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British Army Future Wheeled APC

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Lord Jim
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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 22 Sep 2018, 15:37

WE have the Department of Trade and Industry whose remit is to encourage invest in this country, create jobs and maintain and grow our countries manufacturing base and guess what they have a budget to carry out these tasks, The MoD does NOT have a budget to do so. If we have to but kit from a UK manufacturer regardless of the cost simply to create jobs how is that value for money for the MoD to fund these out of its dwindling equipment budget? Buying small quantities of bespoke kit form UK companies is not securing our supply chain by any means. The MoD has little support infrastructure remaining in house, instead Governments have given this role to industry as a way of supporting them when it could not afford to place orders for new platforms and other items of kit, the so called "Power by the hour", contract as we know them in the RAF. Like a PFI every contingency had to be included in the contract and anything that arose outside of this would cost a fortune.

Yes if the MoD was able to place large orders there would be economies of scale and with frequent orders industry could invest in products aimed for export and so on but the MoD no longer places orders of a big enough magnitude for kit that is not so bespoke it has little export potential. The T-26 order by Australia was an aberration arrived at more out of luck than design as BAE had a ASW centric platform where as the competition were promoting GP platforms adapted to ASW.

With Ajax, where did the funding for the onshore construction originate. If it was from the DTI or another source besides the MoD then I am happy. If the costs were rolled into the Ajax development and production contract I am not. Mind you Although assembly etc of the Ajax will take place in Wales most of the hull components for example will still be made in Spain.

I am not saying we should not build military kit in the UK, but that additional cost for doing so compared to having it mainly built elsewhere should be the purview of other departments.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 22 Sep 2018, 15:44

Lord Jim wrote:I am not saying we should not build military kit in the UK,

One would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Jake1992 » 22 Sep 2018, 16:13

mr.fred wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:I am not saying we should not build military kit in the UK,

One would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.


I understand what he's getting at it is not the MODs job to keep strategic uk bussiness in profit but that of other departments ( DTI )

The way I look at it is I'd love for us to go for the foxhound family instead of JLTV as its just as capable but would support uk job and secure a strategic industry ( and just looks more britsh to me lol ) but due to the small orders it would cost double the JLTV, now this is were the DTI could jump in and say to the MOD look choose the Foxhound family and well stump up the difference in cost.

This way the MOD gets a good bit of UK made kit for no extra cost while a lot of the extra money comes back to the treasury through taxs due to the work being carried out here, it also secures at strategic sovereign industrial capabilty for the future.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 22 Sep 2018, 16:25

Jake1992 wrote:I understand what he's getting at it is not the MODs job to keep strategic uk bussiness in profit

Consider, if you will, the root of "Strategic"

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Jake1992 » 22 Sep 2018, 16:51

mr.fred wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:I understand what he's getting at it is not the MODs job to keep strategic uk bussiness in profit

Consider, if you will, the root of "Strategic"


Are you saying it is the MODs job to keep these bussiness and industries in bussiness and in turn in profit and of no responsability of any other departments such as DTI ?

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 22 Sep 2018, 17:02

Am I saying that the MoD should consider the strategic implications of where it buys its equipment from? Yes.

Are you saying that they shouldn't?

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Jake1992 » 22 Sep 2018, 17:10

mr.fred wrote:Am I saying that the MoD should consider the strategic implications of where it buys its equipment from? Yes.

Are you saying that they shouldn't?


No that's exactly what I am getting at if you refer back to my orginal comment, purchasing from the UK giving a strategic benafit to the MOD and UK as a whole, as this mean these industries will keep going and skills kept in the country thuse reducing our dependence on allied ( for now ) nations in the long run.

But I firmly believe this is not only the responsability of the MOD, due the the fact that they are being so under funded this is where other departments such as DTI need to step in ( as is there responsability )

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 22 Sep 2018, 17:59

Jake1992 wrote:But I firmly believe this is not only the responsability of the MOD

The "not only" is important. It is the responsibility of the MoD, and it would be reasonable for the MoD to negotiate with the DTI on a joint benefit solution, rather than slamming down an ultimatum prior to storming off in a huff. Similarly, maintenance and improvement of UK trade and industry base is the purview of the DTI and it would be sensible for the DTI to negotiate with the MoD on this front.

I would be wary of allowing either one to dictate terms to the other, as you'll risk soldiers dictating commercial terms and merchants dictating military ones, when such details are beyond the knowledge of the respective sides.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Timmymagic » 22 Sep 2018, 20:01

Gabriele wrote:Holy crap, i hope not. That would be absolutely underwhelming.


Agreed. I can't under stand the love for Caesar. Compared to the Donar on ASCOD/Boxer chassis it really is a weak choice. It strikes me that it's neither fish nor fowl with neither of the advantages of a towed howitzer like M777 or a fully enclosed SPG like AS-90 or Donar/Boxer.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 22 Sep 2018, 23:01

mr.fred wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:But I firmly believe this is not only the responsability of the MOD

The "not only" is important. It is the responsibility of the MoD, and it would be reasonable for the MoD to negotiate with the DTI on a joint benefit solution, rather than slamming down an ultimatum prior to storming off in a huff. Similarly, maintenance and improvement of UK trade and industry base is the purview of the DTI and it would be sensible for the DTI to negotiate with the MoD on this front.

I would be wary of allowing either one to dictate terms to the other, as you'll risk soldiers dictating commercial terms and merchants dictating military ones, when such details are beyond the knowledge of the respective sides.


We have obviously got our wires crossed somewhere as I think we agree on more than we disagree on. I never meant to infer that the MoD should not look to purchase equipment from UK based companies, what I object to is when for example the cost for setting up an assembly line are included in the development contract for which the MoD has to fund. It is the DTI's role to encourage new investment and sustain existing capacity so it should be a joint effort with the MoD funding the design and assessment with the DTI funding the establishment of any assembly/manufacturing facilities. The fly in the ointment is that with funding so tight the MoD must be pragmatic about where it purchases equipment from. If it can purchase a platform 30% cheaper form abroad off the shelf compared to the cost of having a UK company design and manufacture a similar platform it should not have to automatically disregard the overseas bid simply to maintain UK jobs etc. Again there needs to be joined up thinking with other departments being consulted to see if they can help off set the additional costs. If they can they great but if they cannot then the MoD should be entitled to go overseas. However being joined up is not a strength of either the Government or the Civil Service.

Finally as I mentioned earlier all Governmental Departments start any contractual negotiations from a weak position as the cannot include what most would see as Penalty Clauses in their contract. Instead companies are given a carrot to bring any project in on time and budget rather than a stick for not going so. Having spent over a decade in MoD procurement I have first hand experience. I discovered an error in the calculations used by a contract or to calculate the amount of spares we needed to buy to support a repair programme. We had overspent by £500k a year for three years. Even though the blame rested firmly with the company we were only able to reclaim 35% back and the majority of this was in credit for future orders and that was the best we could have hoped for based on the contract we held with that company. The MoD is out gunned by industry in the commercial area simple as that. Things have got better since I left I have heard, and the gap between selection of the Boxer and the award of a production contract so the details can be fully worked out is one improvement.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Sep 2018, 06:12

Lord Jim wrote:The MoD is out gunned by industry in the commercial area simple as that. Things have got better since I left I have heard, and the gap between selection of the Boxer and the award of a production contract so the details can be fully worked out is one improvement.

The nature of the "products" they are buying leads to a lot of single contracting... so there is no competition, by definition.

The MoD knew the ins and outs of the prgrm thy had been initiating at the beginning and could negotiate properly
- pls note that they ( as a smoke screen?) opened up the prgrm for competition... clever as even we here believed that

However, I disagree strongly with your lead-in to that long paragraph: all Gvmnt depts...

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 23 Sep 2018, 13:24

Lord Jim wrote:We have obviously got our wires crossed somewhere as I think we agree on more than we disagree on.

It's entirely possible that it isn't what you're trying to say but the way that you say it that I object to.
Lord Jim wrote:I never meant to infer that the MoD should not look to purchase equipment from UK based companies, what I object to is when for example the cost for setting up an assembly line are included in the development contract for which the MoD has to fund.

But the MoD has to consider security of supply, and whose choice is it to bring production on-shore? (also the term is imply. Inferring is what I'm doing)

Lord Jim wrote:The fly in the ointment is that with funding so tight the MoD must be pragmatic about where it purchases equipment from. If it can purchase a platform 30% cheaper form abroad off the shelf compared to the cost of having a UK company design and manufacture a similar platform it should not have to automatically disregard the overseas bid simply to maintain UK jobs etc.

There seems to be an ongoing assumption that a) British Industry is always more expensive and that b) this is all Industry's fault. I don't think it unreasonable to consider, in a competition, the effect of local production, design etc. on the overall cost to government. The overall picture should be considered in any government procurement/divestiture, or anything at all, really.

Lord Jim wrote:Finally as I mentioned earlier all Governmental Departments start any contractual negotiations from a weak position as the cannot include what most would see as Penalty Clauses in their contract. Instead companies are given a carrot to bring any project in on time and budget rather than a stick for not going so. Having spent over a decade in MoD procurement I have first hand experience.

So what is the difference between giving money for bringing something in to time and budget and taking money away for lateness, other than the frame of reference? If the base contract is £9 and you get £1 bonus for being on time, how is that different from the contract being £10 and you lose £1 for being late? Apart from lawyers fees?

Overall, you set up an adversarial tone for dealing between MoD and Industry, which I don't believe would be helpful, especially as you yourself note:
Lord Jim wrote:The MoD is out gunned by industry in the commercial area simple as that.

Do you think that they'd do any better dealing with foreign industry and/or with very adversarial conditions?

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Sep 2018, 15:28

If we take AFVs for example. We want a new MBT. A british company bids for the contract but has to modify an existing design and totally revamp and expand its production line to manufacture the platform in the UK, and has those costs as part of its bid. An overseas company also bids and has a platform that meets all the UK's requirements already in production and after the cost of adding UK specific equipment is able to deliver the MoD a saving of 20% including a support package. So both platforms are equal in performance and support costs but the MoD would save 20% buying overseas. Which should the MoD buy?

I know that being UK manufactured doesn't automatically mean that an item is more expensive but it is usually the case as we have little manufacturing capability left in the UK, remember the Ajax plant is for the assembly of components manufactured elsewhere. If we still had to manufacturing capacity we had then the playing field would be simpler but using MoD procurement and support contracts to reduce the welfare bill or allow companies to build manufacturing plants from scratch seems idiotic when out military is so underfunded.

Do we know who paid for the plant in Wales that will assemble the Ajax? If it was the UK Government, which Department(s) were involved. If it was spred accross a number of interested parties then I have no problem, but if the set up costs were borne totally by the MoD as part of the contract I am not. If the cost is spred acroos various governemtn departments the total cost to the Government remains the same, but it has less impact of the MoD's finances and that is my key issue. Again I am not saying we should not by British but that if it costs more to do so the MoD should not shoulder the premium and that other Departments must play their relevant parts.

As for how the carrot and stick approach works well at present on a £10 contract a company will get £10 if simply delivered even if late, £11 if delivered on time. There is no real penalty for going over budget or delivering late.

The UK's procurement woes are not all down to industry, the MoD and Government do not help themselves, but that is a seperate arguement.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Jake1992 » 23 Sep 2018, 15:54

Lord Jim wrote:If we take AFVs for example. We want a new MBT. A british company bids for the contract but has to modify an existing design and totally revamp and expand its production line to manufacture the platform in the UK, and has those costs as part of its bid. An overseas company also bids and has a platform that meets all the UK's requirements already in production and after the cost of adding UK specific equipment is able to deliver the MoD a saving of 20% including a support package. So both platforms are equal in performance and support costs but the MoD would save 20% buying overseas. Which should the MoD buy?.


This is where departments like the DTI should come in and say to the MOD go for the British design and build and we'll cover the 20% difference.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 23 Sep 2018, 16:25

Lord Jim wrote:If we take AFVs for example. We want a new MBT. A british company bids for the contract but has to modify an existing design and totally revamp and expand its production line to manufacture the platform in the UK, and has those costs as part of its bid. An overseas company also bids and has a platform that meets all the UK's requirements already in production and after the cost of adding UK specific equipment is able to deliver the MoD a saving of 20% including a support package. So both platforms are equal in performance and support costs but the MoD would save 20% buying overseas. Which should the MoD buy?

If the foreign supplier meets all of the MoD's requirements, and the MoD picked up the right requirements, then the foreign supplier. However, the example shows your bias. You always assume that the UK bid is inferior and more expensive and that you can clearly and easily compare them directly. In the real world that is rarely the case and you may have to factor in the costs of altering contracts, meetings between supplier and customer, differences in culture and a bundle of other things that are not set out in the requirements.

Lord Jim wrote:I know that being UK manufactured doesn't automatically mean that an item is more expensive but it is usually the case as we have little manufacturing capability left in the UK, remember the Ajax plant is for the assembly of components manufactured elsewhere. If we still had to manufacturing capacity we had then the playing field would be simpler but using MoD procurement and support contracts to reduce the welfare bill or allow companies to build manufacturing plants from scratch seems idiotic when out military is so underfunded.

We've got heaps, but we don't support it like other countries do.

Lord Jim wrote:Do we know who paid for the plant in Wales that will assemble the Ajax? If it was the UK Government, which Department(s) were involved. If it was spred accross a number of interested parties then I have no problem, but if the set up costs were borne totally by the MoD as part of the contract I am not. If the cost is spred acroos various governemtn departments the total cost to the Government remains the same, but it has less impact of the MoD's finances and that is my key issue. Again I am not saying we should not by British but that if it costs more to do so the MoD should not shoulder the premium and that other Departments must play their relevant parts.

Do we know who demanded it?

Lord Jim wrote:As for how the carrot and stick approach works well at present on a £10 contract a company will get £10 if simply delivered even if late, £11 if delivered on time. There is no real penalty for going over budget or delivering late.

Then the problem isn't in the carrot/stick approach, its in the ability to set out a £10 contract. If there is a risk of being stung £1 then the suppliers will account for that and you'll end up paying £11 for a £10 contract. Especially if you set yourself up in an adversarial fashion.

Lord Jim wrote:The UK's procurement woes are not all down to industry, the MoD and Government do not help themselves, but that is a seperate arguement.

I fail to see how or why you should separate that argument.

However. This is going a long way off a wheeled APC (which is Boxer, being made in the UK, by existing British Manufacturing assets). Perhaps a new or existing thread elsewhere on how to fix procurement woes?

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby RunningStrong » 23 Sep 2018, 20:59

mr.fred wrote:However. This is going a long way off a wheeled APC (which is Boxer, being made in the UK, by existing British Manufacturing assets). Perhaps a new or existing thread elsewhere on how to fix procurement woes?

No, it is proposed that it will assembled in the UK, much like AJAX. Hull structure and powertrain imported into UK.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby mr.fred » 23 Sep 2018, 21:06

RunningStrong wrote:No, it is proposed that it will assembled in the UK, much like AJAX. Hull structure and powertrain imported into UK.

If you say so.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Sep 2018, 22:02

Jake1992 wrote:
Lord Jim wrote:If we take AFVs for example. We want a new MBT. A british company bids for the contract but has to modify an existing design and totally revamp and expand its production line to manufacture the platform in the UK, and has those costs as part of its bid. An overseas company also bids and has a platform that meets all the UK's requirements already in production and after the cost of adding UK specific equipment is able to deliver the MoD a saving of 20% including a support package. So both platforms are equal in performance and support costs but the MoD would save 20% buying overseas. Which should the MoD buy?.


This is where departments like the DTI should come in and say to the MOD go for the British design and build and we'll cover the 20% difference.


Exactly. We do not actually manufacture AFVs in this country except for a few very small companies, one of the reasons the Foxhound was so expensive. Both Ajax and Boxer have required the establishment of an assembly plant to meet the UK's requirement for jobs mainly as spares etc will still be imported from the actual manufacturer. How many components of the proposed CR2 upgrades are actually made in the UK? In all these cases there is no security in the supply chain so to speak already. It has been the habit of the MoD to go for equipment that is too bespoke that hurt UK industry as it seriously affected export potential, but also the small quantities produced that has an even greater impact. This drove UK manufacturers to the wall. BAe survived by heavily investing in the US where the bulk of its manufacturing is now located. All of this has caused the majority of UK designed and manufactured equipment to be more expensive that its overseas competitors. For the MoD's part it has started to learn that it needs to compromise in the specifications desired to allow more companies to bid for contracts often with existing platforms rather than bespoke new designs. Here they have the advantage as there are few if any existing UK platforms available. Ajax will probably be the last platform the British Army purchases that is based on a list containing so many UK specific requirements. The way the MIV programme has evolved is a good example where we seem top have chosen an off the shelf design in the form of the Boxer. What I question is that there are already two production lines going in Germany and the Netherlands, why do we need to establish one here. It can be argued that the UK is potentially going to be the largest user of the Boxer and that ARTEC are investing in an assembly plant in the UK to allow for future orders. But is this affecting the price the MoD is going to pay for the Boxer programme or are these costs covered elsewhere. All of this was realise with regard to building Warships and so the NSS was commissioned with debateable results. We need to look at all aspects of out Defence manufacturing capability to see what is economical for the UK to retain. It would make no sense for the UK to establish a manufacturing plant to manufacture MBTs for the British Army Oversea companies are not going to invest as companies like GD already have large European plants so we will have to pay them to set a plant up in the UK. Assembly is a different matter and far less costly. It is far easier to re task an assembly plant to other platforms but this is not the MoD's purview but rather the DTI's. There is potential as I have mentioned with Boxer, as the possible scale of the UK's order could lead to all assembly of the platform moving to the UK once orders from Germany and the Netherlands have been met, with component manufacture remaining in these countries. This is Why ARTEC may have agreed to foot the bill for the plant. But it will depend on the size of the UK order.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby SW1 » 23 Sep 2018, 22:41

What if you need a urgent mod done for some future operational threatre or wish to integrate some future uk developed weapon or sensor. As we’re possibly finding out with other programs it may come as a shock to many when the answer comes back wait your turn our own forces take priority. The value of sovereign capability long term can often be overlooked for the up front cost.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 24 Sep 2018, 02:53

There is merit in that but it depends on the type of platform and how complicated it is. With AFVs and in particular the Germans, all their AFVs come with a support package and warranty that would put most luxury car makers to shame. If we stick to Boxer here then the facility being built to assemble them sill be more than capable of both supporting and upgrading them at a future date and possibly those of other users as well, but the facility is mainly being paid for by the company from what I have been able to gather or will be as this is one of the points being negotiated at present. We need to ignore the issues that have arisen with the F-35 programme, I do not think we shall see its like again. The delays that have occurred have made the integrating of US systems the top priority with everyone else as pointed out having to wait in line. Saying that improvements as they appear will be able to be integrate in a step by step approach rather than the large, complicated and expensive upgrade programmes the UK has carried out in the past like the Tornado GR4 programme. If something is really urgent then the UOR cheque book comes out and it is amazing how fast a company will carry out work for the right price.

At the heart of thing we have retain sovereign ,manufacturing capability in aerospace, warships and complicated weapons but have already lost it with everything else from AFVs to ammunition to small arms. We cannot try to rebuild these capabilities on the back of the MoD's procurement budget, we can however have other departments use their budget, intended for such cases to fund at least a foundation.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby RunningStrong » 24 Sep 2018, 12:55

Lord Jim wrote:If we stick to Boxer here then the facility being built to assemble them sill be more than capable of both supporting and upgrading them at a future date and possibly those of other users as well, but the facility is mainly being paid for by the company from what I have been able to gather or will be as this is one of the points being negotiated at present.

The facility will stay open as long as there is work. If MOD leaves a big gap in between production and support/upgrade/overhaul then the facility will be mothballed.

But MOD will have to compete all those phases so there's always a chance the work will go elsewhere.

Whilst it is great for UK capability to have a MIV production/support facility, the question will.be is there enough work to sustain it alongside the AJAX General Dynamics facility in South Wales.

Lord Jim wrote:If something is really urgent then the UOR cheque book comes out and it is amazing how fast a company will carry out work for the right price. .

Whilst that is a part of it (overtime and contractors are expensive), the UOR requirements are also significantly less burdensome than a normal programme.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby RunningStrong » 24 Sep 2018, 12:57

Genuine MIV question, is there an existing Recovery and Repair variant?

It was suggested that these variants would be included in the proposal but a quick look and I couldn't find any sign they already existed. Does that mean bespoke UK design?

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Lord Jim » 24 Sep 2018, 13:39

I am pretty sure there are designs for those and more variants besides those already in production. It usually only needs a new module designing when a new variant is requested, one of the joys of Boxer. I posted a video a while back showing how simple and easy it was to swap out modules, requiring very little kit and it can be done in the field if needed. In addition to changing roles you can replace damaged modules just as easily but whether a trailer exists to bring them forward to be swapped on the front line I do not know, but forward maintenance depots would not have any issues.

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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby Gabriele » 24 Sep 2018, 14:23

There are no established Recovery and Repair variants for Boxer as of yet. There might be ideas, even "designs" (there are various levels of design maturity, however, and that would be a long discussion), but nobody has yet procured any recovery or repair variant.

According to some reports, saids variants are NOT included in the british order either; another interpretation is that there will be a single "equipment support" variant combining the two. I tend to believe in this second interpretation. We do not yet have an official explanation of what the "four variants" are meant to be, nor how many sub-variants will be included.
For example, according to at least one report i read, apart from APC, Command and Ambulance, the 4th variant would be Mortar Carrier. I think it more likely that the 4th variant will be "equipment support", with Mortar being an APC sub-variant with a turntable and an 81mm mortar, underwhelming as that is.

Francis Tusa for one has claimed that in an effort to save money, REME variants of even Ajax were offered up for cancellation at one point...
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Re: British Army Future Wheeled APC

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 24 Sep 2018, 15:12

apart from APC, Command and Ambulance, the 4th variant would be Mortar Carrier. I think it more likely that the 4th variant will be "equipment support", with Mortar being an APC sub-variant with a turntable and an 81mm morta


You can also read this as
1. Command and Ambulance= high roof = 1 variant
2. APC
3. Mortar carrier (even if the same, with open/ opening roof)
4. the specialised version (still not in existence)


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