The British Army is upgrading Warrior to extend its service life to 2040. The Warrior Capability Sustainment Program (WCSP) will involve upgrading up to 380 Warriors with the Warrior Modular Protection System (WMPS) and Warrior Enhanced Electronic Architecture (WEEA). Within that group, 245 vehicles will also be fitted with a new turret and weapon system under the Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Program (WFLIP). The remainder, which will be designated as Armoured Battlefield Support Vehicles (ABSV), will lack turrets and carry out field repair and recovery roles using winch and crane attachments.
BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin competed for the WCSP contracts. Lockheed Martin’s WFLIP upgrade was based on the existing Warrior turret. BAE Systems designed a new turret. In March 2011, it was announced that Lockheed Martin had effectively won the competition to develop both the WFLIP and the FRES turrets. Severe budgetary pressures made it uncertain whether these defence projects were to be delayed or curtailed, but it was announced in October 2011 that the Warrior upgrades would proceed at a cost of one billion pounds, extending the service life of the Warrior to 2040 and beyond. The scheduled in-service date for upgraded Warriors is 2018. SciSys will provide Lockheed Martin UK with platform management software to control systems to improve operational effectiveness.
The MoD and the Treasury are seemingly at loggerheads over the allocation of the money required for WCSP, the timing of the award and the final vehicle numbers.
“Will it happen, when will it happen, will it be cancelled, how many vehicles, what is the estimated cost overrun, will Lockheed be forced to pay penalties?”
These are the endless questions floating around the bazaars with government, the MoD, commentators and the press, including BATTLESPACE making predictions as to the future of Warrior, the backbone of the British Army’s two armoured infantry brigades and its comprehensive upgrade programme the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP).
The matter rose to the headlines on March 19th 2019, when, the Times reported that, in a letter to the chairwoman of the Commons spending watchdog, Stephen Lovegrove, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Defence, stated that the Warrior revamp was three years late and £227m over budget.
Warrior vehicles are due to form the backbone, under plans to restructure the army prompted by cuts to the defence budget. Lockheed Martin was chosen seven years ago to overhaul and fit new gun turrets and stabilising 40mm cannon to the Warrior vehicle, which entered service in 1988. The upgrade should allow accurate fire while in motion, and will add more armour and update electronics.
In his letter in January to Meg Hillier, head of the Commons public accounts committee, Mr Lovegrove said Warrior vehicles were “indispensable to delivering a modernised war-fighting Armoured Infantry capability”. His correspondence acknowledged that in its current state the Warrior fleet was suffering “shortfalls in fightability, lethality, survivability, growth potential and safe operation.”
The future of the upgrade programme — which is supposed to extend the vehicles’ lifespan from their “out of service” date of 2025 to 2040 — is still in question, however. The upgrade remained the “preferred option” to secure the capability, “subject to the achievement of key trial activities”, but Mr Lovegrove added: “No commitment to manufacture has been made.” The initial cost was £1.3bn, to be completed by March 2020. However, a three and a half year delay and a cost overrun of £227m was forecast, he said.
While the UK has acquired 789 Warriors in total since they entered service, only 380 will be upgraded and of those, only 245 will receive new turrets. It is understood that the scale of upgrades was determined by cost constraints.
Francis Tusa, a defence analyst, said, “Without a heavy tracked vehicle to keep up with a heavy tank force, you’re stuffed: you cannot deploy armoured infantry brigades — the tip of the spear — into conflict zones to hit the enemy hard and deliver death at range. The Warrior has yet to even pass its reliability trials — a key question is, what happens if it doesn’t pass? How quickly could the UK procure a different heavy armoured vehicle? Bear in mind the MoD’s poor record of procurement in this field.”
An MoD source said, “Money needs to be reinvested into all our armoured vehicle fleet, which is old and has been slightly neglected. It’s not just Warrior, it’s the Challenger 2 tank upgrade and JLTV [the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle]. These programmes really need to be done.”
Nia Griffith, Labour’s defence spokeswoman, said, “The government’s complete failure to manage this programme properly is putting this important capability at risk. We have seen repeated delays and spiralling costs which have led to serious concerns about the affordability of the project.”
A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said the company “continues to work collaboratively with the MoD on delivering this game-changing capability.”
An MoD spokesman said, “As with any complex weapons programme there have been initial challenges to overcome. However, we have brought this project back on track.”
History of the Warrior APC
Before we analyse the WCSP programme and the current Trials taking place at Bovington, its worth looking at the history of the Warrior and the development of APCs in the 70s.
One of the requirements of all APCs under development in the 70s was a vehicle with a top speed and cross-country capability with the ability to keep up with projected new Main Battle Tanks. Other features incorporated were no firing ports in the hull, in line with British and US thinking that the role of the armoured personnel carrier/infantry fighting vehicle (APC/IFV) is to carry troops under protection to the objective and then give firepower support when they have disembarked. The absence of firing ports also allows additional appliqué armour to be fitted to the sides of the vehicle, which is invariably applied to Warriors involved in active operations.
The Warrior tracked vehicle family is a series of British armoured vehicles, originally developed to replace the older FV430 series of armoured vehicles. The Warrior started life as the MCV-80, ‘Mechanised Combat Vehicle for the 1980s.’ The project was begun in the 1970s. GKN Defence won the production contract in 1980 against strong competition from Alvis Plc.
A total of 789 FV510 and variants were manufactured for the British Army, and 254 of a modified version (Desert Warrior) were produced for the Kuwaiti Army.
The crew of a Warrior comprises the driver, seated in the front hull, and the gunner and commander, who are both seated in the turret. The embarked infantry section can number up to seven soldiers, who are seated facing each other in the rear hull compartment. Passenger access is through a single electric ram powered door at the rear of the hull, rather than a drop-down ramp as in the US M113 APC and M2 Bradley IFV. Warrior Section Vehicles are able to carry and support seven fully equipped soldiers together with supplies and weapons, including a number of anti-tank weapons, for a 48-hour battlefield day in nuclear/biological/chemical conditions.
The Warrior is driven by a Perkins-Rolls-Royce V8 Condor engine through a four-speed automatic gearbox. It is capable of a road speed of 46 miles per hour (74 km/h). The Warrior has the speed and performance to keep up with a Challenger 2 main battle tank over the most difficult terrain.
The vehicle is fitted with a two-man GKN Sankey turret, armed with a non-stabilized L21A1 30mm RARDEN cannon capable of destroying some APCs at a maximum range of 1,500 metres (1,600 yd), and an L94A1 EX-34 7.62 mm Hughes Helicopters coaxial chain gun. It is fitted with two clusters of four defensive grenade launchers (usually used with Visual and Infrared Screening Smoke – VIRSS).
All Warrior Infantry Section Vehicles are now equipped with Bowman radios, which replaced the earlier Clansman radios, for enhanced communications, command and control. When first introduced, the vehicles were fitted with passive Image Intensifier night vision sights. These have since been progressively replaced with Thales Optronics Battle Group Thermal Imaging (BGTI) sights to upgrade night fighting capabilities, with 8x magnification. As of 2007, 350 vehicles were fitted with BGTI.
* Operation Granby (Gulf War)
* Operation Grapple (United Nations duties in Bosnia with the UNPROFOR)
* Operation Herrick (Afghanistan with ISAF)
* Operation TELIC (Iraq)
The protection against small arms, missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank mines was shown during the UN operations in Bosnia. Two Warriors were destroyed during the First Gulf War, with nine soldiers killed, in a friendly fire incident when hit by an AGM-65 Maverick launched in error by an American A-10 Thunderbolt II.
As of 17 November 2008, 22 soldiers had been killed while travelling in Warrior IFVs in Afghanistan or Iraq.
On 7 March 2012, six British soldiers were killed in an explosion that hit a Warrior IFV in Helmand.
* FV510 Infantry Section Vehicle. This is the principal version operated by the British Army, as described above. 489 were produced (including 105 as platforms for the mobility of ATGW teams, originally equipped with MILAN and later with Javelin).
* FV511 Infantry Command Vehicle. 84 of these were produced.
* FV512 Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle. Operated by REME detachments in Armoured Infantry battalions. It is equipped with a 6.5 tonne crane plus power tools and is able to tow a trailer carrying two Warrior power packs or one Challenger power pack. 105 of these were produced.
* FV513 Mechanised Recovery Vehicle (Repair). Also operated by REME detachments in Armoured Infantry battalions. It is equipped with a 20 tonne winch and 6.5 tonne crane plus power tools and (like the FV512) is able to tow a trailer carrying two Warrior power packs or one Challenger power pack. 39 of these were produced.
* FV514 Mechanised Artillery Observation Vehicle. This is operated by the Royal Artillery as an Artillery Observation Post Vehicle (OPV) and is fitted with mast-mounted Man-packable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar[JN1] [JN2] (MSTAR) and Position and Azimuth Determining System (PADS), with Image Intensifying and Infra Red equipment. The only armament is the 7.62 mm machine gun, as the 30 mm Rarden cannon is replaced by a dummy weapon. This allows space for the targeting and surveillance equipment while still keeping largely the same outward appearance of a standard Warrior in order to avoid becoming a priority target. 52 of these were produced.
* FV515 Battery Command Vehicle. This is operated by the Royal Artillery. 19 of these were produced.
* Desert Warrior. This was an export version adapted for operations in hostile desert conditions. It was fitted with the Delco turret as used on the LAV-25 wheeled IFV, mounting a stabilised M242 Bushmaster 25 mm chain gun with coaxial 7.62 mm chain gun and 2 x Hughes TOW ATGM launchers (one mounted on each side). In 1993, Kuwait purchased 254 Desert Warrior vehicles.
* Warrior 2000. This was a new version developed for the Swiss Army. It did not enter production. It featured an all-welded aluminium hull, increased armour, digital fire control system and more powerful engine. It was fitted with the Delco turret, or a Land Systems Hagglunds E30 turret with Alliant Techsystems Bushmaster II Mk 44 30 mm cannon.
* Armoured Ambulance. Six Warriors, with armaments removed, were converted to the armoured ambulance role for use in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick.
*A Black Warrior with one wheel station removed was displayed at the BSI 96 exhibition as a possible contender for the Tracer Scorpion replacement. The project never progressed past the prototype stage.
Upgrades already fitted to Warriors in British Army service include the Bowman Communications System and Thales Battle Group Thermal Imaging (BGTI) night sights. Future upgrades will include a digital fire control system and improved power pack.
Warrior was caught in the rationalisation of the UK’s armoured vehicle industry when GKN Defence was purchased by Alvis plc.in 1998. Alvis, led by Nick Prest, had already purchased Haaglunds in 1997 with its CV90 APC, a similar vehicle to Warrior. At that time Warrior was seen as the lead bidder for the Swiss APC requirement. However, history suggest that due to the rationalisation of GKN and Haaglunds and the less arduous staff lay off costs in Sweden that the CV90 price was dropped and it won the order. CV90 then went on to win in other European countries and is currently being bid in Australia amongst others.
Thus, all development on Warrior stopped and with the FRES requirement looking at lighter, agile, airportable and faster vehicles, the UK started looking at a whole new fleet of vehicles.
However, that thrust ended abruptly with the arrival of the Iraq and Afghan war and the deployment of overmatched IEDs which created havoc and many deaths for the coalition forces. In addition to theta the growth of more heavily armoured vehicles by the Soviets meant that the punch provided by the puny and ageing unstabilised Rarden 30mm canon was inadequate to meet the current threat. A stabilised canon was required with fire-on-the-move capabilities to defeat the Russian BMP 4 in particular. Under WCSP, the present turret will be replaced by a turret that will mount a stabilised CT40 and firing Cased Telescoped ammunition including Training, AP and Airburst.
With the death of FRES, FCS, Tracer and other national and international programmes, the UK went it alone and decided to replace the lightly armoured Scimitar vehicles with a new recce vehicle which became Ajax and to revamp its ageing Warrior fleet through WCSP with a new and unproven CT40 canon, a joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter, whilst the USA went down a less technically arduous route looking ag a new Bushmaster 40 canon using the same breech mechanism and barrel.
In 2008 the then Prime Minister David Cameron made the bold move to sole source the WCSP and Ajax canon to CT40 and to build two new turrets from scratch. BATTLESPACE warned many years ago of the consequences in pressing ahead with the installation of the unproven CT40 canon, already rejected by the USA many years before. Lockheed Martin, eager to get into Land Systems following its Insys purchase beat BAE Systems to the WCSP and crucially the contracts to build both turrets. The bulk of the £122m costs overrun as outlined by the Lovegrove letter were not down to contractor Lockheed Martin but to the MoD who is responsible for the canon’s development. Engineering a new turret and canon into an ageing combat vehicle was a step too far and another example of the bungled MoD procurement processes. Lockheed itself recognised soon into the process that its -re-engineered Warrior turret was not man enough for the 20,000lb force generated by the CT40 and took a $60m hit to redesign a turret which ended up looking very similar to the rejected BAE Systems MTIP 2 turret.
At the time of the WCSP negotiations, the MoD was under intense pressure to save money and give value for money to the taxpayer at a time of a growing and unsustainable defence budget, so punitive cost-overrun clauses were inserted, as they had been in the Terrier Engineering vehicle programme to put the onus on industry to perform under a rigorous performance contract.
BAE Systems submitted its bid to reflect the onerous terms of the WCSP bid, keen not to repeat the Terrier costs penalties, whilst Lockheed Martin put in a more competitive bid, which won the day.
One key element to the bid was that the CT40 canon and associated ammunition feed systems, remained Government Furnished Equipment (GFE) and thus outside the Lockheed bid. As we have stated it is the CT40 element of WCSP which has caused the greatest sot overruns resulting in several engineering changes to bring it up to its current capability.
This has resulted in the current debate as to ‘how, when and if,’ as the MoD and the government will be keen to see that any cost overruns can be aid at the door of the WCSP Trails programme and Lockheed Martin and DE&S’ ability to deliver on time and within budget.
Any arguments over any perceived cost overruns will no doubt be meat and rink to the lawyers concerned!
So, the view is, that the Trials will run to the end and then an appraisal will be made by the customer, the MoD, as to whether to proceed or cancel the contract allegedly due to failure of the vehicle to perform in the Trails with the prospect of a claim made against Lockheed for por performance as the MoD did to BAE Systems over Terrier. The Terrier charged were one key reason why BAE took a cautious approach to WCSP to avoid another big hit to its bottom line. However, any repeat of a Terrier-type hit on Lockheed for WCSP, would undoubtedly result in a large counter claim by Lockheed over CT40 engineering changes.
Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP)
Thus, it was with this back drop that on 7th March 2019, Lockheed Martin UK, Ampthill brought together its supply chain partners and members of the press to celebrate milestones and demonstrate how strong collaboration with suppliers is continuing to support programme success. Around 30 suppliers came together at the Tank Museum in Dorset for Lockheed Martin’s exclusive Warrior CSP event – a real celebratory moment which demonstrated the collaboration and partnership which is taking the programme from strength-to-strength.
Lockheed Martin is keen to prove that not only could it deliver WCSP but that it was a contender to BAE Systems and GDUK for UK and other armoured vehicle programmes.
11 upgrade Warriors were delivered to Bovington in 2018 for Qualification and Verification trials. The results, if they go to plan, will be the catalyst for production negotiations to get underway later this year between Lockheed Martin and the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the Ministry. Numbers are key to the final production contract with some observers suggesting that a contract for up to 380 vehicles could be placed around December 2019. Lockheed has 43 staff at Bovington to support the trials which take place over 183 Hectares with 7kms of cross country tracks and 8kms of metalled road.
Marcus Bruton OBE, WCSP Director and Hannah Wood from DE&S Communications both gave upbeat briefs.
The reliability trials are scheduled to run until July 2020 but DE&S WCSP Director Marcus Bruton told Defense News during the briefing that the crucial production talks could get underway much sooner.
“What we are doing at the moment is going through the demonstration phase, we will push hard on the reliability growth trials, and as the confidence increases then we are going to enter into manufacturing negotiations this year,” said Brunton.
Asked why it had taken so long to reach the reliability trials phase Brunton said, “Integrating 21st century technology into 1970s platform was always going to be very challenging – that’s at the heart of the issue.”
Lee Fellows, Lockheed Martin’s Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme Director outlined key programme milestones. These included that in March, the programme team has performed a successful Manned Fire-on-the-Move, the next stage in this important British Army programme. The platform is now certified for live firing and the MOD crews will soon start to add to the hundreds of CT40 and thousands of chain gun rounds already fired by the Lockheed Martin team. Lockheed Martin’s WCSP Turret has also displayed the capability to hold Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, such as the FGM-148 Javelin. Other technology areas addressed in the Lockheed Martin’s solution include better EMC protection and an unmanned variant.
A new area, outside WCSP, being explored to cut down on track noise to comply with new hearing regulations, is a new rubber track system and a new powerpack being another new option.
“Lockheed Martin UK has now commenced Reliability Growth Trials and is pushing on to its next major programme milestone of 20 Battlefield Missions. Our programme continues to go from strength-to-strength and together we continue to achieve all programme milestones. The platform is now certified for live firing and the MOD crews will soon start to add to the hundreds of CT40 and thousands of chain gun rounds already fired by the Lockheed Martin team. Lockheed Martin UK has now commenced Reliability Growth Trials, for the FV520 and 521 variants in particular, and is pushing on to its next major programme milestone of 20 Battlefield Missions. The FV522 and 523 variants have passed CDR and will be qualified later this year. We expect crew shakedown in mid-2019 and the handover of five vehicles in 2020.” Fellows told BATTLESPACE.
Mark Farrell, Warrior CSP Supply Chain Lead at Lockheed Martin said to Defense News, “This is a really exciting and critical time for Lockheed Martin. We have just entered Reliability Growth Trials (RGT) with our MOD customer, this is when we’ll really be able to demonstrate that we have a product and capability which is reliable and absolutely performs. Our programme continues to go from strength-to-strength and together we continue to achieve all programme milestones. Our success is underpinned by our robust and capable supply chain. We have invested in fostering relationships with our suppliers; moving from a typical customer, supplier relationship to a more collaborative partnership – this has paid dividends. We have every confidence in our supply chain and their commitment to the programme.”
Melissa Goodwin, Lockheed Martin WCSP Programme Manager, gave a brief about the technology involved in the Lockheed solution. The network enabled turret has a modern Lockheed Martin Fire Control System which is common to Ajax and Warrior to enable the required fire-on-the-move scenario. Situational awareness has been improved with six LSAS cameras providing 360 degree day/night vison and displays linking commander, crew and dismounts. In addition, new environmental control, systems have been installed for crew comfort in arduous conditions as experienced in Afghanistan in particular.
“Giving the Section the ability to view outside threats before disembarkation gives a huge advantage as the situational awareness achieved is improved by a factor of 100% allowing the soldiers to fight as soon as they disembark knowing the terrain, targets and threat which have been evaluated from ISTAR systems within the vehicle.” Melissa Goodwin said.
Other variants of Warrior, like the command, observation and recovery vehicles, also will be upgraded.
The demonstration and manufacturing phases of the program were approved by the Ministry of Defence in 2011 at a cost of £1.3bn. An in-service date (ISD) for the upgraded vehicle was set for March 2020, and the out-of-service date extended to beyond 2040.
Lee Fellows, Lockheed Martin’s Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme Director told Defense News that concurrent qualification of the turret and the cannon had been tougher than expected. “We have had concurrent qualification. The cannon has gone through a qualification program and that drove some changes into our work and driven some milestone dates, but we are through that now. We have a qualified the cannon that we are installing and firing so we have a production-standard weapon. We have seen an impact historically, but I don’t see those impacts extending,” he said. “Qualifying a cannon and a turret in a legacy hull is always going to be hard. The complexity was harder than we anticipated … but we met all our milestones.” he added.
The representative from CTAI the joint BAE Systems, Nexter company told BATTLESPACE that the CT40 Programme was back on trac and that the original teething problems related to weight and barrel wear had been solved with 515 canons required for the UK, 270 have been supplied to the UK and 120 to France, with a rate of 14 per month now achieved. 100 of the original spec barrels, supplied to the UK MoD have been replaced with the new specification; 299 barrels have now been proofed.
The workshare agreement requires that both companies can produce ammunition. The AP and Training rounds were qualified in 2015 whilst there are still problems associated with the fuze for the crucial Airburst round; qualification is expected in 2020. New rounds including one to defeat a UAV, Point Detonating, and a Kinetic Energy round are in development.
Defence Supply Chain Post-Brexit
During the March Bovington briefing Lockheed Martin quite rightly highlighted the importance of the UK Supply Chain to the Programme.
Axis Electronics MD Paul Chaplin said, “We are a proud supplier to the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme. We have partnered with Lockheed Martin for the past 5 years, and our relationship has now matured to a point where we can consult Lockheed Martin for advice and guidance on a range of business challenges – their advice and support is invaluable to our organisation. Working alongside the world’s largest Defence Prime has enabled Axis to develop in areas such as cyber security; with Lockheed Martin’s support we have now achieved our Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. I think it’s a very exciting time for Warrior CSP, and for supply chain partners such as ourselves. It’s a critical milestone as we enter RGT and a real opportunity for us to prove that our product works. The Lockheed Martin Warrior CSP supply chain is critical to the success of the programme and we take that responsibility extremely seriously.”
But, has the MoD overlooked a key elephant in the room over WCSP – the UK Supply Chain for armoured vehicles Post-Brexit, in its drive to demonstrate value for money in defence contracting?
Since the Drayson speech that the UK would no longer be a manufacturer of armoured hulls, the number of key suppliers is dwindling with little appetite by existing suppliers to maintain their existing product range in the face of lack of orders and extended supply periods when orders are placed. The GDELS Ajax Programme has created a further hiatus in the UK Supply Chain. When GDELS announced the Ajax Programme bid, announced that the bid would be ‘British to its Bootstraps.’ In fact, the opposite happened and the bulk of the Supply Chain was based upon the Spanish Ascod vehicle, a process which caused the demise of several manufacturers such as GKN Land which benefitted very little from Ajax, having failed to win the wheels contract.
Following successful trials and a contract for up to 380vehicles, the remainder of the Warrior fleet may be slated for the dormant Armoured Battlefield Support Vehicle (ABSV) to replace the ageing and vulnerable FV432 range as the US has done with the M113 replacement AMPV, a process likely to be repeated by other M113 users across the world. This provides a problem for the MoD and the Government in its wish for the UK to remain self-sufficient post-Brexit. If WCSP is cancelled, with ABSV being nowhere near fruition, just a concept study, many of those companies present at the Lockheed/DE&S Bovington Open Day may well shut up shop as WCSP is the only tracked vehicle Programme for their products along with the ageing and mostly mothballed FV432/Bulldog fleet. Sources told BATTLESPACE last year that even now Babcock is finding it hard to source certain spares for Warrior. So, if WCSP fails, the whole supply chain for the existing UK tracked armoured vehicle fleet, including the ageing FV432/Bulldog fleet, AS90, Challenger 2/CRARRV/Trojan/Titan and Terrier, lies in danger of collapse as an industrial base of just Terrier and Challenger 2 variants is unsustainable and would also jeopardise the ability of DE&S to manage UORs in the event of war.
The Scimitar fleet is already being replaced by Ajax so that problem is receding, along with AS90, most of which are in storage. Solution, scrap the whole Warrior/FV432 fleet and buy a new fleet along the lines of the current MIV Programme. Any such move would most certainly be blocked by the Treasury and the Army as to build such a capability from scratch with a new vehicle, most likely an Ajax variant, would take a lot of time and money, which as we know from WCSP, the Treasury is reluctant to part with! In addition, the political fallout from factory closures, loss of key technologies and redundancies in key marginal seats would be a disaster for the Government.
Lockheed Martin has suggested that it will holding another WCSP brief later this year. We will update this feature to reflect any new updates and progress on the programme.