Saturday, June 14, 2014

Army 2020: unit structures and equipment


This extremely interesting document offers some insight into the plans of the British Army for its Army 2020 structure and equipment. It finally provides a scheme of the intended organisation of tank regiments; armoured, air assault, protected and light infantry battalions and cavalry units.


The document also provides some interesting indications in terms of equipment programs. One interesting snippet confirms that the Army hopes to convert a significant number of Warrior vehicles into "turrettless" Armoured Battlegroup Support Vehicles to provide protected mobility to CSMs, medics, Mortar and Antitank platoons, as well as Battlegroup Headquarters, in other words an as full as possible replacement for the many FV430s still in service in these roles. The big concern remains on numbers: even if ABSV finally moves on from the concept phase, money will be needed to convert quite a lot of vehicles.

It is confirmed that the Warrior IFV, as part of the WCSP, will have its troop carrying capability reduced from 7 to 6, as the old seats are replaced with blast-resistant ones. 

Regarding Challenger 2, the CSP is described, unsurprisingly, as being by now reduced to "just" upgrading sights, situational awareness and electronics.

FRES SV is described as providing an ambulance capability as well, which until now had been "left for later", among other vehicle variants to eventually emerge in the Block 2 of vehicle development.
This mention could imply a confirmation of the bringing forwards of the Ambulance variant, which has been in the rumors for over one year.

The Command and Support squadron of the Heavy Cavalry regiments are described as containing three Guided Weapons troops and a Surveillance Troop. It will be very interesting to see how these will be structured and equipped. A FRES "Overwatch" vehicle variant is notionally present in long term development, in future Blocks to provide (finally) a replacement for the Striker vehicles and their Swingfire missiles, which were used extensively in Operation Telic before being withdrawn from service in 2005. It is more realistic, however, to assume that cost constaints will leave the guided weapon troops equipped with Javelin and embarked on pretty standard protected mobility FRES SV vehicles.
No indication, for now, of the shape and equipment of the surveillance troop. A FRES SV ground based surveillance vehicle is, again, envisaged in the long term, possibly equipped with mast-mounted EO/IR sensors and radar.



The SA80 will be upgraded and possibly given a suppressor capability, and there is no mention of a replacement, originally expected in the early 2020s. Unsurprisingly, it seems that the replacement is being pushed well to the right.
The new VIRTUS body armour and load carrying equipment is expected to start appearing in 2015. The L129A1 sharpshooter rifle is not mentioned: earlier information suggests that all L129A1 will be roled as Sniper No2 weapon for sniper pairs, while the line infantry is being re-issued with the L86A2 for the sharpshooter role.
There is a very welcome indication that the Black Hornet micro-UAV will be taken into core.
A curious news is the planned procurement of a fighting knife for 2015.



The air assault battalions (2 and 3 PARA) are reforming companies that were put in suspended animation to re-organize for operation Herrick. The reorganization of ISTAR / Reconnaissance companies, with recce patrols, is particularly important since it has now been confirmed that 16 Air Assault brigade will no longer be supported by D Sqn Household Cavalry regiment. The brigade will employ Jackal instead. The Army plans to have the Jackal improved with greater under-belly blast protection.
In cooperation with the RAF, it is to be hoped that the planned introduction of a new heavy load airdrop platform for use on the A400M Atlas for launch of Jackal vehicles will indeed go ahead.


31 comments:

  1. They give no indication of the exact structure of the Foxhound Battalions.

    Also, is Mastiff/FRES UV 8 or 7 or 6 troops? Report says 30 for 4 vehicles. So drivers double up as 2i/C or medic or signaller?

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    1. Mastiff will sit up to 8 troops plus 2 crew, so i'm not too sure how to read that 30 on 4 vehicles. The earliest variant however only sat 6 troops.
      In any case, 30 men seems too few. Even with the oldest Mastiff, there would be some empty seats. Maybe they aren't counting the crews but just the dismounts, in this case.

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    2. I get the feeling one of the crew may have to dismount to fill up the section.

      So a Warrior Section is now six--Sect Com, I/C and two soldiers paired with them? Wow.

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    3. Only speculation but it looks as though Armd Inf sections are only 6 men. I'll bet you the same applies to the Mastiff battalions. Assuming the 30 men isn't just a typo, I bet that the 30 men comes from:
      - 3 x sections vehicles of 8 men each including driver and gunner
      - 1 x HQ section vehicle of 6 men including driver and gunner.

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    4. Oh wow what a reduction. I suppose that will be the same for Foxhound and Light Infantry--six men per section?

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  2. Gaby

    You say: "No indication, for now, of the shape and equipment of the surveillance troop. A FRES SV ground based surveillance vehicle is, again, envisaged in the long term, possibly equipped with mast-mounted EO/IR sensors and radar.

    I'm just wondering what to make of the following statement, though.

    "Other SV variants will provide command and control, recovery and repair, protected mobility reconnaissance support and ambulance capability,"

    It may be that a comma has been missed out of the document but could the reference in the above to "reconnaissance support" be a reference to that very surveillance vehicle with mast etc.?

    Good news, I think, on the ABSV but like you I am concerned about numbers Some 432s to serve on then?

    The Challenger2 CSP reference does make mention of ammunition. Improvements there? Or am I being wildly optimistic?

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  3. The Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support is the full name of the APC variant used in support of recce cavalry. I think this vehicle will be used by the Support Troop in each squadron, but so far there has been no indication of it having a particular sensor fit.

    And no, i don't think the 430s will stay around forever (thankfully). I'm more worried by the prospect of the vehicle totals being high enough for just one brigade or so, with the excuse of Whole Fleet management and all that.
    Mind you, the concept of Whole Fleet Management and reduced training fleets in peacetime makes sense, but if you only have vehicles for one brigade in the hangars, that's all you have. And then it becomes a lie. It'll be one thing to keep under watch.

    Ammunition for Challenger 2: they might be just implying the ongoing work for the life extension of CHARM 3, with the replacement of the launch charges with new ones.

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  4. Gaby

    Thanks for those detailed answers. Actually that is quite a useful document but deals only with Armour and Infantry. Do you know whether others will be produced, dealing with Artillery, Royal Engineers, etc.?

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    1. I honestly have no idea. But if they come out, i will be glad to write about them, that's for sure.

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  5. I wonder why it is not on the army.mod.uk website?

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  6. Because it shouldn't have been released, it slipped out by accident and was withdrawn by other sites

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    1. Sad...can't be used in as a academic source.

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  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Wee_Curry_Monster

    This user claims it will stay at seven dismounts. Discuss with him.

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  8. gabby, thanks again for some great info, a question, on a uk forces news channel program about 3 Para, specifically A company, it mentioned there were just 76 soldiers in that company, that seems a very small number, is that in wartime, enlarged by reserves?, thanks again

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    1. No it's more like the Para are undermanned. See HoC questions--troop levels for many units are below establishment.

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  9. Daniele MandelliJune 16, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    Ridgeback in the Light PM battalions, interesting.

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  10. Just to clarify some issues, the document was removed from the Army web site because it was out of date by the time it went to print. Things are changing so rapidly as to what can be done and is being done that the information is now not correct. Typical example is Fleet Management, one minute its in for certain units, next minute it is out. Current issues are with the three armoured units, at the moment current thinking is that fleet management is not required as each unit will received their full compliment of 58 CH2. Even though they will be within the Ops/Reserve/Trg cycle for each unit.
    I was with 3 Para 2 months ago and A Coy is 126, not 76. Only 76 were deployed for exercises. The rest are going other tasks or are on courses.

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  11. Cbrn Guru

    While you are on here (and with Gaby' permission, as it is on the future of the British Army, although not directly on the subject of this thread, I suppose), what is happening about the re-introduction of Fuchs? Is that still going ahead? Several reports have said that it is but I would like to know from an expert (if it is not classified). Thanks for any help you can give.

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    1. Any info is always welcome. As far as i know, the plan is going ahead, and we should hear more by August, when the Royal Tank Regiment merge is planned, if i remember correctly.

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  12. Gaby

    Well, thanks for that info, Gaby. Now to see whether I get any reply from Cbrn Guru.

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    1. The RTR amalgamation parade will happen on the 2nd August 2014 at Carter Barracks in Bulford. After which they will form into the three armoured squadrons of AJAX, BADGER, and CYCLOPS. Command and Reconnaissance Squadron will be known as DREADNAUGHT, and Headquarters Squadron will be known as EGYPT. The CBRN Area Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AS&R) Squadron, will be known as FALCON. Falcon will start to assembly in Warminster and eventually take over Harlem lines from the Demonstration Squadron.
      There is a MOD contract in the pipe line for the refurbishment and upgrade of the eleven FUCHs. I would be very surprised if Rheinmetall do not win it. Unconfirmed rumours are circulating about Falcon also getting the Decon vehicles and looking at LRT vehicles. The Defence CBRN Wing are an organisation going nowhere at the moment, the Army is starting to build up the momentum to take back control of most of the CBRN assets in the future.

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    2. Good. The squadrons and basing plan are confirmed, then. Surprised to hear that FALCON might get back the decon and even LRT, though. This i had not heard yet. I suspect RAF Regiment will not want that to happen, though: they risk losing the role completely, if that's it!

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  13. Decon makes sense, since those vehicles are only for the decon of the Fuchs, there is no secondary role of Hazard Management. The RAF Regiment only have themselves to blame, lots of pissing about trying to sort out Foundation Courses for individuals on CBRN and not really engaging in any Joint Ops Training. Anything outside SIBRA seems to fall into the too difficult category, plus the Army would prefer its own assets attached to Formation Commands to be tasked as they see fit.

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    1. The CBRN Joint Regiment cut never made sense, and i guess the problems are inexorably all coming to the surface. I'd like to say i'm surprised, but i really am not.

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  14. Cbrn Guru

    Many thanks for all that info. I am convinced the Army is the right place for the majority of CBRN assets. As you say: " plus the Army would prefer its own assets attached to Formation Commands to be tasked as they see fit."

    I don't know whether you have been keeping up with vehicles which have appeared at Eurosatory but there was a report on the Shephard defence website yesterday, concerning a vehicle called the Survivor R. It is a 4 x 4 specialised for CBRN missions and has been built by RMMV and Achleitner. Supposed to be based on the 6 x 6 Fuchs. Looks interesting.

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    1. @MikeW, yep fully aware of Survivor-R and the KMW Dingo 2 including Cougar A/C Enlightenment, plus the SAAB Iveco LMV and the Christanini Iveco LMV. All jumping on the band wagon of the possible prospects in Middle Eastern Countries. All go down the road of using stand-off chemical detection on the roof of the vehicle, then various combinations of external and internal sensors. Most also provide the MM2 mass spectrum collection and sampling system at the back which then drops markers to indicate any liquid hazard find on the ground.

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  15. Offtopic but still... Brits 2 lt inf bn w/ 560-580 men (footsoldiers and foxhounds) is just about the same as the French inf rgt/bn w/1.120-1.160 men (based at VAB)?!
    So Brits 19 mpi/lt inf bn and 8-9 French inf rgt/bn.
    Only diference is that everything else is diferent, and Frenchs have upper hand in every organisational aspect IMO?

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  16. Cbrn Guru

    Many thanks for your interesting reply. You are obviously au fait with the very latest developments in the world of CBRN. It's just that I thought that the British Army might be interested in the Suvivor-R, as it's a Fuchs derivative, but if it's aimed at the Middle East, then that's hardly likely.

    Well done the Army for fighting back against some of the misguided cuts. If we no longer have the men, we might as well fight like hell for the best of kit. Of course I would like the personnel too!

    Thanks very much once again.

    Mike

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  17. Gaby

    Have just seen some information over on the Militaryphotos website concerning the fact that the Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support variant of FRES SV has been unveiled at DVD2014.

    It looks a robust, businesslike piece of kit. Are you keeping in touch with the news at DVD 2014? I ask because I would like to know the latest and am too lazy/too incompetent at computer work to be able to find out the very latest.

    I suppose that it will eventually all be revealed anyway but I was just wondering whether you planned a special article on it or revelation of news as it happens on this site. Quite a lot of work, I would imagine and I would not want to give you any more than is necessary.

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  18. That post on Militaryphotos regarding PMRS is mine. I'm Liger30 up there. So, yes, i am keeping my eyes peeled open, and if anything else juicy comes out, i will report it as soon as i can.

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  19. Gaby

    Thanks for the reply and help.

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