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UK Chooses General Dynamics ASCOD AFV

March 24, 2010

Austrian ASCOD (Ulan) armored fighting vehicle, now a part of the UK FRESH Program. Photo author Matthias Kabel.

This General Dynamics ASCOD vehicle has been chosen to replace the Scimitar, as part of the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) program. Called a Specialist Vehicle it appears to be a sound design, in service with the Spanish as Pizarro and Austrian Army Ulan. Being Austrian, this is an excellent endorsement, which has a history of top armored vehicle production. Says Army Recognition.com:

The ASCOD 2 SV is an armoured infantry fighting vehicle designed and manufactured by Steyr now General Dynamics European Land Systems. The ASCOD 2 (in Austria named ULAN and in Spain Pizarro) is a tracked armored vehicle in the class of 30 to 35 tons. The development of the ULAN began under the name ASCOD (Austrian-Spanish Cooperative Development) as a joint cooperation between General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas of Spain and Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH. The ASCOD company consists of the Austrian Company, Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug AG & Co AG and the Spanish company, Santa Barbara Sistemas. Following extensive trials with prototype vehicles, the Spanish government placed the first contract for the Pizarro early in 1996. The first prototype (PT01) was completed in 1990, with the turret and chassis being built in Austria and systems integration taking place in Spain. Prototype 2 was completed in 1992, and the last prototype was built in Spain in 1994, baseline for the Spanish army version. The ASCOD 2 SV is a modern, highly agile Infantry Fighting Vehicle that can be adapted to meet the reconnaissance requirement with the stretch potential to meet other FRES SV roles.

Here are the specs:

  • Weight-28 tons
  • Length-6.24 meters
  • Height-2.43 meters
  • Crew-3 crew + 8 troops
  • Armament-30 mm Mauser MK 30-2
    MG3 7.62 mm (Pizarro)
    MG74 7.62 mm (Ulan)
  • Armor-Up to 14.5 mm in front
  • Speed-72 kmh
  • Range-500 km

There is also a light tank version with a 105mm cannon, in service with the Royal Thai Army. The following are portions of the General Dynamics Press Release:

General Dynamics United Kingdom Limited has been selected by the Ministry of Defence to provide the next generation of armoured fighting vehicles to the British Army. The MoD has chosen General Dynamics’ ASCOD SV tracked vehicle as the winning design for the demonstration phase of the Specialist Vehicle competition, providing both the Scout variant and the Common Base Platform for up to 580 SV vehicles…

British troops using the ASCOD SV will have the best protection available in this vehicle class, both as it is delivered and as it grows to meet future threats. The vehicle will be immediately capable of delivering load-carrying growth potential of up to 42 tonnes thanks to a modern, proven drivetrain. This means that ASCOD SV is capable now of being equipped to meet future threats likely to appear over its entire 30 year life, without the need to upgrade its engine or transmission during that time.

Here is a FRES update from GD in pdf.

*****

ASCOD SV variants. Graphic courtesy of General Dynamics

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38 Comments leave one →
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  3. March 27, 2010 8:53 am

    The Canadians have had success with their Leopards out there too.

    It is rubbish that A-stan isn’t tank. Yes it his hilly but if Mastiffs, Land Rovers etc. can get about on road there I am sure (I know) the tanks will go just as well (better) off road.

    It is all about money.

    One successful tactic for employing tanks over there is to use them as a sort of roving pill box; tethered to fix point so keeping fuel use and wear and tear down. Like that dam (who’s name escapes) that the UK were defending.

  4. March 26, 2010 5:13 pm

    hi all what do u think of mod refusing to send challenger 2 main battle tanks to afghanistan while british troops have lorded praise on DANISH LEOPARD 2 TANKS who has supported our boys out their. MOD says its not tank country!! but other nato tanks are doing very well.our boys should get everything they need to fight this war. This govenment just keeps letting our forces time and again and again shame on u gordon brown.

  5. March 26, 2010 4:57 pm

    hi jed i think we need light tanks think cv series is a better tank but ascod is pretty good to, what im trying to say is its light fast air portable and gets in harms way quickly with the ground troops using javalin as well! very hard hitting force cv or ascod u will have 40mm and 120mm together i think when they turn up on the battle feild its going to spoil yr day.

  6. March 26, 2010 4:31 pm

    re.tangosix ha ha had drink last night just read yr reply fair comment to you,now you’ve got yr own back and rightly so, anyway do you not think what u read in the papers and what goes on behind the scenes with our close allies is i bit differant,like the french in the 1982 falklands war mi6 and the french secret service worked together to stop the argies getting their hands on anymore exocet missiles.

  7. March 26, 2010 2:32 pm

    Jed said “I don’t think a “medium tank” with a 120mm gun or 105mm is a direct replacement for the infantry use of Javelin do you ?”

    Javelin’s purpose is to give infantry formation an organic anti-armour capability. It is a superb weapon a real improvement of MILAN; especially it soft launch capability. It is an appropriate weapon at £50,000 a shot to take out say £1million pound tank or other high value platform such an APC/MICV/AIFV or whatever.

    But I question it use in light infantry confrontations such A-stan. The spectrum of contacts in that conflict ranges from all out pitched battles to those more akin to police actions. When a a heavy fire is needed say to remove a sniper or quell a HMG it seems that the British have no choice but to resort to Javelin (after that the choice is Apache or fast air.) Surely that is overkill? When conducting operations the British forces have considerable freedom of movement; unlike a conventional war they don’t have to win territory. They normally establish fire support position on a nearby hill overlooking the compound/settlement about to be assaulted; nominally within range of .50cal. All I am saying that option to take large direct fire weapon either tracked mounted or towed (therefore heli-portable) to undertake the heavy direct missions may be a better option.

    I don’t believe that UAVs are a magic bullet but they are biting into this tradition manned role. But as each infantry regiment has it own organic reconnaissance patrol, each armoured regiment has its own reconnaissance squadron, and the unlikelihood that Britain in the (near) future will deploy an armoured division requiring its own “formation reconnaissance regiment” of lightly armoured vehicles. Though I have read the doctrinal reasons for their introduction after over a decade of reading such I think their introduction was as much to do with keeping regiments (especially the Household Cavalry) in the line with cheaper tanks than any need for flexible response. In deed if flexible response was a valid reason we would be replacing Scimitar et al with another 8,000kg vehicle.

    As for under gunning you only have to look through British military history. But as we are talking about tanks look at WW2. For screening and recc-in-force it is obvious that proper tank gun is preferable to an automatic cannon combined with expensive ATGM. One ATGM costs as much as 50 rounds of 120mm/105mm ammunition.

    Don’t forget that job is to kill the enemy not look at them………..

    I think we should call a truce now. No hard feelings.

  8. March 26, 2010 4:40 am

    Hello,

    richie said:

    “re. tangosix do you really think the uk would put itselft in a position where other countries dictated to us and could say no your not getting this and your not getting that in time of war if they supplied us with tanks and other weapons get real man your a joke talking crap.”

    To quote a debate on the Gulf War in the House of Lords,Hansard 31st of January 1991:

    “Lord Mulley:

    “I also agree that some of our other NATO allies could have been a little more forthcoming in their support. More seriously, I was extremely concerned at the report that Germany was withholding crucial Tornado spares which our forces may need. That raises a further question as to whether it is wise to become involved in European co-operative ventures where the production is shared among the partners if de facto it gives each of the partners a means of veto over the use of aircraft in each country. Can the noble Earl give us an assurance that Germany will not seek to hold back Tornado parts that our forces may need?”

    The Earl of Arran:

    “My Lords, I cannot give any assurance in that direction because it is up to the German nation.””

    It continues…

    “The Earl of Onslow:

    “My Lords, are the Belgians providing the ammunition? Are the Germans allowing the forces Tornado spare parts? May we have a straight answer to those two questions?”

    The Earl of Arran:

    “My Lords, to the best of my knowledge Belgium is not providing ammunition. I shall have to write to my noble friend concerning the prohibition on the supply of German Tornado spare parts.””

    As you so eloquently put it richie – “Get real man your a joke talking crap”*.

    richie said:

    “tangosix uk second divison in armed forces!!so who is number 2 in the west and where are they in afganhistan knob dont under estimate us brits at your peril.”

    Do grow up,there’s a good erm….”knob”*.

    The issue of security of supply was summed up by the following,again from the debate quoted above:

    “Lord Stoddart of Swindon:

    “Would it not be foolish for this country to allow Europe to make decisions on our foreign policy, our defence policy and perhaps on the control of our armed forces, bearing in mind our recent experiences?””

    tangosix.

    *With apologies to Mike Burleson for lowering the tone.

  9. Jed permalink
    March 25, 2010 9:12 pm

    X – the type and armament of an ‘armoured recce’ vehicle as required by the British Army is a result of the armies doctrine, and the Force Recce Regiments do indeed undertake screening and Recce in force and many other roles, for which they, and most other armies utilize an “auto-cannon”. UAV’s are not the magic bullet many seem to think they are. They have disadvantages as well as advantages and while they can certainly provide an adjunct capability, they can not replace an armoured recce vehicle with well training, thinking people in it (Not yet anyway !).

    How do the British have a history of ‘under gunning’ exactly ? I will admit that might have been the case in WWII, but the 120mm rifled gun was introduced with the Chieftain when our NATO allies were all still using 105mm. The Warrior’s 30mm RARDEN was contemporary, in caliber at least to the guns on other western AIFV’s of the same period.

    I don’t think a “medium tank” with a 120mm gun or 105mm is a direct replacement for the infantry use of Javelin do you ?

    Perhaps 120mm mortars with the new laser guided rounds might be a cost effective replacement for Javelin, or even the six barreled 40mm grenade launchers firing medium velocity grenades which can range out to 800m – not guided I will admit, but accurate enough to reach out and touch the bad guys at a much more cost effective price. As well as the weapon used, we might again look at the doctrine, strategy and tactics which see’s our squaddies using an expensive IR guided anti-tank missile as a long range anti-personnel round.

  10. March 25, 2010 6:22 pm

    re. tangosix do you really think the uk would put itselft in a position where other countries dictated to us and could say no your not getting this and your not getting that in time of war if they supplied us with tanks and other weapons get real man your a joke talking crap.

  11. March 25, 2010 5:57 pm

    tangosix uk second divison in armed forces!!so who is number 2 in the west and where are they in afganhistan knob dont under estimate us brits at your peril.

  12. March 25, 2010 1:25 pm

    Jed,

    Well I care that the ASCOD has been trialled with 105mm as I am interested. Perhaps in future you should phrase your posts a bit more honestly and say “I don’t care….” If the blessed thing had been trialled with 120mm I would have probably posted something to the effect of “I note the ASCOD has been trialled with 120mm”.

    The 105mm gun is interesting to me for a couple of reasons. One the US uses it for Stryker Mobile Gun System. Two when I see British troops using Javelin at £50,000 a shot for direct fire support in Afghanistan I find myself asking if there isn’t a better way and cheaper way of delivering HE onto a target as less then 3 miles distant. And if we were to send a vehicle to carry that weapon in that theatre it would make sense for it be tracked. And in the days of UAV do we really need a 27 ton vehicle to go and poke around a bit upfront? The only thing a light tank is good for these days is screening and recce in force; I would suggest for those mission something larger than 40mm would be a lot more appropriate. The British have a history of under gunning.

    Is that OK?

  13. Jed permalink
    March 25, 2010 10:52 am

    Elegatso if your reading – please tell Solomon I still cant post a comment on his site, whatever type of authentication I use – maybe its a work network firewall thing – I will have to try from home (but I don’t think that worked in the past either) – Mike apologies for using your forum for passing system condition messages !

    x – its NOT a ‘french gun’ – 40mm CTA is Anglo-French design ! As in “at least half ours” !!

    I presume the ‘tankies’ had lots of input into this procurement, which the MOD then disregarded with flagrant and wanton disrespect, to simply pick the cheapest of the two bids.

    Also who cares if the ASCOD has been trialled with a 105mm ? Thats a light tank gun, not an armoured recce vehicles gun. If you want a ‘light’ (medium ?) tank, then CV90120T with the smooth bore 120mm from RUAG firing NATO standard 120mm ammo would be a better bet IMHO.

    Finally Solomon – I did not accuse you of being an ASS, I suggested you were being ‘arsey’ which is an English term, which means you appeared to be loosing your temper with TangoSix – even people who are level headed and thoughtful can get ‘arsey’ every now and then. So apologies for confusing you, but it is “our” language old chap, that’s why its called English and not American :-) I presume calling me a cowboy was an equivalent use of an Americanism that I don’t fully understand……..

  14. March 25, 2010 8:18 am

    Thanks tangosix! But I cocked up slightly. I was going to add “and invented the tank too.”

    But that is adding insult to injury. :)

    Here we are in the depths of recession and the government lets us down again. I am not so much talking about the building, but all the hi-tech extra stuff. If we were the French, EU rules or not, this wouldn’t have happened.

    I wonder how much input the tankies had had in this venture?

    I am sure a company like JCB could have come with some innovator product (not that there is much innovation needed all these vehicles have the same layout.)

    What a cock-up.

    Still not convinced by the French gun. Though I note the ASCOD(?) has been test with 105mm gun.

    “Through the mud and blood to the less than green (foreign) fields beyond!”

  15. elgatoso permalink
    March 25, 2010 2:04 am

    Sorry mike for the use of your space.

  16. elgatoso permalink
    March 25, 2010 2:04 am

    Solomon,remember my post FYI?

  17. elgatoso permalink
    March 25, 2010 2:02 am

    Solomon ,I have a lot of problem sometimes with your web page.Not always

  18. March 24, 2010 11:12 pm

    Jed,

    Trust me cowboy. Anything I start …I can finish.

    That being said, its obvious that TangoSix and I have opposing views. What’s to discuss. I’m not changing his mind and he’s not changing mine. The discussion is over. And if that’s being an ass then you’ve been in some REALLY, REALLY, REALLY soft places.

    As far as my blog is concerned, you’re the only person that has ever had a complaint. Try again.

  19. Jed permalink
    March 24, 2010 8:44 pm

    Solomon said :

    “Whenever someone uses pages of text to try and prove a point I begin to wonder if they have their facts right.

    I don’t think you do.

    End of conversation.”

    Dude, don’t start it if you cant finish it ! There is no need to get all arsey about it, we normally have a well mannered debate as we are all ‘guests’ of Mike, we don’t have to agree with each other because we are all highly opinionated adults (or else we would not be reading and commenting on this stuff eh ?).

    TangoSix likes to research stuff and present his findings in long comments – you obviously don’t. But if you don’t think he has his facts right, don’t leave us hanging, why not point out the errors as you perceive them so that we all benefit.

    By the way on a completely different point – can you do something to fix the comments on your SNAFU blog because whatever ID I try to use, or even if I use anonymous and put the checksum letters into the box, most of the time my comments get snaffled and never appear. Or have you blocked me because I am not a fan of the F35 program ? (Note ‘program’ not ‘aircraft design’) :-)

  20. March 24, 2010 7:27 pm

    Whenever someone uses pages of text to try and prove a point I begin to wonder if they have their facts right.

    I don’t think you do.

    End of conversation.

  21. March 24, 2010 7:09 pm

    Hello,

    Mike Burleson,it is there now,thanks for fixing that.

    X,I think you summed that up far more concisely than I ever could.

    Solomon said:

    “TangoSix…why oh why do you feel the need to trash the Bradley when talking about the BRITISH FRES competition?

    Your nation made the requirements, selected the vehicles etc….”

    You must be a sensitive sort to take criticism of an armoured vehicle as a slight to your national pride.
    In fact,I seem to remember that you didn’t take it too well when I criticised the CV90.
    Are there any other armoured vehicles you are emotionally attatched to?

    “The Bradley had a rough start but its well on its way to being a proven vehicle. Additionally the “warrior” that you lavish so much praise on has only one export order too. Is that thanks also?????”

    Bradley is widely acknowledged to have been a poor design,the last in a long line of failed attempts to design an infantry fighting vehicle.
    The United States Army has spent nearly thirty years trying to rectify those defects with three major upgrades.

    Today’s A3 Bradley is the fourth incarnation of the breed.
    It had nothing to do with the development of Warrior,CV90 or ASCOD which were all developed in preference to earlier versions of Bradley.
    The A3 is significantly different to the earlier models.

    Where exactly did I “lavish praise” on the Warrior?
    I do recall describing it as a direct equivalent of Bradley,CV90 and ASCOD.
    You may regard that as lavish praise,I would regard it as a criticism.

    tangosix.

  22. March 24, 2010 6:07 pm

    It is amazing that a country that can build nuclear submarines, invented Chobam armour, can’t weld together a box, slap an engine in the front, and hang some wheels of it.

  23. March 24, 2010 5:19 pm

    Hello Mike Burleson,

    wordpress has just swallowed a long reply I just tried to post,could you fish it out please?

    tangosix.

  24. March 24, 2010 5:16 pm

    Hello,

    michael said:

    “This vehicle is nothing like the warrior in capability as has been suggested,it will be netcentric as well as have the most modern sensors and a completly new turret,main armament and new generation ammunition.”

    Yes it is,the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme gives Warrior exactly the same sensors,armament,ammunition and network centric capability as F.R.E.S. Scout.
    See here:

    http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/WCSP-Britains-Warriors-to-Undergo-Mid-Life-Upgrade-05967/

    To quote General Dynamics themselves:

    “Lockheed Martin UK has been selected as one of the only UK-based companies with the knowledge, skills and experience to integrate the 40mm Case Telescopic Weapon System, mandated as the cannon system for FRES SV and the Warrior Lethality uplift programmes.”

    From here:

    http://www.generaldynamics.uk.com/news/general%20dynamics%20uk-led%20team%20delivers%20fres%20sv%20bid

    michael said:

    “Large amounts of taxpayers money will NOT be spent overseas, as part of this contract GD signed an agreement with the MOD that 70% of the work will be carried out in the UK ( I believe that COD Donnington is where the work will take place)”

    To quote National Defence Industries News:

    “The programme is broadly split into 3 main groups of vehicles:
    a protected mobility platform (Group 1), a reconnaissance
    platform (Group 2) and a direct fire platform (Group 3). It is
    the largest ever Army programme with an acquisition value of
    around £16 billion, and through life costs of £60 billion.”

    So 30% of the work will be done outside the United Kingdom,
    30% of £16,000 Million is £4,800 Million.
    Are you suggesting that is not a large amount of taxpayers money being spent overseas?

    michael said:

    “Also 85% of the supply chain will be sourced in the UK ensuring that British Manufacturers and British workers will benefit from this contract.”

    The above figures put the cost of lifetime support for Future Rapid Effects System at £44,000 Million.
    The 15% of that spent overseas would amount to £6,300 Million which you presumably don’t regard as a large amount of taxpayer’s money.
    Had these vehicles been entirely built in the United Kingdom then both that and the money spent overseas on procurement will add up to £11,100 Million more being spent in the United Kingdom.
    A very large proportion of that would have found it’s way back to the treasury in taxes if these had been entirely British vehicles.

    michael said:

    “It is NOT as has been suggested a foreign vehicle,the design is by GD UK and is entirely British.”

    It is a foreign vehicle and is certainly not entirely British.
    Again,quoting General Dynamics:

    “Based on a proven European design, it’s the latest-generation vehicle developed specifically for FRES SV by a team of General Dynamics engineers in Britain and Europe.”

    From here:

    http://www.generaldynamics.uk.com/solutions-and-capabilities/fres-and-armoured-fighting-vehicles

    And:

    “Despite its modernity,the Renk 256B transmission is tested and proven,
    currently helping to drive the new generation of German Puma IFVs.
    Capable of operating to 45 tonnes it combines with MTU’s 600kW 8V engine to provide unparalleled growth potential for FRES SV.”

    From here:

    http://www.generaldynamics.uk.com/FRES/Downloads.asp

    Are you suggesting that Renk transmissions and MTU engines are made in Britain?
    I think you will find they are German,those same Germans who didn’t want the United States and United Kingdom to invade Iraq.

    See here:

    http://www.renk.de/frameset.php?pub=2

    And here:

    http://www.mtu-online.com/great-britain/europe/

    michael said:

    “To suggest that we would be reliant on Spain and Austria for spares and would not be able to fight it therefore without their consent is blatantly untrue and actually ludicrous.”

    Really,what exactly do you think the 15% of the supply chain sourced outide the United Kingdom is going to pay for then,thin air?
    To suggest we can force the Spanish and Austrian governments to let us have the things that money pays for when they are opposed to wars we are engaged in is blatantly untrue and actually ludicrous.

    michael said:

    “As this vehicle is still in the design stage and has not yet been built,to compare it with legacy armour is complete tripe.”

    It is a legacy vehicle,it’s architecture is the same as other legacy vehicles and the armour technology which will be applied to it is also the same as that which is being applied to other legacy vehicles.
    To suggest otherwise is complete tripe.
    Again quoting General Dynamics:

    “It’s a Modified Military Off-The-Shelf (MMOTS) vehicle,developed to
    meet the British Army’s particular needs.The ASCOD family has already
    proven its ability.The Spanish Army’s Pizarro and the Austrian Army’s Ulan vehicles, earlier ASCOD variants,have been fielded.Both Ulan and Pizarro, which share the same basic vehicle platform and much additional technology, have evolved over the course of more than a decade.”

    From here:

    http://www.generaldynamics.uk.com/FRES/Downloads.asp

    “Is someone on here a lobbyist for BAE.”

    Why would a lobbyist for BAE be suggesting that their CV90 would be a disaster for the British army?
    Is someone here a lobbyist for General Dynamics?

    tangosix.

  25. March 24, 2010 4:11 pm

    Solomon

    You are correct that Mastiff is derived from the Force Protection Cougar but if you look into the distant history of Force Protection, you will find the UK Tempest.

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2009/08/mine-and-ied-resistant-vehicles/

  26. March 24, 2010 3:58 pm

    Are we going to plonk that French weapon on this?

  27. March 24, 2010 3:41 pm

    Hello,

    Jed said:

    “So it appears there has been no production of Warrior in the last 15 years – which is why I am sure it was not put forward as a contender for the FRES Scout competition, and lets face it, it would have to have been a ‘new’ build (shortened ?) variant – not a refurb of a 15 year old plus vehicle (to replace a 40 year old one!)”

    As I said earlier:

    “Early in the process it was decided that only modified off the shelf vehicles would be considered.
    This eliminated both the possibility of a vehicle being designed for the job and a vehicle built in Britain.”

    It would have been a simple matter to build additional Warrior hulls,the production facilities needed to do this are currently manufacturing Terrier armoured engineer vehicles.
    See here:

    http://www.corusservices.com/file_source/StaticFiles/Terrier%20case%20study%20.pdf

    Which is why BAE Systems were able to make a last minute offer to build CV90 hulls in the United Kingdom.
    See here (note the hull penetrations for the torsion bar suspension,there are very good reasons why British main battle tanks do not use torsion bars):

    http://www.defencemanagement.com/news_story.asp?id=12413

    The reason new designs and Warrior were not even considered had nothing to do with practicality or cost and everything to do with what runs the Ministry of Defence – “process”.
    With a long history of destroying every project it comes into contact with,the procurement process now favours buying “off the shelf”.
    To quote Lord Drayson:

    “I am sure you agree that it would make no sense to invent a new vehicle from scratch,”

    I would not agree with him at all,armoured vehicles are not like combat aircraft,developing a new hull costs very little which is why tiny little Singapore could afford to develop this:

    http://www.army-technology.com/projects/bionix/

    The Spanish and Austrians could afford to design and manufacture ASCOD on the back of orders for just a few hundred vehicles.
    The cost of developing a new hull and manufacturing it domestically would have been a tiny fraction of the tax revenue the treasury will lose from buying a foreign vehicle.
    Manufacturing new Warrior hull would have cost even less.

    As far as I am aware,the Scout variant of ASCOD is not shortened.
    The CV90 scout vehicle was.
    It is generally not a good idea to shorten a tracked vehicle,nor is it neccessary.
    Firstly it offers little benefit,a small reduction in weight paid for with a large reduction in internal volume and increased costs.
    Secondly,the ride and handling of tracked vehicles is heavily influenced by the relationship between the length of the track’s contact area and the width between track centres.
    Making the vehicle shorter or longer will have negative effects although it can be done within limits.

    What the British army is getting with ASCOD is a sexed up 1980s era vehicle which will be in use for the next forty years.
    Bradley entered service in 1981,Warrior in 1987,CV90 in 1993 and ASCOD in 1996 but they are all direct equivalents built for the same purpose to the same basic specifications and with the same weaknesses.

    The Americans have learnt their lessons from the Bradley,I would be prepared to bet a pint that their future Ground Combat Vehicle does not have a flat belly and hull penetrating torsion bar suspension.

    The United States,China,Russia,France,South Korea,Italy,japan,Sweden and Germany are all first rate military powers capable of supplying the majority of their defence needs.
    The United Kingdom used to part of this elite group.
    It isn’t any more.

    Procurements like this have relegated toe United Kingdom to the second division of military nations.

    First division military powers supply most of their own needs and export arms to other countries.
    They have security of supply and the freedom of action that comes with it.
    Such nations can afford to sustain major warfighting nations and can prevent those nations who depend on their defence exports from going to war if they choose to do so.
    They also gain the economic benefit of exporting their defence systems.

    Second division military powers depend on the goodwill of others for their supply of weapons.
    They save themselves the cost of developing weapons but cannot go to war without the consent of their weapon suppliers and cannot economically sustain major warfighting operations.
    Thus their armed forces cannot act in the best interests of the taxpayers who pay for them.
    Such countries typically reduce their defence expenditures to the bare minimum as a consequence.
    The British armed forces have recently procured themselves into this second division.

    tangosix.

  28. March 24, 2010 3:21 pm

    Mastiff is derived from the Cougar MRAP. I don’t know of this “Tempest”…

    We’re good THINKDEFENCE, but TangoSix delivered the first blow…I only retaliated in kind.

  29. michael permalink
    March 24, 2010 2:57 pm

    Some of the remarks regarding this vehicle are completly misleading.
    For a start the specs you gave in the headline article are for the ASCOD that is already in service,which is nothing like the completly re-designed version that GD have proposed.
    Whether this was a deliberate ploy on your part to make this vehicle seem obsolete before it gets into British service, but you know I think that these details are wrong.
    This vehicle is nothing like the warrior in capability as has been suggested,it will be netcentric as well as have the most modern sensors and a completly new turret,main armament and new generation ammunition.
    Large amounts of taxpayers money will NOT be spent overseas, as part of this contract GD signed an agreement with the MOD that 70% of the work will be carried out in the UK ( I believe that COD Donnington is where the work will take place)
    Also 85% of the supply chain will be sourced in the UK ensuring that British Manufacturers and British workers will benefit from this contract.
    It is NOT as has been suggested a foreign vehicle,the design is by GD UK and is entirely British.
    To suggest that we would be reliant on Spain and Austria for spares and would not be able to fight it therefore without their consent is blatantly untrue and actually ludicrous.
    As this vehicle is still in the design stage and has not yet been built,to compare it with legacy armour is complete tripe.
    Is someone on here a lobbyist for BAE.

  30. March 24, 2010 2:54 pm

    Steady on Solomon,

    I agree, the Bradley isn’t as bad as people make out and has matured into a design that is probably comparable to its peers, it did have a poor start though, as you say.

    Just to correct though

    Pinzgauer, superb off road light vehicle that is in service with many nations. The problems came when we armoured them in a version called the Vector. This was ill conceived and rushed, no doubt about that and is being gradually withdrawn.

    BVS10 Viking, another superb vehicle that has unrivalled mobility with basic ballistic and blast protection. Despite its mobility it has been proven to be vulnerable to IED’s which is why it is being withdrawn from Afghanistan and replaced with the Bronco. The design is sound though, in fact it’s forerunner, the Bv206 is in service with the US armed forces

    Mastiff, sorry, you are pretty wide of the mark there as well. The Mastiff is in fact a derivative of the Tempest, a vehicle designed with UK money and expertise. The reason we placed the side armour on it is because the theatre it was originally purchased for, Iraq, had a high incidence of off route mines or Explosively Formed Penetrators, hence the additional side protection.

    Land Rover Snatch, again, probably the best light armoured patrol vehicle, built on hard won experience in Northern Ireland.

    Where the UK has suffered is using its vehicle in inappropriate ways, for example, using the Snatch in a high IED threat environment.

    This is our greatest mistake but we have taken the lessons and co developed the LPPV contenders which again, will be class leading.

  31. March 24, 2010 2:41 pm

    TangoSix…why oh why do you feel the need to trash the Bradley when talking about the BRITISH FRES competition?

    Your nation made the requirements, selected the vehicles etc….

    The Bradley had a rough start but its well on its way to being a proven vehicle. Additionally the “warrior” that you lavish so much praise on has only one export order too. Is that thanks also?????

    Lastly, your government chose the route of vehicle development and has had a series of failed vehicle development programs. Don’t throw stones unless you want a history of failed vehicle programs started in the UK that have cost lives.

    Pinzgauer????
    BV-10????
    Land Rover Snatch????
    and then you redesign an already proven vehicle and make it into an even more awkward monstrosity (Mastiff)!!!!!

    Every country has issues in procurement. Don’t throw stones at the US Ground Forces and I won’t throw them at yours.

  32. Jed permalink
    March 24, 2010 2:24 pm

    Gentlemen

    I think you will enjoy this very comprehensive article on the history of FRES, which puts into context with wheeled vehicles, and assess the competitors:

    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2010/03/fres-scout-%E2%80%93-spot-the-difference/

    TangoSix – the original manufacturer of Warrior no longer exists, Wikipedia says the British Army accepted its last ones in 1995 – and the Kuwaiti order (placed in 1993) might have been completed around the same date. So it appears there has been no production of Warrior in the last 15 years – which is why I am sure it was not put forward as a contender for the FRES Scout competition, and lets face it, it would have to have been a ‘new’ build (shortened ?) variant – not a refurb of a 15 year old plus vehicle (to replace a 40 year old one!)

  33. Mike Burleson permalink*
    March 24, 2010 2:02 pm

    Thinking many liked the tracked vehicles, I have yet to hear any support for this version.

    I agree about the Bradley. What were they thinking! This is why off the shelf is most always better, even for a just fair platform like this. It beats endless delays, cost overruns, and ending up with a poor product anyway.

  34. March 24, 2010 1:39 pm

    Hello,

    there are dire consequences for the British army,whichever vehicle won this contract.

    Early in the process it was decided that only modified off the shelf vehicles would be considered.
    This eliminated both the possibility of a vehicle being designed for the job and a vhicle built in Britain.

    The only vehicles in production,and hence the only candidates were CV90 and ASCOD.
    Of those,ASCOD has not won an export order in the fourteen years it has been in service*.
    A handful of orders have been won by CV90,largely because it was the only vehicle in production other than ASCOD.
    Though partly due to other factors,the Finns ordered CV90 in exchange for the Swedes buying Patria AMVs.

    Neither of these vehicles is in any way exceptional.
    Both are direct equivalents of the Warrior which is already in British service.
    The American response to the Soviet B.M.P. was the ludicrous Bradley.
    A vehicle so poorly thought out that there was even a Hollywood movie made about it.
    Despite it’s predecessor being the most produced armoured vehicle in history,no nation in their right mind would buy the Bradley**.
    Consequently,those nations which could built their own infantry fighting vehicles.
    Armoured vehicles cost little to develop and manufacturing your own is far cheaper than buying them from someone else.
    Thus Britain ended up with Warrior,Sweden with CV90 and Spain and Austria collaborated on ASCOD.
    All of these vehicles were built to similar standards of mobility,protection and firepower.

    The new British vehicles then will be similar in capability to the already in service Warrior which is to be updated soon.
    However,the decision to buy foreigh vehicles will almost certainly permanently end British domestic armoured vehicle production.
    Consequently large amounts of taxpayers money will be spent overseas.
    This will directly cost the British Treasury about £6,000 Million in lost taxes over the lifetime of the Future Rapid Effects System vehicles.
    It will also reduce political support for defence spending as Members of Parliament support spending which creates jobs in their constituancies,not spending which creates jobs in Spain.
    The British army will lose it’s security of supply,not being able to go to war without the consent of the Spanish and Austrians on whom it will be reliant for vehicles and parts.
    Consequently the army will no longer be able to act in the best interests of the people who pay for it.
    The taxpayers and politicians will then see no reason to spend money on an army which is of no benefit to them.
    Even if the Spanish and Austrians agree with any future was Britain may get itself involved in,the British economy could not afford to support a major war as money spent on vehicles would no longer be fed back into the economy which pays for the war.

    The logical conclusion of all these factors is a significant reduction in British defence spending and large cuts to the British army.

    tangosix.

    *I cannot confirm whether any ASCODS ever got to Thailand.
    ** By way of thanking the United Sates for Desert Storm,Saudi Arabia became the only export customer for the Bradley.

  35. March 24, 2010 12:26 pm

    This had to be a case of lower price wins because from my viewpoint the BAE product was superior.

    The cheapest isn’t necessarily the best.

  36. mrc permalink
    March 24, 2010 12:21 pm

    Woah there, hold your horses.

    The UK is *not* buying the ASCOD, but a VERSION of the Ascod. This FRES requirement is for the scout/cav variant, which is to be a shortened chassis and jampacked with ISTAR kit and that nifty 40mm CTA (unmanned?) turret.
    Meaning there is still yet a test, eval and acceptance course to be run untill it reaches the troops (translation; it will still be a few years before operational).

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