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Brewup

Ajax (Scout SV)

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Hi 


Whilst praying and hoping for a manufacturer to announce a kit of the Ajax IFV :thumbsup:

 

I started thinking about the different approach that armies around the world take when it comes to arming and protecting IFV's  

 

For example the new generation of Russian IFV's such as the AT15 and Kurganets-25 are armed with both cannon and ATGM's as well as both soft and hard kill APS systems 

 

Where as the Ajax is "only" armed with a 40mm cannon and will have soft kill APS? 

 

So can anyone shed any light on why the British Army do not feel the requirement for arming their IFV's with both cannon and ATGM's? 


And the same applies for a hard kill APS systems? 

 

Discuss ;)

Edited by Brewup
typo

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The Ajax is a scout vehicle, which is designed to find and report enemy formations not to engage them. Also give it anti-tank missiles and it becomes a priority target for enemy vehicles.

 

Active self protection systems are a hazard to infantry and civilians near the vehicle.

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Hi Nial 

 

Very true spot, report and run :) 

 

However is the British Army now face the prospect of being out gunned as although I am sure the 40mm cannon  on the Ajax can do some major damage having the longer range of an ATGM would be handy :)

 

I do see your point about the APS as I was reading that although the US Army is looking at a hard kill option they are concerned operating dismounted infantry in same vicinity as any vehicles with this system

Edited by Brewup

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As Niall points out, the Ajax is a scout vehicle not an IFV so you aren't comparing vehicles of the same class or purpose.

 

Nowt wrong with a 40mm cannon using modern ammunition and propellant technology but on a scout vehicle, opening fire on the enemy is a tactic of last resort because it means you've been spotted and need to escape rather than taking the fight to the enemy.

 

Adding an ATGM (or similar) system to a scout vehicle does several things. It makes the vehicle more expensive; it makes it heavier and larger (you need space to mount the launcher and carry the spare missiles); it either increases the number of crew required to operate the vehicle (more space required) or increases the workload on the existing crew members and erodes their ability to carry out their priority task (scouting); it increases the training requirement for the crew (an extra specialism to learn); it may encourage the crew to duke it out with the enemy when they should be retreating and reporting their findings WITHOUT being spotted; it can encourage field commanders to mis-use the vehicle as a surrogate tank, at which point it becomes extremely vulnerable in a role for which it was never designed - armoured vehicle development is littered with examples of all of the above.

 

Cheers,

Centaur

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The Scout family originally included both ATGM (Recce Overwatch) and SHORAD planned variants, in the days when the family was to be 1,300 or so vehicles with 650 Scouts. Now there are less total vehicles than the original numbers of Scouts, with many recce units - especially infantry - relegated to Jackals.  The ATGM and SHORAD were early casualties, so there is no Stormer HVM replacement on the cards either.  A turreted 120mm mortar variant was also postulated.

 

The Russians, like the US, still undertake recce by fire whereas we, as noted above, prefer recce by stealth.  They desire contact, where we try to avoid it.  Equipping IFVs (in particular) and recce vehicles with ATGMs, powerful guns and effective FCS inevitably leads to them being used as light tanks in environments where they are not sufficiently survivable.  This is one reason why Warrior was not equipped to fire on the move: that was a positive choice.  The same argument came up with the Warrior improvements: should it have the same FCS etc as Scout, or a lesser capability?  FRES, as it was then, envisaged dismounting ATGM teams in both infantry and Recce units - with variants specifically configured for the carriage of missiles and launchers using interchangeable ro-ro modules. Same for mortar and HMG teams.  Having said that, a hull-down IFV with ATGM can give you a very nice edge as long as you stay hull-down.  Break cover and you will probably become a casualty, leaving the dismounts with no fire support and no transport.  But stay put and your launch position is fixed for counter-fire.  Best as an IFV or recce to stay out of missile duels and incoming retaliatory 120/125 HEAT or APDS.

 

There was a parallel concept of a Medium Armour vehicle on a probably-enlarged chassis mounting the RUAG low-recoil version of the Rheinmetall 120 smoothbore.  It was hoped that this would be able to fire gun-launched ATGM developed by others, probably the French, thus eliminating the need for a dedicated ATGM vehicle.  But this came to nothing. The Hagglunds CV90120 has been over to Bovington a couple of times for demonstrations to prove that the concept works, although not at the time cleared for manned firing. That Medium Armour family was also projected to include ARV, AVRE and AVLB, and possibly 155mm SPG.  Whether the concept will be resurrected remains to be seen.  Challenger is slated to be with us in improved form but reduced numbers until 2035.  Will we need an MBT after that?  Guess we'd better ask Comrade Boris.  MBT are little use in asymmetric warfare.  And it will be a foreign product, as all our production facilities are gone.

 

One reason for choosing the 40mm CTAS weapon over the prevailing 30mm calibre was the effectiveness of the ammunition.  A Bofors-chambered 40mm weapon, although preferred, would not allow the required commonality with the lethality-improved Warrior.  Don't underestimate it.  Primary AT round is APDS at about 1,200m/s.  But the HE round is the scary one. Plastic-cased, pre-fragmented able to be set for point det, delay or time-fused airburst set in the breech by the FCS using laser ranging.  Weighs about 1kg, mostly bang stuff and frag because of the plastic casing.  Warrior will have the same weapon.  Quite a day-spoiler.

 

Hard-kill DAS was experimented-with, but it has collateral damage implications as noted above - as indeed does ERA.  And it really only works against ATGM and RPG.  No use against AP and APDS.  Protection also degrades as modules are fired, again like ERA.  Soft-kill wasn't really looked-at.  IDF are really the experts in this field, relying on the Droid to dazzle and deflect incoming laser homers and the Trophy system to intercept, with ERA as a last line.  Layered defence.  Remember the Holy Trinity Of Survival: don't be seen, don't be hit, don't be penetrated.

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Many thanks for your input guys very informative and interesting reading from all  :thumbsup:

 

Although as you can probably guess not too knowledgeable about this subject I do find it fascinating 

 

Cheers :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just had a thought about the Ajax. It should be possible to use the vehicle to control the Spike NLOS(Exactor in British army service) which would give the vehicle a tank/bunker killing capabilty, whilst remaining covert.

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Interesting thought indeed, providing targeting for the Exactor without  the Ajax having to reveal itself by engaging the target directly

 

Do you know how the Exactors are deployed in the British Army i.e. what delivery system/vehicle is used as from what I can see it all seems to be a bit "hush hush" at the moment 

 

On a slightly similar theme  I was also reading about the Stryker "leathality upgrade" program

 

The Dragoon mounting a 30mm turret along and another variant with the CROWS-J

 

So going back to my first thoughts is there a feeling amongst Nato/Western armies that they could be out gunned compared to the latest Russian systems that appear to have all the "bells and whistles"? 


Cheers 

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Exactor is now out of service and the RA user unit has been disbanded.  Keeping the M113 carrier vehicle in service would require a complete new depot support solution as it is not common to anything else UK now uses.  It was acquired as an Urgent Operational Requirement, for which the support solutions are usually somewhat less substantial as the service life is expected to be less than 5 years, and often rely more on in-theatre contractor support.

 

The trailer-mounted units would appear to still be viable, and the vehicle mounted system could conceivably be transplanted from M113 to another platform, especially if designed from the outset to accept it.  They haven't exactly seen intensive use.  There was a question as to whether we had actually bought the kit or simply leased it from IDF.  In the latter case of course it would need to be returned.

 

It remains to be seen if an Ajax-Spike marriage will come about.  But with bully boy Comrade Boris kicking the sleeping bear awake and rattling every edged weapon he can get his hands on, an SPATGW would seem a sensible capability to have.

 

And no, the Challenger upgrade will not include an ATGW.  Nor will it replace the rifled gun, so no gun-launched ATGW option.

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According to Janes' Defence Weekly the trailer based Exactor launcher was adopted by the army in 2015.

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Another interesting read 

 

https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/bae-say-challenger-2-upgrade-package-offers-future-ready-main-battle-tank/

 

I am a little curious about the comment 

 

"These will include soft and hard kill defensive aids systems, modular armour and a choice of weapon upgrades"

 

Choice of weapon upgrades?

 

 

 

 

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The Challenger 2 upgrade program is to fit an overhead weapon station on the turret roof that can be fired by any crew member. This can have a 7.62mm or 50cal machine gun or the 40mm H&K Grenade Machine Gun.

 

One other thing on the Ajax, does anyone know what the 2 rows of 3 vertical cylindrical objects on the glassis plate are?

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Thanks Niall 

 

I thought as much, will be very interested to see how this update plans out

 

With regards the Ajax I noticed those as well,  the ones above the acoustic detector domes?

 

Weaponry_Ajax_Scout_SV_British_513216_12

 

Edited by Brewup

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Seems the Ares also has them , some sort  of mounting point ? 

 

ajax-arres.jpg

Edited by Brewup

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If you look at the Ares, it has a radio antenna mounted on the front right (from this view) circular object.  In addition to 3 antennas at the rear.  VHF, HF, HCDR + ??  UHF??  One each side could be mountings for antennas for internal ECM unit.  But certainly looks like antenna mounts of some sort.  Restricts forward fire arcs.  3 visible antenna bases on the Ajax turret, logically.  Other interesting brown flat panel antennas on turret front and rear quarters and Ares top edges of hull roof and glacis.  Not unlike the MMW ESA antennas for Trophy.  The large central object on the glacis is almost certainly the driver's EO sensors: white light camera and image intensifier

 

The Ares here is a prototype, pictured at the NATO conference in Newport a couple of years ago.  The Ajax looks more like a production spec.  The front bar-armour-cum-step is interesting.  Looks like lots of vulnerable bits.

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Hi Das Abteilung 

 

Thanks for the info 

 

Yes I noticed the brown faced units and thought the same, more so as they are mounted in positions that would indicate its could be part of the defensive sensor suite 

Edited by Brewup

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Someone above mentioned the CR2 weapon upgrades.  As also noted above, that will be an RWS only - capable of taking GPMG, HMG or GMG.  The rifled main gun will be retained.  There is, or at least there was, a CR2 fitted with the Rheinmetall smoothbore gun.  It worked.  The problem was ammunition stowage.  The L30 uses separate-loading ammunition, with projectiles stowed in the turret bustle and charges in bins below the turret ring.  The Rheinmetall gun uses one-piece ammunition, and there's nowhere in CR2 to stow it.  10 or 12 rounds could be fitted in the bustle, but that was all.  Handling was also difficult with the longer round, and of course there's the ejected case to worry about whereas the L30 charges are fully combustible.

 

In order to make more ammunition space it was suggested that the engine was swapped for the MTU unit, which is smaller for the same HP, allowing the engine firewall to be moved rearwards and the fighting compartment enlarged.  But that essentially means gutting and rebuilding the hull and the whole idea was getting out of hand.

 

The experimental Rheinmetall 130mm gun will most likely have semi-combustible cases, and if NATO goes that way in future then that potentially plays into upgunning the CR2 if the ammunition is 2-part and the firing stresses are acceptable.  But the current upgrade is slated to be the last and NATO will take years to ratify any change, assuming the gun actually offers any real advantages following testing.  Rheinmetall were talking about going to 140mm a few years ago, but seem to have settled on 130.

 

Going back to the Ajax and the DAS debate, if you read the Project Icarus press release it is about developing the physical and electronic interface architecture onto which multiple COTS DAS systems can be integrated to suite different threat environments.  It is not about developing new DAS.  Looking at the Ajax photo, I am intrigued by the light metal box/sponson (it's hollow) on the side of the turret.  This would appear to be an ideal place to mount something like a Trophy launcher, interfaced to the sensors on the turret corners discussed earlier.  Merkavas have a Trophy launcher each side of the turret, although as an applique unit the sensors and launcher are integrated.  Through integration by design (i.e. Icarus) they can be separated.

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Thanks  Das Abteilung :yes:

 

Very interesting about the CR2 and the issue with ammo storage and the smoothbore gun  

 

So unless there is a major re-design and of course the prohibitive cost with that, I guess the only option is that the CR2 will have to continue with a rifled main gun for the foreseeable future albeit with other upgrades. 

 

Unless of course you can drop an Abrams or Leopard turret straight in so anyone for a Challbrams or Challeopard :P 

 

With regards the Ajax it will be interesting to see what defensive aids will be available with project Icarus and which system(s)they will use.

 

Reading up on the US Army they seems to be trialling several different options and even then may be using different systems depending on the vehicle it will be mounted on. 

 

However I would imagine with all the electronic wizardry the Ajax family will have that integrating any new software and the hardware would have been included in the design from the outset (hence the mystery mounts and bits and bobs or am I expecting too much ?)

 

Cheers

Ian 

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I understand that the Rheinmetall bid for CR2 LEP essentially proposes grafting the Leopard turret onto the CR2 hull, which would of course also allow the gun switch but doesn't solve the below-turret-ring ammunition stowage issue.

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On 02/10/2017 at 1:27 AM, Das Abteilung said:

Someone above mentioned the CR2 weapon upgrades.  As also noted above, that will be an RWS only - capable of taking GPMG, HMG or GMG.  The rifled main gun will be retained.  There is, or at least there was, a CR2 fitted with the Rheinmetall smoothbore gun.  It worked.  The problem was ammunition stowage.  The L30 uses separate-loading ammunition, with projectiles stowed in the turret bustle and charges in bins below the turret ring.  The Rheinmetall gun uses one-piece ammunition, and there's nowhere in CR2 to stow it.  10 or 12 rounds could be fitted in the bustle, but that was all.  Handling was also difficult with the longer round, and of course there's the ejected case to worry about whereas the L30 charges are fully combustible.

Hello, the 120mm smoothbore cartridge is 95% combustible, only the base (1-2" high) is ejected ... the main problem, as you mentioned, is storage capacity and survivability.

 

The CR2 is still a very good tank but pays its rather dated design. The question is now "will main european countries (UK, France and Germany above all) have the capacity to developp their own tank or will they be able to developp a common weapon ?"

 

E

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That must be some combustible material if it will stand being handled with the weight of the shell attached yet still combust with no residue.  If one were to break open the consequences would be catastrophic.  As happened in a Challenger a few months back.

 

Of those, only Germany has the capacity to develop a new tank since Lord Drayson's scurrilous Defence Industrial Policy opened the door to closing down the UK AFV industry and GIAT lost much of its capability, people and sites in the reorganization into Nexter.  But the history of successful tank collaboration is not good: non-existent, in fact.  France does not have a good record for collaboration on anything where they were not going to get the lion's share of the workshare or the final product would not exactly meet French specs with no compromise.  Most usually they do their own thing.  Germany has positioned itself to be the default non-US NATO tankmaker.

 

Of course once we've left the EU - which we will have done long before CR2 reaches end of life - there will be no legal requirement to compete outside the UK.  Who knows: we might even have another home-grown world-beater on our hands like Centurion was and Chieftain could have been if not for the daft engine.  But the cost of re-creating the production facilities would be enormous, and cost matters very much with no export guarantees.  It's not like they're even mothballed: gone, with the possible exception of the old GKN plant at Telford.  The UK no longer has the capability to make gun barrels of any sort, not even mortars: nothing bigger than 12.7mm.  There was no UK contender for the 60mm mortar.  BAES were given permission to close the gun shop at Barrow, the last such facility.  So no new UK-built artillery, tank guns, mortars, naval guns, auto cannon.  Naval-wise we've dropped the venerable 4.5" for the US 5" on Type 26 and probably therefore Type 31 too.  The 40mm CTAS is made in France, and Ajax hulls are built in Spain.  Even had we gone with a BAES design, it would have been built in Sweden.

 

 

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