First, I think your description is misrepresenting the original post. It specifically puffed up the ability to switch types of target without ceasing fire. That isn't just an autoloader, which is perfectly sensible. I still hold it is overengineered, unless someone can argue otherwise. It fulfills a requirement that is, at best, extremely limited. If that is the stated selling point, then caveat emptor!
It's a dual-feed system. You know, just like all the Bushmasters. Being able to switch ammunition natures without having to first unload the weapon seems... entirely obvious, given that just about every other Western turret is already doing it. Insisting that it be done manually, just because a fifty-year-old clip-loaded RARDEN does it that way, seems downright Luddite.
Take a ten-year technology gap - are you going to insist that the Centurion is "overengineered" compared to the Matilda? Or de Havilland Vampire compared to the Gloster Gladiator? Maybe the Vulcan compared to the Lancaster? You appear to be insisting that anything more complicated than a five-decade-old cannon is "overengineered", which would have meant a Cold War fought with the Mk IV Tank...
All of the projects are also, to my mind, totally overengineered given those (predictable) characteristics. A £150m stealth jet will still get shot down by a £20m one if its secure comms don't work properly, and assuming equal budgets translating into force ratios, the enemy will have 6.5 more tries to do so!
Rather a lot of oversimplification there. By your measure, Type 26 is a waste, we just need five times as many River class. F-35 is a waste, let's just buy more Harriers. Picking an edge-case (broken radio! plane loss! eleventy!!!) and using it for a wider assertion is what St. Sharkey does...
...note also that the key, overriding, limiting factor on our Armed Forces isn't the headline price of the kit, it's the manpower cost. That F-18A looked pretty damn good next to that F-14D when you discovered that its maintenance burden was a sixth of the older kit; suddenly, a 450-person squadron that couldn't quite keep half its aircraft available, turned into a 250-person squadron that could keep over three-quarters in flying condition.
We're short of people. If the extra cost was driven by research and trials into maintainability, then that means fewer people digging out to fix kit, less time on the tank park. Compare CR2 availability with Chieftain. If that money went into safety, then more people live - compare how many pilots have been killed flying a Typhoon, with the number who died flying the Meteor. Or the Lightning. Or the Harrier. Or the Jaguar.
You're now suggesting we somehow find 6.5 times more ships' complements, 6.5 times more aircrew, 6.5 times more AFV crews. How, exactly, are you going to find an Army of over 400,000 and a navy of nearly 200,000? What colour is the sky on your planet?
Safety and compatibility and maintainability engineering don't come for free. Yes, zero risk is unattainable, and ALARP is sensible, but if you produce "cheap kit, quickly", you'll get sh!te that kills soldiers. Skimp on the trials, and you'll end up like the Americans - radio headsets that didn't fit under the issue helmet.
Remind me again about BOWMAN - aside from the political pressure to put a factory in a Welsh marginal, wasn't it a serving Brigadier who led the IPT? Refused to acknowledge infantry needs? Swore blind it was fit for purpose in the face of all opposing proof?
Our 80s and 90s NATO strategy of technology overmatch has failed. Our approach to industry means our tech is now too expensive, too old, and too little.
Make kit simpler, more basic, cheaper, and faster, and make it with corporals sitting in the program, with the designers, from the start. Don't make SA80s. Make AK-47s.
Utter pish. It worked bloody well. Remind me how NATO equipment fared on GRANBY and TELIC, when outnumbered by cheap, simple, and plentiful types. Do tell how many "too expensive" Challengers were killed by the simple, reliable, and rugged T-62 / T-72 / RPG-7. Do remind us how the AKM overmatches L85 / L129 with its accuracy and awesome accessories. I mean, its night-vision system must be great. Reassure us with tales of that fantastic, cheap, and rugged 58-pattern webbing and 68-pattern combat suits.
Remind me - who, exactly, decides the staffing of trials and development units? Who, exactly, decides the skills required of military personnel posted onto procurement projects (and how long they remain in post)?
You've already got those Corporals sitting in the room, and you always had. Along with the deep technical expertise Warrant Officer types. If they're being given a stiff ignoring by an SO2(Tech), or overruled by a grouchy Colonel whose last turret seat was a Saracen, whose fault is that?
...and what future guff BAE's professional services dept can convinced them they will really, really need.
Bollocks. All of the lunacy requirements come out of nutjob Staff Officers who think that somehow, a one-year conversion course at Shrivenham on top of their dimly-remembered Arts degree (or an OU MBA) means that they can indulge requirement skills better-suited to the jotter of a 12-year-old with guns an' turrets an' wings an' paratroopers daggadaggadagga tank battle.
Why certainly, it should have armour capable of stopping an RPG, a TM-83, or a TM-62; hold a full section, mount a medium-calibre gun, and fit into a Hercules. What do you mean, you canna break the rules of Physics, Captain?
Go on, tell us how well FRES was managed. How well that "medium-weight doctrine" is coming along. What about the current equipment scales and doctrine/training packages are for Mountain, Jungle, and Arctic Warfare. If the f***ing Army can't even figure out what it wants, and how it should be using it, it's a bit rich to insist that it's all the fault of some mythical BAE Info Ops team. Why not blame 77X on BAE while you're at it?
Some types of infrastructure or requirements suit command driven economies: see, trains. If that is what Defence is going to do in practice (it is), then at least make it work for service personnel, rather than for the Glasgow local economy or BAE shareholders.
Cracking. You'll need to reform all of the research faculties that the Army shrank and closed, and recruit all of the technical expertise that you got rid of (see debates on the Army's utter inability to manage specialist skills). Say, five or six billion, a complete reorg of APC and the Officers' Career Structure, and twenty years should be enough to start?
Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment - Wikipedia
Fort Halstead - Wikipedia
Buying back Qinetiq is a start, that should only cost £1.5 billion or so...