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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 Caribbean » 24 May 2020, 14:41

The rumours have been that "around 150" C2 will be upgraded. 156 would be enough for 2x Type 56 regular plus one Type 44 Reserve Regiment (though more likely to be spread across reserve and training). Driver training would only need the existing DT vehicles and I suspect that the existing version could be used to cover a great deal of the training requirement, with gunnery being the obvious difference.
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby whitelancer » 24 May 2020, 15:03

The 148 to be up dated are enough for just the 2 Type 56 Regiments, with the balance as Battle Casualty Replacements.

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

Postby J. Tattersall » 01 Jun 2020, 06:26

Yes, but bear in mind drone puff those vehicles will be permanently in BATUS, some in storage in readiness for deployment, some in maintenance etc, meaning that that these will need to be reactivated/ repositioned to provide 2 regiments for deployment.

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

Postby RunningStrong » 01 Jun 2020, 07:25

Caribbean wrote: I suspect that the existing version could be used to cover a great deal of the training requirement, with gunnery being the obvious difference.

How so? If this is a capability upgrade with single piece ammunition, improved STA and digital interfaces then it will be a completely different beast.

I suspect the contract would instead include comprehensive training simulation facilities, akin to what is available on AJAX.

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

Postby Caribbean » 01 Jun 2020, 09:18

I believe there's a tad more to training to operate a tank than firing the gun and learning a new interface. Operating as a unit would be pretty high on the list. Tactics would be in there. Navigation, command skills, standard process and procedures as well. All stuff that could be done in an unmodified vehicle (much of which would need to be innate skills, so you can still function when the pretty, pretty hi-tech gear goes phut at a critical point). Then move on to the simulators (good, but not quite the same as being there) and finally to the "real thing" for advanced training.
Presumably they could also be used as Opfor in training exercises as well.
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 Jun 2020, 09:24

Caribbean wrote: be used as Opfor in training exercises as well.

I like that - would be a moral boost as 'our' forces would always win :) . A bit like in the 'first round' in Kuwait when the MBTs could see further ahead than the CRVTs that were supposed to recce for them

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

Postby abc123 » 01 Jun 2020, 11:16

Why not have 3 smaller regiments of 38 tanks?
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby RunningStrong » 01 Jun 2020, 11:25

Caribbean wrote:I believe there's a tad more to training to operate a tank than firing the gun and learning a new interface. Operating as a unit would be pretty high on the list. Tactics would be in there. Navigation, command skills, standard process and procedures as well. All stuff that could be done in an unmodified vehicle (much of which would need to be innate skills, so you can still function when the pretty, pretty hi-tech gear goes phut at a critical point). Then move on to the simulators (good, but not quite the same as being there) and finally to the "real thing" for advanced training.
Presumably they could also be used as Opfor in training exercises as well.

For better or for worse, most of this is done as a progression from classroom theory, to desktop trainers, to platform simulators and then simulated laser battle.

In between, you have weapons drill trainers for doing Hangfire drills and stoppages. Probably including manual firing too.

There's really no point training on old hardware if the drills and skills are completely different. Even manual firing will be different you're swapping the sights, ammunition and gun system in the upgrade.

Keep the legacy platforms for reservists by all means, but don't think for a moment they can just jump into a upgraded vehicle without significant re training.

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

Postby Caribbean » 01 Jun 2020, 13:08

RunningStrong wrote:Keep the legacy platforms for reservists by all means, but don't think for a moment they can just jump into a upgraded vehicle without significant re training.

...... and yet the rumoured plan appears to be to do precisely that with the reserves. Retain some of the old C2s (with some comms and maybe sight upgrades, rather than wholesale turret replacement), but use the reserves to provide replacement crews (not vehicles) for the regulars, presumably using a combination of the old versions, simulators and a small number of the new version for type-specific training.
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby whitelancer » 01 Jun 2020, 14:57

abc123 wrote:Why not have 3 smaller regiments of 38 tanks?


First, 3 smaller Regiments are less efficient, in terms of manpower and equipment than 2 Regiments. Its just not as simple as dividing every thing by 3 rather than 2. You would need for instance another RHG, as their is very little scope for reducing their size (they will still need to be able to command a BG), additional manpower and equipment will be needed. Note by going to 38 tanks you have increased the overall numbers required by 2. The same would be true in many other areas. Their would be savings, just no where near enough to provide for an additional Regiment.

Second, effectiveness. Sabre troops operate best with 4 MBTs, Sabre Squadrons with 4 Sabre Troops, hence the total of 18 MBTs per Sqn. As for Armoured Regiments 4 Sabre Sqns is optimum. (I would say the same basic structure is true of Infantry Battalions). This makes for very large units not in itself a bad thing, but they have to fit in at higher levels as well. As the same is true of the higher levels, with 4 Manoeuvre Units per Brigade and 4 Brigades per Division being optimum, but you would end up with an enormous and unwieldy Division. In Cold War days that would have meant most of BAOR would have been contained in 1 Division! To get around this compromises need to be made. That usually means going from a 4(square) structure to a 3(triangular) structure, at certain levels. Note the British Army not infrequently swapping between a triangular and square structure at various levels. This works well enough, but a linear structure(based on 2) lacks flexibility and mass. This means taking a Sqn from each Regt and creating a new Regt would not be a sound idea, instead you would have to create 3 Sqns from 2. The best compromise would be to go back to 14 MBTs per Sqn, that however would require another 20 over and above the total for 2 current Regts. Changing the structure at one level effects other levels making it all very complicated.
Finally why would 3 Armoured Regiments be better than 2?

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 01 Jun 2020, 16:21

Caribbean wrote:Retain some of the old C2s (with some comms and maybe sight upgrades, rather than wholesale turret replacement), but use the reserves to provide replacement crews (not vehicles) for the regulars

- they should read these pages,as
whitelancer wrote:a linear structure(based on 2) lacks flexibility and mass

and in 'modern' military thinking I guess the Soviet end-of-WW2 Breakthrough Armies may have had that concept: one exhausted, through it away, and send the second one in
... they only had so many, and as the test run on the Karelian Isthmus didn't go too well, they had to pack up, for those same ones being there in time for "the end of season party" in Berlin

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

Postby abc123 » 02 Jun 2020, 08:07

whitelancer wrote:
abc123 wrote:Why not have 3 smaller regiments of 38 tanks?


First, 3 smaller Regiments are less efficient, in terms of manpower and equipment than 2 Regiments. Its just not as simple as dividing every thing by 3 rather than 2. You would need for instance another RHG, as their is very little scope for reducing their size (they will still need to be able to command a BG), additional manpower and equipment will be needed. Note by going to 38 tanks you have increased the overall numbers required by 2. The same would be true in many other areas. Their would be savings, just no where near enough to provide for an additional Regiment.

Second, effectiveness. Sabre troops operate best with 4 MBTs, Sabre Squadrons with 4 Sabre Troops, hence the total of 18 MBTs per Sqn. As for Armoured Regiments 4 Sabre Sqns is optimum. (I would say the same basic structure is true of Infantry Battalions). This makes for very large units not in itself a bad thing, but they have to fit in at higher levels as well. As the same is true of the higher levels, with 4 Manoeuvre Units per Brigade and 4 Brigades per Division being optimum, but you would end up with an enormous and unwieldy Division. In Cold War days that would have meant most of BAOR would have been contained in 1 Division! To get around this compromises need to be made. That usually means going from a 4(square) structure to a 3(triangular) structure, at certain levels. Note the British Army not infrequently swapping between a triangular and square structure at various levels. This works well enough, but a linear structure(based on 2) lacks flexibility and mass. This means taking a Sqn from each Regt and creating a new Regt would not be a sound idea, instead you would have to create 3 Sqns from 2. The best compromise would be to go back to 14 MBTs per Sqn, that however would require another 20 over and above the total for 2 current Regts. Changing the structure at one level effects other levels making it all very complicated.
Finally why would 3 Armoured Regiments be better than 2?



I think that British Army and it's tank force is in such state that any talk about this or that being the most effective is a moot point. This is fight for survival. When you are drowning, you don't care whether this or that life-jacket is more effective...

And if 3 armoured regiments aren't better than 2, than 2 are not better than 1 or 0.
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

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

Postby RunningStrong » 02 Jun 2020, 08:15

Caribbean wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:Keep the legacy platforms for reservists by all means, but don't think for a moment they can just jump into a upgraded vehicle without significant re training.

...... and yet the rumoured plan appears to be to do precisely that with the reserves. Retain some of the old C2s (with some comms and maybe sight upgrades, rather than wholesale turret replacement), but use the reserves to provide replacement crews (not vehicles) for the regulars, presumably using a combination of the old versions, simulators and a small number of the new version for type-specific training.

Then that sounds parallel to the Royal Artillery use of Light gun reservists to support the AS90 regular army. The basic principals will be known, but it's a completely different training path.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 02 Jun 2020, 09:46

RunningStrong wrote:that sounds parallel to the Royal Artillery use of Light gun reservists to support the AS90 regular army.


While I appreciate the logic, I would think that the probability of use also directs what kit is with reserves, e.g.
101st Regiment Royal Artillery has GMLRS (and another rgmnt close support air defence).
- not forgetting that the RHA with light guns would in many situations be the 'first in'

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

Postby whitelancer » 03 Jun 2020, 12:07

ArmChairCivvy wrote:and in 'modern' military thinking I guess the Soviet end-of-WW2 Breakthrough Armies may have had that concept:

Interestingly the Cold War era Soviet Army used a square structure at Regimental and Division level. All be it 3+1 or 1+3 rather than the 2+2 structure employed by British Army square Brigades. They achieved this by keeping their Battalions comparatively small, (3x3x3 for 31 tanks per Tank Battalion and similar in the Motor Rifle Battalions), and concentrating CS and CSS at Regimental and Divisional level. Overall I think this was a very effective structure in many ways better than the traditional triangular (2+1 or 1+2) found in many NATO armies.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 03 Jun 2020, 13:43

I agree that it alleviates the difficulty of getting the right mix moved to the right point at the right time
... depending on whether the planning for the nature of follow-on operations got it anywhere near 'right' as to 1+3s, or 3+1s

And these break-through, or 'shock', armies I was referring to got transformed into normal armoured formations (the latter were meant to be the means to exploit the concentration created by the former).

In modern terms I guess an MBT is an MBT ,and whether they are covered/protected by heavy IFVs (Puma or T-15, derived from the T-14 Armata chassis... both v expensive) or by infantry in greater numbers but riding in cheaper cabs; we will get to see (as well as how the use of MBTs relates to the concept of Strike)

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

Postby whitelancer » 03 Jun 2020, 14:38

abc123 wrote:I think that British Army and it's tank force is in such state that any talk about this or that being the most effective is a moot point. This is fight for survival. When you are drowning, you don't care whether this or that life-jacket is more effective...

I would suggest its not moot at all. The smaller the force you have the more effective and efficient it needs to be otherwise you risk losing the capability altogether. If the number of Challengers to be updated drops much below the rumoured number of 148 its debatable whether it will be worth having them at all.
abc123 wrote:And if 3 armoured regiments aren't better than 2, than 2 are not better than 1 or 0.

The question was asked, if 3 Regts of 38 Challengers would be better than the soon to be 2 Regmts, that is what I attempted to answer. If you didn't like my answer or think the question was irrelevant that's fine, but justify your position, don't just come out with some meaningless twaddle.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 03 Jun 2020, 14:50

whitelancer wrote:justify your position, don't just come out with some meaningless twaddle


Should be added to the Forum rules ;)
- not aimed at @123... just a general comment

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

Postby abc123 » 03 Jun 2020, 19:01

whitelancer wrote:If the number of Challengers to be updated drops much below the rumoured number of 148 its debatable whether it will be worth having them at all.

If you didn't like my answer or think the question was irrelevant that's fine, but justify your position, don't just come out with some meaningless twaddle.


Well you see, you answered it yourself. I mean, it's all a question what do you want. How many armoured brigades and armoured regiments do you want. If anything else, having 3 of them allows rotation of one somewhere. Better than two.
Of course that in normal circumstances regiment of 56 is better than of 38.
But, would we discuss that if the circumstances are normal? Simply, two regiments makes it easier to turn into one regiment and after that to zero regiments. So, better to keep three of them, even with lesser number of tanks. Less can sometimes be more, but not in this case.
And no, I don't consider British Army as normal army without tanks. What's next? Without guns? Rifles?
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

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

Postby Lord Jim » 03 Jun 2020, 20:40

At present retaining even two Armoured Infantry Brigades that are actually combat effective is still an aspiration not a certainty. AS for unit rotation, well we won't be deploying a whole Regiment anywhere unless we are involved it a Peer conflict and then it won't be a case of rotation but more of replacing if the first becomes combat ineffective. The only rotations we are likely to see are at Troop or Squadron level like we see in the Baltics.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 30 Jun 2020, 21:10

Lord Jim wrote:AS for unit rotation, well we won't be deploying a whole Regiment anywhere unless we are involved it a Peer conflict


Does this mean that our tanks are locked up, until further notice?
"Germany extends COVID-19 lockdown in Gütersloh"

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

Postby Andy-M » 10 Jul 2020, 11:51

New video out today.


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

Postby bobp » 10 Jul 2020, 16:20

Andy-M wrote:New video out today.


Nice now can we have 200 minimum please.

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

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 10 Jul 2020, 16:45

The Challenger 2 LEP was mentioned a few times at the Defence Committee a few days ago (full transcript available here: https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/652/pdf/).

Among the more interesting parts:

General Sir Nick Carter: I think the requirement is now pretty clear, and that is one of the reasons why Challenger 2 is taking a long time. It is because there was this realisation that the programme was not ambitious enough. It needed a smoothbore gun. It needed the ability to put a missile down that barrel to overmatch Armata, as you rightly describe. It needed its protection levels to be significantly enhanced. So the requirement has evolved.

Is this confirmation the LEP will include anti-tank missiles?

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

Postby Ron5 » 10 Jul 2020, 16:59

What the heck is he talking about?

PS Thanks Andy, nice video, gets the blood stirred


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