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56 minutes ago, Xlucine said:

£3.5mil ea.? Cheaper? A new set of modern sights and a computer refresh will not cost that much, given the (probably) leo2a4 -> a7v upgrade is stated here as £1mil ea. 

 

Sure but you can't really put a Challenger 2 with a simple upgrade of sights and FCS in the same league than an upgraded Leopard 2.

Be it in firepower, mobility or protection a Challenger 2 with such minimal upgrades cannot compete.

 

I should have been more precise with my statement.

 

When I said cheaper I was comparing it with a Challenger 2 which had it's barrel replaced by a more modern smoothbore, and on top of the fact that it didn't solved the problem of it's protection and severely limited the amount of ammo it could carry, IIRC replacing the gun to adress the firepower issue was so costly (although I don't remember the exact figure) that it would have been better to buy new tanks all together.

 

So strictly speaking you are right, it could be cheaper to upgrade the Challenger 2 but the level of capability reached would be far below than the one of a Leopard 2 brought up to A7V standard.

So on a "per capability" basis buying off the shelf tanks would be cheaper, however as you said MBT are probably not one of the most pressing concern of the UK MoD, thus they could decide that they can make do with minimal upgrades until the Challenger 2 is replaced.

 

52 minutes ago, David Moyes said:

Where would these second-hand Leopard 2s come from? I thought all the cold war stock had been sold?

 

I honestly have no idea, possibly from a country that wished to sold back it's Leo 2 to cut down expenses?

If KMW proposed a deal to the UK and were capable to put a price on it, I guess that they ought to have had a good idea of were to procure those tanks (otherwise calculating the cost would prove difficult).

@SH_MM certainly know more than me on that topic.

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Using Morocco’s 2012 notification for 200 x M1A1 (http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/files/mas/morocco_12-28_0.pdf) with all equipment listed included as a basis, it equates to $USD5.075 million per tank (£3.4m in 2102 £). I don’t see either an Abrams-turret, or complete Abrams as a CR2 upgrade/replacement as necessarily “more expensive” than 200 x Leopard 2A7V.

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Realistically, the challenger 2 should never have existed and the entire program was a failure.  It certainly didn't preserve the British industry's ability to make MBTs.  Could Britain make MBTs now?  I don't think they can.

 

Should have license-produced Leo 2s or Leclercs or Abrams from day 1.

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Britain also doesn't have the necessary military structure, and frankly neither do Germany or France, to maintain a tank industry.

Up until now, to maintain production, they all had to rely on foreign customers. Germany had that in almost sufficient amounts. France did not, and neither did the UK.

 

Thus I think the Franco-German alliance is deeper than just an attempt to unify European equipment.

 

Not long ago a few details were published from an industry meeting between the Israeli army and representatives of the local industries producing the Merkava and other similar AFVs.

 

Their bottom line was:

Want to sell your tanks abroad? Go ahead and produce a hundred a year, or more. You can do that.

But go below 30 a year and you shut down the business.

 

Now, a tank is built to last 40 years. That is the consensus. Go for 50 and maybe upgrades will keep it breathing but they may not be cheaper than a brand new tank.

 

So if you build 30 a year and have to replace a tank every 40 years, you'll need to maintain an inventory of 1,200 tanks at any given moment.

 

The UK has a 1/3rd of that. France as well. Germany I think has even less but I'm not sure on its numbers. And I'm talking about stored tanks, not in service. 

 

Unless Germany and France both ramp up their in-service + permanently stored tanks to 600 each, they may not be able to sustain the industry too well but they will definitely enjoy a lot of customers, unless the US decides they want to be aggressive in the EU AFV market.

 

But Britain? Unless they join KNDS and stop quitting programs they co-found like the Boxer, they will never have a chance at a proper tank industry and might as well import.

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15 hours ago, Karamazov said:

Why will they have different cannons? For the sake of economy?  .. and what is this green box? 

 

The longer L/55A1 is only required to defeat the latest Russian armor, i.e. the T-14 Armata and potentially the T-80BVM/T-90M. Against other targets such as infantry, structures, lightly armored vehicles and most other tanks (including modernized T-72s), the L/44 gun is considered enough. Due to its shorter barrel, a Leopard 2A7 tank with the L/44 is better suited for peace-keeping missions, because it fits easily into aircrafts and a longer barrel could cause problems when operating in tight spaces (such as the narrow streets of some African and Middle Eastern cities).

 

My understanding is that the 16 Leopard 2A7V tanks with L/55A1 gun will be used only for home defence, i.e. kept in Denmark and be used in NATO show-of-force missions in the Baltics, while the other tanks also would be used in peace-keeping missions like ISAF in Afghanistan.

 

13 hours ago, Xlucine said:

£3.5mil ea.? Cheaper? A new set of modern sights and a computer refresh will not cost that much, given the (probably) leo2a4 -> a7v upgrade is stated here as £1mil ea.

 

According to the same article from The Independent that you linked to, the Challenger 2 LEP is budgeted with up to £700 million. If the British army decides to upgrade all of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks currently in service (which has been questioned), this would be (up to) £3 million per tank; still a Challenger 2 after LEP probably remains less capable and more expensive to operate than a Leopard 2A7(V) (unless the issues with armor, powerpack and gun are also addressed).

 

I don't think that the article from The Independent is entirely correct. First of all - based on other British newspapers/tabloids - the 200 Leopard 2 tanks offered for £2.5 million per tank (£3.5 million after upgrade) were Leopard 2A6 tanks. Upgrading a Leopard 2A4 to the Leopard 2A7V costs a lot more than just £1 million. Germany is paying €760 million to buy 104 Leopard 2A4s, 32 hulls and upgrade 68 Leopard 2A4s, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks to the 2A7V configuration!

Unfortunately only British newspapers have reported on KMW's offer to the UK MoD, but reading some of the articles makes me think that this is an older offer, which unlike claimed by The Independent might not be on the table anymore. Furthermore other articles mention that the upgrade was offered to the 2A7 standard instead the newer 2A7V, which again would imply that this is an older offer.

 

13 hours ago, David Moyes said:

Where would these second-hand Leopard 2s come from? I thought all the cold war stock had been sold?

 

Germany sold its Cold War stocks, but not only to other countries - the industry (in particular Rheinmetall and KMW) also bought a few tanks. KMW also seems to have contracts for the resale (or arranging the resale) and refurbishment of used tanks with different countries (which makes sense, given that KMW is one of a few companies that has the equipment to properly refurbish a Leopard 2 to mint condition).

 

If my understanding is correct and the mentioned offer by KMW is not current, but was made a few years ago, then one could assume that these 200 Leopard 2A6 tanks included the 100  Leopard 2A6NL tanks that were sold to Finland for an average unit price of $2.66 million according to Army Guide (which is reasonable close to £2 million per tank + £500.000 for refurbishment). The Dutch Army upgraded 180 out of its original 445 Leopard 2 tanks to the Leopard 2A6 standard. These 180 Leopard 2 tanks were sold to Canada (20 tanks that were given to Germany as replacement for the 20 leased Leopard 2A6M tanks, they were directly upgraded to the 2A7 model), Portugal (37 tanks) and Finland (100 tanks). 16 Leopard 2A6NL tanks remain in service (as part of the Dutch contingent of the German Panzerbataillon 414).

 

Depending on when the offer was made, it might have included some of the 105 Leopard 2A5 tanks sold to Poland in 2013 (turning these into the 2A6s just requires switching the gun barrel). Aside of that, there are still a lot of 2A4 tanks available, but I doubt that these could be modernized to the Leopard 2A7(V) configuration and could be sold for £3.5 million without a loss. Spain's Leopard 2A4 tanks are as far as I know out of service - they are at least available for sale, but in a very bad condition (more money and time would be required for refurbishment). The situation of other tanks is not entirely clear, because some of them are converted into support vehicles or cannibalized for spare parts.

 

11 hours ago, 2805662 said:

Using Morocco’s 2012 notification for 200 x M1A1 (http://www.dsca.mil/sites/default/files/mas/morocco_12-28_0.pdf) with all equipment listed included as a basis, it equates to $USD5.075 million per tank (£3.4m in 2102 £). I don’t see either an Abrams-turret, or complete Abrams as a CR2 upgrade/replacement as necessarily “more expensive” than 200 x Leopard 2A7V.

 

I am not sure if that makes sense. First of all the 2012 contract never was finalized, the official order for the M1A1 SA was made in 2015 - General Dynamics reported that it was contracted to refurbish and upgrade 150 tanks to the corresponding version for a budget of only $358 million USD, but as the US government apparently acts as a seller, this would be excluding the price of the tanks per se, which Morocco would pay to the United States of America. Didn't Morocco get a rebate on the tanks for political reasons?

 

You also need to consider that the M1A1 SA is hardly a cutting edge tank, buying this variant would require further upgrades. The US is paying $2.6 billion to upgrade up to 786 M1A1 (AIM SA) tanks to the M1A2 SEP v3 configuration, which would be somewhat less (due to the fixed price contract also including upgrades to Saudi tanks) than an additional $3.3 million USD (currently about £2.5 million) over the purchase of the M1A1 AIM SA.

 

I don't think the 200 Leopard 2 tanks are being offered anymore.

 

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2 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Now, a tank is built to last 40 years. That is the consensus. Go for 50 and maybe upgrades will keep it breathing but they may not be cheaper than a brand new tank.

 

So if you build 30 a year and have to replace a tank every 40 years, you'll need to maintain an inventory of 1,200 tanks at any given moment.

In Germany a return to the half-generation steps could be helpfull to keep the machinery running. But this system was given up with the Leopard 2 and the end of the Cold War.
 

2 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The UK has a 1/3rd of that. France as well. Germany I think has even less but I'm not sure on its numbers. And I'm talking about stored tanks, not in service.

Germany 320+8+32 ( in Service/for trials/ used chassis in Storage for future projects). These numbers already includes the 104 vehicles which were bought back from the industry in 2017 and the upgrades will be finished in 2023.
 

 

1 hour ago, SH_MM said:

 

The longer L/55A1 is only required to defeat the latest Russian armor, i.e. the T-14 Armata and potentially the T-80BVM/T-90M. Against other targets such as infantry, structures, lightly armored vehicles and most other tanks (including modernized T-72s), the L/44 gun is considered enough. Due to its shorter barrel, a Leopard 2A7 tank with the L/44 is better suited for peace-keeping missions [...]

It gets chaotic with the nomenclature. German A6 and newer means L/55 and now the Danish are coming up with L/44 A7(DK) :blink:
 

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Getting production running via upgrade programs alone is not going to cut it. You're still going to shut down portions of the production because upgrades only focus on very specific parts, and even the most comprehensive upgrades don't see all sectors being called for production.

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6 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

Could Britain make MBTs now?  I don't think they can.


UK still has a strong engineering base, various companies work on other nation's AFVs and produce componenets. New development in Titanium.
It depends how indigenous it needs to be. High carbon Steel, transmission and gun would need to be imported.

The UK government just has to be fully committed to the project.
Which is the number 1 reason why it will never happen.

 

6 hours ago, Collimatrix said:

Should have license-produced Leo 2s or Leclercs or Abrams from day 1.


Were suggested by officers along with Challenger 1 being armed with a L44.
It seems many of the bad choices in UK AFV design can be traced back to Army leadership and Government rather than industry.

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@Mighty_ZukAre you refering to the half-generation steps?  Because this avoids exactly the situation that you have to live from hand to mouth via upgrade programms. Upgrade the old ones while the successor is already in the pipeline.
The series would be smaller today but since the tanks are more expansive the monetary volume would be comparable. Admittedly it can only work if some countries decide to buy their new tanks instead of brewing their own thing
or buy from Uncle Sam. I hope KNDS is the right tool to avoid a further AMX-30/ Leo 1 outcome.

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3 hours ago, SH_MM said:

The longer L/55A1 is only required to defeat the latest Russian armor, i.e. the T-14 Armata and potentially the T-80BVM/T-90M. Against other targets such as infantry, structures, lightly armored vehicles and most other tanks (including modernized T-72s), the L/44 gun is considered enough. Due to its shorter barrel, a Leopard 2A7 tank with the L/44 is better suited for peace-keeping missions, because it fits easily into aircrafts and a longer barrel could cause problems when operating in tight spaces (such as the narrow streets of some African and Middle Eastern cities).

Thank you 

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8 hours ago, SH_MM said:

 

According to the same article from The Independent that you linked to, the Challenger 2 LEP is budgeted with up to £700 million. If the British army decides to upgrade all of its 227 Challenger 2 tanks currently in service (which has been questioned), this would be (up to) £3 million per tank; still a Challenger 2 after LEP probably remains less capable and more expensive to operate than a Leopard 2A7(V) (unless the issues with armor, powerpack and gun are also addressed).

 

I don't think that the article from The Independent is entirely correct. First of all - based on other British newspapers/tabloids - the 200 Leopard 2 tanks offered for £2.5 million per tank (£3.5 million after upgrade) were Leopard 2A6 tanks. Upgrading a Leopard 2A4 to the Leopard 2A7V costs a lot more than just £1 million. Germany is paying €760 million to buy 104 Leopard 2A4s, 32 hulls and upgrade 68 Leopard 2A4s, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7 tanks to the 2A7V configuration!

Unfortunately only British newspapers have reported on KMW's offer to the UK MoD, but reading some of the articles makes me think that this is an older offer, which unlike claimed by The Independent might not be on the table anymore. Furthermore other articles mention that the upgrade was offered to the 2A7 standard instead the newer 2A7V, which again would imply that this is an older offer.

 

I can't find the £700mil budget mentioned in any reliable defence sources, and poking janes (unfortunately on the paywalled bit, the chally 2 profile towards the bottom if anyone has access) gives a value for the budget of ~£240mil (so ~£1mil/tank). MoD spending £3mil/tank on only an FCS upgrade is not going to happen - I bet most of those "defence sources" are from KMW, so of course they'd say their offer was cheaper.

 

The leo2a4 part is a guess on my part, I didn't know there was (emphasis on was now though) that many spare leo2a6s knocking around and the article didn't go into detail

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1 hour ago, Xlucine said:

I can't find the £700mil budget mentioned in any reliable defence sources, and poking janes (unfortunately on the paywalled bit, the chally 2 profile towards the bottom if anyone has access) gives a value for the budget of ~£240mil (so ~£1mil/tank). MoD spending £3mil/tank on only an FCS upgrade is not going to happen - I bet most of those "defence sources" are from KMW, so of course they'd say their offer was cheaper. 

 

DefenseNews.com claims that the UK MoD's Contract Bulletin suggest the value could be up to £700 million.

 

https://www.defensenews.com/land/2016/01/16/uk-surges-ahead-with-challenger-2-upgrade/

 

A news article by Shephard Media from 2016 (now behind paywall) suggested a projected contract value of £643 million. Rheinmetall lists a value of "greater than £0.5 billion" in its online accessible presentation for investors about potential future contracts. £240 million is by far the lowest value I have ever seen for the CLEP.

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Just like the ross rifle, but with a lot more propellant and a confined space

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-44861558

Quote

Army tank explosion deaths caused by design flaw

A tank explosion which killed two British Army soldiers was caused by a design flaw, a coroner has found.

Royal Tank Regiment corporals Matthew Hatfield, 27, and Darren Neilson, 31, died during a live firing exercise at Castlemartin Range in Pembrokeshire.

A seal stopping explosive gases escaping into a tank crew's turret was not in place before the lethal blast...

... The airtight seal, a bolt vent axial (BVA), that would have prevented explosive gases being released into the tank's turret was not in place when the men fired on 14 June 2017.

 

 

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    • By SH_MM
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