Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
mr.fred
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by mr.fred »

I guess the real issue with an IFV-based SPG is the question: “Why not use a tank”, especially when IFVs are getting heavier and protection arrays tend to be modular, so you could strip a tank to a lighter weight.

RunningStrong
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

mr.fred wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 15:56 I guess the real issue with an IFV-based SPG is the question: “Why not use a tank”, especially when IFVs are getting heavier and protection arrays tend to be modular, so you could strip a tank to a lighter weight.
There's also the political issue of "it looks like a tank, it shoots like a tank, it costs a lot less than a tank, why do we need tanks?'.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Ron5 »

mr.fred wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 15:56 I guess the real issue with an IFV-based SPG is the question: “Why not use a tank”, especially when IFVs are getting heavier and protection arrays tend to be modular, so you could strip a tank to a lighter weight.
Possibly:
Cheaper
More mobile
Commonality of support with IFV
Fewer crew
Not enough "real" tanks!

mr.fred
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by mr.fred »

Since the majority of AFV costs are in the electronics these days, I wouldn’t expect an IFV-SPG to be very much cheaper, particularly when making the comparison between having a tank fleet and an IFV-SPG fleet and just having a tank fleet.

If your IFV-SPG uses common components (sights, gun control equipment, etc.) with your tank then that wouldn’t be so bad.

My personal favourite would be IFVs and tanks built as part of a family, but using common components rather than common hulls. With modular armour the IFV-SPG/ light tank would basically be an MBT with either less or lighter armour.

sol
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by sol »

IMO having more vehicles to support infantry is never a bad idea, and MGS is not exactly replacement for a "real" tank. Number of countries have similar systems, either tracked or wheeled, like Italy (Centauro 2), Japan (Type 16), Russia (Sprut-SD) ... even USA, although retiring Stryker MGS, is in process of acquiring a new tracked MGS for their Infantry and Stryker brigades. But question is does British Army need such vehicles considering their organisation and, if they do, could they afford it. Sure they could probably find some role for it, but I don't think British Army could afford it and even if they could there are much better things to spend that money like equipping Boxers with remote turret to give them greater punch.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

Affordability seems to be the real issue for the British Army. It barely seems to have the funding for its existing programmes, or if it has the funds it doesn't know what to spend them on. It is also dithering on whether to spend money on short, medium or long term programmes, and many programmes ae kept in the assessment and developmental phases far longer than really necessary as there isn't the funding to begin manufacture.

There was a requirement for a version of Ajax with whether a 105mm or 120mm gun, but that was dropped along with the other members of the family that should have been phase 3. If the Army had pursued all the original versions of the Ajax, the Regiments so equipped would be pretty well balanced and capable formations, unlike those actually being formed. My opinion is that the Ajax Regiments need a long range missile platform/capability, and this should have the highest priority. One of the weapons that could be used is already in service in the form of the Extractor Mk2. Ideally those that we have should be moved from the Artillery to the first Ajax Regiments as an interim solution. We should then look at a version of Ajax that integrates the weapon.

The current and planned organisation of units seems to be mainly based on financial issues. Regiments/Battalions no longer have the integral capabilities they used to have, instead many of these are combined into their own units. This si great for peacetime as it does produce some cost savings, but it must affect the ability of these units to operate with those they are attached to due to lack of training with said units. An Armoured Regiments at one stage had both integral Recce (Scorpion) and ATGWs (FV438/Swingfire). Today they still have the former but will lose them when the Scimitars are retired as there appear to be no plans to have Recce Troops in Armoured Regiments when ajax enters service.

If we are to, in future, operate units as smaller units dispersed over larger areas, these units need to contain all the capabilities needed to make them balanced, viable units. To meet that means that the Ajax Recce Regiments need integral long range anti-tank, air defence, combat engineering, ISTAR and logistics. The same would also apply to the planned Mechanised infantry Regiments and to a certain extent the Armoured Regiments. At the very least each Combat Team should have units with these capabilities as integral parts. At present our doctrine and unit structure do not match up.

sol
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by sol »

Lord Jim wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 19:01 An Armoured Regiments at one stage had both integral Recce (Scorpion) and ATGWs (FV438/Swingfire). Today they still have the former but will lose them when the Scimitars are retired as there appear to be no plans to have Recce Troops in Armoured Regiments when ajax enters service.
Yes but under new structure, both ABCTs have their own recce regiments. Previously that wasn't a case and recce regiments were usually at divisional level. Sure it would be nice if armoured regiments could retain their recce troop but considering that British Army will have 4 recce regiments and only 2 armoured that is not big issue.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

But the ABCTs are going to lack many of the tools they need to be effective and the Ajax are likely to be used as light armour as much a Recce, such is the lack of fire power in the teams.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Rentaghost »

Lord Jim wrote: 01 Dec 2021, 22:22 But the ABCTs are going to lack many of the tools they need to be effective and the Ajax are likely to be used as light armour as much a Recce, such is the lack of fire power in the teams.
Presumably you would deploy the AJAX regiment in the deep recce BCT as your actual Recce element which likely would leave at least some of the ABCT AJAX free for fire support work alongside the Boxers/mech infantry.

I agree that there needs to be a long range missile platform intrinsic to the deep recce role. My preference would be Brimstone (or even a Land based Spear if you wanted even more range) but the 4 missiles on a GD Ajax platform was uninspiring.

Surely for the so called deep battle you want to be able to quickly swarm any concentrated elements you detect and to have a scaleable response to any disaggregated forces. So Brimstone seems perfect for that, but you'd want to have it available in the dozens, not 4 launching bins on an Ajax. There was concept art of a large number of Brimstones on a Boxer module - could Ajax be adapted as well?

Personally, I'd have a turret mounted Javelin on the recce Ajax for getting themselves out of trouble, a scaleable, swarming missile system as the first response behind that, and finally the extreme long range MLRS behind that for "grid removal"

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

Update expected next week from David Marsh.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-59584961

sol
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by sol »

Shouldn't Army then wait two weeks for the assessment before they announced the Future Soldier strategy? So either they already knew what the final assessment will be and they were sure that Ajax program will continue or they are hopping for the best. Personally I expect that contract will not be canceled and Army will get their precious Ajax but they will look like idiots if recommendation will be to terminate program.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by BB85 »

If they where scrapping it they would announce it the week after in Christmas day.
I'm more interested to find out what the planned solution is, will GDUK be picking up the bill and when will it be delivered by.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by SW1 »

This will either be the army’s nimrod moment or it will be wrapped up in a land industrial strategy with promises for the future.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Caribbean »

SW1 wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 17:29 This will either be the army’s nimrod moment or it will be wrapped up in a land industrial strategy with promises for the future.
To be fair, we could do with that, complete with heavy, medium and light armour "tracks"
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by ~UNiOnJaCk~ »

I'd be extremely surprised if it were canned now, especially in light of Future Soldier. That's not to say I think retaining it would be the best call at this stage however...

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by wargame_insomniac »

It's scary how much money has been spent on project with seemingly nothing yet tangible acheieved from it. When there are other similar vehicles out there that have been tried and tested, operational with various armies and some even tested in combat.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

wargame_insomniac wrote: 11 Dec 2021, 19:15 It's scary how much money has been spent on project with seemingly nothing yet tangible acheieved from it. When there are other similar vehicles out there that have been tried and tested, operational with various armies and some even tested in combat.
Name one?

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

sol wrote: 10 Dec 2021, 12:27 Shouldn't Army then wait two weeks for the assessment before they announced the Future Soldier strategy? So either they already knew what the final assessment will be and they were sure that Ajax program will continue or they are hopping for the best. Personally I expect that contract will not be canceled and Army will get their precious Ajax but they will look like idiots if recommendation will be to terminate program.
I think it's important not to confuse what is potentially two different bodies here.

Army head-shed have released a plan based on the current equipment plan. To not include AJAX would either be to highlight they no longer need the capability (I believe they do), or to identify alternative equipment not in the plan (cart before the horse on additional boxer?).

Meanwhile, the MoD procurement team are trying to do their best to either save the programme or kill-it without the political loss.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

In my train of thought, if Ajax does go ahead the Army and MoD should work towards a number of things. Primarily is that all vehicles delivered are fit for purpose and also covered by a warranty for X amount of time to cover anything that occurs. If German companies can do the latter so can GDUK. Secondly they need to reassess the roles that Ajax is intended for. I for one think the both the variants and respective number need revision and this is more important than ever as Ajax is the joint key platform for the Army's future.

Firstly I do not think we need an entire Recce Regiment in each of the planned Heavy BCTs, I think they are there for lack of a better place to put them. I would rather see a enhanced Squadron of eighteen vehicles attached to each Armoured Regiment, but replacing one for the four Armoured Squadrons. This would allow the formation in theory of three Armoured Regiments each of three fourteen strong Armoured Squadrons and one eighteen strong Recce Squadron. These would then form the core of three BCTs with the balance of each being three Infantry Battalions mounted in Boxer variants. This in turn would allow the two Recce Regiments in the Deep Strike BCT to gain an additional Squadron as well as additional assets such as a Over Watch Squadron with Ajax equipped with a NLOS type weapon, Extractor being the most likely. An Engineering Squadron containing Ajax AVLBs as well as Terrier CETs and the Ajax Specialist Carrier would also be included. I would like to see some sort of Air Defence also be present, with a gun based system of either 30mm or 35mm and with or without a SAM system attached. The Turret and sensors of whatever was chosen here would also be mounted on a Boxer Mission Module to provide Air Defence for the Infantry units in the previously mentioned Three BCTs.

I strongly believe we need three rather then two BCTs, which can be done without upgrading additional Challengers, to enable a proper readiness cycle to be established. Also with the apparent ghosting of the MRV(P) programme, we will lack the vehicles to effectively motorise the two planned Light BCTs, and the existing pool of Foxhound, Mastiffs and Jackals are only sufficient to really cover those units that are to be forward deployed and a small number of company sized detachments. These vehicles also have to provide assets to the new Ranger Regiment and 16 AA BCT. Therefore having a Heavy BCT always at high readiness that can provide support for any of those commitments above is vital if our land forces are to have any real deterrent value.

For this to truely work though we also need to remove and enhance the 155mm SP Guns from the Deep Strike BCT and increase their number to three Regiments. Reservists could form a portion of each of these Regiment, possible the third Battery, as the whole Regiment would only be required if and when the entire BCT was deployed. The same would apply to the Logistic Support Regiment and other specialist formations.

Increasing the size and capability of the Recce Regiments in the Deep Strike BCT is very important if the formation is going to be autonomous. The majority if the BCTs equipment would be held in storage in either Germany or Poland, the latter option requiring new facilities to be built but financial aid for such work could come from NATO resources. One Recce Regiment would be permanently based at this location, as well as one of the two regular GMLRS Regiments. The remainder of personnel plus sufficient assets to cover training needs would be retained in the UK. At full strength the BCTs would grow to two enlarged Recce Regiments and two regular and one reservist GMLRS Regiments.

So to achieve the above the MoD needs to increase the number of variants of the Ajax delivered under the existing contract. The most complicated would be the AVLB but I think a demonstrator of such a vehicle exists. Any air defence variant would involve fitting a OTS turret from the many that already exist. These are designed where possible to be plug and play by their very nature so that they can be installed on as many platforms as possible. The most important though is the development of a variant that would carry a NLOS weapon system. Currently Extractor Mk2 is trailer mounted. There would be various option for mounting this system onto Ajax each with a varying number of missiles and complexity of installation. A cheaper option might be to retain the trailer and have a Boxer tow it.

The total number of Ajax purchased may end up being less that the contract currently covers. If this enables the additional variants to be developed and purchased within the existing budget all the better. What is clear to me though is that the current composition of teh Ajax programme and contract is not what the Army needs and does not truly fit their future design. The MoD should have some leverage with GDUK, and the additional work that would be carried out in the UK would help with the inevitable PR. WE have ten years to get the shape and form of the Army right, we had better use it wisely!

And so endith the lesson for this week.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by SW1 »

Statement tomorrow but apparently this a flavour of what’s to come


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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by RunningStrong »

Franie having a meltdown is the best Xmas present I could have had. Regardless of the announcement tomorrow, that was absolutely hilarious xD

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by BB85 »

Just asks more questions than answers doesn't it, I doubt we will get any honest answers tomorrow.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by SD67 »

SW1 wrote: 13 Dec 2021, 21:02 Statement tomorrow but apparently this a flavour of what’s to come

Confirms what I’ve always suspected. The army cannot get tough with GDUK because the army IS GDUK. It’s full of ex- service ex-MOD types. Ajax is a 6 billion GBP piece of post service career planning. Now it’s official.

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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by SW1 »


Lord Jim
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Re: Ajax Armoured Vehicles (British Army)

Post by Lord Jim »

Oh well, nothing has changes, no one is being held responsible and it appears the MoD is holding GDUK to its contract, at least for now.

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