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FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 29 Apr 2019, 13:37

At the same time, if you have the finest gun in the world, but your FCS doesn’t work for lack of spares, then that doesn’t matter either.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 29 Apr 2019, 13:44

There is no either or. Only viable answer is you need both.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 18:31

Agreed, but the gun must be first. We will have enough CR2s hanging around to provide spares for a while so the current FCS can soldier on for a few more years, but then it must also be replaced. Both at the same time, great, but the whole programme is being done on a shoe string to the best of my knowledge.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 29 Apr 2019, 20:09

Lord Jim wrote:Agreed, but the gun must be first. We will have enough CR2s hanging around to provide spares for a while so the current FCS can soldier on for a few more years, but then it must also be replaced. Both at the same time, great, but the whole programme is being done on a shoe string to the best of my knowledge.

A false economy, IMHO. You need a new/heavily modified turret for the new gun and ammunition stowage anyway so there is substantial cost in keeping the obsolete (in the sense it is no longer supported) FCS and fitting it to the new turret in such a way that you can make it work. Might as well do the whole lot in one go.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 29 Apr 2019, 20:12

Lord Jim wrote:Agreed, but the gun must be first. We will have enough CR2s hanging around to provide spares for a while so the current FCS can soldier on for a few more years, but then it must also be replaced. Both at the same time, great, but the whole programme is being done on a shoe string to the best of my knowledge.

Firstly, thinking a smooth bore that misses is better than a rifled shot that hits is a good idea is absurd.

Secondly, I highly doubt the smoothbore weapon comes with an algorithm compatible with the CR2 Fire Control System, so you're either shooting blind or you're paying for a new FCS either way.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 29 Apr 2019, 21:27

RetroSicotte wrote:from the T-80U the UK acquired to study.
Was that from the ROK, Sweden or DDR (which sort of became a subsidiary of the HO in Bonn)?
RetroSicotte wrote:The British Army themselves admitted that the DM53 from the smoothbore gun was more effective than the L27 from the L30A1.

Thus we can know that L27 is not adequate against the latest form of passive/ERA coverings, since the composite in the latest T-72s (T-72B3 onwards) has been significantly upgraded over the T-80Us time.
These are the little things that you need to put together from various reports over many years... difficult to find in any one document.
RetroSicotte wrote:The Challenger with the enhanced L55A1 though, as seen from Rhm now, would be capable of it too. It'd make the Challenger at least equal to the M829A4 used by the M1

+
Lord Jim wrote: IF that means a heavily modernised turret then so be it

Yep. Hence my question abut the 'provenance' of the turret

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 22:22

From what I have read, the Rheinmetall turret is that of the CR2 but stripped down and totally rebuilt. For me this bid is the only sensible one if the Army wants to keep the CR2 in service and relevant into the 2030s. In fact if a true capability progression programme was put in place for the next fifteen or so years, including upgrades like replacing the engine for example, with the Rheinmetall CAP upgrade installed we would once again have a truly world class Main Battle Tank.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 22:26

RunningStrong wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:Agreed, but the gun must be first. We will have enough CR2s hanging around to provide spares for a while so the current FCS can soldier on for a few more years, but then it must also be replaced. Both at the same time, great, but the whole programme is being done on a shoe string to the best of my knowledge.

Firstly, thinking a smooth bore that misses is better than a rifled shot that hits is a good idea is absurd.

Secondly, I highly doubt the smoothbore weapon comes with an algorithm compatible with the CR2 Fire Control System, so you're either shooting blind or you're paying for a new FCS either way.


I am not advocating just doing the main gun and forgetting about the FCS, but the main gun needs to be the priority. To say the current FCS means the CR2 cannot hit anything is idiotic and an insult to the crews. Yes there are issues but the FCS does work, but is not in the same class as that in the latest Abrams. There is little that can be done to improve the current CHARM rifled gun in the CR", it is a dead end evolution wise.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 29 Apr 2019, 23:12

The current gun may be at the end of its development, but it is not ineffective. More like not as effective as you might wish. The FCS is in a similar place but running the risk of being completely ineffective through lack of spares.

Updating gun and FCS at the same time is the cost effective option.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 30 Apr 2019, 06:44

Lord Jim wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:Agreed, but the gun must be first. We will have enough CR2s hanging around to provide spares for a while so the current FCS can soldier on for a few more years, but then it must also be replaced. Both at the same time, great, but the whole programme is being done on a shoe string to the best of my knowledge.

Firstly, thinking a smooth bore that misses is better than a rifled shot that hits is a good idea is absurd.

Secondly, I highly doubt the smoothbore weapon comes with an algorithm compatible with the CR2 Fire Control System, so you're either shooting blind or you're paying for a new FCS either way.


I am not advocating just doing the main gun and forgetting about the FCS, but the main gun needs to be the priority. To say the current FCS means the CR2 cannot hit anything is idiotic and an insult to the crews. Yes there are issues but the FCS does work, but is not in the same class as that in the latest Abrams. There is little that can be done to improve the current CHARM rifled gun in the CR", it is a dead end evolution wise.

You're missing the point, you can't just mix and match FCS with different guns. It doesn't work like that. If you change the gun you have to change the FCS otherwise you're back to completely manual shooting.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RetroSicotte » 30 Apr 2019, 08:11

RunningStrong wrote:You're missing the point, you can't just mix and match FCS with different guns. It doesn't work like that. If you change the gun you have to change the FCS otherwise you're back to completely manual shooting.

Bingo.

Change the gun, you need to change the FCS anyway. The current one isn't designed for this gun at all. Totally different input values, totally different mounting, stabilisation, allowances and all the other things that make up the FCS input.

It's a redundant argument which comes first. You literally cannot get a new gun without a new FCS. (In theory one could modify the FCS, but the old one is so incompatible it would be even less efficient that just fitting a brand new one that already works with the gun.)

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 30 Apr 2019, 15:14

Ok then, the CSP must include both the gun and the FCS. The latter is compulsory with the former and the latter is wasted money without the former.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby whitelancer » 30 Apr 2019, 20:03

Though a new FCS is desirable, I see no reason you would need a new FCS just from changing the gun. A certain amount of reprograming yes, a completely new system no.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 30 Apr 2019, 21:22

whitelancer wrote:Though a new FCS is desirable, I see no reason you would need a new FCS just from changing the gun. A certain amount of reprograming yes, a completely new system no.

If only it was that simple. But it's not. You're likely talking a whole new firmware code development on what is already obsolete hardware.

You can't just plug a USB in and run the upgrade, you've then got to open the box to access, upgrade, reseal the box and FAT test it.

It's naive to think it would be a y cheaper than a whole new COTS FCS.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 30 Apr 2019, 21:31

Which FCS does the current Rheinmetall bid include? Is it the one used in the latest Leo2 variant?

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 30 Apr 2019, 21:45

whitelancer wrote:Though a new FCS is desirable, I see no reason you would need a new FCS just from changing the gun. A certain amount of reprograming yes, a completely new system no.

It would depend to what degree the FCS is reprogrammable and to what extent the parameters are hard wired.

One would like to think that it would be fully reprogrammable.

The problem that I see is that the upgrade program was primarily to address the obsolescence issues with the fire control. I don’t know how much longer you can leave it before it can no longer be supported and, as such, non-functional. Furthermore, splitting the upgrade would make it cost more overall without making each stage notably cheaper since you’d need to repeat all the testing required for matching the gun to the fire control and prove it safe.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby whitelancer » 01 May 2019, 00:39

As its a subject I know a little about I thought it worth giving my opinion. But as you say one of the prime purposes of the update is to improve the fire control and sighting system not doing so would make the whole project rather pointless .

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 01 May 2019, 05:33

Well I just hope, that word again, that the cut in the fleet numbers is to allow a more comprehensive programme and not to simple find the funds to do the bare minimum of reducing obsolescence. The latter would leave the british Army with a Main Battle Tank that is functional but with limited battlefield utility. This would mean our remaining two Armoured Infantry Brigades would continue to lack hitting power, with their best anti-tank system being the Javelin ATGW carried by dismounted infantry! But how effective is the Javelin going to be in the future with the advances being made in both active and passive protection systems. If we are not going to properly equip our Armoured Infantry Brigades, they become little more than Parade Formations, as to use them against a peer opponent would be sending them to their slaughter. The thought of a British Armoured Infantry Brigade suffering the same fate as Ukrainian Armoured forces have in their current conflict doesn't bear thinking about.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 May 2019, 21:43

Lord Jim wrote:that the cut in the fleet numbers is to allow a more comprehensive programme
APS would be a good sweetener?
Lord Jim wrote:suffering the same fate as Ukrainian Armoured forces

The early fiascos were from 'lager' tactics... it isn't quite the Wild West or Boer War out there.
- but the footage shows that anything of lesser protection than a BMP-3 is pretty useless (or rather, a death trap) and also that top kills have been very frequent (nothing much left of the lighter vehicles, but on MBTs one can clearly see how they have been penetrated).
- Russian rocketry has had that sort of capability (out to 90 km) since the 90s, and someone might know more about their (Bonus like) rounds for tube artillery

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 01 May 2019, 22:01

Are the Russians using Bonus type submunitions or just good old bomblets like those that used to be used in the MLRS for example.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 02 May 2019, 17:32

According to soldier magazine, there has been an upgrade of the thermal imager, independent of the LEP.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Pongoglo » 03 May 2019, 12:04

whitelancer wrote:As 56 are required by each Regiment for a total of 112 that would leave just 36 for training and sustainment. So no 3rd Regiment, at best the Yeomanry will provide a limited battle causality replacement capability.

It is hardly a surprise though given the announcement some time ago that the number of Armoured Regiments would be reduced to 2. Of course it does mean that updating challenger, if it actually happens, will cost more per Tank. Are we at point when the cost of maintaining such a reduced heavy armour capability is no longer worth it?


Interesting, have we gone firm on a Type 56, I'm a tad out of date. How does that work, 3 x Sqn of 4 x Troops with 4 Ch2 each equals 48 That would leave 8 spare, 2 X HQ tanks in each Sqn plus 2 in RHQ ?

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 03 May 2019, 20:22

I think it is 3 Sqn with HQ of 2 CR2 and 4 Trps of 4 CR2 giving a total of 54 CR2 plus the Regiment HQ with a further 2 CR2, bringing the final number to 56 CR2. But unlike the historical Type 56 there will be no integral Recce Sqn, in fact the whole Armoured Infantry Brigade has no Recce elements as currently planned, though I can see additional units such as the Light Cavalry having units attached, equipped with Jackals to provide a level of capability if a Brigade goes to war, or even one or two Ajax Troops from the Training formation being attached.

It does go to show how thread bear the Army has become, when its standing formations are not actually balanced or for for combat. Whilst this does not prevent the Army deploying heavy Battle Groups it does make the statement that it can deploy a true fighting division rather hollow.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby mr.fred » 04 May 2019, 18:02

Lord Jim wrote:It does go to show how thread bear the Army has become, when its standing formations are not actually balanced or for for combat. Whilst this does not prevent the Army deploying heavy Battle Groups it does make the statement that it can deploy a true fighting division rather hollow.

Historically, how much combined arms have been present in brigade formations? Going back to the Second World War, brigades were generally homogeneous unit types and supporting arms came from division.

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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 04 May 2019, 20:26

Yes, but in the past few decades the British Army has developed a doctrine of all arms battle groups all the way down to Company level. The Brigade is now the menu from which these are created, whereas in the days of BOAR this was done more at a Divisional level with Brigades swapping Regiments/Battalions and so on.

However with the Army 2020 Refined/Army 2025 both the Armoured Infantry And Mechanised Brigades are unbalanced and lack key integral formations and capabilities. The former lack any integral Recce component at all and the latter lacks integral Artillery. Where is this going to come from. The two Regiments of AS-90s are assigned to the Armoured Infantry and even if detached lack the mobility to keep up with the Mechanised formations. The range of the GMLRS allows it to provide a certain amount of cover but it will probably fall to one of the remaining Regiments equipped with 105mm Light Guns to provide support. This is totally inadequate especially in the weight of fire and flexibility and also very vulnerable to counter battery fire to say the least.

The Mechanised Brigades are also severely lacking in anti-tank fire power, with each brigade only having around 16 hand held Javelin ATGW launchers in this role plus the very short ranged NLAW also carried by the Infantry. As has been pointed out to me repeatedly, the CTA40 auto cannon on the Ajax is ineffective against MBTs.

So the new Mechanised Brigades will be able to deploy rapidly (sort of) but when they arrive they will be unable to effectively counter any opposing formations that contain MBTs and will be vulnerable to enemy Artillery fire. If they operate in a dispersed manner as is often mentioned, the inherent weakness of the Brigade is made even more apparent, with the phrase "Speed Bump" becoming more appropriate.

As for Divisional level assets, well what do we actually have left in the cupboard? Well we have the Army's two Air Defence Regiments which are useful and the ISTAR assets that have been built up over the past decades. There will still be limited Artillery, mainly the Single Regiment of GMLRS, and of course there will be additional logistics and admin units.

The Army will have a total of TWO Armoured Regiments moving forward. These are key to the ability of the Army to fight any sort of high intensity warfare and will remain the Army's most potent ground based anti-tank platforms, but only if the planned upgrade includes either the L44 or L55 variants of the German 120mm Smoothbore gun as well as an updated FCS. The only negative in this is the up front cost, but the Powers That Be must way this against that by doing so we will have access to far cheaper ammunition and be able to retain the CR2 in service well into the late 2030s if not longer. IF the right FCS and other systems are chosen the maintenance and future modifications will also be more cost effective if they are common with similar components used by others.

Compared to the investments being made in the Air Force and Navy, the funding needed to bring the Army's five frontline Brigades up to effective warfighting standard are relatively small. The foundations have been put in place and moderate additional funding would greatly increase the Army's capability. The MoD must avoid its historical approach to the Army, which has led to the current crisis of hollowed out unbalanced service. Programmes such as the recently announced FLSS should be killed off immediately and both the Air Force And Navy should be made to concentrate on their core capabilities only until the Army has been given the resources to bring it up to a standard that is fit for purpose.

The £200M possibly allocated to the FLSS would go along way to allow the CR2 CSP to be more comprehensive than currently envisioned. We do not need to just keep the CR2 going, we need to make them combat effective against any peer opponent.


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