Well, what do we think of that then? The Defence Command Paper has now been published and much of the speculation of the last few months can stop, although possibly only temporarily.

We know only too well from bitter past experience that there’s usually a huge gap between what is written and what actually happens, of course, but let’s run with what the Paper says for the moment.


This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Stuart Crawford.



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.


There’s lots of stuff to digest and comment upon across all three Services here, and I’m only to aware that others are far more qualified and competent to discuss matters RN, RAF, and most of the Army. I’ll leave it to them and look forward to reading their views. What I do feel qualified and competent to comment on, nay rant about, is tanks.

As heavily trailed in the national media over past weeks, the Challenger 2 Life Enhancement Programme (henceforth CR2 LEP) will only be applied to approximately 148 of the current UK tank fleet.

There is good news and bad news here, the latter far outweighing the former, I’m afraid. The good news is that the UK is still in the MBT game, albeit at much reduced numbers, and that we have at long last adopted – ‘Hallalujah’ – the German 120 mm smoothbore gun, something we should have done 30 odd years ago.

So at least the Royal Armoured Corps will have ammunition commonality with its main NATO allies at long last, plus a gun with higher muzzle velocity and greater penetration to boot. And we shouldn’t forget the less sexy but important other enhancements – including new sights, a new modular armour package, and an active protection system (although speculation is that only 60 each of the latter two will be procured) – which will allow the creaking CR2 to soldier on for a bit longer.

Now for the bad news, of which there is rather a lot more. Most disappointing by far is that we have once again failed to grasp the nettle and plumped for CR2 LEP rather than Leopard 2A7, thereby once again missing out on the future developments and economies of scale that the German tank would offer.

A reminder: Leopard 2 is fielded by over 20 countries in its various iterations, CR2 by two.

It is true that the £750 million allocated for the LEP programme is probably less than the cost of purchasing an equivalent number of Leo2A7 in its stead. It is difficult to get an exact figure on how much the German tank might cost to buy these days, if only because every contract seems to have different parameters, but a figure of $10 million (£7.15 million) per unit might be in the right ballpark.

So more expensive, yes, but who says we need to buy them? Leasing is an option worth exploring, as previously expounded, and has risk transfer and financial advantages for conventional military budgets.

There then arises the question of what is to become of the remaining existing CR2 which are not to be upgraded on present plans.

The UK will be left with roughly 250 of them, and it’s difficult to see what, apart from scrapping them, is likely to be their fate. The only other operator, Oman, might take a few, I suppose, to bolster its current fleet of 38, but that’s it. I’m not sure there are sufficient spares to support any sale to another operator, and indeed I’m not sure that the UK manufactures the 120 mm rounds and bag charges for the rifled gun any more either. So the 250 left may ultimately end up as razor blades.

What is undoubtedly true is that 150 odd CR2 LEP is far too few for a credible deterrent or foe for a peer or near peer enemy. It’s basically three regiments’ worth without reserve, or two with. Or possibly two regiments’ worth at 75 apiece with no reserve. However you look at it that’s not very many at all, and confirms the sad fact that our armoured brigades can only play a bit part in someone else’s military in alliance or coalition, as arguably they have had to do for the last 70 years or so.

During Britain’s last experience of intensive, continuous tank warfare against a peer enemy in NW Europe in 1944-45, attrition rates were high. During Op Goodwood for example, between 18-20 July 1944, the British and Canadians lost 470 tanks, or 34% of their overall strength in the armoured regiments. In three days. Taking into account repairs and replacements, overall tank losses during the operation were 41% of average tank strength.

It’s difficult to extrapolate this forward to today, of course, but let’s just for argument’s sake assume a likely daily loss of 10% of tank strength is any future high intensity conflict against a peer enemy. And let’s also presume that an armoured unit’s effectiveness and cohesion ends when losses reach about 50% of strength (others would say less than this). A rough calculation indicates that the UK tank fleet would last about a week but, unlike in 1944, there are no replacement vehicles immediately available.

What would we do in such circumstances? Why, we’d have to buy foreign to make up the numbers! Now, I’m not suggesting that the UK will ever enter a high-end intensity conflict alone, nor that the scenario described herein is probable; it isn’t.

But what I think we can say with some accuracy is that the armoured element of the British Army is essentially a “use once” resource. With only 148 tanks in the inventory it is unsustainable in any combat for more than a few days, and there is no backup to fill the gaps.

When I joined my regiment in 1980, the British Army of the Rhine alone had 900 tanks. Now we will have roughly 1/6th of that number. It’s far too few, and indicative I’m afraid of the decline of our land forces over successive defence reviews. How are the mighty fallen!

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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Rob
Rob
2 months ago

So they are calling Challenger 3. It isn’t. It is Challenger 2 with a new turret and I suspect it would have been cheaper and more operationally effective to buy 150 Leapard 2 A7s. Cap badges, not everyone’s cup of tea but… Rifles, R Scots, D Lancs & PWRR all losing a Btn to the Ranger Regt (why they can’t keep their cap badges and just be army commandos is beyond me – do we really need another Regt?), Mercians losing a Btn too. 3 Gurkhas probably going to 16 Bde. RAC. So we will have 2 active Challenger 3… Read more »

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

in 20i7 the MOD dished out £7 million to review the German MUSS soft kill APS, ( Which came after the MOD spent millions reviewing if APS systems were any good) which the Germans themselves rejected the other week in favour of the Israeli trophy, to that end I wonder if the so called Challenger 3 will be fitted with one and if so which one?

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Defense spending on future systems is how they keep defense firms alive, always has been, latest kit still in some kid @ college head, on his BAEs apprenticeship….

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Spending on future systems is something we gave up a decade ago, which is why we are in the current mess.

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Johan, My post was about how the MOD wastes money for example in 2016 they  knocked out a £7.6M contract with QinetiQ to evaluate the Hensoldt Multifunctional Self-Protection System (MUSS) soft-kill APS (note soft kill) In 2017, they awarded Leonardo UK a contract to look into the ICARUS Active Integrated Protection Systems (AIPS) strategy  to the tune of £10M. The first contract ended in 2019, the later last year That £17 million quid to let the army see if a Soft kill army system is worth it, meanwhile 10 years ago the IDF fitted out their armour with trophy which… Read more »

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  farouk

The trouble is its all army-related, the constant changing of the wally with the brolly, who asks for Magnolia, but has left before the guys have finished painting. the next wally with the brolly wants Soft White and starts again. Defense systems are out of date as soon as the ink is dry. you only have to look at the author to see the problem. Wants to spend £10m+ per unit on new. rather than upgrading the Existing @ £2m. just because, cutting your cloth and the Army are in this position due to poor procurement. if you let the… Read more »

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

BAe are advocating the Iron Fist APS system as shown on their Black Knight demonstration vehicle. The US have also chosen Trophy for their Abrams, which is being fitted to their tanks when they go to Poland and the Baltic states. With Trophy you have at least a battle proven system with a extremely good track record. No Merkava 4s have been lost with the system fitted, even though they have been ambush multiple times using the most up to data Russian and Chinese ATGMs.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Hi Farouk
I have posted at the top, but, can I draw your attention to this article: https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/03/31/the-french-armed-forces-are-planning-for-high-intensity-war

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The rest comprise 3 regiments of “Light Cavalry” on Jackal. They appear in the symbology but no details.
The 4 regiments of “Armoured Cavalry” seem to be going to the Heavy BCT’s and the Deep Strike Bde CT.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

How would it have been cheaper to buy and change everything for a different tank? We already have the setup for Challenger,the cost of a new turret is going to be a lot cheaper than changing a whole fleet.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

What if the New Turret encounters problems similar to what has happened with the Warrior Upgrade ,sucks up Funding then itself gets canned ?.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

All R&D done by Rhienmetall,ready to go it seems.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

MOD won’t buy a German tank but let Rhienmetall do the upgrade to a British one…

Spot the problem.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Rheinmetall is in a JV with BAE for CR2 LEP (aka CR3). I am not seeing the problem.

Nate m
Nate m
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

oh how I hate British pride sometimes. I am mean its not a bad thing by miles but sometimes it can be our downfall. we really need to get a better grip on things. especially recruitment of personals. i mean most of my class don’t even care about the country!! some of them say they would rather work at MacDonald’s or anything other then military!.

Nate m
Nate m
2 months ago
Reply to  Nate m

sorry i got a bit of topic…

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Work is UK Based, forgive me but isnt France and Germany doing a design for the replacement of the Lep 2.

maurice10
maurice10
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

I’d prefer the Rheinmetall turret over the Leopard 2 as total dependency on the Germans would be a mistake. At least some CH2 hulls could be placed in reserve along with complete tanks, say 50 in Ashchurch in case the UK gets embroiled in a conventional land campaign. The key problem with this review is the number of items that will be withdrawn and even scrapped. All Mastiff and other Afganistan protection vehicles to go, all Warrior will be gone by 2030 and I assume F432s too? 24 early Typhoon, which had previously been saved, and the complete fleet of… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I agree some of CH2’s should be placed in reserve.
But aircraft like the Hawk Mk 1’s would have used up most of their airframe life, and become un-airworthly.
And the Tr1 Typhoon’s will be approaching that point as well, in the next few years.

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
maurice10
maurice10
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

The new review precludes the UK from being capable (from 2027) of fielding enough MBTs to a war engagement as witnessed in Iraq to support American armour. The US will have to rely on other countries to mount future heavy armour conflicts. That I know will not please some senior generals and no doubt the Foreign Office too! Retention of CH2 in modest numbers would at least give some room for maneuver, in the event such weapons were required in a crisis. There are many armies around the World reliant on MBTs that are much older than CH2.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

exactly CH3 is a £1.7m pop Lep 2 is a £9m plus support.

4 to 1 ratio and CH3 doesn’t have a fixed spec.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

And so you might think Jacki, I’ll make a confident prediction here, ‘ Challenger 3’ will end up costing considerably more than replacement with a proven design and they will all get the chop by 2031 anyway… MBT’s are already extremely valuable to new loitering weapons like Spear3, by 2030 slow moving trundling armour really will be iron coffins against a peer enemy. The Army clearly lobbied hard to keep some tanks, but in such small numbers they are virtually irrelevant, unless the UK gets invaded perhaps??! It’s an expensive sop to keep industry and certain senior officers happy for… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

You don’t scrap a platform just because there is a counter to it. Every item of military capability, including the dismounted man, has one or more counters, and have for years.
Chally happens to have fewer counters as it is so well protected.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

CH3 is a £1.7m unit. Lep 2 is a £9m a pop plus support. 4 CH3s = 1 lep 2

wonder why the Army procurement is slow, how much money would LEP 2 put into the UK Workforce….

peter wait
peter wait
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

The German MOD stated that the cost of a leopard A7 was 13 -15 million euros a few years ago. Hungarians signed an agreement to buy some in 2018 so current cost may be on net somewhere. would guess upgrade of CR2 to be up to 7 million ?

Jim
Jim
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Its called Challenger 3, no different to Warrior CSP, which would probably have been called Warrior 2. The cost of 150 Leopard 2 A7 would have been substantially more that the cost of LEP. Two CR3 regiments plus the training fleet and trials fleet. Other units within the RAC will have Ajax and Jackle platforms.

David Flandry
David Flandry
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

It would be nice if it were “another” regiment, but things are just being renamed. Ranger Regiment sounds good, but the Army is still losing about 5 battalions, after losing about 8-9 after the 2010 Strategic Defense Reduction.

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago

Boris Johnson – ‘no more cuts’………

dan
dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Boris lies almost as much as Zombie Joe Biden. lol

farouk
farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Thats something not to be sniffed at

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Not a spot off your Former POTUS!
Compulsive, at that!

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

24 billion extra pounds. where are they cuts?

Paul42
Paul42
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Let’s see now – axing of C130J fleet including specialist aircraft used by Special Forces, retirement of 24 x Typhoon fighters with no replacement, retirement of Sentinnel with no replacement, cutting of E7 order to 3? Loss of 2 Frigates with no speed up in building programme to replace them, axing 8,000 troops, reducing MBT fleet from a pitiful 227 to an even more pitiful 148 and of course a proposed reduction in F35B order on the basis that we will of course develop a futuristic aircraft called Tempest which with our proven history of wasting billions on aircraft that… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Paul42
TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

2 billion on Tempest. Lots more on money on Army equipment including new fires, speeding up production of boxer. There is an endless list. We are clearly creating a littoral group for the Baltic and Scandinavia. 6 ‘littoral’ multi purpose ships.

Replacing old Chinook, new medium lift helicopter.

The cost of equipment is astronomic.

The services are being reshaped to do useful things for the future, not the past.

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Well said

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Not really reduction of f35 we never bought, even the usa are slashing there buy, c130 while capable isn’t as capable as a modern a400, it’s more modern, larger, longer ranged so it’s an upgrade, if the c130 has specific capabilities we can fit to a400. Yes the 2 frigates are going with what 18 plus lined up for next 10 years on plan. And MBT ain’t great but how likely is it to be used? Once in last ten years in anger? And not really anything another armoured unit could have done with support. Come on guys cash is… Read more »

OkamsRazor
OkamsRazor
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy a

Great answer to many vintage doomsters on this site.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

“No more cuts to defence budget” I believe he said.

The catch.

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul42

Budgets increased its not a cut, removing older equipment some of which is 30-40 years old makes sense, when that was bought 4 decades ago it was vastly cheaper than replacing it with the equivalent modern day version. We would always end up with less numbers but with much higher capability and it cant happen over night.

So what retiring 2 clapped out frigates early, thats a very sensible move as opposed to wasting tens of millions refitting them to just retire them in 2-3 years anyways.

Robert
Robert
2 months ago
Reply to  James

I agree James there a lot of fuss about the type 23.During LiFex we have had 3 in the shed after the first 2 years another 1/2 outside going through LiFex make 5 out of service at any time and the 2 to be scrapped haven’t been upgraded

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago
Reply to  James

At last someone looking to the positives, till public acceptance of 4% for defence or we teach the MOD to manage projects better it’s best we get

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago

Its all about firepower. You could do that with 300 updated C2, or 148 updated C2 with other firepower, such as Boxer with 105mm gun + Ajax with 120mm gun, a HIMARS purchase, Spike NLOS for AAC Wildcat, 2nd hand ex USMC 155mm M777. Just having 148 C3, with the risk that the upgrade has technical or cost problems, is “brave”.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I see the French are showing off their Ascalon 140mm autoloader tank gun concept using caseless telescope ammo.

dave12
dave12
2 months ago

Now we are in a the little Britain era ,thanks to boris why do we need tanks we are not going anywhere with land forces lol.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

More to the point, what we need is Tempest. Its absurd to have 900 tanks – doing what

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

We have not had 900 tanks since the 70s, Trevor. We only bought 400 CR2s and currently only have 227 in service, soon to be 148.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I know, but others harkack to that number

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Who is going to invade the UK to use them against exactly?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Since we invented the tank we have only ever deployed them in anger overseas. That is where we use them – from France in WW1 to western Europe and the western desert in WW2 to Korea, Suez, Saudi Arabia/Kuwait (221 tanks to Gulf War 1), Iraq (120 tanks), Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzogovina in the post war period – and now we have CR2s on deterrence duties in Estonia.
We do not use tanks to defend the UK.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

We need tanks to take on opponents who have tanks. We have used tanks (and Warriors) on hard operations more in the last 30 years than most other platforms.

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I agree with you Graham I was just having a moan at the small size of the army and tanks numbers I’ve since calmed down lol.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago
Reply to  dave12

Boris says we are now global Britain, not little Britain. We will always fight expeditionary wars, so why say we are not going anywhere with land forces? We nned tanks because our opponents mostly have a lot of tanks (and are upgrading or replacing their fleet).

Chaswarnertoo
Chaswarnertoo
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

So what we really need is tank killers, drones?

Rogbob
Rogbob
2 months ago

On the plus side, CR2 is well supported in service in everything from parts to tools to sqep maintainers, so its an easy win on that side and has commonality with the CRARRV and Armd Engr fleets wheras Leopard would be yet another platform type – and thats where the pain in the arse cost comes from. So this makes far more sense than Leopards. Also why buy German at this point politically, are they doing anything for us? Plus if things do transcribe such that we want >148 then just add to the contract and do it. Vs Leopards… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Rogbob

Agree with that.

RobW
RobW
2 months ago

Too early to know how successful or otherwise this is. Depends heavily on what Boxer types we get and whether more are ordered, what is procured to replace the AS90, etc etc

Certainly only having 148 tanks means we can only field a token armoured force working alongside others.

The RN is definitely in the best shape. RAF will be lobbying hard for a significant additional F35 purchase.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Agreed, RN has done relatively well. RAF OK. The Army, well as you said, if we get Boxer IFV with 40mm turret and anti-tank missiles, Boxer mounted 155mm & MLRS & Boxer support vehicles not so bad but otherwise…it will be a cluster.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Cut the Ajax order, upgrade more CH3’s to at least 175 MBT’s

Last edited 2 months ago by Meirion X
Graham
Graham
1 month ago
Reply to  Meirion X

You do know that Ajax is a recce and now a strike vehicle, so totally different role to an MBT. We need both. Pushing for 175 CR3 rather than 148 makes little sense as that is less than one extra Regiment. It would need to be 204 tanks.

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Wallace has said we will commit to further F35 purchase but no detail of when or how many. Stuart Crawford’s most important point is the lack of MBT reserves. The non upgraded Ch2s will be incompatible so presumably get scrapped. It would make more sense to carry out a more modest upgrade to a greater number. Despite the lofty commitment to UK industry, our 3 main afv programmes have a massive non UK element: * Boxer only 60% UK contribution * Ajax with German engines, French made gun, Spanish chassis * Ch3 presumably mostly German kit. I assume that any… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Was there any mention of artillery replacements in the report? With warrior being replaced by boxer and drop in challengers plus the general drop in likely f35 orders, it kinda feels like the army is going to be toothless against anything vaguely armoured.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Yes plenty. New Mobile Fires ( AS90 Replacement ) upgraded MLRS, new SHORAD and so on. No details yet.

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Some of those contracts will have been signed whilst we had still been a full EU member and no doubt politics will have taken a huge influence on what was decided.

Hopefully going forward especially as seeing with shipbuilding and Tempest the UK industrial base will be put at the forefront of decisions.

Ian M.
Ian M.
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter S

Peter S.
The Ajax has MTU engines: Rolls Royce owned company
French made gun (cannon): CTAi is 50% BAe
Spanish chassis: HULLS arrive as bare fabrications at Merthyr Tydfil where assembly takes place.
CR3 will have the same ISTAR assets as Ajax, made in Glasgow and quite possibly the same or similar Electronic Infrastructure as Ajax, currently a large proportion of which is made by Williams (F1).

cheers

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian M.

It’s not the ownership that matters but where the capability resides. If the production of key items is overseas, it is under the effective control of a foreign government that may not remain friendly or consent to exports. For example, UK was able to block sales of the Gripen to Argentina because so many key components are made here. In addition to this security concern, the more we rely on foreign components, the less the UK economy benefits from the expenditure. The Defence Industrial Strategy clearly wants to move back to more independent sovereign capability. I approve but wanted to… Read more »

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Im assuming the future drone technologies that will no doubt appear in the next 5-10 years will be operated under the RAF?

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

The RN and RAF will get additional F35s, that’s pretty much guaranteed as the two carriers are massive PR opportunities irrespective of their military value. Both services will benefit from this, as both services have a legitimate need for additional airframes.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

Just skimmed through the lot. Very vague. Little real detail apart from the cuts! Of interest: LPDs retained. Puma retained then replaced by Medium Lift Helicopter Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team ( Ajax, MLRS,AS90 ) Very interesting. Signals “Brigade” ( Why 1, we currently have 2 ) Operational Sustainment Brigades and a Theatre Sustainment Brigade ( Currently 101, 102 Log Bdes and 104 LSB ) Combat Service Support Battalions. ( They last did this when 19 Mech Bde was converted to 19 Light Bde. The CSS formations were merged into a CSS Battalion. This implies the RLC and RAMC… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
2 months ago

Can you please send me a link for it?

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago

Mate from looking at this it seems the strike concept is dead, and the light BCTs will have some legavy UOR wagons such as Foxhound? The Boxers going to the heavy BCTs, which may mean NO increase in Boxer orders? What’s your thoughts Mate? Also though I did see an 800 million investment for a new wheeled gun for the RA? Certainly needed mate, wonder what type, numbers? Bloody so much to take in, and while some good ideas and planning, it’s all over the next 5-10 years, ie 2 more elections and all so easy to change and not… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Legacy…

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

What was / is Strike anyway?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

A mess.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

I can explain at length ( again ) if you’d like Trevor. Or, I recommend looking back at Gabriel’s blog on UKAFC 2015 onwards, he explains it better and in greater depth than me.

John Hartley
John Hartley
2 months ago

DM, you gave me the only laugh from this clusterf***.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Morning mate. Gave myself eye strain headache reading the review yesterday so not been on and too many wails of despair here that we are now nobodies, which is clearly bollocks. Ignoring RAF/RN and concentrating on army. Strike is dead. And as Gab over on UKAFC Twitter has very correctly tweeted has dragged an Armoured Brigade and all the IFV’s of what remains of the other two with it!!! There is so much no idea where to start. The symbology in that report is typical MoD in that numbers are ignored. How many BCTs? Does a BCT correspond to a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Another thought. Have we not just swapped sub optimal Strike Bdes for sub optimal Armoured Bdes? Although Warrior was old it was an IFV. Can Boxer do the role? Certainly not if it just has a machine gun.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago

Dan, I would suggest that Boxer will struggle to keep up with Challenger, if they were paired together like Warrior currently is. Boxer has comparable armour protection as Warrior and can be upgraded with additional applique armour, but by doing so its mobility will worsen. For hard surfaced ground environments/urban areas this isn’t so much of a problem, but start adding soft sand, deep mud and fresh snow it will struggle just like all the other wheeled 8x8s.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Thanks Davey.

Well, we are where we are. In a right old pickle armour wise.

The rest, I’m optimistic.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

I am very unconvinced that standard Boxer (a MIV) will be able to fill the IFV role as WR has done, and I think that WR CSP would have been an excellent Life Extender, and curse those who delayed its fielding.

Even Boxer with cannon would be hard pressed to prove it has better firepower, mobility and protection than WR CSP. Has anyone assessed these aspects? What if Boxer can’t keep up with CR3 cross country?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The army had the money in 2015 to properly upgrade the 3 Armoured Brigades along with the Ajax order. They then moved to Boxer and Strike without finishing the job first.

Your and Davey’s opinions are good enough for me. Oh well. Maybe they will order a new OTS IFV??

Andy a
Andy a
1 month ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes I read a report from ex colonel in armoured unit and tests were done with boxer and other wheeled units and the current modern ones are 80-90% as capable as tracked and capable of doing “nearly” everything.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

Why do you say Strike is dead? One of the BCTs will be ‘Deep Strike’; we are still buying Ajax and Boxer which have always been seen as Strike assets.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I believe that the “Deep Strike Recc BCT” is just a renamed 1 Artillery Brigade. A Divisional asset, not a manoeuvre brigade. With only 2 brigades left they had to put the 2 “spare” Ajax regiments somewhere!! So they place them with MLRS and hopefully soon lots more deep fires and precision weapons. The other 2 regiments of Ajax form the integral recc elements of the 2 Armoured Brigades, which was the original reason for their purchase until Strike appeared. The Strike concept may still be around but the brigades on which it was to be formed won’t be. It… Read more »

Harry Bulpit
Harry Bulpit
2 months ago

Thank you.

john melling
john melling
2 months ago

“German 120 mm smoothbore gun upgrade”

I thought we might have pushed it up to the 130mm

peter wait
peter wait
2 months ago
Reply to  john melling

Might make the tank too heavy for practical deployment with extra weight of 130 mm gun, iron fist and add on armour pack.

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  john melling

We already have ammo that nobody else uses,so why go to the other extreme? And do the same again.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  john melling

But the 130 is only just been revealed hasn’t it (?). Germany are not going to upgrade all their fleet are they?

PS … I read about the 130 this morning and it was put on display (last year?) with a CH2 hull a few months ago.

And the Russians can barely produce any T14s can they?

Andy a
Andy a
2 months ago

Well there isn’t enough cash to do everything, we need to replace 2/3 of navy,them and airforce are front line. This gives us a basic capability while updating with uav, drones, force multipliers and cyber. F35 with 3 AI wing men. Or challenger and two remote control land drones. That will be the kind of future we need to embrace

Last edited 2 months ago by Andy a
Colin
Colin
2 months ago

Agree with your analysis.

dan
dan
2 months ago

About damn time they get the 120 mm smoothbore gun! Long overdue.
Britain will only have 148 main battle tanks?!! WTF? Another move by Boris to follow in Merkel’s footsteps and let America continue to do most of the heavy lifting. Ugh

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago

But when you joined mate the 900 were Chieftains, spot lights, crap engines and no TOGs or still brew armour. Plus one third wouldn’t be working, a second third would break down on route to the the crash out positions and the last third would last a few days. However that said I’m totally in agreement that it’s not enough, no matter how great the end result CR3 becomes.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

But….. 900 Guns worked pretty well and they could at least be in 900 places as opposed to 148 places……. just sayin like.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

But most of the 900 didn’t get out the camp gate….you have to be ex army to understand just how shite most of the BAOR kit was.

steves1664
steves1664
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

But you forgot to mention the Coventry climax, now that was a good generator, just about the only reliable feature on the Chieftain..!

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

My Dad told me they used to fiddle with the Governor counterweights to get a bit more power.

captain p wash
captain p wash
2 months ago

Well, I’m just totally confused now….. RN losing two type 23’s (At Least) yet we are getting more ships……. RAF/RNAS losing 90 F35B’s…… army losing 10000 men/women/others……… Scrapping all Mine Hunters….. Scrapping all MK1 Hawks…. Scrapping 28 Typhoons……. Scrapping all Warriors…… Becoming “Global Britain” seems to be a tad odd

Derek
Derek
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Hi Cap’n. It’s not certain that we lose 90 F35’s. The Statement said that we will buy definitely 48 but a supplemental question produced the answer that ‘we will purchase in excess of 48 but the actual number will be subject to regular review’. So optimism remains and I am guessing they are hedging their bets regarding the development timeline for Tempest which, to be fair, is currently unknowable.

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Derek

At a recent PAC MTG , AM Knight stated that we would have 48 F35 by 2025, and we would need to purchase some more between 2025-2030, numbers unknown, but more then likely another 20-25 airframes.
The down side of this is that the RAF will lose out on the 62 Tornado s the F35 was supposed to replace, as the 48’only just fulfill CSG requirements.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

Exactly.

Typhoon was originally meant to replace Phantom/Jaguar.
Ended up replacing Tornado F3 and some GR1’s/4s
F35 was to replace the “capability” of the Harriers, that is Sea and the RAF GR5/7
Tornado was to be replaced with FOAS.
Ends up with the lot cut and F35 replacing Sea Harrier only.

The Mod/HMG are great at moving the goalposts and changing things way after joe public has lost interest. With exceptions 🙂

Lewis
Lewis
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

this is old equipment it doesn’t make sense to renew with a likewise replacement at this point in time. F35b has been a dodgy procurement and the whole programme has been a bit of a nightmare globally. Would of liked to have seen a mix of b’s and A’s for the airforce. There is an increase on the numbers of f35 the air force would of had. Typhoon is such a capable platform with spear-3, brimstone, paveway IV and meteor that arming the carriers with f35b should be priority. A new mbt should be procured for when challenger 3 leaves… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  captain p wash

At least some RAF officer will have a great new command – Space Command – we didn’t need it in 2020 so why do we need it in 2021 – a good waste of £1.6Bn.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago

Here is an idea for the spare challenger 2, we could keep them in a big shed somewhere in storage and bring them out if we suddenly find ourselves in need of an armoured division or two and find that no one on planet earth can make even a handful of tanks as powerful as challenger 2, then we can take some reservist and few regulars and a couple of HGV drivers and build an armoured division much like we did in 1939. Not everything has to be current, there is value in retaining out of service equipment especially considering… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Things are too integrated/complex for that to work in current times.
Sights need to be integrated with radios because data might be inserted into it and put in the screen. Engine management too communicate with via radio data what piece expect to need. etc…everything is part of a whole and costs spiral.

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

And there you get why Army Procurement is a shower, CH 3 is a £1.7m upgrade of existing chassis. Leopard 2s are a £8m a pop plus support packages. very little of this would make its way into the UK Workforce. so supporting the UK Workforce like the Navy ships in Scotland puts money into UKS Pocket, Army procurement is constantly run by some fool @ the end of his career looking to leave a statement, then he leaves and the next fella changes the specs, and so it goes. AKA Warrior. utter waste how many Ch 3s could have… Read more »

Johan
Johan
2 months ago

Just imagine…

Russia rolls down its pipeline highway into GERMANY, and NATO sends in its tanks. and then there is an AMMO shortage due to the GERMAN supplies have fallen. Nato armies fighting over AMMO, Because some idiot wanted to use the same….

Sounds like a vaccine war, EU Restricts the flow of vaccine but will transport the virus without a care in the world…..

Army procurement, save on ammo means we can have more Whiskey ….and cigars…

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

Or some tanks use different ammo which I believe there is a shortage of anyway,or use ammo that will be in short supply because only one country uses it.(again) Sounds like a plan.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jacko
steves1664
steves1664
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

I thought we’d stopped making ammo for the 120 rifled, once we’ve used up what little we’ve got then the current Ch2 is screwed anyway… That aside the penetration of our current APFSDS is well below that of latest 120 smoothbore ammo APFSDS and as for HESH, well that’s no use at all against relatively modern MBTs, it would be good for lightly armoured vehicles if they were obliging enough to stay still though…

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Johan

It’s not that bad as within NATO, the US, Belgium, Italy plus France all manufacture ammo compatible with the Rh120 L55 gun. Further afield, Israel, Japan and Korea manufacture compatible ammo.

If we are getting the 120mm L55 gun, then I’d source the M829 series APFSDS rounds from the US, as it uses a DU penetrator and generates more muzzle velocity. Then there is a large choice of programmable HE and HEAT rounds.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
2 months ago

Doesn’t take long for all leopard fan boys to jump out, the only advantage a leopard holds over CR2 is it’s compatibility with the standard NATO round, the leopard’s performance in Syria was less than abysmal and before people shout tactics, remember plenty of CR2’s were left with their balls hanging out in Iraq and shrugged off the kind ordinance that would leave a leopard a twisted wreck, the LEP is the correct choice, the numbers being done are questionable

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Some sense might take hold! With the spare hulls they might decide to go for a few more

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

I think they are rolling the dice that we will not get in to the kind of conflict that requires large numbers of MBTs until after the timeframe for CR2’s replacement which we should seriously be looking in to now, we need to do a deal with the Polish and the South Koreans, these are the countries that will be buying big numbers of tanks in the same timeframe, we can supply some of the tech and they can supply the numbers to make it a viable world wide fleet

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Poland and S Korea yes… But also USA. Certainly we don’t need to to build a tank on our own.

I seem to recall that about 30% of the Grippen is British.

But the Army has made a right horlicks of its procurement and strategy for years.

Overwhelmingly the important thing is to control the air and the seas.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Other than the idiotic procurement decisions the army has a unique problem that the other services don’t, that being when in times of desperate need it is pretty easy to ramp up the army thus giving it a lower priority in times of relative peace

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Not sure I follow that since it takes time to train soldiers from scratch. personal would suggest more integration with reserves.

Martyn Parker
Martyn Parker
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

A soldier can be trained in 12 weeks, we still have enough car manufacturing capacity to start producing more than enough of all types of vehicles in an emergency and to do it quickly, ships take a long time to build and there are hardly any Yards left to do it in, aircraft production and sites to do it in barely exist, yes the Army can be ramped up a lot quicker than the other 2 services in time of desperate need, this is without going in to the vast amount of weaponry that the army hold in stores

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

You are having a laugh. You can train a soldier in 12 weeks?

Ha. Do you really think you can train a battalion in 12 weeks? It took Kitchiners New Armies 2 years. How long does it take to train a sergeant?

Your attitude shows how way off the mark it is that so many infants can talk on military topics.

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

12 weeks? What! Maybe a NK soldier with no skills, tactical or technical knowledge, or any other skills such as JTAC/Sniper/MFC/Assault Pioneer/D&D/Recce….in fact I could go on and on with just Infantry skills and technical course never mind trades persons and CSS arms. 12 weeks……Come on! Behave!

Peter S
Peter S
2 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Alas no. The plan clearly states that the remaining Ch2 will be retired. So just 148 and no reserve. The plan also states we will commit £1.3 b to the upgrade, or more than £8m per vehicle. Other reports have referred to a Rheinmetall contract for £750m or $1.4b.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

I’m not knocking CR2, but just a couple of comments about the Leopards in Syria: They were A5 models, not the A7 models discussed as replacements for the CR2 here. Out of date armour etc. The ordnance that they were hit by was not the same as what the CR2s shrugged off in Iraq. RPGs, mostly the basic variety were what we faced in southern Iraq (a lot of them, admittedly), and a single Milan ATGM. The Leopards in Syria were hit by TOW and Kornet ATGMs, which are newer and also a lot bigger than the RPGs and Milans.… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

“CR2’s were left with their balls hanging out in Iraq and shrugged off the kind ordinance that would leave a leopard a twisted wreck”

Sorry but you have no sense of what tanks are capable or not and the anti tank missile overmatch over anything but the front.
No tank in the world can be fully protected against a Kornet from the side or rear.
Even the reportedly most armored AFV in the world, the Israeli Namer heavy infantry carrier have an APS.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  Martyn Parker

Stuart Crawford makes much of the lack of commonality of the rifled ammunition but was it ever a real problem? So we supply ammunition through national and not NATO supply lines – we have made it work for decades.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In a more intense or sudden conflict, I think it would probably make more of a difference than we’ve seen in Iraq; we knew we were going to be kicking in the door and had weeks to get stocks in place. We also had a very specific and separate AO (southern Iraq), which had shorter logisitics trail to our bases over the border in Kuwait. None of the above is guaranteed if we’re rushing to a front in the Baltics, where we’re sharing AOs with other NATO armoured formations and the logistics lines are likely to be limited by enemy… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago

I must suggest that this article is illiterate.

Many of the Leopards exported are inferior vehicles.

It suggests it’s better to have 100 Leopards of marginal better utility to 148 CR3s.

The author forgets that the border of West is not the Elbe, it no longer faces East Germany, its now beyond the Oder, even realistically beyond Poland and into Ukraine.

Britains role now is different. And as such it does not justify more tanks, if any.

JohnG
2 months ago

Thanks for contributing Stuart. I don’t think national pride would allow either buying or renting foreign made tanks, especially German ones. I do so wish the government would stop making cuts. With the gleeful shelling out of billions to support the government’s approach to covid, one had hoped that the money taps would have been turned on a bit more for the armed forces. Not being too familiar with the army, I wonder what a feasible number of modern tanks would be? (This is assuming we have significantly well provisioned air and naval forces, which I appreciate is not really… Read more »

James Fennell
James Fennell
2 months ago

What about UGVs – are not tanks supposed to be operating with 3-4 UGVs for mass by 2030?

Hermes
Hermes
2 months ago

How much of your money reinjected by the CR2 upgrade in comparison of the buy or leasing of the Leo ? Cost is not everything, if the CR2 redirect 60% of its cost in the british economy while the leo give nothing for half the price, the CR2 upgrade is a better choice. That’s because the brits have dismantle the biggest part of their defense industry that everything is so hard to do nowadays… I talk as a french, and what I see happen to the british is what I really want to avoid to France with the German “cooperation”.… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Hermes
OldSchool
OldSchool
2 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Yes I get where you’re coming form Hermes. I think the CR2 upgrade is the way to go – an interim solution until the 2030’s when the UK will think about the next generation MBT which (providing MBT’s are still worth investing in) they are likely to look at a ‘Euro’ or ‘US’ tank – possibly as part of consortium.

Monty
Monty
2 months ago

I really don’t get the affinity people have the the Leopard 2 platform, it’s as much a legacy tank as Challenger 2. It’s a heavily upgraded Leopard 2 and as I am aware there is currently no open production line for the tank, the current A7s being remanufactured from existing tank inventories. We truely missed the boat on the mid 2000s for cheap Leopards when the Germans and Dutch sold off their surplus and while the Germans would be more than happy to restart production and build new vehicles for us there is no guarantee it would be cheaper than… Read more »

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Monty

Im fairly sure if Germany did re-open the production line they would only be available with the now standard AMG package whacking the price way up!

Monty
Monty
2 months ago
Reply to  James

Plus the random nonsense specifications the Mod seem to insist on whenever buying something ‘off the shelf’. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, you will not get a brand new Leopard 2A7 plus the logistics chain cheaper than the Challenger ‘3’.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago
Reply to  Monty

I think the Leopard 2 Production Lines are still open – Hungary being the Latest Buyer ,the Supply of Used Examples has dried up to my knowledge.

Paul.P
Paul.P
2 months ago

I don’t know what is the right decision on MBT. In the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan cheap drones decimated Armenian armoured formations. We know from our own experience how in Libya a single Tornado stopped an armoured column in its tracks using Brimstone. WW2 era battleships were made obsolete by aircraft. I think we may be seeing a similar phenomenon. We will not be able to deploy armoured vehicles unless they have self defence or we have control of the air. That said, when you do deploy them they have to win so the C2 turret upgrade makes sense.… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
2 months ago

So what’s this rumour on “The YouTube” abut the UK joining in with the development of the next generation Franco-German “EU-Tank”?

I’ve argued here before about the need for the UK to retain and develop certain strategic capabilities, and a MBT capability is one of them. As we have seen in recent events, when push to comes to shove we need our own capabilities. Governments and circumstances change but we must, long-term keep certain capabilities and spend within the UK and not fritter our hard-earned £dosh away to others.

Paul T
Paul T
2 months ago

The UK has sort of Joined the Euro – Tank Project on an Observer Status Role only ( for now anyway).

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Thanks PaulT..

Oh bums. 🙁

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago

I believe this is to see which way gun development goes. One of the specifications for the new tank, is that it has a main gun which outperforms the existing Rh120/L55 by at least 50%. To do that both, Giat (Nexter) and Rheinmetall have developed two guns with increased bore sizes. The Giat is 140mm (can’t find the calibre), whilst Rheinmetall opted for a 130mm L52 gun using one piece rounds. Rheinmetall believe the 130mm is the best compromise for performance and actually trying to store the rounds in the tank. The Giat 140 uses two piece rounds. Both use… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago

No comment on whether they’re getting the power pack upgrade too? All well and good fitting them with new armour, APS, different gun with larger ammunition (larger turret, I presume?), but it’s been underpowered compared to the Leopard and Abrams for years. If we’re talking about rapid responses to competitor agression and/or expeditionary warfare, having the slowest MBT in the world is hardly helpful…
Disclaimer: I don’t know if it actually is the slowest MBT in the world, but I can’t think of may other contenders for the title!

Deep32
Deep32
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Don’t quote me Joe, but I think that Catapiller are progressing that option, or are certainly working towards it!

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

That’s good news!

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Before the LEP program was announced, there was another program running looking at increasing the power of the Condor engine. They were also looking at upgrading the gearbox and final drives, which have taken a pounding due to the extra applique armour fitted. The Perkins Condor V12, is quite a small engine by tank standards at 26.1L. Whilst the Leopard uses the MTU V12 at 47.7L. The current Condor pushes out 1200bhp, whilst the MTU is at 1479bhp. This may not seem a massive difference. Its not, the torque though is, as the MTU develops 4,700Nm (3,466lbs/ft) at 1600 to… Read more »

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Thanks Davey, that is a significant difference in engine displacment! I can immediately see that there’s a limitation there, regardless of tuning and modification done by Caterpillar. I do like the idea of having our tanks run like our old good trains, on a diesel electric set up, but maybe that’s a solution for whatever comes after CR3? For the next 10-15 years an upgrade to 1500 hp and whatever extra torque we can get may be enough without breaking the budget on R&D. Maybe a couple of the CR2s that don’t go to the scrap heap could be used… Read more »

Wayne
Wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Joe16

Top end speed X country is pretty good, acceleration is a bigger problem for CR2. I think this will be addressed with CR3.

Joe16
Joe16
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

I hope so, powerplant is also important for power generation for onboard systems- which is getting more and more important these days.

Daveyb
Daveyb
2 months ago

Thankyou for your view. Having been a project engineer for DE&S working alongside the program managers. I only know too well the financial pitfalls that comes with leasing. When more and more of the program becomes “out of scope” of the original contract, we either have to pay additional costs for these to be considered or look at the snails pace seesawing that is contract renegotiation. Simple little things like having a drawing opened up to amend a word costing thousands of pounds or trying to get the OEM to admit that the drawing is in error. These were some… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Well said Daveyb.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Great post. Taught me a lot.
So Strike has now screwed our armoured Brigades as well.
Not spending those billions on Boxers could have paid for Warrior, Ajax, and Challenger.

PaulW
PaulW
2 months ago

I used to wonder who the UKs greatest enemy was. Russia, China, maybe some combined force of nations somewhere? But no. By far the most damage and lose ever inflicted on HM Forces is by HM Government. I think it’s true to say that our glorious treasury has sunk the most ships, grounded the most aircraft and confined the most tanks to the scrap yard. I really, really, really hope the government are justifiably proud of what they have dismantled. Not even Hitler could manage such a feat. What took our forebears a multitude of centuries to achieve is gone… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago
Reply to  PaulW

I am thinking of the parallel with the Covid pandemic, when the nation does not prepare against the most serious threat.
No PPE in stock beforehand, no serious exercises or training, no surge capacity, not enough ventilator beds. Then the pandemic hits. UK economy hit by £251bn, cost of government funding £192bn, 126,000 KIA.

PaulW
PaulW
2 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees thing like this. The military masters in my day taught me ‘Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance’. I hope the pandemic teaches us some important lessons about being prepared. But the WW2 taught us that. Least we forgot.

PaulW
PaulW
2 months ago

Rant over. Lol

Wayne
Wayne
2 months ago

I believe CR3 is the right choice for a UK MBT. I am rather hoping the final specification for CR3 will surprise us for better.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago

Rather have the Challenger…Leopard 2 has been destroyed in combat – it has weaker armour. Not one Challenger has been lost to the enemy – EVER. This includes being hit by 70 RPGs, a Milan anti tank missiles … etc.

I think our troops would rather have the Challenger. Also I am not sure we would be happy buying from the EU these days… they may ban shipments if the did not get their way… at least the turret factory is in the UK!

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

“Rather have the Challenger…Leopard 2 has been destroyed in combat – it has weaker armour. Not one Challenger has been lost to the enemy – EVER. This includes being hit by 70 RPGs, a Milan anti tank missiles … etc.”

So? Every tank is very vulnerable to side and rear shots and can be destroyed.
Those are small fry, not Kornets, or TOW.
There is a reason Israelis have APS in field and Russians and others are developing.

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

While no tank is indestructible some are more vulnerable then others. like me you do not know what a hit from a Kornets would do to a Challenger 2. It is speculation as it has not happened. We can only let history inform us and Leopard has been lost in action and Challenger has not. The immobilised Challenger was surrounded and hit from all sides it was recovered and only needed its sites replacing it was back in action in 6 hots. of course it is better not to get hit so the upgrade should be given a hard kill… Read more »

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob N

I am sorry but you don’t have thickness and weight to protect a tank all around. It’s physics. Let’s suppose your armor have a 2:1 advantage in relation to steel, that means an half meter is necessary to protect to an 1000mm RHA capable missile. Last Kornets go to 1300mm RHA. I’ll give a Challenger edge for the frontal aspect in relation to the Leo 2A4 but that is it. Extra armor you can put in both and Leo has engine power edge so in theory could get heavier. Then what about top armor? only Merkava 4 turret and even… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
2 months ago
Reply to  AlexS

The point is that Dorchester is Secret we do not know how good it is against HEAT. So to say it cannot protect to 13000mm is speculation. We do know it is lighter then traditional armour so you can either have less for the same protection or the same amount for more protection. The fact that it is said to have more and thicker then M1 suggests the level of protection should be better then M1. The M1 does sport DU in its armour but this is on the frontal arc. My point is that the Challenger 2 is heavily… Read more »

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 months ago

It is highly unlikely Oman would be taking any surplus CR2 considering they have been seeking a replacement, apparently the Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther was favoured but things have gone a bit quiet about that.

AlexS
AlexS
2 months ago

https://www.aresdifesa.it/rheinmetall-ammodernera-i-challenger-2-britannici

Says that 60 Trophy APS kits will procured. Any idea if that is “creative writing” from the Italian site or is it already established?

Pacman27
Pacman27
2 months ago

Perhaps we should jump a couple of generations and go for the M5 Ripsaw with a combination of 105 and 130mm guns.

then we can have Ajax, Boxer and Vikings running these as loyal wingmen.

It would certainly help relieve the troop requirement as well as probably being cheaper than the proposed challenger upgrade.

nothing against challenger, but would we not be bette off with a version of this?

Jacko
Jacko
2 months ago

So Stuart you would rather us purchase a system that the Germans are looking to replace in the near future? Surely it has made sense to upgrade what we have and then maybe join in with the future tank program. Mind you Franco/ German cooperation doesn’t usually end well and they end up going their separate ways!

Nate m
Nate m
2 months ago

its really a shame. British tanks are ment for long range support I mean the challenger is know for the longest tank to tank kill. To be honest the new upgrades don’t make it effective for its intended role. sure the new gun can fire fancy rounds like HESH or ATG or even APFSDS, but smoothbores aren’t famous for their range. and the new guidance system might help a bit. but really what we need is a better engine. this along with the new gun and protection system would have made the challenger the best MBT on the planet and… Read more »

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

Do we realistically have the capability to deploy large numbers of MBTs in theatres beyond Europe? In what scenario would that be useful anyway? The author refers to the force that BAOR used to field, but the heavy focus on facing off against the Soviet Union in Europe curtailed the available funding for power projection in other theatres- hence the poor state of readiness to fight the Falklands War. The only ‘peer’ threat scenario where I can envisage the use of MBTs is a NATO action against Russia, in which case isn’t it about time the land powers closest to… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes
26 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Germany fields 2 armoured infantry divisions, with 7 well-armed combat brigades. Britain can manage one weak division with just 2 combat brigades and the lightly-equipped Air Aslt bdes Spot the difference. We have, at least on paper, two light infantry brigades with Jackal and Foxhound , but they would have next to no military efficacy on the battlefield . Our army is actually now the weakest of the main Western European NATO nations, behind Italy, Spain, France and Germany in the number of combat brigades it can field. They are all professional forces now and none as poorly-equipped as the… Read more »

Victor
Victor
2 months ago

One other alternative would be to keep all of the 250 Challengers in service while purchasing a few couple hundred Leopard 2s from Germany, since it seems that Germany doesn’t appear to be very interested in having a military anymore.

Paul Williams
Paul Williams
2 months ago

Surprised they are staying with the 120mm although at long last a smoothbore ,since there is an awful lot of talk of moving to 130mm

EME 4RTR (retd)
EME 4RTR (retd)
2 months ago

Hi Stu, glad to see you haven’t lost your talent for stirring the pot! Some very interesting comments here; all more informed and up to date than anything I could contribute. However, you may be interested to hear about my last job for 4RTR before retiring to Aus. I was OC 12 Armd Wksp and was ordered to strip every useful part out of the Regiment’s Chieftains so that they could be sent to Iraq. Trust me when I say that there wasn’t much left on the tank park when we had finished and it would have taken a very… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
1 month ago

This continual worship of Leo2 by RAC officers baffles me. Sure, other nations have bought them, but is that a reason for us to buy them, when we have already developed a very good LEP for CR2, and have already invested in the support arrangements and training for CR2. Besides I have seen a lot of photos of very dead Leo 2s (admittedly older A4s), which gives little faith in their protection levels. A key problem is that tank ammunition is stored close to the lightly armoured side. Mere terrorists (ISIS) destroyed ten of the Turkish Army’s Leopard 2s in… Read more »

Pete
Pete
1 month ago

Does anyone really think any future war is going to involve large scale tank battles?

Cripes
Cripes
26 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Yes. Russia is not going to push into the Baltic republics or elsewhere with Toyota trucks mate.

There is a reason China, Russia and the other hostile autocracies have very large tank fleets, it is to swamp and overwhelm flimsy opponents like us.

Precision fires and ATGW will not stop an armoured thrust of 300-400 tanks, particularly when they are prepared to accept high losses and have ample, expendae MBTs in reserve.

Pete
Pete
26 days ago
Reply to  Cripes

Ok, mate.