British Army News and Discussion

RJH_APAC

New Member
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.



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.

I fully understand your argument, but the Estonia example was a peacetime deployment. If we’re talking about a war situation, infrastructure will already be severely damaged or compromised (rail networks/MSRs destroyed or choked with refugees), so you may have no alternative but to move under your own steam from West to East. This is where wheels have the advantage if HET numbers are limited.
Every solution involves compromise. The triangle of: armour, firepower and mobility means one of the three pillars is always sacrificed to boost the other two. During BAOR days the argument for Chieftain was it could breakdown and still act as a heavily armoured pillbox. It was already prepositioned close to the ground it would fight on. Circumstances dictated the design to favour armour and firepower over mobility. This is no longer the case, the UK has withdrawn the bulk of its forces back to mainland Britain and needs to reevaluate the triangle and focus more on the mobility pillar. The UK still needs tanks, these (and AJAX) require and will suck up all available HET assets. So there may be zero choice but to add wheels to the mix to move the infantry, whilst the heavy armour rides the HET.
 
Last edited:

swerve

Super Moderator
IIRC the Saxon APC was conceived as a lightly armoured troop transport, rather than an AFV, & one report I read said that the modest number (75?) bought by the Ukrainian army were seen as satisfactory in that role by their users.

You wouldn't want to try keeping up with tanks in a battle in one, though.

South African mine-protected APCs were self-deploying across long distances in Namibia & Angola, AFAIK.
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
UK Boxers will have larger engines than most current variants used in Europe, which means they can theoretically carry more weight, which should mean the theatre entry version could be fitted with additional armour to reach STANAG levels not far off a tracked AFV. They desperately need a turret though, remote if possible to minimise the loss of crew space. The UK does tend to favour manned over unmanned turrets, provides for better situational awareness if you can sit high, head out the turret, using the mark 1 eyeball.

Hoping the MOD will bite the bullet and invest in a swing fire variant too for AJAX or Boxer. I’d prefer that solution to fitting ATGMs to the turret of AFVs (I still don’t think ATGMs can be fired on the move, could be wrong though?). Leave it to sit back and provide overwatch as Boxer/AJAX move around the battlefield. Fit the swing fire version with a decent NLOS ATGM (Spike LR, Spear 3 or Brimstone).

@RJH_APAC You are a newbie here and so far your posts look good and informative. One of the rules here is that posters provide links to sources, unless the source is an offline source. In that case the source is to be cited properly. This protects both you and the forum from accusations of plagiarism. We also take OPSEC seriously as well. So if you are going to mention something that isn't in the public domain don't. Please read the rules and there is also a link in my signature

Anyway please provide sources for your claim regarding the size difference between the UK Boxer engine and the Euro Boxer engines.

Ngatimozart.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

RJH_APAC

New Member
UK Boxers will have larger engines than most current variants used in Europe, which means they can theoretically carry more weight, which should mean the theatre entry version could be fitted with additional armour to reach STANAG levels not far off a tracked AFV. They desperately need a turret though, remote if possible to minimise the loss of crew space. The UK does tend to favour manned over unmanned turrets, provides for better situational awareness if you can sit high, head out the turret, using the mark 1 eyeball.

Hoping the MOD will bite the bullet and invest in a swing fire variant too for AJAX or Boxer. I’d prefer that solution to fitting ATGMs to the turret of AFVs (I still don’t think ATGMs can be fired on the move, could be wrong though?). Leave it to sit back and provide overwatch as Boxer/AJAX move around the battlefield. Fit the swing fire version with a decent NLOS ATGM (Spike LR, Spear 3 or Brimstone).

@RJH_APAC You are a newbie here and so far your posts look good and informative. One of the rules here is that posters provide links to sources, unless the source is an offline source. In that case the source is to be cited properly. This protects both you and the forum from accusations of plagiarism. We also take OPSEC seriously as well. So if you are going to mention something that isn't in the public domain don't. Please read the rules and there is also a link in my signature

Anyway please provide sources for your claim regarding the size difference between the UK Boxer engine and the Euro Boxer engines.

Ngatimozart.
My bad, I understood the the UK version will be A3, with more power. Older Boxer’s have been produced in A0, A1 and A2 configurations. The Australian’s are buying an A2/A3 hybrid. The engine shares commonality with AJAX.
 

OldTex

Active Member
The new Command Paper (CP 411) "Defence in a competitive age" included the following (in para 7.39) -
"Investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s will enable a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one; including the replacement of Puma."
Other sources (such as UK Defence Journal) have made the assessment that around 48 helicopters would be retired (including 20 HC2 Pumas, 5 Bell 212 and 23 AH1 Gazelles). It begs the question as to the single type that might be selected. Two possible choices would be AW101 Merlin or H225M, with the H225M being similar to the Puma while the Merlin is already in service. As to the number of new medium lift helicopters to be acquired it would be very unlikely that it would be on a 1-for-1 basis.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Gazelle is hardly a medium lift helicopter.

There seems to some mix-up in "a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types". Since when has the Army had four types of medium lift helicopters?

The H225M is a lot bigger & heavier than the Pumas operated by the British armed forces.
 

OldTex

Active Member
Gazelle is hardly a medium lift helicopter.

There seems to some mix-up in "a consolidation of the Army’s disparate fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types". Since when has the Army had four types of medium lift helicopters?

The H225M is a lot bigger & heavier than the Pumas operated by the British armed forces.
I agree that the Gazelle is definitely not a medium lift helicopter by any stretch of the imagination. It might be that the other medium lift helicopters are the Bell Griffon HAR2 (3 supporting RAF) and the SA365 Dauphin II (5 supporting the SAS).

Other possible replacements could be AW139M, AW149, AW169M, NH-90 or S-70i/UH-60M. It will be interesting to see which helicopter is selected and the number that will eventually be acquired.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The CH-148 is a medium lift helicopter. It has had a troubled development history but seems to be performing now but the price might be an issue.
 

Terran

Well-Known Member
Medium lift in helicopters is a fairly vast term. Covering any number of types with many potential models. Would have to see more definitive requirements before asking for possible options.
I mean if you use Dolphin as the point to reference those two sitting 10+ troops than that opens Airbus helicopter models H160M, H145M(H72 Lakota), Leonardo AW169M, Bell H1Y Venom.
Move it up to 12-14 you get Sikorsky S70 Blackhawk, Leonardo AW139M AW149M, Airbus H175. Long shot wild cards off the FVL program Bell V280 and Boeing Sikorsky Defiant X.

move up again for more utility for the “Super Medium class” 20 seaters. Sikorsky S92 (CH148),NHI NH90, Leonardo AW101 Merlin. I think the latter is unlikely as the British forces already have Merlins and Chinnok the bigger the chopper the more cost and upkeep.
Gazelle is a light chopper mostly a scout or trainer though last I read was targeted to be retired in the 2025 time frame. When the US Army adopted the UH72 Lakota it was targeted to a Utility/Trainer role Airbus offered to modify a Scout off of it to which is why I wouldn’t count the Gazelle replacement off this. The lighter medium class here can do the jobs if built for it. Of course a dedicated light scout/Trainer like the MD Helicopter MD969, Airbus H125M/H135M, Leonardo AW159 ecta have advantages.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Medium lift in helicopters is a fairly vast term. Covering any number of types with many potential models. Would have to see more definitive requirements before asking for possible options.
I mean if you use Dolphin as the point to reference those two sitting 10+ troops than that opens Airbus helicopter models H160M, H145M(H72 Lakota), Leonardo AW169M, Bell H1Y Venom.
Move it up to 12-14 you get Sikorsky S70 Blackhawk, Leonardo AW139M AW149M, Airbus H175. Long shot wild cards off the FVL program Bell V280 and Boeing Sikorsky Defiant X.

move up again for more utility for the “Super Medium class” 20 seaters. Sikorsky S92 (CH148),NHI NH90, Leonardo AW101 Merlin. I think the latter is unlikely as the British forces already have Merlins and Chinnok the bigger the chopper the more cost and upkeep.
Gazelle is a light chopper mostly a scout or trainer though last I read was targeted to be retired in the 2025 time frame. When the US Army adopted the UH72 Lakota it was targeted to a Utility/Trainer role Airbus offered to modify a Scout off of it to which is why I wouldn’t count the Gazelle replacement off this. The lighter medium class here can do the jobs if built for it. Of course a dedicated light scout/Trainer like the MD Helicopter MD969, Airbus H125M/H135M, Leonardo AW159 ecta have advantages.
Probably easier to look at the UK helicopter fleet and work out what "medium" lift" would conform to.

So, Merlin, Puma, maybe Lynx?


This article might shed some light on the matter:

 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Probably easier to look at the UK helicopter fleet and work out what "medium" lift" would conform to.

So, Merlin, Puma, maybe Lynx?


This article might shed some light on the matter:

Lynx would be closer to a light helo than a medium helo.

They had better do a lot better than they have with the NH90. That was overpromised, overpriced, and well overdue deliveries. It's still not reached FOC with many customers with some promised capabilities yet to be delivered. Spares are a major headache as well. It seems to be a current thread amongst Euro military aviation companies that the after sales is very poor, yet Airbus's commercial aviation after sales service is reputed to be some of the best in the world.
 

Terran

Well-Known Member
Leonardo apparently is already pushing AW149M

So they seem to think it’s in the Blackhawk class.

in other news.
NATO E3 will cover for UK till 2023 delivery of E7. Of course not talked about is after that. The UK have been reported to have cut their order to 3 units converted from surplus airliners. Just 3 units makes me wonder about just how effective the cover they can supply will be.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Leonardo apparently is already pushing AW149M

So they seem to think it’s in the Blackhawk class.

...
It's not like they just started. Here's a piece, from Janes this February
Leonardo pitches UK-built AW149 as Puma replacement for RAF

Flight Global, from July last year
Leonardo stays bullish on Puma replacement despite UK’s high-speed helicopter interest

And Aviation Week, September 2017
Leonardo To Offer AW149 As UK Puma Replacement
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
It's not like they just started. Here's a piece, from Janes this February
Leonardo pitches UK-built AW149 as Puma replacement for RAF

Flight Global, from July last year
Leonardo stays bullish on Puma replacement despite UK’s high-speed helicopter interest

And Aviation Week, September 2017
Leonardo To Offer AW149 As UK Puma Replacement
Post BREXIT, UK content will be key, so UK built AW149 would seem the obvious choice. Nothing too fancy, proven design, low maintenance, fuel efficient. Workhorse for SF and Ranger Units (to be tri-service apparently). Forward base a few in Cyprus, Kenya and Brunei.

Wait until the likes of Velor are in-service. I think the UK has learnt enough lessons from trying to buy cutting edge kit that either fails to meet expectations or doesn't materialize at all.
 

OldTex

Active Member
Gazelle is hardly a medium lift helicopter.
I do agree that the Gazelle AH.1 is not a medium lift helicopter. The question that comes to mind is, given that the OSD for the Gazelle is listed as 2023, what will replace it in the liaison and light recce role? The Command Paper gives no indication of a plan to replace the type with a new type, so that suggests that the role will be taken up by the Wildcat Mk1. There was also no mention of acquiring additional Wildcats reduce the workload of the existing airframes.
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
I do agree that the Gazelle AH.1 is not a medium lift helicopter. The question that comes to mind is, given that the OSD for the Gazelle is listed as 2023, what will replace it in the liaison and light recce role? The Command Paper gives no indication of a plan to replace the type with a new type, so that suggests that the role will be taken up by the Wildcat Mk1. There was also no mention of acquiring additional Wildcats reduce the workload of the existing airframes.
I would think the light recce role will become autonomous. There's enough cheap loitering products on the market able to provide eyes and ears to local commanders. Watchkeeper for example. Gazelle is pretty vulnerable too, zero means of defending itself. Why risk an expensively trained pilot who could be better utilised flying a more sophisticated platform.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I would think the light recce role will become autonomous. There's enough cheap loitering products on the market able to provide eyes and ears to local commanders. Watchkeeper for example. Gazelle is pretty vulnerable too, zero means of defending itself. Why risk an expensively trained pilot who could be better utilised flying a more sophisticated platform.

Seems sensible - distributed capability, some of it in the form of UAV's operated from Apache perhaps? As you say, sticking a leaky piece of expensive meat into a glass bubble with multiple points of failure and low resistance to kinetic mishaps seems a bit redundant in this day and age.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I think the UK has learnt enough lessons from trying to buy cutting edge kit that either fails to meet expectations or doesn't materialize at all.
I like your optimism, however history begs to differ. You Pommies do have a habit of being somewhat stubborn about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to defence procurement. If there's a difficult or hard way of doing something you'll find it. However our Canadian cousins do make you and the Indians look good.
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
I like your optimism, however history begs to differ. You Pommies do have a habit of being somewhat stubborn about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to defence procurement. If there's a difficult or hard way of doing something you'll find it. However our Canadian cousins do make you and the Indians look good.
No Western nation is immune to getting caught in the marketing, ‘jobs for the boys’, headlights of defence companies. China and Russia do not appear to suffer the same problem and if they do they keep it very very quiet.

David Hackworth’s book, About Face is full of examples of new kit being rushed into service, which never passed field trials and led to the deaths of soldiers. The recommending General Officer retiring shortly after acceptance then going on to join the board of the company that sold it. Capitalism at it's finest.
 
Last edited:
Top