The current forecasted out of service date for AS90 is 2030.

The information came to light through a Parliamentary Question.

Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of when the UK’s AS90 will be removed from service.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, responded:

“The current forecast out of service date of the AS90 is 2030.”

Hasn’t the date changed a couple of times?

Yes, Andrew Chuter at DefenseNews reported back in 2020 that a procurement delay means “the current date for decommissioning the AS90s has also gone back two years. A portion of the howitzer force will now remain operational until 2032.”

This appears to have changed again.

What is AS90?

According to the British Army here, the AS90 is a 155mm self-propelled gun that equips three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery.

“The AS90 is fitted with a 155mm, 39-calibre gun barrel. In trials, two AS90 guns were able to deliver a total payload of 261kg on to a single target in less than ten seconds. An automated loading system enables the gun to fire with a burst rate of three rounds in fewer than ten seconds, an intense rate of six rounds a minute for three minutes and a sustained rate of two rounds a minute. The gun is equipped with a recoil and hydrogas suspension system, which allows the turret to traverse and fire through a full 360°.”

What will replace AS90?

The Mobile Fires Platform project is moving forward but remains in the concept phase.

Jeremy Quin, Minister for Defence Procurement, said in response to a series of questions asking about what platform will replace AS90, the cost and when the platform will be brought into service:

“The process for the identification of the mobile Fires platform, the successor to the AS90, is well underway, but not yet complete. A number of solutions remain under consideration but it would be inappropriate to comment on these until this process is complete.

Quin also added:

“The Mobile Fires Platform (the principal project within the Close Fires Programme) remains in the Concept phase. It is, therefore, too early to understand the whole life cost of the Programme.”

Initial Operating Capability for the Mobile Fires Platform will be achieved in 2029.

One heavily publicised option for the project is the Hanwha Defense K9. The firm recently announced that it would join with UK suppliers to compete for the UK’s ‘Mobile Fires Platform’ programme.

“Hanwha Defense has begun formal discussions with UK partners to arrange for a ‘Made in the UK’ variant of its K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer”, according to a news release.

“The K9 is operationally proven and will be put forward by Hanwha Defense for the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform programme to equip the British Army with a world-leading artillery capability.”

More than 600 units of the K9 artillery system have been sold to nations around the world. The K9 self-propelled howitzer was developed jointly with the South Korean Agency for Defense Development in 1998. The builders say it offers the world’s highest level of performance with a maximum range of 40km and maximum speed of 67km per hour.

Hanwha pitch K9 howitzer to UK as AS90 replacement

You can read more about the K9 by clicking the link above or by clicking here.

 

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Bulkhead
Bulkhead
11 days ago

The next fiasco ?

Mark B
Mark B
11 days ago
Reply to  Bulkhead

Not sure the UK should be building such kit. Buying off the shelf avoids such a fiasco. There might be some who would advocate mothballing the existing kit and not replacing it? There might be some logic to the view that from a selfish UK perspective buying kit in the right numbers to protect us from air and sea might be the priority?

Last edited 11 days ago by Mark B
Mark
Mark
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

We could if it’s part of the boxer family, that way we’ed save a shed load on through life maintenance and availablity as you can just swap out the drive unit and mount it on another drive unit. The way we’re going with the helo upgrade the boxer platform makes complete sense in that you can have multiple systems that can be swapped and changed as per deployment without having to pay a fortune for individual vehicles. Also means less training as all driving controls the same. But the market is awash with 155mm tracked and wheeled systems. There is… Read more »

Mark
Mark
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark

Well the brass are certainly interested they apparently also went to Germany to a get first hand look at the RCH155 system when it was demonstrated it apparently can also fire in the move…https://euro-sd.com/2021/08/articles/exclusive/23833/rch-155/

Jay
Jay
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark

I know looks have nothing to do with it, however that looks terrible, would have to be named ‘Mungo’ in UK service!

peter Wait
peter Wait
11 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Mothballing no good if parts are no longer available and require manufacturing in small numbers.

Mark B
Mark B
11 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

Can you not 3D print the parts nowadays

peter Wait
peter Wait
6 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

Not electronic boxes lol

Mark B
Mark B
6 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

lol. Good point. Perhaps the solution is to run with what we have and just buy off the shelf when we have to! … unless we are saying this is the top priority for funding now

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago

Glacial.

P8 in service within, what, 5 years?

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago

Choices choices! It may well be a wheeled solution for all the BCTs will be chosen, to ensure commonality of platform. If not I cannot see any more than 2 RA Regiments getting anything with tracks, maybe 40ish units, with an order for another 4 wheeled Regiments to cover 7RHA, 29 and the other 2 light BCTs. Maybe another 70 units max? Will depend on whether they will be going for 3 x 4 Gun Btys or back to 3 x 6? But while this is essential, the RA need to be looking at getting other essential battle winning kit,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I fear it is worse than even that mate. I believe this programme is not looking to replace the LGs in 29 and 7RHA, but only the AS90 and possibly the LGs in 4 RA, 3 regs worth. 1 RHA, 19RA are the AS90 Regs. Background – The other regular gun regiments, 3 RHA and 4 RA, were once AS90 Regs, long cut when their Mech/Armd Bdes went to the wall, and reduced to being equipped with LG’s. They were to go to Strike Bdes – so 3 RHA and 4 RA, in effect would now support 7 LMBCT and… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago

And to add, I would prioritise the RA over ALL OTHER ARMS.

But we know the CBM won’t allow that!

Anti UAV, more SHROAD, MRAD, long range precision missiles, HIMARS, smart loitering munitions. An endless list.

With so far NOT ONE of those improvements save a slight uplift in GMLRS from 44 to 50 something.

Smoke, spin, and mirrors.

Until proven otherwise.

Steve
Steve
11 days ago

Has the uplift actually happened or just another promise without substance?

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago

Having had a re-read of the future plans and some internet browsing I think your spot on mate. Possibly an order of 70ishthen, give or take, which is another cut in real terms. The fact of the matter is the RA, whether other arms like it or not, are the future battle winners in every sphere of operations. But, theyve been neglected for so long it will be an uphill struggle to even ensure they stay relevent. Cheers.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, There are a lot of potential capabilities that could be developed around autonomous vehicles, both ground and airborne. However, there was an army project a few years ago that I read about that did not use AV’s. Members of the frontline tank regiments were invited to ‘develop’ the tank of the future. They did a great job and mocked up a Challenger with a lots of new kit including three Brimstone surface to surface missiles mounted on the rear of the turrent. I can’t find a link anymore so the article I read may have been taken down… Read more »

Crabfat
Crabfat
11 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago
Reply to  Crabfat

Ah, thanks mate – that’s the one…

Cheer CR

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Mate precision fires is the way forward. We have enough skills and tech knowledge to come up with some rather simple and localised solutions, but, as ever, not the will, both political or military! OS, both close support and depth, using either guided munitions, base bleed shells, rockets and UAV is the way forward, more so in todays environment. The RA will need massive investment, and dare I say, at the expense of the Infantry, need to reform a number of Regiments to fullfill those roles.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Hi Airborne, I wonder if, given the lamentable state of the teeth arms of the British Army, if there is not an opportunity to ‘jump’ a generation here. If a precisions fires was deemed the way forward, exploiting existing technology where possible should be the approach taken. I think there would still be a need for tube artillery, but a move to precision fires as the main effector could give the RA a new start and a capability that would potentially impress allies and adversaries. The RA could be custodians of the big precision fires batteries. What I have in… Read more »

Steve
Steve
11 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

The issue with anything guided, whether it missile or shell, is cost and even the US can’t afford to switch everything over.

In a war situation you need to be able to use artillery both to strike specific targets and to provide sustained fire to provide covering fire, which i think volume of shells is more important than absolute accuracy. Ideally we would want a platform that can do both, to give max options.

John Hartley
John Hartley
11 days ago

I have an artillery book from 1994, that predicted AS90 would get a 52 calibre barrel upgrade with extra automation. Never happened due to defence cuts. Would have kept AS 90 relevant.
I think the UK should be looking at Rheinmetall 155mm 60 cal with larger chamber for top end & buying USMC cast off M777 for light transportability.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
11 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I was thinking the same as to why the AS90 wasn’t rebarrelled with a longer calibre. I hope there’s better ER munition on offer for the K9 as a 40km range doesn’t seem that great. I think this is the same model being taken up by the Australian Army here and will be locally manufactured.

Daveyb
Daveyb
11 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The Polish basically operate the 52 cal upgraded AS90 that was the Braveheart program. However, they have mounted the AS90’s turret onto a local variant of a T72 chassis and the gun barrel is now a Rheinmetall one not BAe.

There are now a load of extended range munitions available that conform to the NATO 155mm chamber standard, from base bleed and rocket assistance to a ramjet powered shell. The Nammo guided ramjet 155mm shell has a range in excess of 150km.

BB85
BB85
11 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Strange that the UK doesn’t even consider it an option. What’s to stop them purchasing the turrets from Poland and mounting them in the existing refurbished chasis.
I think it will be a foreign order no matter what happens as the number if units won’t justify a local setup.

Daveyb
Daveyb
10 days ago
Reply to  BB85

From what I’ve heard the chassis of the AS90s are very maintenance heavy due to their age. There is no production line to keep them up to date and replace major parts. So unless someone like BAe are willing to reopen the line, it is unfortunately a non starter.

Basically, the Army got screwed over, when the funding although necessary was spent on MRAPs, rather than modernising existing heavy equipment. As can plainly be seen through other types of equipment, we are now paying the cost!

John Hartley
John Hartley
9 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

BAE has been doing lots of work on upgrading US M109. Perhaps some of that could transfer to AS90? Thinking of the 58 calibre barrel they are planning on fitting.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

US Army plots path ahead for new mobile 155 mm howitzer prototype12 JANUARY 2022

“The US Army is taking the next step towards developing a new wheeled 155 mm howitzer and is asking companies to participate in a multi-year assessment that could lead to the design of a new weapon system.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/land-forces/latest/us-army-plots-path-ahead-for-new-mobile-155-mm-howitzer-prototype

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
11 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Adding a few of these into the mix would be a very useful addition to our ground forces.

Potential Boxer fit maybe?

Thales FZ275 LGR qualified with LGR4 Fletcher launcher13 JANUARY 2022

“The combination of the Fletcher ground-based launcher and the FZ275 LGR [lightest and longest range 70 mm/2.75 inch LGR in its class], delivers precision-guided accuracy against fixed and mobile targets, with minimal collateral damage, to dismounted rapid-reaction forces. This type of capability has typically been limited to aviation-mounted platforms.”

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/weapons-headlines/latest/thales-fz275-lgr-qualified-with-lgr4-fletcher-launcher

Daveyb
Daveyb
10 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

BAe proposed the use of the APKWS for ground use a couple of years ago. I don’t know enough about the French 70mm to make a comparison. But I do know the APKWS has been used in “trials” a number of times to take out drone targets. If I remember correctly one of the targets was a remotely operated Huey. Being ground launch the range won’t be massive, most likely under 10km. But as they are much cheaper than say a Starstreak or its equivalent. Then the guided 70mm rocket would be an ideal candidate for countering the slower moving… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
10 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

No harm in looking, or cost!

LGSC29
LGSC29
11 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Accuracy. We tried it. The error budget of free flight projectiles, not least ER, increases exponentially with range and the amount of ordnance required to achieve target effect was …. not effective. The future is smart shells … and they don’t need barrels on heavy tracks nor the quantity of log dedicated to the task.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago

I note that the K9 was developed at about the same time as the AS90 i.e. late 1980’s into the early 1990’s. The lack of a properly thoughtout and funded through life sustianment for the AS90 is why we are having to [probably] buy from an overseas company.

Lack of investment has not only left the Army with an inadequate capability, but robbed UK industry with the ability to develop a cost effective replacement it seems.

Typical UK political short sightedness.

Cheers CR

Pete
Pete
11 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Not so sure. UK volumes are so small, even if double the volume, it wouldn’t be viable (without massive subsidy) to maintain a UK product manufacturing base. This is the kind of stuff it makes sense to buy off the shelf at efficient pricing.Just wish they would get on with it !

lee1
lee1
11 days ago
Reply to  Pete

If we kept development going and kept things ticking over by a viable upgrade and replacement program, it would make it far more likely that other nations would purchase it and hence keep it paying for itself. The short sighted way in which we run things in this country is what costs us. The AS90 was a brilliant platform when it was produced but lack of development meant it very quickly became outdated.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago
Reply to  lee1

Yup, my point precisely lee1.

Cheers CR

Pete
Pete
11 days ago
Reply to  lee1

Here’s the problem 120 units with 25 year life is only a handful a year. Never enough to make it sustainable. The Streetfighter concept discussed elsewhere…now that would carry some real R&D and with that some premium and desired advantage ripe for export..but basic tube units…sorry.

Lee1
Lee1
11 days ago
Reply to  Pete

I disagree. 120 is a fair number to start off with. If we then had an upgrade program and had the first batches go back for improvements then the factory would be in constant even if light use. The benefits of keeping the factory skilled up and working is huge.no one is going to order units from a factory that has to restart production and re-skill workers as the expense is huge. The US tends to order an initial batch and then reduce the production rate. We should do the same. If 120 units are require we should order 20… Read more »

Challenger
Challenger
11 days ago

The Army’s chronic dithering has come back to bite them big time. AS90, CVRT, Challenger 2, Bulldog, Apache, the 105mm – I can’t think of many major systems that don’t need significant upgrades or replacement sooner rather than later!

Ian Skinner
Ian Skinner
11 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

David
David
11 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Chronic dithering, certainly. But by the Army, or by their political masters?

Challenger
Challenger
11 days ago
Reply to  David

Bit of both I guess. Doesn’t help when governments change their minds every couple of years but equally The Army always has a list of specifications as long as you like and seems incapable of compromising with off the shelf capabilities.

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  David

If it was MoD why do the RN and RAF seem to do so much (relatively) better.

Steve
Steve
11 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

My view on this is the role of the RN / RAF hasn’t really changed in decades and neither have they been tested since the Falklands. The army however has had to pivot almost every few years as threats change/restructuring and gear found not to be as advertised through actual combat experience.

Put the navy or airforce up against a opponent that can hit back and then I suspect procurement issues would start appearing all over the place.

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve

With the RN and RAF it is a question of if or maybe. With the Army we can be a lot more definite.

Marked
Marked
11 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The RAF was seriously tested in the first Gulf War. Going up against a capable air defence system. It led to significant changes in ground attack tactics and weaponry as those in use were found to not be as successful as expected.

To say they are untested is very unfair.

The role has changed a lot as well. In the past aircraft types and squadrons specialised in specific roles. These days fast jet squadrons have had to become multirole, that places a very heavy workload on them.

Steve
Steve
11 days ago
Reply to  Marked

That was 30 years ago though, in those 30 years the army has been heavily involved in multiple wars where they have been pushed hard and a lot of lessons have been hard learnt

BigH1979
BigH1979
10 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Agree with this. A very good reply. Its not RAF/RN bashing but just a statement of fact that the face of Land Warfare has gone through the most significant change in the last 40 years. And with its budget the Army will struggle to meet all the different facets and possibilities however much the will is there..

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
11 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Armoured Engineering is one of the few areas where we’re world class with Terrier, Titan and Trojan. The replacement of the M2 Bridging kit that is on the way will also improve the situation (bridging is already pretty good). The AAC is also looking in good shape. Quite how the rest of the Army got itself in such a mess needs a book written…Artillery, Armour, AT, Signals and EW, Intelligence, Armoured Infantry, Recce….all the teeth arms in a shocking state. The situation with dismounted infantry is also confused….small arms systems brought in then discarded in little time (Sig Sauer P220,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
11 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Yep, pretty much spot on for me.

Challenger
Challenger
11 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

With what The UK spends on defence and an Army of 72,000 there’s no excuse to not have 6 deployable brigades and a decent array of equipment comparable to France or Italy.

AV
AV
11 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

That’s pretty much it in a nutshell 👍

Steve
Steve
10 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

How the army got into a state it’s in is pretty easy to figure out, and comes down to the cold war ending and the incorrect assumption that pier warfare was no longer needed, or at least no longer a priority. The same thing explains the lack of anti ship missiles seen on both the RN and USN until recently. The army started to focus on much lighter warfare and considered whilst it’s heavy gear like warror was no longer up to the job for pier warfare it was fine for policing roles and therefore no need to invest in… Read more »

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
7 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Some of that is true…but….there has been colossal waste as well in the armoured vehicle fleet from FRES onwards, all of which has resulted in multiple £billions spent with zero vehicles on show. Procurement since Bowman has been a disaster, Soothsayer EW, Fireshadow, Cobra radar etc. Add it all up and that was enough money to modernise or replace most of the Army’s gear….they failed, and no changes are in place to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.

Steve
Steve
7 days ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Oh for sure, but if you look at public sector procurement across the board, it’s a mess. Too much corruption and polictical interference and not enough ownership/accountability.

Last edited 7 days ago by Steve
Daveyb
Daveyb
11 days ago

Come on seriously, how hard can it be? Buy the BAe Archer system mounted on the MAN RMMZ HX2 8×8 chassis. Then gives these to Brigade combat teams. These then will be able to keep up with the Boxers.

If we still have a brigade and tracks are required. Then there are other options to the K9 including the Pz2000 and the Paladin. Though Australia chose the K9 over these two for a reason.

David Steeper
David Steeper
11 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

That would make far too much sense.

Last edited 11 days ago by David Steeper
Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
11 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Better still just buy the rights to production of the AGM from Rheinmetall…

It can be fitted on Ajax hulls, Boxer or MAN trucks. You could have all 3 for different roles…

David Barry
David Barry
11 days ago

Chariot Rider, Challenger, Pete et al, make fair points.

What I miss in the great industrial complex scheme of things is that, sustained investment in Warrior, Chally, AS90, would have have given us the ability to supply other nation states rather than having to buy in; who was responsible for selling off our crown jewels?

BB85
BB85
11 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Chally struggled because Germany was giving away all of its Leopard 2s. Warrior struggled because BAE pushed CV90 instead. AS90 struggled because there wasn’t a lot of demand at the time and the UK cancelled the upgrade only for Poland to step in and benefit from it

John N
John N
11 days ago

Here in Australia, the Government just signed the contract with Hanwha for the AS9 SPG and the AS10 armoured ammunition supply vehicles, they will be built here in Oz.

https://adbr.com.au/hanwha-protected-mobile-fires-deal-signed/

Phase 1 is for 30 x AS9 and 15 x AS10, a follow on phase 2 will add a second batch of reportedly the same again, eg, another 30 x AS9 and 15 x AS10.

Cheers,

Patrick
Patrick
11 days ago

Army procurement needs to be taken away from the Army. A group of teenagers with a defence catalogue would do a better job.

Angus
Angus
11 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

Here here. the kit we have in the services leaves much to be imagined. RN Ships Uniform is one, it’s crap, it shrinks, lasts about 3 months and does not do what the crews need and it’s made in all places China, that whats happens when all uniform went under the Army control. Glad the RM;s got some cash to go shopping and get kit that works. Time to take the shopping off the green jobs and get someone in who knows what they are doing.

BobA
BobA
11 days ago
Reply to  Angus

The RN procurement system and the RM have seriously messed up the new uniform system. By going for Crye Precision as the supplier (because it looks good) they have screwed themselves twice over. Firstly it’s only good for what it was designed for – SF door kicking (not their role). Anything else and it falls to bits – the AUS Army reversed their decision to go with it and replaced it with their original pattern combat clothing, just in multicam because it performed so poorly in Afghanistan. Secondly, the RM are way down Crye’s priority list because they are so… Read more »

peter Wait
peter Wait
2 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Blair closed down Remploy who used to make uniforms, first he cut orders to make them unviable then made the disabled workers unemployed. The idiot thought they should be in mainstream employment rather than working in a happy family atmosphere !

Simon
Simon
11 days ago

Civilian here, does it need tracks if it has 40 km range? Again if a small order as others have said why not get off the shelf from elsewhere. We need to be in partnership with others if we intend to build thing’s.

Nathan
Nathan
11 days ago

Mobile Fires seems like an irrelevance for us nowadays. What is it, 180 AS90s and 148 C3s? We may be investing in some good equipment but what’s the point when our numbers are so small? Our land forces are spread so thinly that buying a hundred or so, whatevers, seems like a token capability to keep people quiet. Would it not be better, given the pitiful levels of spending the army gets and its own inability to use that funding wisely to concentrate funds into fewer pots and deliver serious capabilities in those? Manage what we can properly? Seriously why… Read more »

louis
louis
11 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

We haven’t had 180 AS90s for ages. Given only two operational regiments I expect only 50 or 60 are in service

Nathan
Nathan
11 days ago
Reply to  louis

Gosh, even worse than I thought.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

How is Mobile Fires (or Arty sp as we used to call it) irrelevant. Tell that to the Russians or any other army for that matter.
Fire support is vital in warfighting and often has its uses in counter-insurgency.
How is Hellfire comparable to a 155mm artillery system – they do different jobs.

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

While numbers are low, dangerously low in some areas of the Army, you still need a balanced force to ensure you have the full range of capabilites, and Arty support, be it close, depth, tubed or missile, is part and parcel of that capability. To remove one aspect would be folly and have a serious detrimental effect on our ability to conduct any level of warfare mate.

AV
AV
11 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

180?…I wish!…probably 30 good to go, maybe 50 with a bit of a heads up.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
11 days ago

Some questions :

What makes the K9 better than the AS90 ?

Why not just upgrade the gun/turret?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago

K9 is newer design and can go faster (67km versus 53km and shoots further – 40km vs. 25km) than AS90. There are surely many other differences.

AS90 is nearly 30 years old – too late for an upgrade (that should have been done at least twice since it was introduced in 1993).

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
11 days ago

I wonder how many other countries spend so much time pondering the suitability of systems that are already in production for customers worldwide.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
11 days ago

A toy army of 20,000 infantry and 148 tanks will not need artillery. Mobile Fires Platform will be cancelled to pay for the rext redecoration of Johnson’s flat. What’s wrong with the AS90 anyway?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

AS90 is nearly 30 years old, design is probably 35 years old. Its range is only 25km. Its never been seriously upgraded. There are too few of them for modern warfare against a peer opponent.

Steve R
Steve R
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

This has been the problem with the War on Terror; HMG assumed no wars against countries in future, only terrorists and insurgents, so loads of things that weren’t vital to shooting or blowing up Jihadis riding Toyota Hiluxes were left to wither on the vine.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
11 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Hi David, To answer your question, it cannot fire far enough any more. Others have upgraded their systems with 50 to 60 cal length barrels so can easily outrange the AS90 with it original 39cal barrel. The moment an AS90 battery opens up on a target in a peer on peer engagement the enemy will more than likely be able to plink the AS90 battery from well out side UK counter battery fire range. In short, the RHA and RA regiments apparently equipped with the AS90 had better hope they do not come up against a peer enemy… Lack of… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
11 days ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

“A toy Army”…once again your knowldege of the subject matter requires research or maybe some direct experience. No matter the size of any army, to have a balanced force you need Arty, and all other capabilites. To remove one removes a piece of the warfare jigsaw. And the AS90 is old, and worn out.

Bill
Bill
11 days ago

Just buy a proven replacement off the bloody shelf!! We will probably order only 60-70 anyway so stop wasting years and millions p***ing about.
Will the MOD ever learn?

Farouk
Farouk
11 days ago

Yet another example of the pathetic MOD at work. Me, I would sack the F-ing lot of them, and start again with people who understand that they working towards defending the country.

Rob
Rob
11 days ago

First of all our artillery is out of date and the Army should prioritise it’s replacement and quickly, not in ten years time. I’m not sure why we are going for another tracked SPG like K9. Afterall we only have 3 armoured Bdes which need to deploy from the UK, heavy tracked vehicles take far more effort to deploy. Surely Boxers with 155mm supported by Boxers packing HIMARS would be far more deployable and would benefit from an economy of scale in the number of Boxers to be bought? While we’re at it the L118 105mm is now 50 years… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
11 days ago

Fitted for but not with… guns!

James
James
11 days ago

I’d think replacing the L118 should be a higher, quicker, cheaper and far easier priority, embarrassing the number the RA have, even more embarrassing is the age of them.

Personally think the army needs gutting from the top and start over, I was a bloody teenager when I first heard of fres and where are we now? same tanks same apc’s same arty!!! Nothing has changed in nearly 30 years apart from a load of mrap crap that they don’t even want.

Paul.P
Paul.P
11 days ago

I’m not excusing the army procurement screw ups but there is some evidence that sanity is returning. The important artillery weapon upgrade for range has been decided.
https://www.army.mod.uk/news-and-events/news/2021/03/mlrs-upgrade-agreement/
As has the C3 upgrade.
We need to take time to review the myriad of weapons options, technologies; drones, Brimstone, Boxer etc which introduce some interesting flexible alternatives ….worth taking some time to get it right…
Why not just do the 52 calibre upgrade to AS90? How likely are we to use them?

Marked
Marked
11 days ago

In 2035 we’ll be speculating when the delayed replacement for this capability holiday will actually materialise….

Simon m
Simon m
11 days ago

The AS90 is a good bit of kit in & out of action firing 3 rounds in 37secs which leaves Archer for dead & is potentially quicker than K9. An upgrade to either 52 calibre or 60 calibre should seriously be an option in MPF. Considering possible existing support, parts, training etc. The engine can be upgraded to 1000hp & at 50t the same rubber track option as to the K9 The main advantage of other systems is the automation & reduction in crew size considering the M1299 is simply a development of M109a7 & BAE are potentially managing 100km… Read more »

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Tim
Tim
11 days ago

So what do we use these for now anyway? If we need to support infantry, then what about using a 57mm naval gun on a wheeled truck? Three times the range of a mortar with standard rounds at 4 per second. If the enemy have some of these heavy monsters, then what about using Typhoon + Brimstone before they get close enough to shoot us? Plenty of range there. Or for a 24/7 solution, then what about a wheeled MLRS vehicle with SPEAR 3 or something like that? All of these suggestions are far easier to get into theatre and… Read more »

Louis
Louis
10 days ago
Reply to  Tim

The first option you suggested does not nearly have the range of new munitions for howitzers and as for the second option, do you really suggest the army rely on the RAF? Our small fleet of typhoons wouldn’t last long with the amount of air defence that Russia has. Besides Brimstones range is only about 50 kilometres. Finally the third option is pretty much what the UK is planning to do with GMLRS yet just with different guided munitions. Guided munitions are expensive and you need more shells hitting targets at certain times.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Tim

What do we use artillery for? Many things. To defeat enemy artillery with counter-battery fire. To supress the enemy’s ability to bring direct fire weapons to bear. To downgrade the morale of the enemy soldier, especially dismounted infantry.

How do you think a 57mm naval gun (range 17km) will be as effective as a K9 155mm gun (range 40km)? The 155mm shell will have lethality probably 20 times that of the 57mm shell.

Nigel H
Nigel H
11 days ago

This is the first journal (or newspaper) comments section I have read where the commentators have a knowledgable and respectful exchange of opinion. Whilst I will never be able to put it to any use (I am merely a humble Architect) I have learned a great deal about modern mobile artillery. Many thanks.

Last edited 11 days ago by Nigel H
LGSC29
LGSC29
10 days ago

The idea of trucking heavy, tracked armoured artillery to the battle … close to the battle because of its limited range … and the massive log sp required for the ammo … has to be a thin of the past. For a start, it takes far too long to get it there. If we spend far far less on the delivery system – and it is the delivery system we are talking about – we can spend more on a far more effective weapon. Of course, the weapon is the shell, bullet, missile and its fragments or effects. So why… Read more »

PeterS
PeterS
10 days ago
Reply to  LGSC29

I agree. The primary reason for the obsolescence of AS90 is range. Increased range means artillery will operate well behind the contact point,, Heavy armour won’t, so the need for heavily armoured SPGs to work alongside tanks disappears. The British army explored the LIMAWS some years ago- a rapidly deployable M777 on a Supacat 6×6. M777 is originally a British design and product, upgraded in the USA to 52 calibres for increased range. It seems funding problems killed the programme in @ 2007. Although not as quick to shoot and scoot as Archer, it was still pretty quick. Given the… Read more »

PeterS
PeterS
10 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

Correction. Just re-watched the video of this in action. It is an 8×6 vehicle

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

I have never heard that heavily armoured SPGs work alongside tanks, rather that they would operate many km in rear of tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  LGSC29

So many focus on the time taken to deploy armour into theatre and think that it is bound to be too long. I cannot recall an instance of British armoured vehicles arriving on the battlefield from the mounting base too late.

I am not wedded to the tracked SP Gun, but towed 155mm arty surely has negatives; surely better to opt for truck-mounted 155mm arty.

Not sure that modern tracked SP Guns are that slow-moving – K9 Thunder can run at a maximum road speed of 67 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 360 km.

Cripes
Cripes
7 days ago

The tracks versus wheels debate is a long-running tug-of-war within the army and MOD, which is adversely affecting our AFV and now close support artillery procurement programmes. The wheels side buy into the FRES warfighting concept, which is essentially hide & seek. You hide your forces at some distance from an invading enemy and hit his leading forces with long-range precion fires, using fast-moving wheeled formations to raid his flanks and lines of communication, before these race away to concealed positions far from the front line. It is a defensive strategy. You hope to slow the enemy advance down, but… Read more »

MAX ROSSER
MAX ROSSER
5 days ago

WE NEED A MUCH BIGGER BUDGET. THE BEST EQUIPMENT. IN PLACE WITHIN 12 MONTHS OF ORDER OF PURCHASE. COMBAT PROVEN EQUIPMENT. WITH ALL RESERVES EQUIPPED AND TRAINED TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS MUCH MORE PERSONEL ESPECIALLY IN INTELLIGENCE. NURSING. MUSIC . LAND SEA AIR. AND SPACE.