British Army News and Discussion

RobWilliams

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Not sure that there's one of these, so just thought it'd be handy to create somewhere to lump all British Army stuff in one place.

I was just checking out exactly what Army 2020 is supposed to be able to do, as we're all aware after the Afghan drawdown the general idea is that the UK will have the Army broken down into 3 sections; the Reaction Force, the Adaptable Force & Force Troops.

The main bit I was looking at was the Reaction Force, essentially the spearhead of the next UK operation post-Afghan.

This is made up of 2 major units; 16 Air Assault Brigade and the 1st Armoured Division. The current expectation - AFAIK - is that elements of each brigade will be to at very high readiness but both of the brigades will be deployable at longer notice.

That's quite a potent capacity, 16 Air Assault Brigade includes - in terms of combat troops
  • 7th Para Regt RHA (L118 Light Guns)
  • 23 Air Assault Engineer Regiment
  • 1st Batt. Royal Irish Regiment
  • 2 PARA
  • 3 PARA
  • 3rd Regt AAC (Apache)
  • 4th Regt AAC (Apache)
  • 9th Regt AAC (Lynx)
  • D Sqdn Royal Household Cavalry
  • Pathfinder Platoon

& 3rd Mechanised Division - IIRC will contain 3 Armoured Brigades (1st, 12th, 20th) which will rotate the brigade at high readiness. Each brigade will include

  • 1 x Armoured Cavalry Regiment (CVR(T)) - 3 Sqdns of 16 + C&C/support Sqdn
  • 1 x Armoured Regiment (CR2) - 3 Sqdns of 18 CR2 +C&C/support Sqdn
  • 3 x Armoured Infantry Batts. 3 Coys with 14 Warrier per Coy + Support Coy
  • 1 x "Heavily Protected Mobile Inf Batt". 3 Coys with 14 Mastiff per Coy + Support Coy
  • 101 Logistical Support Brigade

All the handy stuff like Artillery, Engineers, Medical, Intel etc come under 'Force Troops' and as such will be attached to units as and when applicable. I'm not going to lie, i'd have liked the brigades as port of 1st Armoured Division to have organic artillery in the form of AS90/MLRS.

If you're reading this and thinking "Man, the British Army is small", i've not done much reading into the Adapable Force which - I think - is made up of 7 Infantry Brigades which can fluctuate in size but generally would include light cavalry regiments, light infantry batts and 'protected' infantry batts in things like Foxhound, these are the brigades that'd include the TA. Probably a fair bit more i've missed out too.

In terms of readiness, there will be an airbourne battlegroup and armoured battlegroup available for deployment anywhere immediately and both brigades would be ready to deploy within 3 months.

Factor in the rapid deployability of 3 Commando Brigade (although not Army), IMO that amounts to a decent deployable capability to spearhead UK operations abroad.
 
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RobWilliams

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Moved from RN thread

Good photos, looks like 12 rounds.
Yeah, on the face of it it's going to be a decent step up.12 ready to go instead of 4, Mach 3 over Mach 2.5, more mobile on land. I've got a PDF from the Army it says the actual range of the Rapier missile is only 500m?! The radar range is 16km. [I've uploaded a screenshot of the 'fact file' bit]

But saying that, Rapier was handy being able to be carried as an underslung load.

I've attached a multi-picture example of what CAMM actually does when it's up in the air.
 

swerve

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That must be an editing mistake. Look at the rest of that line. 500 m (max) to 8 m (min) - unbelievable. Could that be 500 metres minimum to 8 km maximum?
 

RobWilliams

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My thoughts exactly, otherwise that'd surely be a health risk if the Rapier hit an aircraft 8m away ;)

Still emphasises the physical advantages of CAMM over Rapier.
 

RobWilliams

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Excellent news from Janes in regards to the Royal Artillery component of the Reaction brigade structure, although they won't technically be a part of the brigade itself they are planning for a 'close support regiment' to be assigned to each brigade consisting of
  • 3 x AS90 batteries (each battery having 6 AS90's)
  • 1 x GMLRS battery of 6 launchers

The link also talks about the Spike NLOS missile, a system which I have no knowledge of & didn't know that the Army got their hands on some from somewhere.

In any case, 18 AS90s + 6 GMLRS per reaction brigade. Not bad at all IMO.

UK Royal Artillery rolls out new structure
 

SteelTiger 177

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The one thing out of all this I find quite unsettling is the deicision to withdraw forces from Germany given the problems were facing with both Syria and Iran.Also the decision to reduce the Regular force and have the British Army rely on Resevrve and TA(Territorial Army)forces is a bad Idea.Another thing should'nt the 6 airborne Bde also be list as part of reaction force the Brits are planing to set up?
 

RobWilliams

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16th Air Assault Brigade (the 6th no longer exists, combined with the 1st to get the 16th) IS a part of the reaction forces, I do say that in the original post.

Not sure why you find pulling out of Germany to be a particularly unsettling thing, if anything it's a longer & more expensive journey to transport all that armour & equipment from Germany than it would be from the UK.

Perhaps you could care to elaborate?
 

RobWilliams

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What a load of shite.

There's chatter about the Royal Artillery losing their GMLRS units! There's a Janes link but i'm unable to confirm what's actually in it, but it's an outrage.

http://buff.ly/YcZwXN
 

Waylander

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That would be so idiotic I can't help but think that it is deliberate sabotage.

In an age of ever shrinking troop densities a long range all weather ground based PGM capability is a must have IMO. Western troops rely much on their ability to bring heavy and accurate firepower to bear on their opponents. Taking this tool out of the box is going to diminish the British Armys ability to do so a lot.
 

RobWilliams

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It'd be a farce.

However, not that long ago Jane's published how the RA planned to have a battery of GMLRS ready to go with the reactive armoured brigade. I linked it earlier in the thread too. So it seems a bit strange how apparently the RA planned it out and suddenly the weapon system faces outright withdrawral completely from nowhere. The GMLRS was a big point about the future of Army 2020.

Hopefully it's an incredibly OTT title, but we'll see what develops. As i said, I can't actually read the title so.
 

Waylander

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I remember the heavy criticism the Apache faced and how this changed 180 degrees after it proved it's worth in theater.

From the reports I have read I would have thought that GMLRs did the same in Afghanistan.

One just has to look at how many armed forces like Germany, Singapore, South Korea, etc. are adding GMLRs to their inventor because of it's performance in the last decade.
 

RobWilliams

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To be honest, that's exactly the sort of thing i'd been hearing from Afghan too.

I have to say, apart from the Janes link i've not heard anything about it from anywhere else, not even from the Army's website. Which is beginning to lead me to believe that the article has a misleading headline, it could mean a couple of specific regiments being lost or retasked to the Light Gun or whatever.

Here's hoping, anyway.
 

Waylander

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Fingers crossed for our partners. It was always nice when one met a bunch of british army guys in the Bergen/Munster area (although the officers seem to be a bit aloft...;)).
 

StobieWan

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To be honest, that's exactly the sort of thing i'd been hearing from Afghan too.

I have to say, apart from the Janes link i've not heard anything about it from anywhere else, not even from the Army's website. Which is beginning to lead me to believe that the article has a misleading headline, it could mean a couple of specific regiments being lost or retasked to the Light Gun or whatever.

Here's hoping, anyway.
I saw interview material with a GMLRS crew and they seemed to regard the GMLRS capability as a fairly definitive silver bullet option, as in "when you absolutely, definitely have to make something go away" - and of course, it's weather independent, doesn't require air superiority over the target etc so I'd be surprised if GMLRS went away.
 

FormerDirtDart

Active Member
Not sure that there's one of these, so just thought it'd be handy to create somewhere to lump all British Army stuff in one place.

I was just checking out exactly what Army 2020 is supposed to be able to do, as we're all aware after the Afghan drawdown the general idea is that the UK will have the Army broken down into 3 sections; the Reaction Force, the Adaptable Force & Force Troops.

The main bit I was looking at was the Reaction Force, essentially the spearhead of the next UK operation post-Afghan.

This is made up of 2 major units; 16 Air Assault Brigade and the 1st Armoured Division. The current expectation - AFAIK - is that elements of each brigade will be to at very high readiness but both of the brigades will be deployable at longer notice.

That's quite a potent capacity, 16 Air Assault Brigade includes - in terms of combat troops
  • 7th Para Regt RHA (L118 Light Guns)
  • 23 Air Assault Engineer Regiment
  • 1st Batt. Royal Irish Regiment
  • 2 PARA
  • 3 PARA
  • 3rd Regt AAC (Apache)
  • 4th Regt AAC (Apache)
  • 9th Regt AAC (Lynx)
  • D Sqdn Royal Household Cavalry
  • Pathfinder Platoon

& 1st Armoured Division - IIRC will contain 3 Armoured Brigades (the 7th, 20th but not sure where the third comes from, the 4th Mechanised maybe?) which will rotate the brigade at high readiness. Each brigade will include

  • 1 x Armoured Cavalry Regiment (CVR(T)) - 3 Sqdns of 16 + C&C/support Sqdn
  • 1 x Armoured Regiment (CR2) - 3 Sqdns of 18 CR2 +C&C/support Sqdn
  • 3 x Armoured Infantry Batts. 3 Coys with 14 Warrier per Coy + Support Coy
  • 1 x "Heavily Protected Mobile Inf Batt". 3 Coys with 14 Mastiff per Coy + Support Coy
  • 101 Logistical Support Brigade

All the handy stuff like Artillery, Engineers, Medical, Intel etc come under 'Force Troops' and as such will be attached to units as and when applicable. I'm not going to lie, i'd have liked the brigades as port of 1st Armoured Division to have organic artillery in the form of AS90/MLRS.

If you're reading this and thinking "Man, the British Army is small", i've not done much reading into the Adapable Force which - I think - is made up of 7 Infantry Brigades which can fluctuate in size but generally would include light cavalry regiments, light infantry batts and 'protected' infantry batts in things like Foxhound, these are the brigades that'd include the TA. Probably a fair bit more i've missed out too.

In terms of readiness, there will be an airbourne battlegroup and armoured battlegroup available for deployment anywhere immediately and both brigades would be ready to deploy within 3 months.

Factor in the rapid deployability of 3 Commando Brigade (although not Army), IMO that amounts to a decent deployable capability to spearhead UK operations abroad.
The Telegraph has reported that 1st Armored Division will be the command headquarters of the Adaptive Force under Army 2020. Wikipedia is now listing the Adaptive Force Brigades as 4th, 7th, 11th, 38th, 42nd, 51st and 160th.

3rd Mechanised Division will be part of the Reaction Force with 1st, 12th and 20th Armoured Infantry Brigades as subordinate commands.

Both 7th Armoured Brigade (the Desert Rats) and 4th Mechanised Brigade (the Black Rats) will be converted to Infantry Brigades of the Adaptive Force.
Famed Desert Rats to lose their tanks under Army cuts - Telegraph
 
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RobWilliams

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I haven't really looked at the adaptable force, I was more interested in the reaction forces which would be the first assets we would deploy.

I'll make the neccesary unit changes in a minute, the OP was made before the armour cuts to the 7th Bgde etc.

In other news, a decision on if our Apaches get upgraded to the same level as those from the US in December

British Army Apache Block III upgrade decision expected in December - News - Shephard

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is expected to make a decision in December whether the British Army’s AH-64D Apache Longbow Mk I fleet is upgraded to the US Army’s latest Block III standard.

The Block III has improved targeting, endurance and payload. It is able to carry more ammunition and fuel at 6,000 feet and 35 degrees Celsius, while the crew has access to a Ground Fire Acquisition System (GFAS) that can detect and distinguish between gunfire and rocket propelled grenades.

‘The [UK MoD] are looking at making a decision late this year, December timeframe, on whether they move to the Block III for their Apaches. They current fly Block I,’ Lt Col Daniel Bailey, US Army Apache Block III programme manager, told Shephard. Bailey is on a modernisation working group that has discussed the Block III with the UK.

The Block III has new carbon fibre main rotor blades but Bailey does not expect the UK to adopt these.

‘They have been talking about putting the BERP [British Experimental Rotor Programme] blade on their Apaches,’ he noted.

The MoD declined to comment but AgustaWestland, which builds the Apache for the UK, said: ‘There have been proposals to apply BERP IV technology to a new Apache main rotor blade but there is no funded programme.’

The BERP IV programme was completed in 2007 and its composite blade flies on the Royal Air Force AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin Mk III, which have been deployed to Afghanistan.

In April this year the Block III was going through its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOTE) at Fort Irwin, California. The IOTE included the new capability of unmanned teaming, with a General Atomic Aeronautical Systems MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

In 2013 the Block III is to first enter service with the US Army’s 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Fort Riley, Kansas.
I suspect the fleet would be cut back if the upgrade goes ahead, the budget's just too tight. It's not impossible - as some have suggested - to not upgrade as Boeing and AW will continue to support the fleet but the cost will just creep up. It's gunna be interesting because our Apache's are already different from those of the US, would be nice to get the new blades however, been hearing good things in regards to performance increases for the Merlin.

But something to look forward too in the early 2020's is the retirement of the Hellfire with SPEAR capability 2 on the Apache (and the Reaper) fleet
 

StobieWan

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In some ways a Block III might be a bit cheaper for the UK if we could pick and choose - WAH-64 already has much more powerful engines than the original Apache.It's already been mentioned that the engine upgrade could be set aside, leaving a shed load of other improvements to come as part of a block III subset.

The rest of the package would be very welcome I'm sure.


I suspect Augusta is just trying to talk up a deal for BERP rotors as that's something that could be slotted in fairly easily I guess if needed - I'm not sure if it's going to bring any great benefits however ?
 

RobWilliams

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That's true, that's true. Forgot about the engines, IIRC the US development's giving theirs Link 16 I think, that'd be pretty good.

In regards to BERP, here's an article about it on the Merlin

BERP IV gives Merlins more payload

A new main-rotor blade developed under the fourth British Experimental Rotor Programme (BERP IV) will provide a 600kg (1,320lb) payload increase for the UK Royal Air Force's EH101 Merlin medium-lift helicopter, says prime contractor AgustaWestland.

After 29h of a planned 35h flight-test programme, the Finmeccanica company says the BERP IV blade has been shown to improve rotor flight-envelope performance, reduce power needs in hover and forward flight, and decrease airframe and engine vibration for a range of take-off weights. Rotor hub loading has been found to be the same or less than with the BERP III blade now fitted to the EH101.

Six EH101s purchased from the Danish air force for modification to RAF Merlin HM3As are to be fitted with BERP IV blades, which are also planned for the US101 variant under development as the next US presidential helicopter.

BERP IV, funded 50:50 by AgustaWestland and the UK Ministry of Defence, aims to build on BERP III's combination of a high-lift aerofoil and high blade angle-of-attack without stall. The BERP IV blade uses a new aerofoil, revised tip shape and increased blade twist for lower hover power.

The new blade has 16e_SDgr of twist, a blended notch and a 25e_SDgr anhedral tip for better forward flight. A series of low pitching-moment aerofoils are used along the length of the blade, with simplified root and section blends. Because high twist increases vibration, aero-elastic tailoring using offset composite ply joints, coupled with rotor mass and stiffness distribution, is used to ensure blade deflection ameliorates the problem.

The BERP IV blade will also use rubber-based tape from 3M to counter leading-edge erosion. Under sand-blasting tests the material lasted for 195min. Polyurethane tape, used by UK Royal Navy Sea Kings, lasted 39min.

Flight testing began last September using the US101 demonstrator, designated CIV001 (Flight International, 3-9 October 2006). Since January an RAF Merlin HM3, designated RAF01, has been used.

BERP IV will officially end in August when AgustaWestland submits its final report. It is the last in a series of BERP programmes, which started in the 1970s. "We are working on a strategy to bring [internal, European and UK government projects] all together. BERP has been about passive technologies. Active technologies are of interest to us now," says AgustaWestland's BERP IV programme leader, Rob Harrison, speaking at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London.

BERP IV is being considered for the British Army and Royal Navy Future Lynx helicopter, for which AgustaWestland's UK arm is prime contractor.
It's given the Merlin extra payload & an increased cruise speed. Reduced power requirements when hovering and during forward flight too. Granted it's on a Merlin not the Apache, but IMO it's an incremental improvement we should be looking at. But then again, depends on the performance characteristics of the Apache's blades, ultimately if the US are upgrading to the Block III with new blades (which apparently we're not getting) then we should see if BERP IV offers enough of a performance boost to make it worthwhile.

Indeed, IIRC another upgrade for block III is Link 16, which would be useful.

Latest Variant of the AW101 Makes Paris Debut | AgustaWestland
 

CheeZe

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Just read that the MLRS is being distributed throughout the army once 39 RA disbands. How would that distribution work out? An even distribution to each remaining RA regiment or more concentrated around certain brigades?
 

RobWilliams

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They're not going to all the other regiments, doesn't make sense and there's not enough to go around. They'll distrubute the batteries.

But here's some info from UKAFC (a defence blog), it seems to back up a publication made by Janes which I linked earlier in regards to RA support of the Reaction regiments which is in turn a more recent publication than the article from UKAFC.

He says

But 39 Regiment will be disbanded as part of Army 2020, with the HQ Battery and one firing Battery (56 and 51 Batteries) going into suspended animation, while the other three will transfer to the Reaction Force support regiments. Namely: 35 battery to 1 Royal Horse Artillery (1RHA) (to be re-named H Bty), 132 Battery to 26 Royal Artillery and 176 Bty to 19 Royal Artillery.

This confirms once more the identity of the third Reaction Force artillery regiment as 26 RA Regt.
So 1 RHA, 26 RA & 19 RA are becoming the artillery regiments to support the reaction brigade, in answer to your question, all get a battery of GMLRS

The article from Janes says that each brigade will be supported by 18 AS90's (all those Regts operate 3 batteries of 6 AS90s) and 6 GMLRS (equivalent to 1 battery).

Phew, there's that worry sorted out. Seems like the other article from Janes about "RA will lose GMLRS" must be talking about 39 Regiment being dispanded.

In terms of total GMLRS, apparently we've upgraded a grand total of 36 systems to B1 standard from an original fleet of 50 and half of those will remain with the reaction forces. So the other 18 are the sustainment fleet & TA toys.
 
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