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CGS:upgrading challenger and warrior.

The ignorance was utterly outstanding. Things that gripped my sh#t the most:

1) “Why don’t we have an Autoloader?” Do **** off.
2) “What progress have you made in making 40CTA NATO standard like small arms rounds?” Seriously...
3) “We demand a Brimstone for every vehicle!” Of course you do - you saw a toy at Copehill Down.
4) “Why aren’t this vehicles fully modular like Boxer?” Not even going to go there...
5) “Why can’t vehicles speak to each other?” This isn’t Transformers, and we have a thing called Bowman...
6) many, many more...


And they seriously wonder why no-one takes them seriously - Gavin Robinson was the only one who didn’t sound like a toddler at a particle physics convention...


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If that's a fair representation of what was actually said then I really wonder what the point is having a committee that has no background in or knowledge of Defence.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Thought the chairman was ex-Army?
Ex-RGJ Captain.

Might I suggest that the part of the reason that we're in the state we're in is that the top end of the army has been hijacked by the infantry and the RGJ in particular?

Don't suddenly expect an expert, or even a passing, knowledge of the Heavy end of warfare, then.

No disrespect to Tobias Ellwood, I'm pretty sure he has the absolute best intentions, but he's out of his depth.
 
Thought the chairman was ex-Army?

Ellwood?





Yes, he was a Jacket I think - but unfortunately a few years in green doesn’t automatically make someone an expert (or even remotely informed) in all things Defence. I’ve just read that he’s currently an Army Reserve Lt Col in 77X - a pretty damning indictment of what they teach on ACSC these days...


Sorry to come across all pompous - but if you desperately want to change something you can’t abide - then you must first understand it, and what made it what it is. Asking chickensh#t questions about 30mm vs 40mm - and questions about costs/dates that cannot be answered until after a Main Gate - just highlights how little they really understand.


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jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Thought the chairman was ex-Army?

He was a RGJ cadetship officer when I vaguely knew him at university (after he ended up involved in a military coup at the Loughborough Student's Union where we were both EMUOTC...) who, I think, topped out at captain (same lofty rank of OF2 I've comfortably ceilinged at, albeit in the reserves). Decent fellow, but not exactly a background to give a deep expertise in armoured warfare or vehicle design.

It's surprising how shallow professional knowledge can be outside peoples' stovepipes - for warships I knew Sea Dart and Sea Wolf backwards, but was vaguely aware there were some big loud spinny things down low in the ship that drank F76 and pushed us around as long as the MEO conducted the proper rituals... so I could talk the committee's ears off about air defence with confidence, but would stumble to do more than repeat what I've learned from folk like @supermatelot about marine engineering.


He does need to be better briefed if he's going to do this sort of thing and not look unwise...
 
He was a RGJ cadetship officer when I vaguely knew him at university (after he ended up involved in a military coup at the Loughborough Student's Union where we were both EMUOTC...) who, I think, topped out at captain (same lofty rank of OF2 I've comfortably ceilinged at, albeit in the reserves). Decent fellow, but not exactly a background to give a deep expertise in armoured warfare or vehicle design.

It's surprising how shallow professional knowledge can be outside peoples' stovepipes - for warships I knew Sea Dart and Sea Wolf backwards, but was vaguely aware there were some big loud spinny things down low in the ship that drank F76 and pushed us around as long as the MEO conducted the proper rituals... so I could talk the committee's ears off about air defence with confidence, but would stumble to do more than repeat what I've learned from folk like @supermatelot about marine engineering.


He does need to be better briefed if he's going to do this sort of thing and not look unwise...

Half an hour reading MODAF (or whatever it’s called now) and ThinkDefence could have prepared him to ask some decent questions...instead he just came across like a slightly less angry buffoon than Francois, who had been briefed by a couple of World of Tanks hobbyists....


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The ignorance was utterly outstanding. Things that gripped my sh#t the most:

1) “Why don’t we have an Autoloader?” Do **** off.
2) “What progress have you made in making 40CTA NATO standard like small arms rounds?” Seriously...
3) “We demand a Brimstone for every vehicle!” Of course you do - you saw a toy at Copehill Down.
4) “Why aren’t this vehicles fully modular like Boxer?” Not even going to go there...
5) “Why can’t vehicles speak to each other?” This isn’t Transformers, and we have a thing called Bowman...
6) many, many more...


And they seriously wonder why no-one takes them seriously - Gavin Robinson was the only one who didn’t sound like a toddler at a particle physics convention...


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while he is annoying in his style of posing the questions and insistence on thhem there are fairly straightforward answers to those questions.

1) Because it’s a limited upgrade to an existing platform. The other examples cited are the next generation vehicles that will replace Challenger 2 / CLEP
2) NATO commonality stems from having a design that can be standardised upon. Also we made our call ten years ago, while the US is still vacillating. Had we waited on the US we’d be even further behind.
3) You would be fitting a very expensive and fairly large fuel-air bomb to a vehicle that will be shot at. While ground launched Brimstone may have a place it’s not currently funded and would not be appropriate on a direct fire vehicle.
4) All new vehciles follow the UK MoD specified GVA and are therefore electrically modular. Physical modularity incurs cost and performance penalties.
 
I am just amazed by the negative genius of managing to buy three different vehicles that do the same thing (well, *can* do the same thing) and none of them work.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
while he is annoying in his style of posing the questions and insistence on thhem there are fairly straightforward answers to those questions.
One of the reasons for a lack of progress is an absence of straightforward answers. He needs to comprehend that first and foremost.

He may also be trying to drive simple answers - in that he sees the complex responses as attempts by commercial organisations to obfuscate/screw more money our of the government.

He may also be trying to save money. Brimstone on everything might seem like a good idea - everyone and everything can suddenly kill MBTs, so we don't need them, right? But ask someone from, oh, 30 years ago what they thought about the Soviets sticking Sagger missiles above the barrel on BMPs. The response would be, "A nice aiming point."

I appreciate that he's an MP and that he'll have his constituency job to run. But, as noted, a few hours on Think Defence or even on this thread would stop him looking, frankly, foolish.
 
One of the reasons for a lack of progress is an absence of straightforward answers. He needs to comprehend that first and foremost.

He may also be trying to drive simple answers - in that he sees the complex responses as attempts by commercial organisations to obfuscate/screw more money our of the government.

He may also be trying to save money. Brimstone on everything might seem like a good idea - everyone and everything can suddenly kill MBTs, so we don't need them, right? But ask someone from, oh, 30 years ago what they thought about the Soviets sticking Sagger missiles above the barrel on BMPs. The response would be, "A nice aiming point."

I appreciate that he's an MP and that he'll have his constituency job to run. But, as noted, a few hours on Think Defence or even on this thread would stop him looking, frankly, foolish.

I don’t know about your last point. Many hours on this thread haven’t stopped our resident Google Jedi from looking foolish.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
I don’t know about your last point. Many hours on this thread haven’t stopped our resident Google Jedi from looking foolish.
Quite. However, you could equally say that his postulations have been repeatedly shot down by experts. In other words, a lot of 'What if' nonsense has been scotched without a penny spent. Useful that.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I was struck by a few things:
  • Bone questions exhibiting zero knowledge or willingness to understand
  • A sop to military experience - Ellwood a Jacket captain, Drax a Coldstreamer, also a captain, Spellar an ex-Min AF
  • A need to froth a la Francois who, mercifully wasn't involved, the smirking buffoon
Just as bad on the MOD side:
  • Min DP, a banker
  • DCGS, a Sapper (weirdly called General Tickle by Ellwood, instead of Tickell)
  • DE&S DG Land, retired RAF engineer (WTF?)
  • DCDS Mil Cap, RAF engineer
In a discussion about the future of the UK's armour, it would have been nice to have seen some actual armour experts in the room, both in operations and design/procurement.

Lastly, COVID has clearly done something appalling to the staff officers who write briefs for VSOs in MB. Why didn't DCGS have a JAMES SITREP for every platform in front of him, as at 0900hrs that morning? Why did he have to look up how many CR2 are in the fleet? Why couldn't he say how many are operational? Had they all not thought through the likely questions, second order and third order?

The sad thing is that many answers could have so easily been given to questions in a way that showed mastery of the subject, instead they looked as though they'd just skimmed the agenda in the car in between Dolphin Square and Whitehall.

Ellwood should get on here and read some of the more informed posts (having put that idiot @PhotEx on ignore first clearly)
 
I was struck by a few things:
  • Bone questions exhibiting zero knowledge or willingness to understand
  • A sop to military experience - Ellwood a Jacket captain, Drax a Coldstreamer, also a captain, Spellar an ex-Min AF
  • A need to froth a la Francois who, mercifully wasn't involved, the smirking buffoon
Just as bad on the MOD side:
  • Min DP, a banker
  • DCGS, a Sapper (weirdly called General Tickle by Ellwood, instead of Tickell)
  • DE&S DG Land, retired RAF engineer (WTF?)
  • DCDS Mil Cap, RAF engineer
In a discussion about the future of the UK's armour, it would have been nice to have seen some actual armour experts in the room, both in operations and design/procurement.

Lastly, COVID has clearly done something appalling to the staff officers who write briefs for VSOs in MB. Why didn't DCGS have a JAMES SITREP for every platform in front of him, as at 0900hrs that morning? Why did he have to look up how many CR2 are in the fleet? Why couldn't he say how many are operational? Had they all not thought through the likely questions, second order and third order?

The sad thing is that many answers could have so easily been given to questions in a way that showed mastery of the subject, instead they looked as though they'd just skimmed the agenda in the car in between Dolphin Square and Whitehall.

Ellwood should get on here and read some of the more informed posts (having put that idiot @PhotEx on ignore first clearly)

To be fair, I think Chris Bushell actually did a reasonable job - in spite of his light blue background. Knighton was probably amazed that he was stuck in the trivia of muddy stuff that doesn’t deliver 2,000km of strategic stand-off effect.



Get your point though about experts rather than figureheads. As a minimum, I’d have wanted the DE&S chief engineer for Land Concepts & Assessment, plus the very technically-astute 1* Head of Ground Manoeuvre capability in Army HQ.

Too often we take the view that we must defer any kind of accountability to the very highest levels - levels at which of course there is barely any deep understanding - and conduct briefings by people who have been briefed through 2-3 layers of middle management.

Or perhaps it was just decided that it was best not to waste the time of genuinely busy productive people in front of a pantomime court...


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Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
To be fair, I think Chris Bushell actually did a reasonable job - in spite of his light blue background. Knighton was probably amazed that he was stuck in the trivia of muddy stuff that doesn’t deliver 2,000km of strategic stand-off effect.



Get your point though about experts rather than figureheads. As a minimum, I’d have wanted the DE&S chief engineer for Land Concepts & Assessment, plus the very technically-astute 1* Head of Ground Manoeuvre capability in Army HQ.

Too often we take the view that we must defer any kind of accountability to the very highest levels - levels at which of course there is barely any deep understanding - and conduct briefings by people who have been briefed through 2-3 layers of middle management.

Or perhaps it was just decided that it was best not to waste the time of genuinely busy productive people in front of a pantomime court...


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Normally (I refer to the post GW2 interrogations of logistic folks over supply chain issues) the 3 and 4*s would have a handful of more 'expert' 1*s and OF5s to hand to lend support, pass notes etc. There would have been a frenzy of brief writing beforehand with lights on the 4th Floor burning late into the night (been there, done that).

I would have thought that a VTC lent itself to that more rather than less.

I thought Bushell grew into it but I can't get over the fact that answers could so easily have been along the lines of:

"There are XXX CR2 in the total fleet. Of these, XX are in storage, XX are in use with training establishments and XXX are deployed in armoured regiments. Of these 'operational' vehicles, XXX were available for operations as at 0900hrs this morning with a further XX available within 24/48/72 hours. I can list them by VRM and also provide the shoe sizes and inside leg measurements of the crews should the Chairman wish it so. Next question please!"

You get the drift - it isn't hard.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Suggest it to him then :p
This is ARRSE I'm sure someone knows someone who can sit him down and say "Read this".
Next time I'm in Whitehall I'll beat a path to his door.

Actually it will be easier to simply drop a note into his constituency email inbox.....
 
Next time I'm in Whitehall I'll beat a path to his door.

Actually it will be easier to simply drop a note into his constituency email inbox.....

Whatever works!
Although one of these answers would be a lot more entertaining for most of us if you used the Churchill TOAD that they got up and running.

I just remember my indecision on submitting evidence to the committee, and you lot on this thread pointed out: What's the worst that happens? You get a stiff ignoring (which seems to have been the case). But there's just a chance that we might influence where its needed, and we can get the Army back on course to where it needs to be, ready to enforce our will on the enemies of the Queen with firepower, manoeuvre and shock effect.
 

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