In a recent evidence gathering session of the Defence Committee, a discussion unfolded regarding whether or not the UK has the capacity to upgrade enough Challenger 2 tanks to Challenger 3.

This conversation took place on November 15, 2023.

The Committee Chair highlighted the significant budget cuts and their effect on the Army’s capabilities, remarking, “Let’s talk about the Army for a second. We have concentrated on the Air Force thus far, but the Army has had a £30 billion loss in budget since 2015. This is reflected in capability, is it not? We see 32 AS-90s that have been gifted to Ukraine being replaced by 14 Archers; the loss of Warrior; and only 148 Challenger 3s expected, at a time when mass is all-important.”

This reduction in budget was noted as having a direct impact on the Army’s operational capacity, with a notable example being the replacement of 32 AS-90s with 14 Archers and the loss of the Warrior programme.

Despite these challenges, Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, stated,

“We have never spent more on our defence in recent years… The Army is in line for some very, very significant upgrades.”

However, doubts about the feasibility of upgrading the Challenger 2 tanks were expressed by Kevan Jones MP, who said:

“You know that you have very few Challengers that you can actually use… That will create a problem for the company doing it, because you are going to hold up the programme in terms of being able to supply the actual body frames to be upgraded. At the end of the day, things like Ajax might be a good piece of kit, but it is not a pretty story. You are just about to head into the next one with Challenger 3. We were told that the prototypes would be ready by Christmas, but I can tell you now that they will not be ready by Christmas. I know that for sure from talking to people.

Challenger 3 can be done, but the worrying thing and the problem you have with it is that, as Mark just said, you are putting new technology on to an old vehicle. Is it capable of that? Yes, I think it is. But you know that you have very few Challengers that you can actually use—where you could put the keys in tomorrow and drive out the door. That will create a problem for the company doing it, because you are going to hold up the programme in terms of being able to supply the actual body frames to be upgraded. Two prototypes were supposed to be in by Christmas—that ain’t gonna be met. You always have this optimism that these things are going to work out. With that, it is not that you can’t do it, but it has delay written all over it, because some decisions that you took on Challenger in the past—in terms of mothballing a lot of them—are going to create problems.”

Drawing parallels with other defence projects, Mark Francois MP said:

“On the Challenger 3 upgrade, you are trying to put a new turret and a bigger gun on an armoured vehicle. That is exactly what you did on Ajax, and it was an unmitigated disaster.”

While there is evident commitment to enhancing the Army’s capabilities, reflected in increased defence spending and ambitious upgrade programmes, the practical challenges, notably in the Challenger 3 upgrade programme, are of concern to many.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_766720)
5 months ago

Challenger 3 should always of been a new build or a modest upgrade of sensors and obsolesce update and of been done 15 years ago.
The third option would have been taking a different foreign tank.
This would allow the current challenger 2 to remain in service without big disruption.
There are lots of little bits of interesting info in the article.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_766726)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Or maybe it is an unnecessarily negative take on the situation.

Are these solely mechanical prototypes of are they fully fitted with electronics?

That us the key.

If it is the latter it is zero surprise.

If it us the former and December turns into March then no big deal either.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766790)
5 months ago

Prototypes should be fully engineered and complete including any new electronics.

I had not heard before that the proprtotypes would be ready by Christmas. I agree that a few months delay does not matter as the overall programme is over a decade long from commencement of CR2 LEP work (far too long!)

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_766854)
5 months ago

and March into June and June into September and so on and so forth…and before you know it it December 2024 and we still waiting. I think its entirely reasonable to be very pessimistic in regards this upgrade project considering the farce Ajax bought to the the table. This has all the hallmarks of a disaster in the making and it hasnblt even gotten out of the starting blocks yet. My opinion is we shoud buy new …and not then go faffing about redesigning whatever we buy as we always do to show how ‘demanding’ we are -pathetic. It’s not… Read more »

Math
Math (@guest_767086)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

Nothing that has to be done is out of reach. The main issue is a One of core value. When you pay a lot of money for bankers or project managers and far less for engineers, you end up seing monsters when their is a tank upgrade only. Hard to believe that UK is in difficulty to integrate a foreign tank gun on an existing chassis.
I am really sad to see the same thing in my country. The current race for industry will surely help to reduce this issue.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_767239)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

General Dynamics not involved in the CH3 upgrade. So thats part of the problem eliminated

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_767333)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

Ajax is doing well currently. Which off-the-shelf system would you have recommended to buy in lieu of Ajax?

EdG
EdG (@guest_767441)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

Cv90 would be the obvious choice for many reasons, including capability, maturity, compatibility with NATO…

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_767581)
5 months ago
Reply to  EdG

CV90 is an IFV, but Ajax is not, it is a recce vehicle I would agree that CV90 would be a good replacement for Warrior. but Ajax family are all specialised recce or utility vehicles, which were supposed to replace the Army’s CVRT fleet.

Davy H
Davy H (@guest_767649)
5 months ago

To rub salt in the wound, there is also a recce version of the CV9030 with the Norwegian Army.

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_767881)
5 months ago
Reply to  Davy H

There is a recce version of the Alvis Saladin scout car as well. Just because a vehicle is a recce version doesn’t mean it has what we need. In the case of CV90, it wouldn’t change a thing as they would still need extensive modifications to do what Ajax does.

pete
pete (@guest_768288)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

Modifications to vibrate that much !

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_768293)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

And if it had been CV90 then the problem would be exploding kettles or something. Point is with a vehicle with as much new kit as this nobody can predict what teething problems might be faced while in development, no matter the chassis.

pete
pete (@guest_768694)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

Titan and Trojan had FABS final build standard upgrades, these were only minor compared to Ajax problems , isolation mounts are mitigation not a solution !

pete
pete (@guest_768287)
5 months ago
Reply to  EdG

CV 90 Supply chain established , shared cost of upgrades etc

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_767554)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

Thats sort of moot point isn’t it.
AJAX may indeed be ‘doing well now’ and I’m not suggesting we get rid and start again -well not yet anyway as its still not delivered .
However that doesn’t alter the glaringly obvious fact that it has been a major cause for concern and an ideal example of how NOT to run a procurement project.
If you believe others shouldnt have concerns about the issues encountered getting AJAX to this juncture and raise them against this project then …well…. thats your choice but don’t denegratee those that do.

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_767883)
5 months ago
Reply to  grizzler

Who says all this? You may claim it is “glaringly obvious” but that’s just you. Are you able to back that statement up with anything other than histrionics?

pete
pete (@guest_768696)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

117 db noise measured, concerns over drive sprocket interface vibration ETC!

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_768902)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

Which has been fixed, and is nothing compared to the problems previous kit have had. Which vehicle would you care to nominate that you can guarantee would have assuredly been free of any problems whatsoever?

pete
pete (@guest_768994)
5 months ago
Reply to  Matt C

Isolation mounts for seats and driving controls are not a fix ,nor is noise cancelling headsets. GD have effectively done the same as turning the radio up on a car to hide the noise of a vibrating exhaust heat shield. They have mitigated a vibration that is still there . A fix would be rubber tracks which can reduce vibration by up to 70 % or as they have done on the M10 Booker fit Hydro- pneumatic suspension as they have realised a torsion bar system that was designed for 20 -25 tons does not work when overloaded . You… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766787)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

CR2 should have undergone significant incremental upgrades throughout its life as we always used to do with AFVs – Chieftain is a fine example of doing this, CR1 much less so. They could have been done during a Base Overhaul (roughly every 7 or so years) or simply as required. I would have expected there to have been 2 – 3 upgrades done by now. I always consider an AFV to have a nominal 25-year life so we should have been about to field a brand-new vehicle about now. The article is interesting but includes erroneous statements by MPs –… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_766841)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Bigger gun : NO just effectively a different barrel that’s well proven.

mark one
mark one (@guest_766856)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

As was the C2’s…. longest kill in history.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_766944)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Unfortunately Graham, the Sandbox wars slammed the door shut on armoured spending, Challenger 2 is still effectively frozen in time, broadly the same as it was first delivered at the turn of century.

They fell to the very bottom of the Army’s funding priorities.

Steve
Steve (@guest_766960)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

CR2 is still as good as the latest Abrams or Leopard – it won a 2023 competition. Despite having old technology

Dern
Dern (@guest_766969)
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The crew won the comp, not the tank. Those kinds of competitions generally are about the crew’s performance and not the vehicle they’re in.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767035)
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve

I think it’s a very very big stretch to say that challenge 2 is as good leopard 2A7/8 or Abraham’s M12A sepv3..these are very modern tanks with sensor synergy, active protection systems, modern fire control systems, as well as being up armoured to manage modern threats..CR2 is essentially the same tank it was 20 years ago, yes there are some up armour kits but the core vehicle is 20 years old also CHARM3 are just not Lethal as the rounds of other modern western MBTs ( although you could argue that increased lethality is a bit of a self licking… Read more »

Tim
Tim (@guest_767206)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

What is there about 50 l2 a7 and zero a8 in service

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767262)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

So what ? Not sure what your point is….It was not a question of numbers, but a question of if a 20 year old tank was better that the current crop. The poster was saying that the Challenger 2 is as good as the “latest” versions of the Abrams and leopard 2..that is clearly and materially not the case….if the poster had said challenger 3 will be as good or better than these latest iterations of other NATO tanks that would have been different.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767268)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Very true. The AVST project at Abbey Wood was scrapped. HARRV was scrapped. Small-scale upgrades for CR2 were rolled over into CR2 LEP (later CR3) rather than being implemented as they were developed.
All very shocking.

Dern
Dern (@guest_766968)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You don’t even need to look back at our history, just compare how many upgrades Leopard and M1 have gotten in the meantime, even Ariete has gotten more upgrades.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767036)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well the army has managed to go through planning for two complete upgrades..it just never got them beyond lovely power points ( OK there was an experimental test bed vehicle).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767343)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The CLIP upgrade (conversion to smoothbore) should have happened after succesful trials in Jan 2006. Other upgrades could have been done 10 years ago.
Most speculate that the money wasn’t there to do them.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767386)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I suppose the army gambled it was not going to be in a peer land conflict any time soon, which will have paid off if the army get challenger 3 operational before anything major happens…so their gamble will probably pay off, and I suppose in reality the only tanks challenger 2 was going to be inferior to was the very latest iterations of other NATO tanks and the second Iraq war did showcase how poorly designed to survive soviet and Russian tanks really were…you can sort of see why they took the gamble…but it’s pretty clear now that they need… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Jonathan
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767498)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

I don’t think the army has been as calculating as you suggest in timing the CR3 build. It will be ‘luck of the draw’ if tanks are required before FOC of CR3 in 2030. If something kicked off before then and requiring armour, we would probably have to deploy a mixed fleet.
We had a mixed Chieftain/CR1 fleet for well over a decade from c1983 to mid/late 90s.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767539)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agreed, from the public statement of work. Much like the cancelled Warrior program, the chassis is being taken back to the frame, everything is removed and stripped back to metal, overhauled and then either refitted or replaced with new kit.

In reality, the mothballed tanks should be the ones going for the upgrade. Leaving the current operational tanks in service, so we have something to use. If its not, someone needs a reality check!

Last edited 5 months ago by DaveyB
John Jones
John Jones (@guest_767852)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Was this contract handed to the wrong company? The only good thing is production in Wales i.e.UK. We need these tanks now We are in the same [position we were in in 1937 Extremely vulnerable!

Stephen Poole
Stephen Poole (@guest_767931)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Jones

Cr3 is Telford, Ajax is Wales at Merthyr.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_766722)
5 months ago

Meanwhile over in Poland and already fielded on their boarder with Belerus. “Poland will produce over 800 South Korean K2 tanks as part of an order for the Polish army, the country’s defense minister announced Thursday.   “Of the 1,000 tanks (for the Polish army) for which we signed an agreement with Seoul, 180 will be directly purchased from the producer country, South Korea, and the rest, 820, will be produced in Poland, Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said during his visit to a military factory in Poznan where the tanks will be manufactured. “Here, at the Military Automobile Plant in… Read more »

Michael
Michael (@guest_767127)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Please do not take Blaszczak’s public statements at face value as some are quite bombastic. Here in Poland we know we need modern weapons both in quality and quantity. For the army that means both MBTs, tracked APCs and tracked self propelled howitzers. Given the unwillingness of western European and American manufacturers to make heavy weapons in Poland, Poland went the South Korean route. Existing Leo2s will be retained until the upgraded Polish K2PL black panther becomes available, then retired or sold. 350 Abrams have been purchased though that amount is likely to be reduced. The 180 K2 are a… Read more »

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_767727)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michael

Hello Michael and thank you for your post.
 
I think Poland has been very wise in investing heavily in its military given its close proximity to Russia and Belarus.
 
The UK sadly has failed to do this in a meaningful way over the past thirty years and needs to rethink its gold-plated approach to purchasing military equipment and increase the overall numbers.
 
South Korea has a lot to offer, I think you have made a very wise decision in partnering with them!
 

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767540)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

It does make you wonder why they have also ordered the M1s? Does that mean the Poles think the K2 is not as good as the M1?

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins (@guest_767633)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Hello DaveyB,   “Does that mean the Poles think the K2 is not as good as the M1?”   No, simply numbers and as quickly as possible. Remember, they are building the majority of the K2 MBT’s themselves.   We would have done well to follow their lead on the K2 and Redback. K9A2 is still an option we are pursuing, just think what we could achieve as a partner going forward.   With Germany looking to cancel Typhoon and the possibility of the line closing early, the KAI KF-21 Boramae might be a suitable replacement for it and further upgrades… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Nigel Collins
Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767671)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

The Poles going for a K2/M1 mix is more down to geography than anything else – M1 will be based in the Eastern Border and cover the approaches to Warsaw ,while the K2 will equip Units in the North East where its smaller size and weight better suits Rivers,Lakes and Forrests etc.They consider the M1 superior in Protection,while the K2PL will close the gap somewhat.

Marked
Marked (@guest_766723)
5 months ago

Of course it will turn into a disaster. Its inevitable. There was a simpler option but the MOD refuse point blank to ever consider simpler options, then act surprised when the inevitable disaster unfolds.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766792)
5 months ago
Reply to  Marked

The CR3 programme has run smoothly so far. If it is true that the prototypes are a few months late, then that is not quite a disaster.

Marked
Marked (@guest_766829)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Say that in 18 months when they are still a couple of months late. I’ve heard it all before over and over and over again.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767062)
5 months ago
Reply to  Marked

It is possible to be too cynical! Still, I’ll put a date in my diary!

Dern
Dern (@guest_766971)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Depends on the reason. Prototypes being delayed is whatever, if the issue is we’ve let the hulls deteriorate to the point they can’t be used for conversions (note I’m not saying this is what happened, it’s just online rumours at the moment) then that’s much more serious.
Personally I’m remaining optimistic, cautiously.

pete
pete (@guest_766997)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Not blaming Babcock then ?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767009)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I once saw photos of CH2 and other vehicles rusting at Ashcurch in leaky sheds.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767016)
5 months ago

This is basically what I’m on about. If the hull is not in a fit state for conversion without some major refurbishment first because it’s been rained on for 15 years, then it doesn’t matter if there are 40, 400, or 4,000 out there. Thanks for putting it better than I can.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767020)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Scandalous really. That site at one time reportedly held 7,000 plus armoured vehicles, B vehicles, boats and plant costing billions.
Some in CHE, much in shit state. Just to save a few million on a proper roof.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767023)
5 months ago

It’s why I’m skeptical about reserve and mothball forces. Especially whenever the subject of a mothball fleet comes up. Easy to say you’ll maintain them in good order, much harder to do so over 30 years consistently and then be able to bring them back into service.

Anyway, as I said, I’m cautiously optimistic, 148 isn’t an impossible number, and I’m sure we can slowly rotate the ones we have through.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767028)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I personally think this one has been blown out of proportion a bit mate. We had 220 I think recently, hopefully enough in good condition.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767032)
5 months ago

Agreed. It feels like someone walked around Ashchurch and had a significant flap all of a sudden, forgetting those are the bad hulls we wouldn’t be using anyway.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767390)
5 months ago

I suppose the fact they only recently chopped one of the regiments means they should have 50 odd hulls that have not been bagging around neglected for to long.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767440)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Ironically, I believe the third regiment, the KRH, is still with CH2. The delays with Ajax meant it has still not converted from Armoured to Armoured Cavalry, as it was meant to, yesrd ago. Getting rid of it quickly was one of General Carters priorities.

One of many reasons why myself and others aren’t impressed whenever that bloke surfaces on TV.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767470)
5 months ago

That is very interesting, it actually could mean there is a problem with hull numbers going to conversion, three regiments is 168 tanks, add in say 10% maintenance pool of 16-17, training establishment numbers and all you have left is the small attritional reserve that you could convert…it’s an interesting quandary and balancing act….without the third regimen I could see it being easy, with the third regimen in place it’s more iffy. It also means that they are going to have to run the regiments as mixed CH2 CH3 regiments for a while, which will create interesting logistics for a… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767483)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

While keeping Cabrit BG in place.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767544)
5 months ago

Agree, his aspirations did not match the financial reality. But he pressed ahead anyway!

Math
Math (@guest_767087)
5 months ago

If I may: Russia has rhe same issue with old kits being rusty. But one rusty piece is nothing if you make steel and transform it.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767103)
5 months ago

Britsky on X has some pics of the building works going on at Ashchurch and a pool of Vehicles outside.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767113)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Ta, will have a look.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767389)
5 months ago

Now that’s what you call incredible levels of incompetence. If that is the case.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767457)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan

The usual neglect of the back end of the military and MoD, that back end that I keep emphasizing and banging on about as being as vital as the wiz bang front end most look at.

Be it dry docks for SSN not upgraded in decades or proper storage conditions of paid for assets like at Ashchurch.

I don’t recall where I saw the thread on Ashchuch now and the photos, might have been ARRSE.

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_767471)
5 months ago

Yes it’s just like the housing and barracks issues, poor investment hits you in the end.

pete
pete (@guest_767629)
5 months ago

The Asbestos roofs were shedding onto workers toolboxes, took complaints to get roof fixed. As you only need to breath in one fiber into the lungs to be at risk who did the survey ?

pete
pete (@guest_766996)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Apart from mk3 suspension units ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767341)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

I read that only a few tanks have had that as part of HAAIP which is now wrapped up into the CR3 conversion programme. Wiki: “As of January 2022 six Challenger 2s were reported to have received the automotive upgrades prior to conversion to Challenger 3”

CLIP (conversion to 120mm smoothbore) could have been done soon after the trials in Jan 2006, which were apparently successful.

Other upgrades to armour, electronics and automotives, which we will now see on CR3, could perhaps have been done 10 years ago.

pete
pete (@guest_767371)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

would you fit units with the cylinder having excess pitch thread clearance ( wobbling on body )and gas up to meet KPI delivery target ! Asking a lot to hold 117 – 120 bar on rebound pressure ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767858)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

Pete, you talking about Gen3 hydrogas units? You have some tech details that I haven’t got. On the face of it, sounds like this needs a fix quite urgently.

pete
pete (@guest_767942)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The 3rd generation have lower friction and some internal modifications , high or low pressure set before gassing. Management said ” fit them, don’t worry the anti rotation bolt will stop them coming unscrewed ” . Someone must have informed RBSL as team had to be sent to change for CR2 ones. Failure could drop track tension throwing track causing crash . Not quite the “home safe every day” motto. No disciplinary action take so far ?

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767543)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

According to previous news of the Chally upgrade program, they were supposed to be two to three months ahead of schedule! So what is the hold up now?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767695)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

No idea. There is nothing on Open Source.
The army website states that it is expected that the first prototype would be completed by the end of the year – that is just an expectation.
We get very sparse info on the progress of this project.

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_766995)
5 months ago
Reply to  Marked

I hardly think that Rhienmettal are going to let this be a disaster🙄

Math
Math (@guest_767104)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Rheinmetal… What is the tank they are trying to sell everywhere?
What is really their interest? Upgrade a challenger or finding a Customer to lunch it’s new tank. This being in UK best interest? Perhaps…

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_767116)
5 months ago
Reply to  Math

Well obviously not trying to sell to us are they? They have Done all the R&D etc on CR 3! So I’ll say again it really won’t do their reputation much cop if it doesn’t succeed will it? Anyway read further down and Graham spells it out rather well on how far into the program we are.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_766727)
5 months ago

+The army is, and always has been, the poor relation. Fact is, in the current political environment, Navy and RAF still most ‘important’ but army possibly becoming the most ‘needy’. Yes, the current tank and artillery situation is not acceptable – the army needs a major investment. Trouble is, so does everywhere else. Personally I don’t know of an affordable answer in terms of current expenditure. The army needs massive investment if it is to become capable of taking part in a major European war… it isn’t at the moment purely on a numbers basis. But we need more ships… Read more »

Asker of questions
Asker of questions (@guest_766777)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I would always put ships, aircraft and air defence first and if the army is going to demand investment it should become a more expeditionary force, easily transportable by air and sea.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_766847)
5 months ago

‘Expeditionary force easily transportable by air and sea’ – For the trip across the North Sea using commandeered ferries virtually any force would qualify. Main thing is – how useful when you get there? You need fully equipped and supplied troops in sufficient numbers to make a difference. We don’t have it.

Dern
Dern (@guest_766972)
5 months ago

Just going to point out that the Challenger 1 and 2’s where pretty expeditionary during Gulf War 1 and 2. No point in the army being “expeditionary” if it can’t fight when it arrives, and just a reminder: You can’t win a war with just aircraft and ships, you ultimately need to put blokes with rifles and tanks on the ground.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767332)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

True. Every war that is not fought in the UK homeland is expeditionary!
Our army in France in WW1 and WW2 was the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), even though France is not very far away.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766796)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

In the light of the most significant and bloody land war in Europe since 1945 and one which involves the nation deemed to be our biggest threat, I wonder why the Navy and RAF are most ‘important’!

The army is in need of greatest investment, for sure. It is not capable either of deploying a modernised warfighting division of three brigades – or conducting an enduring (Brigade group) operation with regular manpower alone.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766805)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Because there isn’t a catch chance in hell of the Russians fighting their way through Poland and Germany or the other 27 states if they can’t even break the Ukraine. If Britain has any real desire to become Global Britain, instead of just talking about it, it needs the R.N. and R.A.F. and in that order.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766806)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Sorry Cat’s chance in hell…

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_766851)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Agreed.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766900)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

👍

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766853)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Poland and Germany are not in Russia’s sights – they don’t even want all of Ukraine.

Victor
Victor (@guest_766872)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Yes they do

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767286)
5 months ago
Reply to  Victor
Victor
Victor (@guest_767748)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

If we follow you logic, shall France invade Belgium because part of it they speak French or USA invade Canada because they speak English …

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767765)
5 months ago
Reply to  Victor

Western Logic is a million miles away from that of Mr Putin.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767766)
5 months ago
Reply to  Victor

Also Belgium is an interesting comparison – there have been opinions expressed about splitting it into two to align with the different Language’s for years.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766901)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I think you have missed my point Paul.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766934)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Apologies – i thought your point was Russia was incapable of fighting its way through Poland and Germany if they can’t manage to get through Ukraine,my point was even if they could they won’t because they don’t want too .

Last edited 5 months ago by Paul T
Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_767242)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

I’m not sure they ( Putin ) doesn’t want to but as you say they couldn’t anyway.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767548)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

There may be a possibility! If Trump wins the next US election and stops arms supplies to Ukraine. Europe will do its best, but there isn’t the manufacturing capacity to replace the US. This will mean Ukraine will only the materiel for a defensive capability. Which won’t be great for Ukraine, as Russia can easily replace its lost manpower from being on the offensive.

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan (@guest_766925)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Poland doesn’t think that.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766936)
5 months ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Poland’s geography and History dictates it has to prepare for the worse whatever the circumstances.

Dern
Dern (@guest_766975)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T
Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767747)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Medvedev plays the role of a useful idiot in the Russian Govt, he says a lot of things that are quite confrontational, I wouldn’t take much notice of him, I’d rather listen to Igor Strelkov to get a better grasp of what is happening.

Michael
Michael (@guest_767111)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Nonsense! Putin wants all of Ukraine, the 3 Baltics and Poland plus others, to restore Russia to what tge USSR controlled and occupied till 1989.that is his publicly declared strategic aim. Which is why we in Poland are hell bent on rearming and making massive military hardware contracts.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_767749)
5 months ago
Reply to  Michael

Russia is only interested in areas where there is a substantial Russian population, the Baltics I would agree with, he has no intention of trying to assimilate the whole of Ukraine, only the areas that he considers traditionally Russian. Poland to my knowledge has no significant population of Russian’s living there.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_768261)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

Who do you report to?

RH
RH (@guest_766866)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

RN should always no1 in spending for defence we import most of our food by sea

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766902)
5 months ago
Reply to  RH

👍🚢

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_767508)
5 months ago
Reply to  RH

True but one should not neglect the Army and RAF ,but to be fair all have suffer over the year’s 🙄

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766883)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I really do disagree.

We need a Cdo Div
RN
RFA
RAF

Happy to help, gratis.

Oh and an integrated Milpol/Int Div supporting a PARA Brigade.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_766905)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Wouldn’t argue with the Cdo but Division ? Explain Milpol/Int please.🙄

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766908)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff. Too often we have employed Inf in a role they were not suited for. Europe has the heavy armour that Europe needs. Should we go world wide peacekeeping, then PARA as a force entry unit, MilPol – military Police as the thinking man’s soldier who can exercise a gendarmerie role backed by intelligence. Commando, we are an island and need littoral forces to deploy around the world from navy platforms; commandos are also thinking soldiers and able to apply force to littoral ports etc; their ability to operate in Baltic climes should also be highly prized as an… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767063)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

You suggest that we don’t need heavy armour. We have used tanks in kinetic action far more times than ships and submarines.

BobA
BobA (@guest_767114)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

So, do you not think that soldiers outside of MP and commando forces are thinking soldiers? Just one look at eg The Rifles, and you’ll see that they are literally described as ‘thinking, fighting-men’ There’s so much propaganda out there pushed by the RM about how different they are. But actually (having been on ops with them) they aren’t. And that’s not a slight on the RM – it’s actually an indication of just how GOOD the British Army is. I’ll directly quote a RM Colonel I was talking to about the Rifles a few years ago “we think your… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_767240)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

I’m with you on both ideas David. Your thoughts are entirely in keeping with mine. The way forward for the army is surely providing the best crack, over the horizon troops that we can develop with the best equipment. I did advocate some while ago and would still do so a doubling of Air Assault brigades, using the same format as now, but with improved logistical and CCC capabilities. Commando’s, the Para’s, Gurkha’s, probably add the Rifles and of course other specialised units. Back this up with providing the likes of Deep Fire support for allies like the Baltic States… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767550)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

The problem with that strategy, is that a) you need to guarantee that you have air superiority and b) you have denied the enemy the ability to provide air defence. First lesson from the 1st month of the Ukraine war, is that air assault troops in helicopters or transport aircraft, are very vulnerable to ground based air defences. Especially if they have not been cleared and fully suppressed. Doubly so, if that enemy can also provide any sort of fighter force. All it takes is a couple of dudes with some MANPADs to totally screw up your airlift plan. Therefore,… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_767986)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I think it’s really a matter of what we can achieve with budget we have. We are no longer capable of providing for a Falklands type conflict, let alone, and I hope not, an Iraq war situation. The regular army has sufficient force to achieve two things. A major contribution to the JEF and a world class intervention force. Beyond this we can provide first class peace keeping; mentoring and training, medical and communications.

Andrew Bruguier
Andrew Bruguier (@guest_766919)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

100% right

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_767241)
5 months ago

👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767059)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Geoff, I wasn’t suggesting that the Russians plan to invade the UK anytime soon and achieve what Napoleon and Hitler could not achieve. Many have stated that Russia is our greatest threat: https://www.ft.com/content/57216d44-924c-409f-912b-fa87d52e0021 https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2023-09-07/russia-rates-highest-as-threat-to-the-world-half-see-u-s-as-global-danger Gen Sir Richard Shirreff wrote a book contemplating the Russian invasion one day of a Baltic state, notwithstanding that they are all NATO members. Russia has assasinated and attempted to assasinate persons in Britain, has conducted cyber attacks in the West including the UK, and invaded a number of neighbours and near-neighbours. We currently have at least a thousand troops in a deterrent posture on Op… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_767976)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham. I do believe in the UK having a seriously good army, although I do understand why I am misinterpreted at times. My ongoing difficulty is how we are going to pay for all that we want to achieve. I argued back in 2020 that we could only realistically provide forces for four MAJOR conventional scenario’s. The R.N. would provide for a global presence with fully equipped carrier battle groups; the R.A.F protection of the U.K. and JEF airspace; an armoured brigade to be permanently based in the Baltic and a highly mobile intervention force. We actually have the… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768132)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff, many thanks. Having been a BAOR warrior, I was fairly content with Options for Change in 1991, that looked carefully at the size and shape of our post-Cold War armed forces. Given the reduction of the threat it was decided that we needed the army to come down from 160,000 to a mere 120,000 – and to have just 386 tanks, to name just two metrics. That was deemed appropriate and affordable and a handsome peace dividend was taken. But the bean-counters had other ideas and the army then shrinks several times over without the threat being reduced… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_768634)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Back again. We always forget the lessons of the past and then build for the last war. I know that sounds contradictory but how do they decide to cut back and then not buy the best kit for what we do have to face. However we are where we are. My scenario’s for our main role is modest because I can’t seeing us ever having the money for improvement. So I settle for a serious heavy brigade for the Baltic with absolutely everything it needs; the finest special forces and airborne/seaborne with the finest equipment money can buy. Again with… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768682)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Hi Geoff, We commit to NATO which is our lynchpin and so we need to be able to contribute with strong naval, ground and air forces (as well as relevant SF, cyber and space capabilities) to the Euro-Atlantic area. On the army side, one heavy brigade is a very small contribution if we are to properly defend the continent alongside allies – the Dutch fields one heavy brigade from an army of 16,000 regs – we can surely do better than that small nation. As far as combat aircraft is concerned, the RAF has to defend UK (and Falklands) airspace… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_768800)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I agree with everything you have said BUT how is it going to happen? The RN can be brought up to a sufficient capability if it gets enough aircraft and I don’t now mean just F35’s. The RAF with the improvements I’ve already mentioned plus EW aircraft ( F35A/ Typhoons like Germany) could do the same. The army sadly is still in a state. To get a decent armoured division we would have to treble the budget. Potentially we will have 148 tanks, Ajax ( we hope ); no armoured tracked IFV’s and X number of undefined Boxer variants with… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768981)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I suggested cutting out waste and doing spend to save measures to generate more spendable £s in the future.

The sad thing is that not long ago we had two quite effective deployable divisions, one in Germany and one in the UK – just that the kit needed upgrades and these kept getting overlooked. Continuous decline over a very long time is very hard to overturn.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_768991)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I know. As recently as 2015 we were told there would be seven brigades and sensible ones at that. Now we have three, two of which are smaller versions of the earlier armoured brigades, and the other is Deep fires with Ajax??? It seems to me that having cocked everything up for ten years or more they (?) are now trying to find a home for orders we needn’t have placed.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_769088)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I feel sure that an unsuitable home has been found for the 623 Boxers ordered so far, namely to put them in the two armoured brigades to replace proper IFVs (Warrior which was to have been replaced by upgraded Warrior with a 40mm cannon). A politico/bean-counter idea, I am sure.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_769485)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sounds right. As I said….find a use rather then order to fill a need. 🙄

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_766850)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Most important for 2 reasons. Firstly, other mainland European powers have the land war covered, secondly the UK needs to be at it’s strongest covering the Northern Approaches – OK, we’re not talking WW2 but the area is still the most important for UK security – protecting the sea lanes.

Math
Math (@guest_767106)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

I agree. UK has a role may be even larger. In times that are coming: Atlantic Ocean from north to South will be void of US ship. Who will have the priviledge to secure the area?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767853)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

We contribute to any future European land war – always have done and always will do in the future. We will not leave our European NATO allies unsupported.

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_767866)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Of course, in a support role. We are never going to have the mass of troops other countries can supply. Our army would be swamped by the combined land forces of Germany, Poland, France, Finland, Noway,etc… Our current ‘role’ supporting Norway and Scandinavia is where we could make a difference; another BAOR would be a non starter. In the air and at sea we can make a difference, hence those are the most important areas when finances are tight.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768030)
5 months ago
Reply to  Rob Young

Rob, funny to consider we would just be in a support role in WW3! Some of those armies are not as huge as you might think they are – the German Army is smaller than ours at 62,800, Norwegian Army is 8,125 (3,725 regs and 4,400 conscripts), the Finnish Army is 22,010 (3,610 regs and 18,400 conscripts). Granted, the Polish and German armies are larger than ours. If WW3 happened it would be all hands to the pumps, especially if a future President Trump decided the US should not join the party. No-one is ever contemplating a return to BAOR… Read more »

Rob Young
Rob Young (@guest_768039)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Support on land only. With NATO European forces we would have France of course, plus Spain, hopefully Turkey, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium… some with small armies, but it all adds up. That ‘flank protection’ role will be changing a lot considering the recent NATO additions! Remember, UK ground forces are liable to find themselves in use in more theatres than, say, German or Polish ground forces. Our efforts will be greatly diluted – not only Northern Flank, but probably troops needed to ‘garrison’ the likes of Cyprus, perhaps Greenland, home defence, perhaps even some of the Gulf States. I can see… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766729)
5 months ago

While I agree with the CR3 Programme and it’s aims, I always had a wry smile to the posts on here applauding the Capability of a Tank that hadn’t even been built, while the often used picture above looks impressive it wasn’t actually a CR3.

Coll
Coll (@guest_766735)
5 months ago

Just think that the government gave Disney £55 million in tax credits to film their latest flop, yet they keep reducing the budget for other key areas. Just a thought.

Last edited 5 months ago by Coll
monkey spanker
monkey spanker (@guest_766748)
5 months ago
Reply to  Coll

What is this?

Coll
Coll (@guest_766761)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

I know it was off subject, but I thought about the government giving companies tax breaks, which could have been used for other areas. Because I was looking at the refurbishment cost of the challenger, which is £5 million each, and how many vehicles that tax break would have covered. I understand that the tax break is to encourage filmmaking in the UK, but it makes you think about how much it could buy in other areas. Sorry, it was just a ramble.

Last edited 5 months ago by Coll
Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_766836)
5 months ago
Reply to  Coll

HMG policy is in reality to make the richest far richer while cutting everything that made life secure & reasonable for everyone else. Our forces have suffered accordingly but there’s always fine sounding sound bites & crocodile tears on hand to fool Joe public.

Coll
Coll (@guest_766861)
5 months ago
Reply to  monkey spanker

Also, the film that flopped and got the £55 million tax was ‘The Marvels.’

Tim
Tim (@guest_767214)
5 months ago
Reply to  Coll

Tax breaks don’t mean if we hadn’t given them we would get 55 million it just means if we didn’t give them they would film in another country

Geo
Geo (@guest_766736)
5 months ago

Why do we faff about and waste huge amounts of dough on every project?

No doubt this will cost double or more of buying brand new and we will end up with fewer than planned at X times the cost

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_766756)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

There are so many options for purchasing a new off the shelf MBT that would deliver armoured mass, all tanks fitted with APS and improvements in lethality- the German Panther 51 MBT, Leopard 2A8, South Korean K2 Black Panther- likely with a UK order coming with UK manufacturing facility for the tank. Hell we could even go in for the latest Abrams tank, albeit with higher maintenance and servicing requirements and admittedly crap fuel economy. I think the army is sleep walking into another Ajax fiasco, likely because the treasury would not permit a purchase of new MBTs from a… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_766801)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I support British options as and where feasible but sadly the Govt has ensured the end of British design and construction of MBTs a good while ago, the C3 is just putting off that reality into a delayed consciousness of the event. Ironically ensuring British production of a foreign design while making that fact obvious sooner with all the feared Daily Mail enlightenment articles, in reality like the transformation of HandW have offered a chance to re establish indigenous design and development capability in the future which is why other Countries are actually insisting on local production, content and technology… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767040)
5 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

I would trust BAE or its JV with Rheinmetall, RBSL – to design and build a future MBT. Pity that the fantastic tank factories in Leeds and Newcastle could no longer be used.

Paul
Paul (@guest_768840)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The factory in Leeds no longer exists and Newcastle isn’t BAE anymore.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768982)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Yep, I know. Perhaps I did not express things as clearly as you. I did a 3-month industrial attachment at the old (previous) Newcastle factory (1980).

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766814)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

There is absolutely no similarity with the Ajax project. So far the CR3 programme has hit its milestones with the possible exception of prototype delivery – if that is just a few months behind schedule it will hardly be a fiasco in a programme that is over 10 years long. Abrams is not at all suited to the British Army for the reasons you state – it is highly maintenance intensive and its fuel consumption is very high and would require investment in extra fuel tankers with extra drivers and maintainers. It would be unaffordable, we would have ITAR problems,… Read more »

rst 2001
rst 2001 (@guest_766911)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

As far as I’m aware from the odd article , UK Pearson engineering are getting stuck into turret building ? And a protrotype with APS has already been fitted . And its essentially a leopard 2 turret I think so should be fairly straight forward I hope 🙂

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766938)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001

You are correct,Pearson’s have completed the first Turret but as i understand it ,it is only the Core, which is derived from the Leo2 Turret,it still has to be embelished with the New Armour Package and Equipment etc.

Last edited 5 months ago by Paul T
Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766961)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767179)
5 months ago
Reply to  rst 2001

Yes. Pearsons have made the citadel of the turret – its core structure.
The army website said it expected the first CR3 (whole vehicle) prototype by end of year (calendar or financial year?). Random politician says it will be late – hopefully not by much.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_766966)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Ahem…Gentlemen, understand that it is almost a mandatory, de rigueuer act for Brits to denigrate the performance/value of Abrams, but submit for consideration the concept that the British Army would be well pleased to accept Lend-lease M1A2 SEP v3, in the potential future circumstance that 148 Challenger CR3 are rendered combat ineffective. Believe additional fuel lorries, drivers, mechanics, supply chains and ancillary costs would recede into background at that point. Remember, the Germans undoubtedly built better tanks during WW II, but they did not produce them in sufficient quantities to affect the outcome. 🤔. Provide Uncle Sugar w/ sufficient lead… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_766979)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

We really should not accept any Lend-Lease from the Americans, it was a necessity in WW2, but screwed us over heavily. Remember destroyers for bases? No thanks.

Germany did not build better tanks during WW2, they where better armoured and had bigger guns, but where much more mechanically unreliable, harder to fix, difficult to transport, and user unfriendly.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767297)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

‘Lend-Lease’ is obviously triggering terminology for some British citizens. Any modernized version would be subject to revised terms and conditions, as well as a different naming convention. Historical reference only.

German WWIi tanks, w/ heavier armor and larger caliber guns, were generally considered to be more formidable than American Sherman tanks. However, the Germans never truly embraced the concept of mass-production design and build, to their detriment. Variation of the theme that quantity has a quality of its own.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767322)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Being in the US’s economic debt is not a place anyone would want to be, no matter what they call it. Especially not when it comes to trading for equipment that has been left to rot for decades. German world war 2 tanks where generally considered more formidable….by the people who didn’t have to use them. The reputation of German armour came largely from Allied tankers who did not have to deal with the limitations of repairing, maintaining, and operating them. The grass is always greener on the other side. Simple example: American and British tanks had a roof mounted… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767367)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Presume if situation was sufficiently dire, MoD would analyze the issue and determine the best course of action for the British Army. Democratic states typically don’t compel one another to purchase weapon systems, they are simply proffered for sale/lease/donation. Receiving country makes an independent judgment re suitability. Uncertain re storage conditions for M1A1; have not read of any complaints to date from GDSL, re material state of tanks selected for refurbishment (beyond normal wear and tear). Shermans certainly had some innovative features, still not convinced crews would have been overly pleased to encounter Panther or Tiger tanks on a one… Read more »

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767551)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

To be fair, the USAAF and RAF were making sure they didn’t have the capacity for mass production.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767739)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

👍👍😁

Math
Math (@guest_767121)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Hum… Trump want’s to get rid off Nato if elected Next year, by reducng the meaning of article 5. Even if not, he presents relationship within Nato like a US protectorate. Politically, this will leas to a point of rupture, which might be what he is looking for. Regarding Tanks, Abraham X is a fine machine, lighter, drone equiped and so on. The fuel issue is like most US engine beyond salvation, but it could be handled in defensive operations. Though, pricetag is unaffordable, compared to home production. And industrial capabilities of US is no longer so significant. Steel making… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767193)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I love your posts, mate. I am not sure what would render our 148 CR3s combat ineffective unless we came up against an opponent a heck of a lot better than ‘Ivan’. Many in the UK have now a healthy scepticism about Lend-Lease, [introduced as An Act to Promote the Defense of the United States]. The US set a hard date against which materiel that survived the war could be returned which we could not meet, so were billed £1.075 billion (a lot of money back in the day). However the very nice US Treasury loaned us the money to pay… Read more »

Tim
Tim (@guest_767219)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I don’t think going to the e.u for tanks would be a good idea the Germans always link getting there permission to deploy them abroad in the deal we will always go to the USA we can trust them more than the Europeans

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767401)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tim

My hypothesis was based on 3 Div in hard combat alongside NATO allies, including German forces, having its Chally tank fleet severely reduced and having exhausted the attrition reserve.

I would hope that bureacrats in Berlin would not insist on extra paperwork if the opportunity existed to make use of some spare Leo2s.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767320)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

GM, As stated in comments above, ‘Lend-Lease’ triggers obviously negative connotations w/in the British public. Term used for illustrative purpose only. Presumably, any modern version would have appropriately revised terms and conditions. Bottom line is that the US has an existing inventory of literally thousands of M1A1 available for refit/remanufacture to latest standard. Uncertain whether Germans have a similarly sized pool of existing tanks available. If so, obviously price, quantities, delivery schedule, etc., would dictate decision. No offense intended or taken, simply that Abrams is competitive w/ other MBTs, depending upon user requirements. Regarding an inventory of 148 MBTs, here… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767469)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Many thanks. I don’t doubt for a second that some of our 148 CR3s will be used in combat during their lifetime, just as our CR1s and CR2s were. It is interesting to speculate who they wil be ranged against.

The Orcs will sadly get better but they seem to learn slowly and at great cost to themselves.

The Abrams is a fine tank and its evolution has been very impressive – I wish we had the money and determination to have upgraded our tanks over time – we used to do that so well.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767741)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

👍😊

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767742)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks for the compliment re Abrams from an acknowledged SME! 👍

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767887)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

😊

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_768151)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

If the Abrams Sep 3 was offered at a cost price, then I’m sure the UK would look at it. However, a point that needs to be made is that the Abrams in its current form even with the new gas turbine, requires two tankers compared to a Chally’s one. This is a huge logistical burden right from the off.

I do know that there were options to replace the gas turbine with a US made diesel engine, that was mooted for Sep 4. Though I’m sure it can be retrofitted to earlier Abrams versions.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_767092)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Afternoon Graham, do you know if there’s any c-UAV tech going into the CR3s? Even a 12.5mm RWS? I wonder why they seem to stick with just a gpmg on top of such a brute of a tank when it’s already got a coaxial gun the same? The latest Abram’s has got a whopping 30mm RWS on top!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767353)
5 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The work for CR3 (formerly CR2 LEP) kicked off in 2015/2016. Armed drones (UAVs) with ATGW weren’t in anyone’s mind then.

Drones are aircraft – we have not been in the habit of fitting specialised anti-aircraft weapons to our AFVs as this is a task for RA specialists.

However LLAD is done by any Arm ie all-arms. I do not see a RWS for secondary armament on any CR3 photos and have yet to see any text on the subject.

The CR2 Megatron at ATDU is fitted with a RWS carrying a MG:
https://fighting-vehicles.com/challenger-2-megatron/

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_767718)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks again for an informative reply Graham.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767591)
5 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Yes. This problem is a current MoD program. It comes under the land – ground based air defence (GBAD) counter-small unmanned aircraft system (C-sUAS). Along with the future armoured vehicle survivability (FAVS) program. There are three main parts to the program. The first item is providing the infantry with some counter measures to the small drone threat. This is two parts which includes a jammer along with a sensor to detect the drone. The second part is the SMASH smart weapon sight fitted to individual weapons and section weapons. The second part of the program is where they are using… Read more »

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_767719)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Thanks also for your reply too. There’s always more levels to go to!

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_768153)
5 months ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

Well the SMASH sight will be rolling out for trials soon. Plus I’m hoping with Blighter involved, the vehicle protection won’t be far behind. Blighter original made radar based sensors used for security. However they’ve also expanded into optical sensors. Their radar sensors are what I’m expecting to be used as the primary sensor for detecting the drone. The issue they will have is the field of view. To make sure the vehicle is protected, it will need a view of 360 degrees. Plus it will also need a high elevation. So in principle it would need preferably 4 antennas.… Read more »

Geo
Geo (@guest_766888)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Cant disagree…would love to buy British maintain jobs capability etc but sometime u just need to say it doesn’t look worth it

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767203)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Leo2 A8 is £19.2m a copy! Ouch! Makes CR3 look very good value at £800m for 148-off.

Geo
Geo (@guest_767369)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Brand new versus a tank kit. Assuming we deliver CR3s in that number for that price…previous track record shows itll end up more than double that price, and numbers will be cut

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767472)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Leo2 A8 is of course brand new and CR3 is an improved older tank. Hence the price difference. We can only afford the latter.
MoD is contracted with RBSL for them to deliver 148 tanks at a firm price of £800m. IOC 2027. FOC 2030.
I see no reason for the price to go up or the numbers to be cut (148 is a very small number of tanks, as it is).

Geo
Geo (@guest_767501)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hence my concern…..unless thats a fixed rate guaranteed numbers deal. Lets face it it, would not be the 1st MoD deal that failed on numbers and price.

Bringer of Facts
Bringer of Facts (@guest_767253)
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

If we buy foreign non US tanks we wont get Dorchester/Epsom Armour which is one of the features that gave challenger its high survivability.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_766765)
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

We end up rehashing the same old ground don’t we….

Back in the 2010 defence SDSR (fancy title for defence cuts) the Army argued the case that thee Armoured Regiments were the absolute minimum for a viable MBT capability….

They temporarily won that argument. Then the fleet ‘obviously’ gets cut again by a third.

The net result will be 148 upgraded tanks in Two Regiments, that, I will confidently predict will become no tanks in no armoured Regiments by 2040.

Sorry to be so negative, but it just seems the inevitable direction of travel….

Last edited 5 months ago by John Clark
Asker of questions
Asker of questions (@guest_766778)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

First take them out of the army reserve they are already slow enough to deploy and we need all of the tanks we have operational for as much of the time possible

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766821)
5 months ago

What is ‘slow enough to deploy’?

Dern
Dern (@guest_766980)
5 months ago

None of them are in the Army Reserve.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767110)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

Assume he thinks RWY have a contingent? Which I believe they don’t.

Last edited 5 months ago by Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767112)
5 months ago

On re reading, possibly he means by “army reserve” not the AR proper, but the training and attrition fleets and wants most concentrated into the actual regiments?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767204)
5 months ago

True. RWY is a delivery organisation. They don’t hold tanks. The Attrition Reserve is in sheds at Ashchurch.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767282)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Is It still? I thought it had changed to one of individual and crew replacement for the regular regs.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767403)
5 months ago

RWxY has always had the role of providing tank-trained BCRs as far as I know.

I took a look at Wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Wessex_Yeomanry

I think you are right that RWxY lost the armoured delivery role otherwise known as Armour Replacement (which A Sqn had) lost from about 2013 under Army Plan 2020.

So, looks like replacement armour is delivered differently from 2013. I suppose the RLC TT Sqn or a contractor delivers Attrition Reserve armour and the replacement crews come seperately and then marry up. Sounds like a worse system.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766818)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

John, so cynical! I suppose the Navy come down to no ships by 2040 by the same direction of travel logic and the air force to no aircraft.

The FOC for CR3 is 2030 – why do you think all 148 will have disappeared just 10 years later?

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766885)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Navy will fall back on kayaks.

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_768155)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Well I know where you can find plenty of free rubber inflatables…..

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_766893)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Evening Graham, it’s a particularly MBT thing, the mass is bleeding away to the point now it’s becoming a niche capability. As AT technology moves on and our Armed forces increasingly become Brigade (or smaller) focused and expeditionary in ethos, with our Army heading for 60,000 personnel by 2030, then the temptation to get rid of MBT’s completely will likely be hard to resist for the bean counters. The old argument of only MBT’s hold ground won’t wash if you have no intention of holding said ground on light short term intervention type operations. That equates to low hanging fruit… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767177)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Hi John. I disagree. With our armed forces shrinking all the time – the army has been cut once or twice a decade since the end of the Korean War – everything becomes niche. It doesn’t mean you bin the capability. We have only 2 carriers, only7 SSNs, 3 Wedgetail AEWs – bin them? Who says the army is heading for 60,000 by 2030? Never heard that one. But knowing our politicians and Treasury bean counters, nothing would surprise me. Our army has always been expeditionary. The reason we invented the tank was to break the stalemeate of an expeditionary… Read more »

Math
Math (@guest_767246)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Totaly agree with your statement. It is not wise to look at the 2020’s as if it was a prolongation of 2010´s. The rupture point was 2018. Since then, military budget are on the rise and the battlefield corp is raising, almost everywhere in Europe, except may be Germany, who just took the turn recently with Mr Pistorius. I am not worried about the heavy battlecorp of UK. It will exists in due time, at the right level. Same thing here in France. We are somehow « happy » for what it may mean to be in third row. Poland, Baltic states,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767468)
5 months ago
Reply to  Math

Thanks Math. I think our heavy forces are too small, but the onus is for continental European allies to have massed heavy armour. I would expect the larger European countries to have a deployable, warfighting army Corps, rather than just the Division that we have.
I agree we need Anglo-French cooperation in procurement, deployed training and operational deployments

Math
Math (@guest_767509)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

👍
When we work together… everything is possible.

mark one
mark one (@guest_766751)
5 months ago

Ever decreasing circles…… You wouldn’t run a business like the way Government run this Country. Fact.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_766824)
5 months ago
Reply to  mark one

The Government has been running the country like a business – asset stripping it, giving big bonuses to the management, dividends to the new ( usually foreign) owners, Tupe on an industrial scale for the workers whilst simultaneously trashing the environment and public services and straining our constitution to breaking point. From HS2 to immigration to housing to defence (Ajax ) to energy security the incompetence and profligacy has been breathtaking. They are simply not officer. No surprise that Ben Wallace bailed out…one of the few who displayed any humility, integrity and competence.

mark one
mark one (@guest_766859)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

I should have said “Small Business” We know how to run one, They just take Taxes and Piss them all away.

Expat
Expat (@guest_766879)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

The problem is the government hasn’t run the country like business. If UK was a business then it would be a business with more admin and other non productive staff than productive staff. No business runs like that and survives. And it’s getting worse and won’t change with either of the 2 parties.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766886)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul.P

Wallace used sophistry when answering in Parliament; one of those to be hung with Bluffer when the time comes.

Daniele is mired in sorrow at the moment but will challenge my statement when he is hopefully back on his feet – The last 13 years have been a disaster for Defence!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767300)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Not at all, David. I liked Wallace, but he did indeed use sophistry in his answers in Parliament.
As for the last 13 years, I’d say they have been as bad as the 13 that preceded them. Army wise, at least stuff is now being ordered, which in Labour’s stint was barely the case.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_767304)
5 months ago

Look Daniele, Labour got 2 mahoosive carriers built that has drained the rest of the Royal Navy of cash for the next decades to come. 😉

Albeit, putting Bombers on the payroll of MoD was equally bad by the Cons.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767321)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

They did indeed. I shall refrain from listing what they did not do on this occasion for fear of playing the same old record.
They are both as bad as the other in my book.

I have scaled back my comments on CASD into core in 2010 as apparently it was always there according to one knowledgeable poster I was talking to recently who had seen docs to that effect.

Martin
Martin (@guest_766754)
5 months ago

As always we say we will buy it then the problems come. Was this not known before we decided to go for C3. Why not buy L 2 A8 a brand new built vehicle, already designed, tested.But no we had pick the biggest risk option.
Any idea what is replacing Warrior as a wheeled option is not the best idea.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766831)
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Martin, the politicians statements are baffling to me. What is the problem as they see it – lack of CR2 hulls to supply RBSL for CR3 conversion? …or lack of CR2s left with units to deploy if the ballon goes up, because there are so many/too many at RBSL? Leo2 A8 is £19.2m each. Unaffordable. For a quarter of the price we will have an excellent tank – CR3 risk I would guess is relatively low – why do you think it is high? We have known since March 2021 that Boxer is to replace Warrior rather than upgraded Warrior… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_766912)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

umm there were 400 C2 hulls, now the statement says there are not enough? i agree in what respect are there not enough. C3 will be a great tank but it sounds like pre excues for when its delayed. Did they not work the numbers available out before signing a contract? As for Boxer to replace Warrior, bad idea but then those high up in the Army should have said this but as normal they keep quite. The MOD buys what the Army says it wants, needs, its the people who draw up the shopping list that need to accept… Read more »

Dern
Dern (@guest_766982)
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin

There where 400 C2 hulls… in 1998. 40 odd went to Oman. 14 to Ukraine. 350 left, minus driver training tanks, and combat losses, make it about 300 for easy maths. Fifty of those are on high readyness/fwd deployed, so 250, minus those on training establishments leaving about 200. 80 of those are in deep storage, possibly don’t exist anymore: 120. Another 50 for the Armoured Regiment that’s working up, 70. Of those 70, how many are actually fit to simply drive off to RBSL and refit, how many need work on them before they can go? What condition where… Read more »

pete
pete (@guest_767001)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

They have to go to Bovington to be stripped and overhauled then shipped to Telford for conversion . At last your fountain of knowledge has a flaw Ha Ha !

Dern
Dern (@guest_767011)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

I don’t see the flaw? Unless you’re nitpicking that I didn’t detail the exact process between inspection and arrival at RBSL?

pete
pete (@guest_767017)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

If i was nit picking i would say hulls are not frames and tanks don’t have keys !

Dern
Dern (@guest_767018)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

Oh dear, how sad, never mind. That chip on your shoulder is showing pal.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767025)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

We all have flaws I’m sure, Pete.
I know I do.
Dern is a SME here for army matters, with good reason, so I for one ignore any errors?

pete
pete (@guest_767029)
5 months ago

Raw nerve , cognitive dissonance, someone who never makes an an error has never achieved anything. To be human is fallible.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767172)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

So, just mud slinging then?

Dern
Dern (@guest_767030)
5 months ago

I don’t really mind flaws pointing out, I freely admit my maths here is very fast and loose, eg I know that 50 for combat losses and driver training fleet is too high, but its close enough for a quick rough demonstration of how that 400 number can shrink very quickly, was actually expecting someone to point it out.

Mostly I’m just confused about what the actual flaw is Pete is pointing out, it just seems like he doesn’t like that I skimmed over something that wasn’t related to the point I’m making?

Last edited 5 months ago by Dern
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767013)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I also believe some were destroyed in the mid 2000s during the Future Army Structures cuts.

Dern
Dern (@guest_767021)
5 months ago

That’s a shame, a bit before my time so I wasn’t tracking it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767026)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I know, almost bloody new. I think, and I may be wrong here as it was quite a while ago now, that was when 7 Sqns worth were cut.

pete
pete (@guest_767022)
5 months ago

About 40 were stripped at Bovington and hulls scrapped , cost more than storing them would for many years !

Last edited 5 months ago by pete
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_767027)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

Awful decision.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_767908)
5 months ago

Unbelievably stupid. Typical.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_767906)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

I think they leave them out in the rain! There is a carelessness that is hard to understand in the Army.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767185)
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin

The army bought 386 CR2s and some driver training tanks, ISD 1998. [Oman bought 38 export variant CR2s]. The Cameron/Clegg austerity era cut defence and army reduced to 227 active tanks, the balance (ie 159 tanks) in storage but mothballed and declared ‘out of use’ tanks, of which some of those 159 were later scrapped – no idea why or on whose orders. MoD gifted UKR some 14 tanks in early 2023 so UK active tank fleet is now 213 CR2s. Everyone in MoD knows these numbers. Ajax is not mooted as a Warrior replacement – it is required for… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by Graham Moore
Martin
Martin (@guest_767190)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

is Ajax not based on an Spanish in service IVF ASCOD we just messed about with it. It could be an Warrior replacement but the re design would cost, CV90 is the last workable option. Better than wheeled Boxer which will be crap deep mud, loose sand, and is under armored, under gunned ,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767398)
5 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Yes. GDUK designed the Ajax recce vehicle based on the Austrian/Spanish ASCOD IFV which served as a ‘point of departure’ – and their Ajax design was much modified. Ajax could not be a Warrior replacement as it is a recce vehicle and cannot take a 8-man section. You suggest re-design but that would cost a lot and take time. Better to buy an IFV, such as CV90, which is a very good IFV. However, you know that MoD has decided to replace Warrior IFV with Boxer, rather than by upgraded Warrior (WCSP). I too consider Boxer very unsuitable to work… Read more »

Martin
Martin (@guest_767442)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Wheeled is never as good as track, not cross country. I have a feeling Boxer will not replace Warrior and will come when it tries to keep up with C2/3 and is found wanting.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767751)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Wondering, as a consequence of your comment, whether you believe CV90 would be the presumptive candidate chosen to fulfill a potential future UOR for a tracked IFV? Boxer acquisition evidently perceived by some as a flawed selection by senior Army staff of a Warrior replacement vehicle; however, have not noted any substantive reason why CR90 could not be addirionally acquired, if necessity dictates. Relatively straightforward matter of opening HMG’s checkbook? 🤔

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767752)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Er…CV90…🙄

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_767863)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

… additionally…🙄 (Memo to self: beware of late night typing!)

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767969)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

UORs are usually only generated ‘in wartime’ but can exceptionally be raised ‘in peacetime’ if the armed forces lacks a capability or needs an upgrade to match a hostile nation’s increased capability. Example – ‘wartime’ – masses of UORs were raised for Gulf War 1 and for ops in Afghanistan – examples of the former included external fuel tanks for CR1 and add-on armour – and of the latter being a whole slew of Protected Mobility vehicles and probably Vallon mine/IED detectors Example – ‘peacetime’ – Stillbrew add-on armour for turret cheeks of Chieftain, following information received about improved Soviet… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_768097)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thanks, appreciate the extensive explanation. Hmmm…evidently this IFV issue/dilemma and other capability shortfalls, could be resolved courtesy of a dustup sufficiently serious to highlight capability shortfalls, yet not serious enough to risk strategic defeat. Fortunately, you have a Commonwealth w/ what, conservatively, fifty plus members, spanning the globe? Guaranteed that some other country will intimidate or invade a member state in Africa, Asia or ME periodically. Simply make a judicious aelection. Hell, if nothing else pops, reasonably certain Uncle Sugar would be pleased to issue an invitation to our next dustup. 🤔😳😉

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768234)
5 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Thanks mate. The Commonwealth (56 countries) is of course not a formal military mutual aid grouping and its apparatus does not include military to military links etc. But of course there is nothing to stop a member reqesting military assistance from the UK, not specifically because they are in the Commonwealth but because they are a friend of Britain. There are several examples where military aid has been rendered, one readily springing to mind is Sierra Leone, who asked UK to take out ‘the West Side Boys’ an armed rebel group who had a habit of capturing UN soldiers. That… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan (@guest_767803)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It would be good to know how many of those 159 mothballed vehicles remain. Given that the C3 upgrade includes a new turret, suspension and armour upgrades and new electrics, one would think the hulls will be pretty much stripped down to bare metal and re-built so it won’t just be limited to the currently active fleet.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767991)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

In that post I mentioned that some of the 159 out of service tanks were scrapped. Apparently 40-43 CR2s in storage were scrapped in the 2010-2014 period – I don’t know why or who authorised it, as it is virtually unheard of to scrap equipment that has not been declared Obsolete.
No reports of the remaining c120 tanks being scrapped so they will be in sheds in Ashchurch. Obviously in varying condition, but probably terrible – as no-one will have done any maintenance on them since 2010 and many/most all will have had many spares stripped off.

Nathan
Nathan (@guest_768020)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Thank you, very interesting. So potentially 213+120 available for upgrade to C3. When you look at the number of MBTs v recce vehicles in the US Armoured Brigade Combat Teams, I do wonder a bit about the investment choices the British Army is making between Ajax and C3.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768136)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

Thanks Nathan. The 213+120 is my estimate of the number of tanks we have left, the 120 being out-of service and probably in dog-awful condition. We only need to feed 148 tanks to RBSL for conversion to CR3 over the next 6-7 years, whilst maintaining enough CR2 capability for the Field Army and Trg Org. Not sure of the US numbers, but we have a bare minimum of tanks in our ABCTs – just one armoured regiment of 56 tanks. That Regt will have a Recce Troop of 8 x Ajax doing close recce. The Brigade have Ajax doing medium… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768139)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

That is one armoured regiment per ABCT of course.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_768181)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Agreed. I support the DRSB, but it should be a divisional asset in addition to the 3 manouevre bdes. The 2015 cuts reducing to 2 Armoured and 2 Strike caused this.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768240)
5 months ago

Yep, fully agree. The logic for 3 manouevre bdes is unquestionable. You can have 2 of such bdes fwd and 1 in depth or vice versa – depending on frontage to cover, whether you are in defence or on the offence etc etc. Just having 2 manouevre bdes gives you no such flexibility on placement. If you put those 2 bdes forward to cover the frontage you have nothing in depth – ouch! They will be bypassed and not checked and you will have havoc in the rear. There is a strong view (or used to be) amongst the thinkers… Read more »

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_768171)
5 months ago
Reply to  Nathan

There was a lot of chat and input on X about the actual number of CR2 that remained in (ALL) conditions and the number reached was 302.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_768283)
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul T

We bought 386.

Qty 43 scrapped in 2010-2014:

https://www.eurasiantimes.com/dozens-of-british-challenger-2-tanks-destroyed-netizens-say/

https://globaleuronews.com/2023/07/31/times-uk-to-scrap-challenger-2-tanks-instead-of-handing-them-over-to-kiev/

14 gifted to UKR in early 2023.

We should have 329 left, of which 213 are ‘in-service’ and 116 are ‘out of service’.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_766760)
5 months ago

It’s started…….delays and more delays and cost overruns. We armchair amateurs warned this could happen and at the end of the process, we gain just 148 machines. The fun will probably begin once enough tanks are released for testing and the bloody weight issues and gun show the chances of early fatigue. The UK MBT status is a joke and we all know why we have ended up in this mess. Ukraine has proved 148 MBTs would be a drop in the ocean and that is a conflict restricted to one country.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766833)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

What cost overruns?

Jacko
Jacko (@guest_766858)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It’s a fixed contract isn’t ? Buying off the shelf and starting the whole process like some on want is just bonkers and would cost a fortune not taking account how many years it would take🙄

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767064)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jacko

Exactly. I did some work for Rheinmetall on CR2 LEP (now CR3) in 2016. This project is longstanding, is up and running, contracts signed, metal cut, design reviews completed, prototypes being built. To suggest we stop everything, pay huge cancellation fees and then beg the Treasury for more billions to buy a foreign tank off the shelf is ‘pie in the sky’. Leopard 2 A8 is £19.2m a copy!!

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_766895)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Just wait, Graham.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767164)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

The omens are quite good. Lots of prep done – I worked for Rheinmetall in 2016 on this. A great company chosen – RBSL, with good facilities. Lots of time allocated. Lots of budget allocated. I hope and expect minimal delays, no cost overruns and a great product – albeit one that we should have had years ago and there not being enough tanks modernised.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_767261)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I admire your optimism and you are right the German component is a sure-fired partner. However, I can’t help recalling Warrior 2 issues where new bits just did not fit universally and required some bespoke rework as it appeared no one vehicle was the same! Or the pain we witnessed during the Nimrod 2 farce. The CH3 makes sense on paper but Blacknight may have been a wiser move by retaining the current turret architecture thus avoiding unique structures secured to old foundations.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767409)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I only have optimism if there is reason for it. Usually I am pessimistic and cynical! Warrior 2? Not heard of that. Do tell more. Nimrod MRA4 was a fiasco thanks largely to the Treasury – BAE had clearly advised that new airframes were required but HMT thought they knew better. Black Night, the BAE TDP offering. I was in the opposing team working for Rheinmetall, so maybe I am biased. The weaknesses of Black Night were: retention of the ageing rifled cannon, and the lack of automotive improvements. I much preferred Rheinmetall’s new turret option with the smoothbore gun… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_767485)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I am cynical on this issue because the effort is so limited in scope. The current 148 are too few if we were fighting a Ukrainian-type conflict. The fleet would most probably be spent in a few weeks, then where would we be? I don’t doubt the tank will be impressive but I do not want to start hearing voices talking about difficulties and delays, which by the way are costly. Hence, cost overruns.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767573)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Of those 148, a max of 112 would be fielded with the two armd regts. In a Ukraine type war, with the rest of NATO alongside of course, I would be horrified if we lost 112 tanks in a few weeks – we are not as bad as the Orcs.

Ukraine has lost 1 CR2 of the 14 gifted – a far lower number lost than their Leo2s lost. This might indicate the quality of even the old original CR2 without TES kit etc. Shiny new CR3s would have even greater survival prospects.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767576)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Warrior 2? What is that?

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_767607)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

I am going butt in here. The Warrior capability sustainment program (WCSP), was completely different. For starters the company that won the bid to upgrade and overhaul Warrior were not the vehicle’s design authority. Secondly Lockheed Martin UK was a brand new company, whose work force had next to no or very limited experience working on military vehicles. Thirdly it was a program run by project managers, who only knew how to work to defined time lines. When arising technical issues occurred they did not know how to cope with them or how to flex the program to make it… Read more »

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_767715)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

That Warrior update was constantly being delayed to the point that it became a joke. The original vehicle was brilliant and the refresh as you say had issues with inexperienced teams. There must have been real concerns about costs when the whole plan was cancelled and pitching the then Army strategy into a spiral. It would have taken a very brave guy to tell the MOD that all issues could be fixed within a year! CH3 is already slipping and that will result in cost overruns. Now we must keep an eye on Boxer and hope it's ISD is met… Read more »

pete
pete (@guest_768515)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

A person who worked on Warrior said the management bit hostile ,had deaf ears to any suggestions from trials team, some hostility between ex-forces and civi mechanics, some testers got sacked for failing to torque running gear ( got a bit loose lol) . Did not understand that measurements varied , brackets and fixings need adjustment eg slots . Complicated solutions where simple approach would work better. Did not supply and rag for cleaning. Chain gun orientation due to space constraints caused ejection port jams (disputed by some on here along with barrel wobble ! ).

DaveyB
DaveyB (@guest_768543)
5 months ago
Reply to  pete

One of my colleagues was on the trials team, whilst another was in finance. They said the same about the management team. That they weren’t able to flex the plan. If it didn’t meet the schedule or was an arising issue. They’d move it aside and deal with it later. Thereby trying to keep to the timeline but forming a huge backlog of issues that came to a head further down the program.

pete
pete (@guest_768560)
5 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Another incident was poor routing of power cables/ lack of clipping in engine bay. When the power pack was dropped in it damaged cable and burned away engine mount. Its sad that they did not fit the BAE sourced turret and 30 mm cannon as used on the warrior 2 prototype for Swiss competition as it would have worked !

pete
pete (@guest_767024)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

The TES megatron armor works and adds about 12 ton so it won’t have same problem as AJAX !

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767187)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Of those 148 CR3s only two regiments in the front line under the FS Orbat, so only 112 deployed at best.

maurice10
maurice10 (@guest_767716)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Graham, these numbers are pathetic and deeply worrying.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767861)
5 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

They sure are. Under Future Soldier, just one tank unit in each armoured brigade (ABCT) and none in the ‘3rd brigade’ of 3 Div as it has a different role – Deep Strike/Recce. Very slender Attrition Reserve too.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_766779)
5 months ago

Buy 400-500 EMBTs with France to replace Chally 2 and Leclerc.
The UK, France and Germany become stronger.

It’s a win.

Coll
Coll (@guest_766780)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

From what I have read over the last couple of months regarding the EMBT, it’s unofficially dead. That’s the impression from the article from publications in France.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_766845)
5 months ago
Reply to  Coll

The EMBT is not dead (it is a KNDS project, not the main political project).

You’re probably talking about the MGCS, which is still on the way for the moment.

Coll
Coll (@guest_766857)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Yes. I realised this when I was reading another article. The program I was referring to was the MGCS. The EMBT is scheduled for 2040. I do apologise.

Last edited 5 months ago by Coll
John Clark
John Clark (@guest_766793)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

I think are sort of done with Anglo French / German anything defence related Hermes, it just never seems to end well unfortunately.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_766890)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Unfortunately, I have to agree.

We need reliable partners where we can build in and rely upon intellectual property shared, development costs shared and production costs shared.

Not to forget training costs and sales effort decluttered from ‘constitutional issues.”

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_766957)
5 months ago
Reply to  David Barry

Sad isn’t it David, we should absolutely be developing defence systems of all sorts with our European partners.

Sadly it’s proven to be a no go, over and over again.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767065)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

There have been success stories – Tornado, Typhoon, Puma helicopter, FH70.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767073)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Unfortunately Graham, Tornado probably went the smoothest, but the initially envisioned multi role aircraft that started life as the AFVGA before morphing into the UKVGA, a sort of (European Phantom equivalent) became a European central front, relatively small and short ranged dedicated strike aircraft. This was mainly at the instance of Germany, we went along with it as we desperately needed German money…. Thypoon, again the French caused trouble before jumping ship and the Germans are still causing trouble 4 decades in, slowing development and damaging sales prospects… At least this time the UK stuck to it’s guns and forced… Read more »

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_767089)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I love the fact that in the UK’s def communities, it’s never their fault. Just like the Germans and the French while in reality, everyone shares a part of responsibility. But I don’t care for the past. In the case of France, I think “France first” is a real wall for cooperation, as you said, sadly history has proved to us that you can’t trust the British and rely on them, and it’s even worse with the Germans. Despite this, I still think we should try to cooperate, again and again, we’ve created MBDA, we’re trying to create KNDS, and… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767226)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Sadly Hermes, I think you are right regarding Anglo French cooperation. Europe’s two primary defence industrial powers should absolutely be working together. It’s a tragic state of affairs. I would take issue with your assessment of the British being the problem however. Let’s list the programme’s the French were difficult with. Jaguar, France damaged exports by pushing it’s own products instead. This was carried out by French members of the Jaguar sales team! AFVGA, France withdrew from what would have been an excellent multi role combat aircraft that would have sold really well world wide. The Anglo French Helicopter deal.… Read more »

Math
Math (@guest_767256)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

When you look at it from French perspective, you will hear (UK) Aukus, petroleum stories, Mers El Kebir, US submission, F35, Belgium created against France, (Germany) hot 3, Tiger 3, Apaches, MGCS, Maritime patrol, (Spain) S80 submarines based on stolen design, etc, etc… Reasons to be bitter exists in every sides. Fact that will not change is the need to cooperate to secure Atlantic ocean sea lines, mediteranean lines until India, growing world population. I hope that your gouvernment and mine will be able to encourage cooperation. I am fine in Germany and UK, as well as in Italy and… Read more »

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767354)
5 months ago
Reply to  Math

To be fair Math, you tried hard to come up with a list, but it’s all really rather vague.

I’ll give you AUKUS, but when you look at the sheer amount of French knives in our back, all’s fair in business, as the French will tell you.

Totally agree that Europe should cooperate in defence matters, but alas, the Franco German fighter project was created, excluding the UK and slammed the door shut on any further UK fixed wing defence participation.

I have a feeling that the UK, Japan and Italy will make a superb team.

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_767927)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Er part of my family originate in France and when asked, the chairman of the company why we don’t do business in France he said, ‘ Unfortunately the French will always try to get the better of the deal or they wont do business!’.
Sorry to say that.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_767997)
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

What literally everyone does… Or they don’t last long in business…
We remember that the British declared war to get better deals…

It’s funny to say things about the French like it’s something weird when you’re doing it yourself…

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_767167)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

You left out the Horizon Frigate project, when 1st scoped we were going to build 12, Italy and France 2 each. Problem was the French wanted design lead and a 3rd of the work.
We walked away and T45 was our version.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767233)
5 months ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

True, but I also think the partners had different goals, the French and Italians more focused on a Med, while the UK required a slightly larger ship with better sea keeping abilities, with our traditional North Atlantic area of operations in mind.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767344)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Thanks for that John. At least these aero projects got built. Not many good examples in the Sea or Land sector of multinational collaboration actually producing usable kit.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767360)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

True Graham, if anything, the European squabbling is getting worse unfortunately.

The French wer offered a cat’s and traps version of our QE Class, for their second carrier, they should have taken up the offer. I personally doubt their nuclear powered 80,000 ton carrier will ever happen.

I’m certainly glad we are looking internationally for our new defence partners.

Math
Math (@guest_767511)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Well, we have a constraint slightly overlooked. French interests and citizens are in the Indian and Pacific Ocean. So we will have the behemoth 80 000 ton carrier. In the mediteranean, we will patrol with Italy, but the carrier is for Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Airbases in UAE and in Cyprus (planned) covers what has to be covered there.
The QE class was not with catapult, so no early warning. That’s why we could not proceed. French naval carrier is for winning battle at sea.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_767564)
5 months ago
Reply to  Math

There is a very large RAF airbase in Cyprus, that France would be more than welcome to use whenever it needed to, why would France build another one?? As for the 80,000 ton Carrier, I doubt it will ever happen, at least in its current guise. The Americans did precisely this, on a slightly scaled up fashion with the Ford Class and the complexity and ‘massive’ cost overruns nearly broke their Naval budget! A one off nuclear powered Carrier of this scale will cost a vast amount of money, not just to build, but also to operate. I think it’s… Read more »

Jonno
Jonno (@guest_767935)
5 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

And they will be replacing their Boomers at the same time as finishing off their SSNs.
I cant see a happy ending or a timely one unless they sell to Argentina.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_766800)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Despite opting for Ch3, as an interim solution for our MBT force, the UK has since 2021 held ‘observer’ status in this programme. Believe that we are just casting a wider net as possible for future options.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_766846)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

You are talking about the MGCS, EMBT is another thing.

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_766871)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Yes, but are they not two branches of the same tree – ie next gen MBT for France/Germany and?

Deep32
Deep32 (@guest_766877)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

As with @COLL above, realised my error with MGCS and EMBT after revisiting an article. apologies Hermes.

Math
Math (@guest_767248)
5 months ago
Reply to  Deep32

EMBT is a German chassis n’y a French turret, I don’t know if it can evolve to a product. I whish, but Germany want’s to push ahead the Leo.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_766838)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

 EMBT for those that don’t know – a hybrid combining the hull of a Leopard 2A7 with the lighter, two-man turret of a Leclerc. Hardly cutting edge (A7 has already been superseded) and FOC of 2040. Not great.

Hermes
Hermes (@guest_766842)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Quite different already and still changing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls1t_myR6h4

Dern
Dern (@guest_766983)
5 months ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Also long waiting list, a lot of people here are upset that it’ll take until 2030 for Challenger 3 to come online, but the suggestion we carry on with Challenger 2 into the 2040s? I don’t see it happening.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_767338)
5 months ago
Reply to  Dern

IOC for CR3 – 2027; FOC is 2030. Not sure why anyone would think we have CR2 in the 2040s.

Paul T
Paul T (@guest_766848)
5 months ago
Reply to  Hermes

Do you mean the MGCS or the EMBT (Leclerc Turret on Leo2 Hull) ?.