Yes and no.
An emblematic case is the 2003 Iraq War lessons learned exercise, in which some of the observations made were promptly forgotten in the following years, when the moment came to apply the lesson learned to facts.
The deployed fleet of 116 Challenger 2s fired a total of 1.9 tonnes of Depleted Uranium (DU) and 540 High Explosive rounds, whilst the 36 AS90s and the  105mm Light Guns fired around 9,000 and 13,000 artillery rounds respectively; some 2000 of the former were bomblet shells. The Challenger 2 was used to provide very precise firepower effects, in circumstances where the risk of collateral damage prevented the use of artillery. This was crucial when operating in cities and towns such as Basrah and Az Zubayr. Artillery was critical in preventing freedom of movement of enemy forces in the open battlefield.
22.000 rounds of heavy artillery fired, despite the unprecedented availability of air support, demonstrate that there is still plenty of need for the timely delivery of barrages of artillery. In addition, over 9% of the artillery shells fired were bomblet carriers for wide area attack and anti-tank duty. It is a significant amount, which makes it hard to accept the wisdom of cancelling the SMART 155mm guided submunitions carrying shell, which the RA tried to purchase following the retirement of the earlier unguided submunitions dispensers, banned for the danger they represented because of the high number of unexploded munitions they would leave on the field.
It also continues to call into some real question the constant cutback over the number of artillery guns available to the army.
Another interesting passage is about the old, not-very known Swingfire missile, and might come as a surprise to many:
The Swingfire anti-tank guided weapon system, which is fitted to some UK reconnaissance vehicles, was also of great utility during the combat phase. It was the longest range, integral weapon system available to reconnaissance units and was used in approximately half of their attacks despite representing only a quarter of their main weaponry.
The Swingfire missile, mounted on the FV102 Striker vehicle, of the CRV(T) family, proved highly effective and very useful, and was intensely used during the operations of Recce formations maneuvering in Iraq. 12 such vehicles were employed in 2003, on a total of 66 CVR(T) vehicles deployed on TELIC, so this is quite a proof that, despite their relative lack of fame, they were kept in high consideration.
This valuable system, which mounted 5 missiles ready to fire and 5 reloads under armor in a small, highly mobile vehicle, was lost without a real replacement when the Javelin ATGW entered service in 2005. Excellent weapon, but with only about half the range of Swingfire, and not vehicle mounted: the troop of 4 Strikers in a Recce regiment has been notionally replaced by 4 Spartan APCs carrying Javelin teams.
Only two years had passed from the experience in Iraq, yet no real effort was made to replace the capability: there were, tentatively, Overwatch vehicles with missiles in the aborted LANCER program (armed with Brimstone, no less) and one such variant was also expected to be part of FRES SV Recce Block 3, but we are back to ground zero once again as the Block 3 itself seems destined not to happen, with the indispensable variants moved down into Block 2 instead, which is, in itself, far on the horizon.
A solution, off the shelf and extremely capable, is available in the form of the SPIKE NLOS, from Israel, which is a multi-mission weapon with a range of 25 km, which would give unprecedented coverage and accurate firepower to formations on the ground.
|Sandcat SPIKE NLOS, carrying sensors, quadruple launcher and 6 reloads. A lot of firepower available on call.|
|While there's no official confirmation, it is widely believed that the Royal Artillery's UOR missile system "EXACTOR", operated by two Troops from the batteries of 39 Regiment, is the M113-mounted SPIKE NLOS.|
Thanks to its very long range and small sizes, we do not need a FRES hull either: a quadruple launcher, with space for reloads, was shown on a Sandcat 4x4 protected vehicle, which is comparable in dimensions and architecture to the Foxhound. The UK could field this kind of capability with a relatively little investment, and rather quickly too.
South Korea ordered 67 SPIKE NLOS missiles in 2011, along with an unspecified number of launchers of unknown architecture for some 43 USD millions. It is also widely believed that non-standard M113 vehicles spotted in british colors at Camp Bastion are connected to the mysteryous UOR missile system known under the name "EXACTOR", which is believed to be the SPIKE NLOS.
Two Royal Artillery Troops regularly work with the EXACTOR system in Afghanistan in any given day, and there might be an hope for a future order beyond the UOR scope. We'll see.
The worst part, in any case, is that these are just two cases of lessons identified, learned, and forgotten, among many others.
Anyway, speaking of the Foxhound, the good news of today is that the vehicle has been delivered to the troops in Afghanistan. There is also the definitive confirmation of the follow-on order, announced months ago, for a second batch of vehicles: the total value of the Foxhound orders is 270 million pounds (180 + 90), covering 300 vehicles. The Foxhound is produced by General Dynamics Land Systems : Force Protection Europe, and while it started as a UOR, it is already firmly part of the Core Defence budget and of Army 2020.
It promises to bring much enhanced mobility and protection to the troops, and if it will live up to its many promises it will be an excellent addition to the Army's capabilities.
|Foxhound vehicles inside a RAF C17, fitted with their TES kit, inclusive of cameras for 360° situational awareness|
|Foxhound on in-theatre trials following delivery to Camp Bastion|
I'm a bit puzzled by the choice of armament mounting, though: two pintle-mounts for GPMGs on top, one on each side. The gunners sticking out of the hatches are going to be very, very exposed when manning the guns.
Didn't a RWS make a lot more sense...?