The 50,000th simulated round has been fired from an AS90 Turret Trainer signalling savings of approximately £125 million according to the Ministry of Defence.

The trainer, based at Tidworth Garrison in Wiltshire, was first introduced in 2005 to train the commander, gunner and loader of an AS90 – a self-propelled 155mm Howitzer gun.

It is designed to allow gun crews to practice their routine firing drills, turret operating procedures and crew duties without the expense of live firing and offers the immersion and realism of firing, with a reduced safety risk and a highly reduced cost.

Based on a real AS90 turret, the trainer uses an electro-mechanical system to fully replicate a complete firing cycle. This includes the weight and size of the artillery rounds and the noise and turret movement on firing.

Seen here the AS90 Turret Trainer.

Since the trainer was introduced more than 8,500 soldiers have used the equipment. This experience enhances their safety for when they progress to live firing and allows them to focus on more advanced training scenarios.

Defence Minister Guto Bebb said:

“This equipment provides high quality training for the British Army that’s also cost efficient. As live firing events are extremely expensive and can be logistically challenging, using the AS90 turret trainer is a great alternative. It also offers immersive training that prepares users for live firing both in practice and on the battlefield.”

The 50,000th simulated round was fired by Lieutenant General Paul Jaques, Chief of Materiel (Land) at Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), the MOD’s procurement agency based at MOD Abbey Wood in Bristol.

Lt Gen Jaques said:

“This firing marks another milestone demonstrating Defence’s innovative and cost-saving approach to deliver effective and worthwhile training for our personnel. I’m exceedingly proud of the team’s work and the benefits gained by the soldiers that get to use the training equipment.”

The milestone, on February 14, represented savings of approximately £125 million over a 12-year period on the basis that live rounds cost £2,500 per use according to a press release.

10 COMMENTS

      • Currently 3 regiments, 1 RHA, 19 and 26 RA, each with 32 As90 on establishment.

        Prior to 2000, a regiment would only have 18 self propelled guns.

        It’s not the number of regiments its the number of As90s used that dictate the training requirements.

        • This proves simulation does save money and ware and tare of equipment. I understand more As90’s are in store in various states of completeness, as cannibalization must be in evidence.

        • Point taken on the gun numbers.

          I was referring to A2020 Refine when we indeed lose the 3rd Regiment on AS90 when one of our Armoured Brigades converts to “Strike” using in the interim the Light Gun.

          So yes 3 still but reducing to 2.

        • Interesting you say 32 guns per regiment?

          I thought it was 18 now, that is 3 x 6 gun batteries plus HQ Battery plus TAC Group Battery.

  1. Agree with theme by Daniele. If we had a large number of SPGs then only 2 trainers would be a problem.
    The army like the Royal navy has been cut back to stupid levels and now would struggle to deploy 2 fully equipped divisions into the field of battle. Meanwhile in Russia and China what are they doing…oh yeah massive investment in their armed forces. They may not have the exquisite kit but they have the numbers. A challenger 2 might be able to defeat the Aramata series tanks but can it defeat a whole squadron? Is a British soldier able to defeat 10-20 Russian or Chinese soldiers. Not that I think war is likely, I am just trying to prove the point that numbers are a capability and provide a resilient and competent, believable military force.
    This is a situation we are now unable to do at a national level due to all the frankly ridiculous cuts.

    • 2 Divisions!!

      We would struggle to deploy 1 never mind 2.

      A2020 declares the need to deploy in divisional strength using up to 3 of the planned 2 Armoured and 2 Strike Brigades.

  2. Don’t worry Mr Bell. If war comes and we somehow survive they’ll talk about lessons learned and do their best to cover up their own hands in capability destroying cuts.

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