CGS:upgrading challenger and warrior.

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Exactly, a future for a good number of Warrior AFV with Ajax taking over it's main role. Convert some Warrior to the Ambulance role and kiss goodbye to 432 in all it's guises.
This:
AJAX as an alternative IFV to Warrior would probably double the cost of WCSP production - and that’s before you consider the NRE of developing a section variant.

Pointing to the original ASCOD IFV doesn’t help - AJAX is more or less a new vehicle.
You're not going to get many bods in the back of an AJAX.
 
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£1bn well spent IMHO; sorry G_B, but I'm with Himmler on this one.
Well spent indeed - but on the intended role of Protector, which does not include doing what we’re describing here.

How many Protector do you think you’d need to provide enduring overwatch support to a Armd Cav BG operating dispersed ahead of the formation? Include the need to operate in all weathers, transit time to/from its airbase and maintenance (which is usually more thorough than AFV maint). And that’s before anyone has the temerity to contest the airspace with tactical SAM systems - which they almost certainly will - that already pose a threat to AH-64.

Provision of overwatch to recce troops (or any other troop for that matter) is not a precise or surgical affair that can be pre-planned and mission-rehearsed like a drone strike on an ISIL pickup truck - it’s reactive, confused and utterly time sensitive when contact or sighting is made. By all means - use it as part of a layered approach to the destruction of armour (along with AH et al), but let’s not kid ourselves that you can rely on it in close
Combat to the exclusion of other capabilities.


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Well spent indeed - but on the intended role of Protector, which does not include doing what we’re describing here.

How many Protector do you think you’d need to provide enduring overwatch support to a Armd Cav BG operating dispersed ahead of the formation? Include the need to operate in all weathers, transit time to/from its airbase and maintenance (which is usually more thorough than AFV maint). And that’s before anyone has the temerity to contest the airspace with tactical SAM systems - which they almost certainly will - that already pose a threat to AH-64.

Provision of overwatch to recce troops (or any other troop for that matter) is not a precise or surgical affair that can be pre-planned and mission-rehearsed like a drone strike on an ISIL pickup truck - it’s reactive, confused and utterly time sensitive when contact or sighting is made. By all means - use it as part of a layered approach to the destruction of armour (along with AH et al), but let’s not kid ourselves that you can rely on it in close
Combat to the exclusion of other capabilities.

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The use of RPAS as a persistent ISTAR and attack presence is something that is well-rehearsed. Our JTACs are well versed in exploiting this capability in support of the close fight.
 
The use of RPAS as a persistent ISTAR and attack presence is something that is well-rehearsed. Our JTACs are well versed in exploiting this capability in support of the close fight.
In Afghanistan - yes.

That was a theatre in which the presence and persistence of rotary wing, UAS and fast air was almost guaranteed through the course of a mission (and indeed many missions were planned around expected availability) - and certainly wasn’t contested in anyway like you would see in a serious peer-level scenario.

The lessons learned from Div wargames - and recent ARRCADE FUSION iterations - would suggest that this is not a safe assumption for those operating at the sub-tactical level.


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Boxer96

Old-Salt
In MOD _RSS on ARRSE today
MOD signs £65 million contract for Protector aircraft.

"The contract follows a successful development phase by manufacturers General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. which will build the first three Protector aircraft, plus three ground control stations and other associated support equipment.

It also includes an option to build 13 more aircraft and four ground control stations, which will complete the current planned fleet of 16 aircraft, more than doubling the capability currently provided by Reaper."
 

Bluenose2

Old-Salt
In Afghanistan - yes.

That was a theatre in which the presence and persistence of rotary wing, UAS and fast air was almost guaranteed through the course of a mission (and indeed many missions were planned around expected availability) - and certainly wasn’t contested in anyway like you would see in a serious peer-level scenario.

The lessons learned from Div wargames - and recent ARRCADE FUSION iterations - would suggest that this is not a safe assumption for those operating at the sub-tactical level.


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This really is the crux of it in my eyes - when all those advantages disappear, do MBTs become a game winner on a level 'organic' battlefield, or sitting ducks to enemy air or sensor-led direct fires, as per what happened in Syria recently.

I hope we never find out.
 
In Afghanistan - yes.

That was a theatre in which the presence and persistence of rotary wing, UAS and fast air was almost guaranteed through the course of a mission (and indeed many missions were planned around expected availability) - and certainly wasn’t contested in anyway like you would see in a serious peer-level scenario.

The lessons learned from Div wargames - and recent ARRCADE FUSION iterations - would suggest that this is not a safe assumption for those operating at the sub-tactical level.

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I'm not sure that I entirely agree with that G_B; btw, I was on Ex AF 19 at RAF St Mawgan and on Ex ID at RAF Waddington.
 
This really is the crux of it in my eyes - when all those advantages disappear, do MBTs become a game winner on a level 'organic' battlefield, or sitting ducks to enemy air or sensor-led direct fires, as per what happened in Syria recently.

I hope we never find out.
From the cheap seats, on the sidelines: An MBT is the brute force that makes something move. The rest of the options are to loosen the joint, or make it more malleable. A bit like this meme:


The MBT is the last one. It's about imposing your will on the ground.

Historically this holds up as well. From France 1940, all the way up to 1991 and Desert Storm. Air power and all the technical monstrosities have made life harder for one side. But its been the short ranged, blunt force of the tank that's made them do what they're told.
 
I'm not sure that I entirely agree with that G_B; btw, I was on Ex AF 19 at RAF St Mawgan and on Ex ID at RAF Waddington.
I hope you enjoyed the leaky tents at St Mawgan - ours was like the Somme!

Certainly from my perspective, support from all forms of air/avn at the Div and Corps level was ‘patchy’ at best - at least until IADS capability had been worn down - with assets prioritised against the HVTL.

I did not see any evidence to suggest that we would enjoy sufficient air freedom of action - or surplus of assets - that individual units (of which 3XX alone had many in the close fight) could be supplied with persistent and prioritised air/avn support throughout their own close battle - especially not those operating off the main effort.


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Bluenose2

Old-Salt
From the cheap seats, on the sidelines: An MBT is the brute force that makes something move. The rest of the options are to loosen the joint, or make it more malleable. A bit like this meme:


The MBT is the last one. It's about imposing your will on the ground.

Historically this holds up as well. From France 1940, all the way up to 1991 and Desert Storm. Air power and all the technical monstrosities have made life harder for one side. But its been the short ranged, blunt force of the tank that's made them do what they're told.
I fear that was what the Iraqi Guards Divisions thought too, right up until the whip hand was held by someone else.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I do think they're becoming even more vulnerable with each passing year and maybe some hard decisions around scale and use need to be made. I do wonder if that's exactly what's happening by kicking the CR3 can down the road.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
The MBT is the last one. It's about imposing your will on the ground.

Historically this holds up as well. From France 1940, all the way up to 1991 and Desert Storm. Air power and all the technical monstrosities have made life harder for one side. But its been the short ranged, blunt force of the tank that's made them do what they're told.
Tell that the the artillery guys in the STuG IIIs.

In a defensive setting, the MBT is your 'Come no further' asset. There are several other options in the 'It's a good idea to come no farther'/'You've got nothing to come farther with' kitbag.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I hope you enjoyed the leaky tents at St Mawgan - ours was like the Somme!

Certainly from my perspective, support from all forms of air/avn at the Div and Corps level was ‘patchy’ at best - at least until IADS capability had been worn down - with assets prioritised against the HVTL.

I did not see any evidence to suggest that we would enjoy sufficient air freedom of action - or surplus of assets - that individual units (of which 3XX alone had many in the close fight) could be supplied with persistent and prioritised air/avn support throughout their own close battle - especially not those operating off the main effort.


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Perhaps a point to make is that even with Protector kicking around, an organic capability is more than just a little bit desirable.
 
Protector?

Operated by the RAF, and launched from a hard runway waaaaay back out of TBM range providing intimate support for 2Lt Innes-Tanque’s troop, which is moving through close terrain in winter weather?

I’m ever the optimist for novel solutions, but I just don’t see it working in practice.

Especially as we’re now forecasting the cost of 16 Protector to be a shade under £1Bn...


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Well we had reaper providing CAS over Afgan for foot patrols, Protector has a 40 hour endurance.
 
I fear that was what the Iraqi Guards Divisions thought too, right up until the whip hand was held by someone else.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, but I do think they're becoming even more vulnerable with each passing year and maybe some hard decisions around scale and use need to be made. I do wonder if that's exactly what's happening by kicking the CR3 can down the road.
The Iraqi’s did get decimated - but most of those loses were to coalition tanks (up until the point they turned and ran).

An interesting quote from a Republican Guard Bn Comd said:

”when the air campaign started, I had 39 tanks. After 38 days of the air battle, I had 32 tanks. After 20 minutes against them (2nd Armd Cav Regt), I had zero tanks”
It’s certainly true that trying to operate armour in open terrain against an opponent with utter air supremacy is going to end in disaster - but compare and contrast with the air campaign is Kosovo for an example of how this works against a well-established opponent in wooded terrain, who has a reasonable grasp of camouflage, concealment and deception - and an air defence capability to make you think twice about lingering...


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Well we had reaper providing CAS over Afgan for foot patrols, Protector has a 40 hour endurance.
No-one is disputing that.

But how good were those Taliban 2S6 fire units, or the SA-17 batteries 30km back?

Even the blue-lidded heroes of the AAC will admit the prospect of operating against a peer adversary is nothing like Helmand.


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Bluenose2

Old-Salt
The Iraqi’s did get decimated - but most of those loses were to coalition tanks (up until the point they turned and ran).

An interesting quote from a Republican Guard Bn Comd said:



It’s certainly true that trying to operate armour in open terrain against an opponent with utter air supremacy is going to end in disaster - but compare and contrast with the air campaign is Kosovo for an example of how this works against a well-established opponent in wooded terrain, who has a reasonable grasp of camouflage, concealment and deception - and an air defence capability to make you think twice about lingering...


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Good points, thank you. I'm learning a lot from this thread (bar one or two contributors who seem hellbent on arguing with people who have done this for a living about the inside of their own office!)
 
I hope you enjoyed the leaky tents at St Mawgan - ours was like the Somme!

Certainly from my perspective, support from all forms of air/avn at the Div and Corps level was ‘patchy’ at best - at least until IADS capability had been worn down - with assets prioritised against the HVTL.

I did not see any evidence to suggest that we would enjoy sufficient air freedom of action - or surplus of assets - that individual units (of which 3XX alone had many in the close fight) could be supplied with persistent and prioritised air/avn support throughout their own close battle - especially not those operating off the main effort.

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The Chief Clerk and I basha'd up in our corner of the tent; luckily, I've been in long enough to know how to waterproof everything. Some of my younger SO3 colleagues did not and paid the price. Fortunately, the laundry was working.

On Ex ID in Jan 20, Red Air was fully played and, at times, we had very little freedom in the sky. Nevertheless, RPAS remained a persistent capability when fast air had to go to tank at inopportune moments or slide east or south to avoid Red Air. Equally, we played GBAD and the UAV threat and paid the price too.* Nevertheless, I don't think that anyone left the room believing that we were completely overmatched, far from it.

*Some of the debriefs were especially crunchy...
 
Let me introduce you to the P.35 (those of you what read my book will know where this is going).

Able to jump 10ft in the air, so could easily vault about 80% of obstacles it is likely to encounter on a cross country drive. It could also run as a hovercraft for a few miles over truly horrible terrain. There were no rockets involved, and the vehicle was auto stabilised. So literally all the driver needed to do was press, and hold the jump button to vault over the obstacle. Otherwise it drove like a normal car. This particular version has a rack of three Vigilant's fitted, along with an armoured cab. The idea was to develop the technology in this vehicle, then expand it to the entire Army Fleet as technology improved. Basically the long term plan was hover tanks.

The program was in three stages. First of which was component testing and constructing working sub assemblies. This stage was completed successfully, and all calculations were within perimeters. Essentially we were on course for getting light scout's with the abilities described above. This was with 1966 levels of technology!

It got shitcanned simply due to cost.

Technology has significantly moved on since then, and costs have come down (although would still be higher than an ordinary equivalent). Thus I think the design is entirely doable today... But no, it costs too much!
Hammer's Slammers was nearly a reality?o_O
hamslam.jpg
 
I fear that was what the Iraqi Guards Divisions thought too, right up until the whip hand was held by someone else.
Didn't run away until we inserted our tank wrench into opening and applied leverage though did they?

Tell that the the artillery guys in the STuG IIIs.
Stug's were in the infantry regiments, they weren't the ones leading the spear head. They were mooching along with the rest of the horse drawn formations.

Hammer's Slammers was nearly a reality?o_O
Yup, that was our end goal, but the Treasury said no, you don't need that, when this cheap equipment from WWI, albeit much better will do.
 
No-one is disputing that.

But how good were those Taliban 2S6 fire units, or the SA-17 batteries 30km back?

Even the blue-lidded heroes of the AAC will admit the prospect of operating against a peer adversary is nothing like Helmand.


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That’s why we the RAF have been, Hoovering every bit of data from Syria GBAD, although I wouldn’t underestimate the S400 -300 mix it isnt the bogey man our Russian correspondent makes it out to be.
 

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