Monday, September 26, 2016

The Royal Artillery tries again

Jane's is reporting that the Royal Artillery is considering a series of new equipment programmes to update its regiments and adapt itself to better support the "strike brigades". 

There is no shortage of good requirements. A "new" one is "Strike 155", for the purchase of a wheeled or towed 155mm howitzer for the Strike Brigades. 
It can't be defined as a truly "new" requirement, of course, because it comes after LIMAWS(Gun) was cancelled years ago. 
If there was the funding, purchasing perfectly good off the shelf guns would not be particularly problematic. Sweden will put 12 Archer on the market soon; France would be all too happy to sell CAESAR, and Royal Artillery troops have already trialed it in the field in several occasions. 

The BAE-Bofors Archer. 48 were produced, 24 each for Sweden and Norway, but the latter eventually pulled out of the programme. Sweden has announced the intention to take all 48 but put 12 up for sale. 12 are not enough for the UK's requirement of two regimental sets, but would be a beginning. 
The Royal Artillery has already trialed the french CAESAR in the field 

In the photos by Army Recognition from Eurosatory 2016, the Nexter CAESAR 8x8, a more capable development with autoloader, better protection and mobility. Another obvious candidate. 

There is Project Congreve, for introducing new capabilities and eventually looking at the replacement of GMLRS and Exactor. 
GMLRS could really do with a purchase of some Alternative Warhead rounds, to restore the area-annihillation capability that was once the pride and reason d'etrè of the system. 

The two GMLRS launchers as used by the US Army. The british variant is known as B1 rather than A1. Arguably, the british army does not really need to rush into procuring a wheeled launcher: while its strategic mobility would be better, it would not change the equation by much. The Strike Brigades will use vehicles no lighter than 30 tons and will have tracks in it (Ajax, Terrier) regardless of what happens to the artillery element. A wheeled launcher will not realize the dream of an air transportable brigade, so its procurement is arguably at the bottom of the priorities list. The actual problem is that the British Army has no more than 35 - 36 operational M270B1. Ideally, there should be 4 Precision Fires batteries in the army (one in each armoured and strike brigade). There are currently 3, with only 6 launchers each. A fourth should be formed for the second Strike Brigade, and ideally the number of launchers should grow to 8 or 9. There is also a reserve GMLRS regiment (101 RA).  

The Alternative Warhead seeks to generate area-destruction effects similar to those offered by the old submunition-laden rockets, without generating an UneXploded Ordnance (UXO) hazard on the ground. The ban on submunitions left the British Army with only the unitary warhead rocket: excellent for many things, but insufficient, alone, to cover all needs. 

GMLRS and ATACMS family tree 

Up to 2010 the Royal Artillery was also planning an ATACMS purchase. Of course, that, as well as everything else, did not progress. But now they might just be in time to buy into its successor, if there is real money for it, and not just dreams. 

Long Range Precision Fires will deliver ATACMS-like range and effect, within a thinner body allowing carriage of two missiles in each standard pod. 
Long Range Precision Fires will give the US Army a tool to fight back against the vast arsenal of Iskander missiles that would have to be faced in a clash versus Russian forces. It will complement, at lower cost, the deep strike capability of aviation. 

If they are looking for a lighter, wheeled replacement for the tracked M270B1, there is of course the US HIMARS readily available. Even this requirement would not be new: the british army years ago had attempted to get a GMLRS launcher that could be slung under a Chinook, no less, the LIMAWS (Rocket). 

LIMAWS - Rocket (LIghtweight Mobile Artillery Weapon System) was the british answer to the US HIMARS. Even lighter and easier to deploy, it could be carried under slung by a Chinook. LIMAWS R was cancelled. It employed a single, standard GMLRS 6-rocket pod, just like HIMARS. 

The M777 Portee combined a Supacat high mobility vehicle carrying the gun crew and the ammunition and an M777 howitzer. The gun could be towed or carried and deployed in the field rapidly. The gun cannot fire when mounted on the truck, but the hybrid vehicle resulting could be carried (vehicle and gun separately) under slung by Chinook. LIMAWS - Gun was cancelled.  

Another project is the purchase of a new weapon locating radar, to succeed to MAMBA, which has a 2026 OSD. The weapon locating radar requirement is also nothing new. In its earlier incarnation, the Common Weapon Locating Radar was once to enter service by 2012 to replace COBRA, and lately MAMBA too, with a single type covering both the High (COBRA) and Low (MAMBA) spectrum of the mission. The British Army evaluated the SAAB Arthur C for the requirement, a perfectly sensible candidate. But of course, that project fell apart too, with nothing purchased and COBRA removed from service with only MAMBA left. More luck this time...?

Then there is an equally long-running ambition to purchase guided, long range ammunition (Excalibur, Vulcano, SGP all good choices readily available) and a requirement for a course-correcting fuze to improve the accuracy of the normal shells and reduce CEP. Requirements that have all been around since before 2010 and that have a tentative delivery date of 2018. 

AS90 could really, really do with a 52 calibre barrel, putting it at least on par with other contemporary artillery systems. The longer barrel was part of the Braveheart upgrade which, you have surely guessed it already, fell apart years ago. 

The Braveheart long barrel would remove the current range disadvantage of AS90

The US Army suffers from the same weakness: 39 caliber barrels in a world of 52 calibers. A 24 km reach versus 30 and more. There can be no doubt about it being a significant disadvantage. 
The US Army is upgrading its Paladin self propelled guns but hasn't changed their barrels yet. It is, however, working on creating a long-barrel M777. The british army has done nothing about this disadvantage ever since Braveheart was cancelled. 

M777 ER in front, and standard M777 behind. 1000 pounds and 6 feet of difference. 

Eventually, the L118 Light Gun will need a replacement as well, of course, and the Royal Artillery is also aware that if MORPHEUS progresses and replaces the Bowman radio and data infrastructure it will have to develop a new artillery-specific fire control application to replace the current one. 

The Royal Artillery modernization programme used to be called "Indirect Fire Precision Attack Capability", but it produced little more than nothing. The procurement of the SMART 155 mm round carrying guided anti-tank submunitions was cancelled soon after the contract was signed, LIMAWS went nowhere, Braveheart was cancelled, Fire Shadow is lost in some unknown dimension of the universe and everything else is changing name and waiting for tomorrow. 

Let's see if under new names it goes any better...


  1. Simple:

    . Buy M777 to replace L118 (ER variant would be good, with 52-cal barrel)

    . Buy either M777 Portee or CAESAR on MAN 8x8 chassis for higher mobility requirement (also to replace AS90 completely if funding doesn't allow for it's upgrade)

    . Buy LIMAWS(R) based system to replace GMLRS, plus buy into US LRPF and Alternative Warhead programs

    . Buy 120mm mortar + guided rounds to provide shorter-range fire support previously provided by L118

    . Buy Excalibur 155mm guided shell, this will also give ammo commonality with RN's move to 5" gun, which can also use Excalibur N5

    1. It is indeed simple, if there is the money. If it is again a case of all talk, no action, it'll be another decade of nothing but frustrations.

    2. For the Strike Brigades, buy Archer artillery system (air transportable by A400) and AMOS mortar system. AMOS should be compatible with UK vehicle fleet.

    3. If the UK buys the Patria AMV for the MIV, then the NEMO 120mm mortar variant would be excellent for the Strike Brigades.

    4. AMOS would be excellent. Truth be told, even a simple, manually operated 120mm mortar in the back of an APC would be a big upgrade from the 81mm used now, so... It would definitely be in my list. I've inserted it as a wish in the ABSV programme too.

  2. I completely agree with all of the above - both M777 and M777 Portee are great products and would perfectly fill the brief for 4 Brigades, enabling much needed commonality. I would personally avoid CAESAR for the purpose of commonality.
    LIMAWS is a great product and is certainly worth going for to replace all MLRS units + give the lighter units much needed punch - again to enable commonality.
    I would personally look to upgrade AS-90 rather than replace with CAESAR.

  3. I echo Gabriele's sarcasm and frustration. The Royal Artillery is the forgotten combat arm of the British Army.

  4. Another area that the Royal Artillery really needs to upgrade is air defence - CAMM is a good start, but CAMM-ER would be better.

    In addition, a UK purchase of the SAMP/T system would give the Army an anti-ballistic missile capability and an ability to create their own A2/AD bubbles, which when coupled with the ability to provide their own indirect precision fires, would make UK land forces much less reliant on airpower.

    The SAMP/T system uses the Aster 30 missile, again giving the Army commonality with the Navy, and can be based on the MAN 8x8 chassis, already in service with the Army.

    SAMP/T would also allow land-based anti-ballistic missile protection for the UK (which has been identified as a growing threat), thus freeing one of the RN's Type 45s from this role.

    Counter-UAS and C-RAM is another area which needs improvement, too.

    1. That's all true. C-RAM and counter UAV is supposedly in the plan, sometime, somehow, but the purchase of a more capable SAMs i fear is nowhere in sight.

  5. Gaby

    Very good article.

    I seem to remember reading, although I can’t be sure of the details, that when Norway pulled out of the Archer contract, it made some criticisms of the weapon’s reliability. I don’t know exactly what the difficulties were, or whether there really were any, with perhaps Norway rationalizing its failure to purchase.

    Have you heard of any reliability problems? Would the Archer make a good solution for the UK? Incidentally, it looks from your image as if the Archer’s gun can be fired from the truck rather than being dismounted. A distinct advantage?

    What we really need to develop of course is a SP version of the M777. At least it would be British!

    1. There were complaints, but i'm not sure what the deal was, and whether to give them much credit. Norway denounced that deliveries had been substantially delayed, and this is true. On technical grounds, it tentatively said the system is not quite as mobile as they want their artillery to be in their new operating concept. It seems a bit weak to me, i just think they wanted to save money and couldn't find a better explanation to give.

      Archer and Caesar remain the two most obvious options. And yes, absolutely, Archer is a self propelled system entirely, not a portee nor a truck-gun like the current Caesar. The automated gun module does not require a dismounted crew and the turret can be traversed to the side as well (something that CAESAR can't do, as the gun only has a very limited traverse).
      Caesar 8x8 promises to be closer to what Archer is. Currently, Archer is a more advanced and ambitious system.

    2. It was all political. Archer is a good system, the Norwegian Army wanted it, but F-35 cost made it untenable. They needed a reason to pull out, so they cited late delivery and “failure to meet operational expectations”. It’s all bushtit arguments, there is no reason to doubt the capability of Archer. Archer is a BAE-Bofors project so it’s partly British already!

    3. Thanks for your confirmation. That was the feeling. Archer looks pretty damn impressive, actually. 21 ready to fire rounds is not too many, but not too shabby either. It is a true self-propelled howitzer, rather than an autocannon like CAESAR.

  6. Gaby

    Many thanks for that very knowledgeable reply.

  7. Guys. Question for all. One of my (should the Army's) over-riding mantras should be standardisation. The Army is too small to have lots and lots of different pieces of equipment (something which appears totally lost on the leadership. So my question - we have three "types" of Brigade. How can we standardise on two "types" of tube artillery? The alternatives appear to be -
    1. Upgraded AS-90 (2 Reg) + M777 Portee (4 Reg)
    2. Archer (4 Reg) + M777 towed (2 Reg)
    Thoughts on the above?

    On missile artillery - again standardisation appears key, in which case could tracked MLRS be replaced by HIMARS / LIMWARS (R) or should we forget trying to make MLRS mobile and stick to tracked in support of both Divisions?

    1. Your suggestions make sense. The army seems to want wheels for the Strike Brigades, so an Archer, expanded to replace also AS90, makes sense.

      But to keep the number of programmes and types down, if i had to suggest my own solution, and considering the weight (both literal and logistic) of the vehicles of the Strike Brigade, i would suggest going tracked and purchasing DONAR (AGM artillery module to installed on the ASCOD 2 / Ajax chassis, offered by Rheinmetall).
      At 30-some tons, it is about as heavy as MIV will be, while being a more capable overall system. 52 calibre, fully automated, well protected, highly mobile on any terrain.

      For the same weight / mass / logistic reasons, i do not honestly see the need for a C-130 transportable HIMARS when nothing else in the Strike Brigade is C-130 transportable.
      Just keep going with the M270B1, which also comes with twice the rockets ready to fire. You are not going to airlift these brigades anywhere in any case. When moving some vehicles around, you have purchased A400 exactly because C-130 can't do certain things. The US couldn't make the air-liftable Stryker brigade work, and certainly the UK will not manage to do it with far less aircraft and resources. So, not worth bothering.

    2. Completely agree with DONAR as being a sensible solution for 4 regiments (armoured and strike) but with the observation that I wasn't so worried about weight (airlifting is pure fantasy I agree) but rather compounding the "tracks and wheels" issue. If both the "armour" and artillery of the strike brigades are tracked then you might as well just make the APC/IFV tracked as well? Is it not either wheels for all or tracks for all - a mix just pulls you into tracks, but without the benefits

    3. Anonymous
      I’m (respectfully) unconvinced by the standardisation mantra and its alleged gains. Better to have cheap platforms tailored to do specific tasks really well, then “wonder-weapon platforms” that cost an arm and a leg while performing most task. Examples of this is the F-16, A10, etc.
      The Swedish Air Force decided to standardise its fleet of airplanes around 2000 (Sweden operated several different fighters). By 2015 there have been no noticeable savings in standardisation.

      I’d suggest procuring tracked systems for tracked formations and wheeled systems for wheeled formations. I’m also assuming the Strike Brigades will evolve into pure wheeled formations.
      Indirect fire for strike brigades should include AMOS Mortar system, compatible with a warrior chassis or AMV (likely building block of UK strike brigades) a wheeled artillery system (Archer or Tatra Caesar) and a wheeled rocket system.

      Sales pitch for Archer:
      Archer Artillery system have a unit cost of $4,500,000, but like most Swedish weaponry it’s built to operate without a big support organisation. It’s a low maintenance platform. Maximum range with Excalibur rounds are 60 km, normal range is 35 km.

    4. Sorings
      Also with the greatest respect, I simply don't agree. I have no idea how you calculated the cost savings or not from a move to Gripen versus moving to two different types, one optimised for Strike and one for air defence, but I am not at all convinced. Yes there may have been no savings versus the legacy types, but you have to compare apples with apples - Gripen may be more costly on a per plane basis and you have to compare with what it would have cost to support two new types.....
      Leaving that aside, your ideas for the British Army are, I am afraid, are somewhat fanciful -
      1. The current plan for the two strike brigades is to combine tracks (Scout) with wheels (TBC), which is already a disaster. They will not "evolve" - there will never be the money for it, indeed we will be very lucky to ever see an 8*8 appear.
      2. You say that it should include AMOS, wheeled artillery and wheeled rocket. There will not be the money to procure all three - likely only one, in which case it should be wheeled 155mm
      3. I am perfectly happy to pick Archer, but my point is that if you do and only use it in the two strike brigades then you will end up with, assuming 18 guns per brigade, 36 operational + around 14 for training = 50. You will need the same for the armoured brigades = 50 AS-90, which will need updating and eventually replacing. You will also end up with 50 105mm for the 2 light brigades, which will also need replacing soon.... Three fleets, all different and all with their own logistics tails and no economies of scale in purchasing
      you could buy, for example, 95 Archers, to equip 72 for front line and 23 for training and reserve - immediately saves you 5 purchased up front + potentially a better deal (more means lower per gun) + a single logistics trail / spares.
      I am not saying it is perfect, but the current state of the British armed forces and their unbelievably poor ability to purchase anything + the lack of money means this has to be the way forward.

    5. About mixing tracks and wheels and the DONAR, i'll have to admit that i'd rather have a tracked howitzer in the Strike Brigade than a wheeled one in the armoured brigades. Personally, i'm not entirely convinced by the 8x8 brigade, especially when so budget-constrained as the british one. I'd rather make sure my heavy brigades are good and ready than obsess about brigades which are at least in part built upon fantasies of a kind of military operation that might or might not happen and be relevant in the future. General Carter was deeply impressed by the french wheels in Mali, but i wonder if that scenario has any real chance to repeat itself in the same terms.

    6. Gabriel
      I agree that the heavy brigades should have priority. It’s essential to have one hard-hitting deployable Armoured Division.
      I’m somewhat sceptical of the strike brigade concept myself, but it make absolutely no sense if it’s tracked. If tracked vehicles can perform Strike Brigade tasks; then every Armoured Brigade is Strike Brigade. I also don’t quite get the fascination with air transportable vehicles. Any European Army Formation powerful enough to do anything will be transported by sea (at least the equipment will).

      If you have three wheeled Manoeuvre Brigades (Strike Brigades) that can form a deployable Medium Division, capable of continental road marching. Then it’s useful, if it’s just independent Brigades? Then it’s hardly worth the effort, IMO.

      There is a way to build a true Air deployable medium brigade. Build a massive fleet f auxiliary transport airplanes. Let em do shuttle traffic in peacetime and military transport in times of crisis.

    7. Gabriele

      Do you (or another poster) have any background information as to where the Strike Brigade concept came from, how it became such a pressing priority?

      I would have thought the main advantage of wheels is the ability to self-deploy, but that will never be an issue for the UK, we're an island. I understand the army was impressed by what the French did in Mali, but is Britain realistically going to get involved in that kind of quasi-colonial intervention?

      Also, at a practical level we have this nice factory in Wales now geared up to assemble FRES, why not keep it running, follow it up with a FRES based Warrior replacement, FRES based AS90 replacement, etc

    8. Anonymous
      The Strike Brigade concept was borne at Pristina airport, Kosovo. The Russian ability to road march 30 vehicles from Russia to Kosovo, before our cumbersome armored division, frustrated westerners.
      The American Stryker Brigades was the first attempt at creating a medium weight intervention force with firepower and mobility.

    9. The "Medium Brigade" concept is old. I don't know if it began in Kosovo, but maybe. FRES initially wanted the medium brigade, but tracked (see US Army programme Future Combat System too), then FRES UV went for wheels. The current MIV is just FRES UV with a new name.

  8. As far as weaponry is concerned, the actual Janes article mentions three areas for improvement:

    i) a new wheeled or towed gun for the Strike Brigades (“Strike155”)

    ii) improving , supplementing or replacing the MLRS and Exactor

    iii) a new towed system to replace or supplement the 105mm Light Gun

    Your correspondents have ably discussed the first three but it is the last of these that intrigues me. The word “system” and not “gun” is used. Does this possibly suggest that the Army is finally thinking about a 120mm mortar system? Could your first correspondent (Anonymous), although his list is highly ambitious , possibly be right about this? On the other hand, so much of the discussion about 120mm mortars assumes that they will be vehicle mounted. Would a towed version be much use?

    1. Finland procured 46 AMOS systems in two tranches to an averaged unit price of around $6 million. The advantage of AMOS or the lighter (less capable) NEMOS system is hard ignore. I don’t see any good arguments for towed mortar systems (with exemption of a miniscule price reduction).

    2. MikeW - to continue my negative comments from above, I find it highly unlikely that they will be procuring a whole new calibre of mortar for the two light brigades. More like is that they are considering combining a minimal purchase of M777 with continuing with 105mm or just getting rid of 105mm completely and replacing with M777. It wouldn't surprise me to see the former as the choice as it would result in lower upfront capital costs - which almost always wins out in the end as far as the MOD is concerned.

    3. PS - any mention by the MOD / Army of a "system" fills me with horror btw, as it inevitably signals "confusion, disagreement and uncertainty" of requirements and hence much reviewing and thinking and no purchase. Much better would be to see "we are going to replace the 105mm with a 155mm system - choice of said system to be confirmed".

    4. A perfectly sensible solution would be to build artillery batteries on two Troops of 155mm M777 and one Troop of 120mm mortars. The first for reach, firepower. The second, to keep (and indeed increase) tactical and strategical mobility currently ensured by the L118.

      105mm is currently a bit dead in the water: a lot of development going on in 155 realm and even in 120 mm for mortars, but 105 has slipped out of focus.

      Then, of course, there is money.

  9. @Sørings

    “I’m (respectfully) unconvinced by the standardisation mantra and its alleged gains. Better to have cheap platforms tailored to do specific tasks really well, then “wonder-weapon platforms” that cost an arm and a leg ...”

    I tend to agree with you bout standardisation and have argued almost exactly your case on another website before. Excessive sameness makes for a real lack of flexibility when you are likely to be faced with a variety of types of campaign to fight. However, the question is whether the British Army has recently gone too far in the opposite direction with the retention of all those types of COIN warfare type vehicles from Iraq and Afghanistan. It must put a strain on organisations such as REME.


    “More like is that they are considering combining a minimal purchase of M777 with continuing with 105mm . . .”

    I think you are right. That would seem to be the most likely solution given, as you say, the matter of upfront capital costs.

  10. Not only the UK army. Norway scraped hundreds of vehicles lately, vehicles procured for the Afghan war, but basically useless in a conventional conflict.
    My problem with standardisation is that quite often they are acceptable at something, but excellent at nothing. In my opinion, it’s cheaper to buy somewhat specialised equipment in the long run.

  11. Really people I would suggest you look at the recent news article in IHS Janes that states we will only be buying 300 to 350 8x8 MIV vehicles, included in which are a number of Ambulance, Recovery Vehicles etc. This will leave enough for 2 Battalions of troops, I presume it will be another "shared" vehicle allocation, so that the Brigade on Standby gets the vehicles for 2 Battalions the same as the 245 Turreted Warriors will be switched between the 2 Active Armoured Infantry Battalions.
    So I would forget about tracks vs wheels there will be no direct gun support version, no mortar or artillery version. We will effectively have 4 battalions of armoured or mechanised 8x8 troops available at anytime, the other 4 battalions will just have to walk if Russia invades and we have an all out effort.
    As to talk of buying new GMLS or AS90 replacements forget it. This ploy above is a deliberate political move buy senior generals and staff to hide the fact that the British Army will effectively have no Artillery capability within the next 5 yrs. Outgunned and outmanoeuvred with dated equipment with very few ammunition suppliers. But it's look great as Scout and MIV dash through the desert like Lawrence of Arabia, but pretty useless as an effective armoured force against anybody with anything bigger than a few Toyota pick ups.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I believe a future procurement of additional 600 vehicles is planned. Don’t recall where I read it thou.

    3. Ahhh..... The jam tomorrow argument, same as don't worry we'll buy more than 5 Type 31, don't worry we'll buy more Scout variants, etc etc etc. To many Senior people in the Armed Forces and in Parliament have fallen for the oldest trick in the book, quickly followed by the Technology Demonstration phase, the User Testing Phase, the Main Gate Procurement Assessment Phase. So a couple of Phases later when the MOD thinks nobody can remember what the original requirement was it can be PHASED OUT phase after a few Billion quid is spent. Just go down the list of failed Army procurement plans for equipment as diverse as Sniper riffles to CR2 upgrades and they all follow the same pattern, because they all go through the same forcing dynamic of "NO MONEY MATE". Instead of being realistic we always shoot for the stars because it will always fail and hence the Treasury never has to pony up the money.
      The only Hope as Mrs May is dismantling Dave's and Gorgeous Georges legacies (Today Mortgage Help to Buy disaster killed) she turns her Eyes to the MOD and kills Strike Brigades and just does one Division of Proper Armour well. Then we can do the nice to haves afterwards. That's don't waste money on shiny new 8x8's because Army Generals love Shinny new kit but
      1. Get the Logistics Right to Deploy One Armoured Division.
      2. Give them enough Turreted and non Turreted Warriors to equip 9 Armoured Infantry Divisions.
      3. Replace all the APC/Light Armour in the Armoured Division over the next 10/15yrs with proper Scout Variants.
      4. Concentrate enough Artillery in one Div to be effective. That's every AS90 and GMLS system we have, do not stick it in the Reserve Force.
      5. Update CR2 properly or buy refurb'd Leopards/Abrahams to tied us over and join the European Tank Replacement Project (since we have no Tank Factories we can just be a supplier and get on with it.)
      6. Upgrade As90 and GMLS to compete with Russian Artillery in range and lethality.
      Then and only then buy MIV or the 4x4 replacement. Until then use Husky/Jackal etc etc Vehicles bought for Afghanistan to go play in Sandpits and bodge and keep them going. They can take on Toyotas with 30mm Cannon welded on the back and guys with IED's and AK47's but the primary aim of the British Army has to be the defence of the UK and by default the Defence of Europe, that means heavy armour. All this fannying around just splits the focus up, we have not got the money or the people to do a Reaction Division (3 Commando, 16 Air Assault, 1 British Army Light Brigade) a Strike Division and then an Armoured Division. We can do maybe at a push 2 of the 3 so do them well and not half arsed as everytime I see one of these comment on the Strike Brigade we can see it is going to be, Tracked with Wheeled Vehicles, no Proper Wheeled Artillery, Self Deploying over 1,00 miles with no proper Logistics train to do so etc etc. It makes you weep at the incompetence and the thing is I know the people at the top of the Army and Navy are not idiots so instead of waiting until you retire make a statement now before its too late.

    4. I think this is what I was trying to say above, totally agree, do one armoured division properly and cobble together leftovers Husky/Jackal/Foxhound / whatever for the light. In any case a high wage country shouldn't be fielding light infantry unless they're specialised. I have a theory that sometime back in the '90s in Bosnia a Euro impressed a bunch of attractive UN aid workers in their shiny new 8x8 vehicle and our brass have been on a mission to get one ever since

  12. I don't see how LRPF fits British Army portfolio unless deep strike becomes a core mission. LRFP can reach target as far as 500 km away, and yet lacks terminal seeker for engaging moving surface target. What good is that for.

    1. It is good for many things, such as timely annihillation of HQs and communication posts, staging areas, air defence sites etcetera. And it would be a good think to think about the enemy's own long range missiles. Have you taken a look at a division HQ curret setup, or even worse the deployable ARRC hq? What a wonderful, wonderful target for an Iskander.

  13. Gaby

    As far as the possible modernization of the AS90 is concerned, there were, as you know, plans to replace the 39 calibre with a new, extended range ordnance of 52 calibre. Unfortunately the programme was first put on hold, then cancelled, one of the main reasons given being the inability of the selected bi-moduar charge to meet the requirement for insensitive munitions.

    Would there be any similar obstacle to the re-barreling of the gun today, do you think, or have developments in ammunition moved on so as to leave such problems behind.? There might even be some barrels available! I think some were actually manufactured in preparation for the change.

    How many would need to be re-barreled? The whole fleet of nearly ninety or could you work with a mixed fleet?

    1. The change of barrel, i believe, could have gone ahead regardless of the launch charge used, and it could be done now as well. As for how many to modify, i'd say at least enough for two regiment sets plus a reserve margin. The training fleet perhaps could keep the short barrel, but ideally you'd want all vehicles at the same standard.
      The AS90 numbers are in for a cut anyway, if it is not going to be used in the Strike Brigades. One regiment worth of AS90 will go.

  14. Gaby

    If there is to be a cut, it would be nice to retain some of the chassis to provide limbers or re-upply vehicles for the remaining guns.

    Don't suppose it will happen, though. If it doesn't, the guns themselves should certainly be retained against a contingency. Far too much is flogged off now.


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