British Army News and Discussion

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
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.
Australia, Sweden, Norway, Japan and Singapore each have respective procurement systems that avoid this trap, you speak off. If you want to infer this for British system, it is your choice, but please avoid a broad generalisation to war planning by professionals in other systems and countries.
 

RJH_APAC

New Member
Australia, Sweden, Norway, Japan and Singapore each have respective procurement systems that avoid this trap, you speak off. If you want to infer this for British system, it is your choice, but please avoid a broad generalisation to war planning by professionals in other systems and countries.
All I'm saying is be wary of throwing stones in class houses.

You probably need to remove Sweden from your list, research the Bofors Sweden/India 1980-90’s artillery sales scandal.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
All I'm saying is be wary of throwing stones in class houses.
Agreed; we have British DEFPRO members and moderators that are proficient in this area; and they at times express dismay at outcomes that is less than ideal and hard to explain. Thank you.

You probably need to remove Sweden from your list, research the Bofors Sweden/India 1980-90’s artillery sales scandal.
No, I strongly disagree with your statement. Let me share some background on Sweden’s procurement system.
(a) Beginning 1 Jan 2019, the Swedish Armed Forces is a contracting government agency. This follows a period, from 2013 to 2018, in which the Armed Forces instead referred matters of procurement and purchasing to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).
(b) Procurements with a total contract value exceeding the direct procurement limit are announced via the procurement and agreement database, e-Avrop, and/or the EU’s official portal for public procurement notices, Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).

Let’s explain this red text warning:

1. Corruption in India due to the wrongful act of a private company in the ‘80s is not proof that the current Swedish procurement system and its public service, is corrupt — you are making a straw man argument; DT members are proficient in these discussions and know the difference.

2. The Indian procurement system is objectively speaking problematic and likely to have been corrupt, at the relevant time. How much it remains the case or if fixed (at the present time) is not relevant to this thread. If you can’t accept this Mod Team guidance, your time here will be short.
 
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RJH_APAC

New Member
Agreed; we have British DEFPRO members and moderators that are proficient in this area; and they at times express dismay at outcomes that is less than ideal and hard to explain. Thank you.


No, I strongly disagree with your statement. Let me share some background on Sweden’s procurement system.
(a) Beginning 1 Jan 2019, the Swedish Armed Forces is a contracting government agency. This follows a period, from 2013 to 2018, in which the Armed Forces instead referred matters of procurement and purchasing to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV).
(b) Procurements with a total contract value exceeding the direct procurement limit are announced via the procurement and agreement database, e-Avrop, and/or the EU’s official portal for public procurement notices, Tenders Electronic Daily (TED).

Let’s explain this red text warning:

1. Corruption in India due to the wrongful act of a private company in the ‘80s is not proof that the current Swedish procurement system and its public service, is corrupt — you are making a straw man argument; DT members are proficient in these discussions and know the difference.

2. The Indian procurement system is objectively speaking problematic and likely to have been corrupt, at the relevant time. How much it remains the case or if fixed (at the present time) is not relevant to this thread. If you can’t accept this Mod Team guidance, your time here will be short.
Bofors does have a history of breaking the rules. Separate to the Indian artillery scandal (that sale was approved by the Swedish Government), they also got caught in the late 80's selling weapons to banned Middle East countries, which led to the conviction of three Bofors executives for arms smuggling, namely; Martin Ardo, Lennart Palsson and Hans Ekblom. The drive for profit can and does motivate people to cut corners, even in countries with reported low corruption levels. Martin Ardo would be made famous by the Indian Bofors sale and was placed on an Interpol red notice.

@RJH_APAC OPSSG has already given you a warning and you have just dug the hole deeper. I would think very carefully about your response because that will determine your future on here. You have attracted the attention of two of the three grumpiest Moderators on here.

Ngatimozart

Mod edit: No response is necessary or possible. New member Permanently Banned for being an alternate member ID created for a former DT member who was Permanently Banned in 2011.
-Preceptor
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
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.
I would disagree with that. It depends upon the quality of the procurement system and level of government corruption that exists in each country. For example some nordic countries, NZ and Australia feature higher in the corruption free lists than the likes of the UK, US, France, PRC, Russia etc.

With regard to procurement practices, each country is different and some are better than others. IMO the three worse to regularly feature on here are Canada, India and the UK. The US wouldn't be far behind either. Canada because of their torturous and convoluted procurement system, and that's before it gets to the pollies. India because of the sheer bureaucracy which they inherited from the pommies and expanded upon. The UK because if theirs a hard way of doing something the pommies will find it and make it SOP. Then the pollies get involved. Who needs enemies when you have them and the civil service. Finally the US, pork barrel politics by Congress critters and defence companies who probably spend as much on lawyers, lobbyists, and pollies as they do on research.

Finally my own country, NZ. We've had some real howlers that have cost us heaps, but in the last 8 years there has been an overhaul of our defence procurement system and now its far more professionalise. So when business cases do go to the pollies, the pollies are getting the best info and analysis available. The problem we have is the pollies themselves and in NZ any defence acquisition over NZ$15 million requires Cabinet approval. That is always a political decision.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
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.
That's a spurious argument.

If transportation nodes are that damaged, than wheels are going to struggle - and you'd still be burning km that you dont need to.

I don't disagree about the HETs, but they are needed anyhow. Wheeled or tracked - you aren't moving after a M-kill and RAEME needs the ability to backload vehicles for heavier repair. And the reality is that AFVs are getting heavier, so you need more HETs anyhow. They are the tool that allows you to focus your triangle where it matters - the time that they are used - and not spurious additional aspects. Make a vehicle that can fight and survive and then, using the advantage of speed a B vehicle provides, truck them to the fight.

I find it amazing that people sneer at using HETs to get AFVs that can function to the fight but still don't make Lt Inf walk to the fight....

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.
Except the Brits do it worse than most. Even the US IFV/APC tale seems good compared to British procurement. My favourite quote? It's a “woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude, which have continually bedevilled attempts to properly re-equip the British Army over the last two decades”


Added to an Army that makes the Australian fetish with light infantry look low key and yet another Integrated Review that throws out years of work and capability for little to no effect and it's hard to see how the Brit's can be held up as anything but an example of how not to do defence procurement.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
That's a spurious argument.

If transportation nodes are that damaged, than wheels are going to struggle - and you'd still be burning km that you dont need to.

I don't disagree about the HETs, but they are needed anyhow. Wheeled or tracked - you aren't moving after a M-kill and RAEME needs the ability to backload vehicles for heavier repair. And the reality is that AFVs are getting heavier, so you need more HETs anyhow. They are the tool that allows you to focus your triangle where it matters - the time that they are used - and not spurious additional aspects. Make a vehicle that can fight and survive and then, using the advantage of speed a B vehicle provides, truck them to the fight.

I find it amazing that people sneer at using HETs to get AFVs that can function to the fight but still don't make Lt Inf walk to the fight....



Except the Brits do it worse than most. Even the US IFV/APC tale seems good compared to British procurement. My favourite quote? It's a “woeful story of bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude, which have continually bedevilled attempts to properly re-equip the British Army over the last two decades”


Added to an Army that makes the Australian fetish with light infantry look low key and yet another Integrated Review that throws out years of work and capability for little to no effect and it's hard to see how the Brit's can be held up as anything but an example of how not to do defence procurement.
The poms are very good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and if there's a hard war of doing something they'll find it and make it SOP. It's not just the last two decades but since WW2. The pollies and bureaucracy killed their aviation industry. Just look at the TSR, or the Nimrod saga. Same with their shipbuilding industry.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff 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.
I dunno, recent efforts have been a bit more encouraging - E7, P8 have been fairly straight forward "add to cart" incidents.

The ground vehicles side, well, returning to Boxer seems like a sensible decision but I do need to see a cleanly executed purchase before I get too carried away.

We'll see - medium lift rotary wing will be an interesting litmus test as it's fairly urgent. There will be considerable pressure to get it built in the UK, which can be expensive - although I note the Apache E buy was fairly straightforward without the WAH-1 routine of adding new engines etc.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Leonardo's offering AW149, which should be relatively straightforward & not particularly expensive to purchase unless the usual trick of turning it into a very special helicopter, in a heavily modified version which nobody else would want to buy, is done. Made in Italy, IIRC, & making it in Yeovil would probably push the price up - but how much? Considering the small number sold, could be realistic to move production if a British army order is big enough. If.

Dunno if AW149 would be what's wanted, though. Looks like medium lift to me, but maybe something a bit heavier would be preferred.

License-building something else would add to the price, as would, of course, "we like your helicopter but we want you to change everything in it".
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Leonardo's offering AW149, which should be relatively straightforward & not particularly expensive to purchase unless the usual trick of turning it into a very special helicopter, in a heavily modified version which nobody else would want to buy, is done. Made in Italy, IIRC, & making it in Yeovil would probably push the price up - but how much? Considering the small number sold, could be realistic to move production if a British army order is big enough. If.

Dunno if AW149 would be what's wanted, though. Looks like medium lift to me, but maybe something a bit heavier would be preferred.

License-building something else would add to the price, as would, of course, "we like your helicopter but we want you to change everything in it".
Seems to be broadly comparable in terms of lift/performance to the BlackHawk - global fleet of under 50 helicopters so if the UK did buy it, we'd be the single largest operator by a large margin if I read the figures right - we'd have about twice as many as the next operator, the Egyptian Navy, assuming they don't option those additional 10.

Do we want what's close to an orphan platform ? I'd sooner buy something everyone else has - Turkey looked at 149 and bought Blackhawk - I'm thinking that's not a daft idea.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Seems to be broadly comparable in terms of lift/performance to the BlackHawk - global fleet of under 50 helicopters so if the UK did buy it, we'd be the single largest operator by a large margin if I read the figures right - we'd have about twice as many as the next operator, the Egyptian Navy, assuming they don't option those additional 10.

Do we want what's close to an orphan platform ? I'd sooner buy something everyone else has - Turkey looked at 149 and bought Blackhawk - I'm thinking that's not a daft idea.
And you can get fully marinised variants of it too if you want some. Just as long as you buy whatever Blackhawk variants you want MOTS unmodified through FMS and that will keep costs down.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
And you can get fully marinised variants of it too if you want some. Just as long as you buy whatever Blackhawk variants you want MOTS unmodified through FMS and that will keep costs down.
That's what I'm thinking - it's literally "add to cart" "usually bought with" <spares chain> Tick for Next day delivery sort of an experience. Right up to and including "hey, we have some SFOR guys who do scary shit at night, anything that matches the req <popup> "I can see you're looking at SFOR stuff, similar buyers often choose this"

You get my drift. Well, I *know* you get my drift :)

It's ready to go, if we're really bent on keeping the local content up we can contract to have the fasteners made in the UK (65% of the parts are UK sourced!)



Literally, if we're not buying a compound copter or anything interestingly novel, just buy what the big dog in the yard runs -we already burnt our fingers quite badly on the NIH Chinook SFOR purchase which got us storage charges for a fleet of Chinooks that couldn't even be certified for IFR over the UK.

They are running now but the whole process was a joke. I'm feeling kinda conservative on the procurement decisions is where I'm running here :)
 

swerve

Super Moderator
IIRC I read that the Chinook problem was caused by a bespoke specification decided on by bean counters because they thought it would save money: leave off expensive kit X & inset cheaper kit Y. But they didn't factor in design, development & testing of the change, or have a proper technical evaluation of the implications, or if they did they refused to accept its conclusions. So the Chinooks had a bizarre mix of systems which didn't work together & couldn't be made to work together, & it took years (& lots of money) before the MoD would admit that & rip out the offending stuff & replace it with something standard.

Sadly, that sort of lunacy is common in British military procurement.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
Seems to be broadly comparable in terms of lift/performance to the BlackHawk - global fleet of under 50 helicopters so if the UK did buy it, we'd be the single largest operator by a large margin if I read the figures right - we'd have about twice as many as the next operator, the Egyptian Navy, assuming they don't option those additional 10.

Do we want what's close to an orphan platform ? I'd sooner buy something everyone else has - Turkey looked at 149 and bought Blackhawk - I'm thinking that's not a daft idea.
And you can get fully marinised variants of it too if you want some. Just as long as you buy whatever Blackhawk variants you want MOTS unmodified through FMS and that will keep costs down.
I was thinking about this yesterday. Was wondering if they could get the MH-60S powered by the same engines as the AH-64E fleet (I'm not sure if British Guardians will be using standard GE engines, or was the installation of Rolls-Royce engines mandated again).
Fully marinized, and folding tail saves space in possible shipboard employment compared to standard Blackhawk. Loose some seats available compared to Puma. But gain a lot of savings in commonality, especially if the 412s & 212s are replaced too
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
IIRC I read that the Chinook problem was caused by a bespoke specification decided on by bean counters because they thought it would save money: leave off expensive kit X & inset cheaper kit Y. But they didn't factor in design, development & testing of the change, or have a proper technical evaluation of the implications, or if they did they refused to accept its conclusions. So the Chinooks had a bizarre mix of systems which didn't work together & couldn't be made to work together, & it took years (& lots of money) before the MoD would admit that & rip out the offending stuff & replace it with something standard.

Sadly, that sort of lunacy is common in British military procurement.

They wanted something like the kit the Nightstalkers flew with - they were doing similar profiles, similar demands and the spec was available right off the shelf from the US, out of the factory gate. Sadly, it looked expensive. Cheap no good, good no cheap as the saying goes.

They literally could have said "ship us ten of those" and they'd have arrived, having been tested in actual battlefield conditions by one of the most demanding SF users in the world.

There is not a big enough facepalm in the world to encompass how facepalmed I felt by that.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I was thinking about this yesterday. Was wondering if they could get the MH-60S powered by the same engines as the AH-64E fleet (I'm not sure if British Guardians will be using standard GE engines, or was the installation of Rolls-Royce engines mandated again).
Fully marinized, and folding tail saves space in possible shipboard employment compared to standard Blackhawk. Loose some seats available compared to Puma. But gain a lot of savings in commonality, especially if the 412s & 212s are replaced too
Ah ! Thanks for answering one of my internal questions - I did wonder if there was an engine commonality between the two (or at least, was one possible)

As far as I know, the Apache E was an FMS order :


So, no dicking around. We approve.
 

OldTex

Active Member
Fully marinized, and folding tail saves space in possible shipboard employment compared to standard Blackhawk.
The MH-60S is not fitted with a folding tail as the fuselage is based on the UH-60L and is not fitted with the forward-mounted twin tail-gear (like on the SH-60B) but with the single aft-mounted tail wheel (as on the UH-60). The helicopter uses the Seahawk T-700-GE-401C engines, hover-in-flight refuelling and fuel dumping. It also uses the Seahawk’s rotor system, including the automatic rotor blade folding system, transmission and drive train with an improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and flight control computer.
 

FormerDirtDart

Well-Known Member
The MH-60S is not fitted with a folding tail as the fuselage is based on the UH-60L and is not fitted with the forward-mounted twin tail-gear (like on the SH-60B) but with the single aft-mounted tail wheel (as on the UH-60). The helicopter uses the Seahawk T-700-GE-401C engines, hover-in-flight refuelling and fuel dumping. It also uses the Seahawk’s rotor system, including the automatic rotor blade folding system, transmission and drive train with an improved durability gearbox, rotor brake and flight control computer.
You're wrong. The Sierra model has a folding tail. Otherwise, the US Navy has been breaking a bunch of helicopters for years.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Seems to be broadly comparable in terms of lift/performance to the BlackHawk - global fleet of under 50 helicopters so if the UK did buy it, we'd be the single largest operator by a large margin if I read the figures right - we'd have about twice as many as the next operator, the Egyptian Navy, assuming they don't option those additional 10.

Do we want what's close to an orphan platform ? I'd sooner buy something everyone else has - Turkey looked at 149 and bought Blackhawk - I'm thinking that's not a daft idea.
Yeah. I only mentioned the AW149 because UK building actually seems feasible without a huge price increase. I agree it's too close to an orphan platform for buying it to be sensible.

More 159s for the low end & something which already has a big user base above that could be an acceptable option because we already have 159 so it wouldn't create a new orphan, but apart from that, yes, just buy whatever fits the requirement best & is in service in good numbers with allies OTS, with at most our own radios or the like.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yeah. I only mentioned the AW149 because UK building actually seems feasible without a huge price increase. I agree it's too close to an orphan platform for buying it to be sensible.

More 159s for the low end & something which already has a big user base above that could be an acceptable option because we already have 159 so it wouldn't create a new orphan, but apart from that, yes, just buy whatever fits the requirement best & is in service in good numbers with allies OTS, with at most our own radios or the like.
Understood - and with the proviso "must be built in the UK" 149 looks quite compelling - 149 does seem to have a case- it's a real platform and is being marketed by a company with a manufacturing company in the UK.
 
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