Tuesday, November 24, 2015

After the SDSR - Strike brigades: a big deal?

 Strike brigades: a big deal?

The Strike Brigades: a big deal?

The “Strike Brigades”, which seem actually destined to be mechanized infantry brigades, fantasy-titles aside, represent a far great change for the army than most appreciate from the SDSR document, which is completely devoid of details.

What is the extent of the change, and what are the implications?  

What is a strike brigade?

Answer: we don’t yet know exactly what shape it is supposed to have. It will include the Ajax family of tracked vehicles and the new Mechanized Infantry Vehicle (a wheeled, 8x8 armoured vehicle) to be procured in the coming years.

It is also expected to have the full range of supports, from logistic to artillery, from medical regiment to REME to combat engineers.

Where do the strike brigades come from?

One Strike Brigade will be obtained downgrading one of the current three Armoured Infantry Brigades; the other will come from the upgrading of one of the seven Adaptable Infantry Brigades.
The end result is a force with 2 armoured infantry brigades, 2 strike brigades, 6 infantry brigades.


The key questions are: how will Ajax be distributed? The most likely answer is in a single Cavalry regiment for each brigade. The implication: the Ajax fleet has been ordered under the Army 2020 plan, which would have seen Ajax replace the ancient, light CVR(T) vehicles in the reconnaissance regiments and in the recce platoons within tank regiments and armoured infantry battalions.
The assumption was that the vehicles would equip 3 cavalry regiments and 9 recce platoons (in 3 tank and 6 armoured infantry units).

Now we must assume that the cavalry regiments will be four, one for each armoured and strike brigade. In addition, Ajax will continue to be required for the recce platoons in the Tank and Armoured Infantry regiments and battalions.

The Ajax fleet on order is not expected to be expanded: it should be possible to squeeze four cavalry regiments out of the fleet, but it might take some Whole Fleet Management magic: the number of the specialized variants is carefully thought out for 3 regiments. Adding a fourth might mean that there are not enough vehicles for everyone, and regiments are only given access to all the vehicles on the ORBAT only when deploying.

Next, how many MIV? Until yesterday, the Army required the MIV as a replacement for the Mastiff and Ridgback MRAPs employed by 3 battalions of “Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry”.
One such battalion is present in each armoured infantry brigade.

Now the MIV could be required to equip as many as 6 battalions of infantry, or as few as 2, or 4. We have no real idea what the plan is. A Strike Brigade will have, one would expect, the canonical 3 infantry battalions. But how will these battalions be configured? They could be all mounted on MIV, or 2 or even just 1 on MIV and the rest on Foxhound, or some battalions might even be of the Light Role type, with no section vehicle at all and soldiers on foot.

What will the Engineer regiment of the brigade use? The description of the brigade’s concept would appear to rule out the massive Titan bridgelayer and Trojan AVRE vehicles, so the 30 tons Terrier will be the main item, with the truck-mounted ABLE and REBS bridging systems as likely complement, plus wheeled excavators, trucks and all the rest.

REME? We can expect no Challenger recovery vehicle for the same reason. Ajax recovery variants, MIV recovery variants, MAN Wrecker are the most likely tools.

Medical regiment: a MIV ambulance variant is a most likely fit.

Artillery: AS90 is excluded by its weight and logistic tail. The Light Gun is the most likely initial solution, although it really is an underwhelming weapon for use in a mechanized formation: a 155 mm system such as the French CAESAR would be ideal later on.

Direct Fire: armoured infantry brigades enjoy the firepower of main battle tanks. Traditional Mechanized Infantry Brigades also have tanks, but the “strike brigade”, as described, seems destined not to have tanks as they are too heavy and difficult to deploy.
If money wasn’t a problem, a MIV Direct Fire variant, sporting an MBT-class main gun but on wheels, would be procured, but it takes quite a bit of optimism to imagine the british army being able to afford this.
Italian Medium Brigades, which are mounted on Freccia 8x8 vehicles, enjoy the presence of the Centauro 8x8 tank destroyer with a 105mm gun, and its eventual replacement, the Centauro 2 with the 120 mm. The Centauro is used in the reconnaissance cavalry role.

Being the result of endless change of plans, the british Strike Brigades, despite being almost entirely wheeled, will instead end up using the tracked Ajax for reconnaissance and combat screening. Not exactly the best of solutions.

Logistic: the RLC element for the Strike Brigade will not be as large as that associated with an armoured infantry brigade, but nonetheless will have to be much larger than that found in an Adaptable Infantry Brigade. 

For the Full Size image click here

The transition from Army 2020 to Joint Force 2025 and its implications. Note: the 2025 structure of both the Strike and of the Armoured Infantry brigades can, at this stage, only be a guess. For all we know, the armoured brigades could have 2 smaller tank regiments each and 2 or 3 infantry battalions on Warrior. The Strike brigades might have to complement MIV with Foxhound battalions. We literally have no idea for now. Hope the army has a more consistent plan...


Mechanized Infantry Battalions are only slightly smaller than armoured infantry ones in manpower terms (709 versus 729, in Army 2020). They are however some 150 men larger than a Light Role infantry battalion (709 versus 561). Since the Army’s overall manpower is not increasing, the larger units needed to transform an Adaptable Brigade into a Strike Brigade will require other infantry battalions to get even smaller. 
Supporting elements will become smaller as they move from armoured to mechanized, but again we must assume that current "light" supports will have to grow to account for the other strike brigade, and this will require even more manpower. 
Sure enough, the SDSR says that “a number” of infantry battalions will be “reconfigured for mentoring and defence engagement”: another way to say that they will shrink further as manpower goes in other directions.
Mind you, it is not necessarily a bad thing: in earlier posts I’ve argued for this kind of approach (I actually suggested closing down entire battalions rather than keeping a lot of tiny, understrenght units, but I knew all too well that the government wouldn’t have the guts to face a “disappearing capbadge” outrage scenario), but the SDSR uses nice words to announce the change without making it explicit.

Heavy metal

The armoured infantry brigades remaining will have to change in some way. How, we don’t yet know.

Everything is possible, in theory. Two fairly safe assumptions are that the brigades will continue to have their own cavalry regiment on Ajax but will lose their Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry battalion in favor of the Strike Brigades.

The six armoured infantry battalions could all stay and be spread 3 and 3 into each brigade. Logical, but expensive, especially if another six battalions get mounted on MIVs. 

Similarly, what happens to tank regiments? Now 3 (+1 reserve): tomorrow? Will they become two, but larger? Two, same size? Four, smaller?

GMLRS: difficult to even guess. Its precision and long range is key, and its weight class isn't far from Ajax or what we can expect for the MIV itself. It could go both ways: we could see a fourth precision fires battery formed, or we could see a reduction to two. Hard to say.

AS90: how many will be cut? It seems an unlikely fit for the Strike Brigades, and, as of march 2015, the OSD of AS90 is 2030. The Army is already thinking about replacing it, perhaps with the french CAESAR (which 1st Royal Horse Artillery has extensively trialed). GMLRS OSD is also 2030, but this will probably not hold true, while it might for AS90.

Titan & Trojan: how many will be cut? 

Assuming each armoured and each strike brigade gets a Cavalry regiment on Ajax, a fourth such regiment has to be created. It could be obtained by re-roling one Tank regiment, or by re-roling a Light Cavalry regiment, in theory. It seems far more likely that a tank regiment will be re-roled, sadly, because this would free up some manpower (although not terribly much: a Challenger 2 regiment has an establishment of 587 versus 528 for an Ajax cavalry regiment, in army 2020) and money.

Infantry brigades and enduring deployments

The British Army currently works according to the Rule of the 5: it takes 5 man to keep one constantly deployed, as this allows said man to enjoy a 24 months interval between one 6-months operational deployment and another.

Army 2020 delivers the ability to sustain a brigade-size enduring deployment by means of 3 armoured brigades and 7 infantry brigades. The latter, which are really “containers” of deployable regiments and battalions, can deliver two deployable brigades to deliver the fourth and fifth deployment in an enduring operation. The rhythm works out as: armoured, armoured, armoured, adaptable, adaptable, and again armoured and so on.
The air assault battlegroup and the amphibious battlegroup are in addition.

Will Joint Force 2025 deliver the same kind of capability? If the answer is yes, how?
We can assume that, from the six remaining infantry brigades, a third 2-brigade, 2-year force generation cycle could be sustained, delivering each year an infantry brigade at readiness. Supports elements would be available for a single deployment, assuming that the current “5 of everything” approach is maintained.

There currently are 5 artillery regiments, 5 signal regiments, 5 engineer, 5 REME, 5 logistic elements and so along. Will Joint Force 2025 cut back from 5 to 4?

Or perhaps will Harmony Guidelines be changed to account for a 1 in 4 rule, meaning 6 months deployed at intervals of just 18 months?

We don’t yet have an answer to any of these questions.


The Strike Brigades have profound implications for the Army. They are extremely likely to cause further losses in heavy armour assets and in heavy, self propelled artillery, despite the relevance of these systems having been dramatically reaffirmed in Ukraine.

The formation of the Strike Brigades will send ripples across the entire army and its procurement plans. Depending on the structure of the brigades, the numbers of the MIV programme can change dramatically. The requirement for ABSV will become smaller as one brigade moves from tracks to wheels.  
Each Corp of the army will be touched in some way. And there are enormous implications in terms of force generation cycles and potentially of harmony guidelines.

The army might finally get its long dreamed Medium Brigades and new 8x8 armoured vehicles, but how much it will have to sacrifice to get to them is not yet clear.
Army 2020 is no more: a new plan needs to take shape, and we can only hope the Army knows more than we do. The SDSR provides no answers: let’s hope the Army has an actual plan about the way forwards. 


  1. Glad to see you quickly covering this Gabriele.
    The greatest worry for me of SDSR2015 by far.

    I hope the Armoured, Armoured Cavalry, and AS90 Regiments are expanded to 4, sadly I agree that will probably not be the case.

    If only they could have kept the 3 Armoured Infantry Brigades as is and upgraded the 2 adaptable ones, would be really happy right now.

  2. The Army was the loser yesterday, the strike brigades were just cover for that. This is a mechanism for prioritising deployable force elements over the mass of (politically mandated) infantry whilst cutting long term equipment funding to fund the RAF.

    I don't mean to sound negative I actually support the approach.

  3. Gaby

    Thought-provoking article.

    Yes, I am worried too about firepower necessary for the new type of formation. You say:

    " Direct Fire: armoured infantry brigades enjoy the firepower of main battle tanks. Traditional Mechanized Infantry Brigades also have tanks, but the “strike brigade”, as described, seems destined not to have tanks as they are too heavy and difficult to deploy.
    If money wasn’t a problem, a MIV Direct Fire variant, sporting an MBT-class main gun but on wheels, would be procured, but it takes quite a bit of optimism to imagine the british army being able to afford this."

    Yes, that would be one solution, if affordable. I think that the original plan for variants of the FRES SV vehicle included a Direct Fire version. As far as a wheeled platform is concerned, the Americans have had some difficulty in making a large calibre gun fitted on Stryker work, although I think they have now overcome many of the problems.

    What about an ATGW system fitted to either Ajax or MIV, perhaps Javelin or, even better, Exactor? Again, this kind of vehicle was one of the original variants mentioned in connection with FRES SV. A third alternative would be a 120mm mortar fitted to MIV.

    One thing is for certain. Such formations should not go into action without adequate fire support and, as you say, the Light Gun does not seem a satisfactory solution. In many of the situations likely to be encountered, you would have to go in firing on the move, and setting up positions for a towed weapon simply would not be on.

    Another question:

    "It is also expected to have the full range of supports, from logistic to artillery, from medical regiment to REME to combat engineers."

    So, almost a return to the Multi-Role Brigade concept? See my point on earlier post.

  4. Only speculation, but I'd be amazed if the Armoured Infantry brigades get 3 x Warrior battalions each as the money doesn't exist to upgrade the Warrior's needed for 6 battalions in total.

    My other thought is that we won't see the first strike brigade for at least 5 years, and the 2nd one being funded in SDR2020.

  5. So the ten year + Army fixation with wheeled medium weight brigades combined with the "no cap badges must go politics" continues to rumble along.... My guess on the result of this will be the following -
    1. In the best case The Army will "gain" two "medium" brigades centred on two different vehicle types (1 Regiment of Ajax + 3 Inf Batallions on MIVs) supported by 105mm towed artillery. These will not be as deployable as other country's medium brigades (due to Ajax) and will also lack firepower (due to Ajax and 105mm artillery)
    2. In the worst case the Army will "gain" two medium brigades made up of 1 Ajax Regiment and 3 infantry batallions mounted on a combination of existing protected vehicles + trucks
    3. The Army will loose an armoured infantry brigade of 1 Ajax, 1 Chall 2, 2 Warrior, 1 protected infantry and 1 AS-90 regiment. The two remaining Arm Inf Brigades will loose their protected mobility batallions.

    Net result -
    - 1 additional Brigade genuinely "supportable" in the field
    - A considerable loss of both firepower (Chal 2 + Artillery) and protection (Warrior) for the army as a whole
    - No real increase in "deployability" since the strike brigades are dependant on Ajax

    As an aside as has already been alluded, but I will say it outright here, the chances of the MOD procuring and deploying 6 full batallions of MIVs in 10 years is close to zero......

  6. Hi Gabriele,

    Thank you for the this article. As you say, we await the detail.
    The SDSR suggests that an armoured division of 3 brigades could be deployed. I cannot see this. I do not think there is enough warriors for 6 infantry battalions to deploy, (3 in each armoured brigade) and there won't be enough vehicles for the strike brigades.
    The net outcome will in my view, be a deployable division of one armoured and one strike brigade. The vehicles for these being kept in Germany for exercises in Poland etc. The remaining vehicles for training being kept on the plain, BATUS and were the strike brigades are based. Catterick and Aldershot being my guess there. I can't see the guards battalions being cut to be a mini adaptable battalion, so they will have to be in one of the strike brigades.
    Including the Ajax in the strike brigades in because we don't have a light tank, these will have to do scenario.
    I would also suggest, that the foxhound will play a part in the strike brigades. Can't see these being given to the Adaptable brigades now?
    You may well be right on the army changing the operational tour times. But we will have to wait and see on that one.
    Also you raise the idea of just 2 infantry battalions in each brigade, giving a total of 8 in the division. Could this be a way of having enough vehicles, and gaining the man power?
    Keep up the excellent work.

    1. The SDSR says that an armoured division of 3 brigades will be able to be deployed from the 2 armoured infantry and 2 strike brigades - ie a max of 2 armoured brigades.
      I think we should all prepare ourselves for the news that the army will be reducing down to 4 armoured infantry batallions (maybe 5, with 1 in a training role)

    2. Surprisingly, detail provided in the House of Lords goes that the "deployable division of 3 brigades" is meant to be made up by the 2 armoured brigades and one of the strike brigades. That is quite ambitious. But it can also be seen as a signal that, despite the loss of one armoured brigade, armoured infantry remains at the core of what the army is about.

      As always, the facts will speak. Without ABSV, there are issues. What, if anything, will be done about Challenger 2's lethality, and how many Warrior-mounted battalions will remain are all key questions without a clear answer yet.

    3. Thanks for your replies and comments.
      If it is 2 armoured brigades in the deployable division,
      it has to be only 2 warrior battalions per brigade?
      Maybe that has been on the cards for some time?
      That could mean 3 infantry battalions in the strike brigades, as that would give the full division a strength of 10 battalions.
      Saving some Ajax, ( 3 recce platoons worth from the warrior and challenger units, plus a small saving of man power).

    4. I understand your logic, but the divisional "structure" you refer to is a container at best. I believe what they are saying is that in a simultaneous deployment at the "divisional" level there will never be more than 3 Brigades - 2 Armoured and 1 Strike or vice versa. I personally believe we will never again see the deployment of more than 1 Armoured Brigade simultaneously....

    5. I agree, but it does say in the SDSR, a deployable division of 2 armoured and 1 strike brigade.
      In my humble opinion, we will never see this 3 brigade division deploy. It will be 1 armoured and 1 strike brigade to allow for training etc. I am guessing that the vehicles for these 2 brigades will be kept in the same storage hangers in Germany, as its easier to deploy them from there to the eastern front.
      (Cold war number 2).
      The rest of the vehicles will be in the UK and BATUS for training, with most being in a hanger in the UK, hopefully near the plain.
      But we this is all guess work, we await the detail!

  7. Gaby

    "Without ABSV, there are issues"

    You really think that might happen then? Surely they will be needed in armoured formations to provide such variants as 81mm mortar vehicles, ambulances, recovery vehicles, etc. now provided by the FV432s? Those vehicles will have to be retired before long.

    Mind you, I might have got numbers wrong.

    1. The ABSV is badly needed. And it was in the Equipment Plan before the SDSR. Hopefully it still is there.

      One consequence of the reduction to two armoured brigades might be that now Warrior hulls are enough to cover ABSV. Before, that would probably not be the case.

      But the lack of detail, as always, hampers any assessment.

  8. Gaby

    Many thanks for that reply, Gaby.

  9. How exactly do we get a deployable, three brigade Division out of four armoured or "strike" brigades? Surely at best, you will only have one combat-ready strike bde and one armoured bde available at any one time, with the others in a training year? And even then - given the training cycle used to be three years (with something like one year "Ready", one year "Formation Training" and one year for leave/individual courses and training), I'm struggling to see how a two year training cycle works.

    1. Compressing training times in one year instead of two, clearly.

      That's why i say that the impact on conditions of service will be quite noticeable.

      And to have any chance of working it'll require a Whole Fleet Management system that works much better, much more predictably and with a true Vanguard Fleet parked in Controlled Humidity Hangar and ready to go. That Vanguard Fleet is (slowly) being built up by putting vehicles back in shape after years of Afghanistan-induced neclect of heavy armour.

    2. I wonder about brigade deployment.
      In my humble opinion it will be battle group strength.
      One armoured battle group and one strike battle group.
      This would then give a better rotation. I think BATUS is only a battle group training size force.
      Then you could have a cycle of 6 battle groups, pre deployment training, deployed (to training area), resting, resting, resting, pre deployment training?
      As I see it both 3 CDO and 16AA can only deploy a mini battle group each as it stands.
      Of course it would be easy to surge up to the 1 armoured and 1 strike brigade strength if required.
      But that's only my opinion.

    3. Given the proposed resources I think you are quite correct - we can expect the ability to deploy 1 armoured, 1 strike and 1 light (marine/air assault) battle group on an ongoing basis, with the ability to surge to a brigade of each for a major operation, all contained within a Brigade / Divisional container.

    4. The British force in the recent NATO exercise in Poland was battle group strength. 2 warrior companies and 1 challenger squadron, I think.
      As you suggest, with the limited number of vehicles and units rotating it seems the only way things could work.
      You could keep a brigade of each trained, with a battle group ready to deploy, then surge the 2 full brigades if needed.
      But we will have to wait and see on detail's, as always.
      Not doubt Gabriele will keep us informed.

  10. Gabriele:

    "Compressing training times in one year instead of two, clearly."

    Yes, but under a two-year training cycle, you will have one "ready" armoured bde and one armd bde in their training year at any one time, and one ready strike bde and one in training at any one time. So if you want to deploy three such bdes, you will have to pull the third bde out of their training year, and possibly right in the middle of it.

    Cheers and love the blog.

  11. Phil:

    Do you think I'm being too cynical if I say that the "strike" bdes are just PR cover for ditching an armoured bde, and are basically the two deployable Adaptable Force bdes renamed, using the same MRAP equipment but with Mastiffs currently in the armoured bdes thrown in, and an Ajax-equipped cav regt each to make them "mechanised" (and find a use for now surplus Ajax vehicles)?

    If we see an 8x8 MIV-equipped strike bde taking shape by 2025, I'll eat my keyboard.


    1. The army believes this is the right time, and an 8x8 is supposed to be selected within two years or so.

      As for removing a brigade from its training year, yes, of course. If the Army wants to deploy 3 out of 4 brigades, that is exactly what it is thinking about. Can't be done otherwise.

      More likely, the third brigade would a mixture of PARA, commando and perhaps light role battalions from the infantry brigades, but this is not what they are saying.

    2. Ant,
      I don't think we are being cynical enough to be honest.
      When the warrior upgrade was ordered, there was never enough. This new army 2025 has been on the cards since then in my view.
      I fear lots more bad news yet to come.
      Please keep up the excellent work Gabriele.

    3. Thanks for the replies, fellas.


  12. I agree. The lack of upgraded warriors suggests to me this was planned all along. We are going to lose an armoured brigade to be replaced by two cobbled together strike brigades. We may be waiting years for an 8x8 vehicle and I bet that the Warriors will be taken out of service before they are ready. I get the impression that the army agreed to lose one armoured brigade in exchange for two mech brigades but we all know they will just get one . So we are left with just two effective brigades with many obsolete vehicles, two strike brigades that may be unusable for years and a host of useless light brigades that can only be used to deal with flooding , looking good for the cameras patrolling the streets when a terrorist incident occurs and not much else

  13. Gabriele, do you know what is the origin of the Army's medium armour aspirations? I can't see how it's relevant, especially if there is no heavy fire support. Does it go back to Bosnia or Kosovo, did some Euro peacekeepers turn up with Gucci 8wd kit and our chaps got jealous (excuse my cynicism)? Is there some greater strategy at play that you're aware of?

    1. The roots of the Strike brigade go back literally decades. That's for how long the army has craved 8x8s. It was a saga of aborts, from the MRAV to FRES UV. Going back even further, we could say that the army simply wants back capability it used to have, in slightly different form: remember the old Saracen and Saladin?

      I think the medium brigade has some clear strategic merits. The real question is whether it is actually worth sacrificing (at least) an armoured brigade to get it.

    2. It is amazing how long this quest has been ongoing and what it has cost (to date) the Army... Arguably far more than just one armoured brigade, as you allude to. One could easily argue that both the credibility of the Army and its needs has been sacrificed, not to mention the British armoured vehicle industry. At the very least the 20 year quest has "coincidentally" run in parallel with a failure to procure any new armoured vehicles in a coherent fashion (funny that)....
      I would strongly argue that no other major army has had a more changeable and incoherent policy for structuring and equipping itself (possibly Canada matches).

  14. Hi Gabriele,
    How does the army 2025 look in your view?
    How many full strength infantry battalions will it have?
    How many 'under strength infantry battalions?
    Any idea if the armoured and strike brigades will have 2 or 3 infantry battalions?
    What is happening to the fox hounds and mastiffs?

  15. Hi Gabriele.

    I have put my cynical hat on and done some thinking in the possible orbat for armoured and strike brigades.
    First, I will put forward what has influenced my cynical orbat.
    Warrior upgrade. I think there is only enough warriors for 4 armoured battalions, plus the BATUS training vehicles (battalion strength).
    Ajax. I think (just replacing the scimitars) the MoD have only ordered enough for 2 cavalry regiments, 6 close recce platoons (8 vehicles each) and the BATUS training vehicles (regiment strength plus some for the close support platoons 16?).
    The army never intended to deploy more than 2 armoured brigades at any one time.
    The army now wants to deploy a division of 3 brigades. (2 armoured, 1 strike).
    The strike brigade infantry battalions are stronger than adaptable ones.
    The number of new 8x8 vehicles, (not yet even ordered) is never going to be enough to equip 6 battalions (in my view).
    So here goes,
    Armoured brigades, 1 Challenger 2 regiment, 2 warrior battalions, 1 Ajax regiment and AS90 regiment.
    (This would brake down to 3 battle groups each with 2 warrior and 1 challenger company’s/squadrons)
    Strike brigades, 1 Jackal regiment, 1 8x8 infantry battalions, 2 foxhound battalions and 1 light gun regiment.
    In my humble opinion Ajax will be deleted from the strike brigades.
    The army was always going to replace the two mastiff battalions anyway with 8x8, hence the 2 8x8 in the strike brigades.

    Phil, still with his cynical hat on.

    1. Phil, my understanding was that just having the Ajax family in the two armd bdes means about half the vehicles go straight into store. As this would be too politically embarrassing, the rest replace Jackals in the ex-Adpatable Force strike bdes (now reduced to two, even though these are supposed to be wheeled formations.

      Are my numbers out?

      Regards, Ant.

    2. Hi Ant,
      As I understand the situation.
      The number of 40mm cannons ordered for the Ajax family is 245.
      The current recce regt has about 66 CVR (T) per regt, most of which are scimitars.
      There are also 8 scimitars in each close recce platoon/troop in the warrior and challenger units. Then you have to add the Ajax vehicles needed for BATUS, I think that's about 70.
      (Recce regt, 2 close recce platoons/troops).
      I am sure Gabriele knows more on the exact numbers.
      Also the PM was doing a photo shoot with an Ajax the morning of the SDSR. I think that got mixed up with strike brigades somehow.
      Can't think it makes sense to mix a tracked vehicle with a wheeled formation, unless there is something we do not yet know, and I just don't think there's the Ajax vehicles to equip 2 regts in the strike brigades, plus the 2 recce regts, 6 close recce platoons and BATUS.

    3. I think my confusion lies with the recce platoons within the Warrior b/ns. That "pymes" website (link on the right) has each Warrior b/n with 8 Sabres in the recce platoon, and I assumed they weren't replaced when these were withdrawn. With Scims in the Warrior b/ns (presumably now four b/n x eight Scim) it does get tight, though that pymes site lists only 36 Scims per armd recce regt, the rest are Sultans etc. The again, if it's still listing Sabres with the Warrior bns, it might not be that reliable.

      Assuming two armd recce regts with 72 Scim, 16 in two remaining tank regts, 32 Scim with 4 Warrior b/ns and 48 with BATUS (rest look-alikes) that's a total of 168 Scims to be replaced by gun-Ajax. That leaves 77 spare - theoretically enough for two strike bde recce regts each with 36 Ajax, but with NO spares. (And I doubt WFM is practicable in a two year training cycle).

      So I guess it depends on whether those armd inf bns have Scims.

      Cheers, Ant.

    4. Recce Regiments have three squadrons of 16 vehicles each, 12 Scimitar and 4 Spartan, which should become 12 Ajax and 4 Ares.

      Tank and armoured infantry regiments have a recce platoon of 8 Scimitar each. In theory, the 3 recce regiments planned so far would have absorbed 108 Ajax, plus 72 in the recce platoons, out of 245, which include 23 with additional kit for directing artillery and air strikes and 24 with additional sensors (radar?) for Ground Based Surveillance.

      4 recce regiments and 9 recce platoons (3 tank regiments, plus 6 armoured infantry) would require 216 vehicles.

    5. Hi Gabriele,
      Thanks for those figures.
      I understand that the army had 320 scimitars?
      But didn't they sell off some?
      I am assuming that the order of 245 Ajax is replacing the scimitars on a one for one basis?
      Did you read the article in the soldier magazine, 1 SG working with US Stryker brigade?
      Phil. (Still very cynical)

  16. It had well over 300, but many of those might not be actually available anymore, and over one hundred CRV(T) of the various types have been sold.

    I did read of the Stryker trials, which included loading Strykers on RAF A400 and stuff. Does not mean the UK will buy Stryker... but it is pretty clear which units the Strike Brigades are due to try and mimic.

    1. Thanks Gabriele,
      What interested me on the soldier article, was 1 SG have mastiff at the moment and are part of an armoured brigade.
      Hence my cynical idea that they would be part of one of the strike brigades and the mastiff replaced by the 8x8.
      But I agree with you that as yet no one seems to know which 8x8!
      I also heard that one strike brigade would be part of the armoured division, the other outside it maybe under reaction force type command?
      Any idea when we will hear something from the army on all this stuff?

    2. For now it appears the 2 armoured and 2 strike brigades will all sit under 3(UK) Division, with 1st Division having the infantry brigades.

      And well, that's very likely: it seems most reasonable to remove the 3 wheeled battalions from the armoured brigades and have them as the first core of the strike brigades. At least a fourth wheeled battalion needed, though.
      The question is whether the armoured infantry brigades will keep all 6 armoured battalions, or if there will be only 4 units on Warrior. And what of the third tank regiment?

      No idea when the army will grace us with details, unfortunately.


Everybody can comment on this blog without needing a Blogger account. It is meant to keep the discussion free and open to everyone. Unfortunately, anonymous accounts keep the door open for spammers and trolls, so i'm forced to moderate comments and approve them before they appear. Apologies for the inconvenience.