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Subject: UK awards FRES design deal to General Dynamics
DragonReborn    5/10/2008 3:24:34 PM
See story below. NB The MOD has stopped short of confirming an order, just stating that the GD design is the prefered option. What are the chances of the UK actually ordering this any time soon? h!!p:// LONDON - General Dynamics UK will be confirmed May 8 as the winner of Britain's Future Rapid Effects System armored vehicle competition, sources said. The Future Rapid Effects System program has decided to develop the Piranha V. (General Dynamics) The government is expected to announce in Parliament that the company has beat out rivals Nexter and ARTEC to become the provisional preferred bidder to develop the utility variant of the multi-billion-pound FRES family of medium-weight wheeled vehicles. Related Topics * Europe * Land Warfare GD UK will receive a two-year development contract for the Piranha 5, a proposed version of its big-selling Piranha line of vehicles, sources said. Neither the MoD nor General Dynamics could be contacted before this story went to press. Up to 2,000 of the vehicles are expected to be built as the cornerstone of the British Army's air-transportable armored forces. The vehicle was to enter service in 2012, a date that may slip as much as two years due to funding constraints. The decision will come as a bitter blow to Nexter. French government and industry officials mounted a major effort in recent weeks to turn around the Army's preference for Piranha. They even offered to give Britain 120 VBCI vehicles due to be delivered to the French Army next year, should London want to procure vehicles early under an Urgent Operational Requirement while it awaited development work on the FRES platform.
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flamingknives       5/10/2008 4:13:17 PM
I rather suspect that the decision to go for GD was a strategic-cum-political one, since to buy off-the-shelf from France would mean that the armoured vehicle manufacturing base in the UK would vanish.

Chances are that the French knew this too and may have been one reason for their desire to win the contract, even at the expense of their own armed forces. Nothing ensures future business like making sure the competition goes bust in the mean time.

By going with GD, the UK has chosen the least developed vehicle, which may give them the most scope to make UK-specific alterations (or c0ck it up more severely), plus one that will be built and maintained within the UK. It's also buying in to one of the most successful line of armoured vehicles in the world over the past forty years or so. There may well be scope for export sales as well.
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neutralizer       5/11/2008 12:04:21 AM
According to the MOD media release on their web site this is a 'provisional selection' for the Utility type of FRES, there are 4 other types, and most types will have various sub-types.  So forget any notion that 'UK has selected THE FRES vehicle'.  The conditionality appears to be based on satisfactory 'risk reduction'. I'd agree that picking the least mature design may offer the best scope for getting something close to UK needs, bearing in mind that some reports have stated that none of the 3 vehicles evaluated met UK requirements.
GDs web site also says some interesting things, notably that it's entirely a Mowag design from Switzerland and does not contain anything that makes it subject to export control by US authorities.  I'd suggest that Mowag will work quite hard to accomodate UK requirements with the already appointed system integrator companies hopefully providing good guidnace and FRES system level engineering. You can be sure of one thing, the chance of influencing Nexter in any significant way was close to nil and MoD was more than smart enough to recognise this.  The fact that the French were offering an early 120 French Army version vehicles tends to suggest that Nexter 'didn't geddit'.
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Lawman       5/24/2008 8:09:31 AM
I am pretty happy with the decision, it's a good vehicle, pretty capable, and likely to fit most of the British-specific requirements. It will be interesting to see what the final variants will be, e.g. the replacement for Scimitar (etc...) in the armoured recon role - a cannon armed version (30mm Bushmaster?), or a larger gun, e.g. a low pressure 105mm!
One thing I would definitely want to get now would be a much larger fleet of vehicle transport ships, more akin to the American Bob Hope class, i.e. much bigger than the current Point class RoRos. This would at least allow the UK to deploy sufficient vehicles for a Brigade sized task force (I think the American sealift ships carry something like 6-900 large vehicles!). Lets get real, the air-portable aspect is unlikely to be used for strategic movement, it is more likely to be tactical movement, since we simply don't have the air-transport assets for large scale airlift. On the other hand, we could certainly move a troop or two of these vehicles, which might come in handy!
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flamingknives       5/24/2008 8:20:59 PM
This the the FRES Utility Vehicle, not the FRES base chassis for everything. 

FRES Recce is going to have the same 40mm CTWS of the Warrior upgrade, possibly the same turret.
FRES direct fire support isn't fixed yet, but as it's supposed to be a light tank, a low pressure 105mm would be an idiotic decision. 120mm low recoil would be far more sensible.
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