With the ink still dry on the October 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and most people arguing about Carrier Strike, the Army was coming to terms with the implications of Future Force 2020, especially the graduated response force structures; Deployed Force, High Readiness Force and Lower Readiness Force.
SDSR 2010 had confirmed;
Five multi-role brigades (see box) each comprising reconnaissance forces, tanks, and armoured, mechanised and light infantry, plus supporting units, keeping one brigade at high readiness available for an intervention operation, and four in support to ensure the ability to sustain an enduring stabilisation operation;
a new range of medium weight armoured vehicles, including Terrier engineer vehicles and the Scout reconnaissance vehicles and in due course the Future Rapid Effects System Utility Vehicle (FRES UV) which will be the core of the Army’s armoured manoeuvre fleet
In many regards, for the Army, it was business as proposed by FAS(Next Steps), in discussion and development since 2007, except of course, a reduction of 7,000 personnel and much greater use of the Reserve. This structure confirmed the view that enduring deployment at a medium scale (Brigade strength) would be the norm. The five Multi-Role Brigade, plus 1 high readiness Brigade and a smaller number of deployable HQ’s pretty much killed off the medium weight intervention force model of which FRES was the poster child. It is difficult to see how as a programme it could continue, given the underpinning doctrinal sands had completely shifted.
The various upgrades fitted to Warrior to enable service in Afghanistan increased its weight to just under 40 tonnes and the impact in mobility and reliability was significant. An upgrade programme for 70 vehicles was initiated that was designed to restore mobility, improve reliability and implement a number of improvements in multiple areas, 38 upgrades per vehicle. The £30m contract was awarded to BAE to bring a modest number of vehicles up to ‘Theatre Entry Standard (Herrick)’, or TES(H)
The resultant vehicle was still just under 40 tonnes but new suspension, brakes, air conditioning and other improvements restored mobility and reliability. Additional protection included improved seating for crew and passengers, transparent armour for the turret and a newly designed armour package. Vehicles upgraded to TESH(H) totalled 70 across the major variants; FV511 Infantry Section Vehicle, FV512 Infantry Command Vehicle, FV513 Mechanised Recovery (Repair) Vehicle, FV514 Mechanised Artillery Observation Vehicle and FV515 Battery Command Vehicle, later converted to armoured ambulances. In many ways, Warriors in Afghanistan were deployed as ‘medium armour’ to dominate ground, provide route security and in the infantry support role, acting as main battle tanks without the weight. In this regards, Warrior was an equivalent to FRES Direct Fire.
It is also interesting to note the weight increase. Warrior came into service as a 24 tonne vehicle and was now serving successfully in Afghanistan, having been continually upgraded over its lifetime, at 40 tonnes, over 60% heavier Warrior was not selected on the basis of future weight increase potential but here we were, operating in a very hostile environment at a significant weight increase over the original specification. BAE were deselected from the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) in February which left Lockheed Martin as the only horse in a one horse race, despite this they had not yet been awarded preferred bidder status, BAE also displayed a Warrior Multi Role Platform that it claimed could make use of the approximately 300 Warrior hulls not earmarked for upgrading as part of WCSP.
The National Audit Office published a special report on the ‘Cost Effective Delivery of an Armoured Vehicle Capability‘ in May 2011, yet more woe for FRES.
It is worth reproducing the summary in full;
1 Armoured vehicles comprise a range of military platforms including tanks, reconnaissance, engineer and personnel carrying vehicles. They permit military forces to manoeuvre while offering protection from a wide range of threats, and additionally provide platforms for mounting weapons and other military systems. Armoured vehicles are therefore a critical asset when undertaking a wide range of military tasks, from delivering humanitarian aid through to high intensity war-fighting operations.
2 To acquire armoured vehicles, the Ministry of Defence (the Department) has utilised two acquisition processes to procure all military equipment: For its ‘core’ equipment, intended to generate the defence capabilities required to carry out the military tasks set out by high level Defence Policy, the Department uses its standard acquisition process. This is a comprehensive approach which includes all elements that combine to create military capability, including personnel, training and logistics support. The process also addresses equipment interoperability, which ensures that the various sub-components, such as radios and sensors, operate as expected when integrated into the same equipment. It also covers how the equipment itself operates alongside other vehicles, aircraft, and systems to ensure it can work effectively as part of a wider military force.
For additional equipment – or to modify existing equipment – required in response to conditions on specific operations, not catered for by the standard acquisition
process, the Department can use the Urgent Operational Requirements process. This process can deliver equipment rapidly for specific operations, such as Afghanistan. However, the speed at which Urgent Operational Requirements are delivered means this equipment is often introduced before full support in terms
of trained personnel and logistics can be put into place and with limited time to consider full interoperability. Such equipment is often specific to a particular need and may not necessarily be as suitable across the whole range of military tasks as equipment purchased through the standard acquisition process.
3 In the period since the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, a number of significant armoured vehicle projects procured through the Department’s standard acquisition process have not been brought to fruition. Figure 1 provides details of a number of these projects where no vehicles have been delivered despite spending £321 million on projects that have been cancelled or suspended. The Department has spent a further £397 million funding on-going, but delayed, projects that are not currently planning to deliver any vehicles before 2013. Since 2003, the Department has also spent approximately £2.8 billion buying and upgrading vehicles, using the Urgent Operational Requirements process, for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It made the point that the UOR process had delivered vehicles that were condition and theatre specific and that might not find utility in other kinds of operations but as per the previous post, the Army had formally recognised that Afghanistan was exactly the kind of mission it was most likely to be engaged in and adjusted its whole structure to suit, FAS(Next Generation) and Transformational Army Structure (TAS) specifically.
Figure 1 provided a tabular view of the recent programmes and costs confirming that FRES UV now had a predicted ISD of 2022
The total spent to date on FRES UV, FRES SV, TRACER, MRAV, Terrier and Warrior CSP was £718 million. FRES SV, Warrior CSP and Terrier were predicted to require another £9.1 Billion to complete. FRES UV would be on top of that figure. Terrier would have a unit cost of £5.3 million, the actual unit cost of Viking was less than £600k and Titan/Trojan, £5.25 million each
Ever the masters of restraint, the NAO concluded;
given the expenditure of over £1.1 billion since 1998 without the delivery of its principal armoured vehicles – the Department’s standard acquisition process for armoured vehicles has not been working
It issued a number of key findings across the three themes of Defence Policy and the role of Armoured Vehicles, Acquisition strategy and requirements setting and finally, resource management.
Defence Policy and the Role of Armoured Vehicles;
The delays which have arisen from cancelled or suspended armoured vehicle projects will result in the Armed Forces not being fully equipped with the vehicles identified as top priorities in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, until at least 2024-25
Acquisition Strategy and Requirements Setting;
The Department’s reluctance to compromise in setting technologically demanding requirements under its standard acquisition process has put the timely and cost-effective delivery of equipment at risk
Faced with rapid changes to equipment requirements driven by operational experience, these unwieldy processes have contributed to a number of armoured vehicle projects being delayed or abandoned. This has led the Department to place greater reliance on the Urgent Operational Requirements process to provide equipment for recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
The Department has shown that it can make effective compromises to rapidly buy equipment specifically for operations. Urgent Operational Requirements are based on the principle that equipment only has to satisfy the current operational need – and be better than what is currently in service – to deliver equipment to the front line quickly; this generates realistic and deliverable requirements.
The Urgent Operational Requirements process is not a substitute for the standard acquisition process, but lessons can be applied from the former to accelerate delivery of equipment through the latter process.
The Department’s poor resource management has destabilised the standard acquisition process.
The Department’s requirement to identify significant savings in order to live within its means has led to equipment gaps appearing in some areas, such as armoured vehicles
Urgent Operational Requirements have been used to address shortfalls in equipment for current operations
As tough as the report was I think the Army got off very lightly;
- It stuck to the basic theme that much of the threat in Afghanistan was not possible to predict, clearly, utterly and completely nonsensical,
- It completely ignored the doctrinal confusion and changing military ‘fashion’ that resulted in MRAV and TRACER cancellation, initial FRES concepts and the latest FRES incarnation,
- It offered no insight into how the confused and confusing medium weight capability could be met within the likely resource envelope, if it was needed in any case.
Picking up on the story the Daily Mail resorted to the usual ‘blame the civil servants’ theme;
A well-placed defence source said: ‘These findings and should shame the suits in the MoD who have failed our soldiers, sailors and airmen. ‘In the business world they would have been fired for wasting the money. In this case it appears they have cost lives. It is disgraceful.’
And thus spectacularly failing to hit the real target, it was not the men in suits but the men in uniforms that were to blame.
Wolfhound entered service in Afghanistan in 2011. General Dynamics purchased Force Protection in June 2011
In July, General Dynamics released a press statement that described how SV was taking shape;
Little over a year since signing the Specialist Vehicle (SV) contract between the UK Ministry of Defence and General Dynamics UK, the first test version of the reconnaissance variant, Scout, has begun to take shape with the successful joining of the Experimental Demonstration Unit (EDU) turret to a “mule” base platform at the first attempt. The first successful combining of turret and base unit last week further proves the vehicle design, the systems integration between the two sections and the team work between prime contractor General Dynamics UK and turret design authority Lockheed Martin UK. It also highlights the excellent progress achieved by the Scout SV Industry team at an early stage.
“Mating the turret and base unit at such an early stage of the demonstration phase once again demonstrates our dedication to working towards delivering the Scout SV capability to the British Army as soon as is possible,” commented Dr. Sandy Wilson, president and managing director of General Dynamics UK on witnessing the event. “The fact that it happened at the first attempt only goes to show that the MoD chose the right team to deliver Scout SV.”
The mule base unit, known as PT3, is based on a mature ASCOD vehicle already in service with the Austrian Army. The 1.7 metre race ring, specifically designed by General Dynamics UK for Scout, was integrated onto the vehicle by General Dynamics European Land Systems at its Simmering facility in Austria. The vehicle was then transported to General Dynamics UK’s Pershore facility in Worcestershire, UK, to undergo a series of tests and prepare it to accept the EDU turret. It was then transferred to Lockheed Martin UK’s facility in Ampthill, Bedfordshire last week for the integration of the turret.
In parallel, the first EDU turret was being built at Rheinmetall Landsysteme in Gersthofen, Germany. Rheinmetall Landsysteme designs, develops and manufactures the Scout SV Turret Structure for turret design authority Lockheed Martin UK. Following a successful first build of the turret, the mandated CT40 Cased Telescoped Cannon System was integrated into it and fired for the first time in May, five months ahead of schedule. It was also subsequently transported to Ampthill where it has been undergoing extensive testing and preparation for integration with the PT3 mule base unit.
British troops using the Scout SV will have the best protection available in this vehicle class, both as it is delivered and as it grows to meet future threats. The vehicle will be immediately capable of delivering load-carrying growth potential of up to 42 tonnes thanks to a modern, proven drivetrain. This means that SV is capable of being equipped to meet future threats likely to appear over its entire 30 year life, without the need to upgrade its engine or transmission during that time
The 30 year comment is interesting, given Warrior will be in service past 2040, over 50 years service, a vehicle that did not have massive levels of upgradeability ‘baked in’.
Also in July, the previously commissioned study in the Future Reserves published its first report. This was followed by the announcement most people had foreseen, a further reduction in Army personnel numbers. Army 2020 would consist of 82,000 regular personnel and 30,000 Army Reserve.
The previous terms of reference for Army 2020 were;
To develop and recommend options, starting from first principles, for the design, structure, capabilities and capacities of an integrated Army of 2020 – that importantly – would be designed to cost and deliver the 20 per cent saving required.
In charge of the study to decide how to get from A to B was Lt General Nick Carter, Director General Land Warfare.
Its relevance to FRES was mainly related to final numbers, a smaller force overall would simply need fewer vehicles, a smaller production number would mean those development costs being spread thicker than over a large number, i.e. the final unit cost would rise.
At the September 2011 DSEi show, FRES SV was shown for the first time, at least a representative prototype, or model in plain English.
The seven prototypes in the demonstration phase were confirmed as 3 Scout, 1 Protected Mobility Recce Support, 1 Repair and 1 Recovery, plus a Common Base Platform. At the show Major J. Cripps told reporters;
Where we are today is that there is a real awareness that we need ground mounted armed reconnaissance. Scout gives us a significant growth potential with the ability to fit modern sensors systems and modern weapons systems. It is not just an armoured vehicle, it is an ISTAR platform and meets the requirement that we may need to fight for information.
Also reported was that Main Gate 2 would provision for between 400 and 589 vehicles with an option for 200 Common Base Platforms. A number of component announcements were made, Barco for the displays and Thales for the optronics, for example.
It is about this point at which you stop seeing references to FRES, no longer is it FRES SV, it is just SV.
FRES as a concept was dead, there was no wake, no funeral, it was just shuffled out the back door.
A Parliamentary Answer to a written question tabled by Ben Wallace, (MP for Wyre and Preston, ex Scots Guards Officer and former director of QinetiQ ) in October 2011 seemed to indicate a reverse gear on the famous British to its Bootstraps comment made about FRES SV by Dr Sandy Wilson (President and Managing Director of General Dynamics UK)
Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what obligations his Department has placed on General Dynamics to manufacture and assemble the Scout Specialist Vehicle in the UK
Peter Luff (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Defence Equipment, Support and Technology), Defence; Mid Worcestershire, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence has placed no contractual obligations on General Dynamics UK (GDUK) to manufacture the Scout Specialist Vehicles (Scout SV) platforms in the UK. GDUK has, however, indicated that a significant proportion of the activity may be conducted in the UK.
In addition, the contract allows for the transfer of the assembly integration and test work on the platforms from off-shore facilities, to the Defence Support Group in the UK. A value for money decision on whether to transfer this work will be taken later in the programme, closer to production. An enabling arrangement for industrial participation has also been put in place with General Dynamics, that will see work being carried out in the UK, or assistance being provided to UK exporters to Spain (assembly of ASCOD, the base vehicle for Scout SV is currently conducted in Spain)
This was evidently different from some of the claims made at the time of contract commencement which were emphatic about UK manufacturing.
This from Bob Ainsworth in March 2010;
General Dynamics UK’s proposed solution contains 73 per cent UK content within the supply chain and the assembly, integration and test facilities at the Defence Support Group Donnington. This ensures the sustainnent of UK jobs, UK skills and UK capabilities within the armoured vehicle sector
With the supply chain announcements it was very difficult to see how the claims of industrial benefits to the UK were in any way likely, remember the claim was that it would sustain or create 10,000 jobs.
Time for a video, released after DSEi[tabs] [tab title=”SV”]
Lockheed Martin were awarded the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) contract in October. Demonstration was expected to cost £200 million and manufacture £642 million.
WCSP was designed to extend the service life of Warrior to beyond 2040 by which time it would have been in service over 50 years, which kind of proves legacy platforms can be upgraded.
The upgrade includes a new turret and 40mm CTA weapon, Warrior Enhanced Electronic Architecture and Warrior Modular Protection System. The demonstration phase, at a cost of £200m, would upgrade eight section vehicles and three other variants ready for trials between 2013 and 2014. A production phase would follow that would upgrade 380 infantry fighting vehicles and other variants. Each Multi Role Brigade was to have 1 Battalion equipped with Warrior.
Also in 2011 the 200 vehicle Foxhound order was increased to 300.
In 2011, in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan the German armed forces did two things, first they upgraded existing vehicles to the ‘Afghanistan A1’ configuration and second, announced that all new vehicles would now come off the production line in this same configuration, starting from vehicle number 41. Most modifications were relatively minor, more storage space, an improved crew harness with integral airbag, fitting smoke dischargers and increasing the height of the remote weapon station to improve depression angles. A more significant upgrade was integration of an ECM system and improved belly armour.
VBCI was already in Afghanistan by this point, both vehicles rejected by the MoD in the FRES UV Trials of Truth
Throughout the year, the Army had been struggling with squaring the circle of trying to fit 5 Multi Role Brigades into the personnel reductions described by SDSR and the additional reductions announced in July. In charge of these initial studies was Lt. General Nick Carter, it was becoming apparent that the Multi Role Brigade construct would need to be changed.[tabs] [tab title=”What will the British Army Look Like”]
2012 – 2014
In January 2012 the MoD’s long awaited Defence Equipment Plan was published, not much detail but a confirmation of a commitment to FRES.
In the early part of 2012 information on Agile Warrior and the studies being carried out by General Nick Carter were being released and discussed. These studies were looking at the shape and organisation of the army in a post Afghanistan world where the regular army would be in the region of 80,000 personnel.
Agile Warrior was a series of activities designed to get the Army thinking;
- Deliver an authoritative evidence-based analysis of future land-force requirements within a JIIM context
- Across all Lines of Development
- FCOC era out to 2020
- Policy aware not policy constrained
- By the Army not to the Army
- A Brand name
The second to last bullet point is especially illuminating, many considered the previous organisational and doctrinal constructs were forced on the Army by those in the joint doctrine development functions, especially when headed by Admirals and Air Marshall’s.
Agile Warrior 11 had a number of themed questions;
- Test the ability of the TAS structure to transition to best-effort Divisional level operations in a hybrid conflict.
- Test how a Multi Role Brigade will fight and operate in a hybrid conflict. Test how our sustainment and service support organisations will operate in hybrid conflict.
- Evaluate and determine the Army’s future C2 requirements and associated models, for ISTAR and CIS.
- Determine the ‘Understand’ demands of continuous modulated engagement and deployed brigade operations and recommend the optimum structures to meet them.
- Determine the nature of future demand on commanders and soldiers.
- In what ways will we need increased Army agility in the future and how should we look to promote it?
- Test and evaluate the major constituent parts of our current doctrine and determine its necessary conceptual direction of travel in the next 10 years.
The final report highlighted 17 key insights and the 2012 events worked on the following questions;
- Urban Operations;
- Cyber and Influence;
- C2 at Div. and Bde;
- Whole Force Concept; Contractors & Reserves
- UORs into Core;
- National Interests;
- Professional Development;
- Force Support;
Separate but linked activities included Exercise Urban Warrior and Exercise Mad Scientist.
A number of these documents pointed to the Multi Role Brigade being able to sustain an ongoing stability operation in a town the size of Newton Abbot, population 25,000. Certainly not Basra or an area like Helmand.
Ultimately, it was not to be.
In May 2012 the Army released Joint Concept Note 2/12, Future Land Operating Concept, an update of the 2008 version.
Armoured infantry will be a core capability around which manoeuvre will be built. The complexity of the environment will require small and robust combined-arms teams able to fight dispersed. Mobility support will be critical in the complex battlespace; assault engineers will be required in greater numbers than at present to fight within complex environments, such as urban terrain. Armour, drawing on its protection and ability to provide precision fire, will be required primarily to provide intimate support to dismounted infantry, although armour should continue to be capable of defeating an adversary by shock action and ground manoeuvre
This laid the foundations for Army 2020 and from a FRES perspective, completely expunged the whole notion of medium weight intervention forces.
The document contains ZERO instances of the word ‘medium’ and scant mention of rapid intervention. One cannot escape the conclusion that the troubled concept of the medium weight force that was so completely aligned to FRES (or perhaps the other way around) was now history. All that study, all those joint concept notes, hundreds of thousands of words, tens of thousands PowerPoint presentations and God only knows how many millions of the Queen’s Pound Notes.
All gone, we were back to heavy and light.
In July 2012 Army 2020 was in the public domain and whilst the media generally focussed on the Reserves and cap badge bun fights, the Multi Role Brigade was deleted, replaced with the Reaction Force, Adaptable Force and Force Troops.
Many believed that whilst the Multi Role Brigade was sensible it was simply unaffordable, even in the watered down concept presented in SDSR 2010.
Army 2020 would retain a heavy core with a lighter follow on force bolstered with an enlarged reserve component for enduring operations. There were (and are) many critics of Army 2020 seeing it as a return to the a Cold War comfort blanket, but in response to resource reality it was difficult to see other options and it cannot be said that it was without rigorous underpinning analysis .
Where did all of this turmoil leave FRES, the vehicles that is, not the concept?
On the surface, completely unaffected, although theye were no longer called FRES.
SV Scout work carried on throughout the year and the odd news piece would highlight some element of the programme or another.
A mock-up Scout was shown in 2012 with the new turret but basic ASCOD chassis. The Thales VELT sensor can be clearly seen on the rear of the turret, as fitted to Warrior in the image, also below.[tabs] [tab title=”SV Scout Mockup 1″]
It also became apparent that final quantities would likely reduce and In Service Date slip. There was also some movement between the various blocks and a number of variants were quietly withdrawn from future plans. The Medium Armour element had already gone in 2011 for example. By the end of 2012 SV Scout had completed its Preliminary Design Review.
In April 2013 BFBS had a new story on swapping CVR(T) for a WMIK.[tabs] [tab title=”least convincing ‘brave face’ ever”]
The SV Mobility Test Rig (MTR) was undergoing its Accelerated Life Testing, designed to demonstrate reliability and provide test data. The MTR in the video above covered 300km and towed a 92 tonne vehicle train, shown below. MTR underwent low temperature testing the INSTITUTO TECNOLÓGICO ‘LA MARAÑOSA’ that included a 72 hour period at -32 degreec C followed by a series of starts using a pre heater and no pre-heater.
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 prototype was shown soon after.
The UOR into Core programme for protected mobility continued with the announcement of an RFP for fleet conversion;
To provide Fleet Conversion services for the Army’s Protected Mobility (PM) fleet of vehicles to achieve the correct variant mix to meet the requirements of the Army 2020 (A2020) Force Development Strategy, against the following vehicle types, hereafter known as ‘The Platforms’.
Mastiff – all variants,
Ridgback – all variants,
Wolfhound – all variants,
Currently envisaged deliverables to include, but not be limited to:
Mastiff Troop Carrying Variant (MAS TCV) to Mastiff Enhanced Communications Variant (MAS ECV) Conversion,
Ridgback Troop Carrying Variant (RBK TCV) to Ridgback Command Variant (RBK CV) Conversion,
Wolfhound Explosive Ordinance Disposal (WHD EOD) variant to Wolfhound Military Working Dog (WHD MWD) variant Conversion,
Mastiff 1 to Mastiff 2 Conversion.
Cost Range: between 40 000 000 and 60 000 000 GBP
The Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme was also being shown off in the middle of 2013, after completing the initial design review.
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.
Testing continued in Spain;
By the end of 2013, Foxhound had entered service and the MoD announced further orders, bringing the investment to £371 million and 400 vehicles.
Also by the end of 2013 the MoD had announced that the vast majority of the protected mobility vehicles would be bought into core.
February 2014 was publication date for the National Audit Office Major Projects Report
The current planning assumption is to deliver a reconnaissance fleet of up to *** vehicles incrementally
It also confirmed the work done on some of the other variants.
In parallel, assessment studies, including representative mock-ups, confirmed that Ambulance, Command and Engineer Recce roles could be delivered by sub-system installation on the Protected Mobility Recce Support vehicle. Assessment studies continued on options for the remaining roles of Formation Recce (Overwatch), Joint Fires Command and Ground Base Surveillance roles, against the existing User Requirements, to determine whether incremental upgrades are required to develop their capability further
All the Key User Requirements were forecast to be met, the vehicle programme was right on track.
After a series of successful design reviews and 40mm CTA qualification in early 2014, the WCSP achieved Initial Design Approval in January 2014
Following the Lancaster House agreement on defence cooperation, the UK announced it would be trialling VBCI in an 8 month programme with Phillip Dunne commenting in Janes that;
VBCI had fallen down on three elements in the original competition: accessibility to the vehicle’s powerpack, the vehicle’s armour protection levels, and its growth potential. VBCI has undergone a significant upgrade, the new export variant of the VBCI includes the ability to remove the vehicle’s powerpack in the field and an improved suspension and transmission to increase the VBCI’s maximum weight from 29 tonnes to 32 tonnes. Other improvements include fourth-axle steering, a repositioned fuel tank, upgraded cooling and engine performance, and small hull reconfigurations to increase the vehicle’s internal volume.
On the 20th June 2014 ARTEC handed the first production Netherland Boxer over to the medical company of the 13th NL Brigade.
A couple of images were released showing the Protected Mobility Support variant carrying out additional testing in Spain.
Pictures from DVD, the Defence Vehicle Dynamics showed of the Protected Mobility Support Variant that demonstrated just how large the vehicle is.
CVR(T) Mk2’s were fitted with rollover protection.
In June, a picture emerged for the Spanish Vehículo de Observación Avanzada) Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle, based on the ASCOD Pizarro.
Note the elevating mast;
All that was left for Scout was a production order and in early September 2014, the MoD obliged.
General Dynamics issued a press release announcing the order;
General Dynamics UK has been awarded a contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to deliver 589 SCOUT Specialist Vehicle (SV) platforms to the British Army to provide essential capability to the Armoured Cavalry within Army 2020.
The platforms, consisting of six variants, will be delivered to the British Army between 2017 and 2024, alongside the provision of initial in-service support and training, and will serve at the heart of the Armoured Infantry Brigade structure.
This contract directly safeguards or creates up to 1,300 jobs across the programme’s UK supply chain, with 300 of these at General Dynamics UK’s Oakdale site.
SCOUT SV represents the future of Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) for the British Army, providing best-in-class protection and survivability, reliability and mobility and all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and recognition (ISTAR) capabilities. Its range of variants will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. SCOUT SV can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I’m delighted that on the eve of the NATO Summit, we can announce the biggest single contract for AFVs for the British Army since the 1980s. These new vehicles are testament to the world class engineering skills in South Wales and across the UK, helping to create the Army’s first fully digitalised armoured vehicles. Not only will they be crucial in helping to keep Britain safe, they will also underpin nearly 1,300 jobs across the UK and showcase the strength of the UK’s highly skilled defence sector. With the second largest defence budget in NATO, meeting NATO’s two per cent of GDP spending target and investing in new capabilities to deal with the emerging threats we are ensuring Britain’s national security, staying at the forefront of the global race and providing leadership within NATO.”
Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP said: “Today’s multi-billion pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile AFVs to overcome future threats. This is the biggest single order placed by the MoD for armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe. It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.”
Kevin Connell, Vice President General Dynamics UK – Land Systems, said: “We are delighted that the UK MoD has awarded us this important contract. SCOUT SV provides essential capability to the British Army to allow it to dominate the battle space for years to come and it secures thousands of jobs right across the UK for at least the next decade. General Dynamics UK and our partners have worked hard over the last four years to develop a world-leading vehicle, and we will maintain that same work ethic to deliver 589 SCOUT SV platforms to the British Army on-time and on-budget.”
SCOUT SV has been developed at General Dynamics UK’s AFV design and engineering centre in Oakdale, South Wales, maintaining the UK’s sovereign expertise in this important capability.
To coincide a new set of visuals were released of the Scout, PMRS, Repair, Recovery, Reconnaissance and Command & Control[tabs] [tab title=”PMRS”]
Speaking on the eve of the NATO Summit, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Today’s multi-billion-pound contract is fantastic news for our soldiers in providing them with the most technologically advanced and versatile armoured fighting vehicles to overcome future threats.
This is the biggest single order placed by Ministry of Defencefor armoured vehicles for around 30 years and is an important part of the investment we are making to keep Britain safe.
It is also excellent news for the supply chain of this state-of-the-art vehicle and will sustain 1,300 engineering jobs across the UK in key defence industries.
The Chief of the General Staff and head of the British Army, General Sir Peter Wall, said:
The Scout family is a transformational programme that will refresh our armoured capability and ensure the army remains a first-tier manoeuvre force.
It provides advanced intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities and will be the ‘eyes and ears’ of commanders on the battlefields of the future.
With digital links to all of our other systems it will be able to fulfil a wide range of combat roles.
General Dynamics and the MoD also released a new image of the Scout variant.
The final version and quantity details were released over the next couple of days after the summit.
- Reconnaissance; including ground-based surveillance and joint fire control specialist capabilities
- Equipment and support repair; repairing and towing damaged vehicles
- Equipment and support recovery; recovering damaged vehicles
- Command and control; providing a mobile battlefield headquarters
- Protected mobility reconnaissance support, including formation reconnaissance overwatch and engineer reconnaissance; delivering and supporting specialist troops across the battlefield
- engineer reconnaissance; carrying specialist engineering equipment and personnel
Deliveries of Scout specialist vehicles are planned to start in 2017. The training establishments and first squadron are to be equipped by mid-2019 to allow conversion to begin with a brigade ready to deploy from the end of 2020.
- Scout, with 40mm turret and 3 crew, QTY 245 broken down into 3 sub variants
- 198 Reconnaissance and Strike
- 23 Joint Fire Control for the forward observers
- 24 Ground Based Surveillance with man portable radar
- Protected Mobility Recce Support, with Kongsberg protector RWS, 2 crew and 4 passengers, QTY 256, broken down into 3 sub variants
- 59 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC)
- 112 Command and Control
- 34 Formation Reconnaissance Overwatch
- 51 Engineer Reconnaissance (3 crew and no passengers but specialist equipment?)
- Engineering Variants, with Kongsberg RWS, QTY 88
- 38 Recovery (3 crew plus an extra seat)
- 50 Repair (4 crew)
The statement also confirmed that although the MoD reserves the option to place additional orders, none were planned.
It is worth going back into the 2009 line up and examine what changed since then.
The original line up in 2009 looked like this;
At the announcement of the winning manufacturer, it looked like this;
The production order looked very much different.
4 variants and 589 vehicles.
Very much different to the 1,200 vehicles and 8 variants as envisaged during 2009 but this was not necessarily ‘news’, most of these reduction in quantities and variants had been released and discussed widely over the intervening years.
There was some suggestion later in the year that the Ambulance variant would be back in.
Time to get the calculator out…
Making the assumption that this order is for SV with the caveat that not all the variants will cost the same, Unit price £5.9 million.
If one absorbs the cost of a share of the CT40, research programmes conducted outside of the boundaries of the SV (such as VTID) and include TRACER, the figure rises to approximately £7 million each.
SV, in service 2017; 16 years afters first Hansard entry for FRES, 29 years after FFLAV and 44 years after the CVR(T) came into service.
[box type=”info” fontsize=”22″ radius=”0″]Scout progressed through various development milestones as more information was released on quantities and costs[/su_note]
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