British Army News and Discussion

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
That's what I'm thinking as well - we'll have to hold off on an actual announcement but if WCSP goes away and Boxer (which I do like immensely for what it is) fills that role, then we're giving up a chunk of punching power,
Not necessarily. The Boxer buy needs to be fast to fill a certain capacity. But none has yet ruled out a firepower upgrade, and there are plenty of options available on the market, already integrated to the Boxer or easily integrated if needed.


If this is true, it will be interesting to see what happens with the organisation of 3 (UK) Div, as both the strike an armoured brigade will seemingly be mounted in Boxer. Indeed, it looks like the only difference between them will be that the armoured brigades will have tank regiments while the strike brigades will have Ajax regiments. This will be a pretty terrible outcome, as all brigades will have a mixture of wheels and tracks, meaning you lose the advantages of both.
My knowledge in automotives is lacking, I admit. But someone who does have the relevant knowledge explained the subject fairly plainly to me - the major differences between wheels and tracks go beyond their mobility, with mobility not being q substantial difference today.

Terrain that's considered too difficult for wheels will be something even a purely tracked formation will try to avoid, because recovering a vehicle or repairing a thrown track will be substantially harder and slower there.

At least in most types of terrain (except snow/ice) a wheeled vehicle will do just as good as a tracked vehicle, as long as the drivers are properly trained, especially with tech like terrain matched tire pressure.

Seeing the Eitan in Israel, it passed the same courses and obstacles that vehicles like the Merkava and Namer pass in exercises, and there is a very diverse set of terrains here.

Users of wheeled vehicles are looking to reduce logistical footprint, improve deployability, and make certain assets more expendable.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Ordinarily, taking that sentence in isolation, I'd read it as strong words indeed. Looking at it in context, I'm finding you guilty of some English understatement there.


What a horrible screwup if true. Last update from LockMart has them at 80% of the missions required - I'm guessing nothing has been delivered en-masse as yet.

I'm wondering if that will all be replaced by Boxer if more of the Ajax variants will be added?
Some of the less idiotic politicians out there agee -
Defense panel rips into British Army over ‘deplorable’ state of armored vehicles
"Deplorable"
“We are astonished that between 1997 and late 2020 (with the exception of a small number of armoured engineering and Viking protected mobility vehicles) the Department had not delivered a single new armoured vehicle from the core procurement program into operational service with the Army.”

'the committee said it is “astonished” that the Boxer contract only provides for production of one vehicle a week '
So it'd take a long time to replace the Warriors.

Re. your point about reduced firepower if the replacement is all Boxer, LM has a proposal for a compact unmanned turret using the CT40 & apparently other bits from the WCSP turret, but how long would it take?
Lockheed Martin UK worries that Warrior upgrade could be threatened by defence cuts

Aha!
"• Lockheed Martin has been dependent on the provision of various pieces of Government Furnished Equipment. The Programme was also affected by the sale of the MoD’s Defence Support Group; and
• The most significant delay to the Programme was caused by the MoD changing the specification of the cannon, which resulted in a contract amendment in 2016.
"
So . . . I think we see a pattern. Same old, same old . . .
Still no date for Warrior Capability Sustainment contract

When will they learn? MoD procurement needs a bloody good kicking. The same problems, over & over again.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Seeing the Eitan in Israel, it passed the same courses and obstacles that vehicles like the Merkava and Namer pass in exercises, and there is a very diverse set of terrains here.
There’s more to mobility than just being able to traverse the same ground. A tracked vehicle will allow you to traverse broken ground much quicker than a wheeled vehicle, with less likelihood of damage, and its pivot steer allows better manoeuvring around (or through) obstacles. Put in the context of a mechanised force conducting an assault, tracked vehicles will be able to move through the enemy’s engagement area and obstacle plan quicker than wheeled vehicles, with obvious advantages. We have Boxer in Australia and it’s mobility is pretty good for such a large vehicle, but it still cannot keep up with an Abrams over broken ground.

Users of wheeled vehicles are looking to reduce logistical footprint, improve deployability, and make certain assets more expendable.
Precisely. The advantage of wheels is the better operational mobility. They can travel further and faster with less support, so provide manoeuvre options that tracked vehicles cannot. That is the problem with combining wheels and tracks in the one formation - you lose the advantages of both. You cannot take advantage of the operational mobility of the wheeled vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the tracked vehicles, and you cannot take advantage of the tactical mobility of the tracked vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the wheeled vehicles.

Compare the freedom of action and manoeuvre possibilities of a US Stryker brigade, where everyone is mounted in an identical wheeled vehicle, with a British Strike brigade with tracked Ajax and wheeled Boxer. One makes sense and one doesn’t.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Also, if Boxer is not fitted with a turret it will be a massive decrease in combat power, particularly as there are no ATGMs fitted to any variant of Ajax. The only anti tank capability within the brigades will be the 120mm of the tanks and dismounted javelin. Far from ideal.
Choosing the Javelin was probably the wrong decision.
Way I see it, there are 2 options for the Javelin:
1)Integrate them in an external turret mount, where they are relatively exposed.
2)Have an OEM upgrade it to do LOAL and 3rd party guidance.

First option downgrades capability versus existing and tested solutions. Second capability is very expensive.

The best options for the UK are the MMP and Spike LR2. Specifically the Spike might be better as it's already integrated to a wide range of turrets, but MBDA's presence in the UK offers an advantage for the MMP if the UK prefers a long term integration effort.

Either way, the UK will have to replace the Javelin if it wants its ATGM to fit in with its grander strategy. Both the Spike and MMP are excellent and truly modern missiles that are networked, have man in the loop, fire and forget, and are LOAL.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
There’s more to mobility than just being able to traverse the same ground. A tracked vehicle will allow you to traverse broken ground much quicker than a wheeled vehicle, with less likelihood of damage, and its pivot steer allows better manoeuvring around (or through) obstacles. Put in the context of a mechanised force conducting an assault, tracked vehicles will be able to move through the enemy’s engagement area and obstacle plan quicker than wheeled vehicles, with obvious advantages. We have Boxer in Australia and it’s mobility is pretty good for such a large vehicle, but it still cannot keep up with an Abrams over broken ground.



Precisely. The advantage of wheels is the better operational mobility. They can travel further and faster with less support, so provide manoeuvre options that tracked vehicles cannot. That is the problem with combining wheels and tracks in the one formation - you lose the advantages of both. You cannot take advantage of the operational mobility of the wheeled vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the tracked vehicles, and you cannot take advantage of the tactical mobility of the tracked vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the wheeled vehicles.

Compare the freedom of action and manoeuvre possibilities of a US Stryker brigade, where everyone is mounted in an identical wheeled vehicle, with a British Strike brigade with tracked Ajax and wheeled Boxer. One makes sense and one doesn’t.

That's what I'm thinking - tacking on another few hundred boxer to an existing order might look okay from an accountant's perspective but reality on the ground will be a bit of a wakeup call.

I guess we stick around and see if WCSP really does get binned or if this is another one of the regular scare stories to do with defence cuts.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member

...
About 150-170 tanks will remain in service and be upgraded to a truly modern standard.
All Warriors (758) will be "abandoned", and replaced by the Boxer, as a cost cutting measure. It's worth noting the Warriors were supposed to be upgraded under the WCSP program to a modern standard, for over 2 billion dollars.
The army will be downsized and the nuclear warhead cap will remain at 180.
...
The Guardian reporting that the warhead count will actually be increased to 260 (+44%)
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
The Guardian reporting that the warhead count will actually be increased to 260 (+44%)
Bit of a strange decision to increase Warhead numbers by 44% when you are decreasing the number of deployed Missiles from 16-12 in the Dreadnought class. Should Britain really be spending more money on Nuclear Warheads and at the same time cutting Conventional forces? is it a good idea for Britain to have more Warheads then MBTs? or Fighter Jets?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Bit of a strange decision to increase Warhead numbers by 44% when you are decreasing the number of deployed Missiles from 16-12 in the Dreadnought class. Should Britain really be spending more money on Nuclear Warheads and at the same time cutting Conventional forces? is it a good idea for Britain to have more Warheads then MBTs? or Fighter Jets?
I think all these figures being bandied around are the media reading their tea leaves and coffee grounds trying to out guess each other in what the review contains. All will be revealed later today, but TBH I am not being optimistic because based upon history, I see this as a cost saving measure regardless of what has been said. If they really are genuine in wanting to save costs and move funds to the pointy end, they should completely ratiionalise the MOD. Maybe gut it by 75 - 90%. Then completely professionalise the procurement system bringing in industry standard best practices. That alone will save billions.
 

Mikeymike

Member
The Guardian reporting that the warhead count will actually be increased to 260 (+44%)
My guess this is the amount they believe they need to nearly fully arm the Dreadnought Class.

If you have 260 warheads it allows a third (~86) being replenished/maintained, a third (~86) ready to go on an outbound sub and a third (~86) deployed on the deployed submarine. This mostly lines up with what each sub is capable of being armed with. 12 missiles with 8 warheads each = 96

If you have 180 that is ~60 in each third which assuming the above logic follows is 7.5 missiles with the full 8 warheads or 5 warheads per missile for the full 12.

That is assuming that the split between deployed/maintenance and ready to deploy is a third which I have no idea if is the case.
 

Navor86

Member

I wonder how this new Regiment will fit in?
For my definition a Ranger unit is a SOF light infantry outfit. The British Army already has such a unit with Special Forces Support Group.
So my take is that this force will not be a light infantry uni but more like the British equivalent of the US Army Green Berets.
 

Hone C

Active Member
I wonder how this new Regiment will fit in?
For my definition a Ranger unit is a SOF light infantry outfit. The British Army already has such a unit with Special Forces Support Group.
So my take is that this force will not be a light infantry uni but more like the British equivalent of the US Army Green Berets.
In my opinion it would make some sense to re-role 2 & 3 PARA for SOF type infantry ops, working to DSF. Essentially an expansion of SFSG.

What I suspect the new Ranger Regiment will end up being is the 4 existing Specialist Infantry Battalions being re cap-badged. They are already in the short term training team business, so won't be too far from their existing role.

I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
 
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FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
In my opinion it would make some sense to re-role 2 & 3 PARA for SOF type infantry ops, working to DSF. Essentially an expansion of SFSG.

What I suspect the new Ranger Regiment will end up being is the 4 existing Specialist Infantry Battalions being re cap-badged. They are already in the short term training team business, so won't be too far from their existing role.

I guess we'll find out tomorrow.
I suggest you reread the article. It clearly identifies a entirely separate new 'Security Force Assistance Brigade', that will "... will also offer training and guidance ...". Seems pretty reasonable to assume that will be the Specialized Infantry Group renamed and possibly bolstered.
 

Hone C

Active Member

The 'Defence in a Competitive Age' paper is out now.

The new Ranger Regiment will be drawn from 1 Scots, 2 Lancs, 4 Rifles and 2 PWRR, and form part of a new Army Special Operations Brigade.

The Security Force Assistance Brigade will be separate and drawn from across Army.
 
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StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
The quote that had me cracked up :

"The armed forces, working with the rest of government, must think and act differently. They will no longer be held as a force of last resort, but become more present and active around the world"

Given the task loadings the UK armed forces have borne in the last three decades, I'm wondering what happens when they're no longer seen as the "last resort"
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Quite a few additional bits that leave more questions than answering.
Defence Secretary oral statement on the Defence Command Paper

the British Army will reorganise into seven brigade combat teams, two heavy, one deep strike, one air manoeuvre, and two light, plus a Combat Aviation Brigade.
I'm guessing that means the four brigades in 1st Div (4th, 7th, 11th & 51st) will be consolidated into two "Light Brigade Combat Teams" (using just the non-Reserve bits?)

so we will enhance the existing 16 Air Assault Brigade with an additional infantry unit, supported by upgraded Apache Attack Helicopters. Together they will create a Global Response Force for both crisis response and warfighting.
So, where the hell is an extra infantry battalion coming from? I mean they're reducing one (2 Mercain) from the overall ORBAT while adding four "Ranger Battalions" while also manning the 'Security Force Assistance Brigade'. Which I guess will be built around the gutted remnants of the SIG battalions after personnel for the Ranger Rgt are picked away

Also, what is a "Deep Recce Strike Brigade Combat Team"?
Can't help but think of the 'Heavy/Light Reconnaissance Strike Groups' that Douglas Macgregor has been touting for two decades since publishing "Breaking the Phalanx"

Have to say, the whole increasing specialized units while reducing manpower strikes me a awfully 'pie in the sky'
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
More 'glossy' brochures Future Soldier - Transforming The British Army
It does provide a bit of info on the Light Brigade Combat Teams (pg 10). One gets light cavalry in Jackals and and light mechanized infantry in Foxhounds, the other gets light cavalry (in some unidentified conveyance) and light infantry in ... boots I guess /s/

I will add, that in all of these recent documents, the Army sure seems a bit possessive of the Chinooks. Which seems odd to me since they don't own any.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
May not own any, but they use 'em a lot. I think from the army's point of view the RAF Chinooks exist to carry soldiers & their equipment around.
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
There’s more to mobility than just being able to traverse the same ground. A tracked vehicle will allow you to traverse broken ground much quicker than a wheeled vehicle, with less likelihood of damage, and its pivot steer allows better manoeuvring around (or through) obstacles. Put in the context of a mechanised force conducting an assault, tracked vehicles will be able to move through the enemy’s engagement area and obstacle plan quicker than wheeled vehicles, with obvious advantages. We have Boxer in Australia and it’s mobility is pretty good for such a large vehicle, but it still cannot keep up with an Abrams over broken ground.



Precisely. The advantage of wheels is the better operational mobility. They can travel further and faster with less support, so provide manoeuvre options that tracked vehicles cannot. That is the problem with combining wheels and tracks in the one formation - you lose the advantages of both. You cannot take advantage of the operational mobility of the wheeled vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the tracked vehicles, and you cannot take advantage of the tactical mobility of the tracked vehicles as you are limited to the mobility of the wheeled vehicles.

Compare the freedom of action and manoeuvre possibilities of a US Stryker brigade, where everyone is mounted in an identical wheeled vehicle, with a British Strike brigade with tracked Ajax and wheeled Boxer. One makes sense and one doesn’t.
The UK Strike Brigade is dead, they've moving to combined arms battle groups instead, made up of CH3, Ajax, Boxer and deep fires.

The UK are following the French lead, they've mixed wheel's and track's for years - all platforms bar Leclerc derivatives and arctic BV's are now on wheels (IFV through to Artillery).

Like you've said, reducing tracks for all but heavy armour greatly reduces the need for HETs and lowers the maintenance burden. You could argue that even tracked armies rely on wheels. Wheels still bring petrol, oil, lubricants and rations to the frontline. It will also be interesting to see if the US introduce the mobile protected fire power light tank to striker brigades. If they do you will also see a mix of wheels and tracks.

Since the UK has withdrawn from Germany (old BAOR day's), mobility now trumps heavy armour protection. UK's BOAR gap has been replaced by Poland, which is investing in heavy armour as a continental power close to Russia. UK forces, if they're to contribute in meaningful way to the defence of mainland Europe, need to be able to deploy at speed to make a difference. The best way to do that is invest in self deployable assets (wheels + airmobile units), this will leave the limited number of HETs to move the CH3's and tracked engineer/bridging units from the railheads (assuming they're not already smoking ruins) to the start line.
 
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Takao

The Bunker Group
Like you've said, reducing tracks for all but heavy armour greatly reduces the need for HETs and lowers the maintenance burden. You could argue that even tracked armies rely on wheels. Wheels still bring petrol, oil, lubricants and rations to the frontline. It will also be interesting to see if the US introduce the mobile protected fire power light tank to striker brigades. If they do you will also see a mix of wheels and tracks.
No it doesn't. Wheels still need everything that tracks do for anything reasonable. Two examples demonstrate this - the French decision to ship their wheeled armour to Estonia recently and the fact that as much as possible we truck our ASLAVs around. Plus it ignores the bit where wheels can't keep up with tracks tactically.

You are correct about the logistics chain being wheeled; but a truck is orders of magnitude less complicated and more reliable than an AFV.

Since the UK has withdrawn from Germany (old BAOR day's), mobility now trumps heavy armour protection. UK's BOAR gap has been replaced by Poland, which is investing in heavy armour as a continental power close to Russia. UK forces, if they're to contribute in meaningful way to the defence of mainland Europe, need to be able to deploy at speed to make a difference. The best way to do that is invest in self deployable assets (wheels + airmobile units), this will leave the limited number of HETs to move the CH3's and tracked engineer/bridging units from the railheads (assuming they're not already smoking ruins) to the start line.
Yet to see this claim proven. Again, every time wheeled AFVs have been deployed over more than, say 400 km, has been via the same means as tracked. The French, often held up as the example, have yet to deploy their armour by wheels.

 
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