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Uk Surges Ahead With Challenger 2 Upgrade


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It might have been better to have a fleet of common hulls, with turrets fitting 30mm and others fitting 100mm, so you end up with a mix of both variants in a platoon, as the Iraqi's tried to do with both BMP's. Ive never been convinced of the idea having 2 different armaments in a single vehicle is a good idea. Look at how many nations have tried fitting autocannons in MBT's, its never worked out particularly well.

 

Again, you are trying to apply entirely different logic to this one. 100mm on BMP-3 is not MBT's gun, BMP-3 is not MBT. 100mm is a cheap, low velocity and very light for it's caliber HE thrower. Don't think about 30mm as a "secondary weapon" - it is not. Neither is 100mm. They just have different enough roles that it is hard, if not impossible to combine them in the single weapon.

As for combining 30mm and 100mm on different vehicles, it would be worse solution, since 100mm armed vehicles would be useless vs lot of targets, while 30mm armed vehicles would not have been an improvement over previous generation. Plus it is harder to command effectively mixed plts.

We might argue about original requirement, but BMP-3 armament fulfilled them quite well.

Things changed meanwhile, offering some alternatives to a requirements of "more HE" (through they are also heavily compromised, some of them even more than BMP-3), but it did not prevent it from being export success - more BMP-3s were exported than CV-90s or... Bradleys, Warriors and Marders combined...

So obviously someone else other than Soviets thought it was a good idea.

Edited by bojan
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You put two wholly different weapons on a vehicle, you are making it harder to train the crew, and you are making stowage of ammunition more awkward than it needs to be. Im not aware the latter is a great problem in BMP 3, but I would be deeply surprised if the former isnt.Then the weight of the extra armament is taking away what could be extra armour protection. That could be an issue as they hang more and more ERA on them. And its supposed to swim as well!

 

The Arabs also bought Leclerc, AMX32 and Challenger 2. They have some odd tastes, right? :)

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It might have been better to have a fleet of common hulls, with turrets fitting 30mm and others fitting 100mm, so you end up with a mix of both variants in a platoon, as the Iraqi's tried to do with both BMP's. Ive never been convinced of the idea having 2 different armaments in a single vehicle is a good idea. Look at how many nations have tried fitting autocannons in MBT's, its never worked out particularly well.

 

It has never been clear to me why putting an auto-cannon, a coax MG, and an ATGM on the same vehicle, as done on many western IFV, is completely manageable and fine, but putting an autocannon, a coax MG, and another cannon that can also fire ATGM is somehow a big issue for training or employment.

 

Now is it worth the the space/weight to have both on one chassis? That's an open question and it depends a lot on the target set you envision. If you envision the IFV spending a lot of time in an HE throwing, anti-strongpoint mode, a 100mm cannon round is going to be a lot more space and cost efficient than using an ATGM from a western IFV. I think you've actually made the case for this in another thread; if a main function of AFV is as an "Infantry Bully", then the 100mm starts to look very useful and it's the ATGM we should be wondering about . . .

 

But as far as an Infantry bully, which is what we developed tanks for in the first place, what we have works fine. Most of what Challenger 2 was doing in Iraq was killing infantry or destroying strongpoints.
Edited by CaptLuke
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Well an MG is easy, most soldiers know how to use one in basic training. As for ATGM's, most IFV's dont carry them. Only Russia and the US tend to do that today.

 

Is a heavy cannon an elaboration? Well its heavy, it takes up space for ammunition, you take up room for a bigger stab than you would presumably need for just an Autocannon, and if you are planning on having any fire control system beyond a graticule, then you presumably need it to be capable of not only handling the 100mm gun, but the autocannon and possibly even the MG as well. And you fit all that in a vehicle which has to be relatively small, and carry 7 or 8 Infantry dismounts. Which to my mind looks a tall order. And thats before you are even thinking about tube launched weapons, which dont need a fire control much, but its surely not making an expensive vehicle any cheaper. And then its got to swim, and for what is an expensive vehicle, you are not really getting a vehicle with any better armour than a BMP2.

 

I can entirely see a 100mm gun on a fire support IFV just fine. Makes perfect sense. I can see 30 or 40mm's, even 50mm's on IFV's just fine. I just dont get the idea why putting it all in the same vehicle is a great idea. And judging by a whole generation of new IFV's Russia has developed since that dont do it that way, presumably it doesnt to them either.

 

The British Army had mixed platoons of Scorpions and Scimitars in some regiments, and that seemed to work. I see no reason why it couldnt work with an IFV with a common hull and different turrets.

 

Look, its just my opinion. What do I know? I will say in wargaming it, it certainly hands out punishment. It just cant take it.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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You put two wholly different weapons on a vehicle, you are making it harder to train the crew...

 

Not in any measurable way. Both 30mm and 100mm use same FCS, you only select which weapon you want to use. It is no more difficult than selecting between HE and AP with 30mm. Yes, crew has to know which target is best engaged with which weapon...

Generally weapon training, even for a complicated weapon systems is way "easier" (takes less time) than training operating in formation. So whole "problem" is non-issue.

Edited by bojan
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...And judging by a whole generation of new IFV's Russia has developed since that dont do it that way, presumably it doesnt to them either...

And again you are assuming based on the current times. There were no really functional RCWS in 1989. There was no (well, there was, but it was horribly expensive thing) multi-function fuses for AC ammo. Etc. It is like saying "none is building self-propelled guns w/o turret ATM, so those must have been a mistake historically".

Edited by bojan
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...Then the weight of the extra armament is taking away what could be extra armour protection....

Whole combat loaded turret weights 5t which is less than an empty CV9035 turret.

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I've always thought the BMP-3 would have pleased Krushchev to no end...here's a complicated box that seems well-suited for the nuclear battlefield and even has its own toilet. Awesome...why not put a gun/missile firing system on it? After all, guns-bad, missiles good, right? Now that other BMPs are available with Kornets strapped to their turrets (actually, Kornets are pretty much everywhere), the combined gun/missile system on an IFV seems even less needed. If it's about throwing HE rounds, then get something that's really good at doing that...IMO, the BMP-3 looks like an old idea that somehow made it to production.

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Somewhat modified BMP-3 weapon suite, like ditching tube-launched ATGM in favor of classical external box make it quite better. 100mm is very good at HE, especially with dedicated 3UOF19 round with thinner walls than the old T-54/55 HE projectile crammed to new case. Fragments spread zone is close to 122mm howitzer and 125mm tank HE.

Edited by bojan
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For throwing HE, now there is a 57mm medium velocity gun, LShO-57, which comes with a larger HE load than the BMP-3 armament complex. It is paired with Kornet ATGMs and Bulat micromissiles.

 

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EWHwF1gXgAELBmM.png

The Russians have such nice autocannons. They must have more than they have applications for them....

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The CR 2 fleet retirement is irreversible.

Buying new MBTs instead is off the table because it's deemed an even worse option.

So I think the UK should purchase GDLS's variant of the MPF, modified for their needs.

It will utilize an AJAX chassis mated with either an Abrams based turret with wide support and low risk, or any turret of their choosing. It will offer great parts commonality with other Ajax vehicles in the armed forces, will be overall cheaper, and will have similar tactical and strategic mobility as the Ajax.

It's a form of affordable firepower for the mobility needs of the UK.

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Lets just not get over excitable yet, ok? Canada got rid of its tanks, found it couldnt do without them, then brought them back. I would think that lesson has been impressed very hard on the MOD. You might see a consolidation of all the AFV's under one Regiment, but I doubt, personally, they are going to bin them all. If they tried, I think it would very likely put an end to Boris Johnsons tenure. He is already shaky enough as it is, it wouldnt take much to have the pro Army section among the back benches to start causing trouble. They were very noisy when there were rumours under PM May the Army was getting trimmed, which wasnt even true.

Of course I am assuming everyone in the MOD and the Cabinet are sane, which is not always the case. It would cause just one more problem among a Government presently beset with them. I see no sense in it. It wouldn't even save much money, because you would still have to invest in a form of fire support for the Infantry battalions that could match a tank, and there arent any just on the peg. We already have a solution in the Challenger update project, so they might as well go with it, numbers trimmed I dont doubt for a second.

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The upgraded Challenger will only serve in a small quantity, if it even will. Roughly 100. 

Either way, upgrading or not, the Challenger 2 will remain a unique vehicle, meaning at least some degree of factory level maintenance in a line or facility unique to it. So the upkeep costs will be high, as you're keeping multiple unique lines alive only for a few dozen tanks.

 

An MPF will be cheaper, is brand new and ready for 40 years of service, and could be bought in larger numbers.

 

When you have no cash, sometimes the solution has to be a middle ground. It's not always keep and go bankrupt or scrap entirely.

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Yeah I think you are right, its going to be reduced numbers. Although possibly I can see the Royal Marines getting a Squadron by way of compensation.

Well its not that unique. Its one vehicle among a series sharing the same chassis. The AVRE and AVLB will remain in service. If you withdrew Challenger and replaced it with a similar vehicle, you would probably then have to replace those, which suddenly starts being very expensive. The upgraded challenger is going to have parts bought in from abroad, whether its the gun (no idea if its going to get that or not, but it seems logical at the moment), the engine, the transmission or the fire control. The Fire control at the moment is internally mounting components from the Abrams one. The point is, the only part of it that is going to be bespoke is going to be the hull and the suspension. Even the tracks are identical to the ones on Leopard 2. So I dont believe its going to be any more expensive to maintain than other tanks. Probably just as expensive as if we bought in Leopard 2, because again, we would be buying all the spare parts from abroad.

When you have no cash, the trick is to go and introduce some new taxes and shake people down. if people thing that's contentious, that is always what we used to do when we needed the Royal Navy to be a bit stronger. There is plenty of money we could shake down in the financial district. And considering the mess the economy is likely to be in after Covid, someone is, sooner or later, going to have to go and bite the bullet and shake them down.

 

Again, assuming politicians are sane, which Im making no claims for.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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3 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Lets just not get over excitable yet, ok? Canada got rid of its tanks, found it couldnt do without them, then brought them back. I would think that lesson has been impressed very hard on the MOD. You might see a consolidation of all the AFV's under one Regiment, but I doubt, personally, they are going to bin them all.

Canada may have made the decision, but the Leopard 1 was still in service when Afghanistan showed the remaining value of MBTs, and borrowing a couple Leo 2s from Germany turned into a direct transition to that model. The Netherlands went a little further down the path after they decided to abolish them in 2011 with Afghanistan well underway, then eventually went for integration with Germany, sold their last 18 Leopards tanks to the Bundeswehr and leased them back after modernization to operate a Dutch company in a German battalion in a Dutch brigade in a German division under a joint corps command ... a solution that doesn't seem likely for a UK that's set on reducing, not increasing integration with its neighbours, and definitely not using Challenger.

Now Belgium actually got rid of tanks and never got them back. But then the country plays one or two leagues below the other examples.

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Ok, I clearly misunderstood then, i thought they had actually been withdrawn, before the requirement had reasserted itself. my mistake.

We arent reducing integration with our neighbours. We actually are procuring Boxer, we are using a 40mm autocannon we developed with the French in our IFV's and Recce vehicles. Our primary recce vehicle is a development of an Spanish/Austrian design. The Polish are even building SPA that utilizes an AS90 Turret. I think we even designed their 120mm Turret Mortar systems. We are buying more European military vehicles now than we ever had in the past, even if we are building many of them here. Even Challenger 2 had significant amount of European equipment, mainly optics, in it. 

Yes, the narrative at the top levels is Brexit, but as far as the Army, as far as the equipment it is getting, its far from it. Dont let Bojo's bullshit narrative convince you otherwise.

You have to ask the question why Rheinmetall is so interested in the UK even post Brexit. The answer I heard would surprise you.

https://www.joint-forces.com/defence-equipment-news/21249-rheinmetall-challenger-2-generation-3-5-turret

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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The Challenger based support vehicles are not going to be upgraded, to the best of my knowledge. Neither should they.

And by withdrawing even more Challenger tanks, they can be supported via cannibalization. 

IIRC, most of the Challenger's systems including the entire powerpack, are no longer supported by industry.

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

IIRC, most of the Challenger's systems including the entire powerpack, are no longer supported by industry.

Completely wrong. The entire vehicle family is fully supported. I'd love to know where people get these out of support ideas from.

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