Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
Ron5
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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Ron5 »

Lord Jim wrote: 30 Nov 2021, 18:48 All we ahve at present is the Challenger 3 programme ....
There is one other live & kicking program that you might remember. Rhymes with Foxa :lol:

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Lord Jim »

Yes of course, how could I forget my favourite programme.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

seaspear wrote: 14 Dec 2021, 00:08 The Morrison government has signed an agreement committing to the Huntsman AS9 artillery this is in addition to a commitment to the purchase of Assegai ammunition
https://militaryleak.com/2020/10/09/ass ... mmunition/
https://militaryleak.com/2021/12/13/han ... howitzers/
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... -artillery
Could this tempt the appetite of British army for a mixed tracked and Boxer/Truck fleet of 155?

Doubt we have the cash...

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Lord Jim »

One thing that may have an impact on what replaces the AS-90 is not just the cost, where wheeled platforms should be cheaper than tracked but also the maintenance and training costs whish will also be less. So we shall see if the Army stays within its comfort zone and buy a tracked platform, or is adventurous and looks seriously at wheeled platforms.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

Lord Jim wrote: 14 Dec 2021, 16:33 One thing that may have an impact on what replaces the AS-90 is not just the cost, where wheeled platforms should be cheaper than tracked but also the maintenance and training costs whish will also be less. So we shall see if the Army stays within its comfort zone and buy a tracked platform, or is adventurous and looks seriously at wheeled platforms.
It's not quite the straightforward. All the wheeled options are auto-loaded to the best of my knowledge, so you have significant maintenance in those areas too.

The Boxer for example has only a 2 person crew. Which means you need to completely reorganise your battery structure. The Germans I believe would operate with 2 crews on each platform, one on platform and the other in reserve for maintenance and relief.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by sol »

RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 11:54 It's not quite the straightforward. All the wheeled options are auto-loaded to the best of my knowledge, so you have significant maintenance in those areas too.

The Boxer for example has only a 2 person crew. Which means you need to completely reorganise your battery structure. The Germans I believe would operate with 2 crews on each platform, one on platform and the other in reserve for maintenance and relief.
Well, the K2 that Hanwha Defense is pitching for UK mobiles fire program should be fitted with a fully automated ammunition loading system. This will reduce crew from 5 to just 3, driver, commander and gunner. Interestingly, K10 ARV also has crew of 3.

Does anyone know is fully automated ammunition loading is one of the requirements for British Army?

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

sol wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 13:12
RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 11:54 It's not quite the straightforward. All the wheeled options are auto-loaded to the best of my knowledge, so you have significant maintenance in those areas too.

The Boxer for example has only a 2 person crew. Which means you need to completely reorganise your battery structure. The Germans I believe would operate with 2 crews on each platform, one on platform and the other in reserve for maintenance and relief.
Well, the K2 that Hanwha Defense is pitching for UK mobiles fire program should be fitted with a fully automated ammunition loading system. This will reduce crew from 5 to just 3, driver, commander and gunner. Interestingly, K10 ARV also has crew of 3.

Does anyone know is fully automated ammunition loading is one of the requirements for British Army?
K2 is an MBT. I've not seen anything that states K9 has a reduced crew variant. I assumed it was an "assisted" autoloader.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by mr.fred »

RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 13:29 I've not seen anything that states K9 has a reduced crew variant. I assumed it was an "assisted" autoloader.
The K9A2 version is a development of the K9A1 - a number of sources note reduced crew from A1 to A2.
https://www.armadainternational.com/202 ... ery-to-uk/
https://www.defenseworld.net/news/29710 ... cH_1y-l3RI
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K9_Thunder#K9A2

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

mr.fred wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 16:26
RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 13:29 I've not seen anything that states K9 has a reduced crew variant. I assumed it was an "assisted" autoloader.
The K9A2 version is a development of the K9A1 - a number of sources note reduced crew from A1 to A2.
https://www.armadainternational.com/202 ... ery-to-uk/
https://www.defenseworld.net/news/29710 ... cH_1y-l3RI
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K9_Thunder#K9A2
Neither of those articles state autoloader or reduced crew.

Both reference the K10 resupply vehicle and the ability to resupply the vehicle using automation (and improvement on a DROPS pallet!).

Only the Seoul Economics article references the development. But that sounds like a research project, not a fielded design.

https://m.sedaily.com/NewsView/1KXSI4SCIA#cb

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by mr.fred »

RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 16:38 Neither of those articles state autoloader or reduced crew.
Wikipedia states 3 crew from 5, the defenseworld.net article notes:
The proposed UK version will be fitted with advanced technologies, such as an unmanned turret,

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by sol »

RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 13:29 K2 is an MBT.
Sorry, mistype
RunningStrong wrote: 21 Dec 2021, 13:29 I've not seen anything that states K9 has a reduced crew variant. I assumed it was an "assisted" autoloader.
I never said there is a K9 with reduced crew just that Hanwha pitches such vehicle to British Army as there are works on such version.
In the near future the K9 Thunder SPH is taking another leap forward in its capability enhancement. Utilizing a fully automated turret instead of semi-automatic ammunition loading system, the K9A2 will be capable of firing nine+ rounds per minute in a stable manner. The number of crew can be reduced from five to three.

A mock-up of the K9A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer put on display at DSEI 2021.

“The K9 capability continues to be evolving in a way to satisfy the demands of the concept of future land warfare,” said Yoon Young-ki, principal engineer involved in the K9A2 development project. “The development of a full-automatic ammunition handling and loading system has been very successful to increase rate of fire to nine from six rounds per minute.”

The K9A2 version is expected to be upgraded further over the next decade to extend its firing-range and rate of fire. In addition, the newer version, or K9A3, will be able to conduct manned/unmanned operations, with a final goal of making the Thunder a fully unmanned artillery based on artificial intelligence technology.

“As the path of growth is based on system evolution, all K9 guns can be upgraded to the latest version,” said Pasi Pasivirta, director of European business development for Hanwha Defense. “This has proved to be an efficient way of fighting obsolescence. All new features will be available for all K9 users.”
https://battle-updates.com/towards-unma ... ver-stops/
Earlier this year, Hanwha Defense formed “Team Thunder” with U.K. suppliers to bid for the British Army’s Mobile Fires Platform program. A request for proposals for the program is expected to be released as early as 2022. Team Thunder includes Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems, Leonardo in the UK, and Canada’s Soucy Defense.

Hanwha Defense is offering the newer K9A2 gun, which is still under development. The K9A2 is to be equipped with a fully automated ammunition loading system capable of firing 9-10 rounds per minute. Other advanced technologies under consideration include composite rubber tracks and mine protection kits.
https://www.defensenews.com/industry/20 ... a-defense/

Same version will be offered to US Army as replacement for M109
Hanwha displayed its K9 155 mm self-propelled howitzer at the conference, which is in service with Korea and other countries. Hanwha has developed an autoloader for the K9, a technology that the Army has struggled with for the ERCA program.

“The story we can tell is look, we’ve got this technology, it’s scalable into what you’ve already got,” he said. “You can put this turret on an existing M109. There would be some modification that’s required, of course.”

It might be possible to integrate some of the howitzer’s automation technology onto an existing M109 platform, Kelly said.
https://insidedefense.com/share/213086

And there are news that in September this year, work on 'High Responsive Cannon' is finished
The actual upgrade of the K9 self-propelled howitzer is the 'K9A2' model, and development is in full swing. The research and development of 'High Responsive Cannon', the core technology of the K9A2, started in 2016 with the Defense Science Research Institute and was successfully completed in September 2021.

The highly reactive artillery technology is to increase the rate of fire per minute by 1.5 times compared to the current (6 rounds per minute) by mounting an automatic turret that can perform ammunition loading 100% automatically.
https://www.nocutnews.co.kr/news/5665581

So it is probably still a long way to go to produce operational vehicle but it is not like British Army is hurrying to replace their AS90 as project is still in concept phase

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/british ... ontinuing/

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Lord Jim »

The idea of an unmanned fully automatic turret and teh resupply vehicle must make this a pretty good candidate to replace the AS90 in order to provide Precision fore support to the Heavy BCTs and the Deep Strike Recce BCT. This is of course assuming the Army is going to play it safe an decide on a tracked platform. However there is still a need to provide fore support to lighter units, replacing the current 105mm Light Gun. For this a tracked platform is really to heavy and requires too large a logistics tail, both of which would impede rapid deployment and manoeuvre in theatre. The same could be said for the M70 GMLRS.

If our Heavy BCTs etc are to operate almost entirely in Europe or Scandinavia then I see no problem with a tracked platform and as the articles show the K9 has proved popular with other NATO and allies nations. If we are to use the Heavy BCTs further afield, they need to be equipped in such a way to minimise their logistical footprint which will already be substantial due to teh Armoured and Recce Regiments.

With the greatly increased range of its planned new tactical rockets, the M270 GMLRS could be seen as acceptable even though is is a tracked platform, but the availability of the HIMARS platform, which could be mounted on teh Army's MAN truck chassis with relative ease should be the preferred option. It is planned to have two regular and one reserve Artillery Regiments equipped with the M270. Instead of upgrading all our existing M270s, a case could be made to equip one regular Regiment with HIMARS, to support out of area deployments, with each battery being able to control a very substantial areas when used in conjunction with UAVs. Of course nothing would stop the HIMARS from being used closer to home but they would give the Army greater flexibility which should outweigh having two platforms. The cheaper training and support costs for the HIMARS should also impact any decision.

And it is the latter that makes me strongly believe that the Army should concentrate on replacing the AS-90 with a wheeled platform. Being more likely to be cheaper to procure and certainly cheaper to operate and train the crews to operate, Having at least one of the three planned Artillery Regiments operating 155mm guns equipped with a wheeled platform, if not all three, should be a serious consideration.

As I said at the beginning if the Army choose a tracked platform then the K9A2 would do the job more than adequately, but I think a tracked platform is the wrong type of vehicle for what is supposed to be a globally focused service, wanting tobe able to cover large areas with fewer troop and reduced logistics.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by sol »

Lord Jim wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 00:57 Having at least one of the three planned Artillery Regiments operating 155mm guns equipped with a wheeled platform, if not all three, should be a serious consideration.
There are only two planned 155mm regiments, 1st RHA and 19th RA. 104th (TA) Regiment is supposed to provide replacement/additional crews for two regular regiments. So they will probably be trained to operate but not be equipped with SPHs, or have similar role as the Royal Wessex Yeomanry is providing for two armoured regiments.

And there should be only one version, either tracked or wheeled, whichever is better suited for the Army
Lord Jim wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 00:57 However there is still a need to provide fore support to lighter units, replacing the current 105mm Light Gun.
I doubt that lighter units that will support 7th LMBCT, 16th AABCT and 3rd Commando, just like 103rd (TA) Regiment that will support 4th BCT, will use 155mm guns and will probably stick with 105mm until sufficient solution to provide its replacement is found
Potential options could include a more mobile 105 mm weapon, 120 mm mortar, or a 5 inch (127 mm) naval weapon. An artist's impression, released by Dstl as an example, showed a mobile 4×4 platform armed with a 105 mm weapon.
https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news ... nt-project

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by BB85 »

If we are going down the wheeled 155mm route to replace AS90 the new HX3 Rheinmetall offering is bound to be the favourite if it completes trials successfully. It has a 60cal barrel and appears to be much better packaged for strategic mobility.
It will be interesting to see if the mod sticks with the 105mm light gun as well but mount it in a mobile chasis like jltv or opt for 120mm motar instead

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

BB85 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 10:22 If we are going down the wheeled 155mm route to replace AS90 the new HX3 Rheinmetall offering is bound to be the favourite if it completes trials successfully. It has a 60cal barrel and appears to be much better packaged for strategic mobility.
It will be interesting to see if the mod sticks with the 105mm light gun as well but mount it in a mobile chasis like jltv or opt for 120mm motar instead
It is F'in huge. It's a 10x10 rigid platform. BOXER option isn't necessarily smaller, but would have better tactical mobility for sure.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by BB85 »

It is big, but I believe it's more compact than Archer despite longer barrel.
Boxer is a more mobile chasis but more expensive so could be a trade off for total units ordered on a fixed budget.
I don't think they plan to go far off the beaten track often as they need to keep moving and quickly to avoid counter battery fire and their position being reported by UAVs. If they can throw shells 70km+ I think wheels is definitely the way to go.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by sol »

BB85 wrote: 22 Dec 2021, 13:52 If they can throw shells 70km+ I think wheels is definitely the way to go.
That is not the only SPH in development that can throw shells 70km+. US XM1299 with 58cal barrel should be able to do it too. And with XM1155 guided projectile which is currently in development it should be able to reach 100-120km. And this shell is planed to achieve IOC around 2025, around the same time as it is planned for XM1299 to get autoloader. Choosing the best or at least good enough solution is not (always) that simple.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by ~UNiOnJaCk~ »

Whatever platform we do choose, only to things seem important to me:

A: Under no circumstances should we entertain a split buy - we need to consolidate on the one platform whatever it may be (though I don't think there is any serious discussion of a split buy actually taking place in the MoD).

B: If current rumours are to be believed about the potential size of the MFP requirement being nearly halved, then such a move must be fought at all costs. It would be unthinkably incoherent, even for an Army now known for the incoherency of its thinking/planning, to halve your mobile fires capability in the current climate (I'd argue that there is never a good time to cut fires capabilities given their historical importance, but I digress).

This is even more the case when you have gone around for the past 6-12 months harping on about how our future is in the deep battle because we've "decided" (i.e. can't/won't afford) to all but leave the close battle game.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

~UNiOnJaCk~ wrote: 23 Dec 2021, 11:45 A: Under no circumstances should we entertain a split buy - we need to consolidate on the one platform whatever it may be (though I don't think there is any serious discussion of a split buy actually taking place in the MoD).
If we're already running MAN trucks (not HX3 10x10 admittedly) and already running BOXER, would there be much harm in running both? I'm not entirely of sure the benefits in doing so, but potentially reduces the impact with host platforms being part of wider fleet.

Would be interesting to know the air deployability of the HX3 compared to the Boxer.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by sol »

RunningStrong wrote: 24 Dec 2021, 11:39 Would be interesting to know the air deployability of the HX3 compared to the Boxer.
HX3 with 155mm gun weighting around 45 tone, compared to 39 tones of Boxer 155mm. So neither of them could be transported by A400M (Boxer maybe could but without ammo or something else) and both would require C-17. Even tho HX-3 is huge, its dimension would not be an issue to fit inside C-17. So there is no difference between two platforms considering air deployability.

But I don't see reason why would Army use two different 155mm platforms, for just two regiments with the same role.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Lord Jim »

The fact that we are/have lost an Artillery Regiment equipped with AS-90s seems to have occurred on the quiet. How the Army is handling its long range fire is a mess from start to finish. There is a lot of talk of precision strike, but at present this will be limited to the two GMLRS Regiments that will be assigned to the Deep Precision Recce Fires BCT or what ever it is called this week. With the current and planned air defences the opposition is equipped with, they will be able to engage a number of rockets targeting their units, just as some members of NATO already can. there has been mention of new shells for whatever 155mm Gin is chosen but what type has not been mentioned nor any quantities.

If our aim os to be able to deploy a heavy BCT and a Light BCT plus have smaller unit deployments as a routine tasking we simply need more artillery and it needs to be more effective. The current plan gives the army a small increase in capability but it loses capacity, so it is going through the same old equation where less new kit replaced older kit and the capacity shrinks again and again. So much for increasing out precision fires capability and capacity.

As for fielding a division, this will now be even more unlikely and certainly not a speedy proposition. UORs wool not be applicable in any peer level conflict, you simple come with what you have got, and if we are to compete let alone deter Russia or China, we need a a number of viable self contained formations as was described inthe Review and not what was delivered in the Command Paper.

Each Heavy and Light BCTs needs a dedicated Artillery Regiments equipped with at least 155mm guns. 16AA is a special case and really should replace its 105mm Guns with 120mm Mortars instead. So that means four Artillery Regiments equipped with 155mm are needed, not the two planned. GMLRS will be concentrated in the other Recce BCT. Two of the Regiments could be equipped with a tracked platform as they would be support he Heavy BCTS whilst to support the Light BCTS we need a more mobile and possibly lighter platform. Tracked platforms are not suitable to support the lighter BCTs, and will greatly hamper their mobility, which is one of their main capabilities of said BCTs. the old 105mm Light Gun is simply not effective enough to support the Light BCTs either, as it will be simply overmatched by the opposition by a considerable margin.

As I said at the beginning, the Army's plans for its Artillery are a mess. They will leave its combat formation without adequate fire support and will not be able to counter the opposition artillery either. Once again the Army simply has not had sufficient resources allocated to it and those it has it has misused and mis spent. The investment is future technologies is important but this has been at the cost of out near term capabilities including the Artillery branch, what has continues to be eroded with only the introduction of a small amounts of new abilities, which are not enough to be effective and therefore viable.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by RunningStrong »

Lord Jim wrote: 24 Dec 2021, 23:43 . 16AA is a special case and really should replace its 105mm Guns with 120mm Mortars instead.
Why? That would greatly reduce their range. Still require a tow vehicle, and not save greatly on crew number requirements. Maybe we should have gone to the NATO standard on the rounds.

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Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Post by Lord Jim »

Well both the 105mm Light Gun and 120mm Mortar are out ranged and out gunned by the equipment most likely used by any opposition so we have to look at the advantages of the latter over the former. Most 120mm Mortars are lighter than the 105mm Light Gun and require a smaller vehicle to tow it. In some case both can be carried internally in a CH-47, which is more efficient that being underslung. A 120mm Mortar is quicker into and out of action compared to the 105mm Light Gun, which should help to counter the effects of Counter Battery Fire. The main benefits though come form the variety of munition the 120mm Mortar can fire compared to the 105mm Light Gun. The latter has a more effective blast zone compared to the former due to its steeper trajectory and greater explosive content. The latter uses a bespoke 105mm round that is not compatible with other 105mm Guns. It is possible to use a different barrel, as the US Army have done to allow it to use NATO standard rounds, but this reduces the range by quiet a bit, and if you use assisted rounds to compensate you lose accuracy. Development work continues on new types of munition for the 120mm Mortar in a number of countries, to make them more effective by various means.

As a result of the above, 120mm Mortars would provide greater fire support possibly including precision strike, than the 105mm Light Gun. For longer range precision engagements 16 AA could use the trailer mounter Extractor Mk2, which could also be used in a counter battery role with its range, and ease of deployment into and out of action and its range. A standard towed 120mm Mortar is an inexpensive piece of kit and Extractor Mk2 is already in service in the form described. To this the cost of 120mm Mortar rounds should be less than that of the 105mm Light Gun as they are produced by a number of countries just in NATO alone.

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