Lots of good stuff there, @SH_MM, which has helped join some dots for me. I appreciate you taking the time to write such a detailed post.
Regarding the Australian Boxer purchase, the customer has differentiated between “Block 1” and “Block 2” deliveries. The first 25 vehicles to be delivered (two delivered to date) are the Block 1 standard, with an interim configuration Lance turret. The first turreted Block 1 vehicle is due to be delivered around September this year. The exact configuration of the Lance turret for the Block 2 is yet to be determined, & will likely be informed by the IFV phase of the project (L400-3).
Tree strike is a thing in Australia. Generally the first thing added or beefed up on a vehicle in Australian service are brush guards or deflectors. The Block 1 Boxers are a good demonstration of this - look at the side stowage racks. Shaped & angled brush deflectors to protect the side stowage & the side situational awareness cameras from being scrubbed (ha!) off the side of the truck.
The launcher on the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA - trial) overhung the side of the vehicle (Boxer). On Puma, the launcher was inside the outer mould line of the vehicle. On Boxer, the overhang means that, with the turret at 12 o’clock, the launcher could be the first thing that hits a tree as the vehicle threads through wooded terrain. Anything that lowers the exposure of the launcher is worth serious configuration, especially with the launcher mounted on the opposite side of the vehicle To the driver. Compare that to Bradley. Lower profile launcher on the same side as the driver, so that it’s easier to avoid tree strike.
Regarding damping and Spike-LR2, one issue identified has been the lifecycle of the missile. Currently, as soon as the missile is loaded into the launcher, it has to either be fired, or if at the conclusion of the activity it has not, it has to be repackaged and returned to the factory for refurbishment. The useable life of the missile in the launcher is sensitive information, but it is finite before being declared unserviceable. The longer a missile is carried in a launcher, the lower its pH. In live-fire exercises, this isn’t an issue. Unpack, load, aim, fire. But operational use is different.
Improving damping takes many forms. Taking weight out of the launcher is one way. Either way, improving damping is intended to improve the service life of the missile once loaded into the launcher and retain a high pH (& probability of correct function). It’s my understanding that one of the design goals of the new launcher is to extend the useful life of Spike LR2.