British Army News and Discussion

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@Big_Zucchini You are dead right about the British Armed Forces 4 enemies and I would list their 2 deadliest as pollies (politicians) and the Ministry of Defence. Facing Soviet tank armies rampaging through the Fulda Gap would've been inherently safer by at least a factor of 10.
 
@OPSSG Thanks man!
Unfortunately, automotives is where my knowledge is really lacking. But I think we might see not only a resurgence of hybrid propulsion concepts (a la FFG Genesis), but some operational medium AFVs by 2030.
It gives an acoustic stealth option, but at the same time an electric engine can give extraordinary amounts of torque. Getting in and out of a firing position needs to be done very quickly to minimize exposure. That's where the torque is really needed.

@ngatimozart I think a lot of the British concept of operations is fine, it just needs some tuning.

I'll start with what I think is right:
1)Strategic posture - The NATO alliance combined with EU-independent economical dependence as well as cultural similarities, make another European war highly unlikely, and naturally such things built up over time.
Additionally, the technological development coupled with basic economical and cultural principles, have made peace and trade agreements far more profitable and lucrative than physical takeover of land. Hence the semi-voluntary fall of the British empire.

Over the past 70 years, Europe's main source of instability has been the USSR and now Russia.
Therefore a ground invasion into the UK is no longer deemed possible, and a focus must be made on expeditionary forces.

2)Role in NATO - Posessing the 2nd largest air force and navy in NATO only makes sense considering the UK is technically in the safest geographical location. For obvious reasons, the ground armies of central and eastern Europe, combined, are quite large. Poland's ground army in particular is massive.
What they lack more than anything versus Russia is not tanks, infantry, or artillery, but air power and ships.
The UK is like the artillery of NATO.
It has also positioned itself as perhaps the only NATO ally capable of supporting a US campaign against China.

3)Reference threats - I think NATO defined it very clearly and I support this definition: The main threat, not to NATO, but to the world, is global radical Islam.
I think it's pretty evident that the current battlegrounds are countries consumed by radical Islam.
Radical Islam -> instability -> war -> foreign intervention -> fallout.

4)Cyber warfare - Between wars, you cannot remain idle. And for a good reason, cyber warfare is the main focus in times of peace.
Problem is, it's a lot more expensive than many people think. Tapping into enemy LANs is painfully complex.

What I think was done wrong:
1)Lack of contingency plans - Just because a war in central/western Europe is unlikely, doesn't mean it cannot happen.
Preparations for such a war can be inexpensive but they take time.

2)Improper force buildup - Expeditionary forces like those existing right now, need to have the flexibility to escalate at will and short notice. A force that is too small cannot do that.
IMO the British Army should consist of 5 divisions, including 2 maneuver, 1 SoF (primarily airborne), 1 homeland defense, and 1 support (intelligence, logistics and so on).
The maneuver divisions are to consist of at least 3 BCTs each, with immediate reservist reinforcement equivalent to 1 reserve battalion per active brigade within 3 days.


How can you do flexible homeland defense on short notice?
Keep your old weapons in storage rather than dumping them.

The best defenses already exist - an air force and navy that can do a lot of work, before anyone even reaches the canal. Make sure they're always the largest and strongest in Europe, and you will be able to protect yourself with much fewer garrisoned units.

Ideally, the UK would upgrade its 127 CR2 tanks, store the rest, and patiently wait for the next gen of tanks to come online so it can get something viable in a 50 ton package for its expeditionary units.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
@Big_Zucchini You are dead right about the British Armed Forces 4 enemies and I would list their 2 deadliest as pollies (politicians) and the Ministry of Defence. Facing Soviet tank armies rampaging through the Fulda Gap would've been inherently safer by at least a factor of 10.

More so than ever at the moment I'm afraid. The current government has a peculiarity of having an adviser in the form of Cummings, who has way more reach than expertise.

Maingate for CR2 LEP is November apparently - and I think one of the major issues with the LEP is that it's very late in the day. Someone should have pulled the trigger on this five or maybe even ten years ago to keep the tank competitive.

On the upside, the scope of the LEP does seem to have extended beyond what was originally thought likely and it seems more and more probable that a gun and possibly turret replacement will be included. That does leave the CV12 engine as being a weak point- it wasn't a snappy performer when launched and as the weight of the platform has increased, that's only been exacerbated. However, CV12 was demonstrated at power levels up to 1500bhp in the past - if there are some tweaks and reworks available that would fit with the existing engine, that would be excellent news indeed.

One tricky point about the LEP is the main gun selection - we've seen a demonstrator with the 130 mm Rheinmetall gun - that leaves us with a tricky choice - buy the 120 mm cannon which works and is the standard for our allies, just before it's replaced, or become the launch customer for the 130mmm. Decisions decisions...


In terms of costs, last price I could find for Ajax was 3.5 bn for 450 ish vehicles back in 2014 - that would have included startup costs etc. I don't have a figure for MPF but halve it and add some inflation in and say roughly 1.9 bn and you'd be in the right ball park for a a gun armed variant of Ajax.

CR2 LEP is costed at 1.3bn (Parliamentary figures, June 2020) which I believe is for 227 vehicles (not 127)

At best, LEP vs a new lighter weight tracked gun platform looks cost neutral, more likely it's slightly more expensive - and Cr2 is already in service so support costs may be a little lower.

We'll see. Of the various programs, I'm beginning to suspect Warrior CSP is looking more like a bad bet - millions spent and apart from thermal imaging, nothing delivered so far with no formal method to deliver the upgrades touted. Now, there *is* an off the shelf alternative available and it might be more sensible to skip that in favour of buying more of the modern contenders available. We'll see.
 
@StobieWan Last I've heard, the LEP was reduced to 148 vehicles (I previously erroneously said ~120).

The source is a Times article from April 2019 which does have a clickbait-ish headline.

The 130mm vs 120mm debate is really not one the UK should be having.
Buying the 130mm right now would be wrong for many reasons, in particular the facts that being the launch customer is very expensive, and that Germany and France still haven't decided whether to go for a 130mm or 140mm.

To be a launch customer you also need to have a lot of tanks which the UK doesn't have either.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
if we're down to 148 I'd say chuck in the towel and spend the money elsewhere. Recapitalise the rest of the fleet, rationalise vehicle types and shift as much of the older kit out of inventory.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
You're again arguing for a capability, but the trend clearly shows the UK will ditch armored forces for the forseeable future.
With roughly 120 tanks, the UK can only arm about 1 brigade plus a training unit. But as we've seen a recent halving of the fleet, we might see a complete withdrawal of tanks from service.
I was pointing out that an MPF doesn't fill the capability gap of a MBT. Specifically that the MPF is not an alternative, cheaper or not for an MBT. If you want my view on should the British Army keep MBT - that's really easy. Yes. And delete stuff to keep it. Without MBT you are a glorified police force.

It is a common military tradition of effective armed forces, to prepare for the worst possible situation.
For Western nations (and the UK and Australia are alike here), worst case scenario is literally our job. That's why we get the pretty and exxy kit. It also makes us unique among government departments. It's why the focus on non-military stuff (ie, persistent support to COVID) is a bad idea, it takes effort away from our unique skill set.

The Army must create a contingency plan for a decision to cut tanks entirely, and that must include some organic firepower beyond the 40mm offered by the Ajax.
This is the fallacy that underpins so much talk about force design. Army doesn't need that, it needs a strategy and from there concepts. This is a kit answer - the Army cant afford tanks and must use Ajax. Define the roles, missions and tasks that meet with national strategy and go from there. Having done something similar recently, I'll make a strong wager that when you actually put aside sacred cows, tanks become a cornerstone of needs to do the jobs Army needs to do.

1)The Ajax is in production for the UK Armed Forces, and is supported by multiple facilities outside the UK, and by a major corporation that seeks to keep producing and improving the vehicle in the long term.
The Challenger is no longer supported by industry.
Ajax is. MPF isn't. And having worked on a number of air and ground domain multi-purpose platforms, I think you are underestimating the cost and complexity. Especially with British industry involved.

I (think) I only used CR2 for specific examples and used generic MBT otherwise. I have no care as to what the MBT is. If CR2 isn't supportable then it's a pretty easy question - US or German.

During my service I've worked with a ridiculous amount of ultra expensive equipment with an almost as ridiculous amount of suppliers.
Having a supplier with facilities and spare parts only a few hours drive, is absolutely vital for efficient operation.
Oh - I know from both sides. I accidently wrote off ~$9 mil with one quick decision before morning tea one day. I've had responsibility for significant parts of multi-billion dollar capabilities at a Regt and HQ level. Of course, I'm also used to spare and facilities being 1000s of km apart...which it will be when you deploy....

Lacking industry support for even a portion of the system you're operating, is a death sentence.
Unless the MoD chooses to upgrade the ENTIRE tank, it's doomed. And I just don't see that happening with the current way forward.

So don't ask how much is an Ajax going for. Ask whether the Challenger 2 is going anywhere, and how much it would cost to bring another 50 year old platform into service today that has 0 commonality with other AFVs.

The Ajax is already in the armed forces, it's produced today, supported, and its development is funded by other entities to save the UK money.
Again, kit focused answer. Again, ambivalent to MBT. I'd also question just how importance the British Army places on commonality when you consider bringing a multitude of platforms from multiple nations. Plus the latest M1 or Leo 2 aren't 50 years old - you could make a strong (probably still incorrect) argument that the latest variants are more modern than Ajax...

2)The turret is the truly expensive part here. But the Challenger 2 must get both a brand new turret and a vastly redesigned hull. The Ajax on the other hand, only really needs a new turret, so it's a much smaller expense.
3)Integration costs are only really relevant for the turret's systems.
4)The hull ammo stowage requires a redesign of the Challenger 2's hull. Not the Ajax.
Putting ammo in an empty hull of a former APC is easy because the space from the troop compartment already exists there.
You are really under-estimating integration costs and problems here. It's not just the turret. There's all the bits that connect between the turret to the hull. There is the physical ammunition storage. Blast proof panels. Possibly increased electrical load. Adding APS? Cool - add more integration costs. And again, has British industry done this time of stuff recently for a cheap amount of $$ and time? A mock-up does not a battle ready vehicle make.

5)Delays will be minimal compared with buying a new tank from elsewhere, because much of the logistics and facilities for this specific AFV already exist, in the UK.
Partially. Running gear and hull, sure. Turret, nope. Sights, nope. Ammo, nope. Even then, the extra weight is going to make the parts wear out faster - have you got enough? Do you think that the logistics tail of Ajax is funded enough as is, without adding more cars that wear out more?

Looking at your tank options, I know the US will sell you a turn-key package for 10 years. I'd be surprised if the Germans couldn't. It'd be quicker to get Abrams or Leo's into the British Army if you signed a cheque today than an Ajax MPF. And you'd know the logistic bill of the M1 and Leo; but Ajax is still learning. There are obvious negatives for buying v building platforms - but off-the-shelf buys are often quicker into service.

6)Turrets for these light/medium tanks are pretty agnostic when it comes to guns.
You can use 105mm when you think it's enough. But there is no inherent problem in using a 120mm or even 130mm gun.
A 120mm armed CV90 was demonstrated many years ago. A 130mm is possible, especially considering that such vehicles tend to have a much higher potential for ammo stowage anyway, which is perhaps the 130mm 's biggest disadvantage in MBT applications.
Not really. They are tending to 105mm or smaller. Even the latest 120mm Griffon III is being rearmed with a 40mm. They also have issues being narrow and higher than a tank - firing off the centreline becomes increasingly harder as the guns get bigger.

Even then you are missing the problem with bigger ammo; there is already problems with space in MPF. A Stryker troop carries the same amount of main gun ammo as 1.5 Abrams. So your MPF is going to need more logistic support (I know, I know, M1 fuel...) than an MBT - possibly 2 - 3 times as much.... Is there funding for that?

7)Power to weight is not really a super important factor, but I agree the CR2's power/weight ratio is abysmal.
When the UK wants strategic mobility above all, it starts making sense to rely less and less on MBTs. They're cumbersome beasts.
I'm criticizing the policy of 100% very long range deployments and 0% deployments in Europe, but if they already go that way then it makes sense to go light. Hence the move towards the Ajax as the core AFV anyway.
P:W is a good shorthand for off-road power. Not perfect, but still. It underlines that an M1 (right now) is better off-road most of the time than an M113AS4 - but an MPF will be worse than both.

MBTs are no worse to move strategically than anything other than light infantry - and the last is irrelevant. It's a constant cry, but when you look at the force as a whole, the MBTs offer negligible increase in mass or bulk and it can be ignored. Every time we run the maths it comes out that MBT are no less strategically mobile than anything else and increase the survivability of the deployed force. It's literally increased effect for no cost

8)30mm guns, IEDs, RPGs, etc, are no more an issue to an MPF than to a tank.
I have no doubt an AFV weighing 40 tons can protect itself very well from artillery, RPGs, mines, IEDs, and ATGMs.
And with APS that can defeat anything from RPGs to APFSDS, it should be quite survivable for an expeditionary vehicle.
APS isn't the golden answer. It has a number of issues, in this case the four big ones being weight, cost, infantry and rounds:

1 - APS weigh a lot. An Ajax MPF is already hitting the upper weight limit of the chassis (as is every MPF out there). So what do you give up for the needed tonnes?

2 - the cost of APS. Are they factored in to the Ajax budget? What is the cost of adding APS? There's more integration costs there too - especially between radios, ECM and sights. Bills are adding up here.

3 - APS means no infantry close by. So you've lost you best defence against the enemy infantry and RPGs. It undermines the combined arms team. This isn't an Ajax problem, and when MBTs get APS they'll need to solve too.

4 - APS works against some types of rounds. KE is still variable, top-down likewise. Adding more to counter these adds cost and weight.

All up, relying on APS adds lots of negatives to achieve what the MBT has right now. And adding that APS to the MBT makes it even better.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
I was pointing out that an MPF doesn't fill the capability gap of a MBT.
Overall, my basic point is that you lose the MBT and you can't be a tier one Army. You'll be a glorified police force. I think the answer to the British Army is really simple - it's just not politically palatable. And it all comes back to a national strategy rooted in what the government wants. And while I'm happy to provide my views on that - this is about highlighting why any MPF is not the equivalent of any MBT. To assume that will allow decisions that cost additional lives when it gets called upon.
 
Part 1:

I was pointing out that an MPF doesn't fill the capability gap of a MBT. Specifically that the MPF is not an alternative, cheaper or not for an MBT. If you want my view on should the British Army keep MBT - that's really easy. Yes. And delete stuff to keep it. Without MBT you are a glorified police force.
And I was pointing out that in 2021's defence review the UK might decide to scrap tanks entirely and cancel the LEP (the CSP is also in danger AFAIK) to improve short term readiness.
And honestly, I wouldn't blame them much for that. Some countries will already field the next gen of tanks by 2030, defined by structural changes that reduce the crew to 2/3 from the current 3/4, plus other changes that make conversion of old tanks practically impossible and/or un-economical. Due to the Challenger's overly conservative design, its upgrade to a modern standard will cost far too much compared to other countries mid-life upgrade programs like the American ECP, Israel's Barak, and Germany's and France's ongoing upgrades to their respective fleets.

With that in mind, it's not too far fetched that they'd dump the LEP and keep a few obsolete tanks in service just long enough to start receiving the next gen of tanks, hoping to score a deal with Germany or US to get the earliest lots of their new tanks.

In the meantime, if any of these happens, it might be viable to integrate a 120mm turret onto an existing Ajax. GDLS has already shown the capability on the ASCOD 42, on which the Ajax is based.

This is the fallacy that underpins so much talk about force design. Army doesn't need that, it needs a strategy and from there concepts. This is a kit answer - the Army cant afford tanks and must use Ajax. Define the roles, missions and tasks that meet with national strategy and go from there. Having done something similar recently, I'll make a strong wager that when you actually put aside sacred cows, tanks become a cornerstone of needs to do the jobs Army needs to do.
I'd argue you see cows as sacred cows. A force needs to be flexible enough to operate without certain components, or with degraded capability.
I've long argued in Israeli forums that the IDF should create its new active recon battalions as armored recon that utilize wheeled platforms with 30mm guns, supported by a small number of 120mm guns. The overall capability offered by these wheeled 120mm armed platforms was not too far off from that of an MBT.
The platform is considered protected enough to traverse even in urban environment with a high threat of ATGMs, and in open country with high threat of artillery, and the firepower in many cases considered a bit overkill.


Ajax is. MPF isn't. And having worked on a number of air and ground domain multi-purpose platforms, I think you are underestimating the cost and complexity. Especially with British industry involved.
My line of work is with system development, which requires concept development. So I rarely ever look at specific numbers. I know the inherent qualities of the system and determine if on a relative scale the numbers should be high or low.
I see any significant enough form of parts commonality as an inherent capability that will keep procurement costs low, and more importantly, the support costs low, which is where the real cost of the system is.
I'm not sure whether you're implying the British industry is capable enough for the task or not, but that is a separate issue that must be tackled separately.


I (think) I only used CR2 for specific examples and used generic MBT otherwise. I have no care as to what the MBT is. If CR2 isn't supportable then it's a pretty easy question - US or German.
I'm sure options like leasing modern versions of the Leopard exist, but if somehow they don't, then there's always the option I mentioned.


Oh - I know from both sides. I accidently wrote off ~$9 mil with one quick decision before morning tea one day. I've had responsibility for significant parts of multi-billion dollar capabilities at a Regt and HQ level. Of course, I'm also used to spare and facilities being 1000s of km apart...which it will be when you deploy....
I do respect your rich experience. Don't let our little argument take away from that.


Again, kit focused answer. Again, ambivalent to MBT. I'd also question just how importance the British Army places on commonality when you consider bringing a multitude of platforms from multiple nations. Plus the latest M1 or Leo 2 aren't 50 years old - you could make a strong (probably still incorrect) argument that the latest variants are more modern than Ajax...
The lack of standardization in a great amount of kit is problematic, I agree. But wherever you can, you must tackle it. The UK could use logistical support from other countries, but it must be able to provide its troops with parts and ammo independently. Surely you recognize the benefits of commonality even if it's limited to small frameworks.


You are really under-estimating integration costs and problems here. It's not just the turret. There's all the bits that connect between the turret to the hull. There is the physical ammunition storage. Blast proof panels. Possibly increased electrical load. Adding APS? Cool - add more integration costs. And again, has British industry done this time of stuff recently for a cheap amount of $$ and time? A mock-up does not a battle ready vehicle make.
If the UK chooses to go the MPF route, and also chooses to buy the M1 turret variant, then it can save that money. Same as certain US Armed Forces services fund high priority programs and then other services use that to drive their own procurement.


Looking at your tank options, I know the US will sell you a turn-key package for 10 years. I'd be surprised if the Germans couldn't. It'd be quicker to get Abrams or Leo's into the British Army if you signed a cheque today than an Ajax MPF. And you'd know the logistic bill of the M1 and Leo; but Ajax is still learning. There are obvious negatives for buying v building platforms - but off-the-shelf buys are often quicker into service.
Yes, but again, since you're only looking for a new tank for a timeframe of 10-15 years, the current Challenger 2 without LEP will still be somewhat adequate. If deployed in the middle east against hybrid forces equipped with modern Russian equipment, it'd still face, in the worst case, tanks that are not particularly armored, and would be somewhat less capable. It can afford a reduced capability with its tanks especially when it was just revealed the UK will only be able to deploy a brigade by 2025.


Not really. They are tending to 105mm or smaller. Even the latest 120mm Griffon III is being rearmed with a 40mm. They also have issues being narrow and higher than a tank - firing off the centreline becomes increasingly harder as the guns get bigger.
Not sure where you got this trend from.
Sure, you got vehicles like the Type 16, CM-32, and Stryker M1128, but those were either designed around a reference threat that used mostly light armor. The Chinese army, for example, uses light armor primarily, and will hardly try to deploy MBTs were it to invade Japan's islands, for example.
But then, you got light armored vehicles with 120mm guns or higher, like the Centauro 2 and Sprut-SD (125mm). That's because their reference threats are heavy armor.
Now, if an 18 ton Sprut can mount a 125mm gun, I'm sure a 38 ton Ajax can mount a 120mm gun.

I am confident that you did not properly understand the Griffon demonstrators. They were made to create a reference concept for the army's different AFV programs.
Griffin 1 - MPF demonstrator armed with a 120mm XM360 gun, a more capable gun than the M256, developed for the FCS and matured since then.
Griffin 2 - Revised MPF demonstrator armed with a 105mm gun following the army's requirement of a 105mm gun. So they did not reduce the caliber because it wasn't feasible. They did it because the Army asked for something else.
Griffin 3 - OMFV demonstrator armed with a 50mm gun. The MPF and OMFV are 2 separate programs with very different requirements. The MPF is a light tank for the airborne units, and the OMFV is an IFV.


Even then you are missing the problem with bigger ammo; there is already problems with space in MPF. A Stryker troop carries the same amount of main gun ammo as 1.5 Abrams. So your MPF is going to need more logistic support (I know, I know, M1 fuel...) than an MBT - possibly 2 - 3 times as much.... Is there funding for that?
I don't know why the M1128 carries so little (18 rounds), especially with the 105mm.
In contrast, the 120mm armed Centauro and CV90120 can fit 31 and 33 rounds respectively.


MBTs are no worse to move strategically than anything other than light infantry - and the last is irrelevant. It's a constant cry, but when you look at the force as a whole, the MBTs offer negligible increase in mass or bulk and it can be ignored. Every time we run the maths it comes out that MBT are no less strategically mobile than anything else and increase the survivability of the deployed force. It's literally increased effect for no cost
Can you provide any examples?
 
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Part 2:
APS isn't the golden answer. It has a number of issues, in this case the four big ones being weight, cost, infantry and rounds:

1 - APS weigh a lot. An Ajax MPF is already hitting the upper weight limit of the chassis (as is every MPF out there). So what do you give up for the needed tonnes?

2 - the cost of APS. Are they factored in to the Ajax budget? What is the cost of adding APS? There's more integration costs there too - especially between radios, ECM and sights. Bills are adding up here.

3 - APS means no infantry close by. So you've lost you best defence against the enemy infantry and RPGs. It undermines the combined arms team. This isn't an Ajax problem, and when MBTs get APS they'll need to solve too.

4 - APS works against some types of rounds. KE is still variable, top-down likewise. Adding more to counter these adds cost and weight.

All up, relying on APS adds lots of negatives to achieve what the MBT has right now. And adding that APS to the MBT makes it even better.
1)The lightest and cheapest APS on the market is the Iron Fist IF-LD, which weighs 329kg in total. I personally don't see how it can reach even half that weight, but I trust the company's own stats. Its former direct competitor, the Trophy, weighed roughly 800kg in its heaviest version, more than a decade ago. Today the Trophy is much smaller and lighter than it once was. So "tonnes" is not the correct word here.

2)That depends. If you're not planning on using your AFVs, then yes they're quite an expensive kit. But then, I'd argue these AFVs are expensive to begin with.
But if you're using them, even a fraction of your AFVs, then an APS is not just extremely cheap, it's actually an amazing cost cutting tool.
Let's invent some statistics here, shall we?
A platform costs $5 million. You deploy a brigade of 100 platforms, totaling $500 million. We ignore support costs.
The Trophy APS cost the IDF $300,000 a piece about a decade ago, so we'll go with that.
The new brigade now costs $530 million, an increase in $30 million.
The following scenario is without an APS:

Say, 30% of tanks suffered some form of damage.
15% of tanks suffered some form of penetration.
5% of tanks suffered a K-kill.

Without an APS, those 5 tanks are worth $25 million. That's already very close to the investment made for the APS. For the sake of the argument, i.e to give you an additional advantage, let's say the repair bill for the remaining 10 penetrated tanks and further 15 somehow damaged tanks is a mere $5 million.

Now you've made both scenarios economically equal, without support costs. But you're left with only 85% of your tanks in fully working order, and you've got tens of KIA. None's gonna fill those 15% for at least a few months, unless you're taking them away from other units.

Next scenario:
The whole brigade has APS. Taking out one tank takes 4-6 ATGMs or shots before you can even hit it. A typical platoon of 3 tanks can defeat 12-18 projectiles before starting to take losses.
When an APS detects fire, it slews the tank's gun onto the target, and the shooter beautifully appears on the gunner's screen, and you're closing an OODA loop within 5-15 seconds, depending on your proficiency and whether or not the gun is loaded. An enemy must commit much more resources and efforts into achieving the same effect.

But these numbers were taken, very roughly, from the 2006 Lebanon War with some tweaks for your advantage. That was combat against a hybrid force. Look at near peer, or peer adversaries, and the numbers go way up.

Also, an APS really only adds interceptors and a launcher to an existing AFV. The radars and HMI already exist on a vehicle. And if they don't, then that's bad because AFVs need radars regardless of an APS. Or any other type of reliable hostile fire detector for that matter.

3)No infantry close by is a myth. The first wide scale combat use of a modern APS was in 2014 (barring the Soviet Zaslon which was far too crude to ever become mature). Prior to that, industry (ahem.. Raytheon) lobbied against Trophy because it was allegedly dangerous to nearby infantry (even though test footage clearly showed Raytheon's own Quick Kill system produced far more lethal fragments than Trophy). Yet in 2014, in a 50 day war, infantry have operated close to tanks just the same as they have operated before, and not a single Trophy-related casualty was reported. A total of 15 interceptions were made. Infantrymen were seen hugging tanks fairly frequently, and overall everyone was thrilled about the system's combat debut.

4)I gave you earlier the example of Iron Fist LD. To turn it into the Iron Fist LK, which can defeat kinetic projectiles, you only need to change the interceptors. Unless a single interceptor that is manually loaded weighs hundreds of kilograms each, I'm convinced the Iron Fist remains light enough to use it in any case.

So there you have it - a modular, easy to integrate, ultra light APS that can easily defeat KEP, top attack munitions, ATGMs, RPGs, and so on.
 

Shanesworld

Active Member
Is anyone aware of any developments involving ultra high molecular weight polyethylene? (UHMWPE). I ask because there are companies adapting it to body armour and there is a you tube clip with Jerry miculek shooting an UHMWPE plate with a. 50 barret (it's a good watch). Just wondering if it would suit as vehicular armour. The stuff we buy is 0.96 density or 960kg per cubic metre compared to 7850 kg/m^3 for most steels or 4000 ish for ceramic armour.
 

OldTex

Member
Is anyone aware of any developments involving ultra high molecular weight polyethylene? (UHMWPE). I ask because there are companies adapting it to body armour and there is a you tube clip with Jerry miculek shooting an UHMWPE plate with a. 50 barret (it's a good watch). Just wondering if it would suit as vehicular armour. The stuff we buy is 0.96 density or 960kg per cubic metre compared to 7850 kg/m^3 for most steels or 4000 ish for ceramic armour.
I think it might be usable (in a fashion) for vehicle armour if trying to achieve STANAG 2 level of protection, based on its use for body armour. There would be a lot of questions regarding the parameters of the test on YouTube that you mention, such as size of the plate, mounting arrangement, angle of impact, thickness of the plate etc that would need to be answered before an expert could give a reasoned response.

But for any higher levels it is unlikely to be suitable. That is just my opinion and I am happy to be corrected/educated to the contrary.
 

FormerDirtDart

Active Member
Is anyone aware of any developments involving ultra high molecular weight polyethylene? (UHMWPE). I ask because there are companies adapting it to body armour and there is a you tube clip with Jerry miculek shooting an UHMWPE plate with a. 50 barret (it's a good watch). Just wondering if it would suit as vehicular armour. The stuff we buy is 0.96 density or 960kg per cubic metre compared to 7850 kg/m^3 for most steels or 4000 ish for ceramic armour.
I think it might be usable (in a fashion) for vehicle armour if trying to achieve STANAG 2 level of protection, based on its use for body armour. There would be a lot of questions regarding the parameters of the test on YouTube that you mention, such as size of the plate, mounting arrangement, angle of impact, thickness of the plate etc that would need to be answered before an expert could give a reasoned response.

But for any higher levels it is unlikely to be suitable. That is just my opinion and I am happy to be corrected/educated to the contrary.
I saw yesterday (Shane's question sent me down the "google hole"), unfortunately I can't find it again, that UHMWPE plates degrade with prolonged periods of high heat. Such as leaving them in a car trunk. Might be why you're not seeing it touted in vehicle applications.
I also saw what likely was the video Shane referenced. And, I'll say I was pretty damn surprised.
It's the " .50 CAL VS BODY ARMOR??!?! YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT!!! " video from "Jerry Miculek - Pro Shooter" in this google search t.ly/M2LL
 

OldTex

Member
Stuart Crawford has written an opinion article for UK Defence Journal called "Why is the British Army's equipment procurement so shambolic?". Despite its title it looks solely at the armoured vehicle procurement woes, specifically CR2 (CLIP and CLEP), Warrior (WSCP), AJAX and MIV (Boxer to everyone else).
The initial part of the article does compare Army procurement against both RN and RAF, but in a generic high level broad brush sense only. The more detailed look at the armoured vehicle procurements do suggest that in many cases the "political" drive to have a British product has resulted in poor choices and wasted time and money (in some cases lots of both). The article only just touches on some of the other types of armoured vehicles used by artillery (AS-90 and MLRS) and the lack of air-defence types. This lack of interest is most likely due to the author being an ex-tank officer.
 
I saw yesterday (Shane's question sent me down the "google hole"), unfortunately I can't find it again, that UHMWPE plates degrade with prolonged periods of high heat. Such as leaving them in a car trunk. Might be why you're not seeing it touted in vehicle applications.
I also saw what likely was the video Shane referenced. And, I'll say I was pretty damn surprised.
It's the " .50 CAL VS BODY ARMOR??!?! YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT!!! " video from "Jerry Miculek - Pro Shooter" in this google search t.ly/M2LL
That is really interesting- if you do find it I would love to have a read. I've only had pretty quick and dirty experience with UHMWPE. Speccing in on Slideways, chassis and deck packing sort of stuff. But the specs I had were sustained operation at 75 deg C (no time periods or detail on testing standard) and short exposure to 170 deg C. My current supplier has about 7 flavours of UHMWPE with one mentioning a elevated temp capability but never used it.
But I have been wondering why it hasnt been adopted or adapted more quickly and that could well be it. Heat and fatigue in combination maybe?
But yes that video is awesome and I was surprised too. I showed to some army staff here and we all had a chuckle.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Stuart Crawford has written an opinion article for UK Defence Journal called "Why is the British Army's equipment procurement so shambolic?". Despite its title it looks solely at the armoured vehicle procurement woes, specifically CR2 (CLIP and CLEP), Warrior (WSCP), AJAX and MIV (Boxer to everyone else).
The initial part of the article does compare Army procurement against both RN and RAF, but in a generic high level broad brush sense only. The more detailed look at the armoured vehicle procurements do suggest that in many cases the "political" drive to have a British product has resulted in poor choices and wasted time and money (in some cases lots of both). The article only just touches on some of the other types of armoured vehicles used by artillery (AS-90 and MLRS) and the lack of air-defence types. This lack of interest is most likely due to the author being an ex-tank officer.
I think the problem isn't so much the desire to buy British (some other countries of similar size manage AFV procurement better while favouring domestic producers) as the failure to maintain procurement at a steady rate, & insistence on products that aren't of much interest to foreign customers. If you're going to buy from domestic producers you have to keep doing it, or buy things that the producers can export when you aren't buying. You can't get them all tooled up for products built to a unique requirement, then stop buying for a while & expect them to still be there to buy from when you come up with another unique requirement.

Right now we're buying a family of foreign-designed AFVs that are based on AFVs built for other armies but so heavily modified that they're bespoke, effectively a new family unique to the British army, & we've paid for a new factory (a former forklift factory, rebuilt) to build them in. There used to be AFV factories which could have done the work, but they were allowed to wither on the vine, their workforces dispersed, or retired & no successors trained & given a chance to acquire experience. We've not even given a steady flow of work keeping our current fleet up to date. Stop-start, announce a modernisation project & spend forever talking about it.

About ten years ago I totted up the money which official statements said had been spent on various AFV projects, none of which had resulted in the delivery of a single vehicle to the army. From the mid 1990s to the late 2000s, it came to about a billion pounds* - for which we got absolutely nothing. Consider the Boxer: we were in on the ground floor, a development partner. Then we pulled out. The money we'd spent was lost. Over the next decade we evaluated various options, spending millions on evaluations & trials, with talk of the solution being "anything but Boxer", because the people who'd cancelled it were still in charge, & eventually, with different people in charge, a decision was made. We'd buy Boxer!

The line it would have been built on no longer existed, of course.

So we keep having to rebuild what we threw away.

It doesn't only happen in AFVs. The RN's got some shiny new OPVs at a rather high price. Nice vessels, better than their predecessors, but we probably didn't really need them. We did need, though, to buy something from BAE, because a previous government had tried to avoid stop-start ordering by locking itself into a contract to keep a flow of work going, with a basic payment guaranteed even if we didn't buy anything, to keep the facilities & skilled workers available. Made sense - until the government couldn't get its act together to place orders, even though there was a product (Type 26) ready to buy, which the navy wanted & needed. The OPVs were bought mostly to keep the yard busy until T26 production got underway & so we'd get something useful instead of giving money to BAE for nothing.

BTW, I've heard a story of functional Challenger IIs being cut up at greater cost than storing them. Decision made that we didn't need 'em so they had to be destroyed. Cost of destruction was not factored into the decision. Can't vouch for it, but it's depressingly credible.

*An expert witness has testified that the total spending on not buying AFVs to date has been much more than my old tally of public announcements, about £5.6bn.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Store or destroy, reminds me of Canada’s decision to destroy the entire inventory of FN rifles when the army moved to a new assault weapon. Could have given them to the Canadian rangers for military duty even though they would still want their ancient LE 303s for hunting. Mind you they are now very happy with their new Finnish rifles chambered for 7.62 mm.
 

OldTex

Member
It has been reported that the UK Parliament Defence select committee has said that "army vehicles are obsolete and sub-standard....mobile coffins". The committee would not guarantee that contracts would be funded for replacement or upgrade. These contracts would include CR2 (CLIP and CLEP) and WSCP, plus (more ominously) AJAX and BOXER. The select committee reportedly said every single capability will be examined in the ISDR.
It smacks of politicians decrying the state of the armed forces equipment, capabilities and effectiveness while at the same time denying the funds needed to improve the situation. It begs the question of whether, if sued in the future by the families of service personnel killed in action, the politicians would stand up in a court and admit that they knew they were putting those lives at risk. I suspect the politicians would hide behind parliamentary privilege.
 
It has been reported that the UK Parliament Defence select committee has said that "army vehicles are obsolete and sub-standard....mobile coffins". The committee would not guarantee that contracts would be funded for replacement or upgrade.... It smacks of politicians decrying the state of the armed forces equipment, capabilities and effectiveness while at the same time denying the funds needed to improve the situation.
The Select Committee has no control over the MoD's budget, either what the Treasury gives them every year or how the MoD spends it. If they said there was no guarantee they were merely stating what they thought was likely to be the case rather than saying what they wanted to happen.
 
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