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In recent years the British Army has been involved in a number of major operations as a Force for Good in the world. It has helped to build a safer world in the Balkans, the Gulf and East Timor. In fact, it has been busier than at any time in the past 40 years. It works closely with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force as a team. Northern Ireland remains the largest operational commitment, with significant numbers of troops also deployed as part of the multi-national forces in Bosnia and Kosovo, and a contingent in Cyprus with the UN. The Army has garrison forces in Brunei, Cyprus, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands. The Gulf Conflict and recent crises in the Balkans and Afghanistan demonstrate that Britain still needs forces which can operate effectively on the ground, whether to enforce and keep the peace or to take and hold territory. This combined arms force opens a new chapter in Britain’s joint air maneuver capability. 
Also, the Army is increasing in size - 3,300 Regular troops are being added to the Army’s numbers, particularly to enhance those trades, such as signals, engineer, medical and logistic troops which are most heavily committed on operations, and the Territorial Army is being modernised. The British army is to receive new equipment over the next decade worth in excess of £15 billion to equip it for rapid deployment missions around the world. Attack helicopters, armoured vehicles, engineering support, anti-tank missiles, battlefield surveillance and digital communications systems top the British army's shopping list.   


Some Key British Army Projects are :
UK attack helicopter, which is being developed from the Boeing AH-64D Apache for use with 16 Air Assault Brigade. It's called the WAH-64 Longbow Apache, the WAH-64 incorporates a series of enhancements that make it more effective in combat, and more survivable, deployable and maintainable in the field. 
BattleGroup thermal imaging (BGTI) is a programme to fit thermal imaging (TI) sights to Warrior and close reconnaissance (CR) Scimitar vehicles.
Future Ground Based Air Defence (FGBAD), Phase 1 is intended to update the current Rapier and HVM systems and integrate them with an overarching ADC4I capability.The Phase 2 programme will provide defence against complex future threats from 2015.
The future command and liaison vehicle (FCLV) project will enable the army to undertake general command, liaison and reconnaissance tasks, which were originally performed by the Ferret scout car.
The British army asked industry for information on proposals to meet its £3 billion future rapid effects system (FRES) requirement. This programme has the potential to recast the UK's armoured vehicle procurement plans, supplement or even supercede the MRAV, FCLV and armoured battlefield support vehicle (ABSV) projects
The Lynx light utility helicopter (LLUH) programme embodies the requirement to convert up to 78 Lynx Mk7 and 24 Mk9 aircraft to a common operational standard with various equipment changes. The need is also driven by the introduction into service of the WAH-64 attack helicopter. The WAH-64 will take on the Lynx role of anti-armour; the Lynx role changes to providing support to 16 Air Assault Brigade and the field army.
The UK Defence Procurement Agency has selected Sweden's Saab Bofors Dynamics to provide the British Army's Next-Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW).

British Army Equipment :

Armoured Vehicles :

- Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank

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Challenger 2 is an advanced main battle tank built by the UK company, Vickers Defence Systems Ltd. The UK placed orders for 127 Challenger 2 tanks in 1991 and an additional 259 in 1994.Challenger 2 entered service with the British Army in June 1998 and the last of the 386 tanks was delivered in April 2002. Challenger 2 is equipped with an L30, 120 mm rifled tank gun from the Royal Ordnance division of BAE SYSTEMS. There is capacity for 50 120 mm projectiles, including armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive squash head (HESH) or smoke rounds. 

The commander has a panoramic VS 580-10 gyrostabilised sight from SAGEM (formerly SFIM Industries). A laser rangefinder is incorporated into an intermediate assembly. The commander's station is equipped with eight periscopes which provide 360° vision. The Thermal Observation and Gunnery Sight II (TOGS II), from Thales (formerly Pilkington) Optronics, provides night vision. The Challenger 2 has a twelve-cylinder 1200hp Perkins Caterpillar CV12 diesel engines. The conversion from Challenger1 to Challenger 2 Regiments is being assisted by a comprehensive suite of training aids, ranging from simple wall charts to highly sophisticated, computer-based gunnery simulators. The hull and automotive parts of the Challenger 2 are based upon its predecessor Challenger 1, but Challenger 2 incorporates over 150 improvements aimed at increasing reliability and maintainability. 

- Challenger 1 Main Battle Tank

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The Challenger 1 was developed from the Shir 2 MBT which was originally developed for Iran, but later cancelled due to conflicts in Iran. Production of the Challenger 1 was undertaken at the Royal Ordnance Factory Leeds (now owned by Vickers Defense Systems), with a total of 420 vehicles being delivered to the British Army between 1983 and 1990. The 120mm rifled tank gun is the same as that installed on the Chieftain MBT, and the computerised fire control system, which includes a laser range-finder, is also similar.

Standard equipment includes day/thermal sights for commander and gunner, a stabilisation system for the 120mm gun, a NBC system, as well as mounting points for additional fuel drums at the rear and mounting points for a Combat Dozer Blade at the front of the hull. For operations in the Middle East, such as Operation Desert Storm, the Challenger 1 was upgraded in a number of key areas including the installation of explosive reactive armour at the front of the hull and passive Chobham armour skirts. Variants of the Challenger 1 include, CR ARRV - Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle and CTT - Challenger Training Tank. The Challenger is being replaced by the more capable Challenger 2.

- FV 101 CVR(T) Scorpion




The Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) familiy of vehicles was developed by Alvis for the British Army. First prototypes were completed in 1969, with first production vehicles following in 1972. By 1995 over 3,500 had been built for the home and export market. The basic Scorpion is armed with a 76mm gun, although this version has been phased out of service with the British Army. Scorpion is fully amphibious, propelled in the water by it's tracks at a speed of 6.5km/h.Scimitar is an almost identical vehicle, but it mounts the RARDEN 30 mm cannon which meets the British requirement of defeating existing and future enemy reconnaissance vehicles and APC's. The Army’s main Medium and Close Reconnaissance capability is provided by CVR(T) SCIMITAR and SABRE equipped with the Rarden 30mm cannon. CVR(T) STRIKER, fitted with Swingfire anti-tank missile system, is found in Medium Reconnaissance Regiments. 

The same hull shape provides enough space to carry a British Assault Section with all their equipment. The APC of the family, named SPARTAN, is capable of carrying 7 or 8 men. The remainder of the CVR(T) fleet includes SULTAN (Command), SAMSON (Repair/Recovery) and SAMARITAN (Ambulance).

The LASS IPT is keen to lead upgrade programmes across its range of vehicles. The most significant current project is the £75 million CVR(T) Life Extension Programme providing two main capability enhancements. They are: The replacement of the J60 petrol engine with a Cummins B6 diesel engine due to completed by Mar 02. The  procurement and installation of the Avimo ESPIRE Thermal Imaging sight into CVR(T) SCIMITAR by the end of 2000.

- Saxon APC

saxon1.jpg (124750 bytes) The Saxon 4x4 armoured personnel carrier was developed as a private venture and, wherever possible, uses standard commercial components. The first prototype was completed in 1975 and the first production models in 1976. By early 1995 well over 700 had been built. Standard equipment includes power-assisted steering. Optional equipment includes firing ports/vision devices, air conditioning , barricade remover , searchlight , grenade launchers and run-flat tyres. Armament includes a 7.62mm Machine Gun.

-FV 432 APC

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The FV432 series of full tracked APCs was developed for the British Army by the now GKN Defence. Over 3,000 vehicles were built between 1963 and 1971. In the basic APC role it has been replaced by the Warrior IFV, but it is still used for support roles by almost every arm of the British Army. The Standard FV432 has a one man manually operated turret armed with a 7.62mm Machine Gun, but these used in the support role are normally armed with a pintle-mounted 7.62mm machine gun. Passive night vision equipment is fitted as standard, as is an NBC system. The FV432 is very similar in appearance to the US United Defense M113 series, which has a hull of all-welded aluminium armour and is fully amphibious. The FV432 has en all welded steel hull, but is not amphibious. Variants include : Ambulance, Command post vehicle, 81mm mortar vehicle and engineer vehicle.

-Warrior Mechanised Combat Vehicle

warrior5.jpg (46221 bytes) The Warrior family of tracked armoured vehicles developed by Alvis Vehicles (formerly GKN Defence) has been proved in action with the British Army in operations in the Middle East and on United Nations duties in Bosnia. The Desert Warrior family of vehicles has been adapted for operations in hostile desert conditions. Between 1987 and 1995, 789 Warriors were produced for the British Army.Warrior Section Vehicles carry driver, commander, gunner and 7 fully equipped soldiers together with supplies and weapons for a 48 hour battlefield day in NBC conditions. The Warrior adapts to a range of roles with weapon fits ranging from machine pistols to 90 mm guns, mortars and missile systems. 

The British Army has plans to upgrade its Warriors to extend their service life to 2025. As well as the addition of a night fighting capability in the form of the Thales Optronics Battle Group Thermal Imaging (BGTI) programme and the Bowman Communications System, the upgrade is expected to include the fitting a new stabilised cannon which would allow firing on the move. The turret is fitted with a Boeing M242 chain gun on a stabilised mount which allows the gun to be used while the vehicle is in motion. The turret also has an M240 7.62mm machine gun. TOW missile launchers are mounted on each side of the turret.

- MRAV (Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle)

mrav10.jpg (47330 bytes) The Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) is an armoured 8x8 wheeled vehicle which combines the most modern armour technology, particularly against mines and direct fire, with high mobility and considerable capacity. In its Amoured Personnel Carrier version MRAV can carry up to eight fully-equipped soldiers in addition to the two-man vehicle crew. These characteristics and capabilities make the new vehicle suitable for a wide range of operational tasks, including crisis reaction and international peacekeeping operations. 

The new vehicle replaces utility CVR(T), SAXON GWR and FV430 family vehicles. Initially, the design will provide the Armoured Personnel Carrier and Command Vehicle versions for UK and Germany. The Development contract, which contained an option for the joint production of the initial production batch of 600 vehicles, was signed on 5 November 1999 with ARTEC GmbH. A contract amendment incorporating the Netherlands requirement was signed on 5 February 2001. Quantity: The UK is expected eventually to procure more than 1,000 vehicles.

- FCLV ( Future Command and Liaison Vehicle )

  Vickers Defence Systems :


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  Alvis Vehicles/IVECO :

           Scarab                             MLV

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  Insys :   


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The future command and liaison vehicle (FCLV) project will enable the army to undertake general command, liaison and reconnaissance tasks, which were originally performed by the Ferret scout car. Since this left service the roles have been performed by vehicles from the Scimitar family, FV430, Saxon and Land Rover, which are not fully suited to these roles. The current assumption is that FCLV will be procured conventionally and in service by 2006 under a public-private partnership. The total requirement is likely to be for 420 plus vehicles at a value of £370m, with the production contract awarded in March 2004.
FCLV should be capable of carrying a heavy machine gun on a pintle mounting for self-defence, be equipped with the Thales BGTI thermal imaging (TI) systems and have transportability in a C-130 class airlifter. For communications, FCLV must be Bowman-compatible and have links to the Battle Group Battle Management System. Contenders are Alvis Vehicles/IVECO, Insys and Vickers Defence Systems.
Alvis is offering two purpose-built vehicles. Scarab, which is a fully armoured vehicle offering high levels of protection for the whole vehicle, and MLV Multi-role Light Vehicle (following an agreement between Alvis Vehicles and Iveco Defence Vehicles). Vickers is bidding the RG-31M (4 x 4) and RG-32M (4 x 4) vehicles developed by the subsidiary Vickers OMC in South Africa.

Artillery :

-105mm Light Gun

rod1.jpg (45184 bytes) The 105mm Lt gun is a versatile, airportable and airmobile artillery piece which can be carried around the battle field underslung from a Puma or Chinook. Used by the Parachute and Commando Field Artillery Regiments of the British Army. In service since 1975 it has replaced the 105mm Pack Howitzer. Robust and reliable, the gun proved its worth in the Falklands, firing up to 400 rounds per day.

-AS90 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer

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The AS90 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer which entered service with the British Army in 1992. 179 have been built for the British Army.BAE SYSTEMS has been awarded a contract to upgrade 96 of the British Army AS90's with a 155mm/52 calibre Extended Range Ordnance/Modular Charge System (ERO/MCS). The Royal Ordnance division of BAE SYSTEMS will manufacture the new 52 calibre barrel which will give an increased range of 40km,

The upgraded AS90's are expected to enter service in 2003. The AS90 is fitted with a 155mm, 39 or 52 calibre gun barrel. The range is 24.7km using conventional ammunition. The AS90 also fires assisted rounds which provide an extended range to 30km. Fitting a 52 calibre barrel instead of the standard 39 calibre extends the range beyond 40km. An automated ammunition handling system is included in the current upgrade programme.The vehicle is of all-welded steel armour construction, which is rated to withstand impact by 7.62mm and 14.5mm armour piercing shells and 152mm shell fragments.


ukmlrs2.jpg (132152 bytes) The British Army has purchased MLRS to replace the M107 SP Guns that were previously deployed with Corps Artillery Heavy Regiment. The MLRS is based on the US M2 Bradley chassis and the system is self-loaded with two rocket pod containers, each containing six rockets. A single round 'Fire for Effect' (12 rockets) delivers 7,728 bomblets and the coverage achieved is considered sufficient to neutralise a 500m x 500m target. The weapon system  is range-dependent and therefore more rounds will be required to guarantee the effect as the range to the target increases. 

Remotely piloted vehicles can be used to acquire targets, real time TV and data links are used to move information from target areas to formation commanders and onward to the firing positions. The British Army is currently looking at extremely long-range, terminally-guided sub-munitions (TGSMs) to be delivered by MLRS.

Army Air Corps

Helicopters :

-Gazelle AH Mk.1

gall019.jpg (106413 bytes) The Gazelle, was produced as part of an Anglo-French venture between Westland and Aerospatiale in1968. The prototype flew for the first time on 7 April 1967. It served with all four branches of the British armed forces - RAF, Royal Navy, Army and Royal Marines - filling a variety of roles. Four versions of the Gazelle were used by the British Forces. 

The SA 341B was equipped to a specification for the Army Air Corps. Designated Gazelle AH Mk 1, the first aircraft entered service in 1973. Since that time it has been used with major success in every theatre in which the British Army has served, from it's amphibious role in the battle for the Falkland Islands  to deserts of Kuwait and Iraq to the mountains of the more recent Kosovo campaign.This year marks the Gazelle's 28th year of continuous British Army service.

-Lynx Mk.7/Mk.9 Utility Helicopter

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Originally, 113 Lynx AH Mk 1s were supplied to the Army Air Corps as a multi role helicopter. During the ‘cold war’ it’s primary job was in the anti-tank role, it’s ability to carry 8 TOW anti-tank missiles plus a further 8 in the cabin as a reload gave military commanders a major improvement in capability over the Scout AH1 that it replaced. In 1985, an engine and transmission upgrade programme began. These modifications, incorporated the now trademark BERP rotor system and resulted in the Lynx AH 7, eleven new build Mk 7s were delivered by July 1987. The Mk 7 was a response to General Staff Requirement 3947 and was specifically configured to improve extended duration hover performance, vital to the Lynx's primary anti-tank role. Aside from the eleven new aircraft, work began on converting existing Mk 1 aircraft to this standard.

The latest Lynx in UK Army Air Corps service is the AH Mk 9, easily identifiable by its tricycle undercarriage, this version is designed as a Light Battlefield Helicopter and is an integral part of the hard hitting new 16th Air Assault Brigade. Thales Avionics and Westland Helicopters have signed a collaboration agreement to address the UK Ministry of Defence’s “Future Lynx” program. The “Future Lynx” program is also known as the battlefield light utility helicopter (BLUH) and the surface combatant maritime rotorcraft (SCMR). The British Army's entire fleet of Lynx Mk9 helicopters is undergoing a navigation and GPS system enhancement program, under Thales Avionics Limited contract to supply its AMS 2000 Control Display Navigation Units (CDNUs) with embedded P(Y) code GPS module and associated equipment.

- WAH-64 Longbow Apache

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The British Army will be the first defense force to field an all Longbow equipped Apache fleet, and the first to field Apaches powered by Rolls-Royce-Turbomeca RTM322 engines. Assembly of the WAH-64 Longbow Apache is being carried out in the UK by AgustaWestland. The first 24 have been delivered and the helicopter entered service in January 2001 designated as the AH Mk 1. A total of 67 are on order for the British Army.

The WAH-64 Apache is a derivative of the U.S. Army’s AH-64D Apache Longbow, the next-generation version of the combat-proven AH-64A Apache. The WAH-64 incorporates a series of enhancements that make it more effective in combat, and more survivable, deployable and maintainable in the field. The WAH-64’s fire control radar and advanced avionics suite give combat pilots the ability to rapidly detect, classify, prioritize and engage stationary or moving enemy targets at standoff ranges in nearly all weather environments.

The WAH-64’s ability to communicate digitally with other aircraft and ground forces, and to share that information almost instantly, also gives it a significant warfighting advantage over current combat helicopters. British Army Longbow Apaches are equipped with CRV7 70mm rocket systems and Martin/Boeing AGM-114D Longbow Hellfire air-to-surface missiles,

Sources :

British Army Homepage
British Army Picture Library
ETS News
Flags Of The World
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