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Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin visited General Dynamics factory in Wales to see Ajax vehicles in the final stages of testing.

39 COMMENTS

  1. Great news again – now I really hope that someone is thinking about what comes next, once these vehicles are built we need to retain the factories and start building other military vehicles on a regular basis.

    • I’m not sure TOW is necessary, it’s getting a bit outdated to be honest, but some sort of ATGM, be it SPIKE or Javelin would certainly be necessary when fighting a peer enemy.

      • CTA international have announced and showed off an export variant of the 40mm cannon with an attached Javelin launcher. It does not however seem that the MOD is interested at the moment.

        It does however give the future AJAX and WARRIOR fleets the ability to easily attach and fire anti-tank launchers if the need arises. The good old fitted for but not with requirement.

        I can not understand the thinking by the MOD behind the new Strike brigades. One vehicle is an tracked APC and the other is a 8 wheeled utility vehicle. Neither currently have anti-tank capabilities and we canceled the direct fires variant of the AJAX and from my research the 8W vehicle is going to be a transport and utility vehicle. This seems like we would be better off with keeping our armored brigade which actually packs a punch against a peer enemy.

        • My thinking is that in all of their recent engagements enemy armour was defeated from the air before tanks even rolled off the boats.

          • Mostly true. However during the Iraq and Gulf war there were some pretty heavy armor vs armor engagements. We did after all deploy the whole of our armored division, which in 2020 will be down a brigade.

          • From memory the UK and France both ran out of bombs after a two week campaign in Libya and they needed to request emergency supplies the US. The EU’s military capacity is a complete farce, full of cutting edge equipment in low numbers with little or nothing stock pilled.

        • Cockerill commando and 3000 series would seem more suited to the strike and recon roles with good blast resistance and choice of gun calibers

  2. Not really what you want to hear :
    Army’s new £3.5bn mini-tanks are ‘DEATH traps’ that are only useful against ‘incompetent enemies’ who cannot hit them with heavy artillery However, critics claim the cannon has already encountered problems during routine testing in overseas trials and say it is simply not up to the job of defending rival power from countries such as Russia.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3892754/Army-s-new-3-5bn-mini-tanks-DEATH-traps-useful-against-incompetent-enemies-hit-heavy-artillery.html

      • it’s not really a reconnaissance vehicle from the traditional sense. reconnaissance is about rapid movement and not getting into combat, since you don’t have the fire power for it. the modern day reconnaissance vehicle is the drone. it has a large ish gun or medium armour because it’s main rule will really be infantry support, where it need a to be able take a hit but only from small and medium arms. In a true reconnaissance role this would be a death trap, as it would not be able to evade fast enough if discovered. Effectively this vehicle shines in wars against non level opponents which is the type we are likely to fight.

    • Colin, please for sack of everyone with a brain cell on this website, do not use the daily mail or the telegraph as a credible news source on military matters. Their articles read like gossip columns, are incredible biased, are very one sided and always seem to lack a basic understanding of how the military works.

    • After the Daily Mail’s bold-faced lying about the F-35, I’m never going to pay attention to their defence journalism again. I’d bet most, if not all, of that article is hearsay and misrepresentation

      • Here.here guys. Bl…. newspapers are getting on my nerves. Why do they find it so pleasing to run our services down?

    • While the daily mail article is tat. There does appear to he issues wity the turret. Especially on the warrior update. Its been 6 years since it was selected and they cant even get it working on the prototypes. I think the warrior updates will end up cancelled and the 1bn reininvested in more ajax or other miv’s to be announced.

  3. More good news for our military. But it makes me ask why we are buying 2,700 Oshkosh vehicles from the USA when maybe we should have played the Yanks at their own game and said ‘build them here’.
    When UK taxpayers money is being spent we should lever as much benefit for UK workers as possible be that Naval tankers or Army vehicles.

    • The reason we are getting them so cheap is because they already have the capability to mass produce them which gives us an extremely cheap price. Moving manufacturing over to the UK would defeat that main benefit.

      • The Oshkosh deal is spectacular in value and allows us to get very good kit at an amazing price, same for the Apache’s as well.

        We need to do these deals in order to spend money on other stuff in the UK like Ajax. Remember FRES has already blown several billion and got now where and for me that is money that could have bought more apaches or be put into welfare services.

        Buildiing in Britain is great, but the amount of money spent on designs that never see the light of day is ridiculous (T26 10 years, FRES 20 years etc..) indeed Boxer and Fremm we were both part of – we left Fremm to design the T45 and ended up with 6 instead of the 12 scheduled. T26 was meant to cost £500m and we now know the price.

        I am really happy to purchase top grade US kit at very good prices – sorry if that offends

  4. Pity the govt could not see the wider benefits to the UK economy and defence capability of investing in the UK. The first 100 of this 1990’s Spanish / Austrian design will be entirely built by General Dynamics at the American company’s Spanish plant, using Swedish steel. The remaining 489, nope not built in S. Wales, all the hulls will still be still fabricated in Spain, still with Swedish steel. Since 2010 EVERY major defence program has been placed with foreign firms. For the army, 900 heavy trucks and 2700 light troop jeeps bought from Oshkosh in America. Uniforms and boots from Germany, Croatia, China and Turkey. 32 helicopters from Germany/France, while helicopter plants in Somerset are shut and work moved to Italy. The Navy, 4 support ships from Korea. 5 new patrol vessels, built with Swedish steel. The new Trident subs will use French steel and the Type26 frigates will use 20,000 tons of EU steel. The UK government has FAILED to support our defence and steel industries. It has prioritised unit cost price and applied EU rules. But our EU partners have managed to ignore EU procurement rules and unlike the UK maintained THEIR industries. The French, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish armies all drive trucks built by their OWN industries. The UK stuck to the EU rules and now drives 7200 German trucks and marches on German boots. How much defence capability has disappeared while successive governments have spent the “Peace Dividend” on supporting the EU and increasing the Foreign Aid budget, while the UK tries to deal with the financial collapse of 2008.

    • Allowing BAE to monopolise the entire British defense industry caused a lot of the damage. They delivered projects years late and 2 or 3 times over budget and thought they could get away with it because they where the only UK defense company.

      Having said that government defense and export strategy has been extremely short sited and all about short term savings, we pulled out of the Boxer program when we could have had a 40% work share and now we will need to purchase a wheeled APC from Europe. Maybe we are keeping more of the hi-tech roles in the UK, I don’t know.

      • The Type 31 program provides an opportunity to arrest this decline. There a 3 other designs on offer, all of which appear to be far better than BAE’s attempt to flog it’s re-jigging of an already obsolete design. It just demonstrates that complacency of BAE. Rather than invest on a specifically tailored design they are trying to maximise profits by inflating an old design. I fear the damage done to the steel industry may be too extensive to correct. I reckon 20,000 tons of foreign steel will be needed. With a commitment to investment in ship building this may encourage Tata/Krupps to invest in capacity. Offering Canada and Australia at cost plate may help.

    • Heer is some 180 degs spin…

      Actually it is the British Steel industry that has failed the MOD. They don’t make the types and quantities of steel the MOD want or need, hence they bought it from other suppliers.

      • Some truth on all sides re UK jobs / procurement 🙂 My take;

        The UK has a lamentable industrial strategy going back decades which includes defence.

        As with UK’s EU migration policy (which could under EU rules have significantly constrained FOM) every other major country ‘applied’ EU procurement rules in such a way as to protect strategic industries. Almost uniquely UK played by the most generous interpretation of the spirit of rules to its significant detriment. Our fault or their’s is a point to argue.

        In any strategy maximising UK jobs and investment is a priority but Govt ‘stop start –
        on off’ cycles make this very hard for industry to plan so too often there’s Hobson’s choice when decisions are made.

        The UK should decide how defence supports industry and what’s in it’s national interest. The NSS is a good example of trying to join those dots but it’s woefully underfunded. That will mean it keeps things too skinny to really build competitive shipbuilding capability, capacity and productivity. The danger is it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy – ‘well, we tried a NSS but it didn’t really work so back to South Korea’. I wouldn’t change the NSS principle but I would scale it up significantly and reschedule.

        The same applies to submarines – 16 submarines over a thirty year cycle

        The scale at which America builds some kit we use makes it impossible for the UK to compete on price and that trade off is sometimes just too great to ignore.

        No western country is going to build it’s own advanced fighter aircraft. I think we are pretty much spot on re our involvement in the Typhoon and F-35 programmes.

        Armour & specialist vehicles of most weights is the biggest challenge for the UK. Small short runs. Dedicated manufacturing. Lamentable exports. Partner approach with UK build probably best we can hope for.

        • I agree with everything you said especially on the UK governments start stop approach, at least when the German government just stopped everything it allowed the German industry to focus on exports which they succeed in.
          I think Armour and Specialist vehicles are going to be built all over Europe similar to F35 and Eurofighter. Patria, CV90 Phiranna have all been successful because when they export they offer work shares. Reinmetal and Nextar appear to be going down the same routes if they want to win exports so building everything in the UK would be expensive and fail in the export market again.

      • It wasn’t just the steel industry and govt policy that failed. The award of the £2 billion contract to Austria / Germany’s MAN for 8000 vehicles, rather than award the tender to LDV is an example of the govt following the EU’s Procurement Rules. The vehicles would have been built in Birmingham and the programme would have provided work for 140 other UK suppliers. Instead it went to MAN/VW.

        • Is LDV still in business? I’m all for supporting British industry if its exists but it was wiped out years ago due to its lack of competitiveness and innovation. A UK military contract for 8000 vehicles is not going to make it competitive again either. A better solution is to buy the German trucks on the condition that they buy British drones or missiles where we are innovative and competitive.

          • BB85 May I refer to my earlier observation, “It has prioritised unit cost price and applied EU rules. But our EU partners have managed to ignore EU procurement rules and unlike the UK maintained THEIR industries. The French, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish armies all drive trucks built by their OWN industries. The UK stuck to the EU rules and now drives 7200 German trucks and marches on German boots.”

  5. The Telegraph used to be superb regarding defence matters. The Daily Mail has always been a newspaper for idiots who think there’s still an Empire.

  6. BB85 you say we might be looking at the Boxer, l do hope this is true
    but this is new to me, could you elaborate on this, thank you.

  7. Aching for an ATGM mount.

    If the “its for recon not combat” excuse is permissible for that, then why bother with a cannon at all?

  8. September 20/17: Raytheon has been awarded a $31.5 million US Army contract modification external link for domestic and foreign military sales of the BGM-71 TOW guided anti-tank missile. Both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, in addition to the US military, will receive the missiles after production at facilities in Tucson and Farmington, Ariz., scheduled for completion by December 31, 2018. Originally wire-guided, the newest versions of the TOW are completely digital, have a range of several miles and are capable of destroying tanks and fortifications. They come in man-portable, vehicle mounted or air-launched versions.

    January 4/17: The USMC has issued a $60 million contract external link to Raytheon for TOW missiles. Delivery of the missiles is expected to be completed by December 28, 2018. The weapons are designed to help ground forces engage armored targets like tanks and can also be mounted to land platforms such as the Styker and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

    Seems that everybody else thinks a LRATGW is an essential piece of kit for armoured fighting vehicles except the UK.

    TOW is highly capable, available and cost effective.

  9. For the 8*8 role, I opt for the Israeli Eitan designed around combat experience and built to survive.

    The Israelis would probably allow us to license build in the UK as well.

  10. The MOD will say that as with the Warrior, anti-armour capability is provided by the dismounts! Right oh then, I ‘ll drop you here while you take out that MBT. Back in 5!
    Never enough bang for our buck, quid or euro and puts our IFV at a distinct disadvantage.

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