The exercises will see 8,000 British troops, 72 Challenger 2 tanks, 12 AS90 tracked artillery guns and 120 Warrior armoured fighting vehicles deploy to countries from Finland to North Macedonia.

The move, say the Ministry of Defence, “demonstrates the Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying:

“The security of Europe has never been more important. These exercises will see our troops join forces with allies and partners across NATO and the Joint Expeditionary Force in a show of solidarity and strength in one of the largest shared deployments since the Cold War. Operating across Europe, the British Army will stand alongside partners, combining our capabilities and shared values, promoting peace and security.”

Commander Field Army Lieutenant General Ralph Wooddisse said:

“The UK makes a significant contribution to the defence of Europe and the deterrence of Russian aggression. The British Army’s series of exercises is fundamental to both. We continue to deploy across Europe, from the Baltic to the Aegean, to train and fight alongside our allies and partners, providing powerful, capable and ready forces to support NATO and show the UK’s commitment to peace and security.

A wide range of units from the Field Army will be involved, from light and airborne forces, to helicopters and armoured forces, supported by artillery, electronic warfare, air defence, surveillance drones, engineers and logisticians. The scale of the deployment, coupled with the professionalism, training and agility of the British Army, will deter aggression at a scale not seen in Europe this century.”

What exercises are planned?

According to the Ministry of Defence here…

  • Troops from B Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars have deployed to Finland this week to take part in Exercise Arrow. They will be embedded into a Finnish Armoured Brigade, with participation from other partners including the US, Latvia and Estonia. The exercise will improve the ability of UK and Finnish troops to work alongside each other as part of the JEF, deterring Russian aggression in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.
  • In May, Exercise Hedgehog will see the Royal Welsh Battlegroup and the Royal Tank Regiment exercising on the Estonia-Latvia border alongside 18,000 NATO troops, including French and Danish, who are part of the British-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence. Hedgehog is the biggest military exercise in Estonia and takes place every four years.
  • Alongside Exercise Hedgehog, Exercise Defender in Poland is ongoing until late May, with 1,000 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup and C Squadron of the Light Dragoons deployed alongside troops from 11 partner nations including Poland, Denmark and the United States. This exercise involves Challenger 2 tanks and other armoured vehicles deploying from the NATO Forward Holding Base in Sennelager, Germany. The deployment is supported by 104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade operating from the UK and in bases in Europe.
  • Exercise Swift Response, which also began this week, sees elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade Combat Team and 1 Aviation Brigade Combat Team operate alongside French, American, Italian, and Albanian counterparts in North Macedonia. There are 4,500 personnel on the exercise including 2,500 British troops. The exercise involves parachute drops, helicopter-borne air assaults and sees a company of French paratroopers integrated into the 2 Parachute Regiment Battlegroup and an Italian battlegroup working to a British chain of command.

The Ministry of Defence added that “these exercises showcase the scale and significance of the British Army’s contribution to the defence of Europe and highlight the continued importance of the leadership role which UK plays as a member of NATO and the JEF.”

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. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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expat
expat
6 days ago

It may be a good idea for Moldova to change is constitution to allow foreign troop deployments. They could then ask to security assistance similar to way Russia deployed to Kazakhstan last year.

RobW
RobW
6 days ago

I have been an advocate of RN and RAF spending over the army but I have to admit there needs to be a better balance. Starting with keeping and upgrading all 227 Challys and accelerating Boxer procurement. If Ajax gets binned I’d like to see CV90 recce and IFV variants purchased asap. Planned artillery purchase programs also need to be accelerated. Obviously more money is needed to achieve any of this.

Good to see us deploying in this way though. Not many can or have the will.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Rob. You are not alone on this site to favour RN and RAF spending but when was the last time the RN actually kinetically engaged the enemy and when did an RAF fighter last dogfight? Probably 1982. The army on the other hand has actually been deployed many, many times since then, invariably to kinetic combat environments, have engaged the enemy and taken casualties. Contrary to nay-sayers our tanks have been used a lot – they are far from an obsolete weapon system. So the army needs modernising very badly, and we must reverse a move to downsize to a… Read more »

RobW
RobW
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Would you have WCSP and Boxer? It seems the latter is contracted and happening. Not sure where that would leave us with recce if Ajax can’t be fixed.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Yes. We need a modernised IFV for the armoured infantry – that was to have been WCSP, and in my view still should be. Boxer would still be required even if WCSP was reinstated; the original tranche intended to be produced soon after UK joined the programme in 1996(!) was for replacement for the FV430s that had not been replaced by WR and also to replace Saxon. The much more recent requirement was for Boxers to equip two Strike Brigades, albeit the structure has since changed. Recce is a totally different requirement. If Ajax can’t be fixed we need an… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Interesting to see Slovenia and Lithuania purchasing some of these.

Slovenian constitutional court clears way for Boxer contract29 APRIL 2022

OCCAR has offered Slovenia 45 Boxer infantry fighting vehicle variants armed with remote weapon stations (RWSs).

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/slovenian-constitutional-court-clears-way-for-boxer-contract

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Interesting. That RWS is 30mm but WCSP would have given us a 40mm cannon.

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Obviously the Ongoing inderdication Ops in Syria, the round trip flights to attack ground targets in Lybia and 2 gulf wars don’t apply, nor all the support flights in Afghan and that fact that most of the troops would have had long walk/drive there and back without the RAF Airbridge or the RFA Point class ships moving their tanks? I agree the ARMy needs a major equipment refresh and an increase in numbers but all three services need each other to be effective.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Steve, you mention air operations (bombing missions and Air Transport) that I am aware of but they are not high risk dogfights. My point was that the army should not be the Cinderella service (3rd out of 3) as they have had huge operational commitments and have paid a huge price in casualties over recent years. Totally agree that the services need each other – I was once a SO2 J5/J7. Just can’t see why the army should be prioritised below the RN and RAF – much of the army’s equipment is in shocking condition – most AFVs are 24-50… Read more »

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I would agree with you that the army has been shortchanged. The procurement in the army is diabolical and they need to get better at it. I think the RN and RAF have been quite good overall but do need to improve as well. I think we really need an uptick in defence spending at least to 2.5% or 3% of possible (probably not). We need to have more than 73,000 in our regular troops. I mean the special forces have a wider pool of people to choose from then if we had say 100,000 soldiers. I would like to… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

👍

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

That is a fair comment Graham and hard to argue against. However I think the UK should only gift a small but highly effective and elite Army towards NATO’s land defences, gone are the era of risking the lives of whole generations of British men and women fighting a land war in mainland Europe. Other NATO countries can and should specialise in that kind of warfare (Poland, Czech and Slovak republics, Hungary, Romania, Germany) As an island nation our primary focus should be our air force and navy to secure and safeguard our maritime trade that we are utterly dependent… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

We have a history of aiding our continental European allies to oppose an aggressor – but I agree that they should have the mass armies as we no longer have the political will to do so. We do need an army much higher than 73,000 regulars though.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

RAF fast jets have been in continuous use over various parts of the Middle East since the first gulf War in the early 90’s. And Typhoons today are still operating over Syria/Iraq and Eastern Europe today.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

My point was about combat not detterence patrols; about dogfighting and not bombing ie engaging an enemy that can and does shoot back.
It was to stress that the army actually does kinetic operations – a lot – and not only destroys the enemy but also takes casualties – it should not be relegated to 3rd place in priority.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes the army needs modernizing but they have a lot of responsibility for the hole they are in themselves. However to your broader point, using historic kinetic engagement as a metric for investment is not very sustainable. Should we have fired a nuclear weapon at someone to justify the expenditure for its deterrence? That’s an extreme example to make the point, but the first priority of armed forces is credible deterrence and the fact that the RN haven’t been going around sinking stuff with their subs, surface fleet and now carriers doesn’t mean they don’t contribute to deterrence. As for… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

I don’t get the nuclear warfare point. Certainly there is a need to invest in deterrence forces, the most significant being the SSBN/Trident force. Why is it not useful to learn from history and historic metrics? I have a great deal of respect for the RN but they havebeen majoring on deterrence since 1982 – they are clearly good at it, but the army has been doing the war-fighting, often with small numbers and tired kit. The army needs massive investment and increasing in size so that there is real capability. You perhaps make too much of my dogfighting comment… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The issue I have with your take on this is that the metric you keep using is such a crude measure of value for UK defence and because it does nothing to inform on what the UK needs for the future. I used nuclear deterrent because its the most obvious example of massive expenditure that we hope never to have to actually use, so by your definition it has no value and shouldn’t be invested in. But it protects us from nuclear blackmail and actual nuclear war because of MAD. I specifically used the SEAD/DEAD and anti-armour example for the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago

My intention was not to deny the RN’s and RAFs value to Defence or to question the value of deterrence (or SEDA/DEAD etc), but to question why so many rank the army 3rd out of 3 for prioritisation, when the army not only plays its part in deterrence (and other tasks) but does most of the heavy lifting in warfighting, yet is hobbled for resources – short on manpower and fielding many very old vehicles and artillery pieces and having many capability gaps. I am sold on jointery and held a Joint staff post in the Faklands when I served.… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

OK. I can’t speak to why others rank the services as they do but in my case its because I always look at UK contributions and capabilities in the context of working with allies, what they bring to the fight, what they don’t, and often times what they can’t. Too often on this site people entirely ignore this. I also don’t typically include US capabilities in the assessment because Europe should be able to stand on its own in its own defence. So RN first: The RN is the preeminent naval force in Europe now, with two carriers, equipped with… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago

Great answer. Maybe, as an ex-army man, I am envious of the capability and modernisation plans of the RN and the RAF, if I am honest. I agree all your points on the RN and RAF. I am bemused that a 120mm direct fire tank cannon is described as ” just a 120mm” – that is pretty huge for a direct fire weapon system. Of course the army in warfighting is not just seeking to throw a lot of HE at distant targets. The tank engages enemy tanks, delivers shock action, supports the infantry in the advance and helps to… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Fair points. The “just a 120mm” deserves context which I’ve done in the past, but not in that post. The context is one of the cost of delivering the effects from a MBT 120mm gun versus the increasing number of alternative ways we might do so. The Poles just purchased 250 Abrams at ~$20M each, a first order estimate as the contract doubtless includes other aspects such as training, ammunition etc. That said, the MBT is becoming a $20-25M asset in today’s money including APS and its not going to get cheaper. That’s a lot to achieve the effects from… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago

You are focussed on alternatives to the tank in destroying enemy armour – of course there have always been alternatives and many may well be more economic than the tank – but the tank, when used with Infantry, seize ground, which those alternatives don’t do.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Isn’t the problem that there isn’t a recce version of CV90? Hence the desire to make Ajax succeed.

RobW
RobW
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Norway operates a recce variant. An updated version was considered vs Ajax before the latter was chosen.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Agree, but the army wanted an all singing all dancing platform that could support co-operative engagement and use secure datalinks to transmit targeting solutions to other units like Apache, F35B etc- the problem with that is its damn expensive, the electronics are delicate and wont work in the Ajax due to all the NHV (noise, heat vibration) from an inherently poorly engineered, poorly developed and sub standard vehicle.
I agree scrap it, get a full refund and get recce CV90

Ian M
Ian M
2 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

So it’s “heat” now as well, is it? Some posters on here do talk utter tripe!

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I think Graham Moore has said that Norway have a recce version of the CV90. The desire to make AJAX work is rooted in the fact that in most areas it is superior in it’s primary role, that of ISTAR asset, plus the already considerable investment in treasure, time and effort to get it made.

Jack
Jack
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Isn’t that the same argument that was put forward in sticking with NIMROD modernization and the Warrior upgrade programme ? Good money after bad.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Not quite the same Jack, Warrior wasn’t even on contract when it was binned. Nimrod was trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. AJAX is designed and built, in numbers. Once the contractor and MOD get their shit in a sock and sign off on stuff then it can go ahead.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Ajax needs re-design and very few have been built!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Warrior upgrade programme was not hustled along quickly enough, but development work was finished and the demonstration phase was within months of being completed; not sure that there were too many problems. The programme was 3 years late and £227m over budget which annoyed the bureaucrats. So the programme was cancelled, wasting £430m and requiring the purchase of the very expensive (and probably less effective) Boxers by way of replacement – that was a bad decision.

Mark
Mark
5 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

But couldn’t they just fit the ISTAR kit into it. Its the mechanicals of the tank that’s the issue so just fit to its replacement.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

@RobW, GM and IanM. Thanks gents one and all.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

There were plenty of alternatives to Ajax, not just the CV90 recce variant.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  RobW

72 C2 going. That’s almost the ‘residue’ from 148 C3 conversions. Destined to stay in Europe, perhaps? Could be fairly good option overall.

RobW
RobW
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

It has been confirmed that Poland have sent some 200 T72s to Ukraine over the last few weeks so yes I can see the deployment being permanent, along with the US. Poland will need the new Abrahams to be in service before the US and UK pull back.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
6 days ago
Reply to  RobW

👍

Always Right
Always Right
6 days ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

No they aren’t going. Especially given the war in Europe.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Always Right

What’s not going? To where? Are you saying we are not sending large numbers of CR2 to Poland?

Dern
Dern
6 days ago
Reply to  RobW

The thing is, an Airforce and a Navy are a good backstop, but without a good army you can’t win a war, and with a good army you don’t need to rely on the navy.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

The Falklands would have been a long swim for the Army. I’m also pretty sure the Paras wouldn’t have looked favourably on jumping off the bomb racks in the Vulcans versus delivery by ship. Sorry but I couldn’t resist. 😃 More seriously, and somewhat off topic, here’s something to consider as an Army guy that I suspect is not widely appreciated. We have already seen the major impact of surveillance in conjunction with UAV weapons and/or artillery in the N-K war and now in Ukraine. The former images were just from UAVs. The latter has also been illustrated for us… Read more »

Last edited 5 days ago by Glass Half Full
Steve
Steve
5 days ago
Reply to  RobW

To me, Ukraine has demonstrated in a modern battlefield, the MBT is more of a liability than an asset. If your forced to fight in an urban environment, which is always going to be preferred by the defender whether that is us or our opponent, the MBT is going to be picked off by ATGM. People will say Russia got it wrong tactically, but to me it’s not just that, it’s how Ukraine forced them to operate plus no matter how well the infantry clear in front, it’s going to be easy for the defender to hide missile teams in… Read more »

Something Different
Something Different
6 days ago

We need all 227 Challengers refurbished, the Warrior upgraded, and a replacement for the AS90 initiated. While we’re at it, the Ajax programme needs to be brought under control or ditched and the deep strike concept (routed in corporate sounding buzzwords to cover for a lack of firepower and mass) scrapped. How hard is it to scrape together a fully fleshed out mechanised (it’s too ambitious to talk of an armoured) division?

maurice10
maurice10
6 days ago

Totally agree, as for Ajax, it should be placed into service immediately there are enough APC variants available. We are now on a war footing and that overrides peacetime comfort concerns.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

As far as AJAX is concerned it’s not quite a simple as jumping into a Warrior or Bulldog. Because of the nature of the beast it takes weeks to train operators and even longer to train maintainers. Also, the ARES variant isn’t an APC in the traditional sense with 4 dismounts, not a section of 7 or 8.

Louis
Louis
5 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Same as the Spartan though.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

We are not going to war against Russia, are we? Surely that would only happen if Putin attacked a NATO country. I am not being complacent, hopefully. If you agreed to ignore servicemen’s health concerns (there is no Crown Immunity now so you could expect a few prosecutions and damages claims) and the inability of Ajax to properly fire its cannnon or reverse over step obstacles, then you still have to wait for GDUK to crank up Ajax production and I don’t think they can build that many per week in their ex-fork lift truck factory. By Ajax APC variants,… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, don’t believe everything you read in the media about CT40 firing or reverse steps. You also seem to have a “thing” about the Merthyr facilities past history. You are correct, it’s previous life as a Linde forklift assembly plant is well known. What you probably don’t know is that some of those forklifts weigh a lot more than any AJAX variant and the facility is designed to cope with all aspects of that mass. 27 AJAX have been issued to HCR as part of the IOC, there are more around.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Are they all Scout variant or a mix mate?

IanM
IanM
5 days ago

A mix Daniele.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Hi Ian, OK my dig about the GDUK assembly plant is a cheap shot, but it was not an established AFV factory, clearly.
I hope I have been reading from good sources rather than the Daily Mail! Are you saying that there is no problem with CT40 firing or a restriction in speed in reversing over step obstacles. Is everything in the Ajax garden really rosy? That’s not what well informed politicians have been saying.

IanM
IanM
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

That’s quite funny really Graham, “well informed politicians”!
AJAX fires it’s CT40 pretty well I’m told, on the move too. It’s accurate and packs a wallop. Reversing up a step, well it meets MOD requirements, so I’m not sure where the politicos are getting their supposed information from. I’m curious of what an “established” AFV factory is? Is RBL’s factory established? Was the BAe factory in Newcastle established when they built CR2/T2? Answers on a postcard.😁

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  IanM

By ‘established’ factory, I meant a factory that had been set up some time ago and was mature and well equipped for manufacture (not just assembly), ie. was more than just an asembly hall, where many major items were made ( I used to work in Vickers, Newcastle at the old tank works, but visited the new one too – in the old factory, they had their own foundry to cast the front of turrets and they also cut plate for the hull), with seasoned designers, project managers and workers. The tank factory (new one) in Newcastle was established well… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, your argument holds water all right but no such facility exists (to my knowledge), maybe Pearsons in the Newcastle factory still have legacy equipment around but I doubt it. Castings could be manufactured locally I hope, I’m sure somebody in Sheffield could do it.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

I should clarify that the old tank factory in Newcastle (Elswick Works) with the foundry etc existed up to about the 1990s (I was there in 1979 on a 3-month REME officer attachment). Then it was bulldozed and a new tank factory created (plus an identical one in Leeds (the ex Royal Ordnance site). The last tank variants that BAE made was T2 in about 2002/3 at one of those new tank factories (Leeds or Newcastle). I understand both factories were decommissioned and may even be demolished as there were no more tank orders. That is a key point. My… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
2 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, again, you’re argument is cogent. The AIT facility at Merthyr is just that, an Assembly, Integration and Test facility. The majority of components are from Subcontractors, true but, when Vickers/BAE/ROF were building AFV’s the GCE was Macaroni FVGCE No7, the Engine was Leyland, the gearbox Merrrit Wilson etc etc so the process is not new. Hull design of AJAX and it’s siblings was done by GD ELS in Spain who are, like it or not, the Design authority and produce a range of tracked and wheeled AFV’s for countries in Europe. QA on Chieftain was appalling, I know… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 day ago
Reply to  Ian M

Hi Ian, sounds like you were REME, like me? Yes, I do realise that not every part of a yester-year tank was made at the Prime’s site. I did a 3-month attachement to Vickers Defence Systems, Newcastle in 1979 – but my point was that so much more (back in the day) was manufactured on-site including hull and turret. GDUK rely far more on subbing out for those big items on Ajax and they have not been doing the QA – and neither has the Spanish factory! I really wonder if many, possibly hundreds, of poorly welded Spanish hulls can… Read more »

Jack
Jack
6 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

And screw the health and well being of the men who operate them ? No !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago

I agree. I think a previous Defence review set 2025 as the target for being able (once again) to deploy a mechanised division (which I take to mean a 3-brigade formation).
I still don’t know what the MoD means by Deep Strike or why we quickly dropped having 2 strike brigades in the Orbat.

Dern
Dern
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’d advise giving the Future Soldier Guide a read, it’s freely available online I believe. 3XX is the ambition for the deployable formation, consisting of 2 Armoured Infantry Brigades (each of 1 Formation Recce Regiment, 1 Challenger 2 Regiment and 2 or 3 Infantry Battalions on Boxer respectively) and the Deep Strike Brigade which will consist of a mix of Cavalry Regiments on Ajax (if it comes) and Jackal with about 5 Regiments of Artillery. Dropping the Strike brigades had a lot to do with a) Nick Carter retireing as it was his brain child and b) the cancellation of… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern. All very good info. So Strike (from the Deep Stirke Brigade) involves Ajax cueing artillery fire missions for depth targets and no doubt adding some 40mm fire to close targets.

Dern
Dern
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m not familiar with their ConOps but sounds possible. I do think there’s might be something to be said with having recce units used to working with the Artillery. Either that or they can provide additional punch for Battlegroups from the other BCT’s.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

“I still don’t know what the MoD means by Deep Strike” That is the DRSBCT which is in reality the DAG, with all MLRS and AS90 regiments placed in it, along with 2 RAC recc regiments to be equipped with Ajax as one of the ISTAR elements of the force. “Or why we quickly dropped having 2 strike brigades in the Orbat.” Because Strike was A – defence cuts to enable cuts to the 3 AI Brigades we had, and B – the latest defence cuts have arrived, re writing the plan before Strike could even fully form, and C… Read more »

Dern
Dern
5 days ago

Daniele, 1 DRSBCT has 3 regular and 1 reserve RAC regiment in it’s orbat.

  • Household Cavalry
  • Queens Dragoon Guards
  • Royal Lancers
  • Royal Yeomanry
Last edited 5 days ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Hi Dern, I know, cheers. Which is why I phrased it as the 2 Ajax Regs being “one of the ISTAR elements of the force” as the pieces moved from Strike, one of Grahams original points. It’s a large BCT but still lacks it’s own CSS which is why I emphasised it as a DAG, it works in concert with the 2 HBCTs. 3 CSR RLC is still disbanding it seems, a shame they could not have been retained and added to it. Your point in your 1st reply to Graham about 4X not having CSS is a sore point… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago

Phone autocorrect…”Undeployable “

Dern
Dern
5 days ago

Okay but let’s look at the situation in 1XX with a bit of perspective (and the RLC situation in the Field Army in general). Under Army 2020(R) 1XX had 5 Brigades (4X, 7X, 11X, 38X, 51X and 160X)+ the SpecInf group, and not even a single RLC battalion. Now in and of itself I never had a huge problem with that, keeping 1XX as a low intensity force while plugging the enablers into 3XX, the warfighting force, but the fact was not a single one of those Brigades could deploy without assistance from outside the division. Now, 1XX has become… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

It’s always great to exchange posts with another who knows their ORBATS. 😀 ” but the fact was not a single one of those Brigades could deploy without assistance from outside the division.” Defo, I was never so happy with it myself, and we discussed our opposite views on the validity of 1XX before so that’s fine. The shame is before that 2020R review some of them could deploy with enablers, which is a point I often mention regards SDSR 2020R. Up until that review 1 XX had 2 brigades that could deploy as 1 CS/CSS regiment/battalion from the RA,… Read more »

Dern
Dern
5 days ago

I think a lot of the old 1XX golfbag argument has been taken away with the creation of SFAX tbh, as that should now be dedicated to a lot of the “operations other than war” and be persistantly deployed. Since, deployed, (I suspect) 1XX’s absolute max orbat would be 2 BCT’s + 8 Engineer X and 102 Log X, 1 Regular and 1 AR signals regiment probably is sufficient. Med Reg: 5 has become 3, 4 has become 2, and 1 has remained 1. 2 was amalgamated into 1, 4(2), 3, and 5(3) years ago, and 3 has vanished like… Read more »

913px-3rd_US_Armored_Cavalry_Rgt.png
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks, especially the MR Info, will check I’ve got all that up to date later.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

Thanks Daniele. I find the army’s constant generation of structures ridiculous and this does not help generate the right type and quantity of new equipment at the right time.

When will the army decide they no longer want a 38-42 ton tracked recce vehicle as it does not fit the next Structure!.. or now wants a lighter-than-75 ton tank…or once again wants a proper tracked IFV…

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They wanted and had an almos all tracked division of 3 Brigades up to 2015. Boxer was a mere footnote of that, planned as the MIV and to enter service in 2029, a mere 3 battalions replacing HPM Bns on Mastiff, 1 per brigade.
Warrior, Challenger, AS90 were the heart of those brigades, and Ajax would join them.

Then they flipped to Boxer and Strike, and it’s been all over the shop since, as there was no money to do both properly.

The Army needs to decide what it wants to be and stick with it.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

HPM?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Heavy protected mobility. LPM Light were on Foxhound.

Something Different
Something Different
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

For me I would be more accepting of the concept of it was better defined and didn’t mix wheels with tracks (which without being presented more information seems to mean there will be a dilution of strategic and tactical mobility).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

The French mix wheels and tracks but I don’t know how successful that is, as they don’t seem to deploy their armour on operations. It is said that CR3 will be capable of exceptional speed cross-country (100kph/62mph) and will obviously be capable of crossing ground of difficult going. Will Boxer keep up?

peter Wait
peter Wait
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

62 mph doubtful , life of gearbox, final drives , track,top rollers and idler arms will be reduced !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
3 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

Just quoting from reputable sources. You wouldn’t run at 62mph for very long – the terrain has a habit of slowing you down.

David A
David A
6 days ago

Why can’t we use the stored C2’s for the upgrade and make incremental upgrades on the C2’s in service?

Dern
Dern
5 days ago
Reply to  David A

££££

Andrew
Andrew
6 days ago

I’m of the opinion we start transferring all our Challenger 2’s to Ukraine (training will be needed in Poland for them) and then build ourselves 400 Challenger 3’s from scratch.

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

If we’re going to build from scratch we’d probably be better going for a new hull design or at least a tweaked Challenger hull. Whilst we’re at it develop the hull as a basis for the AS90 replacement, plus a couple of hundred additional funded through aid to Ukraine meaning there a manufacturing run for the hulls going into the 700+. We then stand a chance of exporting more as we’re start to building real numbers and reduce costs.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  expat

CR3 will feature a tweaked Challenger hull!

Challenger hull would be too heavy for an AS90 replacement – lets buy off the shelf ie Korean K9.

Jon
Jon
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Your solution becomes –

Step one: we send all our tanks to Ukraine.
Step two: we argue vehemently about the replacements, how many, how much they cost, when they’ll be able to arrive and whether we even need tanks.
Step three: the government promises a hundred new tanks will be arriving in the early 2040s.
Step four: we lose all the trained tank crews as a “temporary” cost saving measure.
Step five: a war breaks out elsewhere and we have no tanks and no crews.

Andrew
Andrew
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

I wouldn’t send all the tanks at once. Initially the ones we have mothballed. It will take quite a while to refurbish them and train-up the Ukranians. Meanwhile we crack on with manufacturing Challenger 3’s. The design work has been done, no re-designs, we just get on with it. By the time the last of our Challenger 2’s are handed over it is more than possible the Challenger 3’s will be rolling off the production line. The immense speed we managed to develop, produce and distribute the vaccines should show if the will is there these things can be done… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

As it stands FOC for CR3 is 2030!, although Ben Wallace wants to shave a couple of years off that if possible.

Paul T
Paul T
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Ive got another idea – negotiate with Jordan which has, or is in the process of taking out of service its CR1’s ( ex British Army ) and send those to Ukraine – they are more than a match for anything Russia is using,that way we get to keep all our CR2’s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

As it stands it is taking to 2030 (ie 8 years) to build 148 CR3s. so to build 400 CR3s might take to 2044!

Andrew
Andrew
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

At a peacetime pace you might well be right. In the same way the Covid vaccines in normal circumstances would have taken many years. But we are in a proxy war and if the government chose to put industry on a war footing then we could see brand new C3’s in a much shorter timeframe.

Dern
Dern
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Honestly it probably isn’t that it will take 8 years to build CR3’s, it’s probably a decision to stretch out the build to keep the factory open, and preserve in year budgets. The same reason the Japanese limited their type 10 build to like…10 tanks a year.

peter Wait
peter Wait
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

BAE scrapped the jig’s for CR2 hull building, so not economical to upgrade more than the 227 , plus you have to manufacture all associated parts from scratch to exceed this number !

Jay R
Jay R
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Ukraine need C3 more than us.

Andrew
Andrew
5 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

I would imagine the C2 is more than a match for many of the tanks Russia are currently using. I wouldn’t want the more advanced C3 to be captured and studied by the Russians.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

No chance of Russia getting to capture a CR3 – GDUK has not even built one yet.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

👍

We’ve got the turret designed the hard bit it shouldn’t take much more to do the hull as well.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

The whole of CR3 has been designed – I worked on this project for Rheinmettal in 2016.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

So we can actually just build new hulls as well ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago

Not building new hulls – don’t need to. They will be stripped of fitted items, inspected, welds checked, some minor mods fitted and rebuilt and repainted.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We do if we want more than 147 tanks, that’s what i was on about originally.

Even if they just copied the challenger hull and implemented the upgrades that have been designed jobs a good one.

Last edited 4 days ago by ExcalibursTemplar
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Too late for that thought. CR3 (formerly CR2 LEP) is a very long way down the road, development done, contracts signed, steel being cut for new turrets.
If we gifted all CR2s to Ukraine now, we would be without tanks for 8- 10 years.

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well it didnt do us any harm being without the carriers and harrier did it …… ;😉

Graham
Graham
3 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

That’s a good comparator. We got away, just, with being without carriers and air wing for 10 years. Could anyone say we could lose our tanks for 10 years. We need to be ready for operations in Eastern Europe.

expat
expat
6 days ago

No expert on artillery but most of the options for an AS90 are a truck mounted 155mm gun. Only the Korea are offering a tracked vehicle. More my minimal research all the truck mounted units need to drop support legs to fire adding to the move-shoot-move times.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

Lifting support legs can be achieved at the touch of a (large) button. An AS90 can’t move until the gun barrel is locked in it’s crutch, otherwise the elevation gear will be trashed. Admittedly, the crutch is also powered. AS90 is long in the tooth, but don’t forget that it can fire 3 rounds in 10 seconds from stopping, and maintain a high rate of fire after that, largely determined by ammunition re-supply and crew fatigue.

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

Thx Ian. I’ll add the AS90 looks a lot more intimidating compared to the truck mounted Howitzers, obviously they’re very capable but just look flimsy by comparison.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

Shoot n’ scoot is what it’s called.

Mark Franks
Mark Franks
6 days ago

It’s fortunate we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq. The planning assumption in the last defence review was we would not be engaged in a major land war of old. Now we are in a position where we find ourselves reinforcing NATO’s Northern flank. There has to be more emphasis on force mix if the army is able to do as it is asked. The RAF and RN are in the process of force mix hightech automotive drones etc. The US Air Force are radically looking at moving this way reducing numbers of F15es, retiring early F22s retiring the F15c… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Mark Franks

Mark,
I must have missed that bit that we would never again fight a major land war – was that really stated? Incredible.
The army may need a revised force mix and perhaps you could elaborate – but it really needs more reg manpower and modernised AFVs and more artillery.

Last edited 6 days ago by Graham Moore
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Remember what Cameron said in 2015. No more need for fast jets or tanks on or over the German plains.

As usual with politicians, as short sighted as they come.

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago

shorts on grey matter as well, only thing they have in large quantities is EGO

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago

Couldn’t put better myself well said 👍👍👍

farouk
farouk
6 days ago

Daniele wrote: “”No more need for fast jets or tanks on or over the German plains.”2 And there lies the crux of the problem, MPs surrounded by bloody yes men, who will sell the message that as this , that and the other is so damn good we don’t need to spend money on upgrading it as if it comes to war we will still have the superior weapon.  Just look at how Barry curtailed the F22 at 187 aircraft because and I quote: “”China wouldn’t field its own fifth-generation stealth fighter until the 2020s, making the F-22 a premature investment.””… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

I vividly remember Cameron stating in Parliament that the age of the manned fighter is not over, and the next generation fighter should in fact be manned. He is not wrong.

Grizzler
Grizzler
5 days ago
Reply to  farouk

Not so sure they would bend over backwards exacty 😉

peter Wait
peter Wait
4 days ago

Cameron never had a real job outside of marketing or ran a business so perhaps his judgement poor on most things? He was too chummy with China for my liking ?

eclipse
eclipse
6 days ago

A defence budget increase is direly needed, not least because of Japan and Germany’s increases. Japan has doubled to over 110 billion dollars while Germany is somewhere at $90 with a further 100 billion euro fund. If we are to remain a formidable force that is considered the second in the west our defence budget needs to be, as both Truss and Hunt have said, a minimum of 4% of GDP.

James
James
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Even without the pandemic 4% would have been a huge push to achieve, however we did have the pandemic and realistically the country cant take on those levels of debt at this stage.

grizzler
grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  James

interesting comment – cant or wont- we can take on anything if we decide its important enough.
Look how much fraud was committed in pandemic payouts @ 5billion they have decided they dont wnat to chase to get back..that would help a lot.
Still at least some toerags bought fast cars out of the pandemic so they benefitted.
We are too liberal in this country and too accepting of bullshit.

Andrew
Andrew
6 days ago
Reply to  James

I think a quick increase to 3% is needed and then a more gradual increase to 4% (which can be then be halted if the global security position calms down).
Although I agree the national finances are a giant mess a military build up can be a big economic boon. Factories will be needed which can be built in areas of low employment, shipyards expanding and taking on apprentices, young people starting careers in the Forces, potential increase in exports etc.

JohninMK
JohninMK
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

If, as looks likely, we are likely to see a rise in interest rates, as we normally see when inflation rises, the payment of that interest will be another drain on the Exchequer and at the highest level of priority as bankers always get their share first. The implications of this on defence are dire as any increase will have to be matched by a reduction in someone else’s budget and there are few votes in defence. Given that our large and growing (subs don’t get cheaper) nuclear deterrent budget is ring fenced, I can see conventional military spending coming… Read more »

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  JohninMK

Spending better is important but with the right direction and investment defence spending can also contribute to GDP and the exchequers bottom line. I’ve written many times on here how UK needs ensure the equipment we produce is a product that can be sold/exported and not some unique bespoke kit that is exclusive to the UK and produced in a ever dwindling batches. UK kit performing well in Ukraine is plus for us also.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
5 days ago
Reply to  expat

👍

Steve R
Steve R
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

To be honest the best we could realistically get is 2.5% of GDP (increase of £6 billion to an even £50billion) plus maybe a £10-20 billion lump sum. The latter is less likely.

I’d be ecstatic if it went up to 3% (£60 billion).

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

Sounds good to me however we did sadly have a pandemic as James has pointed out out and our debt most be in the Red.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
5 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

4% is day dream. 2.5% to 3% is realistic.

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
5 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

4% is what we need, with this government i doubt we will get anything though 🙁

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago

If we are putting more units back in Europe we might need to creat new Europe wide version of BAOR? or we need to increase our Amphib transport capacity

eclipse
eclipse
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

In all honesty we need to increase every capacity.

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  eclipse

True

DaveyB
DaveyB
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

The word on the grapevine, is that there has been very high level talks of a permanent detachment, along similar lines to BAOR. It would be set up in either Estonia or Poland. This would be a full mechanized brigade, including all its supporting elements. There is also talk of a permanent RAF detachment, run along similar lines to the Falklands. Where both fixed and rotary would operate, in support of the Army, but also still policing the Baltics. The US are also setting up a permanent camp in Poland, but on a much grander scale. This may be the… Read more »

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

If the grapevine is correct, I could envisage a “Tidworth” in Estonia, especially as the Septics are moving into Poland.

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

I can see it going either way, if it does happen. We have a lot of recent history with Estonia, when working together in Afghan. But sad to say, there is a bigger potential military sales market in Poland. Poland are acquiring a version of Sky Sabre, plus they are getting Merlins. But if the ground launched version of Brimstone does as well as expected in Ukraine. I can see other countries looking at a purchase and Poland haven’t been shy in buying the latest military technology.

Ian M
Ian M
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Agreed about the potential for military sales. I would hope that if it occurs we choose Estonia, it’s a nicer place, not so much sausage, potatoes and cabbage. Poland is currently in dispute with the EU over it’s control of the judiciary and draconian civil rights curbs so overall I think Estonia would be nicer posting.

Grizzler
Grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian M

lol – I assume you were in the forces …thinkng ofyour stomach (oh and perhaps the beer and the women 😄)

peter Wait
peter Wait
4 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Estonian women of Viking decent in preference to Polish ladies lol

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

What I think the ground launched Brimestone needs is a range boost, like what Saab and Boeing did with the small diameter bomb adding a booster stage. SDB can hit target out to 150km putting its launchers outside artillery strikes Brimestone would be able to go out 200km with a similar booster then using its own motor in the final stages.

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

Yes, you could add a booster to Brimstone, but why? Especially when you have Spear 3. The difference is Brimstone being supersonic will get there quicker, whilst Spear 3 has the ability to loiter for a while. Also the booster of the ground launched SDB will give it an initial ballistic flight path. Which should be detectable by radar. A ground launched Spear 3 could have a similar ballistic path, which would help increase its range. But it could also be launched to follow a very level cruise missile profile to its target. Thus giving your opponent very little reaction… Read more »

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yep, for ground unit Brimestone as it is would be fine, at ground level you can’t often see another ground target 25 miles away to target it. so unless we have good cheap drones that can provide that recon info to the ground troops it’s moot point how far it flies. A unit in Tidworth is hardly going to engage tanks moving near Sheffield without external help?

Last edited 6 days ago by Steve M
Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

That’s one area we are lacking in. Yes we have Reaper and soon Protector which will replace it, along with the Army’s Watchkeeper. Looking at events in Ukraine, I don’t believe we have enough for a sustained conflict, where we would inevitably loose quite a few. The TB2 is similar size wise to the Watchkeeper. Yet Watchkeeper costs 10 times as much,. A large part due to the requirements placed on it by the CAA, so it can fly in domestic airspace. The Army need a cheaper version of Watchkeeper type UAV, that it can use in non domestic airspace.… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
5 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I am struggling to envision any “sustained conflict” in which the UK will be involved?

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Where have you been lately; not seen the news?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

The last 2 were Op Herrick (Afghanistan) and Op Telic (Iraq) – and the British Army has been in UNFICYP since the 1960s.
Next sustained conflict requiring UK – who knows – eastern Europe?

expat
expat
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Davy I was thinking more in line with the Ukraine situation, as you said success in Ukraine is the key to opening up more foreign sales unless Spear 3 is going to Ukraine? Opponents in this case will be Russian artillery and armour probably to numerous to hilt with single salvo of Brimstone leaving the launch platform in range of return fire or even capture. I think its generally agreed that the further you stand off the better.

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  expat

One of the beauties with Brimstone is that you can launch them on mass at a group of targets. During flight, once they have acquired the targets. They will communicate with each other to attack individual targets and try not to duplicate attacking the same target. Though they can still be be programmed to attack a singular target for more effect. Spear 3 also has this ability. I agree, a booster would be helpful. Against towed or SPG 122mm, Brimstone will be well out of range. The larger 152s and MLRS will be an issue. But then it depends if… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Didn’t know there were getting Merlins ,which service is it for

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

The Polish Navy have ordered 4 in 2019. These will be along the lines of our HM2s for ASW work, but also include the anti-ship capability. Their Navy have not said what missile will be chosen. The Polish Army are buying Blackhawks for their SF and there is a plan to replace their Mil 8s and 14s with either the Blackhawk or EH101. Originally Airbus tried pushing the H225M/EC725 Caracal for a purchase of 50 airframes. But the Polish Government canned the deal. Leonardo have contracted out the EH101’s frame (along with the AW139, 149 and 189) manufacturing to a… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Thanks for that buddy

Grizzler
Grizzler
6 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Right so that implies that both the US and us (UK) believe:
i)That Russia will still be an existential threat after this has been resolved.
or
ii) That as part of this Russia may travel further westwards.

Neither of which sounds great.

Daveyb
Daveyb
6 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Even if Russia gets booted out of Ukraine and their units have been severely mauled, Russia will still be a threat. Unless there is a regime change, that introduces a true democratic Government and finds a way to get rid of the Mafia control. We will always need to be wary of Russia. Its in the nature of dictatorships to move the focus from internal problems to external. it is going to take years for the Russian military to get back to similar strength they had at the beginning of the Ukrainian war. I don’t believe they have the massive… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I agree that Russia will continue to be a threat and it would be unwise to assume they will not learn and improve, even if history suggests otherwise. History showed their “strategy”, however wasteful, ultimately winning. If they lose in Ukraine, however that gets defined in their perception, then that might drive change. We also need to recognise that Russia enjoys significant hydrocarbon revenues to make good on their losses to date and fund future military equipment development and/or purchase from China to modernise. Even if Europe goes away, then China, India and others will at some point pick up… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

This is the UK contribution, a full mech bde? Quite a bit, given current army strength.

Dern
Dern
6 days ago
Reply to  Steve M

Not likely to need to increase our Amphib, that’s mainly for supplying a unfriendly coastline, or one without infrastructure. The UK has a rail link to Europe, Armour can get to the east simply by train without having to buy a lot of ferries.

Steve M
Steve M
6 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Fair point, I was thinking more of extra Point Class type sea lift than LPD.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

If NATO is left reinforcing after a hot war has started then rail and sea lift become much more vulnerable. We shouldn’t assume we’ll have the luxury of having a pending invasion telegraphed to us.

Dern
Dern
5 days ago

Except that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was seen rather clearly by the Five Eyes?

Either way, Road and Rail moves are the way to go IMO, much less likely to loose a entire battle group than on a chartered Point class or LPD in the Baltic, and if we really need to shuttle stuff across the channel there are enough Ferries we can STUFT.

The only rationale in my mind for increasing our already considerable Sea Lift, is if we are actively planning on deploying a Armoured Division somewhere other than Europe.

Last edited 5 days ago by Dern
Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Our intelligence absolutely saw the build up because it was obvious from massing equipment, not only from satellites but also because of giveaways such as preparation of battlefield hospitals and blood banks, clearly along with other intelligence. Russia made no attempt to hide it, quite the reverse in an attempt to intimidate. My scenario would have them work very hard to avoid any signs of preparation for a hypothetical Baltics action. The distance from the Russian border to the Lithuanian coast is ~425 km, i.e. the longest distance. The capitals are all much closer. Troops could drive across that in… Read more »

Dern
Dern
5 days ago

I think the Russians are incapable of hiding a 120,000+ build up from five eyes intelligence. Even in WW2 hiding a build up was almost impossible and required deception rather than camoflage to misdirect. As for the distance to the coast… the Russians couldn’t even get to Kyiv, 80km away. 400km will be one hell of a job for their logisitics with Baltic paramilitaries having a go at them every step of the way. Rail, again, if the Russian could target rail effectively they’d have sealed western Ukraine off from border crossings, but even so, all the more reason to… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I’d be careful about assumptions, both on the numbers required and our ability to detect. If there is the element of total surprise then the numbers don’t have to be large in the initial phase for seizing control, especially if also leveraging special forces. Consider what Russia did in Crimea in 2014, with just special forces plus local defections, no land border and no armour. The Baltics are far better prepared against this and suitably paranoid, but it serves to show what is possible with very little. Pretty much every coup tends to be achieved with relatively low numbers, simply… Read more »

Dern
Dern
4 days ago

Yeah, sorry but no. The Russian army has systemic problems and it’s very clearly in evidence. None of that is going away because “The Baltics are different.”

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
4 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. But up until the invasion Russia was considered a major conventional threat to NATO. I don’t recall publicly released intelligence or analysis by anyone suggesting anything else. Now based on Kyiv we throw that perception away and assume that for the foreseeable future Russia is saddled with systematic problems that it won’t solve? This despite the demonstration by Ukraine that an armed forces can change in a decade, despite lack of resources. Russia certainly has and is likely to continue to have the money to throw at its armed forces if it… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry
6 days ago

Good for the blokes and blokesses, hope they have fun and safe training.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago

The MoD says:

…’demonstrates the Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force.’

Which bit of the army is more lethal than before when its AFVs (including AS90) are 24-50 years old and mostly unmodernised – and we have not increased our artillery numbers to an optimum level?

Which bit of the army is more agile?

Is it a revelation that the army can deploy from the UK to eastern Europe? The army has always been able to deploy to the Continent (and further afield than that).

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The talk utter drivel at the best of times. Every SDSR in memory has exactly the same terminology. More agile, leaner, meaner, lethal. Lethal. With less of everything, despite plenty of new tech the army especially with its ancient RA assets, with very few CB radar assets, and few aviation assets. Agile. With less of everything in fact making one hamstrung, not more agile, and removing Hercs, helicopters and RN and contracted vessels like the Points reduced to 4. Leaner. Equals cuts or “rationalization” And the biggest elephant, one mass Russian missile strike on the UK home base with conventional… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
5 days ago

You’re right of course but realistically what could we expect them to say? “We’re in dire jeopardy and totally screwed because we spent all the money on the wrong stuff. We spent on the peace dividend in the first decade. We spent on peace keeping and counter insurgency in hot and dusty parts in the second decade. Then we had the Great Recession for the third decade.” If they had actually said the UK faced serious security threats at any point in the last 30 years then no one would have believed them. Hell, there were Ukrainians immediately prior to… Read more »

Always Right
Always Right
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Which bit of the army is more lethal than before when its AFVs (including AS90) are 24-50 years old and mostly unmodernised”

They are not “unmodernised” and being mostly Cold War designed kit is the same for every Western power’s inventory.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Always Right

AS90 had some desertisation mods for those in the Gulf Wars but the upgrade to a 52 calibre gun did not get introduced.
CR2 – Since ISD in 1998 – CLIP (fitting of smoothbore cannon) did not happen following trials in Jan 2006. CSP, due to be complete by 2020 did not happen. Long life air filters have been fitted – big deal!
WR – TI replaced II. WCSP was cancelled in March 2021.

I call the above ‘largely unmodernised’ AFVs.

Paul.P
Paul.P
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Could the upgrade to 52 calibre be done more quickly and cheaper than buying K9? Would it be good enough?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The upgrade was contracted for but the project was terminated about 20 years ago, some sort of problem with compliance of combustible charges.

Paul.P
Paul.P
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I found this. Not sure I am any the wiser as to why the project did not happen.
https://www.army-technology.com/projects/as90/

peter Wait
peter Wait
4 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The new air filter medium looks the same as old but can now be blown out, once again they missed the opportunity to make the cyclone section removable for cleaning mud and grass out?

George
George
6 days ago

Hi folks hope all is well.
I’ve lost count of where our deployments are, it’s getting very busy now along with the RN and RAF, the UK once again appears to be doing a lot of heavy lifting.
Let’s hope all keep safe and make the UK proud of the professional, well trained and experienced military we have!
Cheers
George

John Clark
John Clark
6 days ago
Reply to  George

Interesting, they must be stretching the Army to do this…. Still no sign that the UK is planning any sort of uplift in spending or any changes in direction from 73,000 total Army personnel… If that’s the case, ( even if it was possible to fund it) zero point converting all the 227 CH2 in the active fleet, as we only plan on running two Armoured Regiments with 112 ‘ish’ combat ready CH3’s. I actually think the MOD thinks it’s ‘vision’ of a high tech, small Army has actually been vindicated by the Ukraine War unfortunately. I would expect to… Read more »

Damo
Damo
5 days ago
Reply to  George

Yeah, lot’s of postings to iraq at present to free up more frontline troops for Europe. Busy time

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
5 days ago
Reply to  George

👍

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
6 days ago

While some of the exercises were already planned they have been vastly expanded as they are serving the dual purpose of putting troops into Eastern Europe to cover the NATO application of Finland and Sweden in case Russia decides to take its chances on a pre-emptive strike. While the embedding of Challenger 2 in Polands army is to allow Poland to cascade T-72 to Ukraine and cover until the Abrams they have ordered are delivered in a couple of years time.

Last edited 6 days ago by Watcherzero
Andrew D
Andrew D
6 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Not sure it’s a good idea for exercises to go ahead really could make things worse .There again are we putting troops in place to be ready for something 🤔

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Exercises demonstrate competency, deterrence and readiness.

Rob
Rob
6 days ago

If the present situation in Europe and the deployment of these forces doesn’t tell us that we need to expand our forces then I don’t know what would. RN. Advanced buy rate (if poss) for F35. Interim anti-ship missiles for all escorts. An extra Astute class SSN. Get those RFAs built and get those littoral amphib ships built too! Army. Where to start? Vehicles maybe: Chally 3 (at least all 227), Boxer replacing Warrior? If so armed with 40mm turret. Obviously sort out the Ajax fiasco. Replace AS90 and Light gun. Got to get more air defence in too. Manpower… Read more »

Stu
Stu
2 days ago
Reply to  Rob

Agree with almost everything you say. Need to get the politcians on it though – they won’t do a thing without a report from an “expert” telling them it needs to be done. Perhaps with Ukraine, they could justify a new SDR given the “radical change in geopolitical security landscape” or something & then we just send them your post 😊. Only point I’d disagree – Boxer/Warrior. If/when we get 100k troops, We could have light brigades (Boxer) and heavy (Warrior or replacement Lynx KF41/CV90) with a 40mm. If we go with a replacement, use the recce version of whatever… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
5 days ago

Wow, that’s 50% of our armed forces.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

What is, 8 000 personnel?

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
5 days ago

Reading this article it is obvious our army is spread very thinly around multiple European countries. 8000 soldiers would be an impressive force if they were together as one reasonably capable armoured brigade but they are not. Small company and battalion sized units are not going to tip the balance of power in European countries bordering Russia. I don’t think there is any danger of Russia attacking a NATO country currently with the war in Ukraine taking up all their available military power and all their available forces. If however Russia does win the war in Ukraine (not looking likely)… Read more »

Stu
Stu
2 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I worry that win or lose, Russia will rearm and will learn lessons from their poor performance and there is a potentially dangerous period ahead.
Worst case (for them) – they lose; what happens next? Still have money coming in for natural resources – sanctions will ease (a little over time when it’s convinient for the west). India, China will collaborate on military tech as Russia can make/develop things they cannot. They’ll have learnt some lessons & will overhaul their military. Then they’ll keep looking at who can they suck into their sphere/conquer.

Steve
Steve
5 days ago

I like the comment about modernisation. What has exactly changed, none of the new kit has actually been delivered other than a handful of skysaber batteries.

Old Tony
Old Tony
5 days ago

Have we been placing orders (and spending the money) to replace the stocks of NLAW and other stuff that we have been giving to Ukraine ? If so, I have missed the announcement, and if you know more than I do I’d be grateful to be pointed in the right direction.

It seems that the Americans are having some difficulty in finding replacements :
https://news.usni.org/2022/04/27/u-s-missiles-sent-to-ukraine-arent-easily-replaced-panel-tells-senate

OT

Frank62
Frank62
5 days ago

I’d rather see an 8,000 strong battlegroup with air support sent to Ukraine to help push Russia back to their borders. Russia is the escalator here brutally invading, threatening nuclear war, breaking its treaty commitnments to preserve Ukrainian soveriegnty & having lied that they had no such intention in the first place. Just a few allies stepping in could tip the balance.

Stu
Stu
2 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

They aren’t our allies. Friends, sure. But not allies. If we join, we risk a nuclear conflict. If Russia had no nukes, I’d probably support joining. But they do have nukes, don’t they…

And before anyone says “Budapest Memorandum” – read them. It’s just a promise we wouldn’t invade or threaten them. Not our fault/responsibility Russia ignored this promise.