AJAX - the ‘NOT the CR2 upgrade’ thread

I get that. How many ASTUTE boats do we have?

The RN and the RAF man equipment, the Army equips men. The Army, believe it or not, is manpower based, the other two services are platform based. That’s why arguments about platform complexity are a bit fatuous, along with the fact that all environments are different - one of the problems of the fantastic jointery that’s been necessarily achieved over the past few years is that some people think that air is the same as maritime is the same as land.

It’s not the same. It’s the land environment that is the most complex, not the platforms, and I think that getting people to understand that is by far the biggest problem.

Well it was @Cold_Collation that brought up Astute, not me.
And saying the Army is manpower based completely misses the reality of modern war. Didn’t we just get this demonstration in crystal clear form in Ukraine and Azerbaijan?

Also, the fact that the Navy and RAF are able to actually deliver complex platforms despite cockups actually weakens your argument.
Take one example; in the decades it took the army to spend £5 billion to develop vehicles that are still not in service, the RAF drew up requirements, designed and developed the axed Nimrods, cancelled them, cut them up, took years of capability holiday, and were still able to get P8s in service BEFORE the Army will get Ajax up and running. Or Boxer. And Nimrod is seen as the biggest procurement failure in modern British history.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Well it was @Cold_Collation that brought up Astute, not me.
And saying the Army is manpower based completely misses the reality of modern war. Didn’t we just get this demonstration in crystal clear form in Ukraine and Azerbaijan?

Also, the fact that the Navy and RAF are able to actually deliver complex platforms despite cockups actually weakens your argument.
Take one example; in the decades it took the army to spend £5 billion to develop vehicles that are still not in service, the RAF drew up requirements, designed and developed the axed Nimrods, cancelled them, cut them up, took years of capability holiday, and were still able to get P8s in service BEFORE the Army will get Ajax up and running. Or Boxer. And Nimrod is seen as the biggest procurement failure in modern British history.
Yes, I did. To make the point that the RN had to bring in outside help because it hadn’t built a submarine in too long.

Astute is good now. It wasn’t.
 
Oh, and don't forget the same Secretary of State who imposed the prime movers as . . . essential to support British industry, . . . . Because what problems could arise from operating a new prime mover, in a new ship, with a new propulsion concept, in an environment that the Secretary of State had said wasn't part of the requirement because the RN's operations in the Arabian Gulf weren't "core"?

Not that I'm bitter or angry about it. And I definitely have never done the "Told You So!" dance.
Remind us, again, who it was . . .

Name, names ;) .
 
Last edited:
. . . The RN and the RAF man equipment, the Army equips men. . . . The Army . . . is manpower based, the other two services are platform based . . .
Oh! I like that :) .

Very succinct. Very pithy ;) .

Did it take you long, to think of that ;) ?!
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Oh! I like that :) .

Very succinct. Very pithy ;) .

Did it take you long, to think of that ;) ?!
I can’t take credit for it I’m afraid, had it rammed into my head at Camberley Grammar.

It’s still true, even in a drone-obsessed age.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Well it was @Cold_Collation that brought up Astute, not me.
And saying the Army is manpower based completely misses the reality of modern war. Didn’t we just get this demonstration in crystal clear form in Ukraine and Azerbaijan?

Also, the fact that the Navy and RAF are able to actually deliver complex platforms despite cockups actually weakens your argument.
Take one example; in the decades it took the army to spend £5 billion to develop vehicles that are still not in service, the RAF drew up requirements, designed and developed the axed Nimrods, cancelled them, cut them up, took years of capability holiday, and were still able to get P8s in service BEFORE the Army will get Ajax up and running. Or Boxer. And Nimrod is seen as the biggest procurement failure in modern British history.
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not defending the AJAX/FRES/TRACER /whatever programme. However, comparing it to MRA4 doesn’t work for me either - most of the things you mention were done either by politicians or industry, not the RAF.

If they nail the vibration issue (here’s hoping) what will your view be then?
 

Majorpain

War Hero
However, the Army has - across a number of its supposedly-core areas - managed to expensively fail to achieve anything useful for two decades now. IFPA begat CONGREVE which became LFDS which was at least going to deliver MFP - and yet we're still starting and stopping pre-Concept Phase projects, spending money, and achieving absolutely nothing of use, while our 1990s kit ages out.

We currently seem to have decided that artillery is no longer an issue, and that "cyber" will solve all of Land's problems instead...
I'm going to point the finger at Larkhill for that, past experience is that any innovation in the RA happens in spite of it rather than because of it. AS90 could have had Autolay with possible 4 man crew yonks ago, but they would rather things stay the same and let the number of guns per regt dwindle whilst proclaiming theirs is the only right way to do it. I've seen some green shoot of it changing, but it only takes one change of staff and its gone!
 
Don’t get me wrong - I’m not defending the AJAX/FRES/TRACER /whatever programme. However, comparing it to MRA4 doesn’t work for me either - most of the things you mention were done either by politicians or industry, not the RAF.

If they nail the vibration issue (here’s hoping) what will your view be then?
What was the political interference in AJAX/FRES/TRACER/Warrior upgrade?

Regarding your second question, I still believe, in my only moderately informed opinion, that Ajax is the wrong vehicle for a reconnaissance platform. It’s too large, heavy and noisy, lacks a mast sight, and should have been armed with ATGMs to defend itself. That it was chosen for this role speaks volumes.
 
Funnily enough yesterday i was travelling about 10 miles away from Millbrook Proving Ground, going south and coming towards us was x2 AJAX on HET's.
To be fair i am surprised Millbrook have not had their hands on AJAX previously. They did nearly 4 months of driving trials on Support Vehicle.

this does seem a bit of a basic thing to leave out, doesn't it, and remarkably similar to...

Oh, and don't forget the same Secretary of State who imposed the prime movers as a way to buy votes essential to support British industry, declaring that shore-based testing of said new and untried engine was an unnecessary extravagance that could be safely cut to reduce costs (and might undermine confidence and prevent the massive export sales that were sure to be imminent - how could we sell thousands of WR21s if we were still testing them ourselves?)
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
What was the political interference in AJAX/FRES/TRACER/Warrior upgrade?

Regarding your second question, I still believe, in my only moderately informed opinion, that Ajax is the wrong vehicle for a reconnaissance platform. It’s too large, heavy and noisy, lacks a mast sight, and should have been armed with ATGMs to defend itself. That it was chosen for this role speaks volumes.
I’m not talking about political ‘interference’ rather that the RAF had little to do with designing and developing the axed Nimrods, cancelling them, or cutting them up. All of that was politics and industry led. The RAF’s primary job was to set the requirement.

And selection of AJAX as a recce platform speaks volumes about what exactly? A lot of armies use MBTs for recce.

The biggest problem the Army has is not quite knowing what to do with itself - hardly surprising given it’s a reflection of the nation as a whole…
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
I still believe, in my only moderately informed opinion, that Ajax is the wrong vehicle for a reconnaissance platform. It’s too large, heavy and noisy, lacks a mast sight, and should have been armed with ATGMs to defend itself. That it was chosen for this role speaks volumes.
Indeed.
Although there is a debate to be had about self defence of recce vehicles - or rather, another lap to be done.

The Army has huge problems as it has yet to work out what it's for. At the same time it's gone all woke and bunny/tree hugging, presumably to curry political favour, and (I suspect) its brightest minds (low baseline) are leaving early.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Indeed.
Although there is a debate to be had about self defence of recce vehicles - or rather, another lap to be done.

The Army has huge problems as it has yet to work out what it's for. At the same time it's gone all woke and bunny/tree hugging, presumably to curry political favour, and (I suspect) its brightest minds (low baseline) are leaving early.
On the tree-hugging - that’s about getting funding, although political favour will help. You won’t win a contract without sustainability being a key plank of your proposal.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Indeed.
Although there is a debate to be had about self defence of recce vehicles - or rather, another lap to be done.

The Army has huge problems as it has yet to work out what it's for. At the same time it's gone all woke and bunny/tree hugging, presumably to curry political favour, and (I suspect) its brightest minds (low baseline) are leaving early.
In line with the new Ranger battalions and their civil aid/asymmetric capabilities, it has been decided that the coming generation of recce vehicles won't fight their way out but will instead empathise and negotiate.

As MC-S has noted, our foes are going to have to get used to a new style of fighting.

:-D
 
In line with the new Ranger battalions and their civil aid/asymmetric capabilities, it has been decided that the coming generation of recce vehicles won't fight their way out but will instead empathise and negotiate.
Good luck with that - US efforts in Afghanistan have cost gazillions and we/they're out.
As MC-S has noted, our foes are going to have to get used to a new style of fighting.

:-D
One without us as the enemy?
 
Funnily enough yesterday i was travelling about 10 miles away from Millbrook Proving Ground, going south and coming towards us was x2 AJAX on HET's.
To be fair i am surprised Millbrook have not had their hands on AJAX previously. They did nearly 4 months of driving trials on Support Vehicle.
Millbrook is right next door to the Lockheed Martin facility where the Ajax turret is made. So the proving ground probably had nothing to do with it.
 
I’m not talking about political ‘interference’ rather that the RAF had little to do with designing and developing the axed Nimrods, cancelling them, or cutting them up. All of that was politics and industry led. The RAF’s primary job was to set the requirement.

And selection of AJAX as a recce platform speaks volumes about what exactly? A lot of armies use MBTs for recce.

The biggest problem the Army has is not quite knowing what to do with itself - hardly surprising given it’s a reflection of the nation as a whole…

MBTs to support recce. Not MBTs as recce.

The prime Soviet model used MBTs as part of the over watch and fire support for the various models of BRDM and other types. That support group included a mix of engineering, ATGM and AD variants.
 
Sad, but true…

Mostly, I suspect, because the Army has repeatedly failed to engage in any meaningful way with the stated aims of the Government with regard to their missions for Defence. Which do exist

As that would require committing the Army to making a clear statement on what they can and can't do. Which is not good for promotion and Knighthoods...
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Mostly, I suspect, because the Army has repeatedly failed to engage in any meaningful way with the stated aims of the Government with regard to their missions for Defence. Which do exist

As that would require committing the Army to making a clear statement on what they can and can't do. Which is not good for promotion and Knighthoods...
Actually I think rather the reverse - a concentration on cyber, drones, light role infantry, Rangers and SF is exactly where the government wants the Army to go. It certainly doesn’t want armoured divisions, MBTs, rocket artillery, tube artillery and AD.

It wants more ‘engagement’ and ‘prevention’ than Divisional strength pincer movements by fleets of armour. Why? Mainly because it is cheaper but also because it involves fewer body bags.

It’s all very well when you can pick your fights but unfortunately sometimes your fights pick you. My point about reflecting the nation is that we still want to play on the world stage - and for the Army that has meant still wanting to be in the heavy armour game when the last 30 years has required anything but and now we still want to be able to do every part of the spectrum.

Inevitably, we will probably end up doing quite a bit of it badly, with the equally inevitable consequences.
 

Latest Threads

Top