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Ares / Ajax (formerly Scout Specialist Vehicles)

The first six Ares vehicles were delivered to the Household Cavalry Regiment at Bulford, Wiltshire. The Ajax Vehicle program will replace a range of tracked armored vehicles reaching the end of their lifecycle. During 2014 the MOD signed a 3.5 billion contract to purchase 589 Ajax vehicles (formerly known as Scout); the biggest single order for a UK armored vehicle in 30 years. The Ajax family consists of Ares a troop-carrying reconnaissance vehicle, Ajax armed with a formidable 40mm cannon, support variants Apollo and Atlas, a command and control variant Athena, and an engineer variant Argus.

In service, AJAX will offer best-in-class protection and survivability, reliability and mobility and all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities. Its 589 platforms, in six variants, will allow the British Army to conduct sustained, expeditionary, full-spectrum and network-enabled operations with a reduced logistics footprint. AJAX can operate in combined-arms and multinational situations across a wide-range of future operating environments.The first AJAX platform will be delivered in 2017.

In September 2014, DE&S placed a contract with General Dynamics UK for 589 Ajax. Not only will the Ajax program secure at least 1,400 jobs in the UK, it also illustrates how MOD are now working smarter to design and procure equipment. Centered on a common base vehicle that can be adapted for specific roles, Ajax ensures, thanks to the commonality of components across the fleet, and avoids a proliferation of bespoke platforms. The vehicle will give the Army enhanced intelligence, surveillance, protection, target acquisition and reconnaissance capabilities and a highly efficient 40mm cannon. It will be effective in even the most difficult terrains around the world, and removes the 40-year-old Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) from service. The first brigade is expected to be ready to deploy from the end of 2020.

The biennial Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition took place on 15-18th September 2015. The turreted AJAX prototype vehicle was unveiled and renamed by the Army at DSEI. The platform and the flagship variant of the AJAX program, is the second prototype to be unveiled by General Dynamics UK, and the first to feature the Lockheed Martin UK-developed turret, which is designed to meet the needs of the modern British soldier.

The 38 tonne A JA X platform displayed will be the eyes and ears of the British Army on the battlefields of the future. It will be effective in the most difficult terrains around the world, providing all-weather intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) capabilities.

Scout Specialist Vehicle (SV)
Future Rapid Effect System (FRES)

The FRES SV is medium-weight capability, comprising three families of vehicles: Reconnaissance, Medium Armour and Manoeuvre Support, to replace the existing very aged Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) fleet, heavily up-armored on operations in Afghanistan. The SV fleet would provide improved protection against a wide range of threats and bring significant benefits to the Army, including greater firepower, longer-range sensors and sighting systems and a higher level of reliability.

The SV program would deliver an initial family of four vehicle variants to the British Army Scout for the manned reconnaissance role, a Protected Mobility Reconnaissance Support (PMRS) vehicle, plus Recovery and Repair variants, with possible future variants such as a light-tank with a 120mm direct fire gun and turret solution, a bridge layer, command and control post, ambulance and Overwatch missile defence system to name a few.

The base vehicle for FRES SV is the General Dynamics European Land Systems ASCOD (Austrian-Spanish Cooperative Development). ASCOD SV was significantly re-designed to the requirements of the FRES SV program by GD UK. It is rated to grow to 42 tonnes, and incorporates a transmission rated at 45 tonnes, which meets the full FRES SV requirement now and should not require a major upgrade program to deliver all the variants.

The Scouts owes its outstanding mobility to a combination of an extremely powerful 805bhp engine and a 7 wheel-station running gear, incorporating a sophisticated dual-rate suspension. The result is a top speed of 70kph and terrain accessibility that is far superior to in-service vehicles. Scout SV has been designed to a rating of 42 tonnes, and incorporates a fully proven transmission rated at 45 tonnes. This means the load carrying ability of ASCOD SV meets the full Specialist Vehicle requirement and won't require a major upgrade program to deliver all the variants.

The medium-caliber Lance turret, which would only be carried on the Scout version of the British tracked vehicle requirement, would house the 40mm CT40 cannon developed by BAE and Nexter, its French partner. The Lockheed Martin UK turret system has a level of commonality between Scout SV and Warrior CSP.

The Scout SV delivers a step change in ground-based ISTAR capability. Scout SV more than doubles the stand-off range at which targets can be identified and studied from the ground; while its automated search, detection and tracking make the process faster and much more accurate, and reduce crew workload. This 24-hour all-weather surveillance capability can detect and identify elusive targets in undergrowth, fast UAVs and cloud-masked helicopters, and is not readily fooled by decoys. Unlike airborne ISTAR assets, Scout SV can loiter almost indefinitely in a concealed and quiet mode with its mission systems, powered by its ultra-quiet auxiliary power unit.

Scout is a purpose designed ground-based Intelligence Platform, Its array of high performance sensors coupled with the latest (20 Gbs/sec) Gigabit Ethernet intelligent open architecture enable it to capture, analyse, manipulate and store over 6TBs of intelligence, including a vast array of still and moving images, and to share this intelligence in real, or very near real, time. Scout's large 1.7m diameter turret ring ia a key enabler, ensuring that the crew has the best possible working environment in which to carry out their vital mission.

As a result, the skilled crew are able to provide Commanders with the type of decision support material currently available only from expensively based airborne ISTAR or UAVs, both of which are limited by poor weather. Data can be readily passed to other secure C4I systems, including those of US allies, thanks to the prospect of much greater integration of Bowman and other on-board C4 systems with the vehicle electronic architecture, a feature which is difficult to recreate on legacy land platforms.

Enabled by 7 pairs of road wheels on each side, wide track and a high power to weight ratio, Scout SV's mobility equals CVR(T) 2 and greatly exceeds Warrior TES(H) and WCSP. This opens up a far greater area of battlefield geography for the conduct of essential ground-based ISTAR operations.

Scout SV has much higher survivability against a wide range of modern and evolving threats, enabled by all-round modular protection (including Mastiff levels of blast protection), acoustic detection, powerful far-target thermal sights and local situational awareness sensors. Scout's 'PSO' mission fit offers a remote weapon system for 360 degrees high-angle targets, an important feature in urban or mountainous terrains.

Scout SV would provide the land environment with the only protected vehicle that has real growth potential. The hull and power train growth are designed for a 25% increase in weight, and there is 100% growth capacity in sub-system electrical power and data throughput, all built-in at the outset. The open scalable 'security accredited' electronic architecture would enable upgrades to be integrated with relative ease through life. As a result, Scout provides the kind of growth capability that the USER would need to face the uncertain challenges of Force 2020 and beyond.

Scout SV provides the Common Base Platform (CBP) for the whole SV fleet of variants, as well as the Scout Reconnaissance Platform. This has the potential to reduce the number of discrete platforms in service and brings significant commonality, logistic and training benefits, all of which contribute greatly to maintaining downward pressure on whole life costs. The CBP is able to accommodate a wide range of mission sub-systems, including for example a 120mm Direct Fire variant which could be one option for the eventual replacement of CR2. Indeed, the CBP remains the backbone for an incremental medium weight capability.

The combination of SVs Common Base Platform (CBP) and General Dynamics UKs proprietary electronic architecture (EA) means that the British Army would be able to develop and grow its core medium-weight AFV capability much more easily than in the past. The open nature of the electronic architecture designed by General Dynamics UK was a key reason why the MoD chose the General Dynamics solution in the first place. The electronic open architecture would allow for the easy addition of new capabilities to the platform when needed, resulting in a more cost effective upgrade path, whilst the common base platform across all variants would ensure that it would be less expensive and easier to manage logistics, supply and training requirements. General Dynamics UKs solution reduces cost of repair and upkeep, reduces weight and increases available space inside AFVs while providing the required power and data architecture for the high power and high data demands of modern networked vehicles fighting in a digital age. Currently each different vehicle type used by the Army requires its own support lines, and by extension is less financially efficient.

The FRES SV Scout variant would initially weigh about 34 tonnes, but would need to grow to accommodate the addition of new technology and equipment to meet new threats as they emerge over its 30-year life cycle. ASCOD SV more than meets this requirement. It has been designed to have room to grow to 42 tonnes with only minor component upgrades. It avoids costly major redesigns halfway through a vehicles life. This growth is possible thanks to General Dynamics UKs selection of drivetrain. Despite its modernity, the Renk 256B transmission is tested and proven, currently helping to drive the new generation of German Puma IFVs. Capable of operating to 45 tonnes it combines with MTUs 600kW 8V engine to provide unparalleled growth potential for FRES SV.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:05:45 ZULU