The Defence Secretary has announced that the British Army will receive more than 500 Boxer armoured vehicles.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said in a news release:

“Our men and women of the Armed Forces deserve to have the best equipment to do their job. The Boxer vehicle is a leader in its field and I look forward to it arriving in units from 2023.”

The MoD say that the vehicles will form part of the Army’s Strike brigades, new units set up to deploy rapidly over long distances across varied terrains.

“Boxer is modular by design to meet these requirements – the same vehicle base can be rapidly reconfigured to fill different roles on the battlefield, from carrying troops across deserts to treating severely injured service personnel on the journey to hospital.

Initially the Army will buy a mixture of the troop-carrying variant, ambulances, command vehicles, and specialist designs to carry military equipment.”

The UK announced in 2018 that it would re-join the Boxer programme within the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR) and explore options to modernise its vehicle fleet and meet the Army’s Mechanised Infantry Vehicle requirement.

The UK played a central role in the original design, development and testing of the Boxer. In re-joining the programme last year, the UK reassumed the rights it had as a project partner.

The MoD are keen to stress that this contract was signed ahead of the pre-election period due to the strong value-for-money agreement reached with industry and other OCCAR nations, which expires on December 31st 2019, and announced today due to expected market implications.

It would be possible for a new Government to take a different position, they added.

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Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Great news.

But get more variants. Fire support. ATGW. Air Defence. Mortar. There’s also an artillery variant apparently.

How can the wheeled armoured vehicle of the Strike Brigades be armed with nothing more than a machine gun?? What are they “striking”?

They are outgunned.

And get rid of those Ajax back to where they belong!

Ian M
Guest
Ian M

Where would you send the Ajax?

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

Down the sink. But seriously, finally signed! Phew, now why are they taking 3+ years for the first to be delivered?

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Like the T26? Treasury slow downs??

Nick C
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Nick C

Good to see the order placed, but I wonder if the Type 31 contract will make it under the wire? If it doesn’t the in service date is going to move a long way right.

Steve Martin
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Steve Martin

Possibly I guess, spread it over a few fiscal years to even out the cost. I hope to see 1500 with many different modular versions as you’ve stated above. Make strike actually have some strike ability!

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

😂🤣. I’m not sure what the reason is for the delayed procurement, I can’t believe that the light reconnaissance units in British Army are still running round in the Scimitar….it’s 40+ years old for Christ’s sake!!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

To the 2 remaining Armoured Brigades, from whence the Armoured Recc Regiments that are receiving it came. They currently have Scimitar. Those Brigades will have their integral recc formations removed in forming the Strike Brigades, leaving the recc platoons of Warrior and Challenger units. Not great. Even worse, what were once 5 formation Brigades are reduced to 3 with the planned changes, as 1 MBT, 2 Warrior, 1 Scimitar, 1 HPM Mastiff become 1 MBT, 2 Warrior. Our Armoured Brigades will be neutered to form these Strike Brigades, which lack firepower and are half made up of Tracks half of… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

But is it not the point that these wheeled “strike” brigades are not intended to be faced up with fully armoured enemies? Its concept is to behave differently. Im sure its possible others can go more about that last sentence, and far more expertly than me.

But is this concept valid. The whole thing has changed over time. Should we persist with full on MBTs and tracked vehicles?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yes, we should. And will continue to do so with the remaining armoured brigades. In my view the Army still needs an armoured fist, but I would not prioritise it over the RAF and RN. But, what is often overlooked with these Strike Brigades, is that they mask cuts. After D Cameron announced them with much fanfare in 2015 the details of just what was being cut amongst the enablers emerged, to enable the Army to be “rebalanced” as Fallon put it. Also, the previous 3 Armoured Brigades had 15 infantry and RAC units. Now, 2 Armoured and 2 Strike,… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

All I interesting enough. But should we commit to Europe with MBTs… Where else would we use them? Is our best help there not air power? Germany Poland France etc.. surely they are the users of heavy armour. Are not we more “expeditionary”. To try everything, we will end up doing nothing.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I don’t disagree with your comments.
I’d still like the British Army to retain some armoured capability, and lets face it, its pretty minimal already!
Our heavy formations remaining in the Armoured Brigades comprise, after the changes to Army2020 refine.
2 MBT
4 Warrior.
2 AS90.
2 Armoured Engineer.
Plus the varied support units of the RLC,RS,RAMC,REME,RA, some of which also have armour.

You just never know when they might be found necessary.

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

“You just never know when they might be found necessary.”

That’s the key point isn’t. Defence is a nation state’s ultimate insurance policy. You take it out to cover risk. Unlike a normal policy though just paying a bigger premium does not get you instant increased cover!

Which means after a couple of decades of ‘peace divedend if we have to respond to another crisis overseas we could well come up short on cover!

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Look, you have to be prepared for everything and having a credible MBT force is extremely important. Just because recently we’ve taken part in missions where we thought the tank is unsuitable (the Americans and the Danes took MBT’s to Afghan actually), it doesn’t mean that we won’t ever need them again.
The MBT will always be relevant, it is vital that we bring the other 200 Chally 2’s out of retirement and give them the “Black Knight” upgrades which include a new turret, a more powerful engine and a smoothbore cannon, the same as the Abrams and the Leopard.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Yep at the end of the day all of our armed forces including the army do actual need to be able to deploy units that are capable of facing a peer. For the army that’s an armoured formations of a likely peer enemy. In reality that’s units from something like the 4th guards armoured division of the western military district.

Yesterdays war was a long drawn out asymmetric conflict against irregulars played out on a global scale, the mistake would be in think that’s what tomorrow’s war will look like.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

What do the scouts say? “Always be prepared”?
That’s why we needs to retain a half decent sized MBT force, most of our potential adversaries have tank numbers in the thousands and what’s the best tool for fighting enemy armour???? A bloody tank of course….

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

Well, technically an Apache or fast jet in the CAS role, but we dont have enough of those either!

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

The strike Brigades in their current planned form, both equipment wise and tactically , will be outclassed even by a third rate military driving around in “technicals” who have even the old TOW missiles. The concept of deployment being touted and trialed is a troop of Ajax, carrying a platoon of lads in Boxers. Deploying independently, as platoon plus groups supposedly dominating designated areas, with many miles between. No independent OS, no direct fire weaponary above 40mm, no ATGW other than a couple of hand held javelin, no AD/LLAD, limited attached REME support and no recovery vehicles. A Boxer cannot… Read more »

Trevor
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Trevor

I’m not disagreeing. But with all the proper tail and support we have to accept fewer brigades.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

True mate, and therefore the fewer Brigades we have means they all need to be deployable, effective and survivable. Strike Brigades are none of the above I’m afraid. Sad state of affairs with the Strike concept.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

You can’t have heavy armour with a strike Brigade (even though the US military does) according to the M.O.D and this, I think, is the reasoning behind the decision to cull our Chally 2 force. In my own personal opinion, I think it’s utter codswallop….
We have to be prepared for every eventually and when we think about our potential adversaries, most of them have a large MBT force. Where does this decision leave us? Up s**t creek without a paddle…

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

In my opinion, we should recommission the 200 Chally 2’s in storage and deploy them to Eastern Europe, with NATO picking up the bill for maintaining them. This would give the crews the opportunity to work in that environment and work alongside their NATO Allies there. There’s still a lot of NATO troops in Germany and Eastern Europe, see what I mean??

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Airborne I have been reading about the Strike Brigades on here and elsewhere and share your concerns for our version of the concept, but I also think there is a serious missunderstanding of the key feature of the Strike Brigade concept amongst politicians in particular – Strategic Mobility. This was demonstrated by the French actions in 1991 Gulf War. I actually think that the US was so impressed with the speed of the French advance that they decided to develop the concept for themselves. The point is the French advance was a flanking move, avoiding Iraqi heavy units (those… Read more »

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

I have to agree. however, the French had it relatively easy, as there was next to no opposition in that part of the Saudi, Jordanian and Iraqi border. The other benefit they had is that their route had been properly reconnoitred. What I mean by this is, the desert sands on the Jordanian border are like talcum powder. Wheeled vehicles get stuck relatively easily, so require a more solid base to run on. This was well known, so the French SF and Legion mapped the area to find the more suitable ground. Their “strike brigade” was also backed up with… Read more »

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

It shocks me that we’re still running round in the bloody Scimitar, it’s over 45 years old and has some serious flaws and issues. What we really need is to get this Ajax project going ASAP, the Scimitar is just not good enough…..end of.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

We should never have culled the Chally 2 force, no way, but the bean counters at the M.O.D saw things differently for some strange reason. I think we’ve got about 230 active Chally 2’s which is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.
Filling out our armoured forces with light reconnaissance vehicles is farcical, amongst our potential adversaries, we’re a laughing stock I’m sure…..

peter
Guest
peter

Range targets

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Indeed Daniele,makes you wonder if there would have been anything to gain staying in the Boxer Programme rather than leaving for the car crash that was FRES ?.

BB85
Guest
BB85

If we had stayed we would have had all 500 delivered by now. I’m still not sure what the purpose of Ajax is as it’s far to heavy to be a scout vehicle. It is better suited to replace warrior altogether but too much money has been wasted on the midlife update

peter
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peter

The Ajax is the new small stealthy scout vehicle able to drive over narrow bridges, weave its way through trees and dirt tracks being the eyes and ears of the new strike brigades!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Rebuild the Scimitar!

Paul T
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Paul T

Daniele/Steve H – 50 Scimitar’s were built new in 2012 (called unsurprisingly MK2) with the Afghanistan commitments in mind.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

You’re right, I’d firgotten!

peter
Guest
peter

Boxer was the best of the three FRES vehicles although all were too heavy to be air portable, having pulled out of the boxer program twice before ministers would have look stupid if they chose it at that stage. Then we ended up with a converted ascod which gave birth to Ajax. The CV90 was a safer bet as already developed, BAE was out of favour due to their recent offerings not living up to expectations!

Blue Fuzz
Guest
Blue Fuzz

To my mind there’s a fairly simple way of granting the strike brigades some firepower and making them all-wheeled formations. Convert half the Ajax order to non-turreted versions of the same vehicle (using the latter to replace some of the FV432 in the armoured brigades). Place the turrets (with 40mm cannon) that now haven’t been used on Ajax on to a proportion of the Boxer fleet within the strike brigades. Nobody looses out on orders for vehicles or turrets.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I know nothing of the feasability of that sort of thing but seems reasonable?

Enough Ajax Scout would still be needed for 2 Regiments in the Strike Brigades and to furnish the recc platoons in the Warrior Battalions and Challenger Regiments.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Sorry, Armoured Brigades not Strike. Where’s the Edit gone George?

Beetee
Guest
Beetee

What’s wrong with the Ajax (other than the APC version only holding 4 people)? Surely a tracked/wheeled mix is the most flexible option?
But agree, whatever the hull, there should be ATGW (recently displayed Brimstone launcher?) and AD (Starstreak?) variants. And in terms of guns, is there any chance of merging naval and army calibres for common systems and ammo? Before sitting a suitable gun type on top of one of these (57 or 73mm Bofors variants?) if that’s even necessary? Land is not my specialist environment but I do like a streamlined procurement and supply chain.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Well, there is an Ajax or Boxer with a whopping great anti tank cannon on the market but the M.O.D, in their infinite wisdom of course, have poo pooed the idea and said a firm “NO” With our Chally 2 force culled and still under threat, what have we got to take on a T-90 or something else like it if the time came to it? This is what’s worrying about the direction the M.O.D are taking on land warfare, it seems they have put all their eggs in one basket with the Carrier’s and their F-35’S but…….they aren’t always… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Good news. The Strike concept (which is an americanism for light mechanised role) seems to be taking steps towards realisation with both Ajax & Boxer. However there are still some glaring holes. Ajax is a recce vehicle not a light tank; where does the Strike Brigade get it’s manoeuvre anti-tank capability from? Similarly the 105 Light Gun isn’t mobile or heavy enough to support this concept. Perhaps a 90mm Boxer Gun tank variant (maybe with anti-tank guided missiles fitted) and a 155mm Howitzer variant would complete the picture. More orders are needed if these Brigade’s are going to have a… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

A question I’ve not seen answered anywhere. Does the Boxer have an amphibious capability?

BB85
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BB85

No. Its too heavy. I think the lightest version if Patria has an amphibious capability but vbrc, Phiranah 5 and boxer don’t offer it.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Hmm, not ideal for brigades that are meant to send deploy thousands of miles.
The supporting Engineer Regiment had better have enough bridging equipment?

BB85
Guest
BB85

I guess its not much use in the Middle East and they figured they have plenty of options in Eastern Europe to cross rivers.
I’m not sure how much I would enjoy swimming in a 30+ tonne armoured vehicle, it freaks me out that they can drive a Leopard underwater with nothing but a snorkle.

Elliott
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Elliott

Unless you are actually playing Marine amphibious capability is a net negative. It reduces your armor, speed, firepower, and anything else that takes up weight and space. In the Army money is better spent on bridging equipment and engineering vehicles than amphibious vehicles.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

Its almost like a token gesture, a Strike Brigade with none of the enabling forces having the same strategic mobility as the Infantry is an exercise in futility. 99% of the readers on this page will be fully conversant on what I’m about to say but humour me. Lets look at some key functions of a (hypothetical) strike brigade. Find. 1 x Ajax Reg Fix. 1 x 105mm Reg Strike. 3 x Boxer Btn Exploit. 3 x Boxer Btn (Ajax support) Sustain. 1 x Log Reg Enable/shape. 1 x Armoured Engineer Reg (Trojan/Titan/Terrier) Out of all the platforms mentioned only… Read more »

Airborne
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Airborne

See, you done it again, you and Daniele, always explaining everything so much better and quicker than my waffling rant!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Nonsense. Behave! You two have experience. I’m a damn nobody. In all seriousness, looking at BV’s list there, I’m not even sure the Strike Brigades will even have that level of Engineer support. I have seen no info on what the 2 Engineer Regiments assigned will comprise. Titan Trojan Terrier all too heavy surely. All I read on the Logistics support is that the RLC Regiment and REME Battalion of each Brigade will be merged into a “Combat Service Support Regiment” Why this is necessary I’ve no idea. I recall that sort of logistic set up was last done on… Read more »

SoleSurvivor
Guest
SoleSurvivor

I concur with Daniele, reading both yours and BV Buster’s take down of this is fascinating and even made more so by the relevant experience you both have

But hat tipped to Daniele, for someone with no experience, you are clued up mate on all this, great insight

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Respect to you Sole, as always.

Herodotus
Guest

Gosh, after all that, I think I need a bath!

Herodotus
Guest

One bath later. What a team effort…Masher Mandelli eases through several tackles showing devastating ball-control. He chips through to mid-fielder Airborne, who muscles his way through two defenders! A long cross to Slasher Sole who slides the ball, seemingly with little effort, to Basher Buster who slams the ball on the volley, past a frustrated goal keeper and into the back of the net! Much hugging and congratulations ensue…but then, that’s premiership UKDJ these days…nice to see!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thought you’d be a Rugby man…..!

Herodotus
Guest

I was until last Saturday!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Lol! There is always the 6 Nations to look forward to.

Herodotus
Guest

Yes, we play Scotland at Murrayfield….oh God!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I’m hoping the Olympic Games next year reminds many Scots that, actually, Great Britain as a team, together, do rather well.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Very true!

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi BV, Couldn’t agree more. One observation from the list you present is that we appear to have some good kit (coming soon), but it is being miss used. Also, it seems to me that the Strike Brigade concept is something of a niche use concept. As the concept is currently sold by id advocates (and not just here in the UK but across the pond as well) is that it is really at its best during the Exploitation / Breakout phase of a battle. A force with the Strategic Mability and sufficient fire power to seriously disrupt an enemy’s… Read more »

Lee1
Guest
Lee1

Good news… Although I am not sure that Camouflage is going to be very effective…

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

I actually saw a variant for another Country’s Boxer that had a huge anti tank cannon like on some of the US Stryker vehicles in a promo video…..but the party poopers at the M.O.D have come out and said “We’re not going to go there, it’s unnecessary”

BB85
Guest
BB85

There is bound to be module created for box launched Brimstone, Starstrek and hopefully 120mm Mortor.
I think they will opt for Archer when it comes to the 155mm howitzer replacement but who knows.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

We need to get the rump of the infantry mounted sooner rather than later.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I think we will both be dust before that happens. Of 31 Battalions 9 currently have armoured mounts. That will be reducing to 8.

I do not include the LPM Foxhound Battalions in that as I thought they had done away with the LPM concept but they still seem to be around?

Still, there’s the MANN trucks I Suppose for the Light Role infantry!

Cam
Guest
Cam

Yeah 7,000+ Mann trucks lol

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

These boxers look a bit like the APC from Aliens, minus the phased plasma phalanx, particle beam canons or any other kind of decent armament. I am worried these vehicles are going to get chopped to pieces without total air superiority. All they have to come up against is a peer or near peer IFV, light tank or canon armed scout vehicle and they are toast. Seems like a bad decision. Where is the standing or fighting power in these vehicles? Immediately order at least 100 more vehicles with a decent turret, call it the boxer fire support vehicle or… Read more »

Ron5
Guest
Ron5

Lot of old miseries on the board today. You lot would boo Santa Claus.

Rejoice for goodness sake, this is the best wheeled AFV in the world and the BA is getting 500 and 60% of the work sourced in the UK.

Plenty of time left to buy Gucci’s guns & missiles to fit on them.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

Greetings Mr Rider, Mandelli, Herodotus, Survivor, Errrrrrrborne, et al. Lots to say in such a short period of time so forgive me if this seems rushed. First let me give you all a few course grain points. I should have made myself clearer during my last post, I am a 100% firm believer in strike. Having personally seen it delivered well a number of times by different nations (no not Pristina, I wish) I have become a convert to the whole idea of fast moving medium-weight, network-centric warfare. The key takeaway point is, the countries involved were fully committed to… Read more »

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

You are proper crazy and it’s a great idea! And also don’t get me wrong, I’ve been light role all my career and understand the needs and requirements! Just think UK strike plan is a bit Aldi when it needs to be closer to Marks and Spencer’s! Chat soon mate!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Fire away!

I have a question. The proposed Strike Brigades have just 2 Infantry Battalions on Boxer. Brigades of past years had 3, whether it was 3 Warrior, 1 Warrior and 2 Saxon, or now, 2 Warrior and 1 Mastiff.
Should they not have 3? As in 2 up one in depth? Is this a new concept, or just the usual cuts exercise?

Bill
Guest
Bill

£2.8bn? Are they gold plated? For 500+ half of which will probably not even be truly combat capable. Recovery, ambulances, command vehicles. We are always good at providing back up to an ever depleting front line. Too many signal regs, REME maintaining fewer and fewer combat vehicles. Armour, artillery of all descriptions chopped by over 50% in the last few years but still too many REMF’s on the payroll. Cut those first but you might as well talk to a brick wall. What has changed in the world since Tim Collins said we needed a mininum of 6 deployable armoured… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Hi Bill. I agree with most of that bar a few things. Firstly, you say too many Signals Regiments? The opposite is true. There are too few RS! And the RS importance is growing with the information age and greater demand for comms of all kinds. Once all our Brigades had a Signal Squadron. Now only 16AA has its own, the rest of the Brigade Signal Squadrons have been cut. Look at 1 (UK) Division and see how many Royal Signals are in it? None. Whatsoever. REMFs? The rear support chain has mostly been out sourced or is run by… Read more »

Bill
Guest
Bill

Daniele, impeccably responded to as always! More balance in the cuts is what is always required but never quite gets there. But then we are dealing with the MOD.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Sadly Bill, yes.

Though alarmingly, I also believe much of the Strike Brigades fiasco ( and previous FRES ) is not down to politicians but the army itself.

General Carter was the architect of Strike Brigades I read? And the absolutely ground breaking genius idea of hamstringing them by putting them with tracked Ajax, while insisting that the 3rd Armoured Regiment, the KRH at Tidworth, is dispensed with at all speed!

Why? Why? Why?

the_marquis
Guest
the_marquis

Is this a case of talking about how many battlegroups the brigade can generate, rather than individual battalions? Although this comes back to problem you and others have highlighted many times before with mixing tracks and wheels. A battlegroup consisting of Ajax and Boxer will not be able to get the most out of Boxer’s strengths. I completely agree with keeping Ajax with the armoured brigades and buying a wheeled scout vehicle based on Boxer to fulfil the recce role for the strike brigades. I like the Singaporean Terrex, I think that is a really great product and they already… Read more »

the_marquis
Guest
the_marquis

(I’m not saying we advocate buying Terrex now, mind, just generally speaking I admire the platform).

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Morning Marquis.

Yes I’m aware in the field a brigade operates in battle groups of combined arms rather than Battalions. But it is those same battalions and the 2 Ajax Regiments of the RAC that will be with them that form the teeth of them.

And in the previous brigades of the army there were 3 Infantry units.

More to go round, more flexibility, more reserves.

the_marquis
Guest
the_marquis

Hi Daniele, Agreed, I was just trying to play devil’s advocate, to be honest. Maybe they are planning to draft in an additional infantry battalion on an ad hoc basis from the adaptable force. If the reduction to 2 infantry battalions is due to cost cutting, do you think it is a legacy of the drastic cuts of 2010, or another round of cutting? Interestingly there was a quote on forces.net about the recent trial last month which is rather interesting: “For the exercise, 3 RIFLES were pitched against the Household Cavalry and were given assets they wouldn’t usually have… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I would not know marquis, there are battalions available, though maybe not the money to outfit them as Boxer units. There were 6 battalions on Foxhound as LPM – Light Protected Mobility Battalions within 1 Div. Indeed, most of the Infantry are still there. 16AA for example has had a 3rd restored after 2 were seen to be too few. Of 31 Battalions, only 11 are in deployable brigades! Another supports UKSF. 4 more have been dismantled as line units and given a specialist role. Apache and Wildcat are meant to be available to 3 ( UK ) Division as… Read more »

Adrian
Guest
Adrian

Hopefully they change the colour scheme – current paint is great for moral, not so great for camouflage.
Although it would make for a great diversion.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Good choice for the UK finally! Hope the IFV variant is predominant as its gives you the auto cannon for support. Looks like it carries the full 8 man fire team as well in mine blast resistant seats. I think the APC is too under-gunned. The main strength comes from the modularity and I would like to see the UK build an artillery variant (105mm as per the old SP Abbott as there would be less wear than a 155mm system and it wouldn’t look so ungainly!). As for recon the Aussies have picked a Boxer variant for Land 400… Read more »