An upcoming report claims that the British Army lacks the ability to transport and sustain enough artillery for a ‘credible warfighting division’.

RUSI say that the increasing density and sophistication of Russia’s Integrated Air Defence System promises to rob NATO ground forces of air support in the first weeks of any high intensity conflict in Eastern Europe.

“NATO ground forces will therefore need to depend on its artillery for firepower. Unfortunately NATO artillery is overmatched by Russia’s. NATO artillery is outgunned, outranged, and outnumbered. The modernisation of artillery therefore must be a priority for the British Army.”

The report also warns that, given that it is not fiscally viable to match Russia gun for gun, it is important not to simply replicate existing capabilities but rather to pursue emerging capabilities that offer a transformative advantage in the delivery of firepower.

“To this end RUSI has conducted a study assessing trends in fires technology, the effect of these systems on the future battlefield, and the minimum fires group necessary to ensure that the British Army retains a credible warfighting capability.”

AS90 artillery leaves a strategic sea-lift vessel.

Research fellow Dr Jack Watling, the author of the report, said:

“The UK’s ground forces are comprehensively outgunned and outranged, leaving enemy artillery free to prosecute fire missions with impunity. This must ultimately lead to the defeat of UK units.”

The report adds:

“Whatever platforms are developed and procured, it is clear that the UK’s ground forces need to increase their deployable firepower if they are to maintain a credible warfighting capability.”

The Ministry of Defence said in a statement:

“The UK does not stand alone but alongside its Nato allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.”

The report will be available on Friday.

108
Leave a Reply

avatar
22 Comment threads
86 Thread replies
40 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
38 Comment authors
MarcJoe16TrevorAndyBill Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“not fiscally viable to match Russia gun for gun” Guns, be they Self Propelled like AS90, towed like the Light Gun, or even the GMLRS, must be cheaper than spending a hundred million on one jet. That goes for the range of smart munitions available too. The Royal Artillery has been cut to ribbons and should be a priority. ““The UK does not stand alone but alongside its Nato allies, who work closely together across air, sea, land, nuclear and cyber to deter threats and respond to crises.” A quite disgraceful stock reply from faceless MoD spokespeople. The British Army… Read more »

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Hi Daniele, “faceless MoD spokespeople”. To be fair they are only doing their job as they are interestructed to do so. The buck stops with the politicians everytime I would suggest and as we have discussed on here many time already, defence is a footnote in all of their thinking. This story is depressing in its familiarity. The 1939 saw the British Army deploying to France with a lot of obsolete artillary, so desperate were they that they hurredly relined old WW1 8″ howitzers to 7.2″ to imporve their range and effectiveness (that did become quite an effective weapon by… Read more »

ChariotRider
Guest
ChariotRider

Just double checked my comment about the Belgian artillery. They have 14 105mm towed guns from France… They also have 30 120mm mortars and 100 81mm and 60mm mortars. That’s it! Apparently.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Chariot Rider. You are of course correct on the spokesmen.

Unless there was another study called Front Line First in the 80s that I was unaware of, Front Line First was actually in 1995, after Options For Change in 1991. Portillo was the DS recall.

Otherwise I agree with all your points.

Falaise….yes that was grim indeed for the German Army.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

I will both agree and disagree with you on this one: Yes, there is a problem with the politicians. It is not the politicians who are telling the army that Boxers armed with .50 cals and GMGs, supported by a few Ajax with 40 mm cannon are a suitable battle group to go up against Russians armoured brigades with organic tube and rocket artillery elements sufficient in size to wipe out entire batallions in a couple of minutes. That’s the army saying that themselves. On top of that, I would single out the army’s entire current force planning as having… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

How many times have I stated in this forum that we need to be able to stand on our own two feet without the help of others? As we will depart from the EU at some point the old adage springs to mind, never bite the hand that feeds you, or, never bite the hand of a Country that defends you! Drastically increasing our spending on defence will not only protect these shores and Europe but make our Europen friends think very carefully about future trade relations! Happy to be corrected, but to my mind, this makes a great deal… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins
Herodotus
Guest

You are right Daniele…inexcusable stock answers to important questions. But then, I’ve always thought that MOD stood for Ministry of Denial!

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

And you’re right….to hide their own ineptitude!

BB85
Guest
BB85

The problem is we have been fighting lightly armed and widely dispersed insurgents for the last decade who hide amongst children. So a lot of the uk focus and money has gone into air launched precision strike and completely ignored artilary. I think it was the bbc article that said Russian Artilary whiped out two Ukraine battalions in a couple of days. It would make a complete joke of a UK battallion in the baltics. What’s worrying is the other European countries are no better and keep saying nato will cover us, but when no one is contributing why would… Read more »

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Aye, when you don’t have the budget to do everything you want, you have to prioritise. When we were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan there was a LOT of money thrown in that direction. It is what it is and the different Forces and sections within those Forces will be clamouring to get it spent on them.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

I might be wrong on this one, but didn’t the British Army receive 179 AS90. Since their introduction, there has been a steady reduction of this very impressive gun. At one point, an improved barrel was fitted and demonstrated to the public, but it never entered service? I’ve seen the AS90 in action at Larkhill along with MLRS to great effect. So why did I see a forlorn AS90 sitting out in the cold at Ashcurch, obviously struck off charge and an ex – MLRS in the weeds, in a rather scruffy tank museum? Lastly, why does the Army discard… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Maurice. At one point there were 6 Regiments on AS90. Cut to 5, then 4, then 3, now shortly to 2!

There are thousands of vehicles at Ashcurch, would not surprise that an AS90 might be there.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

I saw that AS90 parked at Ashchurch years ago, and rather than being stored in the dry, it was in fact left out to dry….get my meaning? I must admit, I’ve never understood the small number of field guns we have on charge, from the light 105 to self-propelled? I remember as a boy peering into a huge shed at COD Donington, a pair of doors were wide open and part of its contents were clear to be seen. Hundreds of possibly WW2 towed field guns, were lined up back to back, and that was just what the open doors… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Fascinating story about Donington Maurice.

Maybe the MoD has such a store today somewhere. If it has, I’ve not heard of it.

I remember when the RA got rid of around 80 FH70 towed 155mm guns. I’d hoped they would be kept as a strategic reserve.

The Russians do that successfully.

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

Donnington is still going strong. It must have been in the 60’s when I saw the guns. The FH70 was relegated to the TA if I remember? We all like to think that the Army has good and reliable kit hidden away from the auditors, but somehow, I doubt it. That said, there are many places where such stocks could be hidden? I once met a chap who openly spoke about huge army stores under Chatham docks. He remembers seeing crates that housed Merlin engines and rows of Saladin tanks!! This all came about when he was in the Army… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Indeed it is. Along with Bicester, for general stores
and equipment. Stafford is still going too but has been transferred to the Army.

The metal from the cannons used in the Victoria Cross are stored there.

Indeed, the MoD have many storage and munitions sites. I’ve heard lots of rumours.
Had not heard the Chatham story though, cheers
for that.

BB85
Guest
BB85

It melts my brain. Russia doesn’t scrap anything even if it is worn out. Even if the mod does not want to pay for the man power would artilary not fit well into a reservist role as it can be man power intensive but not require full time roles? So the UK could operate 20% full time in expeditionary units and keep the other 80% operational incase the shit really hit the fan

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

BB85 This is a really good point, perhaps our reserves should be more specialist and fill strategic gaps or capabilities that are more niche or where we may need volume. The reserve could be really useful if managed better, with a concentration on logistics and specialist roles like artillery. the other positive is that its easier to recruit and retain reservists if they know they are going onto a firing range to get some proper training and excitement, rather than admin and BS. Cyber is another force where reservists really can add a lot of value, even in a couple… Read more »

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

But the reality is we are never going to go to war against Russia on our own, state on state. And we have many capabilities they don’t. If it was about deploying our armed forces globally, then it would be a different story .If 40k British went up against 40k Russians in the Middle East as an example, we would win easily.

BB85
Guest
BB85

The only place there is ever likely to be a conflict with Russia is in the Baltic states. They all have large Russian populations and Putin has made it clear if he feels they are being threatened he will use military intervention like he did in Georgia and Ukraine. That is why the Baltic states where so desperate to join nato because they knew without the treaty Europe would not step in to protect them. Even now with US EU relations so low I would not blame America if it walked away from the Nato treaty. The Baltic’s are of… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Thats why NATO countries are rotating their jets there.
The greatest danger to world peace is Macron. 😦

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

No, we’re not, but that’s not the type of warfare anyone is expecting. RUSI recently did a report on it. I’m only part way through reading it, but it’s worth a look. What is legitimately a concern is (as BB85 states below) a rapid, limited land grab by Russian forces using massed artillery and armoured/mechanised units into the Baltics. They’ll then consolidate their newly acquired land and dare anyone to pry them off of it, backing themselves up with the threat of nuclear escalation. This is more likely than you may think, considering the large percentage of Russian-speaking people in… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Indeed. Its fair to say that the “Strike” Brigades need appropriate artillery. However, in terms of NATO support, should not the real complaint be against the likes of Germany.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

In terms of NATO, yes, Germany should (and now finally are) taking a long hard look at their military spending. Having said that, I think the army does need to take a look at their responsibilities carefully. They are responsible for fielding effective fighting units, and Strike simply aren’t that for any operation against a near-peer or peer enemy. They are a sort-of mechanised infantry unit with very limited capability to take on a similar/equivalent near-peer or peer mechanised infantry force; their only armour-killing weapons are the 40 mm on the Ajax (limited penetration) and some javelin teams (vulnerable when… Read more »

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Fair points. And as I have said, because we built these carriers it has inevitably skewed our strategy towards a maritime one and not a major European theatre one. As you say any wheeled force should have all the necessary support such as wheeled 105 – 155mm artillery etc.

What is risible is the SNP defence expectations when compared to that of Norway and Sweden. We can play a key part in supporting Norway, Sweden and the Baltics with air power.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

It’s easy to do defence planning for a party not in power, like the SNP. I’d say they went a bit of a Scandinavian route with their defence outlook, but they’ve not yet caught up to where Norway now is- realising they no longer have sufficient capability to counter likely routes of Russian aggression. We can and should provide a bit of a mix of naval, land and air support to our allies in Scandinavia and the Baltics; they are ultimately a buffer between us and experiencing that same Russian aggression. I’m just sceptical of the effectiveness and survivability of… Read more »

Andy
Guest
Andy

You are deluded, the Russian army would hand us our asses on a plate .
Russian equipment is simple but it works and Russia is not that fused about collateral damage or casualties.
Where we would think twice about shelling a village the Russians would just do it .

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Andy – Correct.

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

I think you are massively underestimating the capabilities and professionalism of the British Army.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Robert – no-ones questioning the professionalism of the British Army,thats never in any doubt,what we are saying is that if they went to war they have bugger all to fight with (comparatively) that’s the difference.

Andy
Guest
Andy

I don’t under estimate the training and professionalism of the British Army but they are not equipped to fight a peer 1 power and no matter which way you slice and dice it the the Russians are a peer 1 enemy.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

Who is to say we would not shell a village? We destroyed whole cities… friendly ones like Caen for instance.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Different times different attitudes.
It is officially the policy of the uk armed forces to keep civilians casualties to the minimum.
Plus you have the human rights act which could result in army personnel being charged with various crimes.
The Russian army is not legally constrained in that way and the Russians have proved from Afghanistan to the Ukrainiae they have no compulsion in killing civilians

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

In which case this website might as well close itself down because there is no point in defending ourselves. You have just about espoused the whole military/”defence” philosophy of Jeremy Corbyn.

Andy
Guest
Andy

Actually I haven’t, I just stated how our armed forces conduct themselves which is within international law and the treaties we have signed.

Jeremy Corbyn is a useful idiot and I have no truck with his beliefs.

I just pointed out how our armed forces operate if you don’t like my opinion well that’s your choice.

Russia feels no need to obey international law and views anything or anyone in a combat zone as a target .

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

In a total war we will bomb and shell anything that gets in our way. Hopefully we never have to.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

But when, where and why would the UK operate alone? I cannot identify a scenario in which that would be the case for non-peer adversaries, let alone Russia or China, if you consider both to be peer adversaries on a technological front, the UK is clearly not a peer with them from a numerical perspective.

Joe16
Guest
Joe16

Agreed, I was shocked that they’d have the guts to come up with that statement. I think they’re actually writing press statements using scripts of Yes Minister!

JME89
Guest
JME89

How would NATO with the combined UK/US/German/French Polish budgets not be able to match the Russians gun for gun!? They should easily be able to. In regards to the UK should we be sending our limited forces to Europe to act as a trip wire on the mainland or concentrating on keeping the Atlantic open until the Americans can resupply. If that’s our role which it should be then our artillery needs to be light and easy to transport with our commandos. Maybe piggy back onto the Americans with their howitzer upgrades. It seems like were all set to repeating… Read more »

T.S
Guest

I’m no expert, and there may be reasons why this could be done, but I would pull the warrior upgrade and replace them with the Ajax platform in the heavy brigades. The warrior chassis could then be adapted with the MBDA box launchers we saw a while back, and have a decent number with both brimstone and Spear 3 for longer range precision strike. We would have to then order more Boxers, but upgunned with the mortar, 40mm and 105mm guns for strike brigades, and procure a new 155mm howitzer. This could be based on our spare challenger chassis to… Read more »

James
Guest
James

I think it’s been apparent for a while that Russian ground forces would absolutely annihilate European forces before any large scale mobilisation could happen, just look at the long range offensive firepower that European nation’s have- virtually nothing, almost all cruise missiles are entirely french/UK ALCM with a few dozen sub/surface launch. No surface to surface cruise or ballistic missiles virtually no GMLRS and mostly antiquated artillery systems.
And with so few uk/French jets or airbases the ability to use those cruise missiles will probably be neutralised fairly quickly.
Pretty depressing considering the combined size of european defence budget

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I read an article which I cannot find right now from the US defence department which clearly stated that Europe would need to defend itself against Russian aggression while it looked to defend allies against China.

Clearly they cannot do both at the same time.

“For now, U.S. forces appear poorly postured to meet these challenges. That’s because both Russia and China have developed formidable networks of missiles, radars, electronic warfare systems, and the like to degrade and potentially even block U.S. forces’ ability to operate in the Western Pacific and Eastern Europe to defend allies and partners in those regions.”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/10/29/united-states-china-russia-great-power-war/

farouk
Guest
farouk

Nigel.
What is really disturbing is a lot of the public have been brainwashed by the political elites that the likes of China, Russia, Venezuela and Iran are far better countries to get on with, than the like of the US, US and Israel.

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Good point Farouk.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

I think China and Russia have been very smart and as an island we should follow suit. We should set up a massive ballistic missile defence for the UK, improve our SSBN and SSN capability and ensure our air and naval forces are large enough to defend the area around us. We should not base our assets in Europe given Europe is not keen to pay its way. We can do this within current budget and from a strong base, we can then build out and expand. Area denial is a very good tactic, one the US is finding difficult… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

I tend to agree, hence my posting further down this thread for us to consider ATACMS (Land & Sea Targets) and in previous posts land-based Naval Strike Missiles which can be Air, Land, or Sea launched.

Two very potent and flexible options.

By integrating an existing seeker onto the front of the missile, they’re enabling it to hit moving targets, both at sea as well as on land. With this capability, what was previously an Army surface-to-surface missile system can project power from coastal locations up to 300 kilometres into the maritime domain.”

https://breakingdefense.com/2016/10/army-atacms-missile-will-kill-ships-secdef-carter/

Robert blay
Guest
Robert blay

I think you are massively overestimating the Russians. Yes they have numbers, numbers of poorly trained personnel, and old unreliable equipment.

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

I would have agreed with you up to 10 years ago. The Guards regiments in particular are what are considered their elite regiments. These have been seen in Crimea (as the green men), Ukraine (advisors) and Syria (openly). After the Russian army got its arse handed to it fighting around Chechnya and Georgia, they have re-organised. Concentrating on more modern techniques and upgrading their equipment accordingly, but more importantly developing a professional armed force. The Guards regiments are still regarded as the shock troops of the army and get a significant portion of the funding. This is designed to put… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

I think we should be learning from the Russians and Chinese, they are coming up with innovative solutions to be able to mitigate the overwhelming force of NATO (or US) and are doing it really well. I have said on another thread that I believe the UK should adopt integrated divisions and that hasn’t gone down well, but it is all about people working as a team and being used to commanding a set of resources and those resources working seamlessly together. I think the Russians are ahead of the UK in that particular area, but the good news is… Read more »

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Robert – Id disagree ,the Russians have an advantage in numbers certainly,they are better trained than they were,they are getting increasingly more Real World Combat Experience,they are well equipped,the Equipment of which while more basic than Western standards has proven enough times to actually work and be quite effective,and lastly they have the Political will to use these Forces at a time and place of their choosing.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

And they are drinking and smoking and drugging themselves into early graves.

Cam
Guest
Cam

Russia will never strike Europe! Ukraine/ Georgia not included! No way will we see mass artillery strikes of any kind hiting Europe! It’s not Russia we need to be worried about. Europe has USA and Russia knows that. Russia would be screwed so they won’t do it even if they wanted to.

Cam
Guest
Cam

And I think our politicians know this that’s why they cut our millitary to the bone knowing we will be fine anyway.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

Cam – USA or no USA I admire the Russian attitude that if they want to pull off a Georgia or Crimea type operation they simply just roll up their sleeves and get on with it,and any consequences they will deal with and deflect later on.I for one would not relish the UK going toe to toe with Russia in any conventional conflict in a one on one situation,that would be madness in my book.To me UK Defence policy is caught between two stools,either expeditionary/intervention orientated which costs serious ££££s or go ‘Fortress UK’ which would be much cheaper,lets face… Read more »

James
Guest
James

“Russia will never strike Europe” pretty sure no one thought there could be WW1 or 2 as nation’s were so integrated economically. All it takes is for nato to fracture and Russia to gamble that one will not come to another’s defence.
I think it’s entirely plausible that if one of the Baltic states fell, that more than half of nato wouldn’t bother coming to their aid ,not that many even have the capability to do so, and then that’s it natos finished and the Russians can cherry pick at will

BB85
Guest
BB85

It didn’t take long for things to kick off in Georgia when they though America would have their backs after sending soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan. If Putin thought he could justify deploying ‘peacekeeping’ soldiers to ‘protect’ Russian citizens in the baltics the only thing stopping him would he the US military response because europe would do f all on its own.

SD67
Guest
SD67

Well someone better tell Georgia that because their Association Agreement with the EU commits both sides to “Deepen their cooperation in the fields of security and defence”

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

Good, I really hope that the RUSI report comes up with a credible conclusion. But also that the MoD/Ministers actually read the report. It has been known for a long time that the Army cannot field a credible division that is capable of defeating a peer division, especially a Russian one. We no longer have the strength in depth or the ability to re-enforce and resupply it once deployed. The only decent artillery we have is the GMRLS, but again there are too few. We lost the race against Russia with the cancellation of the AS90 barrel upgrade, which would… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

There was a light version of GMLRS being developed.

Like all other RA programmes such as Fire Shadow it vanished into the ether.

https://www.army-technology.com/projects/limaws/

This as I know you know was for lighter forces, but the mobile concept is there. I would guess cheap too.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Isn’t there a boxer GMLRS option or am I thinking of something else.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I do not know mate.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Found an image there are several potential variants.

Good view of this on uk land power site

But also taken a look at archer and this is amazing as is Caesar imho

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Cheers. Archer and Caesar have both mentioned in relation to Strike Brigades, and even in replacing AS90 too.

Knowing us will still be only 4 regiments worth, what we have now in the deployable brigades.

That might be fine if the number of guns in each battery is increased. And we know the answer to that.

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

I disagree that the UK has to attempt to do everything, not least because of budget constraints that won’t change. However, I do agree with a wheel based approach for long range precision fires for the reasons you outline. Not just for tactical shoot-‘n’-scoot but for the ability to self deploy without HET, rail, ship or air logistics being a requirement. The recent Tractable exercise is great for peacetime/rising tensions deployment but impractical during conflict or even immediately prior to it in all likelihood. In my view the greatest conventional threat NATO has to counter wrt Russia is a rapid… Read more »

Sid Moley
Guest
Sid Moley

Artillery has been key in winning so many wars from the invention of cannon, I can not understand why the chiefs of staff are against heavy armour and artillery so much, yes Afghanistan we did not use heavy tanks but artillery with precision guidance is effective and cheap and available in all weathers. Iraq we needed both, it played a key role in the Falklands too, along with ship guns fire support. Why the top brass didn’t expand the TA role in this and put the old AS90 into storage or equip more TA units with this I do not… Read more »

julian1
Guest
julian1

If we’re not prepared to invest in more artillery and cannot defeat the Russian SAM systems, then shouldn’t we be looking at vastly greater numbers of Apache? Too low for SAM systems and very mobile. Pick off that Russian artillery from the air. We should be looking to triple our Apache order, particularly when the cost is so relatively low, and European allies should follow suit.

James
Guest
James

Definitely more Apaches but more than anything long range GLCM, if the Russians can fire off hundreds if not thousands of iskander etc etc then Europe needs to be able to do the same

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

RUSI state that the Russian Integrated Air Defence System would hold up for weeks. It will be interesting to see why they state that and whether they put any conditions/timelines around that based on NATO technology/weaponry that might overcome it in days rather than weeks.

However, if we assume RUSI’s position to be accurate and Russian IADS are in place for weeks then Apache will be taken out by Russian airpower operating under the IADS screen. More Apaches won’t help.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

The same applies for any of our forces, as our tanks etc would be taken out by the Russian airforce which would be operating within this envelope freely I think more apaches at the expense of tanks is the way to go, and they could operate and land alongside boxers with all the modules they have. One thing is critical the side that owns the air – wins the fight, its just a matter of time. Apache can keep up with Boxers, boxers can do an awful lot given the range of modules, including Area defence, so for me a… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Guest
Glass Half Full

Oh I agree that lack of control of the air exposes everything, especially given our limited ground based air defence. That’s why I am curious as to why RUSI is assuming weeks to degrade Russian IADS because that is clearly NATO’s priority. I concede that today it might take weeks, but by the end of the 2020’s there will be multiple European air forces with F35, not to mention the US, with NATO capable of launching combined F35 + Gen4/4.5 missions, using weapons like SPEAR3 and SPEAR EW, that will make it very difficult for Russian IADS to operate and… Read more »

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

This should be no surprise to anyone, you only need to look at type of wars you have been fighting and what you spend the money on, the west relies on airpower to much and needs Navy for expeditionary war, planes and ships are expensive, Russia has focused on Artillery, SAM, cruise missiles, EW and nuclear force at expense of Navy or large numbers of new planes etc, you want billion pound destroyer or frigates and $100 million aircraft, we can make do with corvettes and take our time on Su57. Neither country can have everything we want on limited… Read more »

nathan
Guest
nathan

Please excuse my ignorance but wouldn’t a larger Apache fleet, perhaps supplemented by a disposable drone force be able to neutralise this threat rapidly?

I see a large but nimble expeditionary force centred on a comprehensive nucleus of well equipped marines and fast, mechanised armour as being more appropriate to our needs as an Island nation, than having a large standing army and gunnery.

What are other people’s thoughts?

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

The problem with relying on air support, in this case Apache, is that they only have a duration of about an hour, after which they must return to a nearby FOB to re-arm/refuel. They are also to a degree operationally dictated by the weather. The second issue is the weight of fire the Apache can provide. If we are talking about a flight of four, each armed with a mix of CVR-7 and Hellfire. This is a significant amount of firepower, excellent at blunting an armoured force and can mix it up with infantry. However, it pales into significance compared… Read more »

nathan
Guest
nathan

Thanks Davey. Good explanation.

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

Well, its money & apathy. The British Army has long had a wish list for ATACMS missiles, M777 lightweight 155mm, HIMARS & the long barrel upgrade for AS90. None of that has happened.
You could do it from the air, but Apache numbers are cut from 50 to 38 (I will believe the extra 12 when I see them).
RAF would need at least one sqn of this new ECR Typhoon or F-35A to risk operating in a high SAM environment.

SD67
Guest
SD67

I really do not understand this. HIMARS and M777 cost about 5 million each. They’re proven and in service we could order tomorrow.

Maybe they’re too “fighty” for the current crop of politicians. It’s almost as if there’s an agenda to turn the army into a Euro-gendarmarie – plenty of Gucci lightly armed Boxers and not much else!

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

Janes, 29 Nov 19, has an article saying Rheinmetall is developing a 60 calibre 155mm barrel with a larger chamber. If that could be bolted onto AS90, it would give the British Army, the range & clout it needs.

Marc
Guest
Marc

I was a junior leader in the RA in ’89, we were told then we would be getting the 155mm ultralight howitzer (later to become the M777) shorty after I left training…

Bob2
Guest
Bob2

While it is nice for every NATO country to have a bit of everything to create their own all-arm formations, there are lots of small countries within NATO where this idea does not seem rational or cost effective. Surely NATO HQ should try to encourage countries to purchase what the alliance requires. For a while I have been considering what an independent Scottish army would look like to make it useful to NATO/Europe (not that I support independence). What I came up with is that they forget armour and infantry and create three artillery regiments each armed with 27-36 HIMARS.… Read more »

700 Glengarried Men
Guest
700 Glengarried Men

Bob the last time SNP spoke of a Scots army the figure of 5k was their plan , I don’t know if that was front line or included logistics, artillery etc I think that if there was any party support it would be minimal towed light guns, I don’t see numbers to support tracked AS90 types or short range air defence to protect against air power

700 Glengarried Men
Guest
700 Glengarried Men

Should read arty not party

bob2
Guest
bob2

Glengarried, I believed the idea was 5K total. Assuming 1/3 of these could be frontline, they would not have a force to defend Scotland from an invasion (not that I see them likely to be invaded unless the rest of Europe has already collapsed). That’s why I suggested they should forget about infantry or armour. Designing their forces around three MRLS units (I suggested HIMRAS as they are cheapish and rapidly deployable to mainland europe) each made up of three reinforced batteries (for such a small army this would be the standard deployable unit) plus logistical support would be achievable… Read more »

DaveyB
Guest
DaveyB

In an ideal World it would be easy to say you Belgium provide signals, you Luxembourg provide logistics, you Holland provide engineering etc etc. But the issue here is that unless you base all these troops together, a quickly developing situation will mean these troops are out of position and not where they’re needed. This is was one of the reasons the EU were/are looking at a European army. Nations provide money and manpower, but the Army (bureaucrats) decides what equipment is required. Where they’re based is probably a thorny question. But for small Nations it does make sense, how… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Could this be a potential answer to the problem we face in a potential conflict with Russia?

ATACMS

By integrating an existing seeker onto the front of the missile, they’re enabling it to hit moving targets, both at sea as well as on land. With this capability, what was previously an Army surface-to-surface missile system can project power from coastal locations up to 300 kilometres into the maritime domain.”

https://breakingdefense.com/2016/10/army-atacms-missile-will-kill-ships-secdef-carter/

Nigel Collins
Guest
Nigel Collins

Apologies for the second use of the word potential, my grandson is sitting next to me asking a great many questions!

bob2
Guest
bob2

I believe the USMC is looking to purchase something similar to defend themselves once they land in contested litorals and to restrict enemy shipping

SD67
Guest
SD67

Well then why are the army prioritising this strike Brigade nonsense?

And why blow 2.8 billion on Gucci 8x8s without including any of the heavy variants?

Ever since the race to Pristina there has IMHO been an unhealthy obsession with getting there quickly, not much thought as to what we do when we’re there. And the idea of driving 1200km to Estonia under wartime conditions is laughable.

Paul T
Guest
Paul T

SD67 – Strangely enough at work yesterday we were talking about James Blunt and his role in the ‘Race To Pristina’ – its a shame the Russians got there first lol.

700 Glengarried Men
Guest
700 Glengarried Men

The Soviets didn’t call party the God of War for nothing we have less than 10%of the size of the Russian Fed army so no we can’t match them tube for tube ,However you can have all the artillery you like but if you can’t find the enemy you can’t hit him. Ukraine is a classic example of evolving deployment of arty, suppression of coms, radar location, and use of UAV to counter battery fire .I hope as much as we train the Ukrainian troops we take back the lessons they learned the hard way and update our training,

Matt
Guest
Matt

Well, I can’t think of a polite way of putting this so I’ll just ask the question. Why are we concerning ourselves with defending the mainland when our near peers don’t seem to be fussed? France might spend as much or more than us but are we really going to trust them to not throw up the white flag at the first sign of trouble and Germany’s equipment is not fit for purpose. Are we really going to rely on the yanks to charge to our rescue, past experience shows we could expect to see them after a few years… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The whole France and white flag thing isnt really true. In WW1 they fought hard in their own lands and suffered heavy losses, way larger than ours. In the 2nd the damage caused by those losses were still very memorable and you can understand their reluctance to fight.

France is a solid ally, and when they have needed to they have figured hard and are still doing so in Africa.

Rob
Guest
Rob

I understand what you mean but the world doesn’t begin and end at the White Cliffs. We are part of Europe whether or not we are in the EU. It is in our best interests to help defend our friends and I’m sure we always will if needed.

Chris
Guest
Chris

You guys should replace all your AS90’s with the M1299 purchased directly from the USA. 5 Regiments – 3 Regular (1/19/26) for 3 heavy brigades and 2 T/A (101/103 or whichever). 24 x 5 = 120 units plus some spares I guess. Covert the QOY to Challenger giving you 3 Regular Heavy Tank Brigades (don’t convert the Kings Hussars) and 2 T/A Tank Brigades (RWXY/QOY). Range is quoted at 62 miles. This = instant overmatch. Chuck a gun module and MLRS module onto Boxer (I think it can accept units up to 15 tonnes) for Strike. Keep the L118 for… Read more »

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

The AS90 the British Army already has, was designed for a mid life upgrade with a longer barrel & more automation to reduce crew workload. Sadly, that upgrade never happened.

JohnHartley
Guest
JohnHartley

Rheinmetall is working on a 60 calibre 155mm barrel with a larger chamber. If that was compatible with AS90, it would solve a lot of British firepower issues.

David
Guest
David

Correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not the same situation we have faced since 1945 ? Russia has always had a larger army, with more firepower and denser firepower concentrations. Even back in the 80’s they practiced the combined arms stuff and did it pretty well. Its worth bearing in mind that Europe and the USA are not operating their manufacturing on a war footing, if Russia attacked Europe they would need to win fast, because time equates to manufacturing output and Europe / USA would rapidly switch to a war production system. It would take a relatively… Read more »

Peter Elliott
Guest
Peter Elliott

Having read the whole RUSI paper I have to say I am reminded of British Army (and government) in 1914 debating whether each infantry batallion needed to be equipped with 2 machine guns, or if 1 would be enough. Turned out in the event that the Germans had rather a different concept of the utility of automatic fire. Took the advent off Lloyd George in, I think, 1916 to grip the industrial complex to churn out enough guns and ammunition to give an adequate number of automatic weapons per platoon for the war they were actually fighting.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Is there a plan to replace the light guns with the Strike Brigades with something worth while in the future? Ajax with 120mm automatic mortar perhaps?

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Yes Steve.

Probably a 155mm wheeled self propelled.

DRA talked of such years back and said there was funding for it.

And there needs to be, as quite frankly 12 Light Guns in 2 6 gun batteries per brigade is worrying.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Also worth remembering those regiments had AS90 previously.

They are themselves the product of cuts.

Alex
Guest
Alex

If all the ego is dropped UK forces are no match for Russian air and ground forces even if they were same size as that of the UK. AIR Superiority would give them an advantage due to their S400 and now S500 which would destroy British jets while giving their jets a cover and allowing them to penetrate destroy UK ground forces. Their ballistics would destroy British bases and their artillery would allow them to finish off things and move in. They have integrated all things so well. The only other country with a similar coordination in Europe is Turkey… Read more »

Steve
Guest
Steve

The problem is there is no comparison budget wise. Raw numbers and it seems comparable but Russia benefits from significantly lower wages, pensions, health and safety costs in production and significantly increased natural resources.

But it’s not UK Vs Russia it’s NATO Vs Russia and then Russia doesn’t stand a chance, it’s out gunned and out teched in every area.

Trevor
Guest
Trevor

The Pinstriped Line gives a fair commentary.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Humphrey trots out the Main Building line in a condescending fashion. Every word on his blog drips with scornful snobbish for the taxpayer who dares to an express an opinion.

Bill
Guest
Bill

It wouldn’t matter what resources we had money wise as we are incapable of equiping our army with a ‘fit for purpose’ force. Stand alone we have not been for two hundred years but not being able to put 30,000 men in the field with sufficient AS90 and GMLRS support, most of which is in storage is yet another ‘disgrace’. The sheer b******s that comes out of the MOD is truly jaw dropping. Last year it was deemed highly unlikely that we could win a ‘shooting’ war with Russia! Really?! We only purchased 63 GMLRS to start with and 197… Read more »