BAE Systems has won a contract to supply 155mm Smoke and Illuminating artillery rounds to the Ministry of Defence.

The company advise that the contract adds Smoke and Illuminating natures to the portfolio of 155mm calibre rounds already supplied by BAE Systems to the MoD, ‘helping to sustain key skills within the Land UK business’.

The contract, competed through the MoD tender process, is initially valued at £16m and offers the customer flexibility to add additional quantities in later years.

For the shell body, BAE Systems will use Rheinmetall’s existing Assegai Carrier design which will deliver time and cost savings by removing the need for an entirely new round to be designed. The shell bodies will be manufactured at BAE Systems UK facility in Washington, while the Smoke and Illuminating payloads will be assembled into the shells at the Glascoed facility in South Wales.

Heavy Munitions Director for BAE Systems Land UK, Lee Smurthwaite, said:

“This contract is testament to what collaboration between strong companies can achieve. Manufacturing and assembling products to someone else’s design demands an agile and capable set up, which we’ve demonstrated at our Glascoed and Washington facilities.

As well as offering excellent value for money, this contract shows the dedication of our people to ensure third-party designs remain interoperable with the British Army’s weapon systems and ultimately, deliver essential capability to soldiers.”

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Is the UK still to retire the AS90 & if so, why? I would have thought any UK Army deployments, East of Berlin, would be very vulnerable without their own artillery back up.

David Steeper

So long as we keep MLRS we should be fine. If there’s ever talk of getting rid of them we should really start to worry.

andy reeves

BAE getting a u.k armed forces contract? wow! fancy that.

Daniele Mandelli

2 Regiments to remain John, supporting the 2 Armoured Brigades. There were 3 Armoured Brigades but with the latest cuts of Army 2020 “Refine” one Brigade is changing to Strike, conveniently allowing the army to get rid of many heavy armoured Vehicles, namely 1 Regiment of CH2, 1 Regiment of AS90, and an Armoured Engineer Regiment of Trojan, Titan, and Terrier, amongst other cuts. With those Engineer vehicles being new I would hope they at least are kept. So 3 Armoured, 2 Infantry becomes 2 Armoured, 2 Strike. A nice cut of 1 deployable brigade. 3 Cdo and 16 AA… Read more »


Thanks for the info. Do you know if the retained AS90 still have the 39 calibre barrel, or has it or will it get, the 52 calibre upgrade (with extra automation) that was due to happen as part of its service life?

Daniele Mandelli

I have no idea. I know units, bases, organisations, not tech details.

I shall leave that for the experts.


Still 39 calibre, but the Braveheart upgrade is still in everyones thinking…

andy reeves

but if they get the ‘navy’ treatment, the lower the number, the more likely it is.£££££££


Just had a look at wiki to see how many of these we have, 79 apparently but I wonder how many are really available. The list of equipment seems quite impressive overall but is rather thin in number of actual fighting vehicles. Cut to the bone.

Daniele Mandelli

2 regiments of 18 guns plus those of 14RA at the SRA at Larkhill, some reserves, those 79 are enough for the mere 2 regiments left.

What the British Army really needs is some serious firepower into the new Strike Brigades.

That means a self propelled replacement for the 2 regiments of Light Guns in 3 and 4 RHA, mobile anti tank weapons systems, and Boxers equipped with more than a machine gun!


I don’t know the first thing about this subject, but when you do a comparison with Russia we are completely out gunned when it comes to artillery which is relatively cheap and very mobile. If there is no air dominance as Russia has invested heavily in their SAM systems would this not be a huge issue for nato to counter.
Without the USA I don’t think the EU would have a hope of countering Russia on its own.


Whats new ?

andy reeves

the u.s has 3000 artillery pieces in storage for reactivation if required, the u.k should make an effort to acquire a sizable ‘chunk’ of them i’d hope we’d get a ‘mates rate’ cost wise. in fact given the massive numbers of all retired military equipment the americans hold in reserve, its not too far a stretch that the u.k could almost double the size of the u.k armed forces for a more than reasonable price, or are we too snobbish to buy foreign ‘cast offs even though everybody else does look at AMARG inventory and the naval inactive ships register… Read more »

Mr Bell

The EU including the UK would only last a few weeks against anall out Russian assault. On the ground. However the Russian’s will be in trouble due to the lack of gen 4.5-5 series high performance jets. The majority of their Airforce is 3rd 4th gen and thus unlikely to be able to survive Vs Eurofighter, Rafale or even Grippen. I think on the ground the EU nations will be hard pushed. In the air the Russian’s despite numerical superiority should be picked off. Just so long as we can maintain our supplies of advance weaponry like meteor, Amraam, asraam,… Read more »

Steve R

Russia is an absolute paper tiger apart from their nukes. They have numerical superiority but that advantage would quickly dissipate once their air support is smashed by Typhoons, Rafales and Gripens.

Russia’s massively superior numbers would then be helpless against those same planes plus Apache helicopters.

By the time European ground forces make it into the fray the odds would be in our favour.


Depends on if Russian ground forces are backed up by their latest SAM systems. NATO needs ways of neutralising those. Either Stealth F-35 or AARGM from EA-18G Growlers. Wasn’t there a proposal to fit AARGM to Typhoon? I do not think it has happened so far.
Hang on, I remember the Poles are thinking about adding AARGM to their F-16.

andy reeves

agred maybe private pike and captain mainwaring would do it.

Sammy G1

I think you must be confusing the current Russian Air Force with some other air force I am afraid. They have no 3rd gen aircraft currently unless you consider the Su-25 one which, IMO is unfair due to its specific role ala their version of the A-10 and I am quite sure you wouldn’t say the A-10s are 3rd gen, ha! On another point re: lack of 4.5-5th gen aircraft, they have been undergoing a very major modernization for the past 7-10 years which has resulted in 4.5th gen fighters becoming a vast core of their force (not to mention… Read more »


Although not a specific sead weapon Spear 3 will be the go to for sead for the UK another capability Gap as we don’t have it yet. Considering how great ALARM potentially ahead of it’s time compared to HARM was it is a shame we didn’t develop a larger faster version, with greater range and loiter time… But obviously happy with the US doing sead for us? I think doctrine maybe conveniently be take out command and control considering we have weapons for this such as storm shadow. Considering the alleged range of s400 etc. To me tactical tomahawk might… Read more »