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New British Light Armored Vechile


Kentucky-roughrider
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If it has heavy armor, is it really a Light Armoured Vehicle? Isn't that more a Medium Armoured Vehicle?

If you have light armor, you're expecting to fight infantry and use the light weight/size to advantage in sneaking and general recce/counter recce functions no?

What's the environment it's expected to operate in? What sort of mission? Iraq and Afghanistan are both, with the area warfare and IED heavy nature due to the insurgent warfare, different than a general conflict. Light vehicles are also sized for general portability as well as mobility in tight confines (CVR(T) being designed to sneak through the rubber plantations of Malaya iirc).

Edited by rmgill
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CVRs were designed in the late '60s. A very few years later Army Strategic Command was disbanded, as were its airportable brigades. Thereafter the primary role of CVR was in Germany.

 

The reality is that there is a good chance that FRES will be fit for purpose, which is more than can be said about CVR.

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It would have been impossible to develop FRES much more than 3 years ago, that was about when GVA was created, much the same with CTA40..

 

Waffle about missed opportunities and it could have been done years ago are self-evident cobblers. As I said in an earlier post these two things are breakthroughs.

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Wwith the 40 CTA working as advertised as far as I can see, maybe other armies are going to adopt it. It has really much going for it. small size of cannon, efficient ammunition shape. And definitely power for future threats. And several nato states are looking for upgrades or new IFVs or recce vehicles at the moment. So if they do not fuck up marketing I definitely see a future there. But the US of course will not want to buy it because NIH, but sometimes they do buy foreign anyway.

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It would have been impossible to develop FRES much more than 3 years ago, that was about when GVA was created, much the same with CTA40..

 

Waffle about missed opportunities and it could have been done years ago are self-evident cobblers. As I said in an earlier post these two things are breakthroughs.

 

GVA doesn't bring any functionality that could't have been done before, and much of it was done long before Scout SV. In that sense it's not remotely a breakthrough. The concepts for FRES pre-exist GVA by years and it was added to the programme very late on.

 

GVA is an implementation technology that is intended to bring commonality and reduce life-cycle costs.

 

To suggest FRES / Scout SV couldn't have been created if GVA didn't exist really is cobblers.

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Wwith the 40 CTA working as advertised as far as I can see, maybe other armies are going to adopt it. It has really much going for it. small size of cannon, efficient ammunition shape. And definitely power for future threats. And several nato states are looking for upgrades or new IFVs or recce vehicles at the moment. So if they do not fuck up marketing I definitely see a future there. But the US of course will not want to buy it because NIH, but sometimes they do buy foreign anyway.

 

Anyone using the 30mm Mk44 can go to the "Super 40", necked out, round and get something like 80% of the CTA benefit for 20% of the cost, not to mention being able to retain the 30mm barrels and use old 30mm war stocks for training.

 

The shorter inboard length of the CTA is also, I suspect, less of a big deal for the external mountings that are coming into vogue.

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Actually GVA is significant because it enables anything to be connected to anything, ie no more one to one connections. This level of interconnection is not a practical option with traditional cabling. The latter make too many things effectively impossible. Of course some other things are also required for maximum benefit, notably data comms over net radio. This isn't new in UK, BATES did it 20 years ago, albeit with somewhat primitive data protocols. One new possibility - Sqn HQ can monitor the status of every vehicle, starting with fuel state. It doesn't need a one to one connection between fuel sensor and radio. If you understand anything about AFVs and data comms you'll understand the potential of GVA and why it is significant. Given adequate bandwidth and or compression you can envisage images being sent from sensor to sqn HQ and beyond.

 

The timescale of FRES means that GVA is incorporated from the ground up. You might like to ponder why there isn't a retrofitting rush for other AFVs (hint - needs serious money).

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I know Tony and others have spoken highly of the weapon, but ultimately was it really worth delaying FRES 10 years to get it? I cant see it.

 

 

It's a shame BTW he doesn't seem to post here anymore, there were several discussions where his input would have been appreciated (at least by me)...

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Stauart has yet to find a government project that couldn't have been done better in the "good old days", or a new product that wasn't worse than the thing it replaces.

 

The fact is, regardless of how screwed up procurement may be, it wasn't any less screwed up decades ago. You only have to look at the command economy post war, with illogical consolidation of aircraft manufacturers piled on top of ham-fisted procurement by the government run airlines to realise that nothing was ever done the right way.

 

And you know what? None of it mattered a jot. Not one of the wars we've got ourselves into post-WW2 has been an existential threat to the UK. The Cold War was a posturing thing, and the actual capabilities mattered not at all, provided they appeared to be "good enough", and in the end the other side could be made to glow in the dark.

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Actually GVA is significant because it enables anything to be connected to anything, ie no more one to one connections. This level of interconnection is not a practical option with traditional cabling. The latter make too many things effectively impossible. Of course some other things are also required for maximum benefit, notably data comms over net radio. This isn't new in UK, BATES did it 20 years ago, albeit with somewhat primitive data protocols. One new possibility - Sqn HQ can monitor the status of every vehicle, starting with fuel state. It doesn't need a one to one connection between fuel sensor and radio. If you understand anything about AFVs and data comms you'll understand the potential of GVA and why it is significant. Given adequate bandwidth and or compression you can envisage images being sent from sensor to sqn HQ and beyond.

 

The timescale of FRES means that GVA is incorporated from the ground up. You might like to ponder why there isn't a retrofitting rush for other AFVs (hint - needs serious money).

 

What you're describing is only a databus and in this context GVA is just a way of standardising that databus independent of vendor. The ability to convey data between the vehicle databus and the radio system isn't a fundamental facet of GVA either.

 

I certainly do understand "anything about AFVs and data comms", in fact it's my job, and I'm deeply involved in the development of GVA. As I said before, it could all have been done before GVA and often was. GVA's benefits are more through-life than functionality based.

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The fact is that GVA is relatively recent, the only comparable standard is the new US Victory, and lack of such a standard has without doubt hindered the integration of vehicle-born systems. I blame incompetent engineering in MoD and British industry for the previous state of affairs, whatever succeeded DGGWLS should have sorted it out years ago.

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I wonder if it can be as simple as too many people in charge of specific programs and not enough accountability of individual managers. Used to be, you had a couple of folks running a program or even one (Kelly Johnson or Ben Rich to use some really good examples) and you had programs that ran exceedingly well and were very successful.

One person, with a sword to cut through bullshit. Of course, you get an incompetent person in that role and the program can also fail utterly.

Is management by committee some sort of insurance policy against abject failure with an attached inability to connect failure with the committee?

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"■ Armoured personnel carrier — a troop-carrying variant which can carry two crew members and four passengers; 59 vehicles."

 

all else is "specialist vehicles"

 

Too much Chiefs and too few working bees ...

 

Just MO, Hermann

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My own view (and im biased against British bureaucracy as DB is probably correct to note, though in my defence it doesnt necessarily mean im wrong to be) my own view is that its the same symptoms that affect pretty much every ministry in the Uk. Over bureaucratization, mission creep, and too large a staff for too many jobs with little in the way of capable management. We saw exactly the same kind of thing occur in the 2000s when labour make the department of transport far too large, and it was beyond anyone to manage it effectively. Not that they picked effective ministers to manage it. The home office arguably has exactly the same problem. More ministers and smaller departments is perhaps only a partial solution.

 

Part of the solution in my view is to take a leaf out of the British transport system. For example, Railtrack, a company formed to handle maintainance of the Uk rail network after winding up of BR, proved a dismal failure for reasons I wont go into here. What is significant is that Network rail that replaced it was a company formed by but independent of the British Government, as a not for profit organisation, mainly so it could acquire loans outside of Governmental fiscal systems if I understand Wolmer correctly. Surprisingly it seemed to work quite well. Yes, it spent a lot of money. But for the most part that was due to it fixing infrastructure that hadnt been touched in decades (in some cases, over a hundred years of neglect). It worked so well, Labour nearly formed a 'network road' to take over maintainance of the Uk road network. I cant think why they didnt, its hardly like the DOT and local councils seem to know how to maintain it. I digress....

 

My point is, why not remove procurement from MOD (leaving it to handle doctrine and pensions) and set up a similar company to Network Rail? I dont know, have the service chiefs sit on the board to have their view expressed. Give other seats to Treasury, FO, even home office, give an annual stipend, and let them get on with it. Well I can see all kinds of flaws with it, but at least accountablity would be pretty clearly apparent, and a business style ethos rather than an creaky 'anytime this decade' attitude that suits the MOD would presumably be a good start. Maybe its a halfway house to privatisation, though one has to say with Government ministers or officials sat on its board, its hardly likely to end up like Quinetiq and flogged off. And one has to concede, not ALL privatisation in the UK has been bad. The Rail network has improved over it, largely because most of the important tools were taken out of Westminsters hands, limiting their ability to foul things up.

 

As I say, just an idea. Having service personnel working for a private company probably breaks all kinds of rules, so its not like its ever going to happen. As you rightly point out with Lockheed, the Skunk Works approach does seem to kind of work. Whether that kind of approach can scale up to the size of an entire ministry I have my doubts. Its interesting to note however, they are hiring US defence consultants at the MODs procurement centre at abby wood in Bristol to shake things up. Be interesting to see what transpires.

That sounds like the system we have in Singapore, more or less. Procurement and sustainment of military equipment and technology is handled by a "statutory board" set up for the purpose, the Defence Science and Technology Agency. It is semi-independent from the Ministry of Defence and not part of any of the armed services. The Chief Executive of DSTA is appointed by and reports to the Minister, but that is the only point at which the chains of command touch. DSTA basically acts as a corporate service provider to the armed services, like a professional engineering firm. It canvasses them for military projects (anything from a flotilla of submarines to maintaining the cookhouses) and executes them for a fee. It constantly fights for "business" (that's what we called it when I was in DSTA) and revenue from the armed services, and hires and fires quite aggressively to keep the bottom line in the black. Any serious issues the armed services have go to the Minister who can fire the CE in extremis, but generally DSTA does its work well because everyone wants to keep the money flowing so they can draw their paychecks. Most issues get resolved on the ground, the same way a mechanic or plumber would try his best to keep you happy while providing service. Low level oversight is handled by committees within the Ministry that DSTA projects have to obtain approvals from at key project milestones (basically corporate regulation, with the Ministry as the regulator). The system works pretty well overall. When I left, DSTA had even branched out to providing professional engineering services to bodies other than the armed services in order to draw in more money, like the police force and the port authority.

Edited by kaikaun
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Sounds like an efficient system, and in fairness one doesnt tend to hear much in the way of procurement problems in your armed forces.

 

The negative of similar systems, effectively decoupling it from a ministry of defence, is that as shown in the Soviet Union which had its own procurement ministry (VDK I think), there is the potential for corruption. For example, VDK was developing and delivering weapons to the Soviet Armed Forces they had not actually issued a requirement for (SS20 was one, there are probably others). They also got mired in a complicated scandal in Libya where they were delivering weaponry hand over foot, and receiving kickbacks from Gadaffi. The eventual consequence of this was that they released for sale a squadrons worth of SU24s to the Libyan Government, which even the Soviet President and Foreign ministry didnt seem to approve. Embarressing and potentially destablising.

 

Still, that that was in a communist regime in a state thats always had corruption problems. Democracies if well prepared should be fairly immune to such intrigue, particularly when cash is strapped.

I agree that any such system needs very careful design. DSTA does have a lot of oversight from the Ministry on its financial end because it handles so much money. It helps that Singapore is a relatively low corruption society, but we have recorded many attempts to bribe or otherwise corrupt DSTA officers. The key is to allow the body to operate more like a corporation to escape the inefficiency of government bureaucracy, but a very tightly regulated corporation with direct oversight over certain key areas (top leadership, finances, clientele). Not really government, and not really private sector, but something in between.

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There are numerous problems with UK government procurement in general but with MoD in particular.

 

I think we've probably moaned about them all many times in here already, and the problems faced by the UK MoD are little different to those seen in other countries.

 

- Strategic budgets set by governments who do not think about the cost of the military commitments they are making

- Strategic budgets interfered with by inter-service rivalry.

- Political constituencies driving procurement selection to "safeguard jobs" without having a cost model that covers that aspect.

- Political infighting in oversight committees causing unwarranted bad publicity

- Government changes resulting in cancellations for short-term political gain rather than for the nation's strategic interests.

- Cronyism

- Lobbying and outright blackmail by major contractors.

- Ministerial incompetence

- Civil Servant job protectionism

- Ideological decision making wrt privatisation and outsourcing.

- Union stupidity

- Managerial incompetence (two sorts - general inability to do any kind of job well and the MBA-inspired "do what looks good short term so I can keep one job move ahead of the catastrophe my short-term thinking leads to)

- Mission creep.

- Requirements gallop

- Absence of credible existential threat. (A good thing, right?)

 

I culd go o nand on.

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I wonder if it can be as simple as too many people in charge of specific programs and not enough accountability of individual managers.

I don't have them to hand, but when a few years ago I saw some figures for the number of people in Israeli military procurement, & the administration costs, compared to what's spent on actually buying stuff, alongside the same figures for the UK, I was stunned. Israel buys less than us, so one would of course expect a smaller procurement bureaucracy. But it was much, much smaller in proportion to spending! I'm sure Israeli procurement isn't perfect, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd say they do a worse job than we do - so why do we spend much more on the administration of procurement?

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Well, that is your opinion of DSTA, and as an ex employee, I would think you are biased towards them. That's fair as this forum provides for alternate points of view. And here it is.

 

DSTA is one of the biggest waste of taxpayers money in SIngapore. It is comprised of ex military generals and colonels who are parked in this relatively recently formed statutory board just so they have some means to make a living instead of facing the civilian world. Its another level of unneeded bureaucracy. Can you imagine the Congress of the US legislating a new govt department just to help its armed forces buy weapons? Lets say this new departed were to conduct the trial and evaluation of tanks for the army or new fighter planes for the USAF. How well would that sit with the branches of the military? This is what DSTA does, it takes away control of the weapons procurement process for the military branches and places it in a govt agency that does among other things, organize the fireworks display for last National Day Parade in SIngapore. What a joke. The last air force fighter weapons system procured in singapore was the F-15SG. DSTA conducted the trials, flight test, evaluation and procurement process, for all candidate fighters, not the Singapore Air Force. How do you think the Air Force felt, sending its test pilots and other support staff to aid DSTA in the testing? Wouldn't it simply be easier to them to do the actual evaluation test themselves? But then, where would all these people find work?

The SIngapore Air Force is one of the largest users of F-16s in the world, but you would never expect a crap useless organization like DSTA to .......wait for it..........negotiate direct offset arrangements or manufacturer status for some components of the F-16. If you can't drive a hard bargain for the weapons you buy and at least contribute something to the local economy, then you are a worthless leech of taxpayers money.

Edited by On the way
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Well, that is your opinion of DSTA, and as an ex employee, I would think you are biased towards them. That's fair as this forum provides for alternate points of view. And here it is.

 

DSTA is one of the biggest waste of taxpayers money in SIngapore. It is comprised of ex military generals and colonels who are parked in this relatively recently formed statutory board just so they have some means to make a living instead of facing the civilian world. Its another level of unneeded bureaucracy. Can you imagine the Congress of the US legislating a new govt department just to help its armed forces buy weapons? Lets say this new departed were to conduct the trial and evaluation of tanks for the army or new fighter planes for the USAF. How well would that sit with the branches of the military? This is what DSTA does, it takes away control of the weapons procurement process for the military branches and places it in a govt agency that does among other things, organize the fireworks display for last National Day Parade in SIngapore. What a joke. The last air force fighter weapons system procured in singapore was the F-15SG. DSTA conducted the trials, flight test, evaluation and procurement process, for all candidate fighters, not the Singapore Air Force. How do you think the Air Force felt, sending its test pilots and other support staff to aid DSTA in the testing? Wouldn't it simply be easier to them to do the actual evaluation test themselves? But then, where would all these people find work?

The SIngapore Air Force is one of the largest users of F-16s in the world, but you would never expect a crap useless organization like DSTA to .......wait for it..........negotiate direct offset arrangements or manufacturer status for some components of the F-16. If you can't drive a hard bargain for the weapons you buy and at least contribute something to the local economy, then you are a worthless leech of taxpayers money.

Your opinion is very misinformed.

 

Firstly, we have very few ex-officers from the services. The vast majority of DSTA staff and management are civilian engineers who have worked their way up. If anything, DSTA has more ex-NCOs than ex-officers, but still very few.

 

Secondly, DSTA did not "steal" or "take away" activities from the armed services. The procurement of military hardware has always been done by centrally by the ministry rather than the services themselves right from the foundation of the SAF, following the British MoD model. From the beginning, all such work was done by MINDEF departments like the Defence Materiel Organisation, the Defence Procurement Division, etc, and DSTA is an simply an amalgamation of these older bodies that was spun off so that it could have more independence from MINDEF bureaucracy.

 

Thirdly, DSTA is not a replication of activity nor a rival or antagonist to the services. The services have never conducted trials or evaluations on their own nor have they ever maintained their own separate organisations to do so -- that is the American model which we have never followed. However, the services are extremely tightly involved in the process even if it is not "in house" -- no plane, ship or tank gets "forced" on the services without their approval. There is very little parochialism or turf wars in the tiny Singapore defense world, and project teams with members from DSTA, MINDEF, ST, and the services have always been the rule and work well.

 

Fourthly, the services have never wanted to take this work from MINDEF or DSTA. They consider it a distraction from their core work. They prefer to leave engineering to engineers, procurement to lawyers and accountants, and focus on warfighting. I can tell you how the "Air Force felt" from personal interaction with them -- very good. If they wanted to maintain their own corps of defense engineers, they would need to keep them in a single role for 20-30 years to build expertise like DSTA can. How would that work in the context of Air Force promotion and personnel policy, when Air Force officers are rotated from role to role and drummed out at age 45, and not even MEs have that kind of length in service? How would the other AF personnel feel, especially since these engineers would be doing purely civilian-style work? Doesn't it make more sense to have these engineers doing civilian work be in a separate civilian organization than making them wear blue, giving them a rank and shoehorning them into the Air Force somehow? For that matter, one reason why DSTA was separated from MINDEF was because even the career paths of DXOs are not suitable for building up engineering expertise. In DSTA, you have plenty of engineers who have been at the same role and done the same work for 20+ years and have deep expertise, with pay to match -- which can be confusing to the services because you can have a relatively junior ranked engineer somehow with silver hair and earning more than a Major -- but that is how engineering organisations work if you want really skilled engineers throughout.

 

Lastly, local production in Singapore is always preferred (e.g. Formidable frigates), but the fact is that it is usually a money loser. We have very poor economies of scale. We are also not in a political position to receive such work because we are non-aligned. We refused Major Non-NATO Ally status from the US and are not formal allies in any way, so receiving any production work for the F-16 (or F-35 in the future) is a non-starter. In any case, it is nonsense to claim we are a major F-16 user, or major anything user. We are almost never in any position to demand production contracts because we are so small. We always insist on local maintenance (nearly always by ST), so at least there is that.

Edited by kaikaun
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