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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 » 04 May 2019, 22:01

I wouldn’t get hung up on what units are arranged into which peacetime unit. In the event of active deployment the units deployed will be taken from what is available. The strike concept is very weak in supporting fires at the moment, but consider that it will be supported by helicopter and fast jets, both of which operate powerful anti-tank weapons. Plus there is a requirement out at the moment for a new artillery piece that can support either strike or armoured formations.

Whinging about how the Air Force and the Navy have it better and should be punished for it won’t help, but perhaps the Army could look at why the senior and junior services have it better and consequently if they can achieve that themselves.

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

Postby whitelancer » 04 May 2019, 23:21

mr.fred wrote: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.


If we go back to BAOR the Divisions supplied Combat Support and Combat Service Support, to the brigades as required, So if we look at artillery the Division would have a Divisional Artillery Group. The Brigadier commanding the DAG would be the Divisional Commanders advisor on all matters artillery, including devising the Divisions fire support plan and allocating artillery as required. Normally each Brigade would have a Close Support Regiment allocated, with the CO being the brigades artillery advisor. Battery Commanders doing the same at Battle Group level and with FOOs being allocated to each Combat Team, (later Squadron and Company Groups). From this it looks like at each level their is dedicated artillery, this was not the case. As an example a BG or Brigade in reserve doesn't need artillery support, while a BG or Brigade in combat wants all the support it can get. So they may have anything from zero artillery to the entire DAG in support. The same goes for other support elements.
The above highlights the problem with using Brigades as your primary formation. To provide a similar level of support each brigade needs the full range of support elements that are normally provided at Divisional level, which considering our lack of support elements is a major problem.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 05 May 2019, 02:20

Relying on helicopters and fast jets to off set the weaknesses of our ground formations is a big mistake, and it would come back to bite us in the arse if we ever go up against a peer opponent. The air above the ground battle will be contested at best by both opposition air and ground units, with the current and future SA-XX especially dangerous.

I understand the doctrine of forming Battle Groups form what is available and I am thinking about wartime operations rather than peace time. The problem is with only two Armoured Regiments, would we keep them in the Armoured Infantry Brigades to be used in Battle Groups composed of units from these formations or do we spread them even thinner by attaching squadrons or smaller units to Battel Groups composed of Mechanised Brigade units. If we are going to go even further and throw all four heavy and medium Brigades into he melting pot to create our Battel Groups how do we adjust out training etc. to allow these disparate formations to be used to operating together,

All five of the Army's combat Brigades are pretty hollow formations at present and will be more so in future as the integral Recce is removed from all units leaving the four Recce Regiments in the Mechanised Brigades, but these are not tasked with Recce as their primary role, rather they are to provide fire support to the Mechanised Infantry Battalions in their respective Brigades. The lack of organic Artillery in the Mechanised Brigades has been identified as a requirement but this has now been expanded into a programme to replace the bulk of the Army's tube Artillery. This means it is now a substantial programme rather then as small quick fix it should have been, and the Army's record at bring kit into service under large procurement programmes is not good. Instead we should have bought a Regiments worth of off the shelf wheeled 155mm platforms to re-equip one of the existing 105mm Light Gun Artillery Regiments using the much vaunted Transformational Fund, and then use the experience gained from operating such equipment to influence the much larger purchase to replace the AS-90s.

Also as a mater of urgency the Army need to purchase an off the shelf platform to give heavy and medium units their organic Recce back. We will need around 100 vehicles and if needed we could adapt out existing Foxhounds to the role, giving the a EO sensor turret, possible on a mast, and improved communications. If they could retain four dismounts as well it would give them greater flexibility.

How many and what type of units are held at Divisional and Brigade level needs to be heavily scrutinised. We need to ensure that we can effectively support any formations we operationally deploy up to a multiple Brigade deployment. This needs to cover logistics, ISTAR, Heavy indirect Fire support and so on. It is no use having highly mobile formations such as the planned Mechanised Infantry Battalions, if we do not have sufficient support assets available to keep them moving and supplied in stores, manpower and information. ISTAR needs to be deployed down to Company level as part of an overall secure network, the framework of which is on the way. We also need to be able to disrupt or even remove an opponent ISTAR capability n order to gain the imitative in manoeuvre operations, and reduce the effectiveness of hostile artillery and other supporting arms.

Returning to the CR2 though, we are in danger of becoming adverse to committing them to operations due to the small size of the fleet and lack of replacements etc. The small fleet size also means we are going to have to restrict mileage to reduce wear and tear even more, which will affect training. The procurement of a Sim-net, based on that operated by the US Army but being more versatile with each "Pod" being able to mimic multiple platforms, would allow units up to the size of a Battalion Battle Group to train effectively at less expanse, though this would require funding up front.

The planned CSP for the CR2 needs to be a comprehensive programme, effectively delivering a new platform to the Army. it systems need to be open architecture to allow the easy and constant updating of systems to keep them relevant and a programme to maintain these systems need to be put in place to prevent block obsolescence down the line Installing the German 120mm is vital to this as it ties us into the performance and other improvements that will be made in the future form various sources. I am sure there will be an argument made in the MoD that we only need to carry out the minimum modifications necessary to keep the CR2s running until a replacement can be found in the late 2020s, but unless our politicians have an improbable change of heart/brain funding is going to get tighter and tighter moving forward and there might never be sufficient funding to allow such a procurement.

Finally stating that the other two services have has the lion's share of funding for their major programmes is not whinging but a legitimate observation. Yes the Army Top Brass could have made netter use of what funding they had, but because it was so limited, a culture of over cautiousness has evolved where they are reluctant to commit to big programmes for fear of getting things wrong and not having the funds to correct the mistake. Instead they continue to run trial after trial, assessment after assessment trying to find the perfect solution. They know the capabilities they need but cannot identify the most effecting solution in many cases, often because there are multiple option available. But he Army needs to be more robust in fighting its corner when it come to dividing up the pie so to speak. It need to be more assertive as to what it needs and what equipment is required to meet said need. If it can do this a secure greater funding this should lessen the their cautions nature and speed up procurement of new equipment. Will this lead to less money for the other two services, possibly but there is wiggle room here if some of the programmes aimed at tasks outside our core defence needs as dialled back.

I realise I have strayed outside the CR2 thread quite a bit here so will continue my rants in the SDSR 2020 thread later.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 05 May 2019, 04:18

Lord Jim wrote:would we keep them in the Armoured Infantry Brigades to be used in Battle Groups composed of units from these formations or do we spread them even thinner by attaching squadrons
It will not be the first time if I say that we are on our way of having the Matilda infantry tank (again).
Lord Jim wrote:should have bought a Regiments worth of off the shelf wheeled 155mm platforms to re-equip one of the existing 105mm Light Gun Artillery Regiments using the much vaunted Transformational Fund
Nothing transformational in that (see other comment below)
Lord Jim wrote:ISTAR needs to be deployed down to Company level as part of an overall secure network, the framework of which is on the way.
What is on its way? The drones suitable for use at that level were withdrawn.
Lord Jim wrote: The procurement of a Sim-net, based on that operated by the US Army but being more versatile with each "Pod" being able to mimic multiple platforms, would allow units up to the size of a Battalion Battle Group to train effectively at less expanse, though this would require funding up front.
... that sounds more like a transformation funding item
Lord Jim wrote:they are reluctant to commit to big programmes for fear of getting things wrong and not having the funds to correct the mistake.
FRES was army's counterstrike to the two carriers and RAF's mega-Typhoon prgrms (with Dreadnoughts looming large on the horizon - even though they are meant to hide :) ) . "We will build 3000 of them"
Lord Jim wrote: will continue my rants in the SDSR 2020 thread later.
We have a army renewal thread, some somewhere between tanks and Defence & Security 'overarching thoughts' ... with the Williamson debacle the x-pull between 'fusion' and new hardware is making a comeback ' to the fore'

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

Postby CameronPerson » 24 May 2019, 19:14

Nothing official released as yet but Drummond is usually well informed..


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

Postby CameronPerson » 24 May 2019, 19:18

And for those who are interested, here’s a good thread on the findings of the investigation into the live fire exercise incident on the CR2 in 2017 at Castkemartin with the link to the official report below that


https://bit.ly/2VJkD4k

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

Postby Jake1992 » 24 May 2019, 19:51

Has it been set in stone yet how many units will get upgraded or is that been held off on now that in 6 weeks odd both may and most likely Hammond will be gone.

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

Postby CameronPerson » 24 May 2019, 20:03

Jake1992 wrote:most likely Hammond will be gone.


Haven’t seen anything else concrete yet but apparently announcement coming shortly; and we can only hope for the latter point..

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 24 May 2019, 22:51

If we omit from
"improvements over the existing Leopard 2A7" the Leopard2 part (and add V for verbessert to the A7... which version does exist)
... we get Germany's 1st tank that was "there" before Cambrai happened

Ohh, how things do go round

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

Postby RunningStrong » 24 May 2019, 23:11

I'm not sure how they can decide on the contract when the Competitions and Market Authority investigation doesn't conclude until the 13th June.

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

Postby whitelancer » 26 May 2019, 13:29

CameronPerson wrote:And for those who are interested, here’s a good thread on the findings of the investigation into the live fire exercise incident on the CR2 in 2017 at Castkemartin with the link to the official report below that

Having just read through the report it seems it was an accident waiting to happen, I would like to make a couple of points'
The first concerns the Design Authority and the DE&S, neither seemed able to provide any useful information to the inquiry, bar a single report from 1986. This I think highlights a paucity of knowledge and expertise in both industry and the MOD. A result of policies followed by various governments for many years to the detriment of the Armed Forces.
The second point concerns the Whole Fleet Management policy adopted with regard to Challenger 2. The report never considered this but I regard it as a major contributing factor in the accident occurring. Let me explain.

Badger Sqn went to the ranges with 9 Challenger 2's half the number required to equip a full sqn, this had a couple of consequences. First it meant that no crew had their own tank which they were responsible and accountable for. Rather they were it seems allocated to a particular Challenger as and when required. Which obviously means continually swapping vehicles. Secondly for those not actively involved their was little for those personnel to do so concurrent activates were arranged in this instance First Aid training on a separate range.

On the day in question the crew allocated the particular challenger completed their firing successfully but then the Commander and Gunner left the range to do something else while the loader and driver cleaned the gun as they expected no further firing to take place. It then appears the loader also left the range. In consequence when that particular tank was chosen for the Experience shoot no crew was available to conduct a proper hand over as should have occurred. As the Commander of the Experience shoot you would expect him to use his own tank and crew but of course he didn't have his own tank and his crew may not even have been available. in consequence the crew did not understand the condition of the L30 which led directly to the accident.
To sum up. I would say crews not having their own dedicated tanks was an important contribtry factor in the accident. Hence the whole idea behind whole fleet managment and how its currently carried out is flawed. Icidently the report mentions technical problems I wonder if they may also at least in part be attributed to the same cause.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 May 2019, 14:34

whitelancer wrote:of course he didn't have his own tank and his crew may not even have been available. in consequence the crew did not understand the condition of the L30 which led directly to the accident.

An awful thing to read
... put all the bean counters through basic training, before they start in the desk job!

Would not cover tank crewing, though :(

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

Postby RunningStrong » 26 May 2019, 15:02

whitelancer wrote: To sum up. I would say crews not having their own dedicated tanks was an important contribtry factor in the accident. Hence the whole idea behind whole fleet managment and how its currently carried out is flawed. Icidently the report mentions technical problems I wonder if they may also at least in part be attributed to the same cause.

I wholeheartedly disagree. Whole Fleet Management is not the reason for sloppy drills, failure to follow authorisation procedures and failure to maintain the safe configuration of the platform. It may have hidden one of these failings, but it is not the cause of it, nor does it mitigate in anyway the other issues that conspired to a fatal incident.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 26 May 2019, 15:08

Not an expert on this, and will not lean either way.

However, the issues at first pointed out are reminiscent of swapping crews on navy (forward deployed, and not only the RN) ships
- more often than not the experiment has been dropped?

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

Postby whitelancer » 26 May 2019, 17:44

RunningStrong wrote:I wholeheartedly disagree. Whole Fleet Management is not the reason for sloppy drills, failure to follow authorisation procedures and failure to maintain the safe configuration of the platform. It may have hidden one of these failings, but it is not the cause of it, nor does it mitigate in anyway the other issues that conspired to a fatal incident.


As far as the Inquiry could establish the relevant drills were carried out correctly. Their was no drill to confirm the BVA was fitted. Failure to stow the charges correctly was both stupid and unnecessary but did not cause the accident, it did of course increase its severity. The platform was left in a perfectly safe configuration by the previous crew just not in a condition. in which the L30 could be used, as they didn't believe it would be used (if they had thought it was going to be used again they would not have bothered cleaning the gun). The major contributing factor was the failure to conduct a proper Hand Over/Take Over, however as most of the previous crew were not on the range this could not have been done. Should they have therefore selected another tank, perhaps, but were the crews temporally allocated these other Challengers available to carry out a HO/TO we don't know. But remember that tank had already been used a couple of hours earlier so the assumption would have been that it was ok to use. Why was a HO/TO required at all, because crews were constantly moving between tanks, why were they constantly moving between tanks, because they only had 9 available when they should have had a full sqns worth of 18, why did they only have 9, because of Whole Fleet Management.
I should point out I am not arguing with the conclusions of the inquiry, I think from what I can tell they did a good job. Nor am I arguing that a similar accident could not have happened without Whole Fleet Management. What I am saying is that in this case Whole Fleet Management was a contributing factor and made a such an accident more likely than not having Whole Fleet Management.

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

Postby mr.fred » 26 May 2019, 21:40

Even if WFM was not a thing, would a sub unit take all its tanks to Castlemartin ranges for training? While accountant bashing is fun, it doesn’t change the fact that a pound spent on one thing is a pound not spent on something else.

The stand out piece for me was the fact that there was a drill to load a vent tube manually while the safety case for the gun was apparently based on the assumption that vent tubes would only ever be loaded by magazine. The disconnect between users and designers is worrying.

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

Postby RunningStrong » 27 May 2019, 00:04

whitelancer wrote: As far as the Inquiry could establish the relevant drills were carried out correctly. Their was no drill to confirm the BVA was fitted. Failure to stow the charges correctly was both stupid and unnecessary but did not cause the accident, it did of course increase its severity.

Fitment of the BVA is in the drills, the issue is that there is no system interlock that prevents firing without the BVA fitted. So it is clear that drills were not completed correctly and the system design failed to mitigate that.

whitelancer wrote:The major contributing factor was the failure to conduct a proper Hand Over/Take Over, however as most of the previous crew were not on the range this could not have been done. Should they have therefore selected another tank, perhaps, but were the crews temporally allocated these other Challengers available to carry out a HO/TO we don't know. But remember that tank had already been used a couple of hours earlier so the assumption would have been that it was ok to use. Why was a HO/TO required at all, because crews were constantly moving between tanks, why were they constantly moving between tanks, because they only had 9 available when they should have had a full sqns worth of 18, why did they only have 9, because of Whole Fleet Management.
I should point out I am not arguing with the conclusions of the inquiry, I think from what I can tell they did a good job. Nor am I arguing that a similar accident could not have happened without Whole Fleet Management. What I am saying is that in this case Whole Fleet Management was a contributing factor and made a such an accident more likely than not having Whole Fleet Management.

I again disagree wholeheartedly. A weapon system in its simplest form, a rifle, still requires the person taking control of the weapon system to complete NSP. Even if the weapon system is handed over, you still do it because you are ultimately responsible for that system.

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

Postby whitelancer » 27 May 2019, 02:10

mr.fred wrote:Even if WFM was not a thing, would a sub unit take all its tanks to Castlemartin ranges for training? While accountant bashing is fun, it doesn’t change the fact that a pound spent on one thing is a pound not spent on something else.

Well these days who can say. What I will say is that in the past a Sqn or indeed a Regiment would have taken their full complement of Tanks and other vehicles and they should do today.

mr.fred wrote:The stand out piece for me was the fact that there was a drill to load a vent tube manually while the safety case for the gun was apparently based on the assumption that vent tubes would only ever be loaded by magazine. The disconnect between users and designers is worrying.

Going back to the L11 their was a drill for loading vent tubes manually, so the designers should have know that was likely on the L30. Its really surprising that this problem was not picked up during the trials and development process, or failing that by the Gunnery Scholl when the necessary documentation and drills were put together.

RunningStrong wrote:Fitment of the BVA is in the drills, the issue is that there is no system interlock that prevents firing without the BVA fitted. So it is clear that drills were not completed correctly and the system design failed to mitigate that.

Fitting the BVA is not in the action drill or the prove the gun drill, which are the drills that the crew would have been expected to carry out. Checking the BVA was fitted should have been part of the Prove The Gun Drill but it wasn't. The fact that the gun could be fired without the BVA fitted was obviously the primary cause of the accident.
RunningStrong wrote:I again disagree wholeheartedly.

While not the main factor I am sticking to my opinion that Whole Fleet Management was a contributing factor. So I think we will have to agree to disagree.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 May 2019, 07:13

whitelancer wrote:While not the main factor I am sticking to my opinion that Whole Fleet Management was a contributing factor.

... and the doing away with "the Establishments" another. As mr.fred pointed out the interaction between designers and end users seems to have gottento be far too remote (just like in the early days of the telegram, when the lines got too long, repeat stations needed to be added; we have done the opposite. And that happened that far back that I would challenge the contributors to name the mentioned establishments).

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

Postby whitelancer » 27 May 2019, 09:53

Selling off or closing down the various Research and Development Establishments was very much a false economy. The MOD lost an enormous amount of knowledge, experience and expertise in many areas, not to mention the physical infrastructure.

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

Postby Qwerty » 27 May 2019, 15:46

Aircrew receive flame retardant clothing for their role.

Hopefully armour crews will now get the same or similar.

NOMEX is also available in black (in case the RTR are reading...)

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 May 2019, 15:54

Qwerty wrote:NOMEX is also available in black

Indeed, also in lightweight weave. So that I tipped one Arctic Survival producer about it, you know shelters tolerating fires close to them.

Did they ever say a 'thank you'?
No, perhaps afraid that I would ask for a share in the revenues
... and I just :cry: wanted one for myself

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

Postby Lord Jim » 27 May 2019, 16:44

Could the fact that crews do not train on the range as much as they used to do, also be a factor? Have drills not been kept up to date as with less training there is less cause for feedback about what could be done to avoid this, or how to do something better/safer?

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

Postby mr.fred » 27 May 2019, 16:53

Lord Jim wrote:Could the fact that crews do not train on the range as much as they used to do, also be a factor? Have drills not been kept up to date as with less training there is less cause for feedback about what could be done to avoid this, or how to do something better/safer?

I would say not, since the loader and commander were both instructors, the drills were followed (absent the charge handling) and something has to have gone wrong for there to be feedback about avoiding it.
More training might have meant that this showed up sooner, but there would be no reason to expect that it would be any less severe.

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

Postby whitelancer » 27 May 2019, 16:57

NOMEX was issued many years ago to a small number of personnel, never progressed any further as far as I am aware. Cost I expect. The use of pure cotton would be a step forward, but they do seem to like to use artificial fibres, probable for durability. At one time they were pure artificial fires, polyester I think, wouldn't like to be caught in a fire wearing them!


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