Armor: March 12, 2000


THE FUTURE OF BRITISH ARMOR: The British Army is looking into alternatives for its next generation of armored vehicles. MODIFIER (Mobile Direct Fire Equipment Requirement) will be the new tank, entering service in 2028. Not much has been decided as yet as to what this will involve. Several advanced technologies are being explored. The FIFV (Future Infantry Fighting Vehicle) was intended to replace the current Warrior IFVs in 2012. However, the British Army is so unhappy with the current Warriors that it wants to push FIFV back to 2027 and buy new Warrior-2000s (based on the design sold to Switzerland). The original Warriors have not been upgraded (except for passive armor and a new driver's hatch). They are widely disparaged as the least impressive of their generation around the world. The 30mm RARDEN cannon is not stabilized, lacks a fin-stabilized discarding-sabot round, and the rate of fire is extremely slow. The version built for the Swiss has a Boeing-built 30mm cannon that solves all of these problems. The current Warrior has no thermal sights; Warrior-2000 does. If the Army gets its wish and can buy hundreds of new Warriors to replace the 789 original vehicles, it wants to convert the older ones into mortar carriers and other auxiliary vehicles. These missions are now performed by FV432s which are 30 years old. The six mechanized infantry battalions are carried in 4x4 Saxon wheeled APCs which are old and have little cross-country capability. Current plans are to replace these with the multi-national MRAV armored cars in 2006, but the Army complains that MRAV is too big for use as an APC and wants to buy LAVs instead. A smaller number of MRAVs would still be needed as command posts, ambulances, and other support vehicles. --Stephen V Cole


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