Mine Protected Vehicles - sale of older types by MOD.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by General_Panic, Sep 5, 2006.

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  1. I have listened to, and read - so much speculation on this topic that it is probably a good time to help straighten the record slightly.

    I brought MPV technology to the UK from South Africa, handled the sale of the first batch of Alvis 4s (shortwheelbase Mambas) to the UK MOD, as well as the sale of the small fleet of replacement Tempests in 2001 and designed the new version of the Cougar MPV which has recently been bought by the UK MOD.

    The Alvis 4s were a design I sketched out on a white-board to allow for a heavier payload to provide for greater armour and other kit. We were engaged in developing a heavier version when the South African regulations covering exports seemed to fall apart and a business decision was made that the risks of cheaper overseas copies were too great to justify huge investments in the follow-on generation of MPVs. The decision was above my paygrade and I moved on.

    Many seem to have forgotten that the British MOD then bought some eight follow-on MPVs called Tempest. which were made in the US and kitted out in the UK. These did fine and are still around. However, they suffered from space and other probs which is why that design, coming out of South Africa, was not terribly popular.

    Then, in March-August 2004, by which time there was a growing demand for a modern MPV which could move on from its RSA roots, I designed the new Cougar which has been bought by the US and UK forces. This was designed to provide payload. volume and other characteristics such as supportability, which were missing in the older vehicles.

    I cannot comment on the actual state of the old Alvis 4s - but they were used hard. In the early days we provided the troops with some loan vehicles of different layout until the Alvis 4s got into theatre - these might be the vehicles which are described by some as being of varying conguration.

    In the early days we were very careful not to play the emotional/political blackmail card - but it was hard knowing that we did have a solution to the mine problem sitting there and waiting to be bought. There are no such qualms about using this strategy amongst our friends across the Pond.

    I am British, ex-army, and proud to have done something to help save a few lives - whatever the nationality. Please reply if anyone wants some more info - historical research etc.

    • Excellent Topic Excellent Topic x 1
  2. Firstly good for you! Secondly whats your take on the sort of APC the Army should be looking for? Thirdly what do you think of Russian designs?
  3. Thanks for questions.

    I cannot comment with any authority on the sort of APC required as there are so many strategies that might drive the design here or there. However, it is clear that there are ways you can incorporate much of the sorts of technology needed to deal with a much wider range of threats that might have been considered in the past.

    The Israelis are looking at a combination of super-heavy APCs augmented by much lighter and conventional vehicles. FRES and other programmes seemed to be driving us to lighter designs - but which would you choose faced with a choice of a heavily protected tracked vehicle or a wheeled version ? Are you less likely to be hit in a wheeled vehicle - probably not, in which case I would go for protection any time. But that is the somewhat biased view of an ex-RAC type I suppose.

    Russian APCs ? Terrible ergonomics and a thousand places to trip, cut, impale yourself or snag clothing or equipment. I have not been in the latest versions so things might have changed - but they are pretty basic in my experience. Why do you ask ?

  4. But if the threat were mines or buried IEDs, I would much rather be in a wheeled vehicle such as Cougar, as tracks tend to limit maximum ground clearance to less than 0.5m - with all the the applique in the world, this is still a very bad thing!

    On a separate matter, will you be suing Richard North over his allegations made on another thread?
  5. First, I have to declare that my AFV knowledge is not fantastic, coming from an army aviation background.

    Didn't the BMD have a high ground clearance????

    If money were no object GP, what features in an APC would be the most effective in countering the roadside threat
  6. Rotor blades ?

    Face it. We can build bigger and bigger APCs. All the opposition need to do is build a bigger bomb. Delete suicide car bomb, insert suicide 40ft artic. Asymetric warfare in action ! We never got into this ultimately futile circle in NI, we just started moving everywhere by Heli or covert vehicle. Many pantechs in Iraq ? We will bankrupt ourselves if we try to build completly bomb-proof vehicles that can still negotiate village back-streets.
  7. At last a post that shows that some understand the drama's with up and up armouring, even the addition of comparativly light bar armour to the Wr caused no end of problems with freedom of movement in the towns.... The best result would be a light, reliable vehicle with clever armour for its weight, good all round visibilty, the right amount of room for the job intended (troop carrier, patrol only, MSG), and someone to think ahead about leaving enough room for future comm's and ECM.

    I like the look of the Panther, after crawling over it at Bovvy recently. But it's too small for anything other that an a recce/Inf CV. So anyone got any ideas?
  8. How about a Panther on steroids?


  9. "The Dutch Government has procured 25 Bushmaster armoured vehicles in just 52 days. . "

    Any thoughts on the tardy response by UK Govt to procuring more effective vehicles for British Army?

    Can anyone confirm the opening statement? Not my words
  10. Something to do with the fact that the ADF had 25 Bushmaster 'on the shelf'
  11. And the fact that the ADF that I met and worked with in Al Muthanna didn't like the Bushmaster at all! It is just a better version of the Saxon, of course it would have to be a really pants vehicle to be worse than Saxon!
  12. Is there any way of deflecting the blast from an ied, prehaps by using the shape of the vehicle. And would the type of reactive armour used by the soviets on their T72 be any good against a copper charged ied???
  13. Keeping it, and the troops in it, in the UK..
  14. Now I wonder which Political Party espouces just such a policy????

    Couldn't be the BNP could it????
  15. Ultimately you can only agree that the best solution to all of this would be not to have troops there. I was very prepared to go and fight when I was a young man with no commitments, but it only takes having a child, or being close to someone to make you stop and think about the effects of killing others or sending people in to battle to be killed.

    Stepping back from the perfect world, however, I would be amongst the first to sign up to defend a lot of what we believe in as a nation.

    That said, how do you equip your troops to fight ? Do you wait for a war to start and then purchase equipment tailored for that operation - or do you buy kit and then only take part in something that matches your capabilities profile ? the answer of course is that you do your best to predict, then put it through the political and financial filters and end up with the inevitabe good old British compromise.

    You can do a lot if you build in growth potential. But this usually means volume and volume under armor equals weight and weight equals cost - all sorts of costs transportation, bridging, recovery equipment, maintenance, as well as the shear effort need to operate this kit in the field. How many times have you heard of a three man tank - but then think about track bashing with two men whilst the third does sentry - not a cheery prospect in my books.

    The French have a three man tank - but they are not into sustained ops, more like a quick heroic dash into the great green yonder and back before tea (or pernod or whatever). We are into staying out there for the duration and are. by and large, pretty good at it.

    So - can one square this circle ? Yes I think you can. But you have to be able to break the mould and have the courage to think a few unthinkables. Consider, for example, how the Germans coped in the last war and look at some of the trends that developed.

    Think citadels and think radical - wheels and tracks are not necessarily mutally exclusive. Good ground clearance is possible using active suspension which can be dropped down when in contact (at which point the prospect of a mine-strike becomes less worrying than the thought of a fin-round through the front door.

    Anyway - this message is already rather too long - but if there any comments etc please get back.