Sunday, April 12, 2009

powerpoint tank watch

I don't know what the cancellation of FCS, the US Army's whizzy all-things-to-all-men, fancy wheeled vehicles, robots, computers etc supergig, will mean for the UK's FRES, which is a scaled-down version of a very similar vision - lighter, highly mobile wheeled armoured vehicles, heavily networked, using fancy sensors and precision indirect fire rather than heavy armour plate, heavier tracks, and big turret guns.

We've sort-of chosen the underlying vehicle, but unfortunately we down-selected (as they say) the one that fit in a C-130 as required in the RFP, so it might fit in an A400M, but it doesn't look like those are ever likely to fly. If you recall, the MOD managed to spend £192 million without one actual vehicle resulting, whereas during Lord Drayson's tenure as MinDP they managed to buy hundreds of actual Viking, Mastiff, and MWMIK vehicles for less money than those powerpoint presentations cost.

Part of the problem was that BAE bought up the company which was meant to be the independent advisor, and then their main competitor in the US too. This last bit worries me, as I suspect US contracts funded a lot of work on FRES. You ask the French.

3 comments:

ajay said...

http://journals.cambridge.org/download.php?file=%2FINO%2FINO63_01%2FS0020818309090031a.pdf&code=3281939085419fbc7ed3eff3d6c22b2f

"Rage Against the Machines" is probably what you want to read; shows a significant negative correlation between number of vehicles and likelihood of COIN success...

Anonymous said...

I can't make that link work but I've found a copy of RATMs here:

http://ideas.repec.org/a/cup/intorg/v63y2009i01p67-106_09.html

Chris Williams

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