In a recent written question in the House of Commons, Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, inquired about the cost of the AH-64E Apache helicopter programme.

He asked, “To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the cost is of the AH-64E Apache programme.”

James Cartlidge, the Minister of State for the Ministry of Defence, provided a detailed response. He revealed that “the initial procurement of the UK Apache 64E utilised US Government Foreign Military Sales and is currently forecast to cost £1.793 billion against an approval of £1.999 billion.”

Additionally, he explained that “the long term training and support for Apache 64E is supplied by Boeing Defence UK and the current five year Long Term Training and Support Contract has a value of £341,199,072.50.”

He also noted that this figure “does not include operating costs of the Apache 64E which are accounted for separately.”

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jim
Jim (@guest_819816)
17 days ago

Literally the only procurement the army has been able to do right in the past two decades, just go out and buy a system off the shelf. Imagine if they had done this with FRES.

Steve
Steve (@guest_819831)
17 days ago
Reply to  Jim

They only got this right after the mess that happened last time around. The issue is politics, policticans want to announce support for local companies and industry and value that significantly higher than delivery effective equipment.

Our defence purchases are just too small and too disjointed for local designs to make sense most of the time. At retrofitting uk equipment onto platforms designed for US equipment is always going to be difficult and costly.

Hopefully boxer will be a success.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819833)
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Boxer would be a success if the army really did want a wheeled MG-equipped APC instead of a tracked, 40mm cannon-equipped IFV for the Infantry in the armoured brigades – which of course, they don’t. Rant over. I’ll change my record!

The Boxer build programme is glacial – very disappointing. Also, I would be interested to hear what vehicles the Boxer battalions will have in their recce platoon.

Steve
Steve (@guest_819835)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They don’t want it as the only option but they have thrown so much money away with constant abandoned programs that it’s all they can afford. How much of that has been governments refusing to release funds for the actual final order and how much of it is incompetence is anyone’s guess.

Steve
Steve (@guest_819841)
17 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I assume the assumption is if they can get it over the line and built then they can start lobbying for tracked options.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819939)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Really? That is not how the Treasury thinks and operates. The MoD has declared Boxer as the replacement for IFV (in March 2021). Treasury will read that at face value as MoD no longer want a tracked IFV, and will shout down any belated and futile lobbying efforts.

Anyway, assuming you are right…..Boxer is built and issued to the Infantry in the armoured brigades, MoD then successfully lobbies for a tracked IFV which is funded and procured, where do those every expensive Boxers now go?

Steve
Steve (@guest_819972)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I suspect the treasury is well aware that the boxer only option was only went for due to cost issues.

The number of boxer orders doesn’t go anywhere near replacing the number of platforms it is replacing, so I’m sure if money was ever made available they could operate together well. Plenty of nations have a mix between tracked and wheeled, such as US and France. Useful for different jobs.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_819991)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes but most nations don’t have such an expensive heavy wheeled option with a machine gun stuck on the top…France specifically has a very very difficult paradigm for its army…it’s main focus has always been the ability to deploy into African due to its still significant focus on colonial interventions and at the same time maintain just enough heavy equipment to force a nation invading France to do so with maximum effort…the French army has not actually been designed to win that fight.. just to force that fight…at which point France has always made it clear it would go nuclear… Read more »

Steve
Steve (@guest_819993)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I’m not really sure what the UK is gearing for, and I get the feeling they don’t either. At one end there is backing up nato in Eastern Europe and at the other end is the far more realistic prospect of another counter insurgency /failed state operation.

I don’t think reinforcing nato is the focus as if it was you would expect a far bigger deployment into Estonia/Poland when the Ukraine war kicked off but instead we sent less than a dozen tanks

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820021)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The army has to be prepared for both of those prospects and many more besides, such as warfighting beyond Europe (we fought two Gulf Wars a while back), PSO in a troubled region (such as we did in the Balkans), restoring public order/counter-terrorism in NI (if the Troubles reoccur), various MACC tasks…The list of possible missions is endless – it has always ever been thus. Most of our land forces are committed to NATO, so that is a focus. The eFP effort in Estonia and Poland is as much as NATO asked us to supply. We do not decide nationally… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820020)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

You speak as if the French fight on the Continent (against Russia) is one for France alone – in reality that would be one for the whole of NATO.

I agree that Boxer APC is the wrong vehicle to replace an IFV – but that doesn’t mean that we would abandon the idea/commitment of supplying an armoured div to NATO to fight on the continent. Just that it would be sub-optimally configured.

What evidence is there that we are only likely to supply a couple of armoured BGs? 3rd Div is so much more than that.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_820028)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham..if you go though and have a good read around how the French army was build it was around the concept of how it would defend french boarders against a large enemy .. France has always had a very clear focus on how it would defend itself…with our without NATO..although it’s always been a member, from 1966 to 2009 it was not in the integrated command structure and did not form part of NATO task groups or command structures..so it’s army was built around that and not as the British army was in that it would fight in Central… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820241)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan, I do ‘get’ France’s unique historical perspective. Since they rejoined the integrated military command structure very recently, they should be back on ‘the NATO page’, more or less.

We (UK) seem to do more and more collaborative defence work with France – all good.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_820243)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes indeed, and let’s be honest at some point the African colonial part of the French army will change…so over the next 20 or so years it may be that the French army starts to follow a more traditional NATO style “heavy” structure…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820389)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The French Army (118,600 regulars) has always had heavy armour and a NATO style structure – they have 215 Leclerc MBTs, of which 150 are in 3 regiments spread across two armoured brigades (2nd and 7th).
They have 5 Cav units with wheeled tanks (AMX10RC, ERC90).
They have 2 Mech brigades (1st and 3rd) with Mech Inf in wheeled APCs.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_820445)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham, yes but the Leclerc is by a long way the lightest of the modern western MBTs..and everything else is wheeled and light, it’s new IFV is a 28ton wheeled vehicle and it’s core AFV is a 12 wheeled vehicle, it’s news wheeled reconnaissance vehicle is 25tons …it’s army is profoundly lighter than any other wester army….not saying it’s actually wrong as it creates a very deployable force in austere conditions ( poor rail and road networks)…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820634)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Splitting hairs maybe? Leclerc is a proper MBT (heavy metal by most definitions – 57.4t for the later models without add-on armour).

OK that is lighter than M1, Chally – but it doesn’t make it a medium tank, to use a very old phrase, or a tank not suited for NATO use.
It is heavier than its opposition…T-80U is 46t. T-64A is 38t.

Leclerc is for armoured warfare, not colonial duty in Africa.

Their 2 armd bdes with tanks and 2 mech bdes would fight for NATO, rather than swan about in Mali.

Louis
Louis (@guest_820056)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

The requirement for Boxer is 1,306, and 1,016 are already funded with 623 ordered.

There are around 1,500 Bulldogs and Warriors, but the force will shrink by a bit anyway with the reduction from 6 to 5 infantry battalions and 3 to 2 armoured brigades.

Boxer will replace Bulldog and Warrior on a near one for one basis.

Steve
Steve (@guest_820072)
15 days ago
Reply to  Louis

I thought it was also replacing a few other vehicles.

Either way that is 1500 vs 623, a significant reduction. Who knows if the remaining number will get ordered, but based on history i would guess we will end up with something like 800.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820234)
15 days ago
Reply to  Steve

No-one is saying that 623 represents the final order figure. It is usual to order new equipment in tranches over several years – eg, we have not ordered all 138 F-35s yet!

800 Boxers would not be enough.

Steve
Steve (@guest_820235)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s more histoy tells us that when tranches are involved the full order never happens. The next goverment or the next defence minister will have different ideas

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820233)
15 days ago
Reply to  Louis

I was trying to find the origin of that 1,306 figure. Guess it equates to the number of Warrior and FV430s after current Orbat tinkering.

Louis
Louis (@guest_820996)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s from the NAOs assessment of the equipment plan.

625 Warriors and 746 Bulldog in 2023 so similar numbers.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821101)
12 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Yes, I got my numbers from the MoD spreadsheet. Very similar. But I doubt Treasury will fund the full ‘buy’ required – they never have done in the past. Thats why the army ran about 1,000 FV430s (now over 60 years old) on after Warrior was fielded.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820231)
15 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I have mentioned before that Warrior upgrade was not scrapped purely because of cost issues (although it was a programme with excellent VfM, ironically), but also because if Warrior had been upgraded there would have been no brigade(s) to allocate Boxer to (embarrassing) as the Strike brigades had been deleted from the Orbat after yet another army organisational re-think (cock-up?). Correct that the 623 Boxers ordered so far are nowhere near enough to replace all Warriors (all variants) and all FV430 series vehicles. Probably need well over 400 more. I am aware that other nations mix tracks and wheels. A… Read more »

Steve
Steve (@guest_820232)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Terminating tbe warrior upgrade program was insane, especially after so much money invested in it but it feels most military decisions are political rather than tactical.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820019)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Boxer is a hugely expensive programme as it is a hugely expensive APC, possibly the most expensive in the world.

It would have been cheaper to equip the five AI Bns with upgraded Warrior and to have halved the Boxer order.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820082)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep. And just to remind again, as I have many times.
Boxer after the 2010 SDSR was the MIV program to replace just THREE Bns of Heavy Protected Mobility Mastiff, one per Armoured Infantry Bde. From 2027…way after CH3 and WCSP and Ajax were meant to have been sorted.

Carter chasing his medium weight Strike dream has cost us 1 Armoured Brigade and all the IFVs in the two that remain.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820262)
15 days ago

Yep. Its good to have both the back story and the newer story. I see that many nations still operate Mastiff 6×6 or Cougar 4×4. I wonder if Mastiff could have been further developed rather than replacing it (soon) with Boxer – still that is water under the bridge. It was clear that Boxer procurement really should not have jumped the queue – there was a far more desperate need to first replace the 60 year old Scimitar, upgrade or replace the 35 year old IFV (with a better IFV) and upgrade or modernise the 25 year old Chally. Medium-weight… Read more »

Andrew A
Andrew A (@guest_821010)
12 days ago

Exactly let’s not blame boxer for warrior as they aren’t related. One didn’t cause the others disaster

Andrew A
Andrew A (@guest_821009)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Except again an upgraded don’t make sense throwing billions at an outdated platform that did well back in the day but has major shortfalls in modern war.
Let’s not blame boxer it’s a wicked platform especially a tranche with more offensive capability.
It’s not boxer fault that warrior program was a disaster. We could have bought something of the shelf far more capable and modern.

This has been discussed to death, the cash was wasted now we need to move on and fix the system

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821169)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew A

Andrew, I hope that today’s Infantrymen see this the same way as you do ie that Boxer is a better vehicle than in-service Warrior or upgraded Warrior.

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_821222)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew A

The Boxer we are getting has the same armour standard as the Australian version. Which is in part why it costs so much. In that it will offer protection across the frontal arc to 30mm APFSDS. Along with protection against 14.7mm AP rounds down the sides and rear. This is the same as Warrior with TES used during GW2. Warrior’s has subsequently been upgraded since. So in theory Warrior with the latest TES has better protection than Boxer. I do fully expect Boxer to have an applique armour kit fitted to meet the operational threat when deployed. Slat armour for… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_819844)
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The army doesn’t know what it wants, that’s the reason for the entire debacle in the first place.

Martin
Martin (@guest_819850)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The soldiers etc know what they want but who ever listens to them. They are just told accept what their betters force on them. Is it the 1800’s or 2000’s?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_819926)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Actually they do know what they want, but it is physical impossible.
Army dig the “AFV Magic” hole they are in, Chasing a physical impossible armored vehicle that is light enough to go into a A400 – it was a C-130 before – that is protected as an MBT , have heavy weapons and has off road mobility as a tracked vehicle.

Boxer is just the guy next door husband they ended up with after realising in panic they would end up not married if they continued chasing a fantastic tale prince.

Last edited 16 days ago by AlexS
DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820892)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Sadly the Army does know what it wants. It just doesn’t have the funds to make those ambitions real!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_819876)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Me too. I always assumed Ajax Scout, akin to when Warrior Bns had Scimitar.
Now I’m not sure.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_819927)
16 days ago

Makes no sens to have a tracked recon Ajax into a wheeled Boxer unit.
Imagine delaying the whole unit because Ajax can’t go 100kph in roads.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819947)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

How many battalions advance to contact or conduct defence on public highways?

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_819960)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

How many battalions advance to contact or conduct defence on public highways?

All armored movement is made by highways and roads unless you have a very flat terrain( some deserts, frozen steppes and/or lack said roads or highways, but then it is too slow advance.

Off roads is only for deployment to combat, static frontline. You also want to make frontline breach near roads and highways.

Most off road movement in Europe is impossible to armored fighting vehicles except in very small quantities.

Last edited 16 days ago by AlexS
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820023)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Alex, is this your experience of exercises or combat operations? Any vehicles irrespective of type, move in accordance with the tactical plan, the Operational level plan or strategically. Certainly strategic movement (such as getting from peacetime locs to Theatre) is likely to be done by airlift, sealift, rail or HETs/lighter low loaders. Although back in the day for the large exercises in Germany, then SAXON and B Vehs deployed from the UK to Germany went on their own wheels (ferry for the wet bit). Operational level movement ie moving very long distances from one part of Theatre to another (intra-Theatre)… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820034)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I am not talking Strategic level , i am talking Operational level and even Tactical.
It is my experience of reading any armored history. The movement outside road is in last 10-5km to the frontline or so if possible. Level desert, steppes, dried savana are exceptions.

Going off road is most of the time too slow.
I think i have an article from International Defence Review about the the % of really accessible terrain for armored movement in Western Europe. It was surprisingly low and even less as the unit size increases.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820244)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Thanks Alex. I did see that academic study on terrain accessibility for western Europe in fair weather conditions. It’s a lot different for eastern Europe in the rainy season – Rasputitsa mud is something else, and wheeled vehicles don’t have a chance of moving. Of course it is faster moving on roads – that is a given – and wheeled vehicles are faster on roads than tracks. But Combat is not all about driving fast on good roads in dry weather – sometimes you have to engage the enemy and also to fight to seize and hold Key and Vital… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820283)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I know very well the Battle of the Bulge it was done all by road.
Only when there was a resistance point the armored vehicles tried to find ways to bypass via trails, but trails went fast to impassable as the vehicles keep using it.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820286)
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

You cannot not move by road at operational level. There is no tempo going off road. The distance done by Germans in Ardennes 1940 by trails was small. The issue with Ardennes was not “terrain” per se. But the number of roads and small ones available.
Edit: plus deployment areas.

Last edited 14 days ago by AlexS
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820403)
14 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

The Battle of the Bulge or the Battle of the Ardennes was not all done by road – look at some newsreel footage. There were some roads running through the Ardennes, but the Battle famously included German forces including heavy armour intentionally moving long distances on forest tracks through the Ardennes forest to ensure a covered approach from aerial observation and to generate surprise. Do you think we have erred in having tracked vehicles in the British Army in general, or the infantry specifically? Do you think tracked vehicles have any advantages in combat? You are telling a one-sided story,… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820325)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Damn, had a flashback to Sandhurst.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820404)
14 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Scary thought. Scarier is that I am going to the 50th reunion of my commissioning course next year.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820894)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Now that just isn’t funny!

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_819992)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well the Russians seem to be writing the book on that one…but it only seems to work if you have a couple of spare armies worth of equipment stashed away when you loss the first lot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820236)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

If war with Russia occurs we would commit 3 (UK) Div in toto and more. We have some Attrition Reserve stock of materiel, but not much.

If 3 Div is rendered combat ineffective in battle even with the attrition materiel stock being deployed and with BCRs replacing soldier casualties – we would withdraw the Div and our (UK’s) ground war would be over.

Then the Americans come in and finish the job with massive conventional forces!… or US/UK/France goes nuclear…or maybe peace talks happen.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_819950)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Or even better Ajax cannot road march like Boxer from say the UK to a far flung border area 1500 miles away! It would need transporters that are going to be very busy elsewhere moving CH3 or a rail move.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_819956)
16 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Indeed mate. Yet in Carters Strike plan, 2 of those Regiments with Ajax were going to be garrisoned in Catterick!!! Even further from eastern Europe than SPTA.
While being expected to go waky races to Tallin.
Their firepower ( in Ajax ) divorced from their wheels and infantry ( in Boxer ) in deploying vast distances by the tracks issue.
So F knows what the Army upstairs has planned.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820030)
16 days ago

Hi mate. We used to use the phrase TTW a lot – Transition To War. It was assumed that we would get combat indicators of trouble brewing and could do strategic moves (move equipment to Theatre or close to Th) in time. Some scoff at this, but it was clear in Sep 2021 that Russian forces were starting to move to areas bordering Ukraine – thus there was 5 months notice before hostilities actually commenced. Sure, sometimes there is not a lot of advance warning – Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, Galtieri’s invasion of the Falklands. No concept is perfect. But… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820079)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Evening Graham.
Yes fair point. Given our comprehensive intelligence capabilities I’d hope it is the former, like you say with the RUS/UKR scenario.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820024)
16 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Yes, all armour is moved overland by rail or HET/other low-loader for a 1500 mile move.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820178)
15 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Gunbuster i was not talking for such long distances, but 100-200km my point in Operational and Tactical situations. Your unit need to cut the enemy advance at 100km distance junction. You have no Centauro+Freccia IFV or the French equivalent to go there fast, your Boxers will have to wait for Ajax, C2/C3. With Ajax would have made more sense also to buy the Ascod. I am also seeing UK being very dependent on Germany for land forces: C3 update Boxer Boxer artillery. I think UK establishment realised that what is important is Naval and Air. Land combat industry is basically… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_819946)
16 days ago

It is a puzzle. Boxer CRV (Combat Recce Vehicle) variant as ordered by Australia for their Land 400 Phase 2 (in 2 sub-varaint types) has not been ordered for UK’s Tranche 1 or 2, and time is pressing on.
Would be odd for them to have Ajax Scout, although I presume enough were ordered for the 5 battalions in the ABCTs, when they were to have WCSP in the rifle companies. Mixing tracks and wheels in the same battalion is possible.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_819953)
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I recall the Soviets did it all the time.
Unless it’s anotger hidden cut and they end up with Jackal. Or nothing at all.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_819998)
16 days ago

Soviets/Russians had/have both wheeled (BRDM) and tracked(BMP based) recon vehicles.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820228)
15 days ago

Yes, I can see some merit in having Ajax in the recce platoon of a Boxer battalion…such as giving the battalion 8 x 40mm cannons!

You can’t do recce in nothing at all (haha) but you’ve got me worried mentioning Jackal, which lacks all-round armoured protection and a cannon.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820328)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Personally I am surprised hat during the prototype review. They didn’t look at replacing the steal tracks with the Soucy band tracks as used by the CV90? The Norwegians proved that band tracks work in a combat. After fielding them for a year in Afghan. What was perhaps surprising, was how quiet the tracks were in some cases better than wheeled vehicles. Another big finding was the longevity of the track. It was expected due to the sharpness of the stone tracks. That the tracks would be cut fairly quickly and need constant replacing. The opposite was true. They performed… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820409)
14 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks. I am very familiar with the existence of the Soucy track and am not at all surprised at the advantages. I agree that some of our tracked vehicles should undergo trials with Soucy if that has not happened already, and adopt it on successful completion of trials. It has always been said that there is an upper weight limit for a vehicle to adopt rubber band tracks and cannot recall the figures being bandied about a few years ago. Maybe Ajax might be too heavy? I don’t see Boxers leading the pack in the armoured brigades – expect to… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Graham Moore
DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820897)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

From what I’ve read, Soucy are saying 45t is the upper weight limit. So in theory Ajax even with additional appliqué armour, should be under the max weight limit.

There used to be a video on YouTube of a civi owned Scorpion fitted with band tracks. It hit 85mph, but to be fair, was fitted with a BMW straight 6 diesel. That had a huge intercooled blower fitted. No idea of the hp, but well over 300 I’d imagine. Be great for commuting to work I reckon!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820931)
13 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks. I must find that video.

Andy
Andy (@guest_820161)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Bulldog, probably

Andrew A
Andrew A (@guest_821008)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They say the next phase will be boxer artillery and boxer with offensive capability. At this point we have to buy what we can afford. Moneys wasted in past and we can’t fix it

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_821110)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew A

Boxer with offensive capability would be good – we will have lost all our cannon-equipped IFVs – thats ‘criminal’/stupid/dangerous. No way for an infantry section in Boxer to take out an enemy BMP/recce vehicle/any vehicle. The army staff was supposed to be looking at increasing Boxer’s lethalty early last year – no idea what they concluded. ‘We have to buy what we can afford’ – hmmm, can we afford to buy the right number of Boxers? – or rather will HMT stump up enough cash to buy the right number? – they are horrendously expensive, probably the most expensive wheeled… Read more »

Stephen Hirst
Stephen Hirst (@guest_820059)
16 days ago
Reply to  Steve

True it would be 3x more expensive if it had touched Yeovil. But wasn’t the higher power engine very useful at altitude in Afghanistan?

Lord Baddlesmere
Lord Baddlesmere (@guest_819858)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

But they’ve allowed themselves to be manipulated by the Americans into buying and American missile that is a copy of Brimstone

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819882)
16 days ago

A bad copy. I hope this changes soon. The U.K. needs to be able to launch missiles from further away as well as close. Having troops in a difficult position, under enemy air defence will require to launch from further away.
If we assume that drones are going to play a much bigger role than before having an asset that fire over the horizon taking targeting info from closer assets seems sensible.
Perhaps we will see helicopter loyal wingman that can get closer to risky situations, scout ahead, launch weapons etc will help in the future

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_819900)
16 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Silly suggestion maybe, but can the UK/US design a booster section to add to this missile? Isn’t there an ER version in the works? Don’t Martlet, Starstreak and Brimstone also have shortish ranges? The “ER Dept” needs to get to work!

Jim
Jim (@guest_819883)
16 days ago

Missile integration is too expensive, the army finally seen some sense. It like putting RR engines on phantom and Apache, cost a fortune, doomed the platform to a shorter life and had little benefit for RR.

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_819929)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

US Army and Marines are integrating the Israeli Spike NLOS 50km range for its 6th gen version, in their AH-64, Israeli did the same so how that is too expensive?
And since UK bought the older Exactor why don’t buy it for AH-64?

Jim
Jim (@guest_819931)
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

You answered your own question, the USMC are paying for it, Israel Americas greatest ally gets lots of free shit from uncle Sam.

Missile integrations costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars then there is the issue of stockpiles and logistics. The RAF may operate brimestone but no NATO army including ours does.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_819952)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Yet…but that is changing. UK will in all likely hood pick it for overwatch and Poland wants it.
Some Nato air forces are after Brimstone as well.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_819970)
16 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Missiles have been tested an evaluated at battlefield courtesy of Mr Zelesnksi and the UK ones have done well.

Good for exports…..good for R&D jobs……good for MOD….

Pssst this Apache program is under budget….

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820144)
15 days ago

And Brimstone was tested and integrated onto an Apache over 5 years ago for trials in the states. It apparently owned everything it went up against.

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821036)
12 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Brimstone was tested on the AH-64D but full integration wasn’t completed. Why JAGM was chosen over Brimstone wasn’t declared, Brimstone on a helicopter probably has a range of 10-12 Km, greater than JAGM and £100k cheaper per round. So for a change it doesn’t make sense buying USA due to economies of scale. There is a version of JAGM having a range of 16km (double current). I do like how the MOD thinks that each combat available aircraft will have 125 rounds each though, will be interesting to see how many aircraft are still flying after 2 weeks of war.… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS (@guest_820035)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Israel made it before USA and certainly wasn’t paid by US that one.

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821031)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

RR engines wasn’t the issue with the WAH-64D in fact they became useful in hot and high situations (Afghan). The American AH-64D Block 2 had to ditch there Longbow radar as there engines GE -701C had lower shp. What killed our WAH-64D early was some cretins in Whitehall ordered Block 1 avionics which became unsupported by the US Army sooner than Block 2 Avionics. The US Army started deploying Block 2 AH-64 around about the same time we fielded WAH-64. Boeing still supports AH-64D block 2 avionics (Saudi, UAE, Isreal, Japan, S Korea and US Army).

Martin Allen
Martin Allen (@guest_819873)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I was in Kent in the early 1990s listening to a bunch of incompetents try design the Cobra alternative. MOD chose sensibly Apache.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819880)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

The success is due to the work all being done so it’s just purchasing 50 helicopters for £2 billion or about 37-40million each. If the U.K. had an attack helicopter then it would make sense to purchase that but they don’t. Even costing £3.5billion it would still be cheaper overall to the treasury than just sending £2billion abroad. The problem some programs have is super gold plating, changing requirements and so on. Going to a company and saying I want something that can do this in these circumstances for this much money, what have you got will get sensible costed… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_819884)
16 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Literally every vehicle the army requires is produced in multiple variants by a dozen allied nations and a big chunk of those vehicles are produced by BAE systems. The army just needed to pick one, instead it’s fannied about for deacdes pissing billions up the wall and destroying the British armoured vehicle industry in the process. Absolutely none of that was caused by politicians or civil servants. All of it was caused by senior army officers almost all ex paras who now all parade around on sky news telling us how the evil politicians cut the army and how we… Read more »

Danny
Danny (@guest_821220)
12 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Sorry to disappoint but these purchases were not off the shelf. The program is a rebuild programme. So basically they just reconditioned and upgraded our already old and worn out airframes. Sadly ..

Expat
Expat (@guest_819910)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I agree I think it was right to do a comparison on build in UK. In this case it showed how a UK purchase would have not nade sense.

Danny
Danny (@guest_819911)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Off the shelf? Did you know the E models are out own D models that were sent to the US to be upgraded? It’s been a complete disaster since it started.

Daniel
Daniel (@guest_819870)
16 days ago

Poland are purchasing 96 Apaches, Poland has 150,000 plus land forces, Poland can field 240+ combat aircraft, Poland comes 14th on the list in terms of the defence budget, the UK comes in at 6th largest defence budget, we have 50 Apaches, our tiny army could easily fit into Wembley stadium, our RAF has at most 140 combat aircraft, something not right somewhere!!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819881)
16 days ago

So £200 odd million left. Can the army get another 12 then.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_819955)
16 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

It could used that to integrate Brimstone.
Spend the money in UKPLC and not in USPLC
Simplify the logistics chain.( Its already been done with CAMM and Sea Ceptor. They are the same missile and even come in green launch cannisters because it comes from the same missile pool.)
Fit an IM compliant missile instead of one that isn’t.
No ITAR restrictions.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819985)
16 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

No complaints from me. I’d imagine once brimstone is integrated it perhaps makes putting similar U.K. weapons on the Apache easier. Spear 3, starstreak/HVM etc.
also there is then increased chances that other countries will pick brimstone.
The U.K. forces are still going for top quality over quantity so each high quality item has to be able to deliver lots of weapon’s preferably from as far away as possible.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820033)
16 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

When your forces are small and your platform count is low, you need high quality equipment to offset numerical disadvantage.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820340)
14 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Sadly as Boeing are the platform DO for Apache. There s a degree of corporate protectionism by the US. As they invariably push up the integration cost.

Further exasperating the issue is that following the Nimrod crash and the subsequent Haddon-Cave enquiry. The military relinquished design and modification responsibility back to the design organisations (manufacturer). Which means it is a whole lot harder and much more expensive to get an aircraft modified or integrated with a new weapon.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820370)
14 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Not just aircraft mate.
The whole of MOD went massively risk adverse post Haddon Cave on everything. I sat in on “what if this happens” risk matrix meetings for vessels and systems for weeks, time I will unfortunately never ever get back!

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820885)
13 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Sadly, totally agree. Those within the MoD and MAA in particular, have become too risk adverse. Thereby becoming totally dependent on the platform DOs to make the decisions.

Always rolled my eyes when the Safety Team wanted 5 minutes of my time. Guaranteed it ended up as an hour.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820032)
16 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

We should have bought 67 E models to replace 67 D models.

Pete
Pete (@guest_819894)
16 days ago

Nice to be under budget but @200k per day to contractor over 5 years is sweet gravy

Pete
Pete (@guest_819895)
16 days ago
Reply to  Pete

……..for training!

T Atton
T Atton (@guest_819906)
16 days ago

Would it not make sense to have a component Apache training unit at Shawbury so you have all helicopter training in one place.

Training would then be seamless, there is large MTA on the doorstep and the navigation to Salisbury etc wouldn’t require transit thru the London TMA.

Pacman27
Pacman27 (@guest_819925)
16 days ago

Here’s my problem, we had 68 and they were run into the ground as they are the most tasked (used) product in the British Army. Our response? Reduce the replacement order by 35% despite getting a fantastic deal on it. the cost is for the helo + spares etc so £40m is a great price imo we should have double the order not reduced, what are we doing.. as I have said previously, if there is a choice of tanks or Apache I go for Apache, for me mass is important, for the army it seems they want a few… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_819986)
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

I don’t know if it’s the army wanting less of everything or more to do with the budget for items constantly shrinking. The forces are around half the size they were when defence spending was 2.5-3% of gdp. I’m going with actual defence spending is 1.5% when all the added items into the budget since 2010 are taken off. Add in the nuclear costs and it becomes clear why the forces are so small and have not much kit. The budget still is a good chunk of cash but not for what the forces are expected to do. If government… Read more »

Order of the Ditch
Order of the Ditch (@guest_819988)
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

To be fair I am not sure manned attack helicopters have a bright future. They have performed very poorly in Ukraine.
In my opinion it makes sense to reduce the attack fleet size provided capability increases elsewhere. The British Army’s UAV/drone strategy and inventory is beyond pathetic, especially with how prevalent they have been in Ukraine.

Pacman27
Pacman27 (@guest_819995)
16 days ago

No problem with that view but as we know, it takes an age and then we don’t buy any as its too expensive.

I suspect Apache is going to remain in massive demand for many years yet and clearly has a place, especially in support of something like boxer.

we could also go down the US route and go for an armed airbus 145/155

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821043)
12 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

From what I know the US Army hasn’t ordered the any Lakota in any versions that are armed. And if the latest 145 purchase by the MOD contract is to go by we need to stay well away, 5 year support package that comes in at something like £25,000 per flying hour when it should cost £4-5k per flying hour!!

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820343)
14 days ago

On one hand you have MANPADS that have been working as advertised. On the other attack helicopters using smarter tactics by launching their weapons from outside the MANPAD range envelop. In the early days of the war. It seemed every day another Russian helicopter was being shot down by a MANPAD, from the ubiquitous Mil-8/17 to the top of the range Ka-50/52. Ukrainian troops were posting videos constantly of them using a Stinger, RBS70, Starstreak and even Martlet etc shooting down a Russian helicopter. However, when images of the wreckage were filmed. One thing that constantly stood out. Was the… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820371)
14 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Well if its laser guided at least the laser warning receiver will let you know you have an issue! Unlike a vehicle popping thermal obscurants isn’t really an option.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_820884)
13 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

For a helicopter, the only real option when facing Starstreak. Is hope that you have time to get something like a hill/tree/cloud in between you and the missile. However with the darts reaching Mach 4, and the short distance between the firing point and target. There’s very little time to do anything!

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821044)
12 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

UK hasn’t bought the newest active jammers being deployed on US Army AH-64D Ver.6 weapons pylons tips. A steerable laser that planes havoc with the IR seeker. It would be good if we did follow commonality with the US Army

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_821204)
12 days ago
Reply to  Ruthy

Sadly that’s true. The UK doesn’t have the massive budget that the US has. So it does the best it can with what it has. In the main this means more funding goes into systems required to detect a threat to the aircraft. Be that from Radar, Laser, or IR based threats. Fitting and using active countermeasures is slowly getting there, but there is still a reliance on expendable countermeasures such as flares and chaff (mostly due to cost). In this respect the UK’s military helicopter fleet is not that far behind the US. However, Leonardo’s Britecloud is getting pushed… Read more »

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821042)
12 days ago

Like everything Russian AF there utilisation and tactics of Attack Helicopters is pretty poor, flying at 300-500 feet over the FLOT or FEBA is pretty much asking for trouble. Even some of the videos I have seen of the KA-52 firing there long range ATGMs is pretty much asking for trouble. Though I would say the terrain/tree cover is lacking in western Ukraine for masking tactics.

DaveyB.
DaveyB. (@guest_821210)
12 days ago
Reply to  Ruthy

After 2 years of fighting, even the Russians have learned not to get too close to the target. Even if this means launching your weapons at the extreme of their effective range. It would be interesting to see a breakdown of what MANPADS were used and the number/type of Russian aircraft shot down. I suspect we would see that multiple MANPADS of certain types were needed to be fired to take out a singular aircraft. Due to Ka52s launching beyond the range of MANPADS and VSHORAD. we may see extended range versions of the VSHORAD to close the gap. Maxing… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820057)
16 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

Not sure why you think the army want a few of everything. Our army, like our air force and our navy has to be able to operate across the full spectrum of armed conflict, by political remit. So, the army needs heavy, medium and light forces. It needs forces for: Warfighting; Peace Support Operations; COIN; Counter-Terrorism; MACA/MACM/MACP; support to Other Government Departments including humanitarian operations, training foreign armies etc etc. No role or potential task has ever been dropped by their political masters, less a handful of specialities (ie no railway-trained RLC guys now). The politicians set manpower headroom figures… Read more »

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821041)
12 days ago
Reply to  Pacman27

We bought 67 originally. But the fleet size was reduced to 50 quite quickly less than 10 years into the service life I cannot remember when exactly. We went from 2 regiments of 3 squadrons (though 651 Sqn wasn’t exactly combat coded). To now having 2 regiments of 2 sqns, probably giving 6 airframes per Sqn. Not exactly giving us any combat mass. 1 AvN Brigade is a joke tbf, US Structure is Sqn/Coy to have 8 Airframes with 24 Airframes in a Battalion/Regt.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_819996)
16 days ago

It is time we had an honest defence review, that does not have the treasury finger prints all over it. A weapon system that does not fulfil its intended role is ultimately pointless and an even bigger waste of money. An PC or IFV which cannot deliver troops to the right place on the battlefield and could get stuck leaving it a sitting duck just defies logic. That being said, as a practicing senior project manager, the MoD do not help themselves. They do not give honest cost assessments , they price. What they think the treasury will accept ,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820068)
15 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

An interesting post. The last Defence Review I was reasonably satisfied with was Blair’s SDR of 1998 – it was absolutely foreign policy led rather than Treasury driven – Blair was very determined about that. Time and trouble was taken over it. I went on to craft many of the Orbat changes for REME. I have been a PM for DE&S (my first job after leaving the army) and also been a Dep Programme Mgr there – and had a very interesting time. My project as PM was a tiny £60m project and it went very well. You only really… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820077)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ahem, like Blackhawks perhaps?

SDSR 98. Did Brown fund it? Nope. A few years later the knives were out and Fast Jet Sqns and RN escorts were getting cut like they were out of fashion.

Trevor G
Trevor G (@guest_820091)
15 days ago

Indeed. And I recall that amid all the PR blizzard attached to the “contract” for the aircraft carriers, Brown strangely omitted to mention that there was zero funding made available, i.e. there was no contract But it sounded good when your parliamentary constituency happens to be next door to Rosyth.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820252)
15 days ago
Reply to  Trevor G

I heard that £5bn was transferred from the army’s FRES project.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820374)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Money well spent if it came from the cluster that was FRES…

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_820096)
15 days ago

Blackhawk was Thatcher. Not Blair/Brown
The Labour government spent 2.5.GDP and the nuclear deterrent was funded individually.

Cameron/osborne get in, they slash defence spending and rolled trident into the defence budget. Resulting in a further major cut to conventional defence spending,

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820107)
15 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

I know, Heseltine Thatcher and Westlands. My BH mention was to Graham and was in response to him saying this “Often it is the politicians (PM, Chancellor, SofS, MinDP) who force UK content and UK workshare as key factors and favour a ‘made in UK’ developmental project and so the option for a fast and cheap(ish) MOTS procurement from a foreign country often gets elbowed aside.” On Blair Brown and helis, SABR was cut as Brown would not fund it and they robbed Peter to pay Paul by transferring in service RAF Merlins to replace the CHF Sea King HC4s.… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820375)
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Read about FRES, TRACER, Boxer, Ajax and others and then complain about wasted cash and opportunities.
No Govt is squeaky clean…not by a long shot.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820251)
15 days ago

Of course I did not agree with everything in SDR 98, just that it was foreign policy-led, rather than Treasury-driven. That was refreshing and rare, and may not have happened since! There were winners and losers, but the cuts were not eye-watering, unlike Cameron’s in 2010, and the enhancements were welcome and significant. Of course ‘no plan survives first contact’ and SDR New Chapter followed on in 2002 after the 9/11 attack and then the DWP of 2003, which set more significant changes in motion. SDR 98 Key Points: – “Joint Force Harrier” created to operate from Invincible-class aircraft carriers… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820253)
15 days ago

Blackhawk. Interesting that LM stated in Sep 23 at DSEI ‘that nearly 40% of the entire Black Hawk production and assembly would be based in the UK, potentially supporting an average of 660 UK jobs annually from 2025 to 2030’?

LM is sensibly playing to the gallery (of politicians). Of course this UK (parts and labour) content will drive up the unit cost and delay the programme.

Last edited 15 days ago by Graham Moore
Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820372)
14 days ago

Worth reading Think Defence who has just released a long read on Boxer acquisition and the utter cluster that has led to the current situation with Boxer, Ajax, CH3 and Warrior. No Govt or Army staff come out smelling of roses in the entire +30year timeline.

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_820081)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The question has to be asked. Is the MoD in the business of defending the nation or lining the pockets of U.K. defence contractors. The AJAX being a prime example, did we really need to develop our own vehicle. Why is the contract set up so that the tax payer takes all the risk.
I am all for preserving U.K. jobs but not at the expense of the defence of the country or the MoD providing the knife, sharpening it and cutting its own throat.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820104)
15 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Spot on! Which is why I’d like an OTS Blackhawk rather than 22 AW when the requirement was for “up to 44”

I think the MoD budget is primarily, in HMG eyes, to fund their fat cat friends in industry.
Always has been.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820256)
15 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

It is an excellent question. It depends who in MoD you ask. The politicos will want the solution that creates UK jobs (ie lining the pockets of UK defence contractors). The bean counters will want the cheapest thing even if it is crap. Civil Service seniors will want the solution that produces the least amount of paperwork to do, and hopefully a promotion or honour. The military staff will want the best kit for the job to defend the nation. Sorry if that reads as if it is from a ‘Yes Minister’ script, but it’s the truth – I’ve been… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_820271)
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

True, however every option results in a single outcome in most cases, out of date kit, delivered late and way over budget. Which given that we are asking men and women of the armed forces to lay down their lives in defence of the realm is a VERY Very poor show. They should have the best of kit available to do the job. However like the NHS perhaps what you have illustrated is a strong case for defence to be a cross party matter and not a political football. The defence select committee does zero to hold the government to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820394)
14 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

It is only the stories about poor procurement that make the Press – many MoD programmes and projects are successful. However, the procurement foul-ups tend to be huge and damage our ability to defend our nation, our continent and our allies – and risk lives as you say. I fully endorse the idea that Defence procurement strategy should have cross-party support. The Defence Select Committees and other such scrutiny committees (eg HCDC) have zero power as you say – they should have power. We should also stop politicians eliminating a capability before the successor system is in-service. It happens time… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_820421)
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Unfortunately Defence project do go over budget . It is the nature of the beast F35 Being a good example.
And yes there are many success but too many colossal failures.
There is no incentive for defence contractors to be realistic about price . Cost plus is the standard model when risk sharing should be more frequently used.
The rest I agree with but unfortunately will never happen.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820631)
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Some Defence projects, but not all, go over budget. I am sure that the CR3 project is firm price. My own (much smaller) procurement project at Abbey Wood did not go over budget. Sir Peter Levene many, many decades ago had a war on cost plus contracts, and insisted they should be the exception rather than the rule. I have not seen any stats about the percentage of cost plus contracts compared to the overall number, but I would hope it would be in a minority. I am shocked to hear that you think that cost plus is still now… Read more »

Michael Hannah
Michael Hannah (@guest_820637)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi
You are part of the MoD but from what we have seen lately.
Ajax, over budget, over time and the tax payer picks up the tab.
Astute class sub, over budget, late and the tax payer picks up the tab.

I don’t know about Dreadnought, certainly the carriers were late and over budget but that was because the MoD puts the brakes on.

I believe Type 26 is on time and budget.

From a layman viewpoint in the nuclear world . We seem to be taking on a lot of risk.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820819)
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Hi Michael, I have not been part of the MoD for a long time. I was Army (REME) from 1975-2009 which included 2 years as an ESM (Equipment Support Manager) in Tanks Systems Support IPT in DLO Andover, then my first civvy work was three back to back contracter stints at Abbey Wood, which included being a PM for a tiny £60m project. I often put forward the ‘MoD view’ as that is what I know, and I hope folk find it useful. I am not and never have been an apologist for the MoD’s procurement cock-ups. I really don’t… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820857)
13 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

The carrier project is interesting. I never for a second believed that the original declared budget estimate announced by SofS of £3.9bn in 2007 was credible – some had thought that it might be done for ‘a little over £3bn’. I feel sure that was MoD game-playing with HMT to get the project green-lit. Budget rose to £4.1bn at formal project approval a short time later with ISD for first carrier being expected to be July 2015. Budget increased by £1.6bn to £5.7bn due to political decision (due to global financial crisis) in Dec 2008 to delay ISD for first… Read more »

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821045)
12 days ago
Reply to  Michael Hannah

Is Medium Recce a thing of the past?? Only the US Army do it sensibly with couple of Coy of M1A2 for its heavy/penetration Divisions in support of M2 Bradley’s . Is drones the way to go? Ajax isn’t exactly silent (electric drive/rubber tracks) nor IR Stealthy. Are we just trying to find a job for our historical cavalry regiments? Wouldn’t it be better for each Tank Regiment to have Ajax? Rather than having independent regiments? Is this a case of job creation for officers? Let’s look at 1 Aviation Brigade? Isn’t that just job duplication with JHC for an… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_820004)
16 days ago

Off topic:
Grant Shapps last week: The RAF has more heavy lift capacity than any time since WW2. [disputed]
Grant Shapps today: Unfortunately we don’t have enough heavy lift capacity in the RAF for D-Day celebrations, but we are looking around and we hope some planes will turn up somewhere. [indisputable]

Would it have killed them to keep the Greyhounds around for an extra year?

Last edited 16 days ago by Jon
Jon
Jon (@guest_820054)
16 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Don’t know why I said Greyhound when I meant Hercules

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820074)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jon

The most imbecilic of the recent cuts for me.

Just wait till the Atlas and C17 fleet are knackered as they have had to try and pick up the Herc taskings as well as their own.

Jon
Jon (@guest_820118)
15 days ago

If we are so close to the limits of our requirements in peacetime, desirable wartime taskings will be far beyond us.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_820125)
15 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Yep. And people still defend cutting 25% of our transport aircraft with no replacement.

WSM
WSM (@guest_820540)
14 days ago

That’s when they’ll end up scratching around for 2nd hand C130s!

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821048)
12 days ago

Like I said Atlas was a planned direct replacement of the Hercs. It was never planned for us to have the Hercs for so long. RAF Strategic fleet was never as big since the introduction of the Hercules. We only had 25 Hercules max during the Cold War. Atlas 22 C-17 8. The C-17s was leased as an interim solution for the Atlas upon running the 4 originals for a couple of years it was seen that we really needed these, hence why they turned the lease into buys and bought 4 more. The RAF would like a few more… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_821107)
12 days ago
Reply to  Ruthy

Morning Ruthy. I know about the 4 leased C17. But you’re incorrect on the Hercs. You say “there were 25 max during the Cold War” There were, I think, 62 bought. And in the 1990s we has 50!!! The 25 J buy only replaced half the fleet, penny pinching again, the other half continuing, including SF dedicated types. So 22 Atlas does not replace the 40 plus that remained when Atlas arrived. And do not replace in the SFF role with 47. And do not replace in the SD Flight role. Yes, course capacity isn’t the issue, the things are… Read more »

Gunbuster
Gunbuster (@guest_820378)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jon

C130s have gone. Thats it . Let it go…they are not coming back. Doing a drop over Normandy is decorational not operational irrespective of the aircraft used. Some of the 400s are now tied up doing humanitarian food drops over Gaza. So which is going to take priority? The answer will be Gaza. Imagine the usual suspects screams of anguish and outrage if they stopped food drops so that they could “commemorate /celebrate a battle that happened 80 years ago…when 30million women and 600million children are dying of typhoid , plague, strvation, under rubble in a genocide/warcrime perpetuated by the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_820396)
14 days ago
Reply to  Jon

The RAF say thay have just one Atlas available for the D-Day para drop.

Ruthy
Ruthy (@guest_821047)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jon

🤣🤣🤣Grant Shapps more heavy lift since World War 2!! We never had heavy lift in WW2. I will say though probably more since the Cold War. The only reason the Hercules were kept on was due to the fact that Atlas was delayed. We have only ever had 22-25 Hercules, we now have 22 Atlas with over double the capacity of the Hercules fleet. Atlas can now be seen as truly bridging the gap between Tactical vs Strategic air transport and we have 8 C-17’s which is strategic lifter, and we have never had that before there introduction. And don’t… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_821108)
12 days ago
Reply to  Ruthy

When 25 J were bought in the 90s, there were also 25 older types.
There were 50 around that time.
In the “Cold War” of the 70s and 80s there were even more as the force had reduced.

Julian
Julian (@guest_820058)
16 days ago

“… against an approval of £1.999 billion.”

What an odd number. The Army requested a £2 billion budget and someone involved in granting the approval thought “always leave them wanting more”? 🙂

Anyway, nice to see something coming in under budget.

Cygnet261
Cygnet261 (@guest_820304)
14 days ago

Keep MOD Civil Servants out of the procurement process.