Monday, July 9, 2012

Army 2020 in detail

I'm finally able to provide much greater detail on the shape of the Army 2020 regular force, thanks to this internal Army 2020 briefing made by the Army, which beats in clarity and detail the brochure for the general public.
Even this new document does not answer all questions, but it does provide many valuable informations.

There is also an equally interesting introduction, which provides some hindsight into why the Army 2020 structure has been shaped this way. Interestingly, the Army's doctrinal and technological considerations are:

Separating the strategic from the tactical level and resetting the brigade and divisional levels of command accordingly.

Armoured infantry as the core capability on which manoeuvre is built with armour organized primarily for intimate support.

Institutionalizing the integration of ‘soft effect’ into manoeuvre.

Resetting the balance between precision and suppression fires.

De-centralized command and control with broadband connectivity to more points of presence.

Organizing for joint, inter-agency and multi-national integration.

An ‘end to end’ approach to logistic supply and distribution.

An ability to learn and adapt at a tempo that will retain our ‘edge’ against future threats.

The Defence Planning Assumptions remain the same of SDSR 2010 despite the regular manpower being further reduced from a planned 94.000 to 82.000:

The Army must be able to conduct simultaneously:

An enduring stabilisation operation at around brigade level (up to 6,500 personnel);
A single, non-enduring complex intervention (up to 2,000 personnel);
A single, non-enduring simple intervention (up to 1,000 personnel).


Three non-enduring operations if we are not already engaged in an enduring operation.

Or, at best effort:

A non-enduring intervention operation of up to three brigades within a divisional context.

Very important is the passage about reserves:

The Army 2020 proposition for the Army Reserve sees a fundamental change as it is fully integrated into the whole force. From the outset Reservists will be required to contribute routinely to military outputs – not simply in extremis – at every level from individual reinforcements to complete units depending on the nature of the task. This will include overseas engagement, UN commitments and domestic resilience tasks, as well as more accustomed roles such as supporting enduring commitments and intervention operations at larger scale.

The Army Reserve will provide, at lower readiness:

Specialist roles, such as medical, cyber, intelligence, languages, and stabilization;

Roles requiring less collective training to maintain readiness, such as sustainment (fuel, transport and distribution); light gun artillery and air defence; and certain aspects of combat engineering and counter-IED; Combat roles, principally for resilience and regeneration, but useable in formed elements on lower risk and less complex tasks, given adequate notice.

Reserve units will be partnered with Regular units for training and force generation purposes, which will enable combined training and links with local communities and local employers to aid recruitment of Reservists.

Individuals up to formed units will be integrated at readiness to deploy on operations as an integral part of any force. Key to this is ensuring that they are fully recruited and trained to the level required to maintain their currency and readiness.

Reaction forces are structured to deliver:

Reaction Forces. Comprising predominantly Regular units, brigades within the Reaction Forces will deliver the force elements to meet the Army’s contingent tasks. The core of the Reaction Forces will be an air assault brigade, three armoured infantry brigades and a logistic brigade, under the command of a deployable divisional headquarters. Reaction Forces will deliver the following force elements at required readiness:

o An air assault task force at very high readiness;
o A lead armoured infantry battlegroup and the headquarters of the lead armoured infantry brigade at very high readiness;
o The balance of the lead armoured infantry brigade at medium readiness to provide the first roulement of an enduring stabilization, along with the other armoured infantry brigades to provided the second and third roulements;
o At best effort, up to three brigades within a divisional context at lower readiness for a non-enduring intervention operation.

In the 18 months covered by the first 3 roulements, the 7 Adaptable Infantry Brigades would be prepared to deliver a single brigade-sized force capable to hold the terrain for the fourth roulement. They would again supply a brigade-sized formation for the fifth roulement, and then the Regular brigades would return on the field if the operation was not yet over by then, starting the cycle all over again.

Adaptable Forces will constitute a pool of Regular and Reserve units configured on a functional basis and commanded by the headquarters of seven infantry brigades, under an outward looking divisional headquarters (my interpretation of this imaginative description is that the HQ is geared to control operations abroad, but will only be deployable following augmentation). They will also be responsible through the inward looking Headquarters Support Command (newly created 2-star UK Support Command in Aldershot) for delivering command and control of homeland resilience and the Firm Base, including engagement with UK society, within their regional areas.

Adaptable Forces will not only deliver the Army’s standing tasks (i.e. Brunei, Cyprus, the Falklands and Public Duties), but also, at graduated readiness, the means to deliver a broad range of other tasks including:

o Overseas capacity building in support of Defence Engagement; involving training and developing indigenous armies in order to strengthen their nations and thereby help prevent future conflict.
o Military aid to homeland resilience; including provision of military aid to civil authorities in responding to natural disasters, industrial action and bespoke tasks such as the provision of venue security to the London 2012 Olympics.
o Follow-on forces for future enduring stabilization operations, based upon bespoke task organization. This will require units within the Adaptable Forces to maintain their core war-fighting capability and institutional readiness.

As Adaptable Forces will be held at lower readiness, the Army Reserve will form a core component, delivering structural mass and resilience for Regular units when they deploy through the provision of individuals and formed elements. 

Force Troops will be integral to Reaction and Adaptable Forces, providing them (and other Joint Forces) with specialist support. Units will train and sit at readiness simultaneously with the forces they are supporting, but will be based in functional groups (seven Force Troop brigades and a Security Assistance Group (SAG)) to maximise efficiency and sustainability. The SAG will focus on upstream engagement, with close links to the FCO, DFID and the Stabilisation Unit.

The seven brigades are 104 Logistic Brigade, 1st and 11 Signal Brigades, 1st Artillery Brigade, the Engineer Brigade (8th?), the new Surveillance and Intelligence brigade, 2nd Medical Brigade.   

The formations of the Reaction and Adaptable Forces (both Regular and Reserve) will be in a cycle of graduated readiness, trained for their prescribed tasks under an Operational Readiness Mechanism (ORM) still being refined. A study is apparently ongoing in Harmony Guidelines and deployment guidelines, and it is not so certain that at the end of things the Army will still work to the rule of the 5 (5 men in uniform are needed to be able to sustain constant deployment of one of them on rotation).
For sure, the ORM will be based on a 36 month cycle comprising:

Other Tasks Year. Units of the Reaction and Adaptable Forces, will conduct individual training, focusing on career courses, whilst also providing a pool of manpower to conduct experimentation and support training for other units within their own cycle.

Training Year. Units will conduct a series of simulation, procedural and field exercises within a context appropriate to either the Reaction or Adaptable Forces.

Contingency Year. Reaction Forces will continue to train to ensure that they maintain the skills required to deploy on contingent operations. Adaptable Forces units will deploy on standing commitments or be held at readiness for overseas engagement tasks.

In practice, a brigade will have a turn at readiness of a whole year. Tour lenght is still envisaged at 6 months, with the cycle of an enduring operations being made up by Reaction Bde, Reaction Bde, Reaction Bde, Adaptable Bde, Adaptable Bde, Reaction, Reaction, Reaction...

It has been indicated that Reserve personnel in future will be required to commit to the possibility of being deployed for 6 months (plus pre-deployement training times) in any 5-year period.

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is staying as UK contribution to NATO and as an HQ for large scale multinational operations. It is the only 3-star HQ. 

The substantial manpower reduction and the just as ambitious expansion of the Reserve are to be achieved incrementally in the coming years:

The Regular Army has already undergone two tranches of redundancies to reduce manning to around 90,000 by 2015. The Defence Secretary has stated that two further tranches of redundancies will be required over the next five years to bring the Army’s Regular strength down to around 82,000 by 2020. Meanwhile, the Army Reserve is already recruiting to increase its manning to a trained strength of 30,000 by 2018 with a waypoint of 22,500 by 2015.

Lastly, the introductory documents comprises a warning about funding:

Delivery of Army 2020 depends upon a balanced, coherent and affordable equipment programme. The resources confirmed for land environment equipment in the latest planning round provide a base-line upon which to build. Delivery of an upgraded WARRIOR infantry fighting vehicle, a new family of specialist vehicles (SCOUT and variants to replace CVR(T)), a utility vehicle (to replace BULLDOG) and a life extension for CHALLENGER 2 will form the cornerstone of the land environment’s mounted close combat capability in the future. The confirmed investment in the helicopter fleet, in complex weapons, in modern communications and electronic countermeasures demonstrates a genuine commitment across a range of capabilities. However, funding has not been secured for all of the equipments that the Army will require in the future; in some areas it falls a long way short. Thus securing additional resources in the next budgetary cycle to deliver a number of unfunded core equipment projects and bring a significant proportion of the UOR equipments procured for recent operations into the core programme remains a high priority. CGS (supported by the Army Staff) will continue to be, closely engaged in this task. Modernisation of equipment held in the Reserves in already under way as part of the Army’s implementation of FR20; in future the Army Reserve will be equipped to a sufficient standard to undertake force preparation and generation as part of the integrated force.

The Royal Armoured Corps is being restructured to deliver the following force structure:

Three (regular) armoured regiments equipped (each) with 56 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks.

Three (regular) armoured cavalry regiments equipped with (FRES) Scout.

Three (regular) light cavalry regiments equipped with Jackal. The light cavalry regiments will each be partnered with a Yeomanry regiment from the reserve to deliver an integrated structure for operations and training.

The fourth Yeomanry regiment will provide replacement crews for armoured regiments.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (Public Role)

It is evident from the above that all 9 Regular Regiments are going to have a frontline role. Two are the questions:

1) How the "pairing" of regular and Yeomanry light cavalry affect the distribution of regiments among the 7 Adaptable brigades?
Personally, i'd have 6 brigades each with a Regular or Reserve light cavalry regiment, with the London-centered adaptable brigade being more of a container for light role infantry, including the battalions in their Public Role period, obviously. But this is a personal interpretation.

2) Is the Training and Demonstration role vanishing? So far, this role was met by A Sqn, 1st Royal Tank Regiment: how will it be met in future? My guess is that a regular squadron might be attached to the Yeomanry regiment in the Armour Crew Replacement role, but it is just my guess. For now, there is no detail on this particular aspect.

The Regular Component of the Royal Regiment of Artillery will reduce from fourteen to twelve regular regiments. The removal of 40 Regiment RA from the ORBAT had already been announced as part of the earlier cuts, when 19 Light Brigade itself (of which 40 was a part) was selected for disbandment.
The Army documents says:

Restructuring close support regiments with both AS90 and MLRS batteries leads to the removal of the Regimental Headquarters and two batteries from 39 Regiment RA from the ORBAT by Oct 15.

Details on the formal integration of the Reserve with affiliated regiments will follow. 

First of all, this confirms that GMLRS is safe and staying, and this already is reassuring.
Second, this passage, while not providing details, strongly suggests that there will be at least 3 Close Support Regiments (one per each reaction brigade) on AS90 batteries and, differently from earlier plans, a GMLRS battery each (was expected to be L118).
Numbers fit, as 39 Regiment had recently been expanded to 5 batteries to sustain enduring operations (one battery is constantly part of each Herrick tour), and the loss of 2 would leave just enough for the reaction brigades.  

The Royal Regiment of Artillery will provide the following capabilities:

Seven regular close support artillery regiments supported by a number of reserve artillery and MLRS regiments. (3 Regiments on AS90 and GMLRS, 7 RHA on L118 for 16 Air Assault Brigade, 29 Commando for the Royal Marines and 2 more regiments, either on AS90 and L118 or just on L118, i guess. There are two reserve batteries on GMLRS into 101(V) Regiment)

Two regular unmanned aerial systems regiments supported by a reserve capability (32, 47 Regiments, with the reserve regiment 104, if there are no changes, and there should not be).

One regular area air defence regiment (16 Regt).

One regular close air defence regiment supported by a reserve capability (12 Regiment supported by 106 Regiment, if there are no changes).

One regular surveillance and target acquisition regiment, supported by a reserve capability (5 Regiment, hopefully on 5 batteries, plus 2 or more batteries from 101(V) and Special Observation Patrols from the Honourable Artillery Company, barring changes and/or additions).

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. (Public role)

The restructured Regular component of the Corps of Royal Engineers will deliver:

Military engineering support to the Reaction and Adaptable Forces, thanks to five close support regiments, two of these will have reduced regular capability and will be integrated with a reserve capability, details of which to follow.
Three will be fully capable and obviously mainly meant to support the armored brigades.

24 Commando Engineer Regiment is being removed from the ORBAT, with the loss of regimental HQ and HQ&Sup Squadron. 59 Commando Engineer Squadron returns to its pre-2008 state of independent sqn.
24 Engineer Regiment had been meant to expand with a second regular squadron (56 Sqn), but this never actually happened. Some press reports that the Royal Marines had little voice in the decision, and their protests were pretty much ignored. There's no way to tell if this is true, but the message/lesson for the Navy is clear: make an effort, and finance a full size engineer element for 3rd Commando Brigade on your own.

23 Air Assault Engineer Regiment is staying as part of 16 Air Assault Brigade.

Two force support engineer regiments will meet the demands of the land and air environment theatre entry tasks.
It is not specified, but it is pretty much sure that 39 Regiment (Air Support) and 36 Regiment (General Support) are the two future Force Support Engineer regiments. Apparently, both regiments will have capabilities in the Land and Air Support domain. Hopefully, among their squadrons, Talisman and M3 rigs will find a new home for the future.  

Two integrated explosive ordnance disposal regiments (33 and 101).

One integrated geographic regiment (42 Regt).

Four regular works groups (plus one mainly made up of Reserves).

The Regular component of the Royal Corps of Signals will reduce by one regular regiment. The removal of 7 Signals Regiment from the ORBAT had already been announced from some time, along with the future loss of HQ 2nd Signals Brigade.
As widely and repeatedly announced on this blog, command support to the field force in future will be delivered through the creation of five Multi-Role Signal Regiments; these are generated by merging the current brigade signal squadrons into the Op ENTIRETY campaign signal regiments.

The command support regiments required in support of ARRC and the JRRF are re-structured to optimise their capability. (these are 22 Regt and 30 Regt, no idea how the "restructuring" will work though)

Specialist command support units supporting 16 Air Assault Brigade (Squadron) and UKSF (18 Regiment) are retained, as are the specialist technical capabilities of ECM(FP), level 3 support and communications infrastructure installation.

A total surprise is the reduction in size of 14 Regiment (Electronic Warfare) by one squadron. It has just been expanded by one squadron by literally weeks, and was supposed to be ringfenced...  

Regular capability for UK Resilience will be delivered by a single high readiness regular squadron.

The following Regular capabilities will be provided by the Royal Corps of Signals:

Five multi-role signals regiments.(1, 2, 3, 16, 21 Regts)

Two ARRC/JRRF signals regiments. (22 and 30 Regts)

One ECM (Force Protection) regiment. (10 Regiment)

One UKSF signals regiment. (18 Regt)

One information support signals regiment. (15 Regt)

One electronic warfare signals regiment. (14 Regt)

One air assault brigade signals squadron.

Regular Infantry capability in the new structure will consist of:

Six armoured infantry battalions equipped with Warrior.

Three heavy protected mobility battalions equipped with the new utility vehicle (FRES UV from mid 2020s, Mastiff in the interim).

Two air assault battalions.

Six light protected mobility battalions equipped with Foxhound. 

Fourteen light role battalions. There are 14 TA battalions. If each Infantry battalion (included those mounted in Foxhoud) are to be paired with a reserve battalion, we can expect the TA to increase by 6 infantry battalions, but this is all to be seen. 

Numbers are not an opinion. 2 Air Assault Regiments mean the sole 2 and 3 PARA. This seems to suggest that the announced move of 1st Royal Irish under the Prince of Wales' administrative division is the start of a reversion back to Light Role infantry.
Is 16 Air Assault being reduced to just 2 battalions...?

As for the 6 battalions mounted in Foxhound, it is absolutely clear that 300 vehicles will never be enough. Even before Afghan IEDs and wear and tear claim some of those deployed. New orders will be necessary.

Also, how will the Training Requirement be met? One battalion normally works as training and demonstration formation. 

The Army Air Corps will be reduced by one regular regiment. 1 and 9 Regt AAC will merge under one headquarters (1 Regt AAC) and re-locate to Yeovilton to form a large (3 squadrons?) regiment equipped with the new Wildcat helicopter not before Oct 15. The attack helicopter structure remains largely unchanged. The details of the Reserve component structure to follow.

The Regular component of Army Air Corps capability will consist of:

Two regular aviation regiments equipped with Apache. (3 and 4 Regts)

One large regular aviation regiment equipped with Wildcat. (1 Regt)

One regular manned aerial surveillance regiment. (5 Regt - flies on Islander and Defender light fixed wing airplanes)

2nd Regiment, as all training/school regiments, is curiously not mentioned. The Army has this weird habit of overlooking training formations in this kind of lists (it does not include 14 Regt Royal Artillery, for example, nor 11 Regt Royal Signals and so along).

The structure of the Royal Logistic Corps will be reduced by six regular regiments. It had already been announced that 8 Regiment RLC, 19 (CSS) Battalion and 24 Regiment RLC would be removed from the ORBAT.

Three close support logistic regiments and three theatre logistic regiments will support the reaction forces, resulting in 1 Logistic Support Regiment being removed from the ORBAT not before Apr 15, and 2 Logistic Support Regiment being removed from the ORBAT not before Oct 14.

23 Pioneer Regiment will also be removed from the ORBAT not before Oct 15.

Force logistic regiments will be a fusion of supply and transportation from point of entry to foxhole for the entire force. In order to mount, deploy and sustain future operations, approximately 20% of the logistic output will be delivered by the reserves. The increased reliance on the Reserve will see a restructuring of RLC reserve units, which will be paired with regular regiments across a number of RLC capabilities; details of which to follow.

The Regular component of the Royal Logistic Corps will deliver the following capabilities:

Three close support logistic regiments. (1, 2, 12 Regts)

Three theatre logistic regiments.  (7, 27 and [10 Queen's Own Royal Gurkha?]) 

Two force logistic regiments. (6, 9 Regts)

An air assault support regiment. (13 Regt)

One regular port and maritime regiment. (17 Regt)

One regular postal, courier and movement regiment. (29 Regt)

An explosive ordnance disposal regiment. (11 Regt)

Current regular and reserve structures in the Army Medical Service will remain largely unchanged, although recent operational experience will be incorporated in minor amendments to the establishment. The Army Medical Services will remain an integral part of the Defence Medical Services. The AMS will provide:

Three regular (22, 33, 34) and ten reserve field hospitals.

Six regular and three reserve medical regiments. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments will be armored and clearly destined to the reaction brigades. 16 Medical Regiment is for the Air Assault brigade, leaving 4 and 5 Regts for the Adaptable forces.

Reserve medical evacuation and specialist staff capability.

One military working dogs regiment. (1 MWD)

The regular component of the REME structure will reduce by one battalion to seven regular battalions. 101 Force Support Battalion will be removed from the Regular Army ORBAT not before autumn 2015 and will transfer to the Reserve.

Details of the reserve component structure to follow and will be based on centralisation of 1st and 2nd line manpower under battalion structures providing a mixture of close and force support capability.

The Regular component of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers will provide the following capabilities:

Three regular armoured close support battalions.

Two regular close support battalions.

One regular force support battalion.

One regular air assault battalion. (7th Battalion, supports not just 16AA Brigade but the whole helicopter force)

As part of the drawdown from Germany the Royal Military Police will lose one regiment, 5 Regiment RMP, from the ORBAT.
The three remaining regiments will be re-organised, retaining integration with the reserves, and involving minor basing changes to better police the UK footprint. It will also re-organise its structures to integrate all Special Investigation Branch capability under one headquarters, increase the size of the Military Provost Service and create a specialist Support Operations group.

Royal Military Police will provide the following capabilities:

Three military police regiments. (1, 3, 4 Regts)

One special investigation branch regiment. (SIB Regt)

One specialist operations regiment. (Spec Ops Regt)

One military provost staff unit. (MPS)

The Intelligence Corps retains 3 regular battalions, but one of the "silent cuts" the army apparently doesn't even think it's worth reporting is that of the Military Intelligence Brigade as now present in the ORBAT. It is not specified by any official source for now, but as i've already written i think that the MI battalions will joint the UAVs into the "newly created" Surveillance and Intelligence brigade.

3 Military Intelligence Battalion (1, 2, 3)

Land Information Centre (LIC)

Defence Humint Unit (DHU)

The Special Forces remain unchanged, with the regular element comprising

22nd Special Air Service Regiment (22 SAS)

Special Forces Support Group (1 PARA) (SFSG)

Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR)

Previous Army 2020 articles:

Source of the documents shown in this article:


  1. High Gaby - good find with those PDF's - thank you !

    Ref Artillery, is there not a different way of slicing and dicing this :

    Based on your quote of the army document - "Restructuring close support regiments with both AS90 and MLRS batteries leads to the removal of the Regimental Headquarters and two batteries from 39 Regiment RA from the ORBAT by Oct 15"

    Perhaps the 3 Close Support Regiments might have 4 batteries - 3 x 6 AS90 for a total of 18, same as US Army Heavy Brigade Combat Team, plus 4th battery of 6 MLRS launchers.

    Additional MLRS Launchers could be pooled into a single regiment to support the Adaptable Force / long term commitment, with regular and Reserve elements, similar to the L118 regiments with their aligned Reserve regiments.

    Also I note the reduced size 16 Air Assault Brigade is to provide "An air assault task force at very high readiness" - I may be reading too much into the wording, but it does not say an "airborne" or "parachute capable" task force, but air assault, which historically in UK parlance has meant heli-borne. 2 Para battalions with supporting Engineer and Artiller plus 2 Regiments of AH64 and some Wildcat, supported by RAF Chinook and Puma as required seems a lot more realistic to me.


    1. It is one interpretation, Jed. There are 89 AS90 to go around, and removed those in BATUS and training, 3 x 18 is, i guess, a realistic number, but i'd be somewhat reassured by having them spread on a 5 x 12 arrangement, with 3 regiments combining AS90 and MLRS, and the other two combining AS90 and L118.
      In addition, i'd have 4 TA regiments on L118 (up from 2 now).
      I don't know if it is feasible in terms of resources, but spreading the AS90 to meet the rule of the 5 would reassure me about its effective deployability.

      The one problem of Army 2020, in fact, is that it can sustain an enduring operation abroad, but after the first 3 roulements said operation will better no longer need MBTs and Self Propelled artillery, other than eventually in very small numbers.
      You know, if after 18 months heavy armour is still needed in numbers something is really wrong, sure, but i'd still like to preserve a genuine seedcorn of enduring deployability if possible.

      We'll have to see, though.

      On the reserve element of GMLRS i guess the baseline is preserving the 2 current TA batteries. I don't think there will be more batteries standing up, but reinforcing the existing ones to make them deployable with augmentation is enough, so i'd be happy this way.

      On 16 Air Assault losing the Parachute capability, i think you are reading far too much in the text. I don't think the army would dare announcing the "end" of the fabled paras.
      You know well how much noise that would make. It would be like lauching a nuke on HQ Land Forces...

    2. LOL - indeed, which is why they would do it very, very quietly..... :-)

  2. I told you before about the possibility of merging AS90 and GMLRS in the same regiment, like the German Army has just done.
    That probably means that the actual five batteries will be merged into three, in order to support only the three armoured brigades. No systems should be necessary in the Adaptable Force, due to their future missions, but for trainning purposes and, as you can see, nothing about this role is in the ORBAT.

    I have other doubt, why haven't they left seven light protected mobility battalions in order to have one per adaptative brigade, in despite than only six?

    1. Gabriele

      Good article, involving a real scoop.

      I have concerns over the Royal Artillery, although it is good news that GMLRS is to be retained, albeit in mixed regiments. I was just wondering where this leaves the loitering munition weapon, Fire Shadow. Now that 39 Regiment is to be withdrawn, it would make the introduction of LM very difficult. My guess it that ulimately it will be cancelled, although I suppose we could see it introduced into the surveillance and target acquisition regiment (5 Regiment) to work alonside Watchkeeper.

      I am also concerned about the future of Air Defence. Although it is good news that both 16 and 12 Regiments will be retained,the question is whether the mobile Stormer HVM will be kept. A lot of work and money as gone int the refurbishment amd upgrading of that weapon system and it would be a shame for it to be wasted. (I see that 20 out of the original 29 Shielder (Stormer-based) vehicles are up for sale at Withams. I don't think the Army likes the Stormer!)

      Lasly, I don't know whether the Army is interested in runninng on Lynx AH9 after the advent of Wildcat. A remark by one Army Air Corps man on the ARRSE website suggests that they are, but with 1 and 9 Regiments merging to serve on Wildcat, will Lynx survive?

    2. I think Stormer HVM will continue to stay around. But sincerely, i would have very much merged the two air defence regiments myself, on 5 large batteries each with two troops, one on Rapier and one on HVM.
      But that's just me, i guess.

      Fire Shadow's position is looking less and less safe and sound, indeed, but we'll have to wait and see what happens. Differently from others, i think Fire Shadow makes a huge amount of sense.

      As for the Lynx AH9, well... i think the single regiment reduction is a quite serious indication. There might be the wish to keep it around, but it is unlikely it will actually happen, i fear.

    3. @Spaniard

      One possible interpretation is that six Adaptable brigades will work "in pairs" to generate 3 "deployable" brigade-equivalents, one in each stage of the ORM force generation cycle, while one brigade of purely infantry acts as a container for what's left, including the battalions in London for public role, Cyprus and Brunei. But it's just an hypothesis, until the Reserve ORBAT is not announced.

      I'm half-expecting to see the TA rise up two more artillery regiments on L118 guns, to have 6 and equip the six proper force-generation brigades, but i might just be dreaming.

      As for the GMLRS, i'm expecting at the very least to see the 2 reserve batteries currently present to be retained and enhanced to make them "deployable".
      The Adaptable forces might "not need" a GMLRS regiment, but the Army needs 5 batteries to be able to deploy one constantly, unless there's a dramatic change in force generation rules and cycles.

    4. @Spaniard - just to add to Gaby, there is the concept of "whole fleet management' to take into account - the Adaptable Force is not meant to be deployed en masse, therefore you don't need every battalion to have enough Foxhound for everyone, you just need enough to equip a lasting commitment (long term operation)and some for training.

      On Lynx AH9A - I don't see it going. Wildcat is NOT a light utility helo, it is designed to be an lightly armed Recce / Scout to actually replace the Gazelle. AH9A has some commonality, mainly in engines, and with the last of the Gazelles gone will be the only 'light' utility asset. I see it serving for a long time yet....


    5. I hope it on the AH9A, as i've said often and over many posts. Don't know how much faith i can put into it staying... but if you prove right, Jed, i'll only be happy.

  3. 1) What is a (FRES) Scout? It's not on the British Army page.

    2) As confirmed as the Regular-Reserve usage is confirmed, I still question its operational effectiveness. Only a few countries (Israel and Singapore) have managed that well.

    1. ... you've never heard of FRES Scout? The ASCOD SV?

      Click on FRES SV and FRES Scout tags in the big list here to the side and you'll get a ridiculous amount of articles talking about it.

    2. No is it a light recce or APC?

    3. The Scout variant is a 34 tons light tank with the same gun of the Warrior upgrade (40 mm) but with a full recce sensors suite.
      There is also an APC variant for 8 dismounts, plus recovery and repair variants.

      Other variants including ambulance and command post to come in future.

  4. For the lead reaction force, 16 AA to have only 2 assault battalions is a mistake. Even 3 CDO is a full brigade in all sense, minus 1 Rifles.

    1. Let's see if it is confirmed before smashing our heads into the wall. I'm hoping for 3 battalions, but it wouldn't be a tragedy if there were 2.

    2. Really guys, what is your problem here ? It's a "brigade" because it has 4 "manouvre elements", 2 infantry battalions, and two regiments of Apache. It has brigade level support including light Artillery (7 RHA)and a Para Engineer regiment. Having just two "air assault battalions" is far, far more realistic for the amount of lift helo support that we can generate. Plus, if they really need to "massive" helo based air assault into somewhere, add on an RM Cdo with the Commando Helo Force as re-inforcements ?


    3. Your reasoning isn't wrong, Jed, and that's what i say that, in the case, it won't be a tragedy if it goes down to 2 battalions.
      But 3 would help with the generation of the Battlegroup at readiness. Even the new ORM calls for 3 reaction formations to have one at readiness.

      Unless 16AA makes an exception to the rule somehow, it needs a third battalion of soldiers to sustain the battlegroup generation cycle in the long term.

    4. I have read somewhere that the full 16 AAb will be everyday working as a whole reaction force, not only one of its battalions.
      Then, it would have sense to downsize it to only two batts.

    5. I can't even imagine how that would ever work in practice. Can you imagine keeping the whole brigade at 24 hours notice to move, with each soldier having to be at reach for urgent calls from the Army...?

      I think it's bollocks.

    6. The fact that the full unit is considered as reaction force doesn't mean that every company is at 24 hours notice to move.
      Perhaps one battle group (2 infantry coys and 1 apache coy) is at 24 h, other is at 3 days, and the rest of the brigade at 30 days...

  5. Hi Gabbie,

    Brilliant as always.

    When you get a moment, and the final pieces of the jig-saw drop in place, I don't suppose I could ask you to produce a simple table list units and formations please?

    A bit like this:
    Perhaps with the brigades listed in the vertical columns.....

    1. I'll make that sometime, but i guess it'll be better to wait some more and have some more details released before i do. I'd like to make a table more detailed, and including the Reserve formations as well.

      Anyway, the regular count of the regiment/battalion-sized formations is:

      Armour 9
      Infantry 31
      Artillery 12
      Engineer 10 (plus Works Groups, 59 Commando Sqn, and 101 Regiment EOD which is a mixed Regular/reserve regiment)
      Signals 11 (plus 16 Air Assault brigade's Signals Squadron)
      RM (including Force Protection) 5
      RAF Regiment 3 (6 Field Squadrons, equating to virtually two infantry battalions, plus Defence CBRN wing, which i'm counting as regiment due to its size)
      Special Forces 4 (22 SAS, SBS, SRR, 1 PARA. The other two SAS regiments are "reserve". Can't think about what could make up the 7th SF unit in the RUSI count at the moment...)

    2. Can you confirm 3 Armoured (Challenger 2) regiments or 4? Does replacements from the TA count?

    3. 3 regular tank regiments. The TA regiment will use Challenger for training, but won't be deployable, i think, unless it really, really was necessary and proper augmentation was issued. It will supply trained crews, though, for rapid loss replacement / reinforcements.

    4. cheers gabbie, i look forward to the full deal.

      good to know that 1Para doesn't count as part of the 31.

  6. @Jed

    "On Lynx AH9A - I don't see it going. Wildcat is NOT a light utility helo, it is designed to be an lightly armed Recce / Scout to actually replace the Gazelle." Precisely. That is why some Lynx should stay.


    "Differently from others, I think Fire Shadow makes a huge amount of sense." And so do I. One of the major difficulties with putting missiles etc. on UAVs such as Watchkeeper is that they have to take off from, and more importantly, land on, runways. Certainly not always easy to create a runway in a fluid battle. Fire Shadow is very mobile.

    1. Not to mention that flying a UAV costs, and fitting a missile on the UAV costs, and using the missile costs.

      I'm sure the Army would love to have more UAVs, and have them armed.
      But people forgets that this would cost MILLIONS that the army does not have.

      Fireshadow is described as "wasteful" because it crashes at the end of its mission, but it is as "cheap" as a MLRS rocket, while giving endurance, range and imagery feedback like a UAV.
      People tend not to realize that Fireshadow is an armed UAV which costs only as much as the missile that a larger, far more expensive UAV would fire.

      It's a compromise, obviously, but a very good one in my view.

  7. Hi Gabriele,
    Thanks for that information.
    As you say, we still need some more details.
    with 6 warrior and 3 FRES UV Bns in the armoured brigades,
    2 Air Assault, and maybe one light role in 16 AA,
    1 Bn in Cyprus, and 1 in Bruni,
    By my maths, that leaves 17 Bns for the regional brigades?
    No mention of Mechenized Bns or Bulldogs, does that mean the end of the Bulldog?
    I guess we don't know if 1 RIFLES has been withdrawn from 3 CDO yet?

    1. Bulldog seems to be set for replacement with the Mastiff, judging from the army graphics.

      We don't yet know about 1st Rifles, but my guess is that it gets pulled back out of 3rd Commando.

    2. 3 CDO looks safe a a normal brigade plus to me.

    3. Phil and Gabriele

      "No mention of Mechanized Bns or Bulldogs, does that mean the end of the Bulldog?"

      "Bulldog seems to be set for replacement with the Mastiff, judging from the army graphics."

      The situation regarding FV432s and Bulldogs is an interesting one. Even if the Mastiff replaces the FV432/Bulldogs completely in the new Protected Mobility infantry regiments (including variants such as recovery vehicles etc.), there is still the problem of what will replace them in Armoured Infantry Battalions.

      Various figures are given for the number of 432/Bulldogs support vehicles in the present Armoured Infantry Battalions. I have seen figures ranging from 21 to 40 in each regiment. What I would like to know is whether there will be enough Warriors to assume those roles as well as serving as Infantry Fighting Vehicles.

      Another vehicle whose future intrigues me is Panther. Procured as a Command and Liaison vehicle, does it have a future in the new Armoured formations?

    4. The Bulldog and FV430 MK3 might be retired almost entirely, but the FV430 MK2, of which there are many specialized variants in the battalions, will stay around for longer.
      The replacement was once intended to come via Warrior conversions, but i never heard of it again. FRES SV variants could be the next solution, perhaps exploiting the fact that the numbers of Scout vehicles (the most expensive variant) required has dropped due to the passage to just 3 tank and 3 recce regiments.
      APC, ambulance, command and other variants are already on the cards. There would just be the need to add a mortar carrier to the count, and FRES SV could cover all roles.

      As for the Panther, i think it'll stay around until MRV(P) eventually enters service. If MRV(P) is successful, it will replace Panther among the others.

    5. Gabriele

      Thanks for the detailed reply. Yes, I suppose that FRES SV variants could provide at least some of the answer.

      "APC, ambulance, command and other variants are already on the cards." Yes, and I hope a bridgelayer is added to that list. I think a medium bridgelayer might be vital with the emphasis now shifting over to Armoured Infantry (would they be termed medium units?) You can't use Titan all the time. I don't know what has happened to the plan for a Warrior based bridging vehicle. The last I heard of it was some time ago.

    6. I don't know if the Army ever had a real plan for the Warrior bridgelayer. There have been trials and at least one prototype, and it might be a good solution for the bridgelayer requirement which was to be part of FRES Maneuver Support, which was cancelled.
      A bridgelayer is still very much needed, but funding the purchase of kit is another story entirely...

  8. Hi Gaby.

    I'm the guy that thought that Army2020 looked like a bit of a "mish-mash". It seems that most of what you originally thought has turned out to be correct - well done!

    1. I was pretty close, yes. There are differences, of course, and there is still some stuff we don't know the details of, but i was substantially on the mark.
      I think Army 2020 makes the best out of the worst: arguably, they couldn't do much better, considering that they have to lose 20.000 men...

  9. It's obvious the rule of 5 will be used. Have you not noticed there is five of every corps regiment except logistics which will obviously be TA. There's 5 REME battalions for close support, 5 engineer, 5 RA excluding 7RHA and 29 and 5 signal regiments. It's going to be the MRB 5 Bde cycle. Simple.

    1. indeed, when gabbie produces his headline summary table it would be nice if there was an easy way to differentiate between the rule of five generic battalions vs the specialist ones.

    2. That isn't in the public domain yet. They haven't worked out the manning implications yet according to the source. We also don't know if Cyprus is dropping to 1 Bn or if the LWC duties will be done by the RF units in the early FORM cycle.

    3. The rule of the 5 appears to be respected indeed, but it is not certain yet. Not at all.

      As for the list, Jedi, i'll see if there's a way to separate the two "kinds" of formations without turning the list into a book.

      As for 1 PARA (Special Forces Support), it is not counted as part of the infantry, no. When it went into SF, it ceased to be counted.
      The Army indeed has had 37 battalions for all these years, not 36 as you'd see written everywhere. 1 PARA was just... moved into another list.

  10. Gaby

    I don’t know whether you have seen it, but the news today from the MOD is that 25 more Foxhound vehicles will be purchased. Good news but the perhaps the not-so-good news is that they will cost £30 million, more than a million apiece!

    Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, said: "This is another example of how the MOD, having balanced the budget, is now able to confidently spend money on the equipment that our personnel really need."

    I hope that the latter is true and not just a matter of political spin. If it is true, look out for some more announcements on procurement in the not-too-distant future.

    1. I've been on vacation for a couple of days, so sorry for the late reply. However, yes, i read of that.

      The cost is surely worrisome. Way too high. There are some explanations (the order might include additional spares and support for the whole fleet) for such costs, but the fact remains that Foxhound is a very expensive toy.

      Also, the number is... suspect. Just 25? I wonder if placing such a small order in-year, with such urgency, has to do with the vehicle perhaps coming in a different configuration.
      I'm trying to see if i find any evidence of it. I was wondering if we aren't perhaps looking at an ambulance and/or command post variant, for example.

  11. Gaby,

    Hope you enjoyed your holiday.

    "I wonder if placing such a small order in-year, with such urgency, has to do with the vehicle perhaps coming in a different configuration."

    Yes, I had the same thoughts. I even wondered whether it might be for a small number of the the fire support version (to take over from the existing WMIK vehicle) or the protected logistics vehicle. But I suppose in those cases it would be a matter of changing the pod, rather than re-constucting part of the vehicle.

    1. I suspect that, with hundreds of Husky and Jackals around, fire support and utility roles are going to get, for the moment, the lowest priority.

      But, even though an ambulance and command post on Husky chassis exist, i think the army might well want a number of vehicles in those roles offering exactly the same performances and mobility of the Foxhound.

      For now, though, it would appear that we are just looking at a small order of base vehicles.
      Perhaps Planning Round 2012 ended up with a small pot of money available, and they decided to spend it on more Foxhounds.
      If this is the case, we might indeed see it happening again in the future, with further small orders appearing now and then whenever money can be spared and priority is accorded.

      After all, as we already said in other occasions, the number of Foxhound vehicles needed is realistically much higher than 300, and every little helps.

  12. Gaby

    Yes, yours is the sensible response. I suppose I was hoping for too much.


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