Lord Jim wrote: ↑13 Apr 2022, 00:30
The plan seems at present to be the formation of five Mechanised Infantry Battalions, each requiring around 75 Boxers in various forms of which around fifty will need to be the Infantry Carriers. So straight away we need 250 of this variant as a minimum number. Even if all 100 of the additional Boxers that have recently been ordered we will still be short at least sixty five, and if we are using the Infantry Carrier as the basis for a simple 81mm Mortar Carrier Variant, you will need to add a further forty to this number. In short to meet the aims of the British Army with regards to Boxer and if MRV(P) is not brought on line, we are going to be ordering very nearly a repeat of what is already on order.
Money is or in my opinion has to be why the British Army is not taking advantage of he Boxer Platform as well as not providing a number of what I regard as essential capabilities. The main reason for this is the substantial "Bow wave", caused by a serious lack if investment in teh British Army's AFV fleet compounded by the mismanagement of programmes that have both failed to deliver and gone seriously over budget. The Army's most recent failures have been the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme which has now been cancelled and Ajax which seems to be lurching from one crisis to another and is late into service to put it mildly, if it doers at all. Boxer and Challenger 3 are the next major programmes for the Army and these cannot fail. Both have Rheinmetall as a partner in the programme management capacity. This should bode well for these programmes and I hope that over the ten year timeframes for the programmes to deliver what has initially been ordered, additional platforms will be sought.
The need for additional Boxer was mentioned above, but with the Challenger 3, we need at least an attrition reserve. Ideally I would prefer the retention of the third Armoured Regiment even at a reduced scale, say reducing each Squadron to only three instead of four Troops. That would result in a need for 132 Challenger 4s to equip three such Regiments. This would leave 24 as a reserve if all active (168) Challenger 2s were to undergo the modernisation process.
Unfortunately to accomplish anything beyond what was laid out in the Integrated Review is going to need new money as there is little if any slack in the Budgets of all three Armed Services. The only pot of money I can see is the UK's recapitalisation of its CASD trough the Dreadnought programme. This bring up the argument as to whether this is a military or political weapon, as well as is it more akin to a expensive status symbol that a essential national asset. For myself I cannot see any senario where we would use it unilaterally as a result of a UK only operation against a Country that also had nuclear weapons, and in Multilateral operations we will in all likelihood be operating with the US Military, most likely under NATO Command Authority and therefore under the US Nuclear Umbrella. This would serve as the required deterrent in my opinion.
The substantial resources this would free up would probably allow the Royal Navy to build two further Astute class SSNs, possibly to a slightly modified design including an extension similar to the USN's Virginia Payload Module. It could also increase the capability of the T-31 Escorts on order, probably combining these with the planned T-32s to construct a single eight to ten ship class of Escorts that would compliment the T-26.
The Royal Air Force could purchase the additional E-7 and P-8 aircraft many believe it needs as well as enough F-35s to ensure we always have a full airwing available to one of our Carriers and still maintain training levels and a attrition reserve.
The Army would be the biggest beneficiary, gaining the number of Boxers required with the relevant Mission Modules to make the various units that make up its BCTs effective and viable. The Challenger 3 programme could be extended to achieve the increase mentioned above and programmes like the Precision Fires could be accelerated and also expanded. With additional variants of the Boxer many capability gaps could be filled and the financial roadblock that has stalled the MRV(P) programme could also be removed.
I know this is the Boxer thread but the Army needs a major transfusion of new equipment by 2030 at teh very latest and although Boxer will be the core to this it need other platforms to be purchase or reworked, and finally retire many of its AFVs that are well past their due date. IF Ajax also fails a much smaller amount of money could be made available, but it should be enough to allow additional Boxers to be prduced, some with new Mission Modules that would fill some fo the Capability crevasses that have formed within the British Army over the past few decades.
I am sure I have pushed the Detonator here for many so have at it, The Army needs more Boxers and more capabilities to be a viable 21st Century force able to fight at a Peer level. How are we to solve these issues or are we just going to expect the British Soldier to make the best of it even if higher casualties result, possibly.