is Russian. They might be Martian out to degrade Earth’s defences before their interplanetary invasion. Sounds ridiculous? That is exactly how you sound like right now. SO is German BTW. I agree that some of his hypothesis are really stretching it but that is his opinion, on the same level as yours.

It would be. If the reason it was ignored wasn’t because it was ineffectual. While it may be “good news” for the APC, it is limited “good news” because once they worked your MBTs over due to target overload, they’re going to work on the APCs next. IFVs let them “hang together” with MBTs instead of hanging separately after the main advance gets overrun. OTOH, the M-113 is a terrible vehicle to slap a turret on. Or to be in a battleline. It’s simply too light/fragile. IFVs work better at medium or heavy weights.

Ultimately, IFV or APC, it really is up to personal preference, either way will get a valid military vehicle out and there are tactics for both. It’s hardly an either/or situation or solution.

John Hartley
John Hartley
December 15, 2015 9:17 am

When RT used to comment, he said that armour needs to be light enough to deploy to theatre & then be able to use the weak bridges & narrow roads when it gets there.
Perhaps we need 2 vehicles based on a common hull. One aimed at carrying dismounts & armed with a HMG/light cannon such as the FN 15.5mm BRG & then a fire support version with at least a HV 60mm & perhaps a 105mm?

December 15, 2015 9:29 am

The dichotomy does exist; solutions vary infantry platoon&sa=X&rlz=1C1KYPA_enGB634GB634&espv=2&biw=751&bih=367&tbm=isch&
– the platoon leader and the platoon Sgt are two different people, the former dismounts and the latter stays with the vehicles (and acts as a spare, to maintain unit cohesion even if things went badly for the leader)

Here, I count on the right, I count on the left, and oops… the count is different infantry platoon&sa=X&rlz=1C1KYPA_enGB634GB634&espv=2&biw=751&bih=367&tbm=isch&

BMP2 (just picking it as a further example as so many have been produced and is widely used) can only deliver 6 dismounts. You can put a 7th with the vehicle crew, but he would have to climb out through the top hatch.

The US just picked the son of the M113, which BAE has come up with, by using the Bradley parts bin. The APC is clearly different from the IFV (and can deliver a whole squad in one go).

December 15, 2015 9:40 am


It’s no conspiracy theory but very much based in fact, the Russian state sponsors people to engage in online discourse that furthers it ends in the west- this is well known and I have provided links describing this multiple times. A certain poster here posts, without exception, views that support Russian ambitions (his blog does the same).His claimed national identity is neither here nor there.

As for IFVs, we know they can be designed to carry a manned medium calibre turret and a full section because they have been multiple times. CV90, Warrior, Puma, BMP-1,2,3, Ulan/Ascod etc. The evidence is right in front of those who chose to look at it.


You don’t get this. The vehicle is part of the section, it fights with it as a coherent part of it, hence why someone stays in the vehicle. The IFV does not just carry infantry it fights with them. Also, your last paragraph makes no sense.

December 15, 2015 10:32 am
Reply to  hohum
CV90 has a massive turret.

You have a pretty peculiar definition of what massive means then…..honestly, it just looks big from the outside because of all the extra armor, storage boxes and the large turret bustle. Its actually pretty small on the inside, thats why the 35mm Bushy looks so massive, because it takes up almost a third of the turret space.

December 15, 2015 10:37 am


Now SO is a Russian spy. I suppose Hohum is working for the Martians then..

If this is the level of your “factual”, pardon me if I took it with a whole box of salt.

BTW, ACC is right, the dismounted element is the PC’s job, the CSM’s job is to watch over the vehicle element. We use that system too. This is usually for “advance to objective” where the vehicles are on overwatch while the dismounted element moves into a village/fortified area etc.

Hohum, do you actually know what you are doing? Or are you just making up a fantasy orbat from your imagination?

December 15, 2015 10:42 am

JH – ref small & light – I know I said something like that; I thought RT said he wanted a bicycle. Or nothing at all except his fieldcraft. Or a good night with an obliging wench. Oh and a Chenowth racing dune buggy for giggles.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
December 15, 2015 10:44 am

For more information about IFV medium calibre gun options and their ammunition, see:

December 15, 2015 10:45 am

Sorry, slip of the mind. PC/PS, CSM sits higher in the foodchain.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
December 15, 2015 10:58 am
Reply to  Think Defence

OK by me, TD.

December 15, 2015 11:01 am
Reply to  ArmChairCivvy
And the small quantities that the Dutch and the Danes would be ordering would make the special ammo varieties quite pricey,

Yes you would think so , and i was surprised as well but apparently the 35mm KETF/ABM isnt actually that expensive ….about $500 a piece last i checked(admittedly a few years ago). Compared to the cost of other ammunition like dumb 76mm (naval) or 120mm tank ammo thats downright cheap. For reference even the unprogrammable version of the Rheinmetall 120 mm DM11 round…called HE SQ RH31 (or HE-FRAG-T) costs more than $3000 a pop.
Besides, KETF is basically just a modified version of the naval AHEAD round and using the same smart fuse , so you also have all the 35 millenium CIWS installed , to help bring down the cost.
Australia might be a future user of the Bushmaster III, as the AMV35 ( Patria AMV with a CV9035 turret ) is being offered to them as part of the LAND400 program.

December 15, 2015 11:14 am
Reply to  S O
The 35-40 mm calibres are seemingly meant for a “IFV vs. IFV” fight.

That might have been the Dutch reasoning behind choosing 35 over 30mm, but in our case it was first and foremost the capability of the KETF round. I saw the results of the trials, testing various calibers against each other , particularly 30 vs 35mm ABM/KETF . There was a marked difference , with the larger KETF round being something like 2,5 times as lethal/effective as the 30mm version. The regular HEI ammo was way more capable in 35 mm as well. So i cant agree with your assertion that increase in caliber yields little gain.

Tony Williams
Tony Williams
December 15, 2015 11:19 am

By the way, there was some discussion about using the 76mm OTO gun in IFVs. First, a manually-loaded gun firing basically the same ammo has long been in service in the South African Rooikat armoured car. Secondly, OTO are offering the Draco, an automatic 76mm air defence system fitted to an 8×8 vehicle (see towards the end of this page: ). Third, they have developed DART guided ammo for CIWS and air defence purposes.

John Hartley
John Hartley
December 15, 2015 11:24 am

Chris. I dare not speak for RT, but going from memory, I think he wanted something under 10 tons. Without a breakthrough, I do not think that can be done, as the politicians have been scarred by the snatch Land Rover debacle. To get the firepower & protection required, then even in a deployable vehicle, I would guess you are looking at 15 to 25 tons.

December 15, 2015 11:50 am

Bonus , at five and a half k a pop seems to be in line, by delivering two kills vs. the unprogrammable version of the Rheinmetall 120 mm DM11 round…called HE SQ RH31 (or HE-FRAG-T) costs more than $3000 a pop
– cheaper but less survivable platform (sure) needs to be factored in

But, on the topic, this
” There was a marked difference , with the larger KETF round being something like 2,5 times as lethal/effective as the 30mm version” is what I meant, just didn’t know whether it is at 25 mm or at 30 mm where the rounds are not useful wrappers for all the smart contents, incl. fuses, anymore.

December 15, 2015 12:16 pm
Reply to  MikeKiloPapa

I tend to think more in “tactical repertoire” (what troops do) than in “effect per round” (what individual rounds do).
You can do little with 35 or 40 mm that you couldn’t do with a larger quantity of 30 mm.
For comparison, you clearly cannot expect a crew to fight against a modern IFV with a 20 m gun, but you can if they have a 35 mm gun.

December 15, 2015 12:19 pm
Reply to  Tony Williams :-)
Draco is too terribly bulky for a line of sight ground combat weapon system in my opinion.

December 15, 2015 12:30 pm

About the “Russian spy” trolling meme; I could easily prove that I’m a German to anyone who can tell one by listening to one. A quick visit to a teamspeak server would suffice, for example. I suppose the trolling would just shift to a theory that I’m an East German in Russian service or something, though. It’s not like evidence such as a 8 year blog track record made an impression on him.

In the end, I suppose most here understand I’m a German who prefers to write about disagreements with conventional wisdom or majority opinion and stay silent about agreements, resulting in the appearance of very unorthodox and unusual opinions.
I’m fully aware that being correct in only 50% of the topics with my dissenting opinions would be a huge accomplishment (considering the odds).

stephen duckworth
December 15, 2015 12:50 pm

You offer a contentious and challenging view point to this site.
On the Russia issue its far more likely our leader of the opposition and his shadow cabinet is on the Russian payroll than you.

Pte. James Frazer
Pte. James Frazer
December 15, 2015 12:56 pm

Doesn’t the best compromise for an APC/MIV already exist? i.e. a RWS with 50cal or 20mm to deal with soft targets plus Javelin or even APKWS / CRV7-PG / LMM hanging off the sides to deal with buildings / hard targets. The latter 3 are SAL guided so you could use a designator on the turret or one of the dismounts could designate.

No pretence that there’s a high weapon load-out for taking on lots of hard targets one-on-one but enough for a contingency shot, when the supporting IFV’s providing overwatch are otherwise engaged, in the wrong position or gone….

December 15, 2015 1:06 pm
The US just picked the son of the M113, which BAE has come up with, by using the Bradley parts bin. The APC is clearly different from the IFV (and can deliver a whole squad in one go).

I started to wonder what does not make sense in the above; had I perhaps written platoon in place of squad, or…?
1. just picked: yes
2. son of = will step in the shoes of the cold war relic
3. by BAE, yes
4. Bradley parts bin; yes, a high degree of commonality, despite the different function
5. Not an IFV (no turret), but an APC (OK, has a four letter acronym, but starts with an “A” anyway)
… emphasis on internal volume. 5 different functions, the ones I can remember:
5.1 APC
5.2 mortar carrier
5.3 ?
5.4 casualty evacuation
5.5 casualty treatment

December 15, 2015 1:24 pm

No, SO is not a spy, he is a state sponsored disinformation agent, see here:


I presume you are referring to the AMPV programme which is actually a project to deliver roles similar to the UK ABSV project, and is thus not an IFV and therefore not relevant to the point at hand.


As you well know, IFV and section are one self-supporting entity, there is no dichotomy unless you have poorly trained officers. The concept works, which is why IFVs have been successfully developed, deployed and used operationally.

stephen duckworth
December 15, 2015 1:41 pm
Reply to  mr.fred

The turret on the AJAX is being supplied by LHM for $1Bn for 245 turrets , add the CTA given to them gratis by the MOD that’s £3m a turret FFS!

stephen duckworth
December 15, 2015 1:48 pm

The turret on the AJAX is being supplied by LHM for $1Bn for 245 turrets , add the CTA given to them gratis by the MOD that’s £3m a turret FFS!
P.S. I reiterate I am in favour of dedicated vehicles and a reconn mount needs a little f**k o** potential to enemy skirmishers be they air,foot,track or wheeled.

December 15, 2015 2:02 pm

An IFV is a dedicated vehicle.

December 15, 2015 2:10 pm

JH – ref “guess you are looking at 15 to 25 tons” – indeed I am.

SD – ref “in favour of dedicated vehicles” – yes this too. Is it such a hard concept to grasp? If you want a nice garden, hire a gardener. If you want an antique cabinet restored, give the job to a furniture restorer. If you want a haircut, go to a barber. If you want central heating replaced, bring in a plumber. Or you can pay the local odd-job man to have a go instead. It would probably cost a bit less, but the chances of the job being done as efficiently or to the same quality as the specialist would achieve are slim indeed.

December 15, 2015 2:22 pm

Or if you want a nice IFV design one, like CV(), like Ulan/Ascod, like K21 etc. It’s an entirely possible and has been done very successfully.

Lord Jim
Lord Jim
December 15, 2015 2:43 pm

I am firmly in the APC camp. I would give priority to the number of dismounts carried over firepower, with 8 the optimum number. However this doesn’t mean returning to the old days of only having a GPMG on your vehicle. The base line should be the good old M2 but nowadays we have an abundance of riches from 40mm AGLs to lightweight 20mm, all of which can be installed on a RWS that has minimum intrusion into the vehicle whilst providing more that adequate direct fire support (DFS). For additional fore support I do advocate having integral Fire Support platforms within a Battalion, making up to 4 DFS platforms available to each Infantry company.

To make holes in walls and if a 40mm CTA cannot do the job and your supporting MBTs are otherwise engaged I would suggest the latest version of the M3 lightweight Carl Gustav be introduced with its array of ammunition. Whether you want to make a big hole for access or punch through to take out whoever is inside it should do the trick.

December 15, 2015 2:57 pm

So instead of each section having organic long-range precision firepower capable of dealing with pretty much all armour except MBTs and providing significant counter defilade-capability, a capability that is entirely achievable as it has already been done, the proposal here is to remove that and instead leave the section dependent on light-arms whilst it waits for the battalions fire-support vehicle to arrive?

That sure sounds like progress….odd that the US Army is currently moving in exactly the opposite direction with its Stryker brigades, oh well, this is TD land so I am sure we can put that down to American ignorance.

December 15, 2015 3:32 pm


I specifically said “APC” as you have repeatedly asserted that full section can be delivered by an IFV.

I wonder if you know what you are talking about, except at headline level. As it takes 4 (!) Bradleys to deliver the 3 (!) squads of a mech. infantry platoon, a section has come into being. The platoon can manoeuvre in two parts, namely sections, in mounted combat, both the Pl. Commander’s vehicle and the Pl. Sgt’s vehicle have a “wingman” vehicle. The primacy of a squad over these combinations has not gone anywhere, when dismounted.

Now, about the one that can actually deliver a whole squad (but is not an IFV; nor one of the combinations where an APC’s and an IFV’s strong points have merged, namely in your dreams):
“The AMPV, with 78 percent more space and two, 400-amp generators, would include mortar carrier, mission command, general purpose, medical evacuation and medical treatment variants, all on a similar chassis.

[…] a common drive train, power plant, electronics and underbody across the five variants, all mature systems that would speed production and fielding. The drive train and suspension are common to the Bradley and the Paladin Integrated Management, a self-propelled howitzer.”

The US Army has a tracks vs. wheels debate of its own, but currently they are saying “just shy of 3000 of those, pls, and on the double”.

December 15, 2015 3:33 pm

Caseless and case-telescoped are two different things. There is nothing especially “Buck Rodgerish” about case telescoped ammunition. The problems with the G11 were related to the fact that it used caseless amunition, wich the CTAS does not.

The point of these larger caliber replacement weapons is that older autocannon are optomised for high velocity armour piercing ammunition. They fire a small projectile at high velocity while the reverse is optimum for HE ammunition.

With modern airburst projectiles this contradiction is more of a problem because airburst ammunition relies even more on it’s explosive payload for effect since targets behind cover can’t be engaged directly. You could fire multiple 30mm airburst projectiles to equal one 40mm, but a single 40mm would cost less and take up less space.

December 15, 2015 3:45 pm


I certainly know what I am talking about, you however have just revealed (once again) that you don’t. Bradley is unique in that one vehicle can’t carry an entire section, this is because the size of the section was enlarged after the vehicle design was frozen. The GCV programme was intended to rectify this but the money ran out.

AMPV is rather like the UK ABSV programme, it fulfills a variety of support roles within the heavy brigade combat teams- the IFV component (Bradley) is going nowhere and AMPV is therefore not particularly relevant to this discussion.

The US Army doesn’t really have a tracks versus wheels debate, it has a bunch of in-service platforms it wants to make much better, the one it wants to (and has been doing) the most to is the wheeled platform to which it now intends to add a medium calibre gun thus going in the opposite direction to the rather ill-conceived idea being proposed by some here.

December 15, 2015 4:12 pm


This reduced section thing keeps making an appearance in this thread yet nobody has presented any evidence for it yet. There are multiple vehicles out there that very effectively carry a manned medium calibre turret and a full section.

Don’t underestimated what a stabilised medium calibre weapon with modern thermal sights and a a good fire-control system can do- its far more than you will ever get from a .50 or a 40mm GL even on a stabilized RWS. Most IFVs have a secondary .30 cal anyway.

December 15, 2015 4:55 pm


That is different to saying vehicles can’t carry a full section, which they demonstrably can. This is actually worth its own post of you ever fancied it, you now see/hear this a lot in certain circles:

The platform, for a variety of reasons, is ascendant over the dismounted soldiers. It is in part because of the desire for protection, in part the increasing effectiveness of platforms as weapons systems and as you say the cost of training and retaining infantry.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
December 15, 2015 5:13 pm

I am intrigued by the last line in the article to which Tony Williams linked.

“Looking further ahead, in 2012 BAE revealed a proposal for a new family of LAFVs in the 17 ton range, as potential international replacements for the CVR(T) family. One of these featured the 40mm CTAS.

I know that is for another thread but has the LAFV gone beyond the computer graphic stage?