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Suppose that Twitter thread above quotes accurately, but selectively. What kind of statements would you realistically consider possible to be in the original report that would substantially relativize the gravity of the quoted bits? Even if the rest of the report is "less damning" I'm having a hard time imagining how it could be spun.

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I only quoted the above because Francis Tusa is a well known journalist in the defence realm, and was for many years working for Sky News. If he says it, Im kind of inclined to believe it.

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/francistusa

There are comparison's being made with the Nimrod AWACS from the 1980's. This is not a great place to be.

 

Happily my proposal to convert more Challenger 3's  and use them in the recce role instead found much enthusiasm on Twitter. Well what the hell, we used Cromwells for Recce as well once upon a time....

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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If it's as irretrievably bad as it's being made out to be, they should cancel and just get BAE to have their Hagglunds plant make off the shelf CV9040.

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Yes, that is a very common perspective from among the defence commentators on Twitter.

From what I hear, the turret is very good, it does pretty much all they want it to do. So possibly they can salvage that and put it on another hull if it doesnt work out. Judging by the things ive heard on this grate site about the Spanish manufacturers that made the hull, It might even make sense to make all of it here.

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9 minutes ago, R011 said:

If it's as irretrievably bad as it's being made out to be, they should cancel and just get BAE to have their Hagglunds plant make off the shelf CV9040.

The last thing you want is a CV9040.

 

Just because it has the desired caliber doesn't mean that it's an adequate concept. The thing is from the mid 1980s. The Dutch or Danish CV9035s have next to nothing in common with the CV9040. But they also have a serious issue with (the lack of) ready ammunition.

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Worst comes to worst, I guess we can dust off some of those warriors we are scrapping, upgrade them, give them a new turret, and put them in service as recce vehicles. Although Ironically, we just cancelled a project to do just that so we could buy Ajax....

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2 hours ago, Ssnake said:

The last thing you want is a CV9040.

 

Just because it has the desired caliber doesn't mean that it's an adequate concept. The thing is from the mid 1980s. The Dutch or Danish CV9035s have next to nothing in common with the CV9040. But they also have a serious issue with (the lack of) ready ammunition.

It seems to work, which is more than can be said for Ajax and isn't the size of a small office building like many newer vehicles.

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Apples and oranges. The CV9040 works, yes. So do a lot of other legacy vehicles. But that doesn't change the fact that it was designed 40+ years ago around an increasingly obsolete AA gun of which vast stockpiles had accumulated.

The CV9040s protection level is, I would guess, based on the British Army's demonstrated priority for armor protection in past projects, simply inadequate. Once that you up the protection to a modern standard you end up with "an office building", see CV9035, with all the functional compromises that their desugn entails.

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I dont mind the size so much. I think we are moving towards an era when we are going to be using more drones to recce, with the vehicle,a platform standing off controlling them. Its not like the old Cold War days where you were expecting to hide behind a small shrubbery callingin fire whilst 3rd Shock Army rolls by. Even then they knew the survivablity of CVRT was a problem. So upping the armour protection and the size, I dont mind. The M3 Bradley is as big as a house too, yet they dont seem to have taken massive casualties from it in both Iraq wars.

OTOH, failing at what we have generally achieved since the 1920's, a tracked vehicle that is vaguely comfortable to ride in cross country. Which is kinda falling down on first principles. Im sure even the Bob Semple was comfortable to ride in, at least in first gear....

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M3 is radically different vehicle to CVRT because US doctrine of use of the "scouts" was radically different from the British one.

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I was comparing M3 to Ajax, which is where we have seemingly been moving. Traditionally the British Army always believed in recce by stealth, and the US always believed recce was something to be fought for. You can see that clearly postwar, the Americans had the M41, we had the Daimler Ferret, they had the Sheridan, we had the Scorpion.

Why did we change? I would guess its the adverse media reaction to the deaths in the Landrover Snatch and the incredible vulnerablity to CVRT to roadside bombs in Afghanistan. Though whether the media are the right people to judge British army doctrine, Ill leave others to judge.

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Uncoupling from public opinion requires more coolness than 99% of all politicians can muster. Because most of the time voters don't reward that.

Bureaucrats and their careers depend on the politicians' moods. Therefore, journalists do have a significant (if indirect) influence on doctrine and hence, design documents.

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Disclaimer: I worked for a time on some aspects of the Ajax programme but have had no involvement for several (about 5) years.

I also regularly read Francis Tusa's excellent Defence Analysis monthly publication and I am of the opinion that he is generally knowledgeable and thoughtful, but is always limited by the quality of the information presented to him. Which is not to say that I'm going to claim his statements are inaccurate on the basis that I know more then he does (I don't, my information is stale, appeals to authority should be considered worthless and besides, I could go to prison if I leak anything I actually do know.)

That being said...

Here's the BBC article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57348573

Quote

The report also notes the "vehicle cannot reverse over an obstacle more than 20cm high". Defence experts say many of the problems stem from additional armour protection being put on the original hull, which has seen an increase in weight from 19 to more than 40 tonnes.

Not being able to reverse over a 20cm obstacle looks like the addon armour fit isn't quite right to me. It can't be lack of power as the thing has an 800hp engine.

The base weight of Ajax has not been 19 tonnes ever - the original ASCOD is higher and ASCOD 2 is even more.

Ajax (dependent on configuration, which includes a couple of different addon armour packages starts at 25 tonnes and goes up to the level in the article with the addons in place. The implication in the quoted text is that there has been programme weight growth, for which there may be some truth but it's not more than doubled in weight through requirement change or contractor incompetence. The range (25-40) is programmed in.

Secondly, there's a lot of current news stating that the army has just suspended trials. It has not. They were suspended back in March and are currently in progress again.

The cited issues look like the typical set of limitations of usage for a new item of equipment going into trials. Armoured tracked vehicles are loud? Who would have thought it?

Rough terrain trials are hard on the occupants? Who would have thought that, too?

Both of these items would apply to *peace time high tempo* trials use - you can't break the people testing the kit in peacetime, it's simply not done. 

Are there problems with the programme? Yes, it's late, it's being done by GD and LM can't build working turrets for the CT40...

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1 hour ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

I was comparing M3 to Ajax, which is where we have seemingly been moving. Traditionally the British Army always believed in recce by stealth, and the US always believed recce was something to be fought for. You can see that clearly postwar, the Americans had the M41, we had the Daimler Ferret, they had the Sheridan, we had the Scorpion.

 

That's only part of it. US Cav units also conduct economy of force missions which I don't believe are part of a UK Recce unit's purview: Where you want firepower more than manpower or sneakiness, such performing guard or cover. It is decidedly unsubtle.

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Yes, I believe you are right. US Cavalry operations in the Cold War historically had much heavier armour than we did. You guys had Tanks and Helicopters (Including attack) and your own artillery and mortar systems. Yes, they had a screening force similar to the British, but whereas the British would give ground and probably only seriously fight the recce elements, the objective of the Armoured Cavalry Regiments wasnt just to screen, but to make them deploy, slow them down, and inflict casualties on them. Its a different mindset.

Its true British cavalry from the early 70's had swingfire equipped units. But I think that was to plink the odd tank that was assigned to the recce formation rather than any serious intent to turn it recce into something akin to the US mindset. I dont think we are even really there now, but considering they have considerablly upped the firepower of our main recce vehicle, upping its armour protection AND talking about 4000 Metre Javelins fired from recce vehicles, there seems to be some change in mindset underway.

 

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On 6/3/2021 at 8:46 PM, Stuart Galbraith said:

This sounds like a dumpster fire on tracks.

 

 

 

 

 

Development time of 18 years is indeed horrendous, and in itself can hurt a program.

Good development is dependent on the ability to concurrently develop segments and sub-segments of a program, and combine them.

The longer the program gets, the more incentive there is to restart segments that may become dated. And every time that happens, there is added risk.

Furthermore, long development times reduce the confidence of the dev teams in the product being deployed.

We've seen so many videos of tests including firing on the move, and it's been lauded as the next generation mediocre quasi-recon IFV, filling the niche between mounted and dismounted operation.

There is no time to dump it. Fire the several hundred people that tried to conceal the whole thing, and spend a few billions to install a suspension system on the vehicle plus some attenuating wall between the crew and engine compartments.

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