The upgraded Warriors were originally due to enter service in March last year.

The Ministry of Defence has spent eight years and more than £400m trying to refurbish the hull of the 30-year-old vehicles.

The overall point of the the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme is to completely upgrade the current Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles to provide “enhanced protection and increased lethality, fightability and survivability”. The programme will involve upgrading 380 Warrior vehicles.

It would seem however that there is still no date in sight.

Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford, asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to award a production contract for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme.”

Jeremy Quin, Minister of State at the Ministry of Defence, responded:

“The Full Business Case for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme is currently being considered through our internal approvals process, and is subject to commercial negotiations. It would not therefore be appropriate to comment further at this time. All decisions are subject to the ongoing Integrated Review.”

Why is the programme delayed?

Peter Ruddock, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin UK, answered this question in a submission to the Defence election Committee.

“Committee members were right to note that, recent progress notwithstanding, WCSP has experienced challenges. Members highlighted delays to the Programme and cost overruns. They also asked about the in-service date for the upgraded vehicles. I would like to provide further information on each of these areas, which the Committee may find useful. As context, it is important to recognise that WCSP is a development programme. Development programmes by their nature are intended to design and test new capabilities, to consider if the product will deliver the capability requirements defined by the MoD. They are undertaken before a production contract can be let.

First, on programme delays:-

• Lockheed Martin experienced some first-time design issues at the start of the Programme;
• Lockheed Martin has been dependent on the provision of various pieces of Government Furnished Equipment. The Programme was also affected by the sale of the MoD’s Defence Support Group; and
• The most significant delay to the Programme was caused by the MoD changing the specification of the cannon, which resulted in a contract amendment in 2016. Lockheed Martin has met its contracted dates and commitments since that contract amendment.

Secondly, on cost overruns. The WCSP development phase contract is a firm price programme. Lockheed Martin funds schedule and cost impacts, where these are not the responsibility of the MoD. As of 31 December 2019, cumulative losses to Lockheed Martin from WCSP are over £100 million, on a contract value of approximately £300 million.”

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It would be interesting to know if BAe had won the contract, if they would have had the same issues?

John Clark

I wouldn’t expect any news on this until we see the outcome of the Defence review later in the year.

If Challenger gets the chop, or more likely a political fudge, consisting of a pared down upgrade on a reduced fleet and chopped all together in 2025, then I suspect Warrior upgrade cancellation and phase out in the same timeframe.

The growing resistance within the military establishment to eliminating MBT capability altogether, will probably result in a slight of hand
(nothing to see here, move along now) approach by the MOD bean counters in my opinion.

We will see…


If MoD cancelled WCSP and CR2 LEP or pared it back, we would be of course unable to conduct significant armoured warfare against peer or near-peer oponents; even if the Boxer and Ajax programmes rolled out fully and on time and on budget, they would not be able to fight in an environment dominated by large numbers of enemy MBTs. Truly it would be a sad day for the nation that invented the tank.


Possible not as BAe had already identified that the the current turret was not able to be reconfigured for the upgrade and a new turret was required during their upgrade proposal, hence they lost the contract based on price


The reason for asking is that BAe are upgrading the turrets of the Dutch CV90s. According to Janes, the 35mm autocannon is being moved forward so that more space is available in the turret. From seeing the prototype LM turret at DESI the CTA40 takes up bugger all room, especially when compared to a traditional breech assembly.

Ian M.

Mr B. The CT40 has a very small intrusion volume for it’s calibre. Recoil is c.45mm and the rounds are fed into the breech along it’s elevation axis, all making for an exceedingly compact weapon with much improved end effects. Cheers

peter wait

CV90 upgraded version already was designed, Americans had similar troubles developing CTA weapon and gave up after 30 years and over 200 million dollars. For squeezed defence budget this weapon was folly!


But the European CTA weapon is developed and ready to be integrated into WR, isn’t it?


So LMUK are claiming. I think it did pass its last set of trials so I assume that means it worked as required. It was the main reason for the enormous delay, primarily the ammunition loading system that LM decided to develop themselves rather than use the one already tested and certified by CTA. How they won the contract in the first place is beyond me. The government should have cancelled the project years ago and not paid LM a penny for their screw up. The same goes for Ajax to be honest. Billions pissed away because the army pulled… Read more »


You mention the first time that the MoD pulled out of the Boxer programme. The story I heard, incredihly, is that it took a very long time to realise that the vehicle was not C-130 transportable when that was at the time a key criteria in the Staff Requirement (Land)!

peter wait

Seems they reported to a select committee there were problems with turret wobble due to the 20,000 lbs of recoil !


Totally lost the plot? This rings of the Nimrod debacle a project that took so long it was inevitable that the axe would fall. I would suggest that an immediate hold be placed on this project, and additional appropriate Boxers are ordered instead.
The Warrior could remain in service in its current form, and also create a strategic reserve fleet to replace FV432?


Good point – the integrated review should be an opportunity to stop and take a step back and think more clearly.

Sadly those in charge will just throw good money after bad because that is politically easy (internal Army and ego politics more than Party based) and carry on until it does all get cancelled.

Literally nothing learnt from Nimrod.


Throwing good money after bad a bit like the Nimrod debacle. Which genius thought it would be better/faster/cheaper to re-engineer 30 year old vehicles! Still don’t fully understand the requirement in the first place. Is the strategy (I use the word loosely) to procure wheeled vehicles to carry troops in the strike brigades and at the same time retain Warrior as a tracked carrier to work with Challenger and Ajx in the armoured brigades??? If so at what point is it better to decide an 80-90% solution by mixing tracked and wheeled vehicles, buying more Boxer and ditching Warrior is… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Yes, almost right. 2 armoured, 2 Strike was the plan. Actually a subtle cut as the army actually had 5 deployable brigades, plus 16AA and the RM 3 Cdo. The Ajax is also going to the Strike Brigades! And there starts the problems. Mixing wheels and tracks isn’t in itself a problem as such as I believe the Soviets did it for years. The issue is that the firepower is with Ajax, not Boxer. Ideally Boxers need to procured in a wider range of variants like a turreted direct fire version so the wheeled elements of Strike have more than… Read more »


Mixing tracks and wheels is a complete non issue agreee. But there is no issue in having “firepower” on AX vs BX. Exactly the same as T-5X in BTR regiments. Although Boxer needs more variants I agree – trying to turn it into a tank destroyer / IFV is the worst way to go. Leave it with a RWS as we have direct fire covered with CR, WR and AX, but invest in the indirect fire types- mortars and guided missiles as those arent covered at all. No reason then why it cant replace 430 Series vehicles still in AI… Read more »


Daniele, We had a chit chat a while ago regards mini UAVs, just read this on the drive: British Troops Get Small Swarming Drones They Can Fire From 40mm Grenade Launchers British Army troops in Mali are now reportedly using tiny unmanned aircraft that can be fired from standard 40mm grenade launchers. These diminutive quad-copter-type drones can be fitted with various payloads, ranging from full-motion electro-optical video cameras to small high-explosive or Armor-piercing warheads, and that can fly together as a swarm after launch. Overt Defense was first to report that members of the U.K. Task Group in Mali had… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Farouk.

Just checked it out. There is a larger Drone 41 on the cards.

Makes you wonder just what SF already have we are not aware of.


Money seems to run through governmental fingers like dry sand. This is a disgrace and there should be stricter control. I think also of the money spent on PPE contracts which came to nothing. As I read this, £400 million spent but little yet achieved?


Its the military and civil servants (who ought to be experts in the field) who are to blame. Not politicians.


Could not agree more strongly!

peter wait

CTA was the result of a military cooperation agreement with France not a common sense economic decision so this is a political failure!


This is always worth a read and its a good Lesson Learnt on how not to do a AFV project!

The MOD has been mugged off from start to finish…No surprise then!


My next door neighbour was part of the Army FRES team. He started with hair and after 2 years on the project was bald as an egg. Not saying the loss of hair was due to stress… but.


Lol…Me i am bald as a bald thing…and stress it certainly isnt. life is to short!

Geoffrey Roach

Sadly another nail in the coffin being got ready for the army. Almost all it’s armour from MBT to IFV is obsolete or the refurbishments delayed. The artillery is not much better.. It’s two main projects, the reconstruction of the armoured brigades and the new strike brigades are in trouble.if they ever made sense in the first place.It is now quite likely that we have only one armoured brigade with old platforms but without any serious recce capability. Similarly the strike brigades are a mixture of track and wheel, neither of which is good for all terrain and we may… Read more »


So based on my now 4 year old information, the correct parliamentary question should be: “can the minister confirm whether or not the 30mm ammunition for Warrior 1 has continued to be purchased in sufficient quantities to enable the deployment of a 2+1 Armoured Division?” Because in 2016 we knew that there was a planned gap where we would have insufficient WR2 to form a Bde and concurrently insufficient 30mm to train and fight a Bde with WR1! And that was on the assumption of WR2 arriving on time.


The base model of Warrior is still a very good platform. At the time of the upgrade program, Warrior was still a benchmark vehicle. So it made perfect sense to upgrade it. The requirement is quite simple. You must have a heavy brigade and a strike brigade as they are complementary to each other. The strike brigade is the firefighter, plugging gaps in defences, attacking or protecting flanks or exploiting weak spots to drive into the enemy’s rear. The only way a strike brigade can do this work, is if they have the support of a heavy brigade holding the… Read more »


Where are the heavy guns for the strike brigade? does it strike with what?

Harry Bulpit

The entire program has been nothing but a waste of time. Time to cut the losses, get rid of warrior, and replace with ajax. Yet again another prime example why the British army should just buy off the commercial market as opposed to continuously trying to have it’s own toys.

Ian M.

Sorry Harry, you’re talking apples and oranges. Warrior carries 7 dismounts, Ares carries 4.

Harry Bulpit

Only because it is designed to. If ASCOD is anything to go buy a IFV ajax should be able to carry 6, which warrior is expected to carry after the upgrade.

peter wait

Why AJAX, its late and has inferior suspension to CV90 ?????

Harry Bulpit

Because that’s what the army has selected. One of the primary reason I support the idea of replacing warrior totally with ajax is because, it makes no sense for the British army to maintain two vehicle types of a similar size.

peter wait

Having AJAX, a unique vehicle made no sense because the supply chain is more expensive to maintain. CV 90 used by many countries. CTA made no sense because bushmaster and its ammo is cheaper and budget overstretched!

Harry Bulpit

I dont disagree. Unfortunately what is done is done.

Mark F

The same old same old as unfortunately those that run this project or otherwise still get paid a salary no matter what the outcome. Warrior was for its time a highly capable bit of kit and has and still serves the British army with distinction. The trouble is that when you start to upgrade a 30+ year old vehicle which is what it is the inevitable happens, new equipment, power plant etc doesn’t fit the cost goes up and orders get slashed. If after the much delayed defence review recommends that the army still needs such a capability then the… Read more »


so £400m equates to 50 new Ajax or or 80 Boxers

What a total waste of money and et another example of poor management


I do wonder how much of the money wasted by the MOD is due to them Changing the spec of the equipment part way through a contract. Not coming up with full requirements at the outset and sticking to them leaves wide open to cost/time overruns and no one to blame but themselves.


Come on government, men and women in our armed forces must go into battle in these. The upgrades are taking so long that possibly it would be better just to scrap them and replace with Ajax and Boxer. What the civillians in the MoD, Treasury and Government in general dont seem to get into their heads is every time they delay upgrades the people in uniform die. I know I am going back in history but it is a good example HMS Hood, the design for upgrades protection etc was approved by the DNC, Treasury blocked the rebuild the result… Read more »


Now after my rant I will say what I think the Army should look like. A four division Army, One heavy armoured Div, two Light or Strike Divs and a Rapid deployment Div. The Heavy Div should be MBT heavy say 200 Challenger IIs with Warrior/Ajax, the Strike Divs should have 100 MBTs each and Boxers. These could create Battle Groups/Brigades, work as independent Divs and if need be a Armoured Corp. Hopefully the Armoured Corp will never be needed as that means we are in a major conflict. For forward deployment One Brigade of each Div should be in… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi Ron I’m not going to scream at you. ? But I know my ORBATS concerning our military and on CS and CSS enablers alone we are dozens and dozens short if we go by your 3 brigades per division. A brigade typically has / should each have an Engineer Regiment, Signals Regiment ( or Squadron ),an Artillery Regiment, a Logistics Regiment, a Medical Regiment, a REME Battalion, RMP Company, and you’d hope signals, AAC and Air Defence elements. Our current brigades barely have the latter 2 and in the case of 1 ( UK ) Division’s brigades there’s not… Read more »


I know I agree I am ex-Signals, over worked over stretched and every wants it now. Yes I was in Germany when it was a four armoured div 1 Br Corp, when it went to three Divs everyone was asking how are we to do the job. What is less know is some extra units that were British but not under British command such as my first Regt 28 Br Sig Regt NORTHAG 2 ATAF. I call it the forgotten Regt, Brits, Belgians, Dutch (who go on strike) Germans and some American units making a Signals Brigade. We had a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Ron. Respect for your service.

Do you not think though that the Russian forces today are somewhat removed from your old adversary GSFG?

The British Army certainly needs to get it’s armoured formations in order.

I’d prioritise the Royal Artillery myself.

And yes! More RS Regiments required.

Daniele Mandelli

1 BR Corps had 24 Air Mobile Brigade bristling with Milan FPS.
Coukd they have blocked Ivans Tank breakthrough?


Saw a repeat of Soldier Soldier on tv the other day and it was depressing to realise they are still using the same vehicles 25+ years later!


problem we have is both challenger and warrior as good as they were are outdated,due to no upgrades since being built,and if they upgrade both warrior and/or challenger it’s only going to give maybe 10 years onto an already 40 year old chassis,if they replace both together..The same problem will arise again as they will both run out of date together,the same issue will happen with boxer and cv90 they brought them both in together so no doubt will be outdated together..The mod and bean counters really need a kick up the rear end and sort out a better way… Read more »


This is in significant part because the Army has wasted years and years fiddling round with FRES, whatever that was meant to be and what platforms and weapons it was meant to have. And as well as time of course – endless sums of money.

Paul T

On Reflection the MOD should have just gone for this,might have saved a Lot of Time and Money —


Anything I say just echoes what peopple have said below really. Fair enough, Warrior is apparently still a fundamentally good/competitive design- I don’t know enough technical to comment on that. What I understand about the Warriors we have in service though, is that they have been worked hard- very hard. It should have been fairly clear to the Army that they’d get long term savings by a replacement programme with an IFV Ajax variant; there would be some economy of scale with an expanded Ajax build, fewer types in service, and a longer service life to replacement. That should have… Read more »

John Hartley

I think it would be crazy to spend a lot of money on Warrior. I also think the British Army would be crazy to get rid of them. Just do a minimum update/upgrade, & then pass them to reserve/2nd line units.


The real problem is that our armoured vehicle design and build capability passed into the hands of BAE, who, faced with a dearth of orders, shut it all down. Any new vehicles or even major upgrades then have to restart from scratch. So high costs and delays are inevitable. It’s hard to see how we get out of the current mess at a price we can afford. Is the CTA 40 so much more capable than a simpler replacement for rardenthat a whole new turret is worth it? Is the Rheinmetall 120 smoothbore so much better across all ranges than… Read more »


Yep, ‘good enough’ and numbers is the way fo go I think. My understanding is that upgrading C2 armour, engine and sensors would make it good enough to defeat every opponent it is likely to meet bar the T14 for some time. Spend the money on upgrading a decent number of C2 this way and refurbishing a decent number of Warriors; give them Spike missiles.


It seems so obvious.


I would rate the probability of actual conflict against tier 2 opponents e.g. ISIL in Africa, or the Stans -not Europe, not Russia and not China – as medium to high. I would rate the chances of an all out tank battle in central Europe against large numbers of the latest Russian tanks as low to very low. If HMG assessment of risks is different then ok, find the money for the high end C2 turret upgrade.
The penetrating power of the ammunition of the proposed CTA 40mm on the ASCOD Scout turns it into a light tank.

peter wait

140 mm with armour piercing rounds effective against T54’s , would need Cockerill 90 mm to be light tank. Scorpion had 76 mm gun lol

Ian Skinner

so they are waiting on Government Furnished equipment? nothing changes: My brother in law worked on the first electronic tank gear boxes- the project was delayed for years because the Army lost the trials vehicle, a Comet, which had the sole prototype gear box- eventually it was found and the trials continued.


I’ll be shocked if the LEP goes ahead. It’s a disgrace £400m has already been spent with nothing delivered, but it has been delayed so long there is no point in refurbing the vehicles for what will be less than 15 years service life. Warrior should have been planned to go out of service in 2025 from the beginning with Boxer lined up to replace it.


I don’t believe that it is possible in practice to put a new turret on a hard worked 30 year old chassis which was marginal on performance back in the 1980s and has since been flogged all around the world and under-maintained for years.

peter wait

Rumours of turret being a bit heavy for hull, CTA 40 has 20,000 lbs of recoil, wonder what fatigue problems this will cause with ageing aluminium hull?


Ah! Now that would cause pause for thought.


Oops! Apologies. The reply was meant for PW.


Biden has announced in his foreign policy speech today that he is reversing Trumps policy of removing US troops in Germany.

I reckon that means the UK will be forward basing MBT and IFV in Europe alongside our US allies.

peter wait

Poland would be a good choice, cheaper and Germans should be spending more on defence themselves!

Philip Tidy

Stick the new turrets on Boxer and buy more of them, and scrap Warrior.