Tag Archives: IFV

The World According to Shephard: Week 5

Costing Britain’s defence

The UK defence secretary, Gavin Williamson recently confirmed the MoD’s intention to split off the defence part of the National Security review into a separate review. The Clarence offers some suggestions on where the cuts might fall while protecting the capabilities necessary to meet the goals of the 2015 National Security Review.

Meanwhile the MoD came under increasing pressure this week after it was forced to defend itself in light of suggestions by the National Audit Office (NAO) that it did not include the costings of the Type 31e light frigate project in its equipment plan. The NAO’s report found that there could be an affordability gap potential of over £20 billion.


Up-gunning Europe

Final testing of the German Armed Force’s anti-tank missile system on its fleet of Puma IFVs is expected to be completed by Q3 2018, with initial fielding scheduled for 2020. The MELLS missile system is armed with Spike LR missiles and will provide the German forces with significant additional operational scope and capabilities.

In Bulgaria the MoD has indicated it will acquire new wheeled IFVs as part of its modernisation agenda, in addition to upgrading existing soviet-era armour. The tender is expected to be launched in mid-2018 for 150 8×8 vehicles to equip three battalions. Alex Mladenov and Krassimir Grozev look into some of the contenders for the programme.

Europe tanks

The British Army’s training units are preparing for the imminent delivery of the first Ajax variant after the completion of government acceptance testing (GAT). The Ares specialist troop carrier configuration will be received by the Armour Centre at Bovington, while GAT for Ajax is expected to commence in early 2018 following successful manned live firing trials.


Patrolling the seas from above and below

Russia’s Beriev Be-12 fleet of maritime patrol aircraft is set for an upgrade of its vintage 1970s mission suite according to the Russian Naval Aviation Chief. The aircraft will receive three new components, a hydroacoustic sub-system, new radar and new magnetic anomaly detector to keep the aircraft in service until the mid-2020s.

Going beneath the waves in Taiwan, where the navy performed a successful demonstration of its minehunting capabilities. Despite the success of the demonstration, the main message was that the Republic of China Navy’s minehunting capabilities have reached the end of their lifecycle and must be replaced soon. The service is at risk of losing its ability to counter China’s sea mine blockade threat.

Minehunting edit

Special Forces march into future threats

NATO special operations forces are actively seeking next-generation technologies to support a future operating environment dominated by missions in confined, congested and contested megacities. This includes exploiting technology in order to support subterranean operations in dense urban environments with large populations.

Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service is also considering future training and material requirements of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF) following the eradication of Isis from the country. ISOF has recently performed more conventional light infantry operations to retake huge swathes of land from Isis including the City of Mosul and now needs to re-focus on elite counter-terrorism skills required to ensure the stability of Iraq.

Iraq SOF

Who has the best armoured fighting vehicle?

European armoured vehicles

One of the best features in the latest issue of Land Warfare International looks at the new generation of armoured fighting vehicles that are entering the inventories of Europe’s armies.

With a raft of new types and models entering service or under construction, we thought it would be interesting to put up a comparison the base models.

Although a vehicle’s capability will be defined by the types of systems that are fitted, it is still interesting to view the main hull and machinery characteristics of these new products.

So to help with this, we got our design team to throw together this handy reference chart (click to enlarge), outlining the basic statistics for each of the latest tracked and wheeled designs that are available.

The German Army is currently converting from the 45-year old Marder IFV to the new Puma IFV, which the manufacturer describes as the ‘most powerful IFV worldwide’.

In German service, the Puma will work alongside the 8×8 Boxer multi-role armoured vehicle, which is claimed to have the highest protection level of any vehicle in its class.

The company-funded VBCI-2 was only just unveiled by Nexter in September 2015 and that vehicle features a new all-welded aluminium hull design with a higher roof line to provide greater internal volume.

The UK’s renewal of its armoured vehicle fleet centres on the GDLS-UK Ajax tracked reconnaissance vehicle, the only new armoured vehicle in development or production for the British Army.

France, meanwhile, is developing the 6×6 Griffon Véhicule Blindé Multi-Rôles (VBMR) multirole armoured vehicle and the 6×6 Jaguar EBRC armoured reconnaissance and combat vehicle.

The General Dynamics LAV design also continues to prove popular and the latest iteration, the Piranha 5, has been chosen to replace the Danish Army’s tracked M113.

What do you think of the latest industrial offerings from Europe? Have European armies made the right choices for armour? Are there any others that should be included here? Be sure to leave your comments below.

Meanwhile, all the latest news about these vehicles and their subsystems will emerge next week at Eurosatory in Paris so be sure to keep tabs on our show news.

And to view the complete entries, as well as all other AFVs currently in service, sign up to a free trial of Shephard Plus at www.shephardplus.com


Blasts and detonations at the Firing Range

There’s no job quite like that of a defence reporter, that’s a fact. This week was no exception with a visit to the Rheinmetall proving ground in Unterlüß in Germany.

Following a day of briefings in which the company outlined the future of its technology, from new tank calibres to Puma upgrades, visitors were treated to night and day live firings.

With 32 countries represented at the 2016 Rheinmetall Land Forces Symposium this was a great chance for the company and its partners to showcase the latest tech. As well as provide quite the spectacle for onlookers.

Now I wanted to keep this one short and sweet so I could show you some of the stuff I experienced at the live firing event. Enjoy.

(Warning if you have your earphones in – you might want to check your volume level).

Once darkness fell we experienced some tracer rounds with a firing range of 1000m.

Day two involved plenty of small rounds firing, onto bigger mortars and the presence of the PZH 2000 and the Puma. Lots of loud bangs!


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Asian armour advances

In the past decade we have seen a gradual increase in the capability of manufacturers in Asia to build more advanced  armoured vehicles domestically and build up their armour capability through indigenous and foreign sources.

While Asia has lagged behind a bit when developing its own armour, largely because the terrain does not lend itself to heavy vehicles, it is recognised that even in small numbers, modern armoured units equipped with tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles represent the mainstay of any military security force.

Some countries such as China, South Korea and Japan have had armoured vehicle production facilities for some time but now the rest are slowly catching up in partnership with industry overseas.

Tracked vehicles are the hardest to design and build, largely due to their complexity, and as they are so expensive a country has to properly fund a good number of them at the serial production stage to make it worthwhile. For wheeled vehicles the larger 8×8 infantry fighting vehicles are again more complex and more expensive than 6×6 or 4x4s, so these are the markers that can identify the level at which a country has reached with its indigenous capability.


Singapore is at the forefront of countries developing armoured vehicles both tracked and wheeled, whilst Taiwan is also on the cusp of breaking into new territory with an 8×8 armoured vehicle family.

Malaysia is moving from the assembly of tracked vehicles from Turkey and purchase of tanks from Poland to actually developing an APC/IFV capability with the AV8 design through local producer DRB-Hircom with FNSS providing technology transfer and technical assistance.

Malaysia also has plans to purchase more tanks from overseas to create a second tank regiment. Regional rivals Singapore and Indonesia have both acquired Leopard tanks from Germany and this has put the pressure on Malaysia to secure more tanks to add to its force of 48 PT-91M (a variant PT-91M_tank_of_the_Malaysian_armyof Russia’s T-72).

However, unless Kuala Lumpur follows the same route as its rivals and buys its own variant of the Leopard from spare European stocks, it is unclear what other options there are as most tank production lines have since stopped.

See the latest Land Warfare International for more.