View Full Version : Army without 'vital vehicles'

27th July 2003, 10:40
Army without 'vital vehicles'
The Irish Independent
SAVINGS in the Defence budget are to pay for a new luxury 10m government executive jet - but cutbacks have left Irish soldiers without vital armoured vehicles needed to protect them on dangerous UN or EU missions.

While the Government last week cancelled a possible 45m order for a new large Airbus-style executive jet to replace the existing Gulfstream 4, it is to go ahead with buying a smaller Learjet 45 jet, expected to cost between 8m and 10m.

The new plane has a cabin "designed for uncompromising comfort" according to the manufacturers, and the Learjet will replace a 23-year-old Beechcraft plane used by the Air Corps.

However, the Army battalion of nearly 800 soldiers preparing for the EU Rapid Reaction Force, which becomes operational this year, has been left without a fleet of new light-armoured vehicles promised by Defence Minister Michael Smith in 2001.

The purchase of the 65 new vehicles, to cost about 20m, has been "deferred", according to the Department of Defence.

The armoured vehicles, similar to the US Army Humvee jeeps used in the latest Iraq war, would have been used by Irish troops for patrolling and reconnaissance and working with the new fleet of Mowag armoured personnel carriers.

Sources pointed out that despite large-scale investment over the last five years the Defence Forces are still without basic military equipment used by most other armies, including even a single transport helicopter, main battle tank, or fighter jet.

California Tanker
27th July 2003, 14:27
Of course, an infantry battalion doesn't actually need MBTs or fighters...

Does the article imply that the Eagle was actually selected?


27th July 2003, 15:34
well in the interests of the Irish Defence Force we need something to defend our RRF overseas, also we need to defend our airspace and put troops overseas buy ourselves and resupply them.

The Ranger wing are currently putting the Eagle under trails, Im not sure what the PDF prefer

27th July 2003, 23:39
Really now is it asking to much to let the lads have a nice shiny new aeroplane?don't they deserve it for all the hard work that they do?, and god knows michael o'leary isnt going to let them fly for free! Sure the next thing is you will be wanting things like troop carrying heli's , new recce vehicles the occasional piece of decent armour? all i can say is remember your afv recognition lessons, if its armour it sure as hell isnt ours!:D

28th July 2003, 10:54
Nothing says don't hit me up like a Leopard 2A4, I think on this board at least there is a consensus that infantry support MBTs are a must if we aspire to frontline peace enforcement roles.

28th July 2003, 12:25
While a Leo2A4 (or A5, while we're dreaming) would be ideal, there would be nothing wrong with a lighter, 105mm armed, tank, like the Leo1.

It'd be easier to deploy but still capable enough to take on anything up to a T-72 were the worst to come to the worst. Cheaper to run and support too. Thing is, they'd probably have to undergo some mechanical work, so it would be cheaper to just go for the Leo2 in the first place, specially since the 120mm ammo is more or less the standard across NATO now (apart from the Brits). Commonality and all that.

Still, the odds of it happening are, well, minimal.

28th July 2003, 13:33
Leopard II's seem a bit too heavy for Ireland.
My preference would be for the CV90120-T, it has a 120mm gun and fires the same ammo as the leopard II.
It's a nice piece of kit and weighs in at about 25 -27 (metric) Tons.



28th July 2003, 14:14
OH LORD! We're beginning to sound like the Air Corps section :(

28th July 2003, 14:55
This is all pointless really. The army are definitely not getting MBT's (despite Leo2a4's being available s/h from the Bundeswehr for < EUR1m each :( ).

Remember also that light tactical vehicle procurement and Scorpion upgrades have both been delayed by funding restrictions, these would have to be dealt with first before anything else could be considered.

28th July 2003, 15:15
See your point Shrike, but Leo2s are being given away at the moment, and thats no exageration.

The Germans, Dutch and maybe the Swedish all have stocks of used Leo2s which they have no use for. The Germans have given a large number of theirs away (to Poland and Finland) for practically nothing.

The CV90120 has yet to be purchased by anyone, including Sweden (which has Leo2A5 and A6s or Strv121 and 122). So A: We'd have to pay for it, B: We'd be the launch customer (bad idea), C: Its not a tank, its probably best described as a tank destroyer, one of the most important aspects of its use for peace enforcement is the fact that its heavily armoured. The CV is only slightly better armoured than a PIII ...

28th July 2003, 15:39
Fair enough.
But the Leo 2's were designed for fighting a battle on the North german plain. A nation like Ireland doen't need a 55 Ton MBT.
Most of our solidier are deployed for peace keeping (and that will probably continue to be the case) where a MBT will be of limited value.
It would be a logistical nightmare to move a dozen leo2's from Ireland to lets say the congo.
Even the German's found that their equitment was too heavy in Kosovo, and are moving towards lighter kit like the Wiesel 2.

28th July 2003, 16:03
Shrike, like I was saying (and Yellowjacket) this really is fantasy. There isn't enough money to dieselise the CVRT (which would be very useful on deployment) so running MBTs is clearly out of the question.

The Germans loved having their Leos along in Kosovo (and Bosnia), true, they were a pain to deploy, but like C-Q was saying, they really do send a message ... Don't F$%k with us!

paul g
28th July 2003, 19:39

infantry need to train with air and armoured support, long with engineers and artillery to be effective in a comdined arms situation.


If you had a choice, would you like to be in a 55tonne leopard 2 or a 27 tonne vehicle like a Cv-90 if you got hit by a 115mm round. Know which one I'd choose. Tanks are designed to fight other tanks, and have the protection to survive.

there is a more realistic case for MBT then for fighter aircraft, in that there is already existing expertise, both practical and tactical, in operating tracked vehicles with the scorpions, which there isn't with fighters. They have come in useful on peace support operations, ask the Danes in Kosovo, and as Aidan suggested, Lepaard 1A5 or M-60A3 have 15 years left in them, more if their upgraded, look at how long the Centurion remains in service sutiable updated in South African and israeli service, whilst both the israelis and GDLS have excellent upgrade packages for the M-60, where the basic vehicles could be acquired free. MBT would provide a very useful training aid in the interim and modified could be used to give the defence forces a warfighting edge.

Look at the acquisition of the El-70/Flycatcher as an example, Ireland really has no tactical use for so many very short range aid defence weapons, we're unlikely to be attacked by a airforce that don't have precision guided munuitions, or who bother to do anything so old fashioned as fly over the target, but they fill a valuable training role, and has given relatively modern equipment to a corps that was relying on stuff left over from WW2.

A force of 32 M-60A3, 2 M-60 AVLB and 2 M-88 ARRV, about enough to equip 2 squadrons with 8 spare could be acquired for virtually free, (Egypt only paid shipping costs for theirs), they would provide a valuable training tool ( one squadron could be RDF), and could be sutiable modified/upgraded in 10 years time along the lines of the SABRA.

California Tanker
29th July 2003, 00:05
infantry need to train with air and armoured support, long with engineers and artillery to be effective in a comdined arms situation.

Agreed.. but since we're dealing with a combined-nations force here, why not do combined-nations training? The Brits and French have plenty of tanks, I'm sure they'd let us send our ERRF troopies to the same training exercises as their tankies.

there is a more realistic case for MBT then for fighter aircraft, in that there is already existing expertise, both practical and tactical, in operating tracked vehicles with the scorpions, which there isn't with fighters.

n fairness, you get about as much expertese for modern MBTs like Leo 2 from the Scorpions as you do for F-16s from flying Fougas. Believe me, I've gone from AMLs to M1A1s.


California Tanker
29th July 2003, 04:02
Shrike, I'll see you your 120mm, and raise you a 125... :-)



29th July 2003, 09:56
C-T, is that a Sprut?

29th July 2003, 17:38
Raise you a http://user.mc.net/~hawk/doracol.jpg

29th July 2003, 18:39
Lads, try and keep this on topic will ye?

paul g
29th July 2003, 20:15
CT true, but if you oretend the Scorpion is a tank, as you do in training exercises, then it helps in tactics.

As for overseas training, fine for one big exercise a year, but the battalion has to be deployable, having a few MBT wouldn't hurt.

29th July 2003, 20:19
At the price those Leopards are available for, you could buy a few extra, and keep them at an overseas training location (eg Germany or Poland - both Leo2 users), and contract out maintenance to them.

paul g
29th July 2003, 20:45

In that case why not do what C.T suggested.

Personally i think a few tanks would be a very useful training tool all levels, and wouldn't break the bank.

29th July 2003, 23:39
Presumably (theoretical) Irish vehicles would be localised somewhat, and inevitably different systems would be installed over time, comms etc.

California Tanker
29th July 2003, 23:41
Yes, it's an SP Sprut.

That's OK, Paul.. They kept pretending that the Fougas were combat aircraft...


paul g
30th July 2003, 19:08
hey, during the 1920's and early 1930, everybody laughed when the german army used to exercise with tanks made out of cardboard and mountedon bikes, but they all stopped laughing in 1940.

Bud Fox
31st July 2003, 16:51
With the possibility of the introduction of carbon taxes the Army could go "Green".
The SHADOW RST-V - a nice option.


31st July 2003, 19:40
With the Suspension lowered it looks like the APC from aliens...

1st August 2003, 13:40
Look at this table - the T90 looks good!

Its lighter than the Leo11 and has a crew of 3

Its also cheaper new- so if we could get them second hand...Check out the spec- it even has air conditioning!

1st August 2003, 15:41
For reasons I couldn't bring myself to reitereate again no one will buy eastern defence equipment in the EU it would upset too many of the people you'd need helping you

California Tanker
1st August 2003, 15:48
I can't keep up these days with knowing what countries are in the EU, but Greece for sure is one that uses a decent amount of Eastern-bloc equipment. Cyprus and Finland are two European countries that do.

I believe Sweden had selected the Mi-28 for its new attack helicopter, but that got axed on financial reasons.


1st August 2003, 16:41
Come on guys just how many scorpions do we have! Im ashamed to say less than 10?

paul g
1st August 2003, 18:59

Greece uses lots of soviet bloc equipmenmt which it got second hand from the Germans after 1989. however, their army is designed to go to war with turkey, same with Cyprus. Finland is moving towards western defence equipment, replacing its T-72 with leopard 2

As for the T-90, the automatic loader on the T-72/T-80 reputedly had the nasty habit of mistaking the gunners arm for a shell, and putting it into the breech. Its also cramped for the crew, not a good buy.

1st August 2003, 19:16
14 scorpions

1st August 2003, 21:29
Its not just armoured vechicles we are short. We also need more DROPS lorries, field amblances, recovery vechicles etc. Extra armour in the shape of new MBT`s would be nice but not necessary if you have the right anti armour weapons and only armour we would need then would be light or heavy armour in the form of second hand challenger I`s or leopards or new light armour to give infantry a large fire base. What would also come in handy would be extra Mowag APC`s and from talking to the Squadron Sgt of a PDF Cav sqd they have come down in favour of the Eagle also. at the end of the day its all down to underfunding. interesting that while on camp this year in bere island the 1cav paid a visit and they gave a lecture on intergration and overseas duties and the cav`s new role. interesting to heard that the officer stated that funding to re-equip the DF was coming from Europe

California Tanker
2nd August 2003, 01:38
Greece uses lots of soviet bloc equipmenmt which it got second hand from the Germans after 1989. however, their army is designed to go to war with turkey, same with Cyprus.

The Greeks have been buying some stuff straight from the FSU as well, particularly missile systems. I can only assume that they've had some positive experiences with some aspects of the equipment they bought in the DDR Army Closing Down Sale. They'll buy anything from anyone if it suits their needs. They just selected Leopard 2 as their tank, for example, but SA-15 as their front-line SAM. The Cypriots didn't get their stuff from Germany at all.
At any rate, modern equipment can't be that horrible. Otherwise, how would you explain sales like BMP-3 to UAE, T-80 to Pakistan and ROK, and T-90 to India?

Finland is moving towards western defence equipment, replacing its T-72 with leopard 2

On the other hand, they absolutely love their MTLBs.

As for the T-90, the automatic loader on the T-72/T-80 reputedly had the nasty habit of mistaking the gunners arm for a shell, and putting it into the breech. Its also cramped for the crew, not a good buy.

Urban legend for the first one. The 'grab the arm' thing apparently was an issue on early BMP and T-64 models, and was quite quickly dealt with. The two major complaints against the autoloader system were vulnerability in case of penetration and (for T-72s) rate of fire. As for crew comfort.. I'm 6'5. I fit quite comfortably in the T-72's gunner's and commander's seats. Frankly, I think I fit better in the T-72's gunner's seat than that of the 'roomy' M1A1. I didn't try the driver's seat though, I hear it's a little smaller. Then again, I don't fit well in the Abrams' driver's hole either.

Certainly the T-55 is an ergonomic nightmare, but not having been in a T-80 or T-90, I can't state as to their roominess inside.


Film Guy
2nd August 2003, 21:52
As far as I heard its against official policy to purchase tracked vehicles, as they don't fit into our wholesome peace keeping image

4th August 2003, 21:31
Film Guy - what about the Scorpians? They'r tracked...

Film Guy
5th August 2003, 13:13
Yeah I know but they were the last tracked vehicles we will be getting from what I hear

5th August 2003, 14:18
I find it difficult to believe that in this era our policy could be that stupid, that'd be the stupidest policy since the thing with British and American fighters during the emergency

5th August 2003, 14:51
Doubt if we have any formal policy on purchasing AFVs. Its not like its something the country does very often. After the Scorpions, what was the next major AFV purchase? As far as I can figure, there were the two Sisus and then the Mowags. Not exactly a precedent.

Still, it is highly likely that theres a 'wheels only' bias on the grounds of cost and commonality. Any deployed force is probably going to be wheeled, and since the army is in the game of purchasing gear for deployment, thats the way things are going to go. Specially since the US is moving that way with the IBCT and the Stryker and other EU countries also have similar forces. The difference being, of course, that they have 'heavy' elements they can bring to bear. We don't.

The CVRTs were purchased in the 70s, supposedly at least in part as training vehicles for MBTs. And they were supposed to be augmented with Alvis Stormers, according to the 'bible'. Totally different context to what the army is looking at now. Doesn't necessarily mean they can't/won't be deployed if they get that upgrade though.

California Tanker
5th August 2003, 18:01
In fairness, the US is not 'moving towards wheeled vehicles'

It's just filling in a gap in capability. The Army retains the policy that the absolute best equipment is tracked, just not necessarily as mobile. The USAR can afford to buy wheeled to fill in a speciality role because they have plenty of tracked available for when they need it.


6th August 2003, 12:25
"In fairness, the US is not 'moving towards wheeled vehicles' "

So they've bought over a thousand Stykers for the laugh?


Perhaps I should have been more clear. The US Army is moving towards wheeled vehicles for rapid deployment for certain operations. Just like a large number of other nations. So the operational context, internationally, is towards a certain type of vehicle for these type of missions. Our purchase of the Mowags merely reflects this, rather then any inherant bias against tracks.

Bud Fox
6th August 2003, 12:50
From http://www.combatreform.com/lavdanger.htm

The issue is NOT whether Senator Stevens should have a new Army Brigade Combat Team or not, its that the BCT must be on TRACKS in order to be cross-country mobile over the snows of Alaska, Korea and the hot, humid regions of the Pacific--the overweight 19-21 ton lav3stryker wheeled armored car the Army has selected to waste several billions of tax dollars will be restricted to roads and trails and be useless to the Army's 172nd Brigade.

The same kind of situation exists today with the current Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki refusing to field a mechanized M113A3 Gavin-based brigade combat team with parachute forced-entry and cross-country fire & maneuver capabilities instead stubbornly insisting road-bound rubber-tired lav3 stryker armored cars that CAN'T FIGHT and CAN'T FLY by C-130 be used.

This is despite the fact that the M113A3 Gavins out-performed the lav3strykers at the recent Fort Lewis Congressionally-mandated comparison evaluation tests. The absurdity of such a heavy lav3 stryker armored car which makes the C-130 sacrifice so much fuel that you can drive it farther than you can fly it--has not been lost on Rumsfled's DoD. The DOD are trying to work around" the flimsy lav3stryker brigades by surrounding them with mechanized (tracked) M113A3/M2/M1 forces and forward deploying them so the heavy wheeled armored cars will not have to be flown by any USAF aircraft. You could surround a brigade's worth of 300 x ice cream trucks with tracked AFVs and call the force "full operational capability"; the tracks will be used to do the heavy fighting and off-road dirty tasks while the wheels frolic along paved roads and trails as far back in the rear as possible.

6th August 2003, 13:21
That guy has an obsessive hatred for the LAV & wheeled vehicles in general, I don't think we can rely on him for objective assessment.

He hates the USMC with a passion too.

6th August 2003, 13:23
Seemingly any article where the M113 is called the "Gavin" stems from this fella, as that name is not used by the US military, officially or unofficially.

California Tanker
6th August 2003, 19:24
That Sparky again?

An astute piece of marketing, mind.. Calling the thing after an airborne general in an attempt to garner support for the vehicle amongst the airmobile community.

I'm starting to see it referred to as 'Gavin' on occasion on some other boards by paratroopers, but it's a long way from being an accepted name.


paul g
7th August 2003, 19:46
Actually the rumours Pre -Iraq, was that the Future combat system under development to replace the Abrams and Bradley by United defence and GDLS, will be wheeled and around 30 tonnes. The reason the many in the Us army hate the stryker (which is an interim vehicle) is that the fear that it heralds the end of MBT and armour as we know it.

8th August 2003, 11:01
Does this mean there is a general antipathy to the Rumsfeld "doctrine"?

8th August 2003, 12:10
I thought the FCS was being prototyped as both a tracked and wheeled vehicle?

Herr Klutz
8th August 2003, 13:38
What is the defence forces budget these days? more or less than a billion euro's? I don't think its even 1% of GDP and yet we spend over 50% of GDP on a health service that doesen't work and whenever we get a contract to build anything from a road to a big metal rod we usually end up going way over budget and usually overtime as well (how this can happen if you have normal contracts with the builders I don't know, but thats what we're talking about here...) and politions who have been known to take their unfair share from the national funds...perhaps then if we cut out all this bulls**t and worked like most normal countries we'd save a couple of million, if not billion euro's which could be invested into other areas including buying us some vital equipment...just a thought...

(of course the funny thing is the easiest way to do so would be through a military coup, but unfortunatly we wouldn't have the resources to carry one out :D )

paul g
8th August 2003, 18:47
Correct Aidan, that why i said rumour, tho it came from a friend in UD who knows things. As for FCS intresting concept, would be nice if the Piranha III in Irish service was interim as well. A lot will depend on how stryker performs in iraq. The arguement is that while tracks proved themselves in Iraq during the inital phase, that only lasts a few days weeks, what will prove itself in the longer term, and the sort of war that is in the process of in Iraq will be wheels. Given technological advances, the arguement goes, that wheeled vehicles have evolved so much since 1980, possibly it would make more sense to get rid of tracks althogether, and invest in wheels which have greater strategic mobility. If a LAV gets a puncture or hits a mine, it can still drive on, if an Abrams track hits a mine, its stuck. Range is another consideration.

Personally I think the Stryker decision points in a major shift in US army policy, going back to your point about Irish policy in buying armoured vehicles, don't forget that the Stryker order was the US army's first major decision in AFV since the 1970's, and given that the M-113A3/m-8 GS appears to have been a viable and far cheeper alternative, and other tracks were trialed, suggests that longer term changes are afoot.

9th August 2003, 22:32
Originally posted by Herr Klutz
What is the defence forces budget these days? more or less than a billion euro's?

I think Last years budget (2002) was 890 million, with about 50-60% going on pay alone. :confused:
I think that works out at about 0.7-0.8% of GDP.
If the government ever got serious about Defence they would have to spend at least double that amount.

Herr Klutz
9th August 2003, 23:19
well if we got serious about defence it'd be the EU or NATO paying for it so its all good...

And they spend (nay, waste) how much of GDP per year?