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FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
abc123
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby abc123 » 22 Apr 2019, 10:02

Lord Jim wrote:My comment was meant somewhat sarcastically as I wouldn't put it past our Government to follow Belgium amongst others and decide that we no longer need Heavy formations and the future is that of Medium ones based around the Boxer and Ajax, the result all the Challengers are retired. So retaining two Regiments worth is a positive in my book.


The only problem with that logic is that the UK isn't Belgium.

On the other hand, considering that both countries are in permanent danger of breaking-up, maybe they do have some similarities...
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 22 Apr 2019, 10:40

TD has done some very good essays on where the Army should concentrate its resources on moving forward. He points out, as have some on here that the UK cannot afford to do both heavy and medium formations and have then both be combat effective. His suggestion is to move down the Medium route whilst retain a number of Armoured Regiments to support these medium formations as and when required.

As plans stand we are going to end up with two weak Armoured Infantry Brigades with only two Infantry Battalions and no integral recce, and two "Strike" Brigades that lack the fire power to effectively conduct high intensity warfare and by having both tracked and wheeled platforms negate many of the advantages of the latter.

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

Postby Caribbean » 22 Apr 2019, 11:20

Lord Jim wrote: no integral recce,

Why do you say that? There are sufficient Ajax on order to cover all the current CVR(T) roles, including both the three Armoured Cavalry regiments and the integral recce sections in all the Armoured and Armoured infantry battalions.
Since we are dropping to two Armoured Brigades (hardly a surprise, it's been known that this is coming since the Strike Brigades were announced), there will be a surplus, which is being re-allocated (for good or for bad) to the Strike Brigades. Between them, the two armoured brigades will need around 128 turreted Ajax to provide 2 x Armoured Cavalry regiments and 6 x 8 recce sections.
There are sufficient turreted Ajax planned (245) to form two additional Armoured Cavalry regiments (2 x 40 turreted Ajax) and provide integral recce sections for each of the four mechanised infantry (Strike) battalions (4 x 8 turreted Ajax). Total 112 turreted Ajax.
That's a total of 240 turreted Ajax (and I'm assuming that all the CVR(T) in the recce sections and in the armoured cavalry regimental HQ are Scimitar, which is not actually the case)
The only really new part of the latest announcement is that the C2 upgrade is going ahead and that the reserve Armoured regiment will be cut, rather than expanded, as was announced only a few months ago.
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 22 Apr 2019, 11:26

Caribbean wrote:Between them, the two armoured brigades will need around 128 turreted Ajax to provide 2 x Armoured Cavalry regiments and 6 x 8 recce sections.
There are sufficient turreted Ajax planned (245) to form two additional Armoured Cavalry regiments (2 x 40 turreted Ajax) and provide integral recce sections for each of the four mechanised infantry (Strike) battalions (4 x 8 turreted Ajax). Total 112 turreted Ajax.
That's a total of 240 turreted Ajax

From somewhere, in that calculation, the AJaxes for 'fire support' in Strike Bdes will be pulled.
- I've lost track long ago (are there still such things as 'formation strengths'?)

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

Postby Lord Jim » 22 Apr 2019, 11:39

From what I can find, there are no plans to include a Recce Regiment in the Armoured Infantry Brigades. On order are 198 Recce Ajax out of a total of 245 turreted version the remainder being Joint Fires and Ground Surveillance, not quite sure what the last is though. To equip the four Regiments that will be part of the two "Strike" Brigades with take a minimum of 166 of the Recce versions alone, with each regiments having three squadrons of 13. That leave less than 30 for training (BATUS) and fleet sustainment. So as you can see unless additional Ajax are orders the AI Brigades will have no Recce Regiment nor will the Armoured, Armoured Infantry or Mechanised Infantry have integral Recce.

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

Postby abc123 » 22 Apr 2019, 11:46

Strike Brigades with Ajax- they should strike at who? Talibans? Russia? China? Houthies? Because, they are overkill for one group, and woefully weak for another...
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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 Caribbean » 22 Apr 2019, 13:40

@LJ - If there are definitely going to be four armoured cavalry regiments in the strike brigades, then I accept your figures and concur that the Armoured Brigades will be without integrated recce. Mea culpa for not keeping up on that. I do still prefer my way of distributing them, however ;).
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Re: FV4034 Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank (British Army)

Postby Lord Jim » 22 Apr 2019, 14:25

I agree, I would like to see the "Strike" Brigades made up of 1 Recce Regiment and 3 Mechanised Infantry Battalions with organic Artillery support, with the two now spare Recce Regiments transferred to the Armoured Infantry Brigades. Still leaves non Recce Units without organic assets though.

These are the sort of issue that could be discussed in the SDSR 2020 thread as the current Army Plans in seem to be high on aspiration and low on substance including the CR2 upgrade.

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

Postby RunningStrong » 22 Apr 2019, 15:50

whitelancer wrote:I wouldn't count your chickens, or tanks in this case. Reducing to just 2 Regiments just makes it easier to bin them completely. You only have to look at what happened to the Harrier to see the way this is going.

Gap'ing the heavy armour capability so that we can ultimately invest a better solution?

It's not a bad idea but comes with obvious risks. It would require significant investment in our anti-tank capability across land and air to even attempt to mitigate.

But if it Ultimately meant that the British Army was equipped with a next generation MBT in 2030 then I think that would be better than a compromised redesign of CR2 crawling into 2040-2045.

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

Postby whitelancer » 22 Apr 2019, 19:28

RunningStrong wrote:Gap'ing the heavy armour capability so that we can ultimately invest a better solution?


I certainly wasn't suggesting that. Recreating a lost capability would be expensive and time consuming. If the heavy Armour capability goes it is unlikely return short of a major war.

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

Postby RunningStrong » 22 Apr 2019, 21:06

whitelancer wrote:
RunningStrong wrote:Gap'ing the heavy armour capability so that we can ultimately invest a better solution?


I certainly wasn't suggesting that. Recreating a lost capability would be expensive and time consuming. If the heavy Armour capability goes it is unlikely return short of a major war.

What were you suggesting?

I'm not sure I agree. We'd still maintain a direct fire capability. We'd keep personnel current by using exchange programmes and continue to expand our simulations capability.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 22 Apr 2019, 23:04

whitelancer wrote: it is unlikely return short of a major war

A short, major war would not see any returns, of anything (not in use, or in climate-controlled storage, may be with some critical parts in "deep grease")

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

Postby whitelancer » 22 Apr 2019, 23:38

All I was pointing out was that reducing the number of MBTs and Armoured Regiments makes it easier to dispense with the capability entirely. Whether this happens we will have to wait and see. What I am sure of is that their will be those that are asking whether the costs of maintaining just two Armoured Regiments is justified and couldn't that money be better spent on improving capabilities in other areas. For instance concentrating on medium forces.
ArmChairCivvy wrote:
whitelancer wrote: it is unlikely return short of a major war

A short, major war would not see any returns, of anything (not in use, or in climate-controlled storage, may be with some critical parts in "deep grease")

You misunderstood me I meant the capability wouldn't be resurrected short of a major war. Not a short, major war. If the capability disappears the hardware wont last very long going by recent history. So we would have to start from scratch which is unlikely without a considerable incentive i.e. a major war.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 23 Apr 2019, 05:32

whitelancer wrote:You misunderstood me I meant the capability wouldn't be resurrected short of a major war. Not a short, major war.


I tried to point out, without using such words, that your premise is wrong: we should not be working "off" the infamous ten-year rule.
- I guess neither of us is trying to recommend a holiday, anyway
- time available for 'regeneration' will be severely restricted, regardless

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 23 Apr 2019, 08:34

The talk of "how many we need to fit X amount of regiments" is, to me, an irrelevant point anyway.

Having "as many as you need to equip" is a recipe for absolute disaster. Because it means there's no robust backlog for breakdowns, battlefield casualties, or other losses of MBTs.

When your tank groups persistently get weaker and weaker because they can't replace losses from stocks, that constitutes a major key weakness. That's what these cuts sound like they'll be doing.

And there will be losses to tanks in heavy war. The impression of NATO tank invulnerability to everything is one of the most dangerous misconceptions out there right now.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 23 Apr 2019, 13:40

Lack of depth/capacity/mass whatever you want to call it is one of the key weaknesses in out Armed Forces. The Defence Select Committee had a very interesting debate about this subject, and it has been raised elsewhere. However, going back to the 1990s or even earlier have kit that was no tin use has been seen as a waste of public money and hard to justify. This applied to the amount of washers held at depot to the number of complex platforms in storage.

In the 1990s the MoD and the RAF in particular tries to run their consumable spares programme on a "Just in time" principal like that carried out by supermarkets. It must have seen as a sure fire way to save on the amount of spares the service bought and had on the shelf. This was linked to a planned all singing and dancing IT system called LITS which also pulled engineering data so that it could predict when a repairable item would wear out and need replacing. Sounds great on paper.

So the MoD being the MoD, and years before LITS saw the light of day, all consumables stocks were reduced to two months usage form what was previously four to six months. Almost immediate problems arose and the lack of simple items like nuts and bolts caused hold up in repairing more complicated items affecting the replacement of major components and in my case the availability of aircraft engines. Those at the top were persuaded that consumption with the RAF was not the same as that experienced by a super market and after almost a year we were able to stabilise our holdings at around four months. IT took a further eighteen months to undo the damage higher up the supply chain.

Bean Counters see stuff not being used, and especially under the RAB accounting systems they see it as a capital asset that is a negative in the ledgers. The post Cold War mentality that we will never have to fight a major war without warning has led many to believe we can make up any shortfall through the expedient use of UORs. But look at the mess we got into at the start of GW2 where the Government left it too late to place the UORs and the kit didn't get to the troop sin time, even though they had know what was going to happen for a considerable time.

Things get worse with complex platforms like Warships, Planes of Armoured Fighting Vehicles. The Politicians are happy to be part of a PR shoot in front of the latest high tech piece of equipment being introduced to the Military. They repeatedly state have much more effective the new is verses the old and how the new can do the job of many that are being replaced. All of this fail absolutely to take into account that in war machine are destroyed. Simple example, what shape would the RN be in is it suffered the same losses it suffered during the Falklands war. That would be the equivalent of two T-45, two T23/26 and two Bay class sunk and another T-45 seriously damaged. In addition many of the remaining vessels have suffered some form of damage.

Until the Government realises that the level of spending, together with the amount of equipment and personnel required by the military to actually fight a high intensity war at short notice are far greater than the 2% of GDP they are so proud of, if a major war breaks out we will probably get there late and if out forces survive contact will run out of spares, replacement platforms and personnel without achieving any major impact, due to the small size of the force we had in the first place.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 23 Apr 2019, 14:14

In short, yes.

You come with what you have these days. Peer Warfare is too fast, too brutal, and too quickly decided to start a years long rebuild.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 24 Apr 2019, 08:11

Lord Jim wrote: The post Cold War mentality that we will never have to fight a major war without warning has led many to believe we can make up any shortfall through the expedient use of UORs
Yep, would only work for enduring stabilisation ops... I have a hunch that they are not the flavour of the day, and have gone drastically lower in the priorities for planning
Lord Jim wrote: what shape would the RN be in is it suffered the same losses it suffered during the Falklands war. That would be the equivalent of two T-45, two T23/26 and two Bay class sunk and another T-45 seriously damaged. In addition many of the remaining vessels have suffered some form of damage.
Great example: the MTF would have to use the fixed wing assets for defending itself and would cease to be able to project power, except through minor amph. ops (1-2 bns; about enough for a large scale NEO).
Lord Jim wrote:without achieving any major impact, due to the small size of the force we had in the first place.
Back to the 'speed bump' role then. Not just a reference to ending conscription and becoming the European standing army, key to the 'fighting retreat' in Germany, but in WW2 (in the Grand Alliance volume) Churchill attributes the 5 wk delay in the Balkans with ' It is reasonable to believe that Moscow was saved thereby'. I don't think it made it to the main text in full length but he refers to A. Eden (from Athens) first engineering the Yugoslav 'revolution' - coup, rather - and then exhorting giving up the victory over the Italians in N.Africa by sending the bulk of the force just about to complete that to Greece... only to face a quick rout; and a 'fighting retreat' through Crete!

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

Postby The Armchair Soldier » 26 Apr 2019, 15:56

Image
Made a GIF out of the Rheinmetall CR2 upgrade clips featured in this video.

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

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 27 Apr 2019, 01:36

Great :clap:
What do folks here say about the provenance as for the turret?

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

Postby Lord Jim » 27 Apr 2019, 02:15

We need that gun be it in L44 or L55 guise. The CHARM is a dead end now and no matter how good the FCS it is going to fall further behind the protection levels of the opposition, unless we only intend to engage in conflict against lower tier opponents and leave tougher opposition to our allies.

There are no "Ifs" or "Buts" about this, if we want to stay in the heavy Armour gain this is a compulsory purchase. Even the existing FCS can at least hit things most of the time, but can the CHARM still effectively penetrate the latest MBTs?

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

Postby abc123 » 28 Apr 2019, 14:05

Lord Jim wrote:Until the Government realises that the level of spending, together with the amount of equipment and personnel required by the military to actually fight a high intensity war at short notice are far greater than the 2% of GDP they are so proud of, if a major war breaks out we will probably get there late and if out forces survive contact will run out of spares, replacement platforms and personnel without achieving any major impact, due to the small size of the force we had in the first place.


Well, that's allready so, when was the last ( major or minor ) war where UK AF made a significant ( meaning that the task couldn't be done without them ) contribution? Falklands? And even there US and even French support was allmost vital.
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 mr.fred » 28 Apr 2019, 15:33

abc123 wrote:Well, that's allready so, when was the last ( major or minor ) war where UK AF made a significant ( meaning that the task couldn't be done without them ) contribution? Falklands? And even there US and even French support was allmost vital.

Sierra Leone (Operation Palliser)
Mali (Operation Serval - providing airlift without which the the operation could not have proceeded as it did)
Operations in the Balkans: Resolute, Grapple and Elgin
Of course you could argue definitions such that none of these count.

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

Postby RetroSicotte » 29 Apr 2019, 10:10

Lord Jim wrote:but can the CHARM still effectively penetrate the latest MBTs?

Unfortunately no. At best it can function against Kontakt-5, since K5 was L27's goal to beat from the T-80U the UK acquired to study.

But there is a pretty easy scaling one can identify.

M829A2 was identified as being inadequate against Relikt by the US. M829A2 is effectively the same size/weight as the DM53/63. Similar properties.

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. A dart cannot penetrate composite greater than its own length in terms of RHAe, that's just physics.

One can argue "Oh it still could kill it if it hits here or here" but the point is about reliable, combat range kills, frontally if required that would constrain operations if it cannot achieve. The US is moving to M829A4 to counter this. The Germans/French...not so much on the Leopard/Leclerc at the moment.

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.

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

Postby Lord Jim » 29 Apr 2019, 13:32

That was what I thought and why I believe that replacing the gun on the CR2 should be the priority before anything else. IF that means a heavily modernised turret then so be it even if we have to retain the existing FCS. As I said earlier, you can have the finest FCS in the world, but if you cannot kill what you hit there is little point.


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