The Defence Committee have heavily criticised the Ministry of Defence, warning that they believe the MoD may not have sufficient technically qualified staff and capacity to manage effectively the multiple armoured vehicle procurement and upgrade programmes that are currently underway.

The report published today by the Defence Committee, titled ‘Obsolescent and outgunned: the British Army’s armoured vehicle capability’, is scathing.

“The recent history of the British Army’s armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) capability is deplorable. Since the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s, the Army’s AFV fleets have been characterised by increasing obsolescence and decreasing numbers. In 1990 the UK had around 1,200 main battle tanks in its inventory, today has 227, and those that remain are in urgent need of modernisation.

Referring to the require for armoured vehicles, the report continues:

“In 2015 the Ministry of Defence outlined the requirement for a warfighting division that by 2025 could be deployed to assist NATO in the event of conflict on its Eastern borders. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 highlighted that NATO (and the UK) still face a potential threat from a challenging peer adversary state that retained considerable armoured forces which were being modernised at pace. The UK division was to draw on a number of capabilities but its core would have been two armoured infantry brigades and a new strike brigade, alongside 16 Air Assault brigade.

If the Integrated Review concludes that the Ministry of Defence and the British Army are to retain a heavy armoured capability it is clear that they must learn the hard lessons from recent history, and these are spelled out in the rest of this report. Furthermore, to support this capability the UK requires an industrial base. The current procurement and upgrade programmes have led to new investment in skills and production facilities. To sustain this regrowth in what was a decaying sector, the Ministry of Defence (and wider government) must provide greater certainty about future requirements and possible contracts. The proposal to develop a Land Industrial Strategy is a welcome step in this direction. In the course of this inquiry, it emerged that the Army will be unable to field its warfighting division as planned, reducing it by one Armoured Infantry brigade. This was apparently due to a lack of resources. In addition, the Army is deficient in important capabilities such as artillery and air defence.”

The report also states:

“This report reveals a woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude, which have continually bedevilled attempts to properly re-equip the British Army over the last two decades. Even on the MoD’s own current plans, (but subject to the Integrated Review) we are still some four years away from even being able to field a “warfighting division”, which, itself, would now be hopelessly under-equipped and denuded of even a third combat brigade.

As a result, were the British Army to have to fight a peer adversary – a euphemism for Russia – in Eastern Europe in the next few years, whist our soldiers would undoubtedly remain amongst the finest in the world, they would, disgracefully, be forced to go into battle in a combination of obsolescent or even obsolete armoured vehicles, most of them at least 30 years old or more, with poor mechanical reliability, very heavily outgunned by more modern missile and artillery systems and chronically lacking in adequate air defence. They would have only a handful of long-delayed, new generation vehicles, gradually trickling into the inventory, to replace them.”

Additionally, the report warns:

“The lack of a credible short-range air defence system for our land forces, especially in light of the rapidly increasing threat from unmanned aerial vehicles, is of particular concern.”

You can read the full report here and the recommendations and conclusions here.

 

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ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago

Shocking, disgraceful, criminal… A total betrayal of the British soldier.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Agreed in full.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Politicians are quite happy to send our boys to fight and die in outdated equipment if it means they can get reelected by diverting funding to headline winners. Scum of the worst order

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago

Reading that Levi, its not just the politicians, the top of the army seem to have a lot to answer for too.

Its a real shame that its got to this, there have been reports in the past but nothing seems to have been done and things were just allowed to carry on.

Wish I had the answers, is the army ‘high heidyins’ mostly infantry boys ??? Maybe get a few more from the technical branches involved if that’s the case.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I think it just comes down to not having a clear threat to gear for. During the cold war the armed forces was focused on a specific theater and the USSR. On the last 3 decades that has rapidly changed multiple times, from UN missions (e.g. Bosnia etc) to proxy colonial wars iraq 1 / iraq 2) to counter insurgency (iraq 2 rebuild/ afgan) now to global Britain and being seen in the Asia Pacific, to who knows what next. With a limited budget and inability to have an armed forces that can realistically take on any threat, you can… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Good points Steve, for me though, the problem is the people at the top (of any organisation) wanting to make ‘their’ mark and leave ‘their’ legacy. I agree that there has been a lack of direction for the forces and probably more so the army as the navy have ongoing tasks to keep them busy. Its seems the army for years have lurched from one thing to another (I’m speculating that each high heidyin has changed things to the way THEY want it rather than just going with what was already in place). It happens everywhere (cats and traps/no cats… Read more »

Ross
Ross
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

I actually agree a lot with your above, however in some ways (and I’ve held this view throughout the ‘war on terror’) the Army should have always been primarily designed around the idea it would expect to face a conventional war scenario, and be flexible to respond to peacekeeping and insurgency operations via UOR funding. I think the issue has been the funding and general incompetence of the MoD and Army staff has forced them to also choose one OR the other, a critical flaw.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Ross

The problem with UOR is it takes time to get stuff ordered and delivered, during which troops are at risk. Made even worse by the MOD having to decide to dump gear after as it can’t afford to bring into core kit. The UOR gear should be stored so it can be used again should the unexpected happen.

peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

A lot of UOR vehicles were worn out and not suitable for conventional warfare!

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  peter wait

This is true, but my thought is what happens if we have another counter insurgency war before the replacements are ready. Do we enter with insufficient vehicle numbers or worse go back to the Land rovers.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Problem 1: Storing equipment costs money and that would need to come out of the MOD operational budget. Problem 2: UOR equipment tends to be purchased in limited numbers and rotated between units during the campaign it was purchased for meaning they are usually utterly worn out when it comes to a time when they could be put into storage. Problem 3: The funding for UOR procurement comes from the Treasury and they are wise to the possibility that the MOD could use it as a mechanism to increase the defence budget by the back door. To that end if… Read more »

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Ross

Deliberately relying on UOR vehicles for peace keeping and counter insurgency is criminal while soldiers are being killed in unsuitable equipment. The snatch land rover should have been phased out 20 years ago. The Australians developed the bushmaster around 20 years ago and could have been ordered by the UK back then. Boxer did extremely well in Afghanistan and also would have been available around 2011. This same MOD report has been published numerous times since 2010 but nothing has changed. How can you say back in 2015 that our equipment is obsolete, worn out out and unfit to fight… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

The Snatch Land Rover was introduced to Northern Ireland in 1992 and was perfectly OK for that role. It had CAMAC composite armour to provide quite good protection from small arms fire and a measure of protection against IEDs.Op Banner ended in 2007, and it could/should have been phased out then – but was retained. Snatch was inappropriate for the greater threat posed in Afghanistan but was deployed initially until better UOR vehicles could be procured – and they were, fairly quickly. The army benefitted from much UOR procurement for Afghanistan (and Iraq) but a feeling emerged that these types… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’d agree with that

And add to it that:-

a) Russia hadn’t invaded anywhere recently; and

b) We were having a love in with China.

So there were not perceived threats for the heavy stuff to be used so it withered. As well as the programs being managed in an ultra incompetent manner which then made it a self fulfilling prophecy that nobody wanted to push the big green button other for fear of lifting the lid of the money pit.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago

Although I would say, I’m not sure anyone with a bit of geopolitical nouse thought for minute that: 1) Russia would not likely go in any direction other than standard Russian foreign policy since….. well I would say the the end of the napoleonic wars.Which is to keep a belt of weak destabilised states that it controls between it and the European great powers ( generally this was alway Poland’s lot). To be fair to Russia it’s Foreign policy, which is dictated by paranoia about European powers has always been rewarded by being completely right and getting invaded. 2) China… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Quite.

And we handily created a nice vacuum to expand their power projections into by taking the peace dividends that we did.

Jonny Agar
Jonny Agar
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Having spent many a year working for the MOD and Police The issue tends to be the guy making the important decision will not be the guy who takes delivery. And didn’t read what he was getting. A MP may well be very clever but doesn’t understand what a AFV needs to do. Goes decades back Army procurement is a laughable. And never gets passed the new shiny idea. You learnt that working with the Army is very much like working with School kids but they are stronger and break it.

George Royce
George Royce
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hear hear. And the sad thing is, it’s all been going on under a Conservative government of one form or another. The Cameron years were truly, continuation Blair.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  George Royce

It is thanks to Blair and his Labour government that we have 2 shiny new aircraft carriers. The Conservatives have lost their focus on building strong defences.

Jonathan
Jonathan
1 month ago
Reply to  George Royce

And to be honest Blair was a continuation of the major government.

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  George Royce

The problem being the Conservatives aren’t very conservative. They really are the middle of the road party from the past decade – their conservativism is merely inertia – overweight, overindulged, overprivileged old men lacking principles. Cameron looked like Blair, Blair looked like Major and today Johnson looks a bit like the Clegg and Cameron. Few of them have any convictions and real beliefs and mostly just wanted the job of senior management. Though I may continue to give them my vote, why, because the other lot jump on board every passing fad and forget the lessons of history – they’re… Read more »

Jack
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The use of Snatch Land Rover in Iraq, long after it was clear to all it was inappropriate, was just the visible tip of a much larger iceberg. When will there be reform at UK MOD ?

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack

Its hard to know who really is to blame for this. Is it the MOD for lacking insight into threats or is it governmental pressure to invest elsewhere. Each successive government likes to announce big shiny new kit and likes to be able to drop bombs on countries without risking lives to show they are doing something on the international stage. The army just doesn’t fit into either of them and even the whole British by birth campaign by boxer failed initially. Snatch was only replaced when pressure from the media made it impossible for action not to be taken.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago

Oh dear! That report doesn’t pull any punches. Surely in the attempt to upgrade CR2 there is a fully tested turret sat just waiting to be installed by Rhienmetall,all R&D done and proved to work.

peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Might take it to 80 tons which makes it hard to deploy, a new tank needs to be developed while upgraded one fills the Gap !

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

BAE Systems ARCHER Mobile Howitzer

“A mobile 155mm howitzer that needs less than 30 seconds to spring into action and fire – and only 30 more to be on its way.”

https://www.baesystems.com/en-uk/product/archer

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

And to fit in with other European allies?

Leopard 2 A7+ Main Battle Tank for the most part manufactured by Rheinmetall. No doubt some of the manufacturing processes could be undertaken here in the UK?
https://www.army-technology.com/projects/leopard-2-a7-main-battle-tank/

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

From what I have read the problem with building your own Leopards is the licensing for all the subcontractors.So it ends up very expensive in the end. Do we really want to create a supply chain from scratch for a new tank?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

So is the AS90 obsolete or worn out?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Hi Paul, No expert on this subject by any means, but I did manage to find this article which may be of help? “On March 5, 2019 the first Request for Information (RfI) to industry was released by the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) project team, the aim being to field a new fleet of 155mm self-propelled guns that will support the armoured infantry as well as future Strike Brigades, replacing the ageing AS90 155/39 mm SP tracked howitzer, in service with the British Army since the early 1990s. The aim is to increase the indirect fire capability delivering a much… Read more »

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Thx. It looks like by comparison the AS90 has a lower rate of fire and more limited ammunition types. And maybe wheels are preferred to tracks.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The issue with AS90 is the barrel, it is too short. AS90 should have been upgraded back in the late 90s under the Braveheart program. The gun is 39 calibres long, whereas systems like Pz2000 use a 52 calibre barrel. The Braveheart program would have given it a 52 calibre barrel. The 39 cal barrel using standard ammunition has range of around 25km, whereas the 52 cal barrel extends this to over 30kms.

To compete with Russian/Chinese systems, you need between 50 and 70km ranges, using assisted shells.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Ok I see the problem. Thx.

Nathan
Nathan
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

It terrifies me really. If we got into a land battle with Russia before the US engaged I could see us losing the tens of thousands of soldiers and not putting a dent in their advance. If their area denial systems, S400 and coming S500, are as good as they claim, it could be a blood bath.

Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Odd really the AS90 Replace the M109 yet there still in use by USA and many other countries .Did we get our money s worth and were there any better than M109 ?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

It would seem that we are not alone. The US, French and UK howitzers all seem to be much of a muchness when it comes to range. Dbs comment suggests it wouldn’t be a good idea to get into a situation where the Russkis and Chinese could lob their shells on us before we could hit them.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Artillery will still be King of the battlefield for the foreseeable future. Russia has a massive overmatch in numbers and reach. They have a shed load of both mobile rocket launchers, self propelled guns and heavy mortars. Whether it can be confirmed or not, Russia claim to have a lot of systems placed in reserve held in storage.

The main reason they can outrange our guns that use similar calibre length gun tubes, is that they use a lighter projectile (lower explosive content). The lighter projectile can be punched further using rocket assistance

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Of which we appear to have five types, all of which are fitted with a 12.7mm machine gun?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

There are off the shelf Boxer IFV offerings. But they have 30mm cannons. The other question mark would be can a wheeled IVF keep up with a C2 on soft ground? I believe some Boxers from the Bundeswehr exercised with us on Salisbury plain a short time ago. Perhaps that was what we were finding out.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Now I’m no army buff*, but ‘have sympathy’ for a decent gun, 105mm say, or at least mortar on the Boxer as I’ve mentioned every time the ambulance version comes up ahead of ‘fires’. Granted, I suppose, if you’re not going to have a heavy option beyond the mooted ATGW (an expensive ’round’), you may be keen or unconcious enough to get out’r there fast in a heavily protected rolls-royce trauma option, but that’s’s just my sarcasm at work again. I love the Chally 2 and know we can be very proud of it, such that I’d like to have… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Thin Pinstriped has an apposite post the noo.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

There are a number of options for direct/indirect fire support for the strike brigades based on a Boxer vehicle. The first is direct fire, using the Cockerill C3105 turret, that mounts an autoloaded high pressure 105mm gun. This turret is currently being used by Turkey on their Tulpar IFV (wheeled light tank), Kaplan “medium tank of Indonesia, Singapore with their ST kinetics IFV and Korea have shown one of their K21 IFVs fitted with one. Cockerill/KMW have showcased a Boxer with the C3105 turret fitted – see link below. Boxer awaits firing trials with John Cockerill Defense C3105 turret (janes.com)… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10
1 month ago

This damming reportage reflects the fears expressed on this site over the last few years. Dumb programmes such as Warrior upgrades and CH”LEP demonstrate the problems perfectly. There are at least 320 CH2 hulls available for the Rhinemettal turret, and that project should press on without further delay. Ajax rollout appears to be at the speed of a two-legged dog, and Warrior is an all-around embarrassment. Let us hope that apart from huge sums for the RN, that the Army gets its fair share of the cake too in Tuesday’s announcement!

DaveNBC
DaveNBC
1 month ago

This is a damning indictment of the MoD, the military and politicians alike where we appear to have taken our eye off the ball since 1990. Even from the perspective of an outsider the looming threat has been obvious and our lack of ability to field adequate forces would seem to be at crisis point. The worrying thing is that to rectify the situation will take years, not just to produce vehicles and weaponry but trained personnel, and things look even worse with the rumours of a much smaller army. Whilst I appreciate we are in the middle of a… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
1 month ago
Reply to  DaveNBC

Two points to make here Beyond what has already been said. I suspect this is decades of putting off decisions in fear of making wrong ones on limited funds in light of potential future developments. In good British tradition instead of making devisions we form self serving committees to supposedly determine answers at great cost and delay while any conclusion they do make is then deemed already out of date by their new political masters then in power and as such nothing is ever resolved or ordered though committee members no doubt do well out of it. The Boxer is… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago

To Coin a Phrase – ‘ No S**t Sherlock’ a truly worrying situation,one that has been highlighted on here multiple times.Can the Review Fix It ? Lets all hope so !.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Hi Paul, Simple answer to your question is No. The more nuanced answer is hinted at with the quotes above, where it talks about the need to rebuild the industrial base and that some progress has been made in this direction. Fixing the awful situation will take time and I fear that too many politicians, military and MoD staffers know too much about ancient Greece and not enough about engineering, industry and finance. This means there are at least three things we as a country need to put right in order to rebuild properly support the Army into the 21st… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

No Problem CR,all of this can surely be traced back to ‘Options For Change’ and the Hangover our Armed Forces have suffered ever since.I completely agree with your point (1) Define a Role for the Army,Equip it properly to Carry out that Role,then Stick with it without moving the Goalposts every few years ( our political system and electoral cycles don’t help in this regard).Point (3) again wholeheartedly agree,nothing much i can add there.Point (2) is the Hardest to solve,yes it would be great if we could make as much Kit for our Forces as we can,but we don’t possess… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Paul T, ‘Options for Change’ and the redundancies have been the excuse for all sorts since but its ancient history. There have been many governments and policy changes since then, there have been many 22 year careers since then, we need to start looking at the more recent decisions and what went wrong. More importantly we need to look at what can be ‘fixed’ now and learn from it rather than the army (in this instance) repeatedly making an arse of ordering equipment.

andy
andy
1 month ago

i think a lot of this report highlights that the armour side of the army has been well neglected to the point of embarrassment, i know exactly what will be said as a get out of jail free card Afghanistan, because we did not deploy loads of armour there we ended up having to procure the likes of mastiff and jackal more because of the ied threat, so there for sorting out our armour took a back seat as it was not a priority, but since the end of afghan they have sat on hands, yes they developed better kit… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Deal with Cap Badge Mafia. Disband a group of Infantry Battalions ( Light Role ) Put that headcount in time into new Artillery and Air Defence Regiments, and prioritise the Royal Artillery and ISTAR elements. Could we get away with 100 headcount ( for example, 1 Company/ Squadron ) reductions in units to create manpower for new formations? Is this doable without hitting current formation effectiveness?? Could more FP in autonomous systems make this workable or is that extra manouver Company irreplaceable ?? Dern, Airborne, Davey, Graham? Do not FFS reduce RS,RE,RA,REME, RLC, RAMC any further! ( See cap badge… Read more »

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

There is quite a lot of noise around ahead of the publication of this review, much of which mirrors what you say. Given direct quotes from Ben Wallace I’d be amazed if there wasn’t a complete overhaul of artillery and air defence for the army. Boxer order increase in favour of ditching the Warriors seems to mentioned a lot by apparent “sources” too. The Ch2 upgrades when mentioned all seem to say 150 to 170 so perhaps no smoke without fire on that rumour too.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

But don’t we hit the vicious – too small program to spread R&D costs so unit costs crazy paradox by upgrading so few Ch2?

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago

Turrets ready to go,all R&D done at company expense what’s not to like?

RobW
RobW
1 month ago

Too small program yes, but that’s because we need more for a deployable brigade. I think the R&D is already done.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago

Unfortunately I can not agree with much that you have said. As important as firepower and ISTAR is, infantry will always be needed. Especially light infantry at the moment. As for a reduction in unit strength, most battalions are already a company short and any effective fighting force requires at least 3 manivour units. Or as was discovered in Afghanistan, more. As for the mixing of both strike and armour brigades this would remove any benefit of both and leave us with the worst of both in one.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

No worries Harry.

As I hinted not sure on the reduction in companies either, which is why I asked.
Was to generate bodies for more CS/CSS units.

On Brigades, isn’t it a moot point though as in the field they form all arms battlegroups? And Strike wss a screen for cuts and a joke anyway.

From what I’m hearing with loss of Warrior mixing Boxer with our Tanks in the brigade ORBAT seems inevitable.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago

It does indeed, but this seems to be marriage out of need more then use. Strike certainly would be a useful tool, even in support of armoured infantry brigades. Unfortunately however, as per, the military have half assed funded it meaning in its current concept its just a waste of resources.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago

As for forming all arms battlgroup the wheeled units would act as independent manoeuvre formations to protect the flanks and screen the front. Where as the bulk of the punch would come from armoured inf in warrior supported by tanks.

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago

Hi Daniele, I’m OK with Boxer replacing Warrior, as long as they get the turrets and can still take sufficient dismounts. They have the same armour protection level, and they’re way newer and more suited to modern warfare (and combat loads). To me, the argument against mixing wheels and tracks in Strike is strong, because the tracks significantly impact the strategic/technical concept so significantly- that of a self-deployable and fast moving force. On the flip side, using wheels in a previously tracked role doesn’t seem as bad to me- there will be some terrain that will prove a challenge but… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Afternoon Joe.

I would prefer Warrior to continue as planned, but if it happens then I can live with it too, as long as we are not using the existing Boxer order. More must be ordered and the variants expanded with some firepower as suggested by pretty much all.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe16

Using trees to form a anti-tank barricade is a short term measure at best. Both combat engineers and artillery can clear a path through these quite easily. You can also attach a dozer blade to the front of tank and it will push these aside. As a defence they are good for containing and slowing down an advance, especially if anti-tank mines are interspersed within the traps. You can also use these as a funnel for anti tank teams to create an ambush site. However, if you are facing up against an opponent who is artillery heavy. They will use… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Hi Davey, absolutely- you’re quite right. I was just highlighting that tanks aren’t always the go-anywhere solution that can sometimes be implied, and can come with their own weaknesses compared to wheels.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Harry, if you read my posts you will know I am a firm believer in both tech and numbers. You are correct in regard to formation strengths at the moment, and for many years, so under strength and always borrowing a rifle Coy or two from another Bn, for sure. Without the right assets and numbers we cannot take ground, and more importantly we cannot ever hold ground. We have so many light role Bns for the simple fact that they are cheap to equip, and have no real strategic/tactical reasoning behind them, its all about them being so much… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Perhaps the number of light role battalions is the reason behind the much leaked plan to cut overall army numbers?
To me Boxer makes sense but it’s far too expensive. Ajax can’t carry enough dismounts to replace Warrior and is even more overpriced. But we have committed contracts for both so are now stuck with them.
A force structured around 1 armoured brigade and 2 all wheeled strike brigades seems a reasonable ambition but unless Ajax is used to replace Warrior somehow, we would have too many tracked ifvs.
I share your pessimism about what the review may bring.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

No all fair points.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

Mate you know I agree with preetty much all of that, certainly leaving the enablers alone, reductions come from a few light role Bns as neccessary, 40mm CTA onto Boxer, increase ATGW, big reorg of the actual formations (into formed BGs etc)etc mate. The reduction of 1 x Coy/Sqn probaly not great though, as Im actually into increasing Support Coy with even more assets. If we reduce a few light role, we need to back fill Sp Coy with a full load of people and assets. Not so much an issue for an armoured formation (if we have any left,… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Have you seen the Boxer fitted with the Cockerill 3105 turret? Comes with a “high” pressure 105 gun. But on their website they have also developed a turret that can handle a 120mm high pressure gun. Admittedly it is the smaller L44 calibre, but it could be useful for direct support?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Apparently waiting on firing trials. It would be interesting to know if there’s a potential customer in mind, or if its just speculative trials. https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/boxer-awaits-firing-trials-with-john-cockerill-defense-c3105-turret In any event 105mm, on wheels, tracks or both, seems to becoming a more interesting solution to a number of forces. One advantage of the Cockerill 105mm over the 120mm is higher elevation angle supporting an indirect fire option. Another is likely to be greater round carrying ability on any given platform. Given modern 105mm ammunition capabilities, the question is whether a 120mm provides a significant increase in capability over 105mm if not trying to… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago

The Cockerill turret has seen combat on the Turkish/Syrian border when fitted to their Tulpar light tank. I haven’t seen any reports on how well they did, only videos of them crossing the border. The Philippines are also going to be using it on another IFV converted into a “light tank”! The 105 is a good gun, but it hasn’t the oomph to deal with an up to date MBT. However, our so called strike brigade needs a direct fire support vehicle and a 105 should be able to provide this. It just wont be able to go toe to… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

As you probably know, the US infantry seem to also be looking at 105mm for its Mobile Protected Firepower program.

IMV we really do need the discipline to separate the tank-on-tank role from the mobile direct fires CV. What value all our recce and ISTAR assets if we don’t use them for NLOS indirect fires to counter opposing MBTs.

Surface launch Brimstone seems to be the low hanging fruit. I’d also be looking at swarming low cost suicide drones, perhaps in concert with Brimstone, to saturate APS and overwhelm SHORAD.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yes, I think missiles might be the way to go rather than guns. Both in the anti tank role and the anti drone role.
Do helicopters have a role here? Brimstone has a range of 25miles when launched from a helicopter. Maybe put an armour piercing warhead on Martlet? Just a thought.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

If Martlet could be fitted with either the Brimstone active radar or an up to date imaging infra red sensor, then it could be used as a fire and forget missile, thus making it much useful and flexible. Martlet’s main tactical issue is that you can only engage one target at a time due to its targeting system.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep, good points well made mate. I was wondering how new formations might be created without wholesale disbandments beyond what is feared.

What is the current S Coy set up? My info is dated but I assume AT Platoon / Mortar Platoon / Sniper Platoon ( or are they attached to HQ Coy? / DF Platoon ( GPMG/.50s) and a platoon of CVRT in the AI Battalions.

Ron
Ron
1 month ago

Well that report held nothing back, yet on this site we have been saying for years that the British Army in fact all of the servicies are underequipped and have limited peer to peer ability. I myself have said that we need three front line fighting divisions, one heavy based on a upgraded Challanger and two light based on Boxer. We have all argued about the need for mobile air defence systems and the need for range in our artillery units. I find it difficult to understand why the nation that invented the tank does not have the capability to… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron

That is a pipe dream, you get a full* division if you are lucky.

*by that i mean not including a SF/Para brigade in it.

Fat Dave
Fat Dave
1 month ago

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that, despite extra money for Defence, the Navy’s obsession with expensive, obsolete carriers is having a ruinous effect on all three Services.

RobW
RobW
1 month ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

It’s not the carriers. The submarine force consumes far more resources, as do pensions, and the CASD. Add to that the shambolic nature of procurement and we get to where we are today.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Indeed. Over 25% of the current 10 year equipment plan is to be spent on submarines-£50b.
Letting our sovereign armoured vehicle manufacturing all but disappear hasn’t helped. But we still spend poorly: if France can buy an apc for €1m, do we need to spend 5x as much on Boxer to do much the same job?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

To a certain extent the French Armaments Industry, job creation scheme though it is, has got the postcard that if costs blow out too much then they will get the chop.

peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

7 million for Ajax seems expensive !

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Need to be a bit careful with that €1m comparison. Jaguar and Griffon are fixed at that cost but the VBCI in French service is the Boxer equivalent, and today probably at Boxer pricing too, given what it cost almost a decade ago. Griffon is more like a Bushmaster at similar cost levels, the latter being a Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected (MRV-P) candidate for the UK. However one could certainly question the cost of Ajax versus the French Jaguar reconnaissance solution. We also don’t need to use Boxer for everything, the priority for using it as an ambulance being particularly… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

The priority for it being an ambulance isn’t that questionable actually. The only armoured ambulance the British Army currently has is the FV432, and that’s barely able to keep up with Challenger 2 and Warrior battlegroups. A new protected ambulance to deliver care in contested zones is desperately needed by the RAMC.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Well we’ll probably have to agree to differ, but I’d put more battle capable Boxer’s ahead of an ambulance variant in priority, the somewhat flippant observation being that the less capable the Boxers are the more we’ll need the ambulances.

More seriously, I’d see the MRV-P platform as a solution, particularly as a more protected platform per Think Defence’s recent post on re-thinking MRV-P.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

I’d point out that no matter how good your equipment is you’ll always have casualties and therefore the ability to evacuate casualties under fire, especially in a world where the rear-echelon is no longer safe, remains vital. Afghanistan showed how much effort the British Army is willing to put into making sure it’s blokes come home on stretchers instead of body bags.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

How does the price of boxer compare to the French wheeled armour? And what’s the difference capability wise? Any one know

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Yep.

I recall the Submarine Cluster of DES gets around 30 billion of the 10 year budget, dwarfing that of other areas.
That is for not just CASD, but SSN, AWE, and the SSE organisation that underpins it all.

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago
Reply to  RobW

Nail on the head springs to mind.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

The anti carrier view again.

Dave, the TLB for the army is much bigger than that for the RN and RAF. That they and the DES people spent over a decade throwing away over a billion on things like FRES and onto WCSP and other fiascos is not the QEC fault.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

I think you can argue the reverse with the T31 procurement model.

RN wants to be the poster child of responsible transparent spending.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Fat Dave

You are quite wrong Dave, I would argue that MBT’s are now of limited value to an island nation with no serious assets forward deployed in mainland Europe. In fact, the idea of only upgrading 150, means we will be unable of deploying an armoured division of 100 plus tanks, we would be lucky to deploy 40, at a stretch. So considering the only time they have been needed in 30 years is the two Gulf wars, (with the exception of a handful in the Balkans), then the Americans would simply say, don’t bother. When you go below critical mass,… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

That all makes sense to me John. I could understand having a larger tank force if we were still in Germany ready to fight the evil commies but we’re not. We might still have to reinforce of course and I’m sure tanks would be useful but we could probably spend our money on stuff that would be more useful across different options. I’m not anti-tank and to be fair, the ‘pongo stuff’ ain’t exactly my speciality but they don’t seem to feature in how the army has been operating. Edit to add:- Happy to be schooled otherwise, always happy to… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Andy P
Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Just feel the need to point out: Everyone seems to think that the only use for a tank is in Europe, against the Ruskies (ignoring the fact that we do have a tank force in Europe staring down the Russians, just it’s in Estonia now not Germany but hey ho). This is really not the case. Pretty much everywhere in the world you go a tank is always a good tool to have on your side. Just ask any squaddie who got supported by Leopards in Afghan. The issue isn’t that tanks aren’t useful in “operations other than war.” The… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Thanks Dern, interesting. I didn’t know we had tanks in Estonia and I do follow your logic on other stuff being cheaper and/or easier to support so getting used more.

I’m not against tanks, I think they’re ‘cool’ to be honest but as very much a non expert looking in they just don’t seem to be used for much, I appreciate you taking the time to explain. What do you think would make them more ‘deployable’ or is the cost too prohibiting ????

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Nothing sadly. At the end of the day it’s the basic maths that a 60+t vehicle, with an engine that has to produce 1,500hp on tracks will always be more expensive to ship, harder to keep running, and consume more fuel, spares, etc than a 30t vehicle with a 700hp engine on wheels. In terms of infrastructure? We could have some more tank transporters (we’re short of those for road moves), and practice moving tanks by rail more often, but in terms of deploying overseas we have enough sealift to move them, so I don’t think it’s a case of… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

You mentioned Leopards in Afghanistan, zee Jarmans obviously saw it differently, is that just a policy thing between different countries then.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

The Germans didn’t see it differently, they never deployed Leopards to Afghan (in fact in general they didn’t want to deploy anything that might look war-y to Afghan, it being their first major international deployment of ground troops since 1945 they where very keen on making it not look like they where going to war). But the Canadians (who where about to scrap them) sent their Leopard 1’s to Afghan, and then rushed to borrow some Leopard 2’s off the Germans and sent them out to replace the older tanks. The Danes also sent their Leopard 2’s to Helmand to… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Ha, that’ll learn me to make assumptions. Cheers mate.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Hahah, yeah but it bites us all in the arse once in a while. Apropos there is a story, probably not true but too good not to repeat that the Canadians where litterally driving some of their Leopard 1’s on to plinths to be defanged and turned into gate guardians. After all the age of the tank was over and they where all going to be replaced by lighter wheeled vehicles. Then someone came running up and shouted something like “STOP! Get these tanks back to the Motor Pool we need to get them ready to be sent to Afghanistan.”… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

You know what they say mate, “never let the truth get in the way of a good dit.”

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Definitely missed the Chally’s ability to kick doors in (i.e. make some). However, my last tour was with the Canadians and we made full use of their Leopards.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Not sure on the Germans,it was the Canadians that had them there. All we sent was a couple of Trojans

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Cheers mate.

peter wait
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

If the upgrade takes it to 80 ton with new turret and active protection system it will damage roads and bridges as well as being problematic to deploy?

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Andy, Dern is spot on, and just to add my twopenneth, as an organsiation the Army (military) has to be prepared to fight not just the war we think we know but the one we were sure we wont have to. Armour and Tanks give you options, reduce your options and a bad option might become feasible due to being the only one! And mate, once you get rid of a capibility how friggin hard would it be to reintroduce that capability once its gone. Cheers.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi mate, I get what you’re saying and for everyone who’s not a bean counter it makes sense to have every option you can. The bean counters have a responsibility too though and this is where the guys at the top of the army (in this case) have a responsibility to make the best of what they have. By the look of things, that hasn’t been happening. You can see how much of a hardship its been to reintroduce fixed wing aviation into the navy and that’s been with the help of a generous ally who was happy to take… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

IMV we really should separate out roles a MBT performs and decide which are necessary versus desirable. For example, do we need anything more than a wheeled or tracked 105mm if we just need direct fire support for every task other than a tank-on-tank engagement? As soon as we start including the direct fire tank-on-tank role (instead of using asymmetric counters) we need state of the art armour and APS. The problem I see with this approach is that for example a new Leopard 2A7+ probably costs in excess of £20M today, based on what Qatar paid a while back.… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

You just have to hope you never need to take on enemy armour then, if that’s the case you might as well save money by not buying Boxers with 105’s and just keep Challenger 2 without upgrading the gun beyond 120mm.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Not so much hope as choice not to take on MBTs. No reason everything else on the battlefield including AFVs wouldn’t be a viable target for 105mm though. Even then tomorrow’s battlefield is going to be all about prevailing in a competition of ISTAR, AI, cyber and fast decision taking. Whoever gets ahead in that is likely to dominate in the kinetic realm. I actually agree that in the short to medium term a Challenger with minor upgrades would fulfill the mobile protected firepower role, excluding direct engagement of MBTs. It also avoids the “wrong” choice of gun to upgrade… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

I don’t think you have the luxury to choose when and when not to engage MBT’s beyond choosing whether or not to be in a war in the first place.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Note though that I am not saying we shouldn’t engage MBTs, only that we shouldn’t be using other MBTs to do so, given we have so many different and apparently increasing numbers of ways to do so.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago

It dep[ends on who you believe regarding APFSDS (Fin) vs APS. The Trophy system will never defeat a Fin round, because it is basically a Claymore mine, but firing tungsten cubes instead of ball bearings. The frontal cross sectional area of the fin round is too small for the mass of tungsten to intercept. The only way it could affect the Fin round is if it managed a side shot, where there is a greater chance of the cubes striking the side of the rod. The only company that have said they have successfully intercepted a Fin round and published… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  John Clark

Have to say I agree with your take on MBT for the UK. With the lack of any other direct fire capability we probably have to keep Challenger for now, even if only for direct fire roles other than direct tank-on-tank engagement, where other asymmetric solutions should be used to counter the latter. Restricting its role would hopefully cap upgrade costs. But I question the MBT requirement for the long term, as long as we replace with other more relevant direct and indirect fire solutions in greater numbers. Something that is also glossed over is that we would probably not… Read more »

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago

Pretty much says it all.

Question is whether the internal politics of the Army, and the civil service and military bureaucracy (both equally as bad as each other) can actually do anything other than procrastinate, waste money and acheive little.

I’m not sure the “1200 MBT” in 1990 is a good argument though, about 900 of them were obseolete and wouldnt get much further than the camp gate…

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Very true, on paper the BAOR was a formidable force, 1,000 plus MBT’s, 50,000 troops, but, it was a hollowed out force, poorly supported and always underfunded.

In order for BAOR to deploy onto the north German planes, battle ready, in fighting order, would have taken 6 months of warning with escalating tensions.

A surprise attack would probably have meant three hundred tanks, at most, in position and combat ready, with rest waiting for parts in various states of disrepair…..

So numbers aren’t everything.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

Even with the £16b increase, the budget is too low to fund all the capabilities politicians and military leaders want. Added to that, we pay over the odds for much of our equipment, either because we have let UK manufacturing capabilities disappear, so projects start from scratch, or because we overspec. Either increase the budget permanently or remove some capability entirely. If we don’t, we will be back in a funding crisis in 5 years time with yet more cuts. Some suggestions: * Reduce the Dreadnought fleet to 3 boats * PoW to be used as amhibious assault ship with… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

Peter S, the problem with reducing the Dreadnoughts to 3 wouldn’t become apparent until 10 to 15 years into the life cycle of the boats. 4 platforms really is the minimum that its feasible as the platforms age. Unless the UK were to move away from a CASD approach. For me a way of saving money would be to move away from the submarine launched ballistic missiles to spreading the nuclear armoury to cruise (with the option of S/M launched) and other options like putting the Trident in silos somewhere, other weapons that could be air launched… I’m not saying… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

All true Andy.

Trident in Silos though negates it’s survivability and going to Cruise instead of an SLBM is much the same.

But as a submariner I know you know all this.

I can imagine the local outcry wherever they built them if Silos where decided! Within Spadeadam I guess?

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago

I’m not advocating it Daniele, S/M launched from ‘anywhere’ is a great option, probably the best but its not the cheapest. Then with silos there is the ‘NIMBY’ aspect to it which is understandable, aside from the security risks etc.

On to a point that is very dear to me, I’m an EX submariner mate, no more hot bunking or duty watches for this suburbanite. 🙂

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Lol! Good point, well made! You are indeed.

Good on you mate.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago

From a tactical point of view basing any nuclear tipped missiles in the UK is a non starter, as we haven’t got geography on our side, i.e. the East coast is too close to the west coast. Having the missiles based on a submarine is the best and only sensible option. As it means they are a lot harder to find to neutralise.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I don’t think revisiting a project, and altering a build already underway will ever have a hope of driving the cost down either. Just my two pence.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Hundred percent agree and I can’t help but think its personal ego/pride that has the biggest influence on this.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

The gov paper on Trident successor explored all options but seems have been written solely to justify a decision already taken. All the costings are just guesswork. The least persuasive part is the need for 4 boats to keep one at sea. Dreadnought design won’t need refuelling unlike Vanguard so the long unavailability periods shouldn’t recur. With the CASD aim to have one at sea, a 3 boat fleet ought to work. We have committed so much to Dreadnought already that other options are really non starters. The US are replacing 14 ( originally 18) with 12 again in the… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

While refuelling is part of the current cycle, its not the only thing that needs ‘fixed’ on boats. Submarines by their very nature spend a lot of their time in a hostile environment and things break. Sometimes a lot. If you only have 3 its not a massive leap to have one boat in RAMP/refit (call it what you will) and then you only have 2 boats, one will be at sea, the other going to sea next. I’m sure that’s all fine at the start but what if (as is happening now) towards the end of their life cycle… Read more »

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Everything you’ve just said mate.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I agree there is a risk with a 3 boat fleet that at some point you may have only 1 available. But for the deterrent to fail, any enemy would need to know and then take a huge and potentially suicidal risk. The deterrent is unlike any other weapon system in that if you actually use it, it has failed. On the manning front,aren’t the boats now double crewed? I’m not advocating this approach, just wondering how we might free up funds to address the shortcomings of conventional forces. Even with their enormous budget, the US is facing big problems… Read more »

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

If anyone wants to know what boat is where they just need to talk to a Helensburgh taxi driver. There’s no great mystery and if there’s only 3 hulls…. As for manning…. no, they’re not all “double crewed”. Like the rest of the forces, there are shortages. Submarine branches are quite small and its not like when you’re not at sea its ‘tabs out’, you’re generally getting ready to go again, get requalified or some other ‘work stuff’. Its a massive ballache as and when you get ‘pier head jumped’ onto another vessel to cover some fecker who can’t (or… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

RN website clear about double crewing as the normal operating approach. You suggest that in reality overall crew shortage means this isn’t always achieved. Then maybe a 3 boat fleet would be easier to man. In the same way, the army can’t recruit and retain its 82500 target, so makes a virtue of necessity by planning for fewer.Not going to happen anyway as boat 4 already named!

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I think alternatives to the subs should have been given more consideration. We could have built 8 to 10 more astute subs for the cost of the dreadnoughts and equipped the with nuclear TLAMs, that would have given us significantly more flexibility for a variaty of scenarios.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

I think that may well have been the case already. However, TLAM range is approx 25% of Trident range, makes a huge difference as to what targets you can attack and where you can launch from.
In reality there is other alternative for us if we want a place at the big boys table.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

I’m out the loop but it would be easy enough to check. 1 bomber was ‘gold’ crewed which was one slightly bigger crew instead of 2.

Had a couple of conversations recentlywith boys on bombers, one was just back from a patrol and ended up getting skidded to do work up on another boat and the other was saying they were having to promote people to get them to stay and/or go to sea.

Its not a good place at the moment.

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter S

if dreadnoughts could launch from port this could work.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago

I don’t get why people comment on why the Conservative Party is the party of the forces and security. Yes, I know Labour pre-2010 didn’t do much better but Tories have been in power for 10 years and the armed forces are in a laughable state, to say the least.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

They’re the least worst I suppose. Have a hard time believing today’s Labour Party of student politics would be any better on defence

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago

We’ll have our prejudices to factor in but I’m not sure that Defence is high on either party’s priorities. They really only care about what happens ‘on their watch’ and how they’re perceived. The counter argument to yours is that the Tories only have to care about the NHS because if they didn’t they would lose a lot of votes. I’m really not convinced that “people get the government they deserve” is true anymore, our options are pretty much a ‘shit sandwich’ or a ‘turd on a roll’. I can’t say I’m fond of either but I know I’ll be… Read more »

Tom
Tom
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I don’t think the Tories care about the NHS. More tolerate it. Given the 1% pay rise insult to nurses.

I like your ‘shit’ metaphors.

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Don’t get sucked into the political spin Tom, if the Tories wanted to get rid of the NHS, then they had 18 years to do it in their 79 to 97 tenure, 11 years and counting this time round and it’s larger and better funded then it ever has been… So that’s patiently not correct. Labour made a right bloody mess of the NHS by building hospitals via PFI’s, deferring a ticking time home of debt for the NHS budget to absorb down the road….. As for the 1%, it will clearly be more, when the matter is fully addressed,… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

Well said Andy!

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Because until recently Labour was headed by a bloke who was pro-IRA.

Tom
Tom
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Was JC really Pro IRA? Or is that what the Mail told you. Maybe he was pro-non-violence, hey? Wanting peaceful solutions doesn’t make him a bad guy. I didn’t like him but spreading disinformation harms our democratic discourse.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Yes he was. Given that he condemed British Army “bombing” in Northern Ireland by name when asked to condem IRA bombing and repeatedly attended vigils for dead terrorists. Yup he was.
Maybe stop trying to spread your own disinformation.

Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

And he wanted to give the Falklands back .

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Andrew

You can’t ‘give’ back what they never had in the first place!

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

I thought he was anti the world ?

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Mate lets not get into this but even your average crack head knew Corbyn was a pathetic Pro-any anarahcist/terrorist supporter, regardless of location or politics. He was pro peace for sure, at any price! And his price was at most right minded peoples cost. He was, and currently still is, a turd, simples! Here endeth the lesson! Cheers.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

anarahcist….mmmmm is that a new word? oops

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Corbyn was anything but pro-anarchist.
How can he be when he is a Marxist almost the antithesis of anarchism, he was a primitive , genocidal social supremacist ideologue. He was also a pro leftist, islamic(when they fight against “capitalist”) terrorist groups.

James
James
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom

Not to point out the obvious but after the last big recession in 2008 and the horrendous state of the UK finances at the time sadly 10 years of the Tories being tight pursed after it was inevitable.

Considering the current even worse state of public finances today the fact the defence sector has received even a 1p increase in budget is borderline miraculous. If labour was in would defence have received an increase, I doubt it as Corbyn would have already blown the entire national over draft before covid arrived.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago

Unfortunately the Army continues to think it needs uniquely British equipment and as such continues to waste billions in failed projects. AJAX being a prime example. As revolutionary as the CTA cannon is, it demonstrates how Britian doesn’t have the money to risk its entire armoured force on a single untested weapon. Made all the worse when a perfectly good 40mm was invented over half a century ago.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

Spot on, although mate I have to say though the Ajax and family are outstanding vehicles, just being forced into the wrong shaped hole. As usual the Army is mostly responsible for its own problems.

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

The base vehicle shouldn’t be causing any issues, although rumours coming from HCR seem to paint a different pitcher. But the main problem with the entire program is the gun.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  Harry Bulpit

I think the expression you may be looking for is the British Army having champagne tastes on a beer budget, Ajax apparently being an example. I will say in defence of CTAS that the French (and Belgians by dint of buying French vehicles) are also going down this path, with the French also fitting it to naval platforms, so not uniquely British. However, clearly and despite the already long development cycle, CTA 40 was not ready for integration when decisions were made for Ajax and WCSP. However, unless there are compelling reasons to do so we shouldn’t throw out CTA… Read more »

peter wait
1 month ago

You should look at the American 1996 defence department report into CTAS weapons. They spent over $200 million dollars since the 1950’s and ditched it. Some of the reasons were short barrel life, excessive recoil, expensive rounds and jamming problems. The recoil for CTA40 is listed as 20,000 lbs through short springs. This compares with 6,500 lbs for bushmaster 30 mm, turret wobble has been reported as an issue?

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
1 month ago
Reply to  peter wait

I have looked at the report. The report is a quarter of a century old and references much older developments and trials, with most taking place a decade+ before the report. Technology in general and materials science specifically have improved significantly over this period, so the 1996 report really isn’t relevant. Especially given the additional 1-2 decades of CTAI development since, not least with using plastic vs metal casing. If compelling reasons exist why CTA 40 is not viable, then by all means we shouldn’t use it. However, all I read are unsubstantiated rumours and apples to oranges comparisons. Comparisons… Read more »

Mike
Mike
1 month ago

If you look back on the pre-war years in the 1930’s we are making the same mistakes now as were made then. Our vehicles are out of date as they were at the start of WW2, and our tactics need an overhaul. We were unable to fight and win against German Blitzkrieg tactics then, and now we are struggling to take drone warfare and long range rocket artillery into account.

I find the parallels striking.

Andy G
Andy G
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

There is currently no defenses against drone swarms, so we are not alone in this.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy G

I agree, but the fact remains that over open country and in good weather, a drone, or drones on mass will be able to defeat/degrade most armoured formations. It cannot be ignored. We must adapt quickly to changes that these threats represent.

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

No s**t! The history of British Army vehicle procurement has been utterly deplorable for 30 years. The best worst case now is for 170 MBT’s to get an upgrade and extra Boxers that field a turret to at least partially replace Warrior with a 90% wheeled IFV solution. It’ll leave Ajax a bit out on a limb but it’s a mess entirely of their own making. Would love to see the review finally tackle the cap-badge mafia with a corps of infantry and significant cuts to light battalions to direct more resources into artillery and other enablers for a more… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

Bravo CH.
My view entirely!!
Lets get some more all arms brigades, light if necessary, but with a full range of supports and more firepower.

Challenger
Challenger
1 month ago

Thanks! Whatever the nature of the brigade (armoured, mechanized/strike or light/air-assault) it should be imperative to make sure all are fully fleshed out with artillery, engineers, logistics etc to make them deployable and effective. Too many light battalions currently languishing in 1st division with no purpose for the sake of not upsetting the cap-badge obsessives. Getting 5 brigades out of the existing 82,000 target already seemed pretty poor to me. What was the rest of the army doing? Even once you add in public duties and stuff like base staff and training instructors it seemed odd to me. I remember… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Challenger

I agree in the main re 1 UK Division. Although I’d also add I was “educated” by Dern once here on its usefulness when I was spitting feathers about it. And fair dos, he was in it, I wasn’t. Of its battalions, I often try to work out possibilities, and even though there are roles like you mention, PD, Cyprus, Specialist Infantry, I count at least 7 ( if memory serves ) that in my fantasy fleets mind I target for re rolling as they seem surplus. Ideally you’d just expand the army and form additional CS CSS formations but… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
1 month ago

I guess part of the problem is the Army has been equipped to fight an insurgency based conflict over the last 20 years, and less focus on peer on peer.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

Truth is we are trying to do too many things. Our ground forces (including the RMs & RAF Regt) are expected to do:
Amphibious assault, air assault, SFs, Light role infantry, Strike / light mech & Armoured + now cyber. All of this with domestically produced equipment that have very small production runs. The CDS & MOD need to work out what the Army is for, what our allies require of us and what we do best then concentrate upon that. This idea that we can continue with this all domain mindset is for the birds.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Dont forget the RAF Regt also includes standing next to a gate, wearing a yellow lumie jacket, choppsing off about “going outside the wire once” in Afghan.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Don’t forget the Battle of Gatwick they got called in for helping in the hunt of an elusive drone….

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

No comment

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

To be fair, rather the RAF Reg do that than any of our units.

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Yep! I tell my son in law that every time I see him!

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

They stand next to gates? In my experience actually contributing to guarding a base is beneath them and so every other unit has to have a headcount delta to allow for those detached on guard duty which then detracts from doing their actual job. RAFRegt moving themselves all to Honington was a staggeringly bad idea in that they forgot they were about aircraft and became a liability when near one, and couldnt contribute to the day in day out tasks such as base guard (which nay have been an intent!). It also was daft as Honington became home to so… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  Rogbob

The sad thing is that htey belive their own press, and that is both sad and dangerous.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

I don’t see how they can argue challenger 2 is out of date when plenty of countries still field thousands of T-72s , T-55s and M60s , M48s etc ….

But yes we need modern equipment and more of it, but sometimes I think the ‘obsolete’ argument is a cynical way of justifying more cuts.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Because it’s being compared with M1A2D, Leop 2A7 and T14, fielded by our peers. Challenger has several big issues. There are Legacy ones such as the fact that the Gun isn’t a widely adopted type, so that while better munitions are being developed and produced for the Rheinmetall Gun, even sourcing production lines for Challengers gun is becoming difficult. Then there are new ones such as the fact that Challenger hasn’t had a new sensor package installed since TOGS.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Quite correct. There is also the issue that to take out the T14 you will probably need a 130mm gun with a long rod penetrator. The Challenger is limited in it rod length capping its potential. To fit the Rhinemetal 130mm would need a new Turret. It would need a sensor upgrade including a commanders night site. Also a system like Iron Fist should be added. Plus a new 1500bhp power pack would be advised. To update Challenger properly you would need to add the Black Knight upgrade to the new Rhinemetal turret and gun and install the MTU 15000bhp… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

To fit the Rheinmetall (not wanting to be a dick but as a german speaker I feel compelled to point out it’s spelled the German way not the UK way) 120mm you’d still need a new turret since the ammunition won’t work with the existing one. Honestly, IMO the CLEP project is at just the wrong time. 10 years earlier and we could easily have jumped on the 120mm L/55 bandwagon, now we risk either getting the L/55 just as everyone gets the RH-130, or we get the RH-130 and risk other NATO nations not adopting it, leaving us in… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

My apologies ‘Rheinmetall’ it is. Rheinmetall just showed off a turret with the 130 with a Challenger hull. As they now own 55% of BAE land systems I would think they will push hard to get the new turret and gun on Challenger asap. I think this is the best option we cannot delay any more – there has been too much of that alrady.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

I agree. The only issue I see is if for example the German or American Army decide to go with a different caliber (eg 135mm or something), then we’re left with a dead end in terms of ammunition design and production again. It wouldn’t be the first time that happened.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

P.S. I do not think the UK will go for the 120 we will try an future proof our investment and fit a T14 killer. I understand the French and Germans have a future tank programme and that will almost certainly go down the 130 path. That is if the programme is successful.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

I’m not so sure. The Franco-German program for replacing their Leclercs and Leopard 2s calls for a gun with better penetrating power than the current Rh 120 L55. So either they increase the calibre which is very doubtful due to the length, or they increase the bore size. Both Giat and Rheinmetall have produced and tested larger guns, with the 140mm and 130mm, respectfully. The issue hasn’t come to a head yet, but like their effect with the 6th gen aircraft, politics may get in the way, due to work share arrangements. Whichever road they do take it is pretty… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Right but the issue isn’t whether France, Germany, USA with a new caliber over 120mm (they will eventually), it’s that we want to have the gun, with the shell that everyone else chooses. That means precisely the same caliber, but also the same shell length etc. If we dive in before the others put in their orders for the new gun we may end up in the great position of having been the first to adopt the 130mmx1.3m caliber gun, and having to watch as everyone else eventually settles on 130mmx1.5m or 132mmx1.3m. Germany and America have the industrial mass… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

This is probably the main reason why we have joined their program as an interested observer. To see which gun and cartridge size they chose. The current Rh120 L55 used by Germany in their Leopard 2s, does not fire deleted uranium rounds due to political reasons, choosing instead tungsten as the rod material. The US Abrams due to the turret design limited to the 120 L44 gun. So to tie up the performance they use the M829 rounds. These use a higher pressure propellent than that used in the current DM53 cartridge that Germany uses. The Rh120 L55 is cleared… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

I hope we go for the Rh130 L51 and put it in the new Rheinmetall turret. I can only assume that the new turret will be able to store the 130 rounds. It certainly looks bigger at the back. I think it would be foolish to fit the 120 as it will become over-matched soon by Russian guns. Currently T14 carries a 125mm with a mussel velocity of 2000m/s, there is talk of a 140mm upgrade gun. We cannot afford to be messing around at 120mm… If we get the 130 perhaps we can get a DU round for it… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

As has been said there is a new turret just waiting for somebody to actually make a decision and fit the thing.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

I assume this is the Rheinmetall turret…
if so that is a technology demonstrator turret. I doubt it is up to UK standards in terms of armour. Rheinmetall dies not have access to Dorchester which would need to be incorporated into the production turret.

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

So the problems keep coming! World class armour that nobody else has and no capability to build our own tanks. So in terms of protection that rules out any other replacement tank on those grounds alone.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Sorry I am not quite sure why Rheinmetall/BAE Land Systems could not build the new turret in their new UK factory. BAE would just need to keep certain aspects of Dorchester uK secret. The Germans were given access to Chobham as was the USA. The Americans put it into M1. The Germans use a laminate armour on their MTB but it is not known if it is British derived. However Dorchester is a upgraded standard of the original armour and it as fare as I can tell has not been shared. so I cannot see why a new turret cannot… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

It looks like the armour issue has been discussed reading this article.
https://www.monch.com/mpg/news/land/4822-rheinmetall-challenger-2.html

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Jacko

Yes thanks very interesting. The one part amo will be a step forward. The Challenger 2 has a cast front to the turret and welded aft part. However this is only the core as this is then covered in Dorchester and the outer cover of steel plates added to cover the whole thing. I would rather see a cast front, but the armour package should cover any weak spots. I note they are only talking about the 120 this would not give much of an improvement over the current L30. I would rather see the 130mm put in, but I… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

Army doctrine is for a four man crew as they don’t think three can sustain ops over a 24hr period. So I would say no auto loader.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob N

If they opt for the larger 130mm L51 gun using the smaller of the two proposed cartridge lengths, i.e. 1.3m instead of 1.5m. The turret will still need an autoloader due to the size and weight of the round. The current DM63 weighs 21.5kg, whereas the the 1.3m cartridge is about 30kg. This will be doable for a loader, but they will quickly get fatigued if conducting rapid firing. The DM63 APFSDS round is stated to have a RHA penetration value of between 850 and 950mm. The 130 gun according to Rheinmetall is said to have a 50% greater performance… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Yes I had seen something about an ato-loadder. I agree the new amo is just too heavy for the human sustained fire. But as you say a fourth crewman is a good idea. Perhaps the new upgrade will reduce maintenance… Having the tank crew reduced by one would save money… The French appear to manage as do the Russians… We have the chance here to modernise Challenger… we should take it auto-loader and all. I also heard on the grape vine that Challenger may get a 1600bhp power pack. The problem is how many tanks will be upgraded. We may… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

That I understand, but we are hardly likely to have to face T-14s alone, it is more likely our forces would be sent into combat where T-72s or its derivatives are most numerous, in that respect Challenger should still be good.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of Facts
Dern
Dern
1 month ago

So effectively hope that if a conflict went hot with Russia the Russian schwerpunkt wouldn’t be in Estonia (where it likely will be).

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

You cannot sit back and let technical advances pass you by. That is what has got us into this mess. The T14 will not only drive change in Russia but in other countries too. You cannot say that other countries will not bring out their T14. China comes to mind – you can bet they are working on a T14, Also who is to say that the Russians will not bring out an export version. Perhaps they will give it to Syria… The point is that you need to be able to take down your potential enemies best. We cannot… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago

I suggest people take a hop over to https://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/
Some excellent pieces on Warrior, Boxer and a whole host of other stuff.( including containers…)
I have said it before the Warrior upgrade is a textbook example of how not to conduct a project and how to mismanage it completely.
Boxer is not much better.
And as for FRES…how to spend nearly 400 Mil on a vehicle without actually getting a vehicle.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

I often wonder how a country like Iran can field an army of 600,000+ with some 3000 tanks while being under international sanctions ….. and we struggle with maintaining 80,000 troops and 227 tanks …

Ron5
Ron5
1 month ago

Ask them about their NHS

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Ron5

I think the NHS is good value. Our main issue is the amount we pay out in benefits.

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Agreed. A mate of mine who is an expat living in California recently had a motorbike accident. Where he got T boned at a junction, luckily a police car was right behind him and recorded the whole event. The upshot was the ambulance bill to take him to hospital was over $1200, having X rays to check he’d broken his collar bone $5000, appointment with specialist for 30 minutes $500, over $100 on pain killers, 3 days in hospital $36,000. Then follow up treatment and physio after his cast came off was an additional $10,000. Thankfully the other person’s insurance… Read more »

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

1) Because Iran doesn’t field an Army of 600,000, that’s the total of all of Iran’s military forces including the Revolutionary Guard.
2) Because Iran’s armoured force cosists largely of T-72’s and the rest is almost evenly divided between CVRT/Chieftain and domestic Iranian Tanks.
3) Because they spend a lot less per soldier than the UK does both in terms of quality of life stuff and in terms of investment in training.
4) They make sure the losses and budget cuts from international sanctions fall on other sectors.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Ok maybe I should have typed Armed Forces rather than army but According to my sources Irans, regular Army size is 398.000, Revolutionary guard size 190,000, airforce 37,000, navy 18,000 … still much more than UK has plus they have Ballistic missile programs and a national AA Missile defense network ….. so they are quite efficient at R&D and procurement.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of Facts
Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Exactly. But you where comparing apples to oranges (though to be fair Her Majesties Armed Forces and the Iranian Armed Forces are baisically apples to oranges anyway).

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

How many of them work?

How many of them were bought by the Shah?

If their airforce is anything to go by it is either ancient, useless or fictional. Remember the joke 5th generation home grown plane they showed off. Clearly could not fly and only midgets could get into the cockpit. The ‘display lump’ totally blocked any view the pilot might have had.

And then you have their carrier…..

I’ll grant you their boat swarms are dangerous in confined waters and they do have numbers.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

Iran is buying 800 of these. http://www.military-today.com/tanks/karrar.htm
To add to an already large fleet.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of Facts
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
1 month ago

Which version: fibreglass or inflatable?

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago

I would not be so dismissive, their ballistic missiles are accurate enough that was proven not so long ago. The fact they can quickly build hundreds of these reverse engineered T-90s shows that they are a very capable nation, can the UK do the same?

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

Can they build hundreds of reverse engineered (read the Russians gave them a big helping hand) T-90’s (a tank design that is now 30 years old) or do they just claim that they can? Remember the last tank they built domestically was the Zulfiqar and over 25 years they managed to produce about 300 of them. So, over how long will Iran be producing these 800 tanks? And do they actually intend on building them or is that number just for propaganda purposes, and what is the tank actually capable of. As pointed out the vast majority of their “already… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

Yes but the point I am making here is Iran is still building tanks whereas the UK is not and will probably never do so ever again ….. that is both a concern and a shame.

Dern
Dern
1 month ago

You certainly don’t know that, even if Britain buys Leopard or some future tank it will still be domestically built, and at that point it’s no different than Iran, which only can build it’s tanks because they’re getting a lot of help from the Russians.

But then it’s a very specific metric.
Does the fact we can build aircraft carriers and they can’t feature into that at all?
What about CASD?
Or how about the NHS?
Or *insert thing we do really well and they don’t here*
That’s why it’s apples to oranges.

Last edited 1 month ago by Dern
Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  Dern

You mean if we buy foreign tanks, they ‘might’ be assembled, in the UK from foreign manufactured parts, this what is happening with Ajax. BTW I am not talking about the NHS here you are deflecting. I am talking about the UK’s ability to design, and build AFVs from raw material without much reliance on EU/US industry …. looks like that ability is gone unless some future government is willing to invest billions in a dedicated AFV plant, I just do not see that happening

Last edited 1 month ago by Bringer of Facts
Dern
Dern
1 month ago

I’m not deflecting, you asked why Iran can have a large mass army and we don’t, the NHS is part of the answer: we spend our money on different projects. If we wanted to cut back on making the UK a better place to live, cut back on CASD, cut back on Brecon courses, or cut back on *insert thing we do well and they don’t here* we could easily open a tank factory and order 800 tanks. And if you think that there’s no foreign parts in the Iranian tank assembled in Iran boy do I have a bridge… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago

Minus:
40 year old tech tank – rifled gun with impossible to get new ammunition, no Trophy like anti missile system.
No proper anti tank missile(Javelin only short range)
No AFV
Old short range artillery
Only Starstreak SAM
No UAV’s

Plus:
New armored “truck” APC: Boxer
New recon vehicle : Ajax —- misguided investment?
AH-64 Apache

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago
Reply to  AlexS

Partly however, Ajax and family of varients superb vehicles, but, being pushed into a wrong role, and Boxer, very very good, but again we have bought the bare minimum varients, ie the cheapest (even though they are still bloody expensive).

Barry Curtis
Barry Curtis
1 month ago

Following the longstanding view about poor planning of army equipment, the long awaited defence review findings on the 16th will only confuse the overall direction that the army will need to take to become a viable combat force on the future battlefield. With the rumors of having an army of 70,000 soldiers, only shows up how stretched the army will be in the future. The army needs to reduce its NATO commitment to key areas of operation, this can be to concentrate on covering the High North and the associated waters to protect Europe’s northern flanks and communications links with… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Curtis

Barry, some good points. As an island nation we need an amphibious Bde and an air assault Bde for theatre entry, power projection and the ability to reinforce Norway (NATO). On top of that I’d emphasise SFs, training teams and a rapdly deployable Strike Division of three Bdes based on Boxer (with 155mm, MLRS, Light tank & 40mm IFV Boxers). More than that we can no longer do. Let the Germans, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians & Romanians (+ of course the Americans) worry about large scale armoured ops along NATO’s eastern land border. We should also have the ambition to build… Read more »

Barry Curtis
Barry Curtis
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Thank-you Rob for your reply to my views, the reason behind my points in regards to future land forces (Army), is that I feel that 3 Commando Bde will become a mothballed structure in the future, due to the Royal Marines (40, 45 commando’s) moving more towards specialised operations that’s more in line with UK special forces, the same applies to the parachute regiment. Both lot’s of forces can easily fit into an enlarged SF structure that would also incorporate RAF UCAV assets as well, I feel that this could lead to forming a Special Operations Command (8,000 personnel) that would… Read more »

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Barry Curtis

Well Barry we are basically in agreement although I wouldn’t be merging 3 Cmdo Bde & 16AA Bde. As I’ve said above, a significant ability for theatre entry across a beach, by parachute or helicopter is essential for an island nation such as ours. As for the Strike (basically Boxer) Bdes, I’d make sure we get significant artillery systems (Boxer, or Archer 155mm & Boxer mounted GMLRS), which is a massive weakness at the moment. Yes M777 could support Cmdo & Para Bdes. Also we need to get serious about air defence. Each Bde should have a large Battery of… Read more »

Barry Curtis
Barry Curtis
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob

Thanks Rob for your views, I fully understand about your concerns about the state of the artillery/ air-defence, the army has been severely lacking for years. The trouble is the whole army fighting ability is crumbling before our eyes through years of confused planning and financial negligence, and the army is now paying the price. Field Regiments: (4) Command and Support Battery 1x Field Artillery Battery – (8x M777 Howitzers) 3x HIMARS Batteries – (12x HIMARS Systems placed on Man HX Trucks in each battery) – total 36x systems The future approach to field artillery is changing, especially seeing how… Read more »

Mark F
Mark F
1 month ago

There was an article 2 months ago stating the army intended to rationalise the their armoured fleet. Why is everyone surprised the bull dog as it became named was uprated with new armour for the troops to use in Iraq and now this is all coming to a head because of the much anticipated review. These vehicles are going and a good thing too as it won’t persuade the bean counters to hang on to them and save the cost of replacing them or not as the case maybe.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

Yes we urgently need to modernise. The challenger 2 It needs a new turret with 130mm gun or a new tank. We need more air defence. A national SAM system like MOST Western countries (ASTER 30 NT1), we need more Sky Sabre batteries. And we need a fully automated short range SAM system – no man in the loop tracking, a fire and forget system. We have got to stop messing around, get serious and get new systems in decent numbers. By the way is Sky Sabre in service? It was due to be active on the Falklands by the… Read more »

Cymbeline
Cymbeline
1 month ago

I have this vision of the Poles on Horseback charging German armour, whilst not yet at the same level you have to give the boys the right equipment or face a total lack of moral. If its ever the governments intention to put troops into a major conflict again they must give them the proper protection/survivability and firepower to respond. In truth if I was a tanky I’d not be happy.

pkcasimir
pkcasimir
1 month ago
Reply to  Cymbeline

The idea that Polish cavalry charged German armor is one of those myths of WW2 that never seem to die. Here’s what really happened:

Skeptoid: The Myth of the “Polish Cavalry Charge Against Tanks”

Caspian237
Caspian237
1 month ago

You’ve got to hand it to those canny Germans! While we’re worrying about our ability to deploy armour to the continent, they’re sitting at the heart of Europe, making the absolute most out of the peace and prosperity that NATO has delivered while spending very little themselves on defence yet still making a tidy profit selling tanks and armoured vehicles to their neighbours and all the while building gas pipelines directly to Russia to bypass other NATO allies, much to the annoyance of all, but with no apparent censure from anyone. 

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Caspian237

50billion per year is “very little”? Interesting.

dan
dan
1 month ago

Covid turned Boris into a defense liberal. lol

AlexS
AlexS
1 month ago
Reply to  dan

Still with that idiot American tag “liberal” for people that want to control the life of others?

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

A colleague of mine once said there are 3 stages in decision making: what, so what and now what. From the leaks we have seen and this report I think both HMGov and MPs get the problem. When you are at the bottom and that’s where the army is with its equipment, there is only one way to go and that’s up. Ajax/ Ares is contracted. So is the first tranche of Boxers. The trend will be towards fewer vehicle types, pragmatism and UK jobs.If we abandon the Warrior fleet I think we might even see an off the shelf… Read more »

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Boxer would easily keep up with a C2 on any terrain. Maybe in deep snow it might struggle a bit more but I doubt it. Boxer has been trialled in Norway and they reported now issues with mobility. Finland went for an 8×8 so says it all.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

How heavy is Boxer with the 40mm CTA turret?

Daveyb
Daveyb
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Put some soft sand and powder snow in the way and an 8×8 vehicle gets beached quickly. Nothing beats the tactical mobility of tracks. Seen too many LAVS, Strikers and Fuchs beached on their bellies in places like Afghan, Iraq and Norway requiring a rescue by a tracked vehicle.

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Very true, Wheeled technology is much better than it used to be, but tracked vehicles are still the most effective choice for that terrain type.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  Daveyb

By default the Warrior upgrade defines the army’s aspirational requirement: a tracked IFV with a 40mm CT cannon. The Aussies have decided that tracked is more important than 40mm and have shortlisted 30mm tracked IFVs from S. Korea and Rheinmetall for their ‘Land’ program. We could look at the Rheinmetall offering. Alternatively we could develop an 40mm IFV variant of Boxer or Ajax and cobble up an interim solution in the meantime. My feeling is that if you have made the 40mm CTA a strategic decision and are going to have to wait for the final solution then you may… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

As a base vehicle, Warrior is still very good. They are 35 to 40 years old, so today just a little bit tired. Armour wise they are no worse than an Ajax, certainly miles better than a BMP3. The CTAS 40mm brings a whole different set of options that were never available with the 30mm rarden, such as fixing on a target and shooting on the move, plus programmable HE.

I do have a soft spot for Warrior, certainly more creature comforts than many IFVs.

Mark B
Mark B
1 month ago

Wow. Well if we have no intention of fighting continental land battles any more then let’s stop kidding ourselves and build a proper defensive Army for the UK etc. Personally I think we have been focusing on the RN and RAF whilst we watch to see if Europe will properly equip itself to defend itself. Let’s make a decision now to completely modernise our defence industry and build 90% ourselves in such a way that we can rapidly scale up should the need arise. A lesson we have already learned about things like PPE. In my view you need to… Read more »

Ross
Ross
1 month ago

I’ve said many times on this forum that I’m principally a Navy man on the basis that this should be the UK’s military focus. However, without a well equipped, credible and large enough Army (to be clear I believe ‘large enough’ would be about double it’s current strength at least), we can not effectively achieve not only viable defence force (the most basic goal), but won’t be able to achieve our foreign and strategic aims. I believe the Army has been very badly served by bureaucratic generals, and perhaps the even more serious faults of the MoD. It is as… Read more »

Andrew
1 month ago

Look at the posts Guys it is no doubt very upsetting ,but you know it’s not about which service gets this or that .The problem has been PM,and MPs cutting money here and there ,and letting it get to this point and we cut to the bone and slept other countries built up ,so we are were we are because of these people.

Peter S
Peter S
1 month ago

Just finished reading the whole report which seems fair and comprehensive. But why publish it now? Did it feed into the Integrated Review? If not, it’s too late to have any effect.
One or two interesting points:
* a real emphasis on the need for a Ground Industrial Strategy not least to sustain the skills to carry out upgrades
* Serious doubts about the Ajax for reconnaissance role and the value for money of CTAS.
And a surprise to me: Boxer is being delivered at the rate of one a week. So 10 years to get them all!

Phil Hopkins
Phil Hopkins
1 month ago

Nobody should be surprised about this. For what ever reason this government and pass governments have made our Armed Forces smaller and smaller, Boris put extra money into the Armed forces but, they are going to make our Forces even smaller it’s a bloody disgrace.

Andrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Hopkins

When Boris became PM I was hopeful if anything he would build our forces back up.But it’s looking like you could call our Armed services a defence force.IF cuts go a head sadly he can not really call us Global Britain.Now we all know COVID has cost US dearly ,but other countries don’t seem to let it worry them USSR CHINA ect .Do our PM,MPs have some sort of Disease call cuts .The times I’ve put on posts wake up smell the coffee ,mybe I should go to number 10 and make him one a very strong one at that… Read more »

Graham
Graham
1 month ago

The British army can no longer field a warfighting division, the RAF has been slashed below the bone, and the Navy has an appalling lack of escort vessels, submarines and support vessels. The nuclear deterrent used to be funded directly by the Treasury, but now has to funded from the Defence budget. Apparently more cuts to all services and capabilities in the IDR. The simple truth is that successive Governments have put forward grandiose ambitions for a first rate military but are barely funding a force capable of home defence. Without proper funding it’s time to restructure the entire force… Read more »

Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

That sounds realistic! I’m tired of the pretentious ‘world beating’ guff churned out by Bojo’s circus act. Let’s have a bit of realism and cut our ambitions according to the financial cloth available. Unless, of course, we can draw on the extra resources provided by our amazing new trade deals and the massive increase in trade with the EU. Global Britain indeed!

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham

Id go with that – our Cloth has to be Cut according to our Means.

Bill
Bill
1 month ago

And the ‘No shit Sherlock’ award goes to…..HMG and the Defence Procurement Agency. Bring back Snatch Land Rovers and load em up with a Starstreak system!

Christopher Allen
Christopher Allen
1 month ago

Disgraceful! I don’t usually endorse capital punishment but this article makes me willing to make an exception.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago

A lot of chickens coming home to roost now. Years of mismangement and neglect from FRES onwards. Moving into an era of rearmament the approach must not to be correct the past, but rather to build better and more rapidly for the future.

Last edited 1 month ago by James Fennell
JohnN
JohnN
1 month ago

Some video from a few days ago of the contenders for the Australian Army IFV project:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Wn2k2qZ6Urg

KF41 Lynx and AS21 Redback, with an old M113 in between.

Cheers,

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  JohnN

Thx. It seems the Lynx shares some suspension parts with Ajax. The issue is the army aspiration for a tracked IFV with a 40mm CT cannon. The Warrior upgrade was the only way to achieve that. If they want to hold out for a tracked 40mm IFV we are going to have to develop an Ajax variant. This will take time so there will have to be an interim solution. Many commentators think putting the 40mm turret on Boxer is a good compromise. But what if that results in a heavy vehicle a compromises traction on soft ground?

Rogbob
Rogbob
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I agree, a turret on Boxer is a recce vehicle not one loaded up with dismounts and their kit.

The option might be 40mm boxers and Ajax as recce/fire support and abandon the IFV and stick with Ares? and standard Boxer just as an APC.

I dont know if an IFV variant (stretched?) of Ajax is possible – it was one originally but protection and systems have moved a long way from that starting point and stretching vehicles often encounters serious problems in itself.

John Mulley
John Mulley
1 month ago

I bet we end up buying German tanks.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

Nothing wrong with that if they are good enough. They should know a thing or two about Tanks!

john melling
john melling
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

I would say we end up looking further into the “European Main Battle Tank”

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

It becoming quite popular! If we have a degree of commonality on the battlefield should war break out in Europe or elsewhere for that matter sometime in the future, spare parts as an example can be shared and we would not have to invest in that many tanks to make up a joint credible fighting force? “The 2A7+ MBT was unveiled during the Eurosatory 2010 exhibition in France and has been tested and qualified by the German Army. The MBT was deployed in Afghanistan by Canada under Nato command. Germany’s Federal Security Council approved a deal to sell up to… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
1 month ago
Reply to  John Mulley

Probably not much choice now as we let the Vickers Tank factory go.

Heidfirst
Heidfirst
1 month ago

I’m not going to get into the technical argument over the various possible options. Imo the root of problem is that various governments have asked the army (tbh all services) to be able to do too much (basically everything) with available manpower & funding. The government(s) have no idea of what is realistically achievable for the manpower/budget that is left – we can’t be all things to all men unless they fund/man it. Somebody has to be brave & explain it to them rather than kowtowing. I know of at least 1 young, high achieving & earmarked for further promotion,… Read more »

Alex Brown
Alex Brown
1 month ago

Damn that report really doesn’t use any flowery language when it comes to pointing out how poorly served our armoured forces are and the fact that we seem to have been doing our procurement based on what is coming rather than what we are having now. The main point now is making the effort to actually fix the whole issue. I mean when it comes to the tank for instance do we take an existing tank or develop a successor for the Challenger 2? If so do we bring in another nation and share the costs with them? Same questions… Read more »

Pacman27
Pacman27
1 month ago

What I find interesting about this is the fact that the person primarily responsible for this sad state of affairs (FRES) has been promoted and is none other than the current CODS Nick Carter.

Instead of promoting him and extending his tenure he should have been sacked for cause.

until top brass actually pay for their mistakes and lack of success – this is likely to repeat.

Rob Young
Rob Young
1 month ago

Not many people seem to point out that most Russian armoured vehicles and guns are either originally from or upgraded from the Soviet era – and so just as bad as British equipment!

Mike
Mike
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I disagree Rob, CR2 and Warrior have had no major upgrades and so are far behind the Russian formations which are currently using T72B3 and BMP/BMD3 a vastly upgraded pair of vehicles to name just 2.

Rob Young
Rob Young
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike

Agreed – but how many have been upgraded? OK, Wiki… but, T80 450 active, 3,000 in reserve, so far about 170 upgraded to T80-BVM, T72, 2,000 ACTIVE, 3,000 in reserve, about 1350 of those in service B3. And ‘vastly upgraded’ perhaps – but enough to equal Challeger? My questrion re Russians is always the same – how much can they do with the resources they possess? T-14 suggests they are cash strapped so can put on a good face. But depth?

Paul T
Paul T
1 month ago
Reply to  Rob Young

But they have them in much Larger Numbers ,Joseph Stalin had a Point.

Rob Young
Rob Young
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Most of Stalin’s tanks were new, not 30+ old during most of which time they were badly neglected. Admit it would be nice (as in, necessary) to have a lot more than we have, but thinking in terms of never having to face Russia by ourselves…

Dern
Dern
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul T

Uncle Joe also fielded tanks with 85 and 122mm guns while the Wehrmacht had a mix of 50, 75 and 88mm guns on theirs.

G Hanson
G Hanson
1 month ago

Its time to admit we no longer have the industrial base or the procurement nowse we once had and why not buy off the shelf from the US. At least our soldiers would have better than what we have now much sooner.

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago
Reply to  G Hanson

It’s interesting to recall that the Cockerells were born in Lancashire….

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

Janes, 4 March 2021, “Boxer awaits firing trials with John Cockerill Defense C3105 turret”. So a Belgian 2 man C3105 turret with a high velocity 105mm gun with autoloader, has been fitted to a Boxer hull near Munich. Some of these for UK Strike Brigades would give them teeth.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Could not these 105mm guns be adapted for RN vessels at sea?

DJ
DJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Not really. They are direct fire guns with only secondary indirect fire. They are missing ammo options like AA, have a low rate of fire, no naval turret or below deck loading system etc. Many of its specialty anti-armour rounds would have limited naval use against modern ships. Common naval guns already exist in 57, 76, 100 & 127mm. High pressure tank guns in 105 have been around for decades, so there has been plenty of opportunity if it was a viable option.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

FFS get these in Strike Brigades with other variants and put Ajax back in the Armoured Brigades…if any remain!

Paul.P
Paul.P
1 month ago

If Warrior is indeed abandoned it will be interesting to see how it is replaced. The Cockerell turret is one of several which have been put on Boxer IFV. For the UK the 40mm CTAS has to be favourite for commonality and this gun is a strategic direction.
Have to say that the Ajax Ares family looks like starship enterprise. State of the art sensors and comms, the same as are fitted to C2 and Apache apparently. I believe the army has tested the Ares with Javelin.
On Monday all will be revealed?

Email Ittome
Email Ittome
1 month ago

What is the difference between IFV and APC, other than a manned turret with auto canon on IFV, is there a really difference? If Warrior upgrade is being cancelled, would Ares APC variant from Ajax fill that role with addition of unmanned turret with 30mm canon? E.g John Cockerill CPWS GEN2 turret. This is same caliber as the current armament of the Warrior, so what is the difference? In fact you can attach couple of anti tank missile, which is not an option on the Warrior. Since Ares can carry crew of 3 (commander, driver and gunner) plus 7 dismount,… Read more »

Popeye
Popeye
1 month ago

More Horses in the British Army than Tanks. What a laugh ?