If the Ukraine war has taught us anything about high-tempo conventional warfare between peer adversaries, it is that numbers matter.

That Russia has been able to continue its assault despite significant losses in men and materiel speaks to the value of having a large inventory, particularly of replacement armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs).


This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the UK Defence Journal. If you would like to submit your own article on this topic or any other, please see our submission guidelines.


However, the West seems to have focussed on fewer, higher-spec AFVs.

The UK, for example, currently plans to be able to field only 148 Challenger 3 main battle tanks (MBTs) by 2030, although surely this figure will be upped after recent events in
eastern Europe. Pure numbers aside, it’s clear that the USA and its NATO allies have
also plumped for large, increasingly complex, and expensive MBTs, topping 70
tonnes or more when prepared to what is sometimes referred to as “theatre entry
standard”.

Just look at the most recent iterations of the M1A2 and Leopard 2A7, both remarkable
for the myriad of bolt-on bits of kit deemed necessary to meet the threats. I do
wonder, though, if the West is going in the right direction here, and for a number of
reasons. The first, and most basic one, is cost. With a modern western MBT costing
up to £8.3 million ($10 million) depending on its final fit, does it really make sense to
invest so much in a vehicle that might be destroyed or disabled by a next generation
light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) which costs around £33,400 ($40,000)?

Or even by an adapted commercial drone available for much less than that? I don’t think so.

Whisper it softly, but at the present time most western MBTs would fare little better
against Ukraine’s hand-held anti-tank weaponry than the Russians have. Yes,
there are systems available to counter the drone/top attack missiles threat – the Israeli
Trophy kit being perhaps the best known so far – but no NATO nation yet has them in
general service. And, again, currently the UK plans to procure only 60 systems for its
pathetically small planned fleet of 148 Challenger 3s. There are already cannons and
ammunition optimised in the anti-drone role and possibly even laser weapons in the
fullness of time, but they’re still some way down the road.

I also have concerns about the vulnerability of western MBTs and AFVs to less
sophisticated threats. As technology has evolved to meet the defensive and offensive
needs of modern vehicles, various add-ons – like active protective systems (APS),
remote weapons systems (RWS), thermal imaging (TI) sights and the like – have been
applied retrospectively to existing designs. However, the vast majority of these
upgrades have been added on top of, not integrated with, the vehicles’ basic armour
protection.

The end result has been that many modern MBTs look like tinkers’ caravans with all
the bits and pieces that have been added, and these additions look extremely
vulnerable to such mundane things as artillery shrapnel and small arms fire. Damage
to these extra-armour appendages may severely restrict a vehicle’s operational
capabilities, if not render it incapacitated altogether.

The last aspect I wish to deal with here, although there are many others, is that of size
and weight. An important aspect of any AFV’s survivability on the battlefield is its ability not to be detected, and if detected, not to be targeted and hit. Agility plays a
part too, of course, but if we look at the size of current western MBT fleets the
vehicles are all large and bulky and therefore are essentially big targets. Plus their
physical size limits the ways in which they can be transported, with the
height/width/weight tolerances of road and railway bridges and tunnels being one
example.

Large size comes hand in hand with increased weight, topping 70 tonnes in some
cases as previously mentioned. This combination of excessive size and weight has a
significant impact on strategic, operational, and tactical mobility. Studies have shown
that the “trafficability” of an MBT (its ability to use the European road network)
declines as the cube of its weight. In other words, doubling its weight will reduce its
trafficability by a factor of eight.

It follows, therefore, that lighter MBTs and AFVs, which may not grossly exceed the
weight limits set for commercial vehicles, can utilise a far higher proportion of the
modern European road network than can the current 70 tonne plus MBTs which equip
NATO armies. Clearly this influences the options for movement and manoeuvre.
Interestingly Russian MBTs, which have performed badly in Ukraine for a number of
reasons well covered elsewhere, have a much better trafficability.

There are other issues that we could examine, but taking just the three aspects of cost,
vulnerability, and trafficability makes me wonder whether the west should re-examine
its policies on AFVs in general and MBTs in particular. It may be that we have
reached the upper limit of the size/weight/cost/vulnerability/trafficability matrix and
need a radical rethink. Would it perhaps not be a better policy to opt for smaller,
lighter, less expensive MBTs and AFVs in larger quantities rather than putting all our
eggs in a few baskets, as it were? As the probably apocryphal German saying from the
Second World War has it; “One Panther is worth ten Shermans, but there’s always an
eleventh one.”

There is a debate to be had here and this short article barely scratches the surface.
However, more recently the demands of urban combat on MBTs has led to calls for a
“support” tank for infantry operations, thereby reinventing the wheel of the British
cruiser tank/infantry tank philosophy of the 1930s.

One example of that might be
KMW’s RCT120 remote turret with L/44 120 mm smoothbore on Boxer and Tracked
Boxer. It is not an MBT substitute but is able to provide infantry with direct fire
support and protection against unexpected tank encounters. The turret additionally has
twin long-range ATGMs.

There is also the option of going down the “optionally manned” AFV route, where the
crewed vehicle might control one or two “loyal wingmen”, to borrow the phrase from
developments in aviation. I would anticipate such a vehicle might have a three man
crew in a protected compartment with a remotely controlled turret, rather like the
Russian T-14 Armata design. The consensus is that future MBTs will have
autoloaders, but not of the discredited Russian carousel design but rather that of in the
turret bustle with blow-off panels like the French Leclerc.

That is probably enough for now. Finally, I did write on this site recently that ‘the age
of the tank is not yet over’. I think it appropriate, therefore, to end with a quote by one of Britain’s pre-eminent inter-war military intellectuals.

“Time after time during the past 40 years, the highest defence authorities have announced that the tank is dead or dying,” wrote Basil Liddell Hart, the British military theorist, in 1960. “Each time it has risen from the grave to which they have consigned it”.

© Stuart Crawford 2022

Stuart Crawford was a regular officer in the Royal Tank Regiment for twenty years, retiring in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1999. Crawford attended both the British and US staff colleges and undertook a Defence Fellowship at Glasgow University. He now works as a political, defence and security consultant and is a regular commentator on military and defence topics in print, broadcast and online media.
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john
john
18 days ago

Well back in the 1970s 1980s there was talk about the replacement of our Chieftains. We the tank crews liked the vickers mk7 it was smaller and lighter and a lot more agile than our tanks, what we got was challenger,no one was interested in what the crews wanted only what BAE at the time wanted.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
18 days ago
Reply to  john

Yeah I remember that debate oh how we wasted that likely last chance of. building a viable fighting vehicle industrial base which was sadly allow to decay, decline and evaporate. Wasn’t the mk7 effectively an export design? Ironic that a total lack of designing with exports in mind has wiped out so many of our companies subsequently when one might have hoped they would have had the vision to see the necessity for that. Geez the Germans seem to have built and retained their operations to do little else… till recent revelations and now can’t find the capacity to keep… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
18 days ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

It is the consequences of an overall trend in West. The aristocratic-politicized managerial class increases in size since parents(voters) want no manual work for the future of their children.
In XIX Century the society objective was doing things. Not anymore.

Expat
Expat
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

But the reality of modern industry is building 1000’s is likely to be highly automated where as upgrading and retrofitted 150 is highly manual task. So if there was some master plan it appears to have backfired.

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago
Reply to  Expat

I am not talking about master plan, just how values change.

Paul T
Paul T
16 days ago
Reply to  john

I’m pretty sure BAE had nothing to do with the Vickers mk7, Vickers were still a stand alone company then, I was not aware that the mk7 was offered to the British Army either, it was developed for export.

George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

The point, if requested by the MoD the Vickers Mk7 or a modified version. Would have been produced and available in greater numbers because it was cheaper to buy. Numbers are important for many reasons. People seem to forget that tanks do not drive themselves and trained crews are an even more valuable asset. Having a larger tank force means there are more trained crews in the regular reserve to be called up if required. It also means formations such as the Territorial Army could have been equipped with them too. With full order books Vickers may have survived, to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  john

John, interesting post. The Mk7 was developed in the late 80s, when CR1 was in service together with Chieftain, a mixed fleet. I wonder why MoD rejected the Mk7 in favour of CR2 – the spec looked really good and it was well developed whereas CR2 had to be devloped from scratch.

Paul T
Paul T
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

An interesting read Graham – https://tanks-encyclopedia.com/vickers-mk-7-2/

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Yes, an interesting read, as you say. thanks for the link. As a very young REME officer I did my Industrial Attachment to Vickers, Newcastle in 1979, so have something of an affinity to the company (now subsumed into BAE of course). Seems like the turret was Chobham armoured but I am not sure if the Leo2 hull was anything other than standard RHA.
Seems a shame that the last ‘tanks’ built in the UK were the Trojan and Titan RE variants in 2002/3.

Paul T
Paul T
15 days ago
Reply to  john

Ive been looking at information regarding Vickers Tanks and the Tank you must be referring to in regards replacing Chieftain was the MK4 ( later called the Valiant ) not the MK7 which was in developement when CR1 had already been chosen.

AlexS
AlexS
18 days ago

120 Challenger tanks would probably have lasted in operational conditions 1 or 2 weeks in this Ukraine War.
Quantity is essential to fight an enemy that also have quantity.
it do not need to be 1:1 if we have some quality advantage, but it needs to be enough to the size of the fight.

Concerning Trophy availability in Europe.
I think the US tank brigades in Europe already have Trophy. There was also recently -a month ago – a big +800M$ order to add more Trophy to US tanks.

dan
dan
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Yep. Remember that Russia has got it hands on a number of Javelins and NLAWs and other high tech NATO gear that they will also be sharing with the Chicoms so expect to face similar systems in a future conflict. Tanks without a 360 degree active defense won’t last long in future wars.

Graham b
Graham b
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Totally agree but the defender needs to be far more numerous than 1 to 1 because of the need to spread across time and geography. The attacker can focus on the defenders weekest point.

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

That is a good point too Graham. But depends on geography and road and rail assets.

Last edited 17 days ago by AlexS
George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Very valid point Alex. One only need study the Italian campaign of WWII to see how geography can make nonsense of any numerical superiority rule. Also the contrast in the split Swiss Cold War defensive strategy. Should an invading soviet army tried to pass through their territory and outflank NATO. Switzerland has a relatively flat region and one that is mountainous. As a result they had (likely still have) two distinct defensive plans. Well worth researching. Clever chaps those Swiss. In mountain passes, a well drilled antitank company can hols a brigade or two at bay. Only alpine infantry stands… Read more »

Sean
Sean
17 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

Accepted military doctrine is that attacking forces need to be 3 times larger than the defending forces because they have advantage of choosing where to fight and can create defensible positions. Invading forces don’t have that luxury if they’re to take control of a country.

Graham b
Graham b
16 days ago
Reply to  Sean

The 3 to 1 rule is well known but is often wrongly applied. It should read you need. 3 to 1 at the schwerpunkt but you must also allow for all of the distractions and diversions. Because the defender is only as strong as its weakest point, they have far more distractions than the attacker and the attacker chooses the weakest point. This means that the defender usually can spare less than 1:3 accross the spread of the defended territory. The problem is that as the force size gets smaller the ability to protect ground gets less and less. Eventually… Read more »

George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

We Bits do not say this often enough. Thank you for your service Graham.
You must be seething at the way the Biden administration and then ours handled the withdrawal. I use the term “withdrawal” kindly as it implies some form of orderly organised manoeuvre that was clearly absent. The cost in lives has never been calculated.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

Graham,
Was the 3 to 1 rule a problem because we could not meet it and that was embarrassing?
Out of interest what force levels do you think we really should have had in Helmand province?

Graham b
Graham b
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The problem with the 3 to 1 rule was that it was too simplistic and disregarded the realities of time and space. The most common mistake was regarding the 3 to 1 rule for the whole force. It should only be used at the schwerpunkt after taking all of the distractions into account. They used ridiculously optimistic estimates of enemy force size. But more importantly the vast majority of ISAF were fixed by defending fixed positions, national caveats and being organised into nstional areas of operation instead of mobile forces The smaller the force the greater the proportion of distractions.… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

I agree that the 3:1 rule should only apply to the schwerpunkt and the logic is that an attacking force should have a frontage of assaulting troops equivalent to the frontage of the enemy position, there should be a component providing a fire base (1/3 of own forces) and an uncommitted reserve (1/3 of own forces). Some theorists (including me) angle for a 4:1 rule so that a second echelon of assault troops can be factored in. The rule of 4 was in vogue for a while in the 80s, as I recall – and it was said that an… Read more »

Richard Cooper
Richard Cooper
18 days ago

Arithmetic on the Frontier – Kipling

A scrimmage in a Border Station-
A canter down some dark defile
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.
The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
18 days ago
Reply to  Richard Cooper

As Orwell pointed out, Kipling never was a simple minded jingo.

Jon
Jon
18 days ago

What I don’t get about Trophy is, if it’s most important not to be detected, how does that work with an active radar stapled to your roof?

AlexS
AlexS
18 days ago
Reply to  Jon

A tank is easily detected today regardless.
The active radar is short range, short power and probably millimetre wave. Increases the odds of being detected, yes, but it is marginal IMO.

DaveyB
DaveyB
17 days ago
Reply to  Jon

The Trophy APS has two operating modes, active and passive. The active mode is where the AESA radar is continuously operating. Details on the radar are scarce. Publicly it’s known to be an X-band radar but little else. There’s nothing on power rating or if it’s a low probability of intercept (LPI) radar. I personally suspect that todays version is a LPI and that it can see to 5km at least. This is based on Israeli Army statements, where they’ve said the radar has been used to detect drones and helicopters at distance. If the radar is LPI it makes… Read more »

George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The system is allegedly fine tuneable to best cope with the local terrain. I’m sure there are weaknesses depending on settings but good SOP’s should ensure vehicles in the same formations use complimentary variables.
The not so distant future battlefield will be very vulnerable to EMP. I imagine in a peer on peer, an EMP as a preliminary will be obligatory. I bet the Israelis are leading the way in that technology too. Bringing them into NATO would be a smart move. What say you?

Jon
Jon
16 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

Not politically possible. Israel perceives itself to be under constant existential threat and won’t divert its focus. Until the Palestinian territories are regularised, NATO wouldn’t accept them.

George Parker
George Parker
15 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Politically being allied with the USSR was impossible. That communist state had also invaded Poland and committed war crimes. By comparison, the terrorist entities known as “palestinians” are of little real concern. If Saudi and the UAE can ignore then and work with Israel against a mutual foe. So can NATO.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
16 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

You can mitigate against EMP. Design and good engineering standards are key factors. Simple engineering tasks such as ensuring any equipment housings and cabinets have a good earth and any door and cover seals are in good condition and the obligatory wire braiding covered rubber seal is in one piece.

George Parker
George Parker
15 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

I’m aware of that, it’s one of the reasons militarised equipment is much more expensive than civilian equivalents. But we are talking about kit maintained and used by soldiers. Also the scientific capabilities of the Israelis. Who have turned achieving the impossible into a national pastime.
A great little parliamentary democracy with universal suffrage. Well worth our patronage.

PeterS
PeterS
18 days ago

This tension between numbers and quality affects far more of our procurement than just main battle tanks. In part this arises from our history as a former world power and our wish to be a mini USA. In part it stems from the fact that we do not face an obvious and imminent threat (unlike S Korea or Israel for example) so that we procure for a variety of scenarios. And finally, because we expect to engage in wars of choice, we are averse to casualties and collateral damage. Theses factors have led to a number of poor and expensive… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
18 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

The corollary is that the tank force is to be operated only as part of a NATO operation with tanks from other countries.

Stu
Stu
18 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Are you saying ‘we should only act as part of NATO’ or that ‘the planners expect to only act as part of NATO’?

geoff.Roach
geoff.Roach
18 days ago
Reply to  Stu

The problem Stu is that Alex never allows for sovereign action.

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

What i am saying is that the BA numbers do not have depth to used in a war against an enemy than have +500 tanks.
Now UK is an island so i don’t think is that a serious issue.
The problem is that many think the UK is a mini USA and must be everywhere.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Our island nation characteristic does not materially affect the construct of our land forces. We invented the tank for expeditionary warfare, not home defence.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
18 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

Exactly what order of battle would those extra tanks fit into?

If Ukraine has taught us anything it’s that having more tanks than you can support is a very very bad thing.

Last edited 18 days ago by Tomartyr
PeterS
PeterS
16 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

I am not suggesting we routinely deploy more than 148 Ch3.. But the upgrade decision means we can never have any more if we need them, either as replacements of losses or to expand the force.in a crisis.
The capacity to build new MBTs no longer exists. So our army will have little resilience

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

We will have 148 CR3s but only 112 would be issued to the two armoured regiments.
RBSL might argue that in remanufacturing CR2s to the CR3 standard at Telford that we have the capacity to build MBTs, even if several significant items are bought-in, which is not a new phenomenon in manufacturing.

PeterS
PeterS
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Indeed. So would it not make sense to retain the hulls not destined for Ch3 upgrade just in case? The decision to scrap them caps our tank force at 148.
This is a really bad decision.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

I have accepted reluctantly that our future tank force is only 148 CR3 tanks. I have not heard of any plans to retain any other CR2s for possible future conversion to CR3. MoD does not keep any old, superseded equipment for just-in-case scenarios.

peter Wait
peter Wait
8 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Cost of remaking all the jigs to build the tanks is expensive and does not make economic sense in small numbers !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
7 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

Peter, sorry I have lost the thread here. Do you think I said we should remake some jigs to build a small number of tanks? Not sure that I did. Which tanks?

Pete
Pete
18 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

If the tank gets shot up and reasonable expectations that the crew survives then additional spare hulls becomes a key and viable force sustainment strategy.

PeterS
PeterS
18 days ago
Reply to  Pete

The decision to transform just 148 tanks at a unit cost of @£6m seems to me the worst of all options. It means the scrapping of the remaining hulls, unlike in France, Germany, Italy which can bring compatible hulls out of reserve. We could have- *undertaken a more modest upgrade of a greater number leaving us with some reserves *kept the tank fleet as it is since Ch2 is clearly capable of dealing with any enemy tank we are likely to face, and spent the money saved on other much needed kit *deleted the entire fleet in favour of a… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
16 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

I agree it seems a very expensive upgrade. I think they whole fleet should be looked at being done with some of the upgrades left out. Does the gun really need changed? A modest upgrade and efforts put into the challenger 2 replacement is what I think is a better idea.

Last edited 16 days ago by Monkey spanker
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

Peter, I spent my entire army career watching fleet sizes (of all equipments) reduce. For tanks we went from 900 Chieftains to 435 CR1s to 386 CR2s. Some of that was justified by recognising the end of the Cold War, but that rationale does not hold water from 1991 onwards. I am not surprised that the politicians have imposed yet another savage cut in numbers. CR2 should have course have been significantly upgraded in-service (several times by now) and the reasons why this did not happen seem to be well known. If that had happened we could have been in… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Pete

We will have an Attrition Reserve within the 148 figure. The Royal Wessex Yeomanry has the responsibility to deliver replacement armour forward and to provide BCR personnel.

George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago
Reply to  PeterS

“.. supplement them with something like the new US mobile protected firepower vehicle.” Very sensible suggestion. But it has AJAX connections.

BAE already have the CV90120-T on their books. At up to 40 tons it has great mobility, active/passive defensive systems and packs one hell of a punch for a vehicle in it’s class. Add on armour is available in various combinations.

peter Wait
peter Wait
8 days ago
Reply to  George Parker

They say the Ajax struggles up steep hills despite good power to weight ratio!

George Parker
George Parker
8 days ago
Reply to  peter Wait

Peter, I’ve stopped cataloguing the faults reported on AJAX. It makes my blood boil just thinking about it. When the MoD c-ck up, it costs soldiers lives. A lesson I learned the hard way. It seems each new generation of civil servants is less competent than the last. They need to be held criminally accountable when mistakes are made that have dire consequences. In that respect the defunct USSR had the right idea.

dan
dan
18 days ago

Numbers are important but so is leadership. Russia has the numbers but is severely lacking in competent leadership. But remember Russia has always fought by throwing wave after wave of poorly trained and equipped troops at the enemy. The Germans had much better kit and training in WW2 but eventually lost on Russian soil due to the weather and Russia willing to sacrifice their own troops as cannon fodder. Little has changed since then.

Tarjei99
Tarjei99
17 days ago
Reply to  dan

And so did the Allies wearing down the German in the West.

Matt
Matt
17 days ago
Reply to  dan

That’s not true. Soviet equipment in WW2 was excellent, also the “human wave” doctrine of the Red Army is largely a myth.

https://warontherocks.com/2016/07/was-the-russian-military-a-steamroller-from-world-war-ii-to-today/

Last edited 17 days ago by Matt
AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Soviets had huge human losses, that was do mostly to their tactics. Zukov was called a butcher by some.

Airborne
Airborne
17 days ago
Reply to  dan

Agreed dan!

700 Glengarried men
700 Glengarried men
18 days ago

I think from the perspective of the poor sods who have to crew tanks quality trumps all. After this war a long hard look at tactics and the employment of weapons new and old will be required, unsupported tanks or Infantry will never succeed in modern combat, there will have to be greater emphasis on dealing with drones and precision guided artillery , some sort of radar controlled airbust or proximity fused 40mm or 57mm gun on a tracked chassis.

D J
D J
16 days ago

Airburst 30mm is a real thing. The 35mm is especially impressive. There is also laser based systems from the likes of EOS & others, EW, even the old shotgun for some of the smaller ones. Work in progress.

Robert
Robert
18 days ago

I’m surprised the Japanese Type 10 never gets mentioned when talking about weight and mobility. It’s not cheaper to buy but certainly lighter and smaller than other modern western tanks. Given Europe’s land powers have (or will have) many M1, K2, Leopard 2 etc for defence of Europe then the British Army could equip a lighter more transportable tank for power projection.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Robert

Our tanks would be required for the defence of Europe too – it will be ‘all hands to the pumps’ – we would not want to deploy an under-protected tank to the European Theatre.

Jonathan
Jonathan
18 days ago

The issue for the U.K. is deployment. Yes we could buy 1000 new MBTs like Poland’s but how do we deploy them…the BAOR is long gone and without that the U.K. just does not need large numbers of MBTs we don’t have the capability to deploy.

we should focus on capabilities that can be deployed and if we don’t have the resources to deploy it we should not be buying it.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
18 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Very true. Lots of heavy equipment transporters are needed for tracked vehicles. Forward deployments can help with deterrence. As it is I’m not sure the U.K. could actually help much in an actual conventional war with China, Korea with deploying heavy kit quickly. So the enemy is Russia, maybe China or helping some country outside Europe dealing with an invasion. That is what needs to be concentrated on if that’s the threat. Also if a heavy vehicle is killed by a man portable weapon regardless of its armour is it worth making them so heavy. I’m glad I don’t have… Read more »

Simon
Simon
18 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

considering at the moment, we have 20+ HET up for sale

Jonathan
Jonathan
18 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Agree, to be honest I think we need a core of very good MBTs, fires and enablers that we can deploy, but any obsession with mass of equipment we cannot get anywhere is pointless. From an army point of view we should probably focus on what we are good at, very high end capabilities, very expert formations on combined arms and more specialist areas like marines are air deployable units. and enablers to support. The simple truth is we are an isolated island nation which mean we don’t actually need a large army for defence and can’t actually use a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Not a single thing I disagree with there.

A post with sanity at last rather than wanting several hundred tanks we lack the logistics, HET, and resources to move or even man!

We have the potential for example to really push the 16AA Bde and air landing capability in general. Who else bar the US has the ingredients we have in C17 Chinook in those numbers?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The British Army is not really focussed on Military Home Defence (although it was in 1939/1940 to some extent) – it has always had an expeditionary outlook and that is why equipment was required to operate over wide climatic ranges. Our NATO membership (and periodic non-NATO coalitions of the willing) requires us to be able to deploy land forces (from light to heavy) overseas. There is no point saying that it is hard to deploy heavy forces so we can’t and won’t do it. Fully agree that we should be able to deploy a capable division (and to deploy a… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham

i agree, but it’s the level and scale as well as buying stuff we cannot deploy. In my view we should only buy what we can deploy…and if we need more we also need to focus on the assets for getting stuff places and keeping it there. At present apart from some gaps we have a pretty good balance. But for the U.K. the question of quality or quantity always needs to be quality because of our greater challenge in deployment ( no point spending a fortune on capacity to deploy sub optimal stuff).

Last edited 15 days ago by Jonathan
Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Thanks Jonathan, I don’t think we have ever been unable to deploy all forces (manpower and equipment) required for a specific expeditionary operation.
I agree that some pre-positioning is advantageous which is why we still have 4 depots in Germany – see Wiki entry (British Army Germany)

Jonathans
Jonathans
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes at present apart from some holes the army has maintained a good balance. Personally think any drop in mass would be a mistake, but any significant increase ( not that it’s likely) would potentially outstrip any realistic to deploy, so it’s quality all the way, without future drops in numbers, so getting all our present challengers upgraded would be important as well as upgrading on precision fires etc.

Louis
Louis
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The issue we have is, BAOR needed limited heavy vehicle transportation as the vehicles were already near the frontline. As of now we are very far from the frontline, which is why we are prepositioning a brigades worth of vehicles in Poland. Currently we have just 91 HET’s and the situation will only get worse as CVRT can be carried on DROPs or EPLS, but Ajax most definitely cannot, so we have even more vehicles that need to be carried by a limited fleet of HETs. I don’t believe we have invested much in rail transportation, BAOR used to have… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Deployable railway capability? Oh army did away with most of that after 2010 and in 2020 refine in 2015!
One STRE, I think reserve, has retained some of the skills and they are looking at increasing that now.

Carter having an obsession that we could go wacky races and wheeled racing to Tallin with Boxer did not help.

We have the Channel Tunnel, our garrisons, MPE and depots like Ashcurch, Kineton, Longtown, SPTA, and Marchwood are connected to the network with military railways, we should be expanding that massively. Russia moves lots by train too.

Louis
Louis
16 days ago

Yes 507 STRE, a reserve unit, is the only unit that provides the best way to transport large numbers of armoured vehicles across the country. Very short sighted of the MOD to have reduced this capability but they do it time and again. Another example would be how we replaced the hundred of scammell crusaders and commanders for 91 HETs. Or how our gap crossing capability is now left to the reserves. Or the thousands of DROPs trucks are being relaxed with a mere 382 EPLS which are from existing stocks anyway. As of now we should double our stocks… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

I thought we had over 500 EPLS?

Louis
Louis
16 days ago

Only 382 of the circa 900 15 tonne man trucks we ordered, although some are already being put up for sale just 10 years after being delivered.
There is a very good article on the state of the RLC on UK armed forces commentary from 10 years agowhich I’ll attach, I assume it was just after 19 bde was cut as only 5 close support logistics regiments are there.
http://ukarmedforcescommentary.blogspot.com/2011/07/royal-logistics-corps-and-port.html?m=1

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

As I’ve followed that blog for years I’ll have already read that.
Articles 10 years ago will be even more depressing than the current ones as the Reaction and Adaptable forces made sense to me.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago

Daniele, I am sure you are right but we pulled most of our heavy kit out of Afghan by rail in 2011-2014.https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2066718/The-new-Dunkirk–British-forces-use-Tsars-railway-travel-3-500-miles-home-train-Afghanistan.html

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Louis

In BAOR we had three RCT/RLC Tank Transporter Squadrons so we were not that short of HETs.
The situation is different now, as you say, however if push came to shove we would surely charter HETs from civilian sources to augment military assets.
Exercises have taken place in recent years running armour through the Chunnel.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Good points. We used to have several ways of deploying Scimitars far forward including undetectable means, which we could not use for a behemoth like Ajax.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
17 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Absolutely correct Jonathan. We so often pretend that we have the ability to do all things. The dreaded “fitted for but” speaks volumes with so much of our equipment less than it could be from tanks to aircraft carriers. As 700.. says we need to pause and look at what we are doing and what we can afford. There are a number or roles that we are either good at or are necessary for the future. Defence, Foreign Policy, Overseas Aid, and Security are really all one subject and should be looked at together.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Jonathan,

We would never buy 1000 tanks – we did not even buy that number in the 1960s.

We have had no problem deploying tanks since we invented them for expeditionary deployment in 1915/16.
Why do you think we have suddenly lost our capability to deploy tanks? How do you think we got our tanks to Estonia and Poland? (and before that to the Balkans, Saudi Arabia, Iraq….)

Jonathan
Jonathan
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi graham The 1000 tanks was related to the Poland buy and an example of what we would not need or what, as many people aways equate numbers with the capability to use those numbers. So it was a statement of what should be focused on which is capabilities that can be deployed. We can deploy tanks and combined arms battle groups, but we would not be in a position to deploy large numbers of MBTs beyond what we have. So in the question of quantity vs quality the U.K. always needs to be focused on quality. the best MBTs,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Hi Jonathan, Great post! I agree that we have to ‘major’ on quality as we do not have the manpower numbers to operate or maintain huge fleets of anything – tanks, ships, planes. But it seems that having high quality kit is often an excuse for politicos to drive down manpower numbers time and time again. We don’t need to remake BAOR, I agree. The Warsaw Pact, the USSR and Soviet sattelite states in eastern Europe all ended in the 1990s. We do need to deploy forces across the globe to conform to ‘Global Britain’, and significant forces across to… Read more »

Jonathans
Jonathans
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham completely agree that sometimes the “high quality“ is used as a way to cut inappropriately to the bone. I’m with you on the ability to Globally deploy a single very high quality and stand alone division as pretty much the core of what the army should be able to offer as part of high intensity war fighting as there is no conceivable scenario in which we would be fighting a major land war on our own (so no need for multiple deployable combines arms divisions). But in any major land war the expectation of our allies would be… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
11 days ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Hi Jonathan, My answer was certainly not comprehensive, just looking to the ‘heavy metal’ side of things. I know 16 AA Bde very well having been COS Colchester Garrison – they are vital but have been somewhat hollowed out in recent years. I know 3 Cdo Bde well having been in Camp Bastion when they were there in 2008/9 and they too have been hollowed out and to some extent various commando units have been re-roled. I have no problem with the new Ranger units and the 11th Security Force Assistance Brigade and think they will all do a great… Read more »

Jonathans
Jonathans
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, it is worrying that these lighter deployable really important units are as you say hollowed out as these are the most likely to be used. As you say the heavy combined arms battle groups are more about being part of a non nuclear deterrent and needed for general war, so we need to keep up both types of units from a national security and interest point of view.

Cravendale
Cravendale
18 days ago

Where I take issue with articles like this is that they seem to be based on the premise that we we’d be fighting a large scale land war in Europe on our own, which of course a complete fallacy. Any hypothetical war on the European continent would involve the whole NATO alliance. We’re an island nation, our role within NATO is not to be a land power, we are and always have been a maratime and air power. The bulk of land fighting would be done by those on the continent and the Americans, as long as we can play… Read more »

Stu
Stu
18 days ago
Reply to  Cravendale

Do you think there is a middle ground between 148 tanks and 1,000 that would suit us?

I think you’re right that we don’t need a vast army & thousands of AFV’s & that RN & RAF (both of which could do to increase numbers) should be our priority. But I also think we could do to bump the Army numbers a bit too.

BobA
BobA
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

I’ve got a different take on our Island Nation status and comes more from the point of view of what we can do militarily already and what that adds to NATO. Firstly, we are the only power in NATO other than the US who has conducted Divisional Level warfighting since WW2 – and within recent (ie people are still serving) memory. That gives us an institutional ability and memory to do things that no other NATO Army has. That actually means a lot. The Divisional HQ is the only body that can truly integrate all arms (including command of air… Read more »

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Interesting take. If I understand you correctly, your order of priority would be Army, Navy, RAF?

I’m an amateur so forgive any ignorance, you’re also saying it’s nearly as difficult (resource wise) to deploy 1,000 guys as a whole Brigade so that should effectively be the smallest deployable unit?

Regards your final 2 paragraphs – 100% agree.

BobA
BobA
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

I think it’s Army and RN jointly prioritised and RAF after that. However, there’s nuance isn’t there! EG to have credible land forces deployed en masse, you also need to be able to mount an air bridge. And you don’t want to denigrate air defence of the U.K. So what I’m really saying is, you want to be able to do 2 things for NATO – deploy at a minimum at Armoured Bde level with a Divisional HQ and ideally a Div. and have a RN able to CONTROL the GIUK Gap. Funding should be prioritised to do those two… Read more »

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Not a ramble at all sir. Thank you for the explanation. Totally understand the nuance too; In addition to air bridge there is also projection of air power to support troops on the ground and protect them from air threats. So you’re not ignoring (for want of a better word) the RAF, but focus on deploy Div & GIUK gap. Makes a lot of sense. Sets a clear expectation of what we need to achieve (sorely missing from reviews I feel). If we want to deploy a Div, doesn’t that mean we’d need at least 3? Not you saw the… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Stu
BobA
BobA
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Simple answer is yes, but only if you want to do more than one operational cycle (what is sometimes loosely called a tour) or if you want to maintain a Divisional frontage in old money, then you need 3 of them.

However, when I first joined the Army in 2005, it was very clear that the requirement was a Division for surge or two Bdes deployed in separate theatres persistently. The reality though when we actually had a Bde in Iraq and another in Afghanistan was that we were tearing ourselves apart to deliver it.

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  BobA
DaveyB
DaveyB
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Ben Wallace since the Defence Select Committee hearing has said that there needs to be an uplift in numbers. He did say that the numbers were based on perceived threats. But since Ukraine this does need reviewing.

AW
AW
17 days ago
Reply to  BobA

Here’s another perspective. As an island nation geographically distant from an emerging but significant threat, my contribution to coalition defence would focus on self-deploying, long-range, quick-reacting forces. Looking at the fundamental characteristics of combat power, that’s the Air Force and Navy, not masses of undeployable land power…

Last edited 17 days ago by AW
BobA
BobA
17 days ago
Reply to  AW

Hi AW, thanks for your reply, however I’m not sure you read what I said. First, I’m not sure why you think Armour is undeployable – we’ve deployed a full armoured Division at short notice to the Gulf twice. Second, my last point was that as an island with overseas commitments we need rapidly deployable land power and that means proper amphibious capability and carrier strike so we can affect our overseas interests. Finally, we might be an island geographically, but we have treaty and moral commitments to our allies on the continent – I was talking about what we… Read more »

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  AW

Herein lies a difference of opinion in the main point I was making furher down: we need to decide what we want to be capable of first. Land power is 100% globally deployable IF we decide we want/need that capability – we just need ships and/or an airlift to carry it. As with all things, this obviously costs but it’s perfectly possible. I may be misunderstanding but you seem to be saying ‘focus should be European defence’ whilst BobA (again, if I understand correctly) is suggesting we build on our existing skill-set, defend Europe by adding value where we’re already… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Do you think there are no ships or heavy airlifters around for us to deploy the army? We have always been able to move medium and heavy armour overseas. How do you think we have done this before?
We need to be able to defend the homeland and BOTs, and contribute to NATO and other Alliance operations in Europe and elsewhere and to have that global carrier strike and amphib capability. Big jobs – thats why we are one of the world’s biggest defence spenders.

stu
stu
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sorry, perhaps I wasn’t very clear; I’m fully aware of our current sealift and airlift capabilities. I was responding to AW saying “undeployable land power” – i.e. if we increase AFV numbers, we couldn’t deploy it. What we have currently is perfectly deployable with the logistics we have. I was reading it as AW was saying that a significant increase in numbers would not be deployable & so I was countering his point. If we were to increase our numbers to say 10,000 tanks (just to pick a crazy number), we may struggle to deploy them with the current logistics… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  stu

Thanks Stu. I don’t think anyone expects to see the army actually being permitted to increase AFV numbers. The trend has always been downwards – just to take one example – from 900 Chieftain to 435 CR1 to 384 CR2 to 148 CR3. Any small increase (hypothetically) say from 148 CR3s to 200 CR3s does not suddenly mean there are 52 tanks that we could not deploy. Our airlift is not optimised to move very heavy armour, so that goes by sea if cargo has to go from UK (there are equipments pre-positioned in Germany still) – there is not… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  AW

AW, we are in NATO and we cannot say that we are distant from a threat in eastern Europe so we are not going to deploy signicant (medium/heavy) forces there.

Why do you think we our army is undeployable? The army is and always has been expeditionary and we have always managed to deploy significant combat power overseas. We move heavy armour by sea, rail and HET – it’s not rocket science.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Stu

We bought 386 CR2s from 1998 for the post Cold War army so how about that figure? Anything less panders to cost-cutters. But to be very realistic perhaps the 227 figure that was set some years ago.

Stu, what do you think our army is for? Clearly it cannot include playing a significant role in the defence of continental Europe if you want to have a limited number of AFVs.

stu
stu
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Not sure where you got the idea that I think we shouldn’t play a significant role in the defence of Europe… I was asking what numbers we should have. When I saw “don’t need vast numbers” I meant 10,000 tanks & 1M men. When I said ‘bump in numbers’ I was suggesting we need more than we have precisely so we can make a significant contribution to NATO and meet our Global ambitions too. Less than 386 doesn’t necessarily pander to cost-cutters. Things change, their utility may change etc. If we (the UK) decide what capability we want, and that… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  stu

Sorry if I misinterpreted your views, Stu. We cut from 386 (the number worked out as needed for the post-Cold War army) to 227 tanks in 2010 due to cost-cutters (Cameron/Clegg) in the wake (a little belatedly) of the global financial crisis of 2008/9. The further cut to 148 tanks (CR3s) can only be down to cost cutters again – the army and the MoD did not advocate further swingeing cuts to tank numbers. The bean counters and defence-cutting politicians seem to hold sway. Only if Putin’s army is heading straight for the Polish border would the defence-cutting politicos and… Read more »

Stu
Stu
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

No worries bud. I put it down to; we’re all here because we’re passionate about these things. That’s why I misunderstand people all the time. 😁 You’re not wrong. I can see a justification for a reduction post-Cold War. I’ll listen to arguments (may not agree) that ‘slightly fewer but a lot better is the way to go’ but I’m with you that we’ve cut too much for the sake of pennies. We always seem to have cash to waste (£100B for HS2, £14B for not insuring against loan fees, £4B on defective PPE, £14B Foreign Aid, £1B on faulty… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Cravendale

Why did we have a Corps of four armoured divs in Germany plus an armoured bde in Berlin for all those years if our role was not to be a land power in Europe? Our army has always been expeditionary and mostly operating within an an alliance. We cannot say that we are an island nation so we we will leave land fighting in Europe largely to the Americans and continental Europeans. You have got your wish that we won’t have a huge tank fleet – we will soon have a mere 148 of them, and will scrap the rest.… Read more »

Brom
Brom
18 days ago

We have limited trained crews so quality and the protection of our troops needs to come first.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr
18 days ago

Does anyone know if Challenger 3 will have CITV and ammunition stored outside the crew compartment (blowout panels and such)?

Without these the Ch3 will be obsolete by current standards let alone the future it’s meant to face.

Last edited 18 days ago by Tomartyr
Stu
Stu
18 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

CITV – Yes.
Blowout panels – yes
Ammo outside crew compartment – Believe so.
https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2021/05/challenger-3-armoured-vehicle-programme
C3 will be the equal of todays M1 or Leo. Possibly slightly superior as I understand the BMS & Comms with be world-leading. Problem as I see it is we’re only getting them in 8 years. Not ‘obsolete’ but not cutting edge.

Last edited 18 days ago by Stu
Tomartyr
Tomartyr
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Good news about the CITV but from the article it seems like ammunition stowage is still uncertain.

DaveyB
DaveyB
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Yep, it will have ready rounds stored in the turret bustle. The bustle will have blow out panels in case of an ammo hit or fire. It will have additional rounds stored in the hull used to replenish the bustle when out of contact.

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Cheers bud. Interesting.
Just looking at C3 turret, suprising there isn’t tonnes of space in the bustle to hold it all. I thought Abrams fit all theirs in there (obviously could be wrong).
Do you know how many they want to carry & why it can’t all fit in the bustle?

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago
Reply to  Stu

Abrams like Leopard carries additional ammo in the hull. The one piece rounds are about 900mm long. Getting them from the floor to breech is not easy or quick. From memory, the newer Abrams stores about 36 rounds in the bustle, with another 6 rounds near the commander. Whereas Leopard 2A7 is 17, with another 22 in the hull near the driver. I’ve heard Ch3 will have 15 in the bustle with another 16 in the hull. I think this is due to the way the hull was originally built for 2 piece ammo, so is harder to convert. The… Read more »

Stu
Stu
16 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Well, every day is a school day 😀Cheers for the info bud.

I’d have thought (since C3 is a whole new tank 😉 worthy of a new designation) they’d have relocated as much kit as possible into the hull to make space for ammo in the area with blow-out panels.

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
16 days ago
Reply to  DaveyB

DaveyB,
With the CH2 Rifled 120 gun the you could use HESH, I beleive, out to something approaching 8Km. Can the 120 smoothbore reach that far with whatever its equivalent round is?

Graham b
Graham b
18 days ago

I totally agree with your concerns and have been worried about the numbers game since a tour in Afghanistan where the insurgents always found the gaps. We constantly had to strip units in order to surge elsewhere, only to go back to recover the bodies after the insurgents exploited our stealing from Peter to pay Paul. Please can UKDJ focus much more on the numbers issue and a lot less in top trumps level of reporting. It is irrelevant how good a tank is if there is less than a division deployed. A brigade can secure one location but is… Read more »

Stu
Stu
18 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

With you on that one.

We can have the best trained, motivated & professional people in the world (probably do IMO), with the best possible kit (which we don’t) but as with all things, can only be in one place at a time. Numbers matter.

Stalingrad, Little Bighorn or Mogadishu. Heck, even Thermopolae, brave & noble as they were, they still lost to numbers.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Graham b

Thanks Graham. The Rand Corporation analyst James T. Quinlivan looked at 13 historical cases and concluded that success required that 20 troops were needed per 1,000 local inhabitants. Thus a force of 29,000 soldiers was required for Helmand province. Our force levels actually ranged between 5,000 and 8,000. We were always going to be on the back foot.

Lee Cook
Lee Cook
18 days ago

Thanks for the article. I think, if Israëli experience in Lebanon and Georgian experience in the Nagorno-Karobakh conflict hasn’t been enough, the Ukrainian conflict is going to turn western doctrine on its head. At least it should. On websites dedicated to tracking Russian/Ukrainian combat vehicle losses using photo confirmation, Russian MBT losses stack up at nearly a 1000 MBTs of all types (bar its latest model). 1000 MBTs in 5 months. 5000 combat vehicles of all descriptions. It’s simply breath-taking that we are still having such conventional discussions about the utility of tanks in the face of the prevailing evidence.… Read more »

FJM
FJM
17 days ago
Reply to  Lee Cook

It’s the doctrine and training that still makes western tanks superior. Russia has a lot of stuff but sh***y tactics. When you don’t use combined arms you die. Infantry with your armor and artillery, you leave yourself vulnerable to dismounts and ATGMs. an ATGM team can’t shoot their missiles if they are being shot at by infantry or having mortars called in on their position because they’re being observed. Russia can’t do that because they have no NCO corps and true junior level leadership.

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago
Reply to  Lee Cook

All of this is know since WW1 and WW2

  • huge material expenditure, if you fire 10000 artillery rounds day that means in 100 days 1 millions rounds
  • tanks and armored warfare except in desert are road bound because: too slow going on ground, obstacles that kill formations
  • AFV losses, not only tanks are normal and must factored vs a comparative infantry advance. AFV are necessary because they are less worse.
Paul T
Paul T
16 days ago
Reply to  Lee Cook

Why would Georgia have any experience in the Nagorno Karobakh war, they weren’t involved with it?.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Lee Cook

Lee, the Russians have deployed poor quality tanks and tactically handled them very poorly and failed to keep them properly supplied, supported or maintained. You cannot conclude that western nations’ tanks would suffer the same rate of losses. We do not need a new docrtrine – the Russians do.

AlexS
AlexS
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The tanks are similar to Ukrainian tanks.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
12 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Russian tanks are similar to Ukrainian tanks except that the ERA explosive filling has been removed from a lot of tiles – and they are handled (tactically) badly and have poor logisitics (many ran out of fuel within days and were not resupplied) and maintenance.

Ian
Ian
18 days ago

In principle our own tanks are vulnerable to relatively inexpensive antitank weapons in the same way that the Russians are, but the article makes no mention of the extent to which poor tactics contribute to the latter’s losses.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
16 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Everything on the battelfield is vulnerable to a counter-system. That has always been the nature of war.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Inexpensive anti-tank weapons are not new – the first one was fielded in 1917.
The Russians have poor quality tanks, handle them tactically poorly and do not properly support them maintenence-wise or logistically. They are therefore far more vulnerable to anti-tank weapons, skilfully and bravely used.

Stu
Stu
18 days ago

I’ll keep saying it – we need to decide what we want to be capable of first. Then decide what that looks like & then nut up and pay for it. If we all decide just want to be purely defensive in NATO, cool – tiny army (as is), focus is ASW ships, SSN, fast jets. But politicians better shut up about ‘power projection’, ‘Global Britain’ or getting us involved in foreign wars. If we all decide we want to be capable of real power projection, or independant action i.e. not be beholden to help from others when we want… Read more »

Louis
Louis
18 days ago
Reply to  Stu

The Stryker MGS is being withdrawn once half the strykers are fitted with 30mm cannon, and the other half with ATGM.
We should probably focus on getting boxer fitted with a turret- preferably with CT40 cannon as we ordered 515 of them and if Ajax is cancelled, none will be used.

Last edited 18 days ago by Louis
Stu
Stu
18 days ago
Reply to  Louis

CT40 seems the logical choice.
Isn’t the MGS being withdrawn because to 105 isn’t potent enough?
“if” Ajax is cancelled or “when”?

Louis
Louis
18 days ago
Reply to  Stu

I think it had some issues and the US has decided to reduce the amount of Stryker brigades to 6, with their main roles being to provide reconnaissance at a corps level, and providing infantry mass in the heavy divisions, leaving larger calibre guns to the abrams.

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Seems reasonable. The idea of a 120mm for Boxer though is because they are likely to deploy without any tanks in theatre. I suppose if it’s decided that 40mm & ATGMs get the same result for lower price, though…

AlexS
AlexS
17 days ago
Reply to  Stu

US Army is getting a small tracked tank with 105mm gun.

peter Wait
peter Wait
17 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

With similar suspension to Ajax , torsion bars with rotary dampers lol

Stu
Stu
17 days ago
Reply to  AlexS

Indeed. From GD based on Ajax. I wish them well.

In all seriousness though, its main role is direct fire support for units without Abrams – much like my suggestion for a 120mm on Boxer. In normal use supporting infantry, they could bring a lot of direct fire to bear quickly, especially with the new M1147 round.

I wouldn’t necessarily want 120mm Boxers engaging in Tank duels, but in a pinch, they could be good in defensive positions – ambush advancing units with a few shots & then scoot away.

Darren hall
Darren hall
18 days ago

”but taking just the three aspects of cost, vulnerability, and trafficability makes me wonder whether the west should re-examine its policies on AFVs in general and MBTs in particular.” Unfortunately, you can not look at the Ukraine and get a clear picture on what is happening by ”sieving or cherry picking” the information available. Yes our tanks cost more, and have more high tech equipment to aid in their survivability and lethality. Yes, our tanks are vulnerable, all machines have vulnerabilities. Yes, Russian tanks are more ”trafficable” than Western ones, at the detriment to their armour protection. As is being… Read more »

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
17 days ago
Reply to  Darren hall

Precisely. Why do the arguments keep comparing the British Army to the Russian Army in this conflict. “The British Army couldn’t lose the 1,000 tanks the Russians have”. Why would we be the invaders ? We would surely be a better equipped Ukraine than a “less numbered” Russia. We donated “some” of our older version anti-tanks weapons and “some” of our older MLRS, etc. Even the “island” British armed forces would have been better equipped than a country with a large land border with Russia. Typhoons , F-35, Airseeker, Shadow, 5x more modern versions of the NLAW ( rather than… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Uninformed Civvy Lurker
geoff.Roach
geoff.Roach
18 days ago

So we have 227 Challengers, About 80 are going to be improved ( given a service?); 148 are going to be fully modernised as Mk.3?. Then we are going to buy enough Trophy kits to protect 60 of them. We really do think things through don’t we? I hope the opposition don’t have ATGW!

Robert
Robert
17 days ago
Reply to  geoff.Roach

148 upgraded and the rest discarded

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
17 days ago
Reply to  Robert

Are they going to be scrapped? I thought I read that they were going to be given a polish and tucked away. Maybe I’m wrong..

peter Wait
peter Wait
17 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Don’t think the Polish would want them, logistics and training to run American, Korean and UK tanks would make sense !

peter Wait
peter Wait
17 days ago
Reply to  Robert

Instead of stripping and removing armour at secure facility at great expense they should be taken to a quarry and covered with sand. When obsolete they can be dug up and sold for scrap. This would save a lot of money for MOD !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  geoff.Roach

I had not heard that about 80 CR2s (ie those that are not being converted to CR3) were going to be improved. Where does that story come from Geoff?

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham. I may be going mad but I’m sure I did read that they were going to be mothballed but I can’t find it now. Anyway the story as of now is that they are going to be “retired” whatever that means. Scrapped? What a waste. At very little cost in budget terms we could have another 50/60/70 fully useful MBT’s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff, I was the Equipment Support Manager for the withdrawn Chally 1 (and all of the tank variants active in 2001/2). It was fortunate that Jordan urgently wanted the CR1 fleet, so I disposed of nearly all of them to Jordan in collaboration with the sales team – and a handful to museums and units as gate guardians. I am not privy to the plans for those CR2s that are not converted to CR3 but the word ‘retired’ is useful for now. If they are declared ‘obsolete’ then they will be disposed of – the usual mechanism is to… Read more »

geoff.Roach
geoff.Roach
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Interesting Graham. Thanks for that. A halfway house is not the answer really, unless it’s a pub I suppose. Any chance of the scrap metal value in pound notes?😉

Louis
Louis
17 days ago

A lot of people on this forum want a 3 division army, but it is totally unrealistic. To support a division you need 6 logistics regiments, 3-4 REME battalions, 1-2 medical regiments, 4-6 engineer regiments(including EOD), and around 5 artillery and air defence regiments. Currently we have 8 logistics regiments, 7 REME battalions, 4 medical regiments, 8 engineer regiments, and 8 artillery regiments. We also will only have 4 squadrons of Apache and 3 of Wildcat. Before trying to get 3 divisions, we should aim for the original army 2020 of five deployable brigades (3 armoured, 2 infantry), and 16… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

At last, someone else who gets CS/CSS! 😀 Bravo. Those 6 brigades are now 4. 2 Armoured, 1 Light Mech, 1 AA. You’re spot on with the 5 brigades, most forget or don’t realise that the Adaptable force from 1 (UK)Division had 2 deployable brigades out of its 7 Infantry Brigades, with CS/CSS to match ( even if they were part hybrid regards RE/RA ) until the 2015 review cut the 5th set of brigade supports to get 2 Strike and 2 AI. ( Edit, you could argue 5 if DRS Bde is included but it needs more CS/CSS and… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Daniele Mandelli
Louis
Louis
16 days ago

DRS bde is meant to provide a corps level recce asset as it is clearly to big for a division. The only issue is, unlike American corps level recce assets, it has no infantry or logistics, so really is just placing the spare Ajax regiments in 1st artillery brigade and giving it a fancy new name. Going forward I think our only option really is to have 3rd division gain an armoured brigade and 4 LMBCT to gain regular CS and CSS regiments. A lot of people like the idea of two light, two medium, and two heavy brigades. The… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Agreed, its just 1 A Bde with a new name and orphaned Recc regs shoved into it. There is 3 RLC why that is not going to DRSB I just don’t get. Dern on this site has even suggested putting the 3rd Armd Reg into it rather than re rolling it to make it more like the US Cav. Yes, CS CSS regulars for 4 are a must, as it stands it’s an undeployable golf bag but makes FS look better in the spin department. The 3? Agree sadly. The idea of rouling bdes for a sustained bde level up… Read more »

Louis
Louis
16 days ago

They don’t have the manpower to keep it. If you recall the strike brigades were to merge their REME battalions and logistics regiments, with the resulting loss of manpower. Especially with the creation of 9th battalion REME, we don’t have the manpower to keep 3 regiment.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
16 days ago
Reply to  Louis

Right. God things are that bad?! Yes I remember the CSS Battalion plan, akin to that of the one with the old 19 Light Brigade.

Louis
Louis
16 days ago

To be honest is it means 4 Bde can get its support I wouldn’t be against it, if 3 logistics battalions, a medical regiment, and a REME battalion remained at divisional HQ, then if each brigade had a medical squadron, and the necessary REME and RLC to count as a battalion plus I’d be fine with that, after all that’s how most of our allies do things.

Angus
Angus
17 days ago

Such may be good at holding ground once the emery have been taken care of by swift moving hard hitting elements such as AH64E tank killers which we should more than double in strength with another couple of regiments and supporting scouts. Those Wildcats should be given some teeth too. And to help getting those land based killing assets around a light weight option would do the UK best so they can self deploy by land, sea and air. It’s about time the Army opened it’s eyes to the ways of the world. Much more killing power for the pound… Read more »

JohnM
JohnM
17 days ago

For too long our governments have been writing foreign policy cheques the MoD can’t cash. I have always welcomed the idea of a ‘Global UK’ with the relevant use of soft and hard power. However, once this commitment is made then we need to be prepared to pay for it. It seems our armed forces are a result of what we can afford rather than what we have committed to. Carrier Strike is an obvious example. We have committed to having 2 operational carriers – so provide them with the rotational air groups that they need; not what we can… Read more »

RoboJ1M
RoboJ1M
17 days ago

Generally the game is keep away.
You use dismounts to keep those weapons away from your tank.
However, if your armour cannot hope to stop anything fired at it, lose it. Replace it with firepower and mobility.
And what’s a highly mobile, heavily armed AFVs with nominal armour?
Pretty sure that’s a multi variant afv platform, like striker or Ajax. And IFV version and a direct fire support version.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  RoboJ1M

Bring back tank destroyers such as CVR(T) STRIKER and SPARTAN MCT – or rather their modern equivalents!

DFJ123
DFJ123
17 days ago

The UK should push to become a lead manufacturer in unmanned vehicles and experts in drone survivability in electronic warfare environments. Seek to generate a steady export base which can be switched to scaling up mass for a small, mobile and professional British army in times of emergency.

Mark Robertson
Mark Robertson
17 days ago
Reply to  DFJ123

Should we not take into account that we as in Uk or Nato would not likely be the one to be on the offensive…so be defending. So maybe more mobile artillery and missile systems are a better way forward…or as the Germán had in WW2 Just big anti talk Guns like the jagdpanthers to ambush the agresions as they invade Europe

Darren hall
Darren hall
17 days ago
Reply to  Mark Robertson

True, under NATO we are a defensive military…

But even as a defensive force we still need to remain flexible and offer a descent offence.

The other consideration is the fact that the Russian military is artillery / missile heavy compared to a NATO force… No point having it unless you can use it effectively, defend it for attack and still have the capability to effect a decent offence..

Sam
Sam
17 days ago

All you have to look at is the Soviet Union during ww2. They had very crudely put together tanks, but had so many they would swarm the far superior German tanks. Quantity will always win no matter how good your tanks are

Darren hall
Darren hall
17 days ago
Reply to  Sam

But again, like Stuarts piece above, you can not just look at one or two points and ignore the rest…

Yes the Russians used massed poorly constructed tanks… But in WW2, they were backed up with mass artillery, massed infantry and massed aircraft, including the Il-2, the best ground attack aircraft of that war…

The Germans could not match infantry numbers, artillery numbers or aircraft numbers, in part because of attrition and in part because of the work the western allies were doing on dismantling their industry…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  Sam

That approach isn’t really working for Russian tanks in Ukraine, though.

FJM
FJM
17 days ago

He missed the mark on this article. NATO does not fight like the Russians. It’s easy to say it appears more is better when you don’t look at the entire military. NATO fights combined arms because ATGM teams would be vulnerable to infantry and that covers the vulnerability of the tank. CUAS is the hot topic and APS are being developed. The key however, is Air Defense and why CIWS and even the 40MM BOFORs are being researched.

FJM
FJM
17 days ago

Also, the counter to his argument is look at the HIMARS and MLRS that the UK and U.S. have given Ukraine. Russia has lost 20-30 Ammo dumps, roughly the same command posts, and lost the bridge over the Dneiper for resupply. Western weapons have also force the Russian Navy further away from the coast, reducing their effectiveness. Precision is also a reason why the Russians have also slowed on obliterating the country side. Now, they HAVE to fire and move, if not they die. The real key is how long will the west continue to supply the Ukraine with expensive… Read more »

Marius
Marius
17 days ago

The author says in his opening paragraph:- If the Ukraine war has taught us anything about high-tempo conventional warfare between peer adversaries, it is that numbers matter. Wit respect Sir, that is utter nonsense. After more than 5 months of fighting the Russians have not even captured the small area of the Donbas! The Russians had to humiliatingly abandon their assault on Kiev in the opening days, when their armoured column, freshly deployed and fully equipped, failed to make headway. The Ukrainian forces have proven that sophisticated, relatively small quantities, of Western anti-armour weapons could and did stop the much… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB
17 days ago
Reply to  Marius

He is correct, mass is needed for offensive action to gain and keep control of an area! Russia ineptly squandered the bulk of its resources in trained men and materiel. On paper it should have rolled over the Ukrainians within the first month. The fact that they didn’t, is primarily due to the lack of coordinated command and control between all key and supporting elements. This was seen when armoured units would charge ahead of their support units, in particular air defence units. That then got spotted and tracked by the TB2s, so that the Ukrainians could set up ambushes.… Read more »

Sean
Sean
17 days ago

I wish UKDJ would stick to reporting rather than giving a soapbox to opinion pieces like this. The reason why newspapers and the media in general have gone down in the publics perception is because there’s too much opinions, too much reporters interviewing reporters, and not enough factual and investigative reporting. I get why the media does this, opinions are cheap to churn out and provoke debate, whereas reporting us more expensive and less provocative.

David SWAN
David SWAN
17 days ago

As Stalin said ” Quantity has a quality all of its own”. He was probably right.

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
17 days ago

These issues are always more complicated than a ‘this or that’ solution. Having few assets available limits your options. They can only be in a limited number of places at once. But, there’s the huge cost involved in having large numbers of assets (tanks, attack subs, etc). There are also cultural and military doctrine factors. If we had more, cheaper, less capable tanks, what would that do for army recruitment? In the closing stages of WW2, the push into France toward Berlin, most enemy tanks were destroyed by air power not tank vs tank. Yes, our military is much smaller… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by TypewriterMonkey
D J
D J
16 days ago

I think the author is pointing more to the likes of T10 & wheeled big gun systems may be the way to go. T10 is not a low end mbt by any means. The idea that every tank can keep getting ever heavier is badly flawed. Japan developed the T10 because it’s main mbt was restricted to Honshu (?) in the north. It’s road & bridges on the main islands could not handle the weight. T10 varies between 40-48t depending on modular armour fitted. You can’t just drive a compact 70t vehicle anywhere you want. The reason the US is… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago

We should certainly expect that the ‘heavy lifting’ for armoured warfare should be done by Poland, Germany and possibly Italy and France, with reinforcements from the USA and UK. That is not to say that we should not have a ‘heavy metal’ fleet at all – a minimum of two brigades and ideally a digitised division of three armour-rich brigades.

Michael S.
Michael S.
17 days ago

Great piece of opinion. Another one is training – you need professional soldiers for those High Tech Tanks. I believe a mix is needed – retain those high tech tanks in smaller numbers, but complement them with machinery that is less complex, faster manufactured, yet still retaining the sophisticated gun technology, but can be piloted by conscripts and people with less training.

We have seen in the Gulf War that quality and intelligence DOES matter. But sheer numbers help, too.

Mark Robertson
Mark Robertson
17 days ago
Reply to  Michael S.

I agree, or even drones or robot vehicles to supplement.

maurice10
maurice10
17 days ago

The Cold War has returned and with it most of the old requirements including armour. Around 700 Chieftain were in service and even then, we were outnumbered. Any land conflict with a major power would swallow up the UK’s current MBT fleet in a matter of weeks, leaving us to depend on other willing states to finish the job. In such a scenario the UK could not make a lasting contribution it would desire and relinquishing hands-on control would frustrate the serinor staff.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Maurice, your comment reads as if BAOR would face the Warsaw Pact alone and only when defeated would be bailed out by other willing states, ie NATO allies. I understood we had 900 Chieftains from c.1966-1982, most but not all in BAOR. 1 (BR) Corps, for most of its time comprising four armoured divisions (plus a bde in Berlin) covered 65km of ‘the front’. We, with allies, certainly expected to fight a war, primarily to defend West Germany, in primarily a defensive way but would conduct constant fighting withdrawals until nuclear release was ordered or a ceasefire agreed. The British… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10
14 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because our MBT fleet is so meager we could not sustain a long ground war, hence the word ‘relinquish.’ In 2030+ we will have even less MBT clout and when expired by battle, the UK would have to leave the field in regards to MBT’s. I doubt any tanker would be too thrilled with such a situation?
Come on Graham you know as well as I do, our MBT status is very poor at this time and no one seems to be a bit concerned in Whitehall.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Maurice, at present we have 227 CR2s declared as active with 168 of them allocated to three armoured regiments. I agree that is, on the face of it, an unimpressive number but only France and Poland have more active tanks amongst the European NATO members. Certainly from 2030 we will have a mere 148 tanks, and will have about the 7th or 8th largest tank fleet in Europe – absolutely unimpressive from a numbers point of view albeit they will be of high quality. You talk about ‘expired by battle’ as if we would lose armour at the rate the… Read more »

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts
17 days ago

We should be looking to upgrade as many hulls as possible in order to bring the numbers back up. At the same time, we should be looking to build the next-generation tank

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
15 days ago

I agree. We should have upgraded CR2 over the years and if so we would have had something like CR3 in service some time ago.
We should have launched concept work to build the next generation tank (call it CR4, perhaps) around 10-15 years after CR2 ISD ie in 2008- 2013.

DaveyB
DaveyB
16 days ago

Thankyou Stuart. He pulls the pin and rolls in the grenade…. The early and uninformed conclusion of the conflict in Ukraine, is that the main battle tank (MBT) like the battleships of old, is obsolete. As they are too easily ambushed and destroyed. Russian designed tanks in particular are particularly vulnerable to top attack anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). But have also shown that traditional side attack ATGMs can bypass and penetrate their explosive reactive armour (ERA). Their tank’s carousel magazine has shown that when hit, are an instant death trap for the whole crew. To by brutally honest a top… Read more »

Grantley Kemble
Grantley Kemble
16 days ago

The reason that NATO did not challenge Russia more bluntly by ostensible display of force is that it – NATO – Cannot, at this time.

Martin
Martin
16 days ago

What really counts is the training and professionalism of the crews. We in the UK are justifiably proud of our service men and women, when required they deliver on what the equipment is capable of-then watch out, watch out!

George Parker
George Parker
16 days ago

I’m pleased there are people willing to stand up and tell the MoD/HM.Gov that they are wrong. I suspect the push for fewer more complex MBT’s and AFV’s. Has more to do with reducing numbers of forces personnel than maintaining a viable fighting force. It is easier for politicians to wax lyrical about super aircraft carriers; Challenger 3 with bells and whistles; or future Tempest wonder aeroplanes. Than talk about pitiful numbers of current assets and how quickly they will be expended if a war breaks out. Professionals such as Colonel Crawford think logistics to win wars. Sadly politicians only… Read more »

DOO Dar
DOO Dar
16 days ago

Maybe the fact the British Army has so few MBTs is the revealing point. Horses are no longer relevant in warfare unless an army is hungry and wants to use them for ceremonies… MBTs have gone the same way. Russia is fighting a war with 1970s tech. 40+ years behind the tech used in British missiles like NLAW or Starstreak. Press a button and a missile turns a tank into a mobile coffin or a helicopter no longer exists. NLAW and Starstreak use optical tracking and speed to defeat all defensive systems. The Israelis made very little headway against Lebanon… Read more »

FOSTERSMAN
FOSTERSMAN
16 days ago

This is all hopeful on the defence budget getting it’s increase, hopefully we can get extra numbers in that woefully inadequate C3 order. When you look at what Poland is going to field 1000k2, 250 leopard 2s and somehow have enough money to get 250 abrams sepv3!!, Our 148 C3 looks paltry in comparison. Yes we are not a land power so 1500 modern MBT’s would be a mistake but surely we could up it to the 250-300 range like it’s predecessor, also I would be looking at the boxer with the 105mm+ATGM to increase numbers further since we are… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
14 days ago
Reply to  FOSTERSMAN

Good points. 148 tanks of course means just 112 at max. that deploy on ops.

Ian White
Ian White
15 days ago

Interesting article and highlights problems faced by all services. Does something more expensive and more complicated actually better especially when you considered the ability of the said asset to be maintained in the field.

Frank62
Frank62
14 days ago

For me the answer is yes, both. I think we’ve gone for too few, as with many things, making our forces brittle & an ineffective deterrent. I’d say short sighted leadership, but their eyesight is probably one area up to scratch.

izzy
izzy
14 days ago

Good article, but the basic question is a bit of a fallacy: “With a modern western MBT costing up to £8.3 million ($10 million) depending on its final fit, does it really make sense to invest so much in a vehicle that might be destroyed or disabled by a next generation light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) which costs around £33,400 ($40,000)?” Remember, it costs over $120,000 to bring a soldier through basic and advanced infantry or armor training. That’s $500,000 for the tank.crew. Does it make sense to spend $120,000 training an infantryman when a $1 bullet from a $1000 rifle… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  izzy

Exactly. I have never understood why the tank is singled out and not other weapon systems, platforms or the dismounted soldier. All are vulnerable to counter-weapons.

Steve R
Steve R
14 days ago

How about we try for both?

We’ll never need thousands of tanks; we’ve never been a major land power because our focus has always been the Royal Navy, but 300 tanks should be feasible if we had a sensible defence budget.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
13 days ago
Reply to  Steve R

We bought 386 Chally 2s, just that the bean counters ordered MoD to mothball 159 of them in the 2015 Review.

Gary
Gary
13 days ago

You gotta admire the Poles! I think their defence budget will increase to 5%GDP and they have more than stepped up to support Ukraine along with US/UK. I feel some of the other countries like France & Germany could be doing more. Recent orders:- 1000 K2PL main battle tanks 250 M1A2 SEPv3 672 K9PL self-propelled howitzers M142 HIMARS on order but request for an additional 500! But clear the Polish land forces would far exceed ours in times to come. Yes, they have different set of circumstances, but I feel British Army could benefit from more quantity, quality & man… Read more »

Knight7572
Knight7572
12 days ago

Frankly, why don’t we take the retired Challenger 2 tank and do what the British looked at building with the Tiger Cat missile which basically a Sea Cat system for land use mounted on a Centurion Tank hull

Frank62
Frank62
6 days ago
Reply to  Knight7572

Probably better keep the CH2s as reserve MBTs & use a lighter armoured base for SPSAMs than have something engineered & armoured to carry around a massive MBT turret.

PGS
PGS
10 days ago

I think you have be neither one thing nor the other but somewhere in between!

Hereward
Hereward
3 days ago

To paraphrase Stalin, “Numbers have a quality all of their own”, or Napoleon’s “Only numbers can annihilate”

Hereward
Hereward
3 days ago

Perhaps a light armoured vehicle (proofed to withstand 0.5in only) but equipped with Trophy or the like? However I do see the point that although the MBT might be heavily armoured all its attached gubbins may not be and vulnerable even to a reasonable marksman with a long range, heavy calibre rifle.

Wayne
Wayne
19 hours ago

There is definitely a place for a high tactical mobility, extremely lethal and very well armoured tank on future battlefields. Coupled with very well trained tank crews they provide 24 hours Shock action and Infantry support unrivalled by any other platform.
Key to there success in the future will be such things as Mobile Camouflage Systems, Active Protection Systems and enhanced optical systems working alongside excellent Fire Control Systems.

Ultimately CR2s success will be down to our remaining 174 Tank Crews (assisted with RWxY support) and their ability to fight as part of a Combined Arms Battlegroup.