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29 Dec 10. Radical plans to reshape the British Army’s armoured and mechanised forces that will involve the early retirement of more than 2,000 armoured vehicles are being prepared as a result of the UK’s Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). Final touches to the plans are being made by the British Army’s HQ Land Forces at Andover in Hampshire and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Equipment Capability branch in London. The core elements, which are intended to help HQ Land Forces meet its target of saving GBP5bn (USD7.7bn) over the next five
years, include the retirement within 18 months of 1,200 Alvis Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) variants, 1,400 BAE Systems Bulldog and FV430 armoured personnel carriers and 198 BAE Systems Vector mine-protected vehicles. These vehicles will be placed in long-term storage, put up for sale or scrapped. Hundreds of Warrior infantry fighting vehicles are also going into storage as part of the British Army’s cost saving package. Senior army officers have told Jane’s that the proposals, which will be put to government ministers for approval later in January 2011, are the result of the SDSR’s focus on the Afghanistan campaign and the recognition that the British Army will not be required over the next five years to participate in any brigade or divisional-sized armoured operations elsewhere in the world. “If we are not going to fight any armoured battles anytime soon, then the logic says we don’t need to be trained and equipped to fight one,” said a senior British Army officer. (Source: Jane’s)
BATTLESPACE Comment: This decision will leave a big capability gap in the Army as new officer cadets will shun armoured regiments given that they will not be in the mainstream. Sources also suggest that the Warrior WCSP will be shelved leaving just those 75 vehicles upgraded, already supplied, without a stabilised turret, under a UOR. It looks like that will be the future for Warrior, upgraded and supplied in small packets when required. It looks like Challenger 2 may go into Theatre to take over the bunker-busting role. At the moment Danish Leopard tanks are supporting British forces. BAE is still believed to be continuing the development of the UOR for CVR(T) with band tracks. Where this leaves the Scout vehicle is unclear, certainly delayed or becoming a technology development project like VERDI. If WCSP does not go ahead, which looks likely, this will make CTAI unaffordable and will not be good news for Lockheed Martin, BAE and DSG. Also in five years the Scout technology will be old with new technologies such as GCV entering the market to meet new threats. GDUK will have to work hard to prove that ASCOD can show the technology growth and protection required for the next 25 years. Taking a longer view, could this be the start of the development of the European Army concept, with the German and French Armies taking the Armoured and Infantry Support role with the U.K. taking the Light and Rapid Reaction Role? On a brighter note, it looks like OUVS will also suffer the same fate and that the Land Rover Wolf and Pinzgauer fleets will be put into Through Life Support under project