The first DROPS deployed by the army

#1
Found this in my box of photos and (even though it is a little spotterish) is a noteworthy pic. I've uploaded it to the albums too with this comment:

This is one of the first DROPS deployed on OP Granby undergoing testing with US water carriers due to a shortage of UK water carridge kit. The pic was taken in either late October or early November 1990. The DROPS was operated by 5 Sqn RCT of 8 Regt RCT and they were the first unit to be issued with DROPS. The pic was taken outside the HQ FMA when it was based in the port clearance house on the main dock complex itself. Note that all vehicles and combats were green as no paint or combats had been issued or delivered yet! Also of note are the BSV's parked in the background beloning to 14 Sqn RCT. Thses are not yet in place or being used, so it must have been very early on indeed when no comms were available. The man on the left is a civvy from British Leyland overseeing the roll out of the DROPS project
 

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#2
Note driver wearing lightweights. Any form of tropical combats or desert kit was either non-existant (we wouldn't see desert combats for another 5 weeks) or in short supply.
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
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#4
Wasn't there a court case about that time
The firm who developed this system for lifting skips accused Leyland and teh MoD of nicking there idea IIRC
 
#5
Nah, the principle behind DROPS has been around since the early 70's and known as Ampliroll, it was mounted on the back of 8 wheeled Fodens for trials back then.
 
#6
Speedy said:
Found this in my box of photos and (even though it is a little spotterish) is a noteworth pic. I've uploaded it to the albums too with this comment:

This is one of the first DROPS deployed on OP Granby undergoing testing with US water carriers due to a shortage of UK water carridge kit. The pic was taken in either late October or early November 1990. The DROPS was operated by 5 Sqn RCT of 8 Regt RCT and they were teh forst unit to be issued with DROPS. The pic was taken outside the HQ FMA when it was based in the port clearance house on the main dock complex itself. Note that all vehicles and combats were green as no paint or combats had been issued or delivered yet! Also of note are the BSV's parked in the background beloning to 14 Sqn RCT. Thses are not yet in place or being used, so it must have been very early on indeed as no comms were available. The man on the left is a civvy from British Leyland overseeing the roll out of the DROPS project
A handful of us were lucky (or unlucky!) enough to work with the Yank Marines for a few weeks helping them at one of their front line locations, good guys and gave us all 2 sets of their own desert combats as they felt 'sorry' for us Brits :D gave them a few of our 24 hour rat packs and we didn't need to return them when we eventually returned to our Unit... although of course we had to resort back to Tropicals when we returned!!! :soldier:
 
#8
The “scandal” was all about Bougntons (don’t know how to spell that) they did all the initial trials, they then got the nod they would get the contract, and they did not get a look in.
 
#9
I recall seeing all of the different DROPS variants on trial in Aldershot in '88. The Foden version IIRC was supposed to be the high mobility variant to replace the Stalwart, only it never worked as advertised and was hampered by technical problems which is why it was not entered into service until several years after the Leyland version, and even then at a reduced mobility level. During Granby there was a UOR for a HMLC (High Mobility Load Carrier) to replace the Stalwart which had been removed from service the year before, and we purchased a lot of M548's from the Americans to fill the gap.
I also remember seeing that huge all wheel drive TM arctic around the 'shot at the time as well.

Edited to add: There used to be some pictures of that doing some impressive knife edge x-country on Aldershort trg area on the net but I can't find them now :(
 
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#10
I think the system was introduced in 1969 by the Marell Corporation, now Ampiroll as speedy says. They also invented the skip loading systems as well
 
#12
On the trail in Aldershot there were two versions of the Daf (Scamel at the time) and two of the Foden. The IMMLC and the MMLC. I believe after the trails they carried on having problems with both the Foden and the Daf, for instance the Daf kept rolling over around bends, even after they were introduced.
 
#13
Gremlin said:
Speedy said:
..... and we purchased a lot of M548's from the Americans to fill the gap.
I thought that they came in as part of the MLRS fleet?
The MLRS were resupplied off the backs of 14ton Beford TMs. The 548's were used for 'traditional' arty resupply. They are not big enough to carry MLRS rockt pods IIRC (I stand to be corrected here). On teh whole though, most resupply was done from traditional wheeled vehicles rather than the 548's, due to the limited carrying capacity of these. this picture gives you a good idea of the size of them (I can't find one of the back loading area):



One other notable effect of the introduction of DROPS (and to logistics in general) was the realisation that many of our drivers and transport units were woefully lacking in drivers with more than HGV2 (cat c) as there was now a great requirment for HGV 1 (cat c+e) trained drivers because of the introduction of DROPS and thier trailers. Previously getting HGV 1 out of the army was almost impossible unless posted\attached to a unit such as tank transporting or your trade required it such as vehicle specialist and recovery mechnaic. So much so that 25 Sqn RCT from Bicester who drove 'white fleet' HGV1 Volvos in the UK delivering defense stores were deployed as a DROPS equipped unit because of their driver quals.
 
#15
The recovery varient, the M578 is a different vehicle, albeit using the same chassis.

 
#16
M578 wreckers were issued to the LAD sections in M107 (175mm) and M110 (8 in) btys and used the same vehicle as these guns (and the pic shows this), nothing to do the with M113 series chassis used by M548, which was the basis for Tracked Rapier and Lance launchers/transporters. Can't remember what the M109 btys had, M578 is very possible.
 
#17
Back on teh subject of DROPS. I've just grabbed this piccy from someone I know of Facebook. I think this is quite a historical picture of the DROPS BAOR trials team in 85. Why there is a Para there I don't know!
And considering the Leyland (Scammell in the photo) didn't enter service until 1990 and the Foden until about 93/94, it just shows we like to drag our feet a little when selecting kit!
 

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ugly

LE
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#18
Not only a Para but wearing a Dennison as well. I cant make out much more than that at this scale!
 
#19
I cropped the picture to remove names. He was a Para reg sgt according to the list that was below the pic.
 

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