Thursday, June 7, 2012

So, 11 brigades it is! - UPDATE

To hell with 5 Multi Role Brigades supported by 10 Territorial Brigades and 16 Air Assault, the British Army is planning to have 3 "Armored Infantry brigades" with Armoured and Mechanized infantry supported by tanks, 7 infantry brigades of various size, made up by mixed regular and reserve formations, and 16 Air Assault brigade for rapid reaction role.


Force Groups with Engineer, Artillery, Intelligence and Logistic formations will provide support.

It could, i repeat could, mean just 3 tank regiments in the force, assuming one in each Heavy brigade, and 3 to 6 battalions of infantry on Warrior vehicles.
The Recce regiments on FRES SV might also go down to 3, at this point, perhaps with lighter Recce groups in the infantry brigades, mounted on Jackals: i would be surprised if the infantry brigades had no organic recce force, as that would go straight against operational experience.

Rumors suggest that 4 battalions of infantry are to go, and 4 RAC regiments will merge into 2, but for now uncertainty rules supreme. Most changes at unit level will happen between 2014 and 2016, with an SDSR in the middle, which can easily mean further worries, doubts, and very easily further changes to the plan in the future. 

Even without details, it is clear that we are looking at a very different picture compared to the expected one. It is what emerges from the speeches of General Wall and General Carter at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference, according to the report from DefenseNews
How it is supposed to work is still a mystery. I'll keep this upgraded as possible: whoever has additional info is more than welcome to share.

The SDSR is officially gone tits up, anyway. Nothing of what it said seems to be valid, less than two years from its publication.
Amazing.



UPDATE 1: General Sir Peter Wall, Chief General Staff's speech. 

My earlier guess seems to be confirmed, but general Wall has actually painted a picture that is, i'm afraid, a further bit worse than i expected, despite my seeming-abundant pessimism.

Eliminating the useless babbling about unpredictability and other arguments we've heard used in all possible ways, his message comes down to announcing that the serious Army is going down to 3 largely unusable brigades configured for a Fulda Gap scenario, supported by 7 brigades good for contrasting the next London Riots plus a "modified" Air Assault Brigade [NOTE: the SDSR did not talk about modifications to 16AA. Might have to do with 5 Scots battalion being cut and not replaced within the brigade...] with attack helicopters. Effectively junking ALL the work, planning and studies done until last winter (go read the Agile Warrior 2011 report, september 2011, for seeing how the Army was planning for modularity, for homogeneous formation structures and for Multi Role Brigades capable to tackle all missions) for running head-first down a path that ends with a tall cliff.

The 3 Armored Infantry Brigades are described as being formed on upgraded Challenger II battle tanks, upgraded Warriors, and FRES Scout vehicles.
No mention of mechanized infantry, FRES UV, or anything. These are heavy brigades, albeit probably with a single tank regiment, of currently unknown size (hopefully Type 58, but i wouldn't bet on it).
I'd say that this points to a RAC providing 3 tank regiments, 3 RECCE regiments and one training regiment, a loss of four regiments, which goes against current press rumors reporting of 2 merges, which would mean a cut of only 2 regiments. Something is wrong or missing, but we will learn in the next future.

The "modified" air assault brigade, the main Rapid Reaction unit of the army, and the 3 Armored brigades are presented as the main army force at readyness. They will be all-regular, apparently, and will work as a "deterrent" and as the main force, readily compatible with allies and ready to be slotted into a US-led land effort, as the General says.
I'm not sure about this, but General Wall's words seemed to suggest that these four brigades will all be grouped under the single Deployable Divisional HQ announced by the SDSR.

On a "lower echelon" will be the 7 "reg/res" infantry brigades, which will be of various sizes and probably of rather various composition (go to hell, modularity and commonality, we don't like you!). These are presented as brigades roled for UK resilience, upstream prevention, daily engagement with the country and for wider engagement abroad/capability building.
Only with suitable warning, these brigades will go to war to support enduring operations.

The lower echelon should be the newly created "UK Support Command", a two-star, non-deployable HQ formed in Aldershot to eliminate the Regional Divisions and control all the regional brigades.
This was what was announced in the SDSR, at least, along with the cut of "at least two" regional brigade HQs. The regular brigades would have 2 Divisional HQs, one deployable and one in support, deployable with suitable warning and ugmentation.
Then there was a U-Turn, and all 10 regional brigades were confirmed, and the plan was to pair two reserve and one regular brigades. 
And now we have a bigger U-Turn, which sees 12 brigades between regular and reserve becoming 7, a cut (unannounced) of 5, which is particularly serious because this is effectively a chopping blow to the Deployable brigades. From 5, we are down to 3.
And these 3 are equipped with the kind of material that is hardest to deploy, both physically and politically.
And it also seems to be a "silent announcement" that the second Divisional HQ promised in the SDSR is being cut as well. 

Goodbye British Army! Goodbye SDSR!  

The feeling of desperation only gets worse and deeper when you realize that none of these brigades seem set to have any organic artillery or combat engineer element, something that punches logic straight in the face.
These are to be concentrated in "Force Groups" comprising Artillery, Engineer, Surveillance & Intelligence, Logistics and Medical brigades.
How it is supposed to work, we do not know.

But it gets even worse, when General Wall admits that they have no idea yet of how to base this new army in a way that makes it possible to integrate reserves and regulars.
Reforms to the laws and procedures connected to the employment of reserves are also still to be determined, and made to work. Good luck in getting the british employers to collaborate.

If it was the first of April, i'd laugh. Since it is not, i'm crying inside. 
  
This is not an army anymore, it is a waste of money. And all is dominated by this horrible "did you put this crap together in the five minutes you've waited out of the door...?" feeling. Until a few months ago, there had been some common sense in planning: the Artillery was reorganizing on 5 brigade-artillery formations combining AS90 and L118, with many changes already in place. Batteries have been moved around, regiments have been restructured, the rule of the 5 has been made possible in crucial enablers by adding personnel where needed.
The Engineers were reporting of plans that still included brigade-level regiments and 2 General Support Regiments, despite the reductions, and despite the "82.000 men announcement", which anyway dates back to the summer of 2011 and does not classify as a new event anymore.

And now we get to... this... thing, which turns the Army into an unlikely mix of two extremes, from the Heavy Brigades (To use when? Where? For what???) to the Light brigades of part-time soldiers, without a Medium force in the middle. It's a reform that throws to hell accurate planning and modelling work which has been carried on ever since 2008.

Where did this thing come out of? A magician's hat? A rabbit-hole?

This force structure is designed mainly for one thing: for not going anywhere.


  

UPDATE 2: The British Army Journal 2012

Launched during the conference at RUSI, this big book is filled with interesting articles talking about the theory that's behind the army restructuring, and outlining the challenges that are to be faced. It gives, however, little additional information over the solutions and structures that the army is adopting for adapting to the future.
The British Army Journal has now been given a website as well, where you can also see the current the previous two editions (2009 and 2011) of this relatively new publication. There is much food for thought in there.

In terms of actual indications for the future, the 2012 Journal tells us that:

Artillery 

Despite the cuts and contracts cancelled, Indirect Fire Precision Attack is still alive. The GPS-guided 155 mm shell (Excalibur) is due to be adopted "in the next few years" (if there have been no further delays, the RA hoped to have it by 2018. Trials and validation on the AS90 have already been completed as far back as 2010(!))

In addition, Course Corrected Fuzes will be adopted as well, "for all tubed artillery". These fuzes, simpler and less expensive than the Excalibur guided shell, are able to turn a normal artillery shell into a very accurate bomb that can correct its course in flight to minimize the circular probable error. BAE systems has demonstrated such a solution to the MOD for the 81 mm mortar round, and the US ATK and others have plenty of offers for 155 mm howitzer fuzes. The improvement is very significant: for a Circular Error Probable that goes from 180 to over 200 meters with normal 155 mm shells, the CCF fuze offers a CEP inferior to 50 meters. The ATK PGK fuze demonstrated a CEP of around 22 meters, indeed, during extensive fire trials. 
Adoptiong of CCF can give the Royal Artillery a lot of additional accuracy at a very competitive price, and across the whole spectrum: from 81 mm mortars to 155 mm howitzers, passing by the 105 mm, which is going to be part of the British Army at least out to 2030 after the replacement program planned for 2022 has been shelved.

Fire Support Teams (FSTs) are definitely here to stay. These 6-man interforces teams (Army/RAF and Navy too, at times) are invaluable as they can direct on the enemy everything from mortar fire to helicopters and air attacks. With the Navy's help, they are expanding in the role of guides for Naval Gunfire Support as well, particularly following the wake-up call that Libya was for the use and usefulness of naval gunnery.
They currently work with the FIRE STORM kit of radios, video-downlink and targeting equipment and there is a program ongoing to define the mix of kit that makes it into core budget for the future. 

For the engagement of mobile and relocatable targets, several solutions are being studied. Of course the Loitering Munition, with Fire Shadow soon to go live in Afghanistan, but another option remains arming the Watchkeeper under ATUAS (Armed Tactical Unmanned Air System) program.
Additional non-line of sight weapons might be evaluated (perhaps the Army is liking the EXACTOR so much to consider it for the longer period and not just as UOR...?).


ISTAR and EW

The Army is working with the RAF on SOLOMON, system of systems intended to aid the tasking of ISTAR assets, controlling the collection of information, its exploitation and sharing.

RAF Regiment and Army are involved in OUTPOST, which is intended to bring into core budget some of the Project CORTEZ solutions used for Base-ISTAR in Afghanistan (such as the 5 aerostats deployed in Afghanistan, for example) and build on them to develop a solution to the need for situational awareness in defence of bases, locations and events.

BLOODHOUND is about retention and expansion of UOR capability in Forensic and Biometric Intelligence.  

PICASSO is a joint, national-level programme for the development of a solution for collection and distribution of Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) and Geospatial Information (GEOINF) from civilian and military resources, such as european earth-observation satellite services, allied military systems and national capabilities. (There's a notional ambition to develop, at some point, a national Earth Observation satellite capability, in which the MOD would of course be interested)

LANDSEEKER is intended to give the Royal Signals the Electronic Warfare capability they need, following the failure of Soothsayer. It is intended to provide a modular family of EW systems, from soldier-worn to vehicle-borne, for the interception of communications and non-communications emissions, and for complex Electronic War tasks. It will replace current systems such as SEER, Odette and Ince, from around 2018.


Royal Logistics Corps

It seems that we have found the replacement for DROPS: the Journal reports that the Enhanced Palletized Load System (EPLS) deployed in Afghanistan as UOR by modifying around 90 MAN HX-77 15-ton trucks has been so succesful to have already been brought officially into core.
Expect more EPLS to be ordered in the next few years, to replace the old Leyland DROPS trucks.


Helicopters 

Project JULIUS to upgrade the RAF Chinooks is ongoing, as we know. There's just an additional detail: the new Mk6 (the 14 new-build helos on order) will have their IOC in 2015 (slowed down some, it seems) and will differ by the others for the addition of the Digital Automatic Flying Control System, which will greatly ease and improve handling. HC4, HC4A and HC5 and HC6 will otherwise be nearly the same, and pilot's training and certification will be valid for all variants.


Armour 

Both FRES SV and FRES UV mentioned as cornerstones, another confirmation that the army is planning on resurrecting the UV in the coming years (2016 is the expected date).


Infantry

This september, the FIST Underslung Grenade Launcher Fire Control System will enter operational service. Allows to fire a 40 mm grenade out to 300 meters with a 5 meters CEP.
When it'll be live in service, the Journal seems to suggest that the UOR weapon, the LAW66 rocket modified with HE warhead, will be abandoned, but there are no details.

The Casualty Locating Beacon (UOR) is due to evolve in a much more complete electronic package under Dismounted Situational Awareness (DSA) program, which will help the soldiers locating themselves, their allies, and the enemy.
As part of DSA, the adoption of "more UAVs" is mentioned: the MOD came out with an urgent requirement some time ago, about nano-drones for the infantry / special forces. The DSA might want to give Platoons (or even Sections?) their own mini or nano UAV for the future. 
A digital Generic Soldier Architecture is being pursued, forming a core skeleton to which add, with minimal complexity and costs, upgrades and new systems. The GSA goes hand in hand with the Generic Vehicle Architecture, which is coming into service with the latest platforms (FRES SV and Foxhound) and with the Generic Base Architecture effort.  

In terms of Fire Power, studies is going into how to restructure the provvision of maneuver support to the infantry via Fire Support Groups. In Afghanistan, a Rifle Company is often given a Fire (or Maneuver) Support Group created by breaking down the Maneuver Support Company.
The RM Commandos, for example, normally operated in Afghanistan restructured on 4 "Combined Arms" companies each with 2 Rifle Platoons and a Fire Support Platoon.  
Apparently, consideration is being seriously given to maintaining this kind of arrangement in the future force structure, which might mean doing away with the Support Company, perhaps only retaining Mortars in a platoon controlled at Battalion level.   

This might have to do with the fact that the Journal states that non-at-readiness battalions in the future army won't be manned fully, with TA providing elements up to company level. This is probably a step further forwards from the current (paper) arrangement, that sees Regiments supposed to get a 4th Maneuver Coy from the TA on mobilization, but there is no detail of how much gaps will battalions have on a normal day.
In any case, perhaps this plays a part in wanting each Company complete with Fire Support element? It is not clear, but we might see some change in the future.

Finally, the L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle and the use of sharpshooters in Platoons is a big success, and the Platoons of the future army are definitely adopting the Sharpshooter for the long term future. The article is not clear, however, on how this will be done: one per Platoon, or one per Section?
Personally, i'd go for the second, but this will require additional orders of rifles: i think only around 400 were acquired, and we'll need several hundred more.



20 comments:

  1. The Mintcake MakerJune 8, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    Gabs,

    Interesting developments. Is it just me or does it sound like Carter has looked at the US BCT system and thought I like that. This could also explain why FRES UV has now been brought back in the limelight and SV put on the back burner, if we are going to need lots of mechanised units. Also is that 7 infrantry brigades including or excluding 16AA

    So (in my opinion, if its 6+ 16AA) we end up with 3 Multi Role Divisions, each with 1x Heavy Brigade and 2x Medium Brigade (A.K.A striker brigade), and 16 AA providing spearhead battalion. Each Brigade containing 1 single combat support battalion formed from a RLC CS battalion with attached Medical, REME and RE Squadron etc. All other enablers will be put in special enabling brigades such as 1st Artilery Brigade. We could have the 4th manoeuvre unit manned by the TA (except in the tank regiments) in battalion/regiment.

    This would allow us to easily surge a full division for times when required (i.e. GW1) or alternatively it would allow us to permanently deploy a medium brigade with attached armoured battlegroup (with or without tanks) on an enduring basis under a Divisional Banner. I would like to think with a bit of clever politics and some better bi-lateral training between our nations, in future coalition actions where an enduring presence is required, we could see the resurgence of the old Commonwealth Division, whereby we provide the main part of the Divisional HQ, a brigade and an armoured battle group and the Canadians and the Aus/NZ each provide a battlegroup.

    TMM

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    Replies
    1. If it was anything like the scenario you suggest, it wouldn't be that bad.
      But i don't think there are resources for that.
      Considering the reductions in Engineers and Artillery, it is highly unlikely that the british "brigades" end up resembling the US BCTs: US BCTs have their artillery regiments, their RECCE element, and they are getting their Engineer element expanded from Squadron to Battalion/regiment.

      The UK "brigade" seems set to be more of an abomination without organic artillery and engineers.

      As to HQs, i really don't know what to say anymore. The Army has just finished creating the "UK Support Command" which was supposed to control the 10 regional brigades.
      Now the regional brigades seem set to disappear and be fused with regular brigades to form 7 infantry brigades. (which, by the way, should come in addition to 16AA for what i understand, giving, as i've titled, 11 brigades in total)

      What purpose does UK Support Command cover, now...?
      It would make far more sense to have 3 Divisional HQs indeed. Will everything be changed, again?

      As to "Stryker" brigades, do not bet on it. The UK was never going to be able to mechanize 5 MRBs, not even including the Warriors, i think there's no way in hell in which the 7 infantry brigades can be mounted and mechanized.

      I cannot restrain from saying that i'm, at the moment, very pessimist about this whole thing.
      It seems that the whole army reform has been compromised by:

      - Political unwillingness for cutting Infantry battalions and cavalry regiments: gotta keep cuts of capbadges down, they are impopular!

      - Army craving for Brigadier posts and related officer circles

      The result, for what we can see at the moment, is an horribly unbalanced "army" with brigades that risk being a joke, without an artillery and engineer element.
      Even RECCE formations won't be enough for all brigades.
      What will be the actual use and deployability of the brigades to be formed is a mystery.

      I'm hoping for RUSI to make available transcriptions or videos of the speeches soon, to try and see if there's some other clue.
      I'll update as soon as additional info emerges.

      Delete
  2. Hi Gabriele,

    I am surprised at the future army structure!

    There has been a major change in strategic thinking in the army!

    I wonder about 3 armoured brigades, I guess this will include a challenger regiment, a recce regiment, an AS90 regiment, maybe two warrior battalions, and a mechanized battalion. A sizable and powerful force. But how will it train in the UK? My fear here is that most of its armoured vehicles will be in storage. As I doubt all these units will be stationed near Salisbury plain, the only large UK training area capable of taking large numbers of armoured vehicle for exercises.

    Merging the regular and TA brigades seems to be a good idea. I can’t see why a brigade should have a 1 regular and 2 TA brigades to make one formation, under no overall commander. In my view the brigadier should command all his units, regular and TA.

    Are these brigades going to be under divisional commands? I can’t see how 11 brigades can be commanded by two divisional HQ’s?

    If only 4 infantry battalions are to be cut, I assume we are looking at 31 regular and 10 TA battalions, making a force of 41 battalions, 9 for the armoured brigades, 32 divided up between 16 AA, the infantry brigades, and other duties?

    Merging 2 RAC regiments would leave 9, 6 for the armoured brigades? That leaves 3, Household Cavalry for 16 AA, that leaves 2?

    If we are to believe the rumour that the RA is to be cut to 5000, which is about 11 regiments, there is no way each brigade could have a regular artillery regiment, likewise the RE.

    It seems to me that the infantry brigades will be made up of maybe 2 or 3 regular infantry battalions, maybe 1 TA infantry battalion, with TA support units of artillery, engineers and logistics units?

    I can’t see anything further away from 5 MRB brigades, 3 CDO and 16 AA. But there are so many questions yet to be answered!

    Regards
    Phil

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    1. Phil, you seem to be off the mark by a good bit. Reality is more absurd and depressing than that by a good margin, as the update i've just written sadly announces.

      Delete
    2. Gabriele, I was just guessing, that’s why I have given everything a question mark. 11 brigades, with the 3 armoured ones being the main deployable force? If this is the FF 2020 Army structure, I an very disappointed. Phil

      Delete
    3. You have every right and reason to be disappointed! This new plan makes absolutely no sense.

      Delete
  3. Hi Gabriele,

    I have just read your update.

    Armoured brigades, if they wanted well trained armoured formations, to ready to deploy, they should have left them in Germany. You can’t bring them back them back to the UK, and expect them to be ready to roll as your first line deployable force.

    Light Brigades seem to be made up of what ever is left.

    This is a return to what we had pre SDSR.

    I hope we are getting it all wrong, because it looks to me that this FF2020 Army, sounds like a version of 1990s Army at half the strength, with its armoured spearhead in storage. I can’t think of a worse case scenario!

    You can't get any further away from the MRB plan!

    Regards
    Phil

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hello,

    We have 15 RAC regiments (11 active and 4 yeomanry). If I count with the new structure, we have 11 brigade regiment and 1 training regiment. Therefore, we have 3 regiments to disband. Are you ok with me?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. In theory, yes. 1 RTR is a training formation, so that's 10 active, of which at least two will be cut.
      The reserve has the Royal Yeomanry in recce (CBRN) role, the Queen's Yeomanry in recce, Royal Wessex on tanks and the Mercians and Lancastrians, also on tanks.

      There's overabundance of tank formations, and a lack of recce formations, but yes, in theory, the RAC can lose 3 regiments and still be able to assign one to each brigade.
      I wouldn't place any money on it happening, though. I think the RA formations themselves are actually going to change quite a lot.

      But i guess we still have an hope.
      If we are very lucky, i guess the 7 Infantry Brigades could get a "Brigade Recce Force" similar to 30 Commando IEX Gp in 3rd Commando brigade, from the reorganization of the RAC regiments. So, that would mean lots of Jackals.
      I hope so, at least. I don't know how much hope we can put into that, though.

      Delete
  5. I have heard that contractors will be fulfilling a lot of the enabler roles?

    How will this be organised in the future force structure?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question.
      Basically, with a lot of Royal Logistics Corps units being disbanded...

      I'm waiting to look into the speeches of General Carter and Brigadier Sharpe, to see if they are of any help in understanding a little bit more.

      For the rest, we'll have to wait for the announcement in Parliament.

      Delete
  6. Hi Gabriele,

    I still can’t see the logic behind the new FF2020 Army.

    I know we still don’t know the detailed structure of any of the 11 brigades, or the overall divisional command structure.

    However, one thing did come to mind, are we to see another SDSR U turn? Are the two armoured brigades to remain in Germany? Have you heard anything on that subject?

    Regards
    Phil

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    Replies
    1. No, they still say it'll all be UK-based. The return from Germany is the one thing that is confirmed.

      The rest has been fucked up pretty much completely, compared to what was promised.

      Delete
    2. Gabriele,

      Thats going to be a massive job to move those units back to the UK, into new or modified barracks in that time scale.
      I make it about 12 units to relocate, with only 5 to disband? Not counting the one to return from Cyprus post Afghan. After all warrior battalions are big unts 700 strong, and theres 4 of them! Maybe they are to be based on Salisbury plain, with there vehicles!
      I still can't get my head around how they expect these armoured brigades to train in the UK? This all seems crazy to me!
      Phil

      Delete
    3. I think a good part of the vehicles are staying in there, at least during a first phase. The huge vehicle depot of the British Army in Germany will probably be the last thing that closes.
      As to the units that will be disbanded instead of moved back, i think the list will grow longer.

      The Logistic Brigade is particularly at risk, considering all this talk of cuts to CSS...

      Delete
    4. Gabriele

      I was away on holiday when this appeared, so have only just seen it.

      What a brilliant response you have written, one which expresses my own anger and profound depression at this so-called solution so precisely it is uncanny.

      Here was a marvellous opportunity to create a new British Army structure, one based on the 5 Multi-Role Brigades, formations that would be homogeneous, coherent, would train together and be ready to deploy very rapidly to encounter a wide variety of different crises. That would have been forward thinking of the very first order. It would have put the British Army light years ahead of others. Instead of that, what have we got? As you so aptly put it:

      "3 largely unusable brigades configured for a Fulda Gap scenario, supported by 7 brigades good for contrasting the next London Riots .... Effectively junking ALL the work, planning and studies done until last winter (go read the Agile Warrior 2011 report, september 2011, for seeing how the Army was planning for modularity, for homogeneous formation structures and for Multi Role Brigades capable to tackle all missions) for running head-first down a path that ends with a tall cliff."

      As you say, "Goodbye British Army! Goodbye SDSR!" "This is not an army anymore, it is a waste of money."

      You are absolutely on the ball when you say: "This force structure is designed mainly for one thing: for not going anywhere." That is just it! We shall not be able to deploy effectively at all. I'm afraid the forces of conservatism and tradition have once again won within the Army. We shall pay for this.

      Have you possibly heard any more encouraging news in the meantime? I am particularly concerned about forward-looking weapon systems like Fire Shadow possibly being cancelled.

      Delete
    5. I've heard some slightly reassuring promise that the 7 infantry brigades will be effectively deployable, but that the British Army is effectively planning for a future long-term operation to be finished within 3 years.
      Acceptable in planning terms, but rarely things go as you want them to.

      A written answer in parliament yesterday says that 227 Challenger II are retained, as i had already written long ago, but there's been apparently an unannounced change on the AS90 front, from a planned 95 to just 89.

      The total number of Vikings is 158, against orders for 166: evidently some 8 vehicles have been written off following afghanistan damage.
      I had thought the losses were in the order of 20 or so, so this is actually reassuring.

      By December this year, the COBRA artillery-locating radar will be gone without replacement, leaving only the 4 ARTHUR B mounted on BV206 vehicles, the MAMBA.
      The replacement for both systems, under Common Weapon Locating Radar program, is identified in a buy of 12 ARTHUR C radars.
      Excellent system and good number. However, it'll be 2014 at the earlier before the order is placed...

      Fire Shadow is at risk, considering that it won't go to Afghanistan, but for now should be in the plan.

      The Tornado GR4 out of service date is tentatively now planned in 2019, less radical than earlier 2017 proposals, but it seems certain that the old dates (2025 and 2021) are gone.

      I'm waiting for the army announcement with impatience. And a good bit of fear too.

      Delete
    6. Gabriele

      Some news that is not too bad, especially the information that 227 Chally 2s are to be kept. However, I visited the Tank Museum at Bovington earlier this week and the staff there (I spoke to three or four) seemed absolutely convinced that those tanks not retained would be scrapped and not sold because of the security problems concerning Chobham and Dorchester armour. Mind you, it might be one of those myths that does the rounds, as they also believed that only 50 tanks would be retained in service! A consistent story on the part of the staff there, though, and they are right next door to Bovington Camp and liaise with the Regulars quite closely.

      Good news on the Viking front too. I'm convinced that the Royal Marines will have an adequate armoured group to support them.

      Thanks for all the info.

      Delete
  7. Gabriele

    I forgot to mention that in a speech at DVD 2012, I think it was one of the Defence Ministers, pobably Peter Luff, said that the FRES UV would be coming on stream in the mid- 2020s! More than a bit late, isn't it? I'll probably be dead and gone by then!

    The other point is that the written Parliamentary answer made no mention of Warthog again. Perhaps it does not qualify as an armoured vehicle but Viking is there. Perhaps they have already been promised to the Afghan forces?

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    1. I just think the list is not really complete, nor entirely up to date.
      As to FRES UV, the date is 2022, but that might be IOC, followed by incremental entry into service of the rest: after all, the first battlegroup on Warrior CSP should be around in 2018, but full in service capability won't be available before 2020.

      Delete

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