The CT Cannon

The first demonstrator for 45mm Cased Telescoping automatic cannon appeared in 1991, After changing the calibre to 40mm, the system went into an extended period of development and qualification.

45mm CTA Cannon

In 2015, the MoD finally placed a production order, 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.

The airburst section of the announcement was new and welcome news.

CTA 40mm Natures

Anecdotally, the cost of the cost of the new ammunition is said to be ‘eye watering’


In parallel with Specialist Vehicles, the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme also progressed.

The Capability Sustainment Programme has 4 main components that are planned to see Warrior out to 2040;

  • WFLIP (Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Programme)
  • WMPS (Warrior Modular Protection System)
  • WEEA (Warrior Enhanced Electronic Architecture)
  • ABSV (Armoured Battlefield Support Vehicle)

In the earlier Warrior upgrade programme contest BAE had proposed a new turret with the CTA 40 called MTIP2, Lockheed Martin proposed an ATK Mk 44 Bushmaster 30mm in the same Warrior turret and Finmeccanica with the Hitfist turret, also mounting a 30mm weapon. The Bushmaster is the same as that used by the Royal Navy in its DSM30 ASCG systems.

It is interesting to note that in BAE’s submission for WCSP they were clear that upgrading the existing Warrior turret was not the optimal route and proposed a new turret, the same turret except the turret ring interface, as their CV90 based FRES Scout. In their bid they emphasised the logistics and training commonality advantages of such an approach. The Lockheed Martin bid proposed upgrading the existing Warrior turret.

In 2014, Lockheed Martin came to the same conclusion as BAE, ditching the existing turret in favour of a new design from Rheinmetall.

The Capability Design Review was completed by Lockheed Martin in September after live firing trials in Scotland in May.

At DSEi in September, the first prototype was revealed.


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Warrior CSP Image 1


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Warrior CSP Image 3


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Warrior CSP Image 4



The plan remains to complete the order for 245 turreted Warriors out of a total order of 380, the final variant split or whether any will be in the form of the much fabled Armoured Battlegroup Support Vehicle has yet to be revealed.

After investing £37 million in its Ampthill production facility for both Scout and Warrior, despite them being different designs, they are hoping for follow on orders.

SV Contracts and News

Throughout 2015, as the Specialist Vehicle progressed, various contracts were announced.

They included;

Rheinmetall; £130 million contract from Lockheed Martin for the production of turret shells, the Turret Structure and Weapons Mount (TSWM). First production unit is scheduled for delivery in 2016.

Lockheed Martin Scout Turret

Thales; £125 million contract for sighting systems and ancillary equipment. This includes the Orion primary sight, local situational awareness cameras and smoke dischargers. Scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2021.


Thales; £54 million contract for gunnery sights, the DNGS-T3 Stabilised Day/Night Gunnery Sight. Scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2021.

Oxley Group; £1 million contract for internal lighting including DC Combi LED interior lights and Gooseneck task lights.

Meggitt; £27.2 million contract for ammunition handling systems. Scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2021.

Kongsberg; £61 million contract for Protector Remote Weapon Station (RWS).

Curtiss Wright; £32 million contract for Turret Drive Servo System (TDSS).

ViaSat; £3.8 million contract to supply encrypted storage systems

Esterline; £13.5 million contract to supply rugged display terminals including TX-335S turret crew-station displays, TX-321S triple-head driver’s displays and VPU-101 video-processing units.

Raytheon; undisclosed contract amount for power management and distribution system

Saab; undisclosed contract amount for Mobile Camouflage Systems. Scheduled for delivery between 2017 and 2024.

Marshall Aerospace and Defence; Contract to support XPI Simulation for driver training systems. 28 sets of static and full motion simulators.

XPI Simulation; £20 million contract for driver simulators.

Smiths Detection; £6 million contract for LCD 3.3 Detectors.

Vitavox; £2.8 million contract for ‘outacom’ public address systems.

Williams F1; £17 million contract for design support on the Core Infrastructure Distribution System (CIDS) power and data backbone.

GKN Aerospace; £27 million contract for rotationally moulded fuel tanks that will be self sealing and foam filled for explosion protection.

The manufacturing strategy changed in 2015 with mounting speculation about the work split between General Dynamics locations in Span and the UK.

A £390 million support contract, in addition to the manufacturing contract.

The contract will extend the current in service support contract for the Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) to 2024, delivering onshore technical engineering and maintenance from a site in South Wales. As a result, General Dynamics UK has taken the decision to bring to Wales: assembly, integration and testing for the vehicles which was previously carried out overseas.

The manufacturing strategy changed in 2015 with mounting speculation about the work split between General Dynamics locations in Span and the UK.

A £390 million support contract, in addition to the manufacturing contract, was let in order to build up experience to 2024 to allow a more thorough assessment of support requirements to be completed.

The contract will extend the current in service support contract for the Scout Specialist Vehicles (SV) to 2024, delivering onshore technical engineering and maintenance from a site in South Wales. As a result, General Dynamics UK has taken the decision to bring to Wales: assembly, integration and testing for the vehicles which was previously carried out overseas.

At DSEi in September, the latest Scout prototype was revealed, along with a name change.

Scout was now to be called Ajax.


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Scout Ajax 1


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Scout Ajax 2


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[tab title=”Armed with Ajax, sorry, couldn’t resist!”]



Janes and Shepard both reported the name change and an update on variants and quantities.

Ajax will apply to both the whole family of vehicles and specifically, the vehicle formerly known as Scout. Within the 245 Ajax variants will be three roles, this remains unchanged from previous announcements. These are Reconnaissance and Strike (Qty 198), Joint Fires Control (Qty 23) and Ground Based Surveillance (Qty 24). The last two will carry less ammunition for the main weapon and replace that with demountable equipment and additional personnel.

The engineering variants have been renamed as; Equipment Support Repair becomes Apollo (Qty 50) and Equipment Support Recovery becomes Atlas (Qty 50). This is a slight change from previous releases, with the recovery variant increasing from 38 to 50.

The non-turreted, non-engineering variants were previously called Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) that covered four roles; armoured personnel carrier, command and control, formation reconnaissance overwatch and engineer reconnaissance. In the latest announcement the Command and Control (C2) variant is called Athena, Qty 112, no change. The Engineering Reconnaissance variant is now called Argus, Qty 51, again, no change.

This leaves a balance of 81 vehicles from the 589 vehicle total order.

These two remaining roles were previously split between the armoured personnel carrier and formation reconnaissance overwatch, quantity 59 and 34 respectively.

The formation reconnaissance overwatch role was previously covered by a missile carrying concept and then by the direct fire variant but given that neither of these are included in the Ajax programme, the role looks increasingly like to be covered by dismounted Javelin teams. This is an obvious trade-off, lessons learned reports from both 1991 and 2003 confirmed the value of a long range (2-4km) Anti-Tank Guided Weapon carrying armoured vehicle. At approximately 2km, the Javelin missile system is outranged by most main battle tank main weapons and thus vulnerable. Swingfire provided a stand-off anti-tank capability that could outrange tanks main guns. This is no longer the case.

It was reported that the PMRS Armoured Personnel Carrier variant will now be called Ares, with a quantity of 93 on order.

Obviously, the sums no longer add up.

It could be that the change in the recovery variant quantity was misreported, which would bring the quantities and variants back into line with previous reporting.

Assuming this to be the case, the role and variant split no looks like;

AJAX family

This may well be incorrect, the difference between role and variant is not well defined

Reliability Growth Trials and Reliability Qualification Trials are scheduled to start in 2016 to and complete in 2018. Deliveries of the prototype vehicles is scheduled to complete by early in 2017 with the Initial Operating Capability (IOC) 1 planned for the middle of 2019. IOC 2, which will include the command and control variant is planned for the middle of 2020.

This is interesting because it has slipped, again.

IOC is now planned for the middle of 2020

Interviews and announcements from DSEi also provided more details on the role split between Major Combat Operations (MCO) and Peace Support Operations (PSO).

220 sets of each type of armour will be purchased, role changing can be completed in the field, although with only 220 sets for a complete fleet of 589; that will make for an interesting deployment problem.

General Dynamics, on 25th November 2015, that the deal for the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) site facility in Wales had been concluded in late October. The site was formerly used for fork lift production and is relatively close to the existing General Dynamics location in oakdale. The first vehicles will enter AIT at the Wales site in early 2017.

For the initial svehicles, AIT will be completed in Spain, but by vehicles 64-70 the transition to Wales be completed.

AIT for vehicle 70 onwards will be conducted in Wales.

The schedule for design verification and validation will continue through to 2017.

Shepard’s also reported in November 2015 that the Ambulance Variant may well be back in the programme, throwing the vehicle counts in some uncertainty.

Initial Operating Capability will be 47 vehicles, all delivered by Q2 2019.

Full rate production is expected to start by Q4 2018, after Main Gate 2 at the end of 2017.

SDSR 2015 confirmed that Ajax vehicles would form part of the new ‘Strike Brigade’ concept, to be established by 2025.

Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV)

With Specialist Vehicles now moving at pace, the Army turned its attention to the issue to protected mobility. It has long recognised the limited scope of Mastiff/Ridgeback despite finding a role for them in the Mechanised Brigade structure and so FRES UV was back on the menu.

FRES Utility Vehicle went from Utility vehicle to utility Vehicle (Wheeled) in the intervening years but this latest attempt was to be called the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV)

The underpinning concept is called the Land joint Strike (LJS) and will be built around the Ajax family of vehicles that will reportedly;

Give the British Army the ability to defeat hybrid opponents in difficult terrain and densely populated urban areas

Unless those hybrid enemies have main battle tanks of course.

A force comprising Ajax, with its 40mm automatic cannon, is going to be rather overmatched by anyone with a T-72.

The MIV will also form part of the Land Joint Strike concept.

In August, the Spanish Government approved a $99 million contract for the development of an eight wheeled combat vehicle with Santa Bárbara Sistemas, a Spanish subsidiary of General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS), possibly based on the Piranha V platform.

Rheinmetall continue to develop the Boxer and in September 2015 confirmed they were submitting a bid in response to the Australian LAND 400 Phase 2 programme in conjunction with Northrop Grumman that would include the Boxer Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicle.


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Boxer with Lance


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The PGZ Rosomak and Patria AMV also continued to be developed, a number of variants have recently appeared.

The Rosomak has many variants including a 120mm direct and 120mm indirect variant, equipped with a CMI XC-8 120mm HP gun and 120mm CPK mortar respectively.


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Rosomak 120mm


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Rosomak Mozdzierz RAK



At DSEi Patria launched their Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) XP variant.


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Patria AMX VP


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Patria AMV XP Image 1


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Patria AMV XP Image 2


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BAE have partnered with Patria to offer an AMV for the Australian LAND400 programme. The AMV proposed will be fitted with an ATK Orbital 35mm Bushmaster III automatic cannon as fitted to Dutch and Danish CV90’s.

Nexter have developed the VBCI, the VBCI 2 features a slew of improvements (many of them after direct feedback from the UK Trials of Truth). These improvements include a higher roofline, new hull design, upgraded suspension and tires. This provides greater protection, internal volume and mobility although the variant range is still somewhat limited, especially in comparison with its peers. If the UK does purchase the VBCI or VBCI 2 and wants an ambulance or recovery variant, it will have to fund its development.


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VBCI-2 Image 4


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VBCI-2 Image 3



A small team of British Army personnel have trialled the VBCI in France, many thought this, coupled with a reciprocal purchase of Watchkeeper RPAS by France might seal the deal but a competition was confirmed at DSEi.

The VBCI 2 may well be a shoe in, but the MoD isn’t going to be that obvious.

The USMC’s quest for a wheeled armoured vehicle seems to get ever more convoluted with each month but this may well yield a number of potential MIV contenders. The ST Kinetics Terex 2 was also launched and may be offered for MIV.

The Piranha V remains an option also.

Piranha 5

The number of 8×8 wheeled combat vehicles is large and one would have assumed that the KMW/Rheinmetall Boxer would have been in the running, its MRAV British heritage and investment, high levels of protection and large number of variants are big plus points. It is also about 300 into a 472 order (assuming no more orders are forthcoming) which would put the UK into a good negotiating position.

But no, a statement from KMW confirmed that they would not be offering Boxer, I suspect they assume that Boxer remains politically toxic for the British Army, imagine the embarrassment, and they do not want to compete with a vehicle that will also be in their portfolio when NEXTER and KMW merge.

This is a shame, Boxer would be a strong contender if offered.

For LAND400, the VBCI will not be offered, the same principle of not competing with oneself.

Also at DSEi, it was announced that Germany was considering the deployment of a wheeled rapid response brigade equipped with the ‘PuBo’ Boxer, a version with a 30mm turret and EuroSpike Anti-Tank Guided Missiles.

SDSR 2015 confirmed that MIV will form part of the Strike Brigade concept, to be established by 2025.

[box type=”info” fontsize=”22″ radius=”0″]Both Warrior and Scout (now Ajax) continue to develop. The Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) is also back on the agenda, confirmed in SDSR 2015, to form part of the new ‘Medium Weight’ Strike Brigades[/su_note]


Table of Contents


The Sixties and Seventies

The Eighties

The Nineties

A Trip Across the Sava River

FCS and the Birth of FRES

2000 to 2005

2006 to 2010

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

2011 to 2014

Generic Vehicle Architecture

2015 to Today


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