Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced plans to review the planned conversion of the British Army’s Challenger 2 main battle tanks to Challenger 3s.

The review will assess whether the experiences of Ukraine necessitate an expansion of the tank fleet. The original plan, announced in 2021, involved upgrading 148 Challenger 2 tanks to Challenger 3s and retiring the remaining 79 vehicles.

This decision comes as the United Kingdom is preparing to provide Ukraine with 14 Challenger 2 tanks as part of a significant package of military support aimed at enhancing Ukraine’s capabilities.

“Today’s package is an important increase to Ukraine’s capabilities. It means that it can go from resisting to expelling Russian forces from Ukrainian soil. President Putin cannot win, but he is equally certain that he can continue inflicting this wanton violence and human suffering until his forces are ejected from their defensive positions and expelled from the country. That requires a new level of support: the combat power only achieved by combinations of main battle tank squadrons, operating alongside divisional artillery groups, and further deep precision fires enabling the targeting of Russian logistics and command nodes at greater distance.

We will be the first country to donate western main battle tanks, and we will be bringing a further squadron of our own Challenger tanks to higher readiness in place of the squadron sent. Even as we gift Challenger 2 tanks, I shall at the same time be reviewing the number of Challenger 3 conversions, to consider whether the lessons of Ukraine suggest that we need a larger tank fleet.

We will also build apace on the Army’s modernisation programme. Specifically on artillery, I am accelerating the mobile fires programme so that, instead of delivering in the 2030s, it will do so during the current decade. I have also directed that, subject to commercial negotiation, an interim artillery capability is to be delivered. After discussion with the United States and our European allies, it is hoped that the example set by the French and us will allow the countries holding Leopard tanks to donate as well, and I know that a number of countries want to do the same. As I have said, no one is going it alone.”

 

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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John Clark
John Clark (@guest_694560)
1 year ago

It seems obvious that we need to convert the entire active inventory of 227.

I think in reality we will see a few more, possibly up to 180 conversions to provide some measure of a reserve fleet and to perhaps increase the size of the surviving Armoured regiments slightly.

I don’t forsee any move to increase force structure size as set by the last review, the promised new money has evaporated after all.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd (@guest_694561)
1 year ago

Its obvious that we need a bigger tank fleet and for once I would commend SoS Defence Ben Wallace for his most timely intervention in this regard.

Tracked and armoured self-propelled guns such as our AS90 can provide excellent close support to a tank attack – which is why UkR wants them. BAE have an outstanding product in their Archer system and though not tracked, would provide a good interim solution. Coupled with Sky Sabre and our Apache fleet the British Army would regain a real punch.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694828)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Agree. Need Archer. More Apache Es. We also need a more fighty Boxer variant/ IFV variant . The Army urgently needs the ability to deploy 2 full armoured divisions to Europe plus a rapid reaction brigade sized group elsewhere. Time the manpower was increased and all the requisite kit and hardware got sorted out. The Army is in a mess. Less of a mess than the Ruskies but not great sitrep.

Josh Peckham
Josh Peckham (@guest_698939)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Two full armoured divisions isn’t likely though, not with small tweaks here and there. That would be wholesale re-armament, and expansion from two armoured regiments to 4-6. A massive expansion in personnel would be required too.

More realistic to actually have confidence in the ability to deploy one, and maybe a BCT to support somebody else.

M.Harris
M.Harris (@guest_700160)
1 year ago
Reply to  Josh Peckham

Agreed. I was in Germany for the first Gulf War, and we had to strip spares and serviceable vehicles from the 3 other divisions to put a fully equipped combat ready div in the field. To do that twice is a huge undertaking

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_695455)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I’m currently inclined to believe that Chancellor Schulze’s ‘insistence’ that the US provide Ukraine with Abrams before Germany allows other countries to supply Leopard 2s (yeh, right. Good luck with that *) is to get the US responsible for providing a derivative of the 120 smoothbore initially. Despite this being a far less suitable tank, complex & maintenance intensive, that the far more practical Leopard. Though I do anticipate that a cadre of Ukrainian tankies are already being schooled by USA, Britain C2, and Poland. Has amended my assumption that our supply of sovereign Challengers was mostly ‘pour encourager’. The… Read more »

Matt
Matt (@guest_696052)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

I’m inclined to think that it is like dogs playing poker.

USA is attempting to put a Roman Candle under Scholz’ backside to change the German outlook / positioning and get follow-through on the previous sppeechifying which has rather run into the dust.

I wonder if the German’s don’t actually have much capacity to deliver working tanks in any number, the Bundeswehr having been on a starvation diet for a decade or more under Merkel and VDL.

Dogs playing poker:

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_696064)
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt

Would it not be easier for NATO to buy & refurbish 49 Leopard 2, then offer them to Thailand in a swap for their 49 T-84 Oplot?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_696578)
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt

I might be smiling somewhat if I were, hmm, I don’t know – Putin, say. If I was a Baltic State national, though, I may have a somewhat tight sphincter wondering, should I be attacked, whether Germany may require a period of angst prior to mobilising under NATO. Commendable as German discomfort & reluctance may well be under their historic precedent – we can all appreciate that – it would be more understandable for everyone else, I’d hazard, if it where accompanied by a similar discomfort from enriching themselves with the profits accruing as prime suppliers of advanced heavy-armoured land… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_694562)
1 year ago

I’ll stick my neck out – a fleet of 250 CR3 should be more than enough for the British Army’s needs going into the future – a modest total I think.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_694583)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

200 CH2s is a more realistic number considering there will be no more than 50 hulls available? What may happen due to the draw on the fleet due to Ukraine is a serious study into the CH3 replacement. One thought would be for the UK to either build its own tanks again, or purchase the next-generation MBTs from Europe or America. It may also be possible to buy the basic tank but equip them with engines of its choice and other technologies enabling some manufacturing opportunities in the UK. One issue, what if Ukraine calls for more CH2s due to… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_694590)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

The 250 should provide enough for the operational Regiments, a number used for training, an allowance for maintenance plus a modest attritional reserve.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon (@guest_694782)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

This by TD is of interest on that subject. Have not had time to look into all the links but that’s not the point, they’re evidently there. The last category heading must be the clincher! The gun? well, we’d sort it!
https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2023/01/lets-build-a-tank-the-uk-afv-industry/

craig
craig (@guest_694804)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

Reckon we’ll donate a 2nd company and retain around 198 C3s. I cannot see us making our own MBT again, but heavily customising another design takes us down the Ajax road again and we don’t want that. Off the shelf model selection with local assembly and winning components manufacture workshare in UK would give us best value plus industrial opportunity.

Marked
Marked (@guest_694813)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

Agree 100%. Trying to change an existing system never works out as planned. Either buy as it is or design from scratch. The lesson has been taught but not learned far too many times now.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694832)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

K2 Black Panther. Copy Poland. South Korea has already proven it’s willingness to sell the design and build rapidly several dozen tanks. Add to that support for home country manufacturing as well. Poland and Turkey are building/ about to build their own K2 variants.

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_694842)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

K2 is a pimped up Leopard 2 and has weak side armour. They do not offer more then CH3. A new UK tank should be new and not an upgrade.

Perhaps a joint UK/US project. I would not build anything with the French as they will always want to lead and have one eye on cheaper export sales.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695213)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

This joint UK/US tank project? For the tank after CR3?

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695528)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Question: With the possible exception of RR developing an engine, plus of course BAE as a company being involved, can’t see the US wanting/needing a UK involvement on such a project – private company yes, government involvement no. But any private company involvement would still involve building in the US.

Ed
Ed (@guest_695958)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Hyundai Rotem has a 62 ton central European version of the K2 that has just as much armor as the Leo2A7+. True the side armor is lighter than the central European average nowadays, but about equal to the original LeClerc tank of the early 90’s. This is because the mountainous terrain of the Korean peninsula prioritizes mobility and lighter curb weight over all round armor protection.

Ed
Ed (@guest_695957)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The UK doesn’t make cars or heavy machinery anymore. It shouldn’t make tanks or IFVs as it is technically and economically inefficient. I should work with others who have a better technological and industrial base. If that’s South Korea, then so be it.

Stc
Stc (@guest_696393)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed

Well “ED” UK produced 860000 passenger cars in 2021 and many many other vehicles. I think we can still build a tank.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695094)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

They always need to be customised or ensure they work with all the other systems they need to interact with. Unfortunately even an of the self needs modification.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695212)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

We haven’t got any CR3s at the moment of course – not one has been built yet.
Why can you not see us making another MBT again? I presume you mean ‘from scratch’ as we are making CR3s. Is it because the production run would be too small?

craig
craig (@guest_695234)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Exactly because of that and the poor export sales of our last few tanks – only Oman bought C2 & no-one bought C1. Can see us specialising in other land vehicles for export/licence export and building foreign (likely German) tanks under licence in return – else a collaborative programme like we do in aviation perhaps?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695391)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

Many collaborative tank programmes have not come to full fruition but maybe they will now that production runs are small for all except USA. We are an official observer on the Franco-German next tank project.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695530)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

Jordan bought about 400 C1s.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_695544)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

Bad luck and bad timing didn’t do our Tank Industry many favours when it came to exports – CR1 performed badly in Trials and Gunnery Competitions but when it came to real Combat it Excelled in many respects.CR2 just happened to come on the market at the same time Germany was offloading most it’s Leopard 2 inventory at favourable prices to whoever was interested.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695529)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

For me, yes. We’re talking about high development costs to produce under 200 units!

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_695945)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695974)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thanks Paul. I had not heard that there was pessimism by politicians over the CR3 programme – it is the right tank for the army, the companies involved are at the top of their game, the facility is a good one and there is enough money to see the project through.
However I have always been disappointed that CR2 did not get periodic upgrades and that this exceptionally major one will take such a long time and 148 is really not enough by a long way.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695526)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

I would go for donating 2 companies plus 3-4 ‘spares’ – that would be a meaningful contribution.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_696641)
1 year ago
Reply to  craig

The thin pinstriped line interestingly pointed out that off the shelf options don’t really exist for any army like the British army as there is no off the shelf design that just slots in without modification.

Marked
Marked (@guest_694812)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

I’m not a fan of that approach. We have a track record of taking an existing system and taking forever to balls it up by trying to customise it.

Either but it as it is or build from scratch.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695214)
1 year ago
Reply to  Marked

I think we greatly improved the US Apache AH-64D by customising it – the engines worked far better in hot and high Afghanistan.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694829)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

Agree I’d be happy with 200 C3s. So a small uptick. Would be happier if we got some K2 Black Panthers ordered in or Merkava 4. Something with an APS on every tank is a good idea. Rather than 68 Trophy sets. Wtf? Whose stupid idea was that. If you have a tank. Equip it properly.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_694854)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

Ive been looking for more information this afternoon,a possible increase in the number of CR2 that could be converted to CR3 comes to a total of 227 ( 148 + 79 additional ) which is the current available fleet number..This would leave more left over for Ukraine should they want to expand on the 14 agreed.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_694920)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Your numbers look encouraging for an uptick to 200 CH3. Looking to the future, we probably don’t need more than 200 CH3 as this is basically an upgraded machine based on an existing tank. A more advanced tank will be required to confront the battlefield technologies that are sure to come and a much more radical design will probably be necessary.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695215)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

If you converted all 227 CR2s on the active list to CR3 for the BA, then you would have no CR2s to gift to UKR (not even the 14 mentioned in the last few days), unless you break into the stock of inactive/retired tanks, most of which will be in a shocking condition, probably.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695210)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

We have 227 in-service CR2s today, all of which could be converted to CR3. An additional 23 tanks would have to be taken from the inactive/retired fleet to enable Paul to have his 250 CR3s. Ben Wallace is doing a serious study of the CR3 programme ie to determne if more tanks could or should be put through the programme – but it sounds as if you are advocating cancelling it and doing something else instead. You do realise the CR3 programme is well underway? If UKR call for additonal CR2s, that is not necessarily a problem, as currently UK… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_695262)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think you have misread what I’m saying. The CH3 should go ahead with an additional 50 hulls added. However, there are some on the Defence Committee who think it should be canned as it could face the same issues as the Warrior upgrade (A new head on an old body). No, my focus is beyond CH3 and how we proceed, either alone or with other nations. Japan could be one opportunity as they have a very strong home industry that could result in a very capable joint vehicle.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695580)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

OK Maurice, thanks. Just as well that you agree that the CR3 project can go ahead as the Contract has been signed (on 7 May 21) and work is well underway. Happy to add 50 to the numbers, which would enable retention of the 3rd armoured regiment (KRH). I had not heard that some members of the Defence Committeee think CR3 should be canned – its well late to say that – army programmes are years behind as it stands – cannot afford any more delay. If we could not source a new (foreign) tank then an upgraded British one… Read more »

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_695308)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I wasnt aware we had many in reserve or the inactive fleet? If so could they be refurbished and given to Ukraine rather than taking active tanks out of our fleet and supplying those to Ukraine? If BW completes his review and the bean counters in the treasury agree to fund conversion of all 227 C2s to C3 standard then great. Ideally just equip all of them with Trophy APS from the get go- this switching of APS kits on and off tanks is a nonsense. We have to get serious. Russia may still be a threat to NATO territorial… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695588)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

‘In reserve’ and ‘inactive fleet’ are two totally different things. We have a number of Attrition Reserve tanks on the active list but I don’t know for sure how many that is. Active List – 227 tanks of which 168 are earmarked Field Force which means that 59 are split between: Trg Org, Repair Pool and Attrition Reserve. I expect RP to be a very low figure. In theory all these tanks should be in good condition and you should expect 70% to be immediately deployable rising to 90% after intensive maintenance activity. Non-active List (ie retired tanks) – theoretically… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_696648)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

from this article it read the 14 would come from the active list.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_696647)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham, did you say we have more CR2 hulls than the 227 active CR2s. I thought they had disposed of the rest, if we have inactive retired hulls that could be converted that makes the numbers discussion very interesting. For both CR3 and providing Ukraine with with more CR2s in the future.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696759)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Well, we bought 386 CR2s and I understand only about 3 were written off over the years. I have not heard definitively that any were ever sold or sent to the smelter, although some scuttlebutt says that 80 tanks were scrapped, however there has never been an MoD pronouncement to that effect.

If we do indeed have an inactive/retired fleet of 156 tanks in storage, they will mostly or all be in poor condition and missing parts.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_696780)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Still potentially hulls to be turned into CR3s if we ever do need them or potentially hulls that could be reactivated as CR2s for Ukraine if needed. You never know it may be that Ukraine ends up preferring challengers after a bit of experience with them, They are after all more designed for defensive warfare or infantry support as they grind forward than other western MBTs, which is probably what Ukraine is going to be for a long time.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696889)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Yes, very true. I would not underestimate the time, work and spares required to reactivate them as active CR2s or to convert them to CR3s.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_695525)
1 year ago
Reply to  maurice10

My view? We won’t buy enough of our own to justify developing a new tank, so export sales needed. The US and Germany (plus the likes of South Korea) would probably mean that UK export sales wouldn’t generate enough income to justify the UK developing a tank of their own unless… Perhaps develope a single engine then build a whole series of vehicles around that engine – mainly SP artillery and missiles. That might just work…

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_694874)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Maintaining one British armoured division was seen as the ‘sweet spot’ for 25 years – a credible heavy punch formation without busting the bank. That policy surely still makes sense, but it will be expensive and difficult to re-instate. I suppose its arguable that the real problem was the failure of British Army modernisation programmes, many £billions being spent with little to show for it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694878)
1 year ago

Exactly.

Indeed, 3 (UK) Division, properly equipped and supported, is fine for a non land power like the UK.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_696649)
1 year ago

Agree, in reality even if we did stump up for a second deployable armoured division, what would we do with it, as I’m not sure we have the infrastructure or support available to deploy two divisions.

one very good armoured division, with a couple of separate battles groups deployed on the NATO frontline as well as an air mobile “stabilisation” brigade and an amphibious brigade is really the max we need.But they should all be very good indeed.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695207)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

That would permit the army to retain its 3 armoured regiments, rather than losing one – and would enable a quite strong ‘armoured division’ to be fielded’. But it would mean that some 23 tanks that are not on the active list would have to be put through the CR2 to CR3 conversion process.

Last edited 1 year ago by Graham Moore
JC
JC (@guest_695414)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Fielded where? Seems to be a key, unpopular, question consigned to the shadows of this debate. “We have to defend Europe’ seems to be the standing justification but where is the consideration of Europe’s persistent failure to meet its NATO spending commitment across all arms. Are the taxpaying Public aware that Netherlands and Belgium stood down all their MBTs between 2012 and 2014. Therefore some 65 of the C2s being upgraded to C3 are logically offsets to the NL and BE lack of commitment to their own and their defence of their beloved Europe. Cue personal attacks as counter-argument.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695899)
1 year ago
Reply to  JC

Where might we field a quite strong ‘armoured division’? We deployed an ‘armour-heavy division’, including 221 tanks, on Op Granby to the Kuwait Theatre of Operations in 1990/91 and a division which included over 120 tanks on Op Telic to Iraq in 2003. If the Ukraine conflict broadens out to be a kinetic confrontation between NATO and Russia, then we would of course deploy 3rd (UK) Div. We are in NATO, which exists to protect all member nations in the Euro-Atlantic area. We therefore deploy forces to meet this remit, which includes defending the European NATO members – thought we… Read more »

Mark Burston
Mark Burston (@guest_695691)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Maybe theres a deal to be done by supplying a substantial number of CH2s to Ukraine in return for the US making up our shortfall with Abrams. Gets the US off the hook and gives us a far more capable weapon.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695904)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Burston

We don’t want Abrams, especially the older ones. We looked at that years ago and rejected it. It is a logistic and engineering headache to support – and many have been destroyed by enemy fire over the years, including by mere insurgents. It is only the latest versions that are (arguably) more capable than CR2 – and the US would not give us those.

We want CR3s quickly, all with APS, and far more than 148, and to start planning for a more revolutionary tank after that.

Chris
Chris (@guest_698665)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The US trusts the UK with the trident missile system. They wouldn’t think twice about a deal involving the latest Abrams. Non-event.

That being said, it’s nearly a 50 year old design. Most of the advantage is updated optics, sensors and fire control.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_698994)
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris

Chris, I repeated a comment that I saw that the US does not export its latest Abrams – however you are right that they would probably make an exception for the UK.
However we don’t want any Abrams, even the newer ones (which obviously have a newer than 50 year old design in respect of compnents that have been changed) – we are getting CR3.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_695947)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Burston

As Graham says the M1 Abrams is not likely to see service in the British Army – but in the future who knows,lots of Horse Trading going on today,i wouldn’t rule anything out.

Steve
Steve (@guest_694563)
1 year ago

I think upping the number to 200 would be a realistic balance between affordability and need. It is also key however, to right size troop levels to support not only this and an increase in long fires, but to increase the number of bayonets. I am not an expert and therefore would be interested to know what others think. Also, what would be a sensible troop levels?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694579)
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

I’d improve the CS/CSS support to the Armoured Brigades before the Bayonets, I assume you mean infantry numbers or just overall manpower. Thus HET, REME, RLC, and railway capability to transport armour which has been deliberately allowed to wither to a handful of STRE reserves since 2010. RLC Tank Transport Sqns were I believe down to 2, will have to check. Force levels. IMO the 5 Brigades plus 16AA plus 3 Cdo of 2010 SDSR was fine for a country that is not and should not be a major land power. We are badly short of that now following the… Read more »

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694581)
1 year ago

When I joined REME in ’74 there were 12,000 of us, just REME and we were busy, busy, busy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694588)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Have not checked for a while but aren’t there about 7k now in the corps, including reserve Bns?

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694634)
1 year ago

According to the dreaded Wiki, there’s 8032 members of the Corps at the moment but, I’ve got to say, when I’m around they seem thin on the ground!

Darren hall
Darren hall (@guest_694644)
1 year ago

Just a smidge over 9’000…

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth (@guest_694687)
1 year ago

The trouble is, most are now located in REME Battalions, and the integral support that was provided by the Light Aid Detachments and Workshops (Engr and Arty), have been reduced, so REME have little day to day contact with the teeth arms, which was always so important when supporting them, in barracks, on Exercise and on operations.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694701)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

Well some of those battalions are classed as “Force Support” that comprise parts of the rear echelons and others are “Close Support” that directly support a brigade much like the Engineer and Artillery regiments do, So I’m unsure if that minimal contact with the teeth arms is really true?
The varied regiments and battalions still have their own LAD or Wkshp as far as I’m aware, how much of a reduction have they sustained do we know? Ian?

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694707)
1 year ago

LADs and Wksps are pared to the bone

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696368)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

I am amazed and horrified. When did this happen? Can you give any examples?

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_696402)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sorry Graham, I can’t be specific, it’’s anecdotal reporting from contacts in the Corps

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696421)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

Thanks Ian.
When I was serving, an LAD supporting medium or heavy armour was about 70 strong, a small Regt Wksp about 90 and a large Regt Wksp about 110 strong.
Each Sqn or Coy of course had its own REME fitter section which worked in Sqn/Coy hangers, and the REME fitter section lads were made to feel part of the Sqn/Coy.

I wonder what has changed.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696367)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

I left the Corps (REME) in 2009. Why has LAD and Regt Wksp manpower fallen? That makes no sense.
Not sure why you say REME has little contact with teeth arms – those LADs and Regt Wksps still exist, as they must do. They work in the barracks of the parent unit. Why has contact reduced. I don’t get this.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696364)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

True. REME has invariably constituted 10% of the Reg Army’s strength. We were very busy in the 70s because the supported equipment was often not very reliable.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696360)
1 year ago

Great points Daniele.
All units need organic 1st line REME and all formations (Bdes, divs) need 2nd line REME, no matter whether the equipment is light, medium or heavy – just that the size of the REME contingent will of course vary according to the numbers and nature of the equipment supported.

Last edited 1 year ago by Graham Moore
RobW
RobW (@guest_694564)
1 year ago

Good news. We could do with keeping the current number of armoured divisions. Question is though, what will support them?

Asking for an interim artillery solution recognises that the AS90 is outdated and out ranged. It also seems to suggest we are going for K9 Team Thunder. I believe South Korea are able to supply some current model K9s. Which other solution can do the same?

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_694568)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

Which other solution can do the same…Polish Krabs?

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694573)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

BAe M109A7 with the ERCA 58 calibre barrel? 70Km range and can fire Excalibur type rounds.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_694599)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Attractive option.
Have the army decided whether they want tracks or wheels to replace AS90?

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_694612)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Or maybe some of both?

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694625)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Not a clue, just like the Army I suspect!

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_694639)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Look to the UK M270 MLRS. Boeing/Saab are offering to join existing stocks of small diameter bombs with surplus M26 rockets. Off the shelf, 93 mile precision strike. Quoted price is $40k each. We could buy 250 for around 10 million.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694660)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Hartley

A lot of bang for your buck.

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_694827)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

BAE is the only company capable of restarting the M270 line. If only they could marry a truck bed as per HIMARS with the 12-cell unit to give it a bigger bang. Then look to extend the range of the rockets as could now be done compared to the limitations the system had back in the day.  While BAE is it, could they not look at putting the M777 onto a truck bed as the French have with CAESAR? Range, mobility and hyper-accuracy have been the three most prominent aspects of the Ukraine war. The Russians have tried saturation artillery,… Read more »

dave12
dave12 (@guest_694912)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

They did trial LIMAWS and it was light enough to be chinook carried on but got cancelled https://www.army-technology.com/projects/limaws/

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694988)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Hi Mr Ex,
BAe would have a huge problem restarting the M270 line as it’s a Lockheed Martin system! As for mounting an M777 on a truck, have you seen the BAe Archer 155mm artillery system?

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_694997)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Hi Ian M, You are out of date mate. Several sources cite it: “Production of the M270 ended in 2003, when a last batch was delivered to the Egyptian Army.[citation needed] In 2003, the U.S. Army began low-rate production of the M142 HIMARS. The HIMARS fires all of the munitions of the MLRS, but is based on the chassis of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.[12] As of 2012, BAE Systems still had the capability to restart production of the MLRS.” I have tried posting a few of the links, but lucked out as the site settings on UKDJ will… Read more »

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_695009)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Hi, I have to disagree with you about BAe’s involvement. They have recently been awarded a couple of large contracts for the logistical support of the Bradley IFV and the M993 carrier which forms the automotive part of the M270 launcher, but I can find no information on BAe manufacturing the platform from scratch.. LM still manufacture the M142 HIMARS in quantity.
Also, why would BAe want to put M777 on a truck when they (BOFORS) make the Archer system already?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695217)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

You should have tracked SPGs to keep up (a tactical bound behind, really) with tracked vehicles (tanks and Warriors), wheeled (truck-mounted) guns for wheeled mechanised forces and towed guns for light forces (Paras and commandos).

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_695247)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thx, I understand; I see the roles for L118 and M109 / K9 etc.
But does Archer / Caesar have significant advantage over a well towed M777, especially if you have wheeled HIMARS?

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul.P
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695482)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I am not so clued up on artillery, but the army always needs a mix of capabilities. Just because the Ukrainians love HIMARS doesn’t mean it should be used exclusively and instead of tube artillery, be those other options truck-mounted or towed. Here is my take: Towed gun. 105 Lt Gun in service with RA is very long in the tooth and I doubt many would not want to see it replaced by 155mm M777. Advantages are: 1.transportability – can be underslung from suitable helo (also its towing vehicle) and can also be moved over terrain with fragile infrastructure (weak… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_695496)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Appreciate your thoughts.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694833)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Agree Ian. US army has hundreds of these on order/ building or in service. Old design but thoroughly updated.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694571)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

Slip of the tongue I know mate, but “Armoured Divisions” !

Solution. Cancel the conversion of KRH from CH2 to Ajax, keep levels at 3 MBT Regiments, and convert extra CH2 to cover this modest change.

Artillery expansion, in the form of extra SHORAD and MLRS batteries is already in the pipeline but expanding the FMF buy to more than 2 regiments would also be welcome.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694578)
1 year ago

👍

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay. (@guest_694580)
1 year ago

I don’t know much about Ajax mate. Is it going to be worth it? Is what the Army really needs?.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694587)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

I refer to long time comments from the right honourable poster above mate!

Beyond that and the ORBAT it will furnish I know little on Ajax either mate. It’s armour, weaponry and ISTAR fit must count for something, and the army plan to link it to UAV, the GMLRS, and other networks. It is not a CVRT!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_694628)
1 year ago

Cheers Daniele. I’ve given Ian a message. 👍

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694591)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Hi Robert. To answer your question; Yes, the Army desperately need a modern, well protected yet mobile ISTAR platform to provide the information that deep fires (I hate that Americanism), air power and higher echelons rely on. As Daniele says, it’s not a Scimitar with M-SPIRE and bino’s or Warrior with BGTI and an unstabilised cannon.
Happy to discuss further.
cheers

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_694624)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Thanks for the info Ian. ISTAR and networked operations is the name of the game in the modern battlespace. I guess with projects like Ajax, the bad news is only what we hear about and little about the capability it will provide. Similar to F35 in many ways. The Army clearly think its worth it despite the delays. Hopefully it will turn out to be a cracking bit of kit, and the negative headlines will soon be forgotten.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694659)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

One lives in hope……………..

Jon
Jon (@guest_694726)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

What’s the advantage/disadvantage of recce AFVs over HALE/MALE recce drones?

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694734)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Drones don’t have stonking great V8’s😆

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694742)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

They can not sit still for days in a big bush?
They can be retasked at once and not have their SATCOM link jammed?

I think ISTAR is best met by a range of assets, from guys in an Hide/OP to armoured vehicles to aerial and space assets. All have a part to play to produce a picture so I’d not think one has decisive advantages over the other, but prioritise ISTAR as a whole.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_694745)
1 year ago

Still need a huge V8😁👍

Jon
Jon (@guest_694781)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

VROOM VROOM, Mr Clarkson.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695098)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

You know they are all going to end up with electric motors and no fun at some point. No vroom vroom more sssssssmmmmm.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_695111)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

A sad day😢

Jon
Jon (@guest_694780)
1 year ago

Sitting still in a bush for days at a time sounds more like a job opportunity for a scarecrow with a revolving head and a nanny-cam, even if the manned AFV can be retasked to go sit in a different bush and no matter how big the pee bucket in the corner is. I also can’t see how it’s easier to jam a HALE drone’s SATCOM than an AFVs. Why do we need the guy in the hide rather than just sensors that can also sit still for days possibly weeks at a time before the batteries run out, with… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_694801)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

The obvious problem (to me anyway) with drines, whether high or low level is the weather. Low cloudbase, high winds and other obscurants. I know there are types of radar that can image through cloud but I would guess they are too heavy or power hungry to fit onto a drone (experts please chip in).
Cheers
VROOM VROOM!

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_694802)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

huh! “Drines” ?
Drones!

Jon
Jon (@guest_694887)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M

The quadcopters the army is buying aren’t suitable for that, only carrying EO/IR. (I could ask why we are buying Lockheed and Elbit drones instead of developing UK ones such as Evolve drones, but that’s a digression.) The kind of radar you are talking about is a Synthetic Aperture Radar and the smallest UK COTS SAR I’m aware of is Leonardo’s PicoSAR. Weighing about 10kg with a power requirement of <300W, it can fit on something the size of a Schiebel S100 Camcopter and probably a bit smaller; I know the Canadians have them fitted to the similar sized V200… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon
Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_695017)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Good, detailed reply and info, thanks. Speakers a good idea!

Jon
Jon (@guest_695290)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

When I talked about the sweet spot, I’d have thought something like the Austars HP-6000 and PicoSAR would be a perfect base to develop from.

VTOL/fixed-wing MTOW 100kg, max payload 25-30kg, drone cost is about £30K with milspec engine, 7 hours endurance, up to 600W engine will just about have sufficient power for the SAR 300W, plus maybe 30W needed for the Satcom to avoid LOS restrictions.

I don’t know why this kind of combo isn’t being talked about.

Nathan
Nathan (@guest_695337)
1 year ago

Starlink uses satellite to satellite laser coms. I could imagine doing a similar think with forward deployed drones communicating back via a string or Zephyr.

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_694841)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

Lieutenant General Sharon Nesmith has taken up the role of Deputy Chief of the General Staff in charge of procurement told Parliament yesterday it was nearly all sorted and the production lines for Ajax were now “hot”

Whether it is or isn’t, I assume we will find out

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_694845)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Sounds positive. Thanks for that mate.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694989)
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I can tell you that production hasn’t stopped, even during Covid.

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_695060)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Hi Ian, just quoting what she said. To be honest, I thought they let her off the hook by the MP’s and given a significant chance to gloss over the issues it had. They were more concerned with the lack of tank platforms. It suddenly struck Tory MP, Mark Francois, that if Russia’s lost 2000 tanks, the UK’s pitiful 225 will last “how long”? When she said that the actual number would be less than 100, he went white. Tobias Ellwood, ragged on about Ajax not being fit for purpose and that after nearly £3bn, he thought the MOD had… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695219)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Our 225 or 227 tanks are not all with armd regts – assuming 3 x T56, then we could put an absolute maximum of 168 into the field – but expect at least 10% of those to be undergoing maintenance at the very least.

Why is Tobias still banging on about Ajax not being fit for purpose – it was redesigned, went through its User Validation Trials and is now on Reliability Growth Trials.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695218)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

Ajax is just about to embark on Reliability Growth Trials (RGT) which will take a fair old time. Is GDUK really going to run the production line flat out before any evidence from RGT starts to come in, which might change the build standard in some way(s)?

RobW
RobW (@guest_694596)
1 year ago

Oops, should proof read my posts properly 🤣. One can hope anyway!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694605)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

You’re too knowledgeable for it to have been serious mate. 👍

Jon
Jon (@guest_694731)
1 year ago

What is FMF? Future Medium Fires? It’s not a program I’ve heard of. Does it also have a different name?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694744)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Apologies Jon, I have a habit of using that term, which is incorrect, for the Mobile Fires program.

Jon
Jon (@guest_694786)
1 year ago

Thank you. I tried searching on medium fires; I was told I must have meant medium fries and was directed to MacDonalds.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jon
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694806)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

😆

Lanre Ihenacho
Lanre Ihenacho (@guest_694969)
1 year ago

Totally agree, bare minimum of 200 MBTs across 3 regiments, viz:- 1RTR, KRH, and QRH.
Forget the obviously flawed Ajax debacle and order off the shelf CV 90 variants instead, incl. APCs, 30/40mm cannon armed IFVs, 155mm howitzers, Mjolner twin 120mm mortar carriers…
#throwinggoodmoneyafterbad

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696369)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

We have only got one truly warfighting division that looks like (but is not titled as) an armoured division.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_694565)
1 year ago
Jacko
Jacko (@guest_694577)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Instead of “well we’ll” I would put “oh dear” obviously said ‘defence’ journo has done NO research at all into this and just picked up on the Fact that Jordan is retiring tanks!

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_694592)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

Well, I suppose there is always the possibility that the DT is barking up the wrong tree…..😂
Serious question….how would CR1 fair on the Ukraine battlefield?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694651)
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul.P

HI Paul,

Compared to T72… CR1 would have the upper hand I would suggest, it certainly did in Gulf War 1.

I was going to say that those T72’s were crewed by Iraqi Republican Guard but to be honest I don’t think it would make any difference who crewed them – they have serious flaws in their design and would most like go bang anyway. Mind you the Russian Army doesn’t look too clever either…

Cheers CR

Matt
Matt (@guest_694623)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

Not a defence journo by the look of it.

A bod from Civitas.

Simon
Simon (@guest_694746)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

I also thought that Jordan had less then 400 and I was sure I read that some had been modify to heavy APC.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694766)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

A journo doing no research? There’s a novelty, NOT.

I wish news sources would stick to reporting news and stop these half-baked biased opinion pieces… 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_694908)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

It’s now plastered all over the DE🙄 and to think the bloke from civitas who started this is an ex squadie! Unbelievable!!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_695313)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

It is something I have commented upon. Could we not purchase some old C1s from Jordan? upgrade them a bit in the UK- courtesy of foreign aid budget and then gift these to Ukraine- they would still be superior to all Ruskie tanks up to T90 and as T14 Aramata hasn’t been deployed a C1 properly handled and in a combined arms formation would have little to worry about facing the Russian army.

peter fernch
peter fernch (@guest_694567)
1 year ago

IM staggered now that in view of the Tank s vulnerbility to Missile attack as proved in Ukraine that we now consider enlarging our fleet , Ive long maintained that tanks will go the way of the Dreadnought battleship and be replaced by a faster lighter more mobile fighting vehicle and i thouht we had bought into that premiss obviousy i was wrong

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694569)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Yup

Mark Franks
Mark Franks (@guest_694575)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

The rest of the world do not seem to hold with this view. I get your point though,
Soviet era amour certainly is not upto todays war fighting and neither is the Soviet era battle field doctrine.
However if a decision is ever made at the spring review planning has to be made one way or the other.
My view is, if the MBT has had its day, why are we sending Challenger to Ukraine?

Mark Forsyth
Mark Forsyth (@guest_694693)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

It is poor tactics that have resulted in the huge loss of tanks. Russia has failed to move on from the Cold War and embrace “Combined Arms”. Yes in the early 80’s when the Infantry just had 7.62 GPMG’s as their main support weapon, they were in a secondary role to tanks in the British Army Orbat. That all changed with the introduction of the Warrior for the Brits, and the Bradley for the USA. Tactics etc have all moved on for NATO countries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Forsyth
AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695101)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Forsyth

In any peer to peer combat there will be huge losses irrespective of equipment quality.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695221)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

We are sending Chally to UKR because the UKR President has asked for 300 western MBTs and 500 IFVs. I think he knows what he wants to win this war.
If the MBT has had its day, why isn’t the world scrapping its tanks?

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_694629)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Tanks haven’t had their day, crappy soviet era tanks and tactics have had their day. Combined arms is how the West does it rather than just kamikazeing a tank with no infantry or air support and hoping for the best. Active protection systems are also a game changer as shown in Israel. At the end of the day armour is needed to hold ground and make pushes and Ukraine wouldn’t be asking/begging for them if they weren’t useful when used correctly.

Pongoglo
Pongoglo (@guest_694757)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

Jonny you are absolutely right but of course Ukraine doesn’t have the combat experience of the posters above and don’t know what their talking about like the esteemed contributors of these posts and that’s why their begging for tanks ?

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_694774)
1 year ago
Reply to  Pongoglo

Are you having a pop? Because I think that if you actually read posts on multiple threads about Armour for Ukraine in the main everybody agrees to give them as much as we can.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_694897)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

Jacko pongo is taking the piss….👍

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_694906)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

👍 no bother.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694834)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Ruskie tanks vulnerability to ATGW doesn’t equate to a modern Western orientated MBT with an active protection system. There really is no comparison

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_694894)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Poop! I’ve been light role all my career and even I know, and appreciate the weird blokes (and gals now) in tanks, who are still battlefield winners! The tank will adapt, in regard to defence and offensive kit, both active and passive! Just because a new bit of kit comes in which changes the dynamics of a platform, we adapt and counter such threats! Did they get rid of the bow and arrow because some clever bugger invented the shield……👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695220)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter fernch

Will your faster lighter more mobile fighting vehicle be invulnerable to Missile attack? How?

Mark Franks
Mark Franks (@guest_694570)
1 year ago

“That’s have a review, we can always kick the can down the road minister”

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_694574)
1 year ago

Why do we need the tanks. Honest question from a matelot. I see things below saying “tank attack” but why would you be attacking anything with tanks? Would not a shed load of Brimstone launched from box launchers on the back of trucks( Simple, cheap, lots of them and no gold plating required!) behind the FEoB not achieve the same end…killing enemy armour at range. When the enemy armour is gone (Tanks, IFVs ) its then down to Infantry and IFVs to take and hold the ground is it not? OK you would need a lot of Brimstone but they… Read more »

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694576)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

As ex REME, therefore not a “tankie” I would offer that tanks provide mutual support to troops in contact, can dominate an enemy and their armour and as a last resort, frighten the shit out of the enemy!

PeterS
PeterS (@guest_694615)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

A fair point: the machine gun plus massed artillery reduced WW1 to trench warfare. The tank was developed to break that deadlock. Now, PGMs in Ukraine seem to have neutralized the tanks effectiveness, and trench type warfare has returned. But partly this is because of very poor tactics by Russia: columns of tanks on a narrow front, even a single road, without infantry support have always been vulnerable. PGMs make them much more so. But any other vehicle will be even less survivable:even if knocked out, modern Western MBTs generally keep their crews alive. If heavily armoured tanks are so… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694618)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

It already exists.

Rheinmetall BAE Systems Ltd (RBSL) has unveiled its Brimstone missile-equipped Boxer vehicle concept demonstrator for the British Army.

The Boxer Overwatch has been developed in collaboration with MBDA for the British Army’s Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability requirement.”

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694657)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

There is also (dare i mention it) an ARES Overwatch with Brimstone for that tracked option.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694696)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

All positive news it seems.

Likewise “(dare i mention it)” Boxer has the option for a 120mm version and is also tracked, so a potential varient somewhere down the line? We might just have the monies to pay for some of this new and much needed equipment too!

The British Army will receive significant investment to become more agile, integrated, lethal and expeditionary. The service will receive an additional £3-billion on new vehicles, long-range rocket systems, air defences, drones, electronic warfare and cyber capabilities.”

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694700)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

That word again….”Agile”

How can it be more expeditionary ( I’m looking at you too Herc and future medium heli numbers no doubt well below the minimum of 44 wanted ) when the CSS is lacking for the existing force and the numbers are so wafer thin an enduring deployment can barely be sustained, such as Cabrit and the trouble the army is having maintaining even that.

Some good stuff coming and more funds yes but these grand announcements have so much waffle too and try not to look too closely at the reality.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_694708)
1 year ago

The monies will most probably go towards backfilling the equipment sent to Ukraine. Everything seems to be wafer thin as you quite rightly say as well as being delayed into service, but until we have the funds available we will have to make the best of it sadly. “The British Army will receive 100 extra armoured Boxer vehicles, ensuring more vehicles reach the frontline faster and bolstering the programme to a total of 623, as the UK maintains defence ties with Germany, the Prime Minister has announced today. The first Boxer vehicles will arrive in units from 2023, with the… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Nigel Collins
Airborne
Airborne (@guest_695179)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

To me the overwatch variant should be a priority and in decent numbers.

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_694904)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Mate I’ve been light role all my career, but in regard to tanks aside from firepower, mobility and armour, they provide flexibility, can be utilised for offence and defence, can take serious punishment, and as Ian said good for own troops morale and bad for the enemy! However I am also a firm believer in the use of light role platforms carrying Brimstone (or equivalent) to supplement the armoured fist! Remember Striker, CVRT chassis with x 5 AT missiles on top! A modem version with Brimstone and boom every angle covered! In fact ATGW and active defence systems should be… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_694930)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

Modem? FFS modern 🤪

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_694980)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

With the “Tilt to the Pacific” I cannot see the UK sending anything heavy that way unless China invades Oz so Heavy Tracks wont be needed in that direction. Its one of the reasons the USMC ditched their M1s…who where they going to use them against doing island hopping. In Europe we would be part of a far bigger NATO group and lets be honest we are not going to be contributing much numbers wise to a tank fest slug-a -thon. Light, very mobile forces with long range recce, PGM and deep strike may become the raison d’être for the… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_695182)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Agree to a degree mate for sure. On board with the minimal contribution of armoured assets, and have always said we should concentrate on our strengths which we contribute to NATO, such as SF, light role, flanks, RN, RFA, STA, ISTAR, AAR, heavy lift both rotary and fixed wing! But, a big but, while we shouldn’t be doing the “heavy armoured slug fest” on the continent of Europe, we will always need a modern, reasonable sized Combined Arms trained Armoured Div, to ensure the head sheds have all options open to them for future ops. Two reasons, one it gives… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695222)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Do you not worry about the survivability of light forces? The crew and parents of crew of Snatch LRs did.

If our troops in the Falklands Conflict had forgotten about holding and taking ground, they would never have got to Stanley to take the surrender!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_695242)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

As I said we dont want to hold anything now. Go in and mallet everything then get out. COIN in Iraq and Afgan has screwed the Army for decades. The use of Snatch was because there wasn’t anything else. That changed with UOR buys. If you go for UOR it means you havent got the tools to do the job you are being given. What then happened is the Army went 100% COIN focused at the expense of everything else. The Falklands are actually a good example. We went in as a combined arms “purple” force. Flattened anything that got… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695470)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Hi mate. Very interesting post. What is your background, if I may ask?
Very true about the UOR focus at the expense of core programmes – it affected a project I was working on.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full (@guest_695635)
1 year ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

You’re asking good questions and making good points that tend to either never get raised, or get glossed over by MBT advocates who don’t seem to consider what war will look like in the next 10-20-30+ years in terms of surveillance/recon assets and new weapons. Combined arms infantry can’t support our MBT if its targeted by indirect fire weapons systems beyond the infantry screen, e.g. someone using a weapon like Brimstone against our MBT, targeting it with smart artillery, or with drone weapons if we haven’t achieved air dominance to eliminate that and other airborne threats. Even long range dismounted… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_694582)
1 year ago

What concerns me even more than the lack of current UK tanks or the CH3 upgrade, is the loss of UK design and production capability for the next generation MBT. Surely now is the time to rekindle the UK’s expertise in that area and not depend on unreliable partners or “dogs-of-war” companies? I hope uncle Ben is thinking strategically and not just short-term.

In the future a large force of good MBTs integrated with IFV, artillery and air, will be able to take large amounts of ground quickly when needed. Ukraine has shown good use and bad use of MBTs.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_694586)
1 year ago

…should have said the Ukraine war has shown good use and bad use…

PeterS
PeterS (@guest_694768)
1 year ago

There is supposed to be a Land (Defence) Industrial Strategy. An article on the RUSI site observed that the detail of which companies might deliver it is lacking. But if we are to avoid becoming entirely dependent on foreign manufacturers, we really have to regenerate UK design and build capabilities. Long term planning with industry has worked well for missile development. If there is no obvious solution in the private sector, then maybe a new state owned operation is needed. Reliance on multinational private sector companies, eg General Dynamics or Lockheed Martin, has been fraught with problems- delays, cost overruns… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_694987)
1 year ago
Reply to  PeterS

I expect there will be several smaller British companies screaming, me, me! Unfortunately the moment they get a good sized contract, they’ll be bought up by one of the multinationals, probably foreign owned. Of course the government could block that on national security grounds, requiring the UK to build a greater level of self-sufficiency, but the current government won’t.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_695681)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Yep, the hollowing out of the UK defence industry – particularly smaller companies – has been systematic post-WWII.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695269)
1 year ago
Reply to  PeterS

All good points. As we know, the problem buying foreign is that their Government restricts who we can sell or gift equipment on to – and release paperwork takes ages (in Germany at least). Also US purchases can be compromised by ITAR. We are still a major manufacturing nation, despite what the nay-sayers say. The problems have been that: a. Govt allowed BAE to swallow up all other UK AFV manufacturers, so there is now no competition between truly British manufacturers. Why did the Monopolies & Mergers Commisssion not intervene? b. Govt (MoD) placed no orders for tanks or any… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_695682)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Given that we in the past have produced world-beating MBTs for example, it is also about being confronted on the battlefield with kit on the opposing side that potentially is the same as the UKs. Therefore the UK not having a technical advantage in a conflict. “Dogs-of-War” companies sell to both sides.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_695680)
1 year ago
Reply to  PeterS

I just hope that there is, given the fiasco of stuff like MBTs and the over-reliance on other the countries, that the UK finally wakes up.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694836)
1 year ago

K2 Black Panther. UK manufactured.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_694999)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I’m being slightly hypocritical as I drive a very good S.Korean car, but if we use that approach for MBTs then:
1) The UK is then left with no MBT design capability and IP.
2) £profits go overseas.

Graham
Graham (@guest_695223)
1 year ago

All is not lost. Although the 2 massive tank factories at Leeds and Newcastle closed and the MoD vehicle research site at Chertsey did too, there are some areas of AFV capability that could be expanded to design and build future British tanks.
RBSL at Telford has designed and will conduct the conversion of CR2 to CR3. LM designed the Ajax and WCSP turret, and has series built the former. GDUK has designed Ajax and will series build them and variants. WFEL is building hundreds of Boxers.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_695258)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham

Yes there is hope. World events have at least highlighted the UK’s issue with MBTs.

I am just arguing for setting up an agency tasked with nurturing and co-ordinating the UK’s capability for key strategic things such as MBTs. The South Korean K2 may well be a short-term win, but that approach and 60-years of ‘outsourcing’ has left the UK an impovrished nation of burger-flippers. The MBT issue is a bit of a litmus test to see if the Government is serious about growing the economy and peoples standard of living.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695483)
1 year ago

I think the issue is about security of supply and independent action. Many focus on this point as regards energy coming from Russia etc – but it is a valid point for defence hardware.
If we had bought Leo2 instead of CR2 in 1998, then we would be waiting with all the other members of the Leo2 club for Herr Scholz to sign his damn piece of paper to allow us to gift sid tanks on to Ukraine. [Similar story if we had bought M1 Abrams]. Hence, best to buy British defence kit.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695560)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

‘said tanks’ not ‘sid tanks’

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_695690)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Absolutely. I think once the UK Gov changes its mind-set to grasp the nettle of the UK having some level of design and production capability for certain strategic stuff and to stop foreign acquisition of strategic UK companies, then we will know that they are finally committed to growing the economy as well as defending the Nation. After the 2008 crash the Government promised to “re-profile” the economy to not be so reliant and financial services and consumer spending. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers in 2023 for that process to start!

Ed
Ed (@guest_695960)
1 year ago

Assembly of armored vehicles can still be in the UK, but relying on Brit engines, transmissions, suspensions, etc. is a loser’s strategy because Brit industrial technology is very much far behind countries like Germany, America and even South Korea.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ed
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695963)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed

We are assembling armoured vehicles in the UK – Ajax family, CR3, and Boxer family.
But no-one is insisting on all parts being British – CR3 will have a German cannon.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_696311)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed

…so Ed, I am arguing for a re-kindling of our design and production capabilities for certain, critical, strategic items like MBTs, as we are (were) capable of producing world-beating MBTs. and we can’t always rely on others as well as the wider economic benefits to the Nation.

Or are you saying that the UK must now just accept that it is only ever going to be a Nation of burger-flippers?

dc647
dc647 (@guest_694593)
1 year ago

Challenger3 could be weakened because this government is supplying 2s to Ukraine, if Russia captured a 2 and had time to find a weakness or possibly a method of getting past the armour plating. This idea to send them is a political over national security. I wonder how many top military personnel are happy about it.

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_694633)
1 year ago
Reply to  dc647

Yes, far better to have them sitting in storage where the armour will never be used

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694686)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

It’s better to keep the armour classified just incase Challenger3s ever get used on the battlefield and save UK military personnel. Let’s think trouble areas Iran, Eastern Europe, Afghanistan possible down the line with China. So why not give them a F35, the plans to the dreadnought submarines. Just in case we don’t use them in the battlefield. The armour will take a direct hit from any Russian tank and survive then when the Challenger3 get the upgraded turret and engine and the Israeli defensive system it will be a very advanced MBT, but you would like the possibility that… Read more »

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_694730)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

It’s still a silly idea: 1. There is no guarantee that they will be used (by us) in a future war, and is pretty unlikely albeit not impossible 2. These are over twenty years old now, you can’t compare it to a Dreadnought or F35 3. Challenger 3 will receive armour upgrades so knowing the weaknesses of chally 2s armour is of less importance. 4. The more time that passes, the worse Russia’s industrial capacity gets. Even if they knew every single detail about the armour, they wouldn’t be able to reproduce it. I take your point about other countries… Read more »

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694748)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

The current armour on the Challenger2 is still the best and the Challenger3 will continue to use it the upgrades are to the powerhouse, the turret, the commanders input technology, the barrel and the Israeli defence system. It is better to have something and not use it, than need something and don’t have. The UK has had a unclear deterrent for over 60 years and never used it, so your argument about its better than having it in storage there are over a hundred warheads in storage plus the ones on subs. There is loads of equipment in storage so… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_694772)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

That’s a false comparison, Challenger tanks are weapons and designed to be used.
Nukes are a deterrent, if they’re ever used then they’ve failed as a deterrent.

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694799)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

That is the most stupid comment, all military weapons are primarily a deterrent if someone has more advanced and more powerful weapons you have a second thought to go up against them. The goal of a powerful military is as a deterrent.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694818)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

I thing that adjective is more applicable to your thinking, you sound like one of those nutters who think a nuclear war can be fought.

Conventional weapons can be a deterrent but equally can actually be used as a weapon of war to further your national aims/agenda.

Strategic nuclear weapons function only as a deterrent, because they’re a mutual suicide option if ever used.

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694831)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

No, I’ve learned from experience just because the UK won’t use nuclear weapons, but that doesn’t mean that someone won’t use battlefield tactical nuclear weapons! Russia in Ukraine, North Korea, in South Korea, China, in Singapore since none of them are in Nato legally Nato couldn’t use article 5. Chemical and biological weapons have been used recently even though we won’t. So just because I see the possibility you call me a nutter you’re definitely naive. I’ve seen the worse side of people you think everyone plays by rules.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694921)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

Oh dear, you don’t see to know the difference between strategic nuclear weapons (aka the nuclear deterrent or MAD) and tactical nuclear weapons (battlefield nukes) 🤷🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694932)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

You read your little books pretending to know what you’re talking about. Whereas I actually live in the real world dealing and working in the actually subject matter. You go and continue playing on cod when you actually play the real game then I’ll actually might listen to your.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694936)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

Let me guess, contract cleaner at the MoD?

BTW what the f@ck is “cod”?!?!

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694934)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

This is probably something you hear all the time size matters. Little boy.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694937)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

No I generally hear “OMG that’s too big to go in there” 🤷🏻‍♂️

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694974)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Yeah that’s right your head through the door! This is bone, I’ve got better things to do. You take care.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695143)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

Sorry to be a pedant, you have not learnt from experience that someone would use a battlefield tactical nuclear, because no one ever has,no tactical battlefield nuclear weapons have ever been used, so no one has experienced their use. now chemical weapons yes they have been used, biological warfare has always been a lot more of a bust in the 20th century that most people think. In WW1 Germany did some heath Robertson anthrax attacks on some random allied cows in the hope of disrupting agricultural and also infected some Russian horses ( the Russians loved those horses). to be… Read more »

DC647
DC647 (@guest_694837)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I think we’ve gotten of the subject, you would prefer the chance that the Dorchester armour could fall into Russias hands instead of keeping them in storage. I say the risk is to great to let them go since if one does get captured we can’t go all out to destroy it or recover it since its not our battle and we are not there officially.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694922)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

You realise if Ukraine kicks Russia out of its country, we’re not just looking at Putin being toppled. There’s a good chance the entire Russian Federation will splinter given Putin has mainly mobilised people from non-ethnically Russian regions? Worth the risk to see that happen.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695145)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Completely agree, one is to be used the other is by it nature not to be used and fulfils its purpose by not being used. In fact the very nature of the nuclear deterrent means that if we use it, it’s failed in its purpose and we are all dead anyway.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695562)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

Jonny,

Your Point 1 – I think you were talking about CR3. You doubt that CR3 will be used in a future conflict? Why? We have deployed tanks so many times on kinetic operations (unlike many other Defence platforms), the last time being the deployment of 120 CR2s on Op TELIC.
Why would things be different in the 20-30 year lifespan of CR3?

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_695603)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I was talking about Challenger 2, because challenger 3s initial operating capability is 2027. I don’t think it is worth worrying about having to use challenger 2 in the next 4 years in a major conflict. I did however say “unlikely”, because of this timeframe, not impossible. Who knows what the geopolitical situation will be like after this time? But for the next few years until ch3 arrives, I don’t see a security risk if one fell into Russian hands. The most recent wars against terrorism like operation Shader were successful using only our airforce. I would guess any future… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695914)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonny

You doubt we will use CR2 in its last 4-7 years service. Well we have used it a lot in the past.
The US considers its enemies (or threats) to be China, Iran, North Korea – if one disregards Russia for being ‘washed up’.
As we are strong allies with the US, perhaps we should consider their enemies to be our enemies.

Its not just the Typhoons on the FI that deter Argentina but I take your point.

I am increasingly persuaded by those who advocate sending as many CR2s to UKR as are fit to go.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_694777)
1 year ago
Reply to  DC647

We don’t really know what armour the tanks will deploy with! How many TES sets are there? If push comes to shove the Ukr can use their heads and make up a ERA package I’m sure.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695564)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

We deployed 120 CR2s on TELIC, so there must be at least that number of TES kits.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_695942)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko
Sean
Sean (@guest_694770)
1 year ago
Reply to  dc647

If the Russians discover a design flaw from a captured Challie then they’ll try and exploit it against other Ukranian Challies… Which means the U.K. will learn about the flaw long before British crewed Challies ever face the Russians, hopefully providing the time to fix the flaw 🤷🏻‍♂️

While we’re supporting the Ukranians with lots of kit, they could also be described as effectively being guinea pigs testing our kit for us in a situation where flaws could kill them.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694594)
1 year ago

I’ll be interested to know what the interim mobile fires solution will be! It has to be something almost immediately available, so I’m guessing wheels rather than tracks- maybe Archer or CAESAR? Unless the Koreans can get something over to us from stock. I don’t see Poland or Germany parting with their SPGs. I don’t think they’ll be towed- stretching the definition of “mobile” a bit much- even for the British Army. It could be GMLRS I suppose, but I can’t think of anywhere that could get us any in short timescales- they’ll be going to Ukraine. Maybe a sneaky… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694598)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

MLRS is separate from FMF and already happening, the force is expanding from 44 planned in FS to nearer 60 or 70 I think I read.

Towed! Well the army brass in 2015 was happy for our Strike Brigades to have interim towed 105mm Light Guns in the 2 artillery regiments assigned to support them so I hope not! Keep them for the Paras and Marines, I’d like something SP, either wheeled or tracked, and in number 3 regiments plus.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_694632)
1 year ago

Good news on the MLRS, I understand we’re getting longer ranged munitions for them too? Glad that Army has been “encouraged” to review the importance of artillery in general due to Ukraine. “Well the army brass in 2015 was happy for our Strike Brigades to have interim towed 105mm Light Guns” I have no words. That may have been OK in WW2, but not 80 years later…! As you say, I can understand something particularly light for the speacialist light infantry (might 120 mm mortars be a better option? Don’t knwo what the range and firepower difference is), but not… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694646)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Me neither on the 120mm Mortar, I know Airborne will get excited if we get those, he should know after all and has sung their praises before. The LGs in Strike Brigades were the result of defence cuts, because they cut 2 regiments worth of AS90s, that once supported 2 Armoured or Mechanized Brigades post 2010, and with literally nothing else to use in the two regiments involved, save dispensing with their guns altogether, used the LG. The regiments had as many TAC groups as actual gun batteries I believe, so very light indeed. Long planned to be replaced by… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694650)
1 year ago

And sorry, yes new longer ranged munitions too, including a 500km one.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695131)
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe16

Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining  do some really good studies on explosives weapons and case study different types of explosive munitions. 120mm mortars are very nasty beasties, in one case a single 120 mm high explosive mortar projectile detonated in the crowded Markale marketplace in Sarajevo. 68 people were killed and approximately 144 people were injured. if your looking at a rifles 120mm mortar with a rocket assisted munition range is around 13km…7-9km for non rocket assisted. bang wise, varies depending on munition type but you get anywhere between 1270grams to 4200grams of explosive HE 105mm projectiles vary a… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne (@guest_695186)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Horses for courses mate! All three have a role to play, 81mm Airborne/Cdo dismounted and Airborne insertions. 120mm for Armoured Infantry (OT the Boxer Bns, Armoured Inf? Or mechanised Inf?). The 105mm close Support Regiments, RA and RHA. The mortar is an integral part of the Battalion’s fire support and therefore “owned” by the unit, which is preferable to most Inf lads. However while the Mortar has a shorter range, it does have a higher trajectory and can hit targets which the 105mm would struggle with (even at high angle of elevation) however the 105 has more fuze options with… Read more »

Simon
Simon (@guest_695193)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

I have never understood why we moved away from 4.2″ mortars as they seems a cost effective way to boost firepower. a bit of a weight to move around, but surely a light utility vehicle could help

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_695226)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

Liking the120mm mortar idea Airborne .There is also a case for deployment to support the TA infantry battalions. Currently, there appears to a lack of artillery support for the reserve units .

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695254)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

Agree, the 120 mortar is a very dangerous beast Indeed and is totally different to small mortars ( 81mm). It would be a very useful tool indeed for battalions. Fires of all type seems to be something the army needs to get a real grip on. It’s still after all what kills the enemy better than anything else.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_695267)
1 year ago
Reply to  Airborne

I’m guessing you’re a fan of the 81 mm for infantry as it’s about as big as one can lug around? I know we had 60 mm (?) ones previosuly too, do you reckon they’re worth it at all?
I think there is a mortar carrier version of the Ajax/Ares, which hasn’t had the same problems as the turreted version- but that’ll likely have 81 mm rather than 120 mm, which is a bit of a missed opportunity…

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695241)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The napkin effects conversion formula is a 120mm mortar round = 155mm gun round
81mm mortar round= 105mm gun round.

Since mortar round hits almost vertically it has a more efficient explosive effect against the usual targets.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_695263)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks for the pointer, Jonathan!
It’s an interesting comparison- there seems to be a growth in more advanced 120 mm offerings in terms of the unit itself; perhaps more advanced aummunition will be developed too. 105 mm artillery has been around for ages, so already has quite a wide range of options.

simon richards
simon richards (@guest_694600)
1 year ago

The uk should upgrade at least 200 challenger 2 to challenger 3 then look at purchasing 100 k2 black panther tanks from south Korea or purchasing 100 of Americas abraham x tanks that means we would have at least 300 main battle tanks enough for the British army

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694606)
1 year ago
Reply to  simon richards

Why operate more than 1 type? It would bring logistical and training costs.

Agree on the 200 Ch2 to Ch3, that would cover, just, retaining a 3rd Regiment.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_694642)
1 year ago
Reply to  simon richards

Agree with Daniele, operating a mixed fleet of MBT’s is a non – starter, if the means to operate 300 Tanks is there ( it isn’t currently) then they should all be Challengers.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695119)
1 year ago
Reply to  simon richards

Double fleet is not a great idea, the costs in managing two fleets would be expensive, double logistics, double maintenance contracts, double training pipelines.

Ed
Ed (@guest_695961)
1 year ago
Reply to  simon richards

The Abram X is just a prototype nowhere near scale manufacturing. It’s just a concept for the U.S. Army to tinker with to see what features they like and don’t like. It hasn’t even gone through trials yet.

DP
DP (@guest_694602)
1 year ago

Pleased to hear this news but the Defense Budget is a fixed 2% of GDP, right? ….. so …. what gives? To me the Ukraine crisis should have triggered an increase in budget to cover specifics like this.

Bob
Bob (@guest_694653)
1 year ago
Reply to  DP

It depends who is covering the costs, the MoD or the Treasury. I would hope that funding for equipment sent to Ukraine would be funded by the treasury directly and not via the defence budget.

DP
DP (@guest_694671)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

Hi Bob, thanks for your reply, I meant we should be increasing our own Defence budget to strengthen our own defenses. The time taken to design (if necessary) construct, train and build experience means our response to any emerging or developing threat can take years. I agree with you that the Treasury need to be the ones funding our overall response to Ukraine and this needs to be from a Contingency.

Bob
Bob (@guest_694712)
1 year ago
Reply to  DP

Oh I totally agree regarding our defence budget, we need 3% in the short term. At the very least additional funding for more ammunition and service accommodation improvements should be forthcoming.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694839)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob

Foreign aid budget. It should entirely be from foreign aid budget

Bob
Bob (@guest_694951)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I cannot agree with that, sorry.
When taken in a world context we are a rich nation and we should try to help poorer nations where we can.

Sean
Sean (@guest_694776)
1 year ago
Reply to  DP

Agreed, we’re seeing lots of news about new purchases for all branches of the services being accelerated or new ones out of the blue, but no announcement about an increase in the defence budget from 2%…
Either
• GDP has to increase dramatically so that 2% is a lot more £s
• items are moved from defence to other budgets; eg military pensions or nuclear deterrent
• something gets cut

Fedex
Fedex (@guest_694626)
1 year ago

My shopping list.

250 CH3 tanks, Wheeled HIMARS in addition to more MLRS, Supacat mounted 105mm for Para’s etc, Archer or something similar for AS90 addition/replacement. New light tank similar to the new US one may be a good addition or instead various mount options for Boxer, some tracked versions of Boxer also, when available.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694649)
1 year ago
Reply to  Fedex

Why not resurrect LIMAWS instead of HIMARS. Can be underslung by Chinook and used by the Paras and Marines then too.

Whatever happened to – LIMAWS | Think Defence (wordpress.com)

Another great British system they let go to the wall and did not pursue. Imagine 16AA and 3 Cdo with that sort of precision firepower.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694672)
1 year ago

To be honest Daniele, LIMAWS was a cluster. Only 4×6, 4 cylinder engine, “flimsy” chassis, all to get weight down to swing around under a Chinook. If there’s a better, more powerful but lightweight chassis around, then crack on. In my view, if we want more mobility (not the same as X country ability), it has to be HIMARS so we join the queue.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694699)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Did not know any of that Ian, so thank you.

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_694635)
1 year ago

On a previous thread, I ranted on that should the Challenger 3 upgrade be a success, then we should up the numbers from 148 to 200. I also think the UK needs a companion lighter tank that is easier to deploy. Both the Ascod & the Boxer have versions built around the world with 105mm gun turrets.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694652)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Ajax had just such a version for fire support, it was cancelled.
The idiots upstairs then thought using the standard Ajax Scout as “Medium Armour” would suffice.
That was planned for 2 of the 4 Ajax Regiments, and thank God it seems to have been binned, along with Strike Brigades.

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694677)
1 year ago

Elbits “Sabrah” and the US (GD) MPFS are both based on ASCOD 2 and are in production.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694698)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

👍

Jonny
Jonny (@guest_694647)
1 year ago

Yeah!!!!

Andrew
Andrew (@guest_694655)
1 year ago

What’s really needed is tank production. If we convert more C2’s into C3’s then where are the spare parts for maintenance and repair going to come from years in the future?

Use the foreign aid budget to get mass production of war material going. It’s all going to Ukraine or replacing lost stock so a perfectly legitimate use of the aid budget. But also it gets production lines going again and a chance for the MoD to place a few orders of their own

Max Bridges
Max Bridges (@guest_694667)
1 year ago

I think a genuine study as to whether the tank is becoming obsolete should be undertaken. It might be more prudent to look at the future of armour that perhaps favours infantry fighting vehicles such as Ajax or cv90 or even lighter vehicles that emphasise speed and manuverability. Modern antitank systems like nlaw mean even the hardiest are vulnerable so why not change our approach?

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_694758)
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Bridges

A lot of what has been seen in Ukraine in terms of Russian tank losses is down to piss poor tactics on the Russian side. Sending tanks in with no support from infantry is a sure way to have a bad day.

Max
Max (@guest_694764)
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron L

I agree completely with the Russian tactics being obsolete but still the technological edge is with anti tank weapons and will I suspect remain there for quite some time. It would be remiss to just keep having tanks for the sake of having them especially if we can pioneer the next generation of tactics for the battlefield. Perhaps rapid troop mobility supported by drone guided artillery and air support

Graham
Graham (@guest_695225)
1 year ago
Reply to  Max

Perhaps we should also scrap all naval surface ships and submarines as there exists counters to take them out.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695274)
1 year ago
Reply to  Max

Max, you do know why we have tanks, right? What their role is?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_695107)
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron L

Heavy Tanks losses (and any other material ) exists in any peer to peer conflict.
Why you think Ukraine is also asking for tanks, they were one of major tank powers in Europe too.

Aaron L
Aaron L (@guest_695108)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

To be fair they have also captured more Russian tanks than they started the war with if the numbers I’ve seen are correct.

Western kit be it IFVs or MBTs are an upgrade to their current Soviet kit and may well tip the tide in some areas. Using the correct combined arms tactics of course.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696142)
1 year ago
Reply to  AlexS

They also built thousands of them for the USSR.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695272)
1 year ago
Reply to  Max Bridges

What would replace the tank which is currently the best protected, best armed highly mobile fire platform that the Army has?

If you bin the tank for being ‘vulnerable’ you would have to bin everything else that has lower levels of protection ie everything the army has that moves. You end up with no army.

PeterS
PeterS (@guest_696006)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Spot on. A number of comments have argued that PGMs have made tanks too vulnerable so we should move to faster lighter platforms. Just the kind of platforms that Javelin, Brimstone and even NLAW can destroy with ease. You end up with an army of infantry relying on camouflage and other concealment to survive and fight. The only use for military vehicles would be to move troops and supplies to the fight not to take part in it.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696143)
1 year ago
Reply to  PeterS

…or perhaps you have no vehicles at all and the army stays in trenches for 4 or 5 years.

Martin
Martin (@guest_705753)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I do not think the tank is dead, there is still a need Mobile fire support. I do think the 70 ton monster should die. It’s to heavy and modern anti tank weapons avoid the armor by striking the top. A less armored but more mobile tank with active defense system, a high angle auto cannon for drone defense and a larger cannon for fires. The UK already has the Ajax production line going and the new US light tank is based on chassis, would do. this would allow all the ch2 to be given to Ukraine in the numbers… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_709709)
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin

I am sure that we will not continue forever with 70 ton tanks. You do know that Ajax is a recce vehicle (replacing Scimitar). It has just a 40mm cannon. It is not a tank. They could not replace CR2s in our Orbat – different vehicles, different roles. Are you someone who thinks we should send all our CR2s to UKR? We have an ‘armoured’ div assigned to NATO – it cannot lose its tanks or its Attrition Reserve. We cannot take tanks from the eFP BG in Estonia. I think we might be able to spare another 14 tanks,… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_709846)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I know about Ajax and its varieties, what I am proposing is building the USs  Mobile Protected Firepower Griffin, though with the 120mm gun as its based on the ASCOD 2/Ajax products. As according to the report given to parliament the problems have been fixed; so lets utilise the large amount of investment into it. The CR2 was built to fight the Russians, so let it. Both the CR2 and Warrior’s are old and need replacing so give both to Ukraine and replace them. I know this would involve gapping capability but both the RAF and Navy have gapped capabilities… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_710038)
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin, there are several versions of Griffin, the one with 120mm gun was shown on the TD (Technology Demonstrator) aka Griffin 1 (28 tonnes). Griffin II (38 tonnes) has the 105mm gun, Griffin III (38-50 tonnes) is an IFV with a 50mm cannon. You propose buying Griffin I with its 120mm – is that as a future MBT instead of CR3? Not sure the armour protection would be up to much – light weight and has just an aluminium armoured turret. We are in NATO and as such cannot do just what we like – we have commitments – we… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Graham Moore
ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_694674)
1 year ago

This is good news and over due.

However, I hope this is not at the expense of T32. Given that there appears to be a question mark over the T32 frigate program I wouldn’t put it past the MoD / Treasury to be horse trading…

Cheers CR

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_694747)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I doubt it in this case, that program is barely at concept stage and expenditure at very low levels compared to big ticket programs. Where would the immediate savings to redirect be? T32 is at least a parliament away with no serious money even close to being committed yet.

You’re right though, robbing Peter to pay Paul is an old, old HMT, MoD trick.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_695379)
1 year ago

Hi Daniele, As I say to Graham below my comment was not that well written, didn’t feel like writing my usual tome… So to clarify. The CR3 uplift, if it goes ahead, would part of a wide much needed recapitalisation of the British Army. There is a great article on Breaking Defence that gives a lot more detail. Suffice it to say that the Ukraine War has rattled cages in MoD and the army – about time too if you ask me. Although, there is no guarantee that the army will get the money as yet, horse trading the T32… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695276)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Why would the prospect of the army getting a few more than 148 CR3s cause a new frigate programme to collapse?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_695370)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham,

Favour question as I didn’t write that comment very well.

As I am sure you are aware there is more going on with regards to Army procurement and it needs to. I have along said the Army is too small and its armoured vehicles too old and its artillery too few and… well you get the picture.

Given the war in Ukrainian a ‘rebalancing’ of priorities might be expected.

Cheers CR

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695592)
1 year ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Thanks CR. Anything is possible in the weird and not very wonderful world of Defence procurement.
I remember that 2017 was ‘The Year of the Navy’, but it seems that the Navy has had many good years of procurement success and is doing very well at recapitalising its fleet (not to say that absolutely everything is rosy).
The army in contrast has had a series of equipment disasters (procurements and upgrades) for which many are to blame.
That rebalancing may well happen.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_694680)
1 year ago

It is pretty pathetic that we are now cutting to just 2 tank regiments, one per arm inf bde. That is a peanut in military terms and means that our contribution to NATO in a crisis could only be a token gesture. We have basically cut to the bone and then just about through it. Even then, we are talking about equipping just 60 of them with the Trophy active protection system, which is essential for the whole fleet to counter missiles and artillery. We should increase to 3 regiments minimum, each with an additional sqn deployed forward to Estonia,… Read more »

Graham
Graham (@guest_695227)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cripes

Where did you get the current CR3 fielding plan? No MBTs for Repair Pool or Attrition Reserve.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_695646)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham

I was just listing the current Challenger ORBAT, which totals the same 148 figure. I would assume this is the proposed layout for the future. You ask a good question, where do the additional tanks for the repair pool and war reserve come from? Ideally, we’d upgrade all remaining 213 to Challenger 3, that would give 60+ for the repair pool and attrition reserve. If we only get 148, I reckon the MOD plan is to effectively cut to 3-squadron regts of 44 tanks, with the remaining 28 being shared between the Estonia deployment and reserve pool. Hopefully Ben Wallace… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695951)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cripes

Thanks. Surprised there are as many as 16 tanks in that driver training squadron. Why are full spec gun tanks being wasted in that role? – up to now RAC has used CTT or DTT, augmented by simulators. Where are the tanks for the REME Trg Org? They are vital. 20 tanks split between Suffield and Sennelager is not enough – thats just half a sqn at each loc plus a handful spare. There was talk of Suffield being scaled back or abandoned too. No Repair Pool – implication is that there is none, meaning that there are no replacement… Read more »

Rich
Rich (@guest_694752)
1 year ago

Perhaps to avoid another inevitable Army debacle, we should upgrade the earmarked 148 to Challenger 3s, then buy off the shelf to make up the shortfall? K2 Black Panther or Leopard 2s anyone?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695952)
1 year ago
Reply to  Rich

So many on this site advocate K2 Black Panther – interesting. Is it the spec or are they really good VfM?
We really don’t want a 2-type fleet – training, logistic and engineering penalties – just want more CR3s.

Tony
Tony (@guest_696019)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

K2 is a much newer system than the abrams or leo2. More room for improvement as the other two are at the end of their life cycle. More or less the same capabilities between the three while K2 is significantly cheaper. There is considerable misinformation saying that the K2 is the most expensive tank but those sources use older version leos and abrams to compare so it’s false. Maintenance is less of a problem than you’d think. Poland alone will buy a thousand and will have factories to go along with it. Norway seems to be leaning towards it and… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_697413)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony

Still a bit of life in Abrams and Leo 2 – Germans are not replacing the latter until about 2035. Not sure why you think the UK might invest into the K2 – we are not buying new MBTs for a long time – we don’t get all our CR3s until 2030 and they will have a 20+year life – by 2050 the K2 will be out of date. UK has observor status on the Franco-German ‘Next Tank’ project – if we fully joined that programme the tank after CR3 might be a ‘Euro’ tank not a Korean tank. Is… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff (@guest_694791)
1 year ago

They need the sky tanks

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_694821)
1 year ago

It’s as plain as day; we need a much larger tank fleet. We are at a juncture where the tank is not long before a revolution in its design. Soon, it will be an automated system controlled by a team in a container somewhere. That means a much smaller platform that will need to be more heavily armoured. If you are no longer risking your troops’ lives, you will be more inclined to put it in places you never would with humans inside. So, convert the entire inventory we have, plus buy some from Oman to fill out numbers back… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_695954)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

If you advocate unmanned tanks controlled from a container in the interest of eliminating risk to a conventional tank crew, then do you suggest the accompanying armoured infantry to be similarly established, so that they are protected? Trouble is you then have no dismounted infantry forward to use.

Ex-Marine
Ex-Marine (@guest_695966)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We will always have dismounted infantry. I have been in the position of having a tank support one action and it was very different to when we either never had one or had an IFV in support.

As for an tank with no crew, it will come. When it does, you reduce the size and cost. You will not be able to have uncrewed artillery. Not unless it’s the size of several containers.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_696133)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ex-Marine

I think my wording was clumsy. I was not advocating eliminating dismounted infantry – I was wondering if, after you have created unmanned tanks, you were concerned that infantry are still riding in a ‘vulnerable’ vehicle, when in support of tanks?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_694825)
1 year ago

These donations though politically significant only represent the total combined firepower of maybe an armoured battalion sized battlegroup. 14, C2. Upto 26 Leopard 2s from Poland and Finland= combined total.
120 Bradley. Upto 56 Marder (think that’s the right number?) And 20-30 (TBC) french Amx10-rcs.
That is NOT going to expel Russia out of Ukraine.
NATO is dilly dallying which could conceivably lead to losing in Ukraine.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd (@guest_694851)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The Forces News YouTube channel has just posted a scathing piece about Ajax, where the new minister for defence procurement Alex Chalk MP bustered and claimed the program has ‘turned a corner’

However the Army top brass being questioned could not give an in-service date, though one of them admitted mistakes had been made

peter wait
peter wait (@guest_694863)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Due to track noise won’t the enemy hear the ajax recon version coming a mile off. The mark 4 CV90 with rubber tracks is very quiet for a armoured vehicle, check it out on youtube lol !

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_694996)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter wait

I suspect you stand at the carpark at the edge of the All Weather track at Bovvy and make your sweeping judgements from there. How many Recce vehicles do you think, in a tactical situation, go bowling along at 40mph on a metalled road to “sneak” up on a target? Answer; NONE!

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_695106)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

Well some may have (after all look at the performance of the Russian armed forces) but I bet they did not live very long.

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_695109)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathan

👍

peter wait
peter wait (@guest_695173)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian M.

The noise was heard when it was being marshalled out at walking speed. Clearly you are delusional which can seen from your posts some years ago. You said their was nothing wrong with the AJAX and it was all blown out of proportion by the press. Not till the defence select committee published its findings did you begrudging admit it had some problems. I draw you attention to their particular concern of the noise generated by the track sprocket interface ! Clearly you are a windbag !

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_695180)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter wait

The latest videos on YouTube of it tearing around the track at Bovington show it is no louder than any other tracked vehicle!

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_695450)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jacko

I shouldn’t bother trying to educate pork Jacko.

cheers

Ian M.
Ian M. (@guest_695460)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter wait

From the Sect Committee report: “As of 9 December, 17 individuals remain under specialist outpatient care for their hearing, some of whom are again expected to return to duty with no health impact.11 individuals have had long term restrictions on noise exposure recommended, potentially requiring a limitation in their military duties. 7 of these had pre-existing hearing issues prior to working on Ajax. 4 did not. In addition, 4 individuals who worked on Ajax have been discharged on health grounds, in some cases for reasons wholly unrelated to hearing loss. While we cannot yet establish a definitive causal link, it… Read more »

peter wait
peter wait (@guest_695497)
1 year ago
Reply to  peter wait

Ian ( Lord HAW HAW HAY) . I said some years ago that the CTA40 recoil at 20,000 lbs through short springs was excessive you said not ! The American Air Force Lab evaluation report 1992 said it was excessive. Muzzle breaks can reduce recoil by up to around 50 %. Funny how a lot of time and money was spent developing one for the AJAX cannon. You said the vibration was not a big issue . It caused system shut downs and magazine jams , poor little giro’s . I assume you think the earth is flat despite all… Read more »

PeterS
PeterS (@guest_694931)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I didn’t notice any bluster. Chalk announced before Christmas that noise and vibration issues had been resolved and that full trials would resume in 2023. They have and all reports indicate these are going well. The general agreed. It would be unusual for him to give an in service date when these broader user validation trials have only just resumed.
More worrying is the problem with Boxer of which no details were given but which mean the planned FOC date of 2030 won’t be met. So Warrior, unmodernized, will remain in service rather longer than planned.

PeterS
PeterS (@guest_695001)
1 year ago
Reply to  PeterS

Correction. User validation trials were completed last year. Reliability growth trials, a broader range of testing for operations, have resumed.