So much for the 'light' FRES!FRES becomes heavier amid doctrinal rethink
PETER FELSTEAD JDW Editor,
UK and US operational experience in Iraq has led to a paradigm shift in the design parameters for the UK's future family of armoured vehicles under the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) programme.
• Additional armour weighing 6-7 tonnes could be added to the UK's future family of armoured vehicles
• US and UK vehicle casualties in Iraq are also a factor in the FRES rethink
The immediate effect of this will be to add around six to seven tonnes to the weight of the baseline FRES vehicle as additional armour is incorporated to ameliorate the effects of lowtech threats such as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Brigadier Lamont Kirkland, Director Land Warfare at the UK Ministry of Defence's (MoD's) Directorate General of Development and Doctrine, confirmed to Jane's that while the MoD and industry alike had been "talking 17 to 22 tonnes for FRES for four years", only in the last four months had those involved with the programme "taken a collective leap in sitting levels of protection" for the vehicle.
A spokesman for BAE Systems, which along with General Dynamics has been awarded a chassis technology demonstration programme contract for FRES, also confirmed that within the company there was "recognition that the 17to 22tonne range was now [shifting to] the mid to high 20s".
BAE Systems has already started work on an 8 x 8 armoured vehicle, effectively adding an additional axle to the design of the Swedish SEP (Splitterskyddad Enhets Plattform, Modular Armoured Tactical System) vehicle that up until now was expected to form the basis of FRES.
The weight and size limits for the various versions of FRES are ultimately limited by the capacity of the forthcoming Airbus A400M strategic transport aircraft, but Airbus has guaranteed that the A400M will carry a vehicle of at least 32 tonnes, possibly up to 36 - 37 tonnes.
Before the invasion of Iraq and more specifically the coalition stabilisation mission that followed and which continues today the future of the UK's armoured capability was expected to centre around a mediumweight force of rapidly deployable vehicles.
Now, however, the reality of operations in a largely urban environment against an asymmetric threat has forced a complete reevaluation of the degree of acceptable risk to an armoured vehicle's survivability.
I saw that. i said to myself wtf?! The_Beer_Slayer
PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF THEIR GOVERNMENTS. GOVERNMENTS SHOULD BE AFRAID OF THEIR PEOPLE.