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British Army could be getting rid of it's tanks


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??? A lot of questions there and not a single answer. Usual old thing. 
 

I would say an army will always need a tank in some form in what ever numbers are thought necessary. 
 

James

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3 minutes ago, jenko said:

...interesting.

Interesting or mortifying!

It's not even just the loss of Challenger, Warrior and associated crews but once they've gone and the ranges out in Canada and the ranges within the UK they're gone, probably never replaced. 

For example the ranges and training ground around Bovington and Lulworth cover quite a large area,  I'd guess large parts sold off and not easily replaced if the mood changes/reality hits home. Once the expertise of the tank crews has gone that will be difficult to replace without becoming a satellite of another nation and following there doctrine. 

Can you imagine the mod trying to acquire another gunnery / training range within the UK of sufficient size....

Whilst yes, the current vogue would appear to be cyber war and that's where the fixation lies it's the war/conflict that comes out of the blue, blindsides you, that gets you...

Man-portatable anti armour missiles don't protect the operator from insurgents and allow ground to be held as was realised in Ramadi and such places. (Just what value portable MPATGMs are in this role is debatable).

Apache helicopters can't replace boots on the ground and hold hard won ground...

Typical foolish short sightedness.

Do we want /is it wise, to be reliant on other NATO members to provide the armour capabilities that is being suggested?

 

I realise the MBT has issues if an insurgent with an RPG can immobilise one but urban warfare never was its strong suit, however, defending the likes of the Fulda gap or the deserts of the Middle East is a different matter...

 

Hopefully this is just paper talk and sense will prevail, hopefully....

 

Darryl 

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It's a bit like the late 50's early 60's when they said about getting rid of aircraft because we have missiles.  Are the drones taking over??

 

Dick

 

 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, jenko said:

It's a bit like the late 50's early 60's when they said about getting rid of aircraft because we have missiles.  Are the drones taking over??

 

Dick

 

 

 

 

The man operating the drone, aircraft or otherwise I doubt will have the SA of a man on the spot. Apparently there are also human issues with operating a drone from thousands of miles away due to the disconnect from the situation.  Your launching weapons, saving /taking lives and then walking out of the office to go home for tea at 5pm after handing over to the next operator (Or so I've read).

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Reading another article, the righter states the Challenger II hasn't been upgraded in 20yrs, if that's the case is the Challenger II TES not classed as an upgrade?

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1 minute ago, Jasper dog said:

Reading another article, the righter states the Challenger II hasn't been upgraded in 20yrs, if that's the case is the Challenger II TES not classed as an upgrade?

At the end of the day it's an accounting job. At the moment the 2 big carriers are getting all the "glory" next week it'll something else.

 

Dick

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1 minute ago, jenko said:

At the end of the day it's an accounting job. At the moment the 2 big carriers are getting all the "glory" next week it'll something else.

 

Dick

Very true, alas accountants run the world,  then disappear before the reality bites!

It's a difficult balancing act because tier 1 military status is pricy and particularly at present the country's purse doesn't stretch very far...

2 Carriers, F 35s, A400s, Poseidon to name a few big ticket items....

But what's the alternative?

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Its probably just someone who has been told to come up with 5 ways to cut the next 10 year's spending and this was the most exciting hypothetical.

 

Out of interest, when did Britain last deploy an MBT? Not for over a decade I belive.

 

The Warriors though are surely essential, if only for UN Peacekeeping and similar operations.

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20 minutes ago, Tim R-T-C said:

Its probably just someone who has been told to come up with 5 ways to cut the next 10 year's spending and this was the most exciting hypothetical.

 

Out of interest, when did Britain last deploy an MBT? Not for over a decade I belive.

 

The Warriors though are surely essential, if only for UN Peacekeeping and similar operations.

Fingers crossed you're right, however I also remember the suggestion of retiring the SHAR...

 

Are they in the Baltic states at present, or at least fairly recently, as part of the NATO EFP?

Obviously not a combat deployment otherwise Iraqi. When was a British MBT  combat deployment before then, Korea?

 

 

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We only have 200 or so anyway. Is this size of force useful in the grand scheme of things if anything major kicked off or should we just accept that the superpowers are the only nations capable of financing a 21st century all-round military?

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It does all seem to emanate from a certain individual's views and ideas, doesn't it? I dread to think what will be on his hit list next.... and I'll leave it at that. Anything to do with defence procurement and policy comes too close to the forum's "no politics" rule as they are inherently political in nature.

 

Mike.

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History teaches us not to ignore the past. Just because we haven’t deployed an MBT in 10 years doesn’t mean we won’t need one tomorrow...

 

No existing AEW available during the Falklands conflict immediately springs to mind.

 

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This is the 1930s all over again, with Putin as the new expansionist fascist threat emboldened by no meaningful sanctions for Crimea and Western Europe burying its head in the proverbial sand.

 

Remind me exactly how things like space and cyber warfare would have helped any of our conflicts in the last 30 years.........  Cyber warfare sounds more like the province of MI6: spy s#%t.  Once again there are parallels, this time with Lord Drayson's tenure as Minister for Defence Procurement about 15 years ago and his scurrilous (borderline criminally bad) Defence Industrial Strategy written by a bunch of spotty graduates on fast-track schemes with zero domain knowledge  He had undue focus on 'new' technologies and industries too, and the results on our defence industrial capability and capacity are clear to see.  Sound like anyone else we know?

 

James Bond's Skyfall was on TV recently.  I'm reminded of the bit where Bond meets the new Q, who prattles on about the damage he can do with his laptop.  When Bond reminds him that every now and again you need to shoot someone.

 

I worked on FRES, now Ajax and MIV, between 2004 and 2008.  I am reminded that it was prophesied back then that we might end up with Ajax being the heaviest armour in RAC!  Equally in that timeframe was a proposal for a medium tank based on an Ajax chassis with a low-recoil 120 smoothbore.  Not unlike the Hagglunds/BAeS CV90120 demonstrator that's been doing the rounds of arms fairs for the last 20 years or so. Or the current Polish PL-01.  Might we see that concept being resurrected? 

 

I am also reminded that FRES was considered to be a Network Enabled 'smart' project and was not run by the land systems area.  That didn't work out well.  Not helped by Bowman having nowhere near enough bandwidth, processing power and other shortcomings that rendered the whole network enabled concept unachievable.

 

Those who forget or ignore the lessons of the past are destined only to repeat them.

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6 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Remind me exactly how things like space and cyber warfare would have helped any of our conflicts in the last 30 years...

Certainly things like Stuxnet attack on the Iranian uranium centrifuges show how you can use hostile software to destroy infrastructure rather than risking a physical attack.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuxnet

 

The same approach could be used to disable powergrids or put gas turbines in stations or wind turbines out of commission. In a totally gloves off war you might be surprised at how damaging the hackers can be. 

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Not all potential enemies are states.  Assymetric threats such as faith or ideology-based extremism are unlikely to have infrastructure to target.  And targeting local infrastructure where they operate will harm the local population more and potentially make more of them converts to the cause.

 

And while malware attacks on the Iranian nuclear programme may have hindered their development of such weapons, it has done nothing to diminish their growing conventional industrial base. While we might hack into their aircraft, drone, air defence, comms etc operating systems their ground equipment is largely too basic to be affected.  The same is true for the very many armed forces who operate older equipment.

 

I'm not saying that these are not important future warfighting capabilities and should not be invested-in.  On the contrary.  And we need to develop our own counter-capabilites as the future will hold greater reliance on connectivity, which those who wish us harm will be attempting to disrupt.  Even a simple EMP device could cause havoc, never mind hacking, malware etc.  And guess what?  MOD stopped specifying EMP hardening for electronic components probably 20 years or more ago and dismantled the testing infrastructure.  It was all so expensive and industrial and industry whinged.......

 

But if we are to continue an expeditionary warfighting capability - a 21st century BEF - then it must comprise the range of capabilities to deal with those we are likely to encounter.  We don't have any tactical air support to speak of: no-one is going to risk our few vastly expensive Typhoons or F-35s for CAS and a Brimstone is a very expensive way to take out any ground asset.  Our few Reapers are again expensive to risk and have limited weapons payload, and the kill chain time is too long for intervention in a fast-moving land battle.  Our Apache capability is limited.  By not having tanks and having only a limited anti-tank capability we are potentially marking any country with tanks, even simple ones like T-55s, as a no-go opponent.  The proposed ATGW version of FRES was axed over a decade ago (along with SHORAD and 120 mortar variants) in favour of a gun-launched ATGW.  But neither the missile nor the medium tank to fire it came to pass.  The leased Israeli Spikes - Exactor - have been decommissioned without even a planned replacement, never mind an actual one.

 

So if we are likely to face opponents equipped with tanks it seems that having our own tanks is likely to be the only logical means to deal with them unless we are to invest in improved anti-armour capability.  And yes, there is a long support tail necessary to project a heavy armoured force, and that is as much a savings target as the armour itself.  But it is not signficantly shorter or narrower to project a medium armoured force.

 

However, as the BBC succinctly put it, the decision is likely to be political rather than military.  Having test-driven his eyesight all round Northumbria it seems that Cummings is now test-driving his foresight on the world stage.  But this time playing with the nation's defence.

 

But what do I know?  I chose to leave MOD as I could no longer go along with decisions like this that I could no longer in good conscience support.  So the foregoing are just my own ramblings and musings.

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On 8/25/2020 at 10:38 PM, jenko said:

It's a bit like the late 50's early 60's when they said about getting rid of aircraft because we have missiles.  Are the drones taking over??

 

Dick

 

 

 

 

Drone tanks? Is that a thing?

 

Trevor

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On 8/25/2020 at 10:38 PM, jenko said:

It's a bit like the late 50's early 60's when they said about getting rid of aircraft because we have missiles.  Are the drones taking over??

 

Dick

 

 

 

 

My thoughts entirely!

 

Terry

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While methods of war and the technologies they spawn do change the old protagonists and their ideals never change.

 

Cyber is important in this digital age but a black box of magical electrical wizardry is not wholly effective until you place it in a 120 year old design, be it plane, tank or ship. The two should complement not supplant the other.

 

With other news of the F35 B fleet being limited to approx 70 airframes my biggest concern is that not one of our defence systems has been purchased in enough quantity to offer any combat persistence . 70 airframes is not 70 operational airframes. Any large scale war and our forces would be unable to be effective after days.

 

Too few ships with too few weapons.

Too few planes with no guns(F35B)

Too Fe No MBT capabability

Hundreds of X Boxes though!

 

They will be of no use if we are over run by an enemy. And if history teaches us one thing it is to absorb the lessons it teaches us or ignore them at a greater cost.

 

We live in worrying times.

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On 8/28/2020 at 9:48 PM, Max Headroom said:

Drone tanks? Is that a thing?

Not quite yet. Although Russia claims that the T-14 would be capable of full remote operation.  But thus far Russia has only ordered about 200 compared to thousands of other models

 

Operating the combat systems remotely is the hard part: remote control automotive systems are not new.  And by having the full remote turret that automation has been achieved.  But of course you then need massive un-jammable bandwidth, which may need to be LOS at suitable wavelengths, to control the things.  And the control station(s) will have huge EM signatures to attract ARMs.  Potentially an entire unit could be rendered useless by a single action.

 

Israel has developed a small wheeled MG-armed UGV which is intended for roles such as border patrol rather than combat.  I'm sure the US are up to something along those lines too.

 

But your remote controlled tank still needs ammunition, fuel and maintenance, and long distance travel on transporters.  All of these still require trucks, people and workshops - and force protection.  And, as we know, tanks not supported by infantry will be vulnerable to enemy infantry with relatively light weapons such as portable ATGW or even RPG.  And with remote tanks you just need to disable the comms and sensors and they become useless metal lumps, deaf and blind.  This can be accomplished with small arms.  Yes you could have an RTB protocol to direct the tank back to a designated location if it is still mobile.  But they are still combat-ineffective until repaired with expensive, sensitive, complex parts - I'm particularly thinking of EO sensors here - by warm breathing wetware.  And that is the mechanical equivalent of overloading medical services with wounded soldiers.

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7 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

But of course you then need massive un-jammable bandwidth, which may need to be LOS at suitable wavelengths, to control the things.  And the control station(s) will have huge EM signatures to attract ARMs.  Potentially an entire unit could be rendered useless by a single action.

It'd certainly make the UK half billion investment in that OneWeb satellite internet company a bit more explicable if it were a global reach, multiply redundant, high bandwidth comms for this kind of thing

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On 8/29/2020 at 12:27 PM, Head in the clouds. said:

While methods of war and the technologies they spawn do change the old protagonists and their ideals never change.

 

Cyber is important in this digital age but a black box of magical electrical wizardry is not wholly effective until you place it in a 120 year old design, be it plane, tank or ship. The two should complement not supplant the other.

 

With other news of the F35 B fleet being limited to approx 70 airframes my biggest concern is that not one of our defence systems has been purchased in enough quantity to offer any combat persistence . 70 airframes is not 70 operational airframes. Any large scale war and our forces would be unable to be effective after days.

 

Too few ships with too few weapons.

Too few planes with no guns(F35B)

Too Fe No MBT capabability

Hundreds of X Boxes though!

 

They will be of no use if we are over run by an enemy. And if history teaches us one thing it is to absorb the lessons it teaches us or ignore them at a greater cost.

 

We live in worrying times.

 

What do you mean for "large scale war " ? If a major war with a main power, then Britain has not had the resources to conduct one since the end of WW2, regardless of the number of aircraft.

Fighting a major war involves a lot more than having more aircraft or tank, it involves having the economic and political power to be able to wage such a war. The Suez affair did show long ago that countries like Britain (or France) in the post WW2 era could not afford to invade another country unless they were backed and supported by a superpower. Just look at the events during the war to overthrow Khadafi in Libya how France and the UK, that started the war, very soon had to ask the US to join in to have more weight.

What Britain can do today is to take part in large overseas expeditions as part of alliances (that mainly means supporting US led operations, for example Granby) or conduct small scale operations of limited scope and/or duration. And of course there is the obligation to provide the defence of the Country.

In the end whatever decision on equipment must come to terms with the place of the Country in the world and with the way the world is changing. Yesterday it was possible to scare some country far away by sending a gunboat along its coasts, today that same country may threaten any European country simply by threatening to move their investments to a different stock market...

 

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I understand what you are saying and in many ways agree, we are not what we where and shall never be again, however, when we went into Suez we were still broken as a country financially and that surely put us on a back foot immediately.

I do not suggest for one moment that we go knocking on the door of Russia, China or any other country looking for a fight and fully understand that we are better as a union of other countries(Nato), for me it is about our ability to be effective across a spectrum of capability and to remove one to accommodate another seems short sighted. I for one do not have a crystal ball to fore tell the future but I do know the past has bitten us on the posterior on occasion.

An army without tanks may find itself unable to recruit because I would not join an army without its own MBT support. It is akin to build a cruise ship and selling off the lifboats one by one.

It is easy to cut, harder to build and once gone we have, as an independent country gone backwards a century.

Under investment in our Forces is a poor investment for our future.

 

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