List of equipment of the British Army

This is a list of equipment of the British Army currently in use. It includes small arms, combat vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, artillery and transport vehicles. The primary task of the British Army is to help defend the interests of the United Kingdom, but it can also serve as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) force, or a United Nations (UN) or any other multi-national force. To meet its commitments, the equipment of the army is constantly updated and modified. To meet any shortage or requirement on operations, the army can request equipment under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR), which supplements planned equipment programmes.[1]

Infantry section equipment

The infantry section normally has two four-man infantry fire teams. On operations, each fire team is usually equipped with the following:[2][3][4]

Weapons
Vision systems
Communications equipment

There are currently plans to change the structure of equipment of a section with the return of the L7A2 GPMG to replace the L110 LMG and also bring more L85A2 assault rifles into use during 2019. This should see a section equipped with six L85A2 assault rifles, two with L123A2 UGLs attached, one L129A1 rifle and one L7A2 machine gun though this will be tailored as required by section and platoon commanders.

Weapons


Pistols

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L105A1 & L106A1, L117A1  Germany
  Switzerland
 United Kingdom
Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm Variants of the SIG Sauer P226 were purchased as an interim weapon to replace the L9A1 Browning under an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for use in Afghanistan. Although purchased as an interim weapon, they will continue to be used until the end of their life cycles.[11]
L131A1, L137A1[5]  Austria Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm Adopted as the new standard issue pistol to replace the L9A1 Browning, and eventually, the SIG Sauer P226. The Glock 17 is a sidearm used for close combat with a magazine capacity of 17 9mm rounds. Over 25,000 were purchased.[12]

Infantry rifles

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L85A2, L85A3, L22A2  United Kingdom Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Standard issue assault rifle. Can be fitted with SUSAT, ACOG, Elcan SpecterOS 4X or Thermal Viper 2 sights. The LLM-Vario Ray laser aiming module and the L123 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) can also be attached.[8] A shortened carbine variant, the L22A2, is used primarily by vehicle and helicopter crews for self-defence.[13] As the L85A1, it replaced the L1A1 as the standard rifle from 1987 onwards. The L85A2 began to replace the L85A1 (by upgrade) from 2001 to 2006. On 11 April 2016,[14] the British Ministry of Defense officially announced the adaptation of the L85A3, an upgrade to the L85A2 intended to extend the life of existing weapons to 2025, which features a number of changes, including a new handguard. The L85s in service are currently being upgraded to the new A3 standard.[15]
L119A1, L119A2  Canada
 United Kingdom
Assault rifle 5.56×45mm Used by the pathfinder group of the Parachute Regiment, UKSF, the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit and 43 Commando Royal Marines.[16] It has been upgraded from the A1 to the A2 variant.[17]
SIG-Sauer MCX  Germany Assault rifle .300 AAC Blackout The integrally suppressed variant of the SIG-Sauer MCX has been adopted in .300 Blackout by UKSF to replace the MP5SD3s.[18]
M16A2/M203  United States Assault rifle 5.56x45mm Used by the SAS during Operation Granby and currently used by the Pathfinder Platoon alongside the L119A1/L119A2.
M6A2 UCIW  United States Carbine 5.56x45mm The M6A2 UCIW (Ultra Compact Individual Weapon) model of the LWRC M6 has recently been adopted in limited numbers by the UK Special Forces, apparently intended for use by UKSF dog handlers, team leaders, signallers and for use in vehicles and whilst conducting covert reconnaissance and close protection, replacing the 9x19mm MP5K in the latter role. The weapon is often seen in Afghanistan with a SureFire suppressor and either an Aimpoint Micro or EO Tech optics.[19]
L86A2  United Kingdom Light support weapon 5.56×45mm Standard issue light support weapon based on the L85A2 assault rifle. It features a longer barrel, a bipod and a shoulder strap for greater range and accuracy. The L86A2 is capable of a high rate of accurate rapid fire at ranges up to 1,000 meters. It is being upgraded with picatinny rails and a new muzzle, stock and bipod.[20] This weapon will be removed from service by April 2019.[21]
L2A1[5]  Germany Battle rifle 7.62×51mm Battle rifle used by the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit and UKSF.[22]
L129A1  United States Sharpshooter rifle 7.62×51mm The primary designated marksman rifle, equipped with an ACOG optical sight for long-range engagements. There is also a Sniper Support Weapon version fitted with a 12x Schmidt & Bender scope and a suppressor for use by the second man in each sniper team.[23][24] The Sharpshooter rifle will also be the only DMR of the future British Section following the withdrawal of the Light Support Weapon.[25]

Long range rifles

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L118A1
L118A1 AWC
 United Kingdom Precision rifle 7.62×51mm Entered service in 1985, has an effective range of around 800 meters and is designed to perform in both desert and arctic conditions. The L118A1 has largely been replaced in front-line service by the L129A1 and the L115A3. The L118A1 AWC is used exclusively by the SAS.[26]
L115A3  United Kingdom Precision rifle 8.59mm Now regarded as the primary precision rifle for all British military trained snipers. It is equipped with a 25x scope, a suppressor, a folding stock, a five-round .338 Lapua Magnum magazine and has an effective range in excess of 1,100 m (3,600 ft).[27] Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison currently holds the record for the 3rd longest recorded sniper shot in history at 2,475 meters (2,707 yd) with this rifle.
L121A1  United Kingdom Anti-material rifle 12.7mm The L121A1 (AW50F) is intended to engage a variety of targets, including radar installations, light vehicles (including light armoured vehicles), field fortifications, boats and ammunition dumps. The standard ammunition combines a penetrator with high-explosive and incendiary effects in a single round. It is used by the SAS.[28]
AI AX50  United Kingdom Anti-material rifle 12.7mm Long range anti-material rifle based on the DNA of the AW50. The Accuracy International AX50 is a stand alone .50 BMG anti-material rifle variant that replaced the AW50.[29]
L135A1 LRPAS  United States Anti-material rifle 12.7mm Recoil-operated, semi-automatic anti-material rifle. The British Army uses the M82A1 under the L135A1 Long Range Precision Anti Structure Rifle designation.[30]

Submachine guns

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L92A1, L91A1, L80A1, L90A1  Germany Submachine gun 9x19mm Used by UKSF and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[31] The weapon comes in multiple variants, from the standard L92A1 (MP5A3) and the suppressed L91A1 (MP5SD3, pictured), to the more easily concealable L80A1 (MP5K) and L90A1 (MP5KA1), which are stockless and have vertical foregrips.

Machine guns

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L108A1, L110A2, L110A3
Minimi 7.62
 Belgium Light machine gun 5.56×45mm
7.62×51mm
The 5.56mm "FN Minimi" and "FN Minimi Para" is the designated light machine gun (LMG). The LMG is belt-fed and equipped with a fixed, folding bipod. One LMG is issued per four man infantry fireteam for sustained suppressive fire out to 300 m.[32] The Minimi 7.62mm is the latest version of the weapon to enter front-line service. The army undertook a review of whether to retain the L110 in dismounted close combat infantry platoons[33] and ultimately decided to remove it from service by 2019, though Joint Force Command users will retain stocks of the weapon.[21]
L7A2  Belgium General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51mm The designated GPMG for sustained fire out to 1,800 m. It is used by two-men teams in specialised machine gun platoons for battalion-level fire support,[34] and has also been restored as the standard section machine gun following the removal of the L110A3 from service.[35] Mounted on most vehicles within the British Army, including helicopters.[36]
L111A1  United States Heavy machine gun 12.7mm The L111A1 is the British Army version of the American M2 Browning. It can be attached to both armoured and soft-skin vehicles, or a ground-mount tripod. The weapon has an effective range of 2,200 m.[37]

Shotguns

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L128A1  Italy Semi-automatic shotgun 12 bore Standard issue combat shotgun used by the "point man" of an infantry section. The L128A1 has a capacity of eight rounds and a maximum effective range of 140 m (460 ft) for solid shot and 40 m (130 ft) for buckshot.[38]
L74A1, L74A2[5]  United States Pump-action shotgun 12 bore Used by UKSF as a breaching shotgun.[39]

Grenade launchers

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L123A3, L17A1  Germany Underslung grenade launcher 40×46mm Variant of the AG36 grenade launcher introduced during the SA80A2 upgrade and issued on a scale of two per infantry section.[3][35] Ammunition natures used include fragmentation, HEDP, white illuminating parachute, infra-red illuminating parachute, and red phosphorus.[40][41][42][43] The L17A1 version is used with the L119A1/A2 rifles.[44]
L134A1  Germany Grenade machine gun 40×53mm The L134A1 is used for the suppression of enemy infantry and can be mounted on both armoured vehicles and tripods. It combines the advantages of a HMG and a mortar in one; delivering a high rate of fire with fragmentation effect. The weapon has a 320rpm rate of fire and an effective range of 1,500 m (4,900 ft)-2,000 m (6,600 ft).[45]

Explosives

Name Origin Type Detonation Image Details
L109A1   Switzerland HE grenade Fuse British version of the Swiss HG 85 Grenade. It differs from the original in that it has a matte black safety clip similar to the American M67 grenade. It has a 3-5 second fuse (climate dependent), contains 155g of high explosive and has a lethal range of 10 m (33 ft).
L84A2, L84A3  Germany Smoke grenade Fuse [1] Red phosphorus smoke grenade which is effective against visual sight and aiming equipment, night-vision devices, sensors operating in the near IR-spectrum and laser range finders.[46] A third iteration is currently in service.[6]
M18 Claymore mine  United States Command-detonated anti-personnel mine Remote Used for specialist and defensive purposes. It has seen use in Afghanistan. It will be replaced with the Fixed Directional Fragmentation Weapon (FDFW), a Finnish designed mine that has yet to be formally identified.[47]
L9A8 Bar Mine  United Kingdom Anti-tank mine Pressure Primary anti-tank mine. During the Gulf War, it was found to be highly resistant to mine ploughs, simply rotating under it to detonate below the vehicle, disabling some M60 tanks of the USMC after Iraq captured L9s from the Kuwaiti Army.[48]

Indirect fire weapons

Name Origin Type Calibre Image Details
M6-640, M6-895  Austria Mortar 60mm 60mm mortar procured as an UOR. It can be fired in both the direct and indirect roles at a rate of 1–12 rounds a minute and can also be operated in the hand-held mode. Around 1,900 mortars were purchased to replace the older L9A1 51mm Mortar that served on operations.[49] The M6-640 will be removed from service in 2019.[21]
L16A2  United Kingdom
 Canada
Mortar 81mm Operated by a three-man team. It is often vehicle-borne; in mechanised infantry battalions it is mounted and fired from a Bulldog armoured vehicle.[50] Around 470 are in service.[51]

Portable anti-material weapons

Name Origin Type Warhead Image Details
MBT LAW Sweden
 United Kingdom
Anti-tank weapon150mmMan-portable medium range anti-tank missile system. It fires a High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) warhead and is capable of penetrating explosive-reactive armour.[52]
FGM-148 Javelin United StatesAnti-tank weapon127mmDisposable, man-portable, short range fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile system. It is designed to "knock out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above".[53]
L2A1 ILAW SwedenAnti-tank weapon84mmSmall quantities of AT4 CS HP projectiles have been purchased.[54]
L2A1 ASM IsraelAnti-structure weapon90mmDisposable, man-portable guided anti-structure weapon. It is designed to destroy hardened structures, such as bunkers, buildings and other fixed positions.[55]
Starstreak MANPAD United KingdomAnti-air weapon22mm x 3Alongside the LML and Stormer mounted versions, the British Armed Forces also possess the high speed Starstreak Missile on a shoulder mounted and man portable launcher. This can also be used as a surface attack weapon, capable of penetrating the frontal armour of even IFVs.[56]

Personal equipment

Protective equipment

A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011, including Mk. 7 helmet and Osprey Mk. 4 vest (front and back views)

The standard helmet in service is the Mk.7, which replaced the older Mk 6 helmet. The Mk.7 helmet is equipped with a new harness that keeps the helmet more stable on the head when night vision equipment is fitted. It is also better integrated with new weapon sights, making it easier to use in a variety of fighting positions.

Since 2006, troops in Afghanistan (and until 2009 Iraq), have been issued with Osprey body armour. This has provided much better protection than previous body armour systems such as the Enhanced Combat Body Armour vest. The new Mk 4 'Osprey Assault' body armour, which replaced the older Osprey vests, provides the same level of ballistic protection while improving the comfort of personnel on operations in Afghanistan by being closer fitting, less bulky and easier to move in. It is specifically developed to meet the British Army's requirements, using cutting edge materials and manufacturing technology.[57]

Both the Mk. 7 helmet and the Osprey armour are undergoing replacement by the Virtus body armour system. The Virtus scalable tactical vest is even closer fitting and lighter than the Opsrey Mk 4, and features a quick-release mechanism to aid safe extraction from hazardous situations such as burning vehicles, and a dynamic weight distribution system which, when linked to a user's waist belt, aids in spreading the load of the armour and a bergen or other backpack across the back, shoulders, and hips. The Virtus helmet provides increased blunt impact protection, is specially shaped to allow effective weapon usage while in a prone position, and features a permanent night vision mount and a scalable counterweight attached to the helmet's rear in order to ease strain on the user's neck.[58]

By January 2015, over 300,000 General Service Respirators had been delivered to replace the older S10 respirator.[59] These respirators are also used by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Multi-Terrain Pattern

The Multi-Terrain Pattern is designed and intended to perform consistently across a wide range of environments. A wide range of camouflage colours were trialled in Britain, Cyprus, Kenya and Afghanistan, ultimately the Crye's "Multicam" pattern was determined to be the best performing, across the widest range of environments (by a significant margin) and was subsequently selected as the basis for the new British MTP camouflage, and combined with the existing British DPM pattern. The MTP pattern itself was not trialled against other patterns and its adoption was based solely on its similarity to the original Crye Multicam pattern.[60]

Boots

In 2012, the MOD purchased a newly designed range of brown combat boots from Haix,[61] Alt-Berg,[62] and other manufacturers for the Army, Royal Navy and RAF to replace the black and desert combat footwear previously worn. Five different boots, developed to match the Multi-Terrain Pattern uniform, are available to Armed Forces personnel depending on where they are based and what role they are in. Each of the five boot types comes in two different styles, with personnel being able to wear the particular style they find most comfortable. Black boots have been retained for wear with most non-camouflage uniforms as well as units on parade in full dress uniform, such as regiments performing ceremonial duties in central London.[63][64]

  • Desert Combat – worn by dismounted troops conducting medium to high levels of activity in desert type environments with temperatures exceeding 40 °C
  • Desert Patrol – worn by drivers/armoured troops conducting lower levels of activity in desert type environments exceeding 40 °C
  • Temperate Combat – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Patrol – worn by mounted troops (drivers/armoured troops) taking part in lower levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Cold Wet Weather – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperatures down to −20 °C.

Before the adoption of the brown boots, British troops were issued with desert combat boots manufactured by Meindl[65][66] and Lowa[67] for use in Afghanistan. Both boots remain listed as part of the MOD's 'Black Bag' of operational clothing despite their official replacement by the brown boots,[68] and may be worn by individual soldiers in lieu of the issue footwear.

Bayonet

The current British L3A1 bayonet has a hollow handle that fits over the L85 rifle's muzzle and slots that line up with those on the flash eliminator. The blade is offset to the side of the handle to allow the bullet to pass beside the blade. It can also be used as a multi-purpose knife and wire-cutter when combined with its scabbard. The scabbard also has a sharpening stone and folding saw blade.

Personal Role Radio

A Personal Role Radio (PRR) is distributed to every member of an eight-strong infantry section.[10]

Load Carrying Equipment

PLCE being used during training exercises

Soldiers need to carry ammunition, water, food, protective equipment, and various other supplies; Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE), officially known as 90 Pattern Webbing,[69] is the current webbing system used by the British Army for this purpose. The webbing consists of a belt, a yoke harness, and various belt pouches, as well as two daysacks for use with the Combat Order; these can be attached to a larger 'Bergen' rucksack for use with the Marching Order. Associated with PLCE is a series of similar load carrying equipment and rucksacks.[60] PLCE webbing is capable of holding everything that a soldier needs to operate for 24 hours without resupply in its Fighting Order, for up to two or three days without resupply in its Combat or Patrol Order and for up to two weeks without resupply in its Marching Order.[70]

PLCE is now very unlikely to be spotted during operations due to the introduction of the Osprey body armour series and the later Virtus scalable tactical vest, both of which feature MOLLE loops for direct attachment of pouches as well as various associated load carrying items that also feature MOLLE attachment loops,[71] though PLCE webbing produced in the newer MTP pattern does exist and, due to its durability and the quantity produced, the webbing is often seen in use during training exercises.[72][73][74][75]

Future Integrated Soldier Technology

The Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) is a programme under development by the Ministry of Defence. The programme is designed to achieve enhanced military effect through the used of advanced technologies improving the situational awareness, lethality and survivability of soldiers. Ultimately, the programme is part of the wider British Armed Forces doctrine of network-enabled capability. 35,000 sets of kit are expected to be bought and issued between 2015 and 2020. This equipment is designed to bring the British infantryman up to standards and link with new technology currently employed, including the new underslung grenade launcher for the SA80 and the deployed Bowman communications network. It is not intended that every soldier be equipped with FIST: instead, unit commanders will request FIST kits as necessary so that they can be tailored to the situation and mission aims.

Vehicles

Armoured

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Challenger 2  United Kingdom Main battle tank 227[76] Equips three regular and one Yeomanry (reserve) Armoured Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.[77] A Challenger 2 Life Extension Project (LEP) is planned, and will include new optronics, situational awareness and fire control systems.[78] In 2010 due to budget cuts, 118 tanks were withdrawn from service. Of these, 70 were put in storage and 48 were converted to Driver Training Tanks.
CVR(T)  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 654[79][76] Recce (201),[76] APC, command and ARV variants equip three Armoured Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps and their REME detachments. APC and command variants also in use with the Royal Artillery, while an ambulance variant is operated by the 1st Armoured Medical Regiment.[80] Some variants have been partially replaced by the Iveco LMV, entire family to be replaced by 589 Ajax (Scout SV) starting 2017.
Warrior  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 769[76] Equips six battalions of Armoured Infantry and their REME detachments. A small number are also used by the Royal Artillery for command and observation.[81] Under the £1bn Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP) awarded to Lockheed Martin UK, the Warrior will be upgraded and receive an improved turret and new stabilised 40mm CTA International cannon.[82]
Bulldog  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 891[76] FV 430 variants remain in service with the infantry, as command vehicles, 81mm mortar carriers, ambulances and recovery vehicles.[83]
Mastiff
Ridgeback
Wolfhound
 United States
 United Kingdom
Protected mobility vehicle 396[76]
168[76]
125[76]
The 6×6 Mastiff and 4×4 Ridgback equip three battalions of Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry, the vehicles can be equipped with either a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade machine gun. The 6×6 Wolfhound is a protected tactical support variant of the Mastiff.[84][85]
Jackal
Coyote
 United Kingdom Protected mobility vehicle 437[76]
71[76]
The 4×4 Jackal equips three Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too. The 6×6 Coyote is a protected tactical support variant of the jackal.[86][87]
Foxhound  United Kingdom Protected mobility vehicle 398[76] Equips six battalions of Light Protected Mobility Infantry in 1 (UK) Division plus 2 battalions in Cyprus.[88]
Husky  United States Protected mobility vehicle 311[76] Protected tactical support vehicle.[89]
RWMIK Land Rover  United Kingdom Protected patrol vehicle 371[90] The Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit equips three Yeomanry (reserve) Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too.[91]
Panther  Italy Command and liaison 401[90] Armoured command and liaison vehicle for commanders and officers in various cavalry and armoured formations.[92]
TPz Fuchs  Germany CBRN reconnaissance 11[93] Equips Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment.[94]

Artillery and air-defence

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
GMLRS  United States Rocket artillery 35[76] The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), nicknamed the '70 km Sniper' or 'GSRS (Grid Square Removal System)', provides pinpoint accuracy, delivering a 200 lb high-explosive warhead to its target. It has twice the range of other artillery systems used by the British Army. Operated by the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery.[95]
L131 AS-90  United Kingdom Self-propelled artillery 89[76] The L131 AS-90 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer and is the largest piece of field artillery in the British Army. The L131 is operated by three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery: 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery.[96]
L118 Light Gun  United Kingdom Towed howitzer 126[76] The L118 Light Gun is used by four field artillery regiments: 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. It can be towed by a medium-weight vehicle (such as a Pinzgauer) or carried around the battlefield underslung by Chinook helicopters.[97]
Rapier  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 24[93] The Rapier Field Standard C is a Short Range Air Defence System (SHORAD), which is compact, mobile and air-portable, making it suitable for worldwide operations. It is a 24-hour, all-weather guided weapon system with the capability to engage two targets at once. Operated by the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery across four batteries, one of which is permanently based in the Falkland Islands.[98]
Starstreak SP HVM  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 62[93] The Starstreak SP HVM is mounted on the Alvis Stormer AFV with an 8-round launcher and internal stowage for a further 12 missiles. The Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft and fast 'pop up' strikes by helicopters. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[56]
Starstreak LML  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 145[93] The Starstreak Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) is a short-range, highly mobile air defence system that holds three missiles ready for firing and can be used as either a stationary launch unit or mounted on a light vehicle, such as a Land Rover. Starstreak can also be used as a surface attack weapon, capable of penetrating the frontal armour of even IFV's. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[56]

List of obsolete anti-tank guided missiles

Mobile artillery monitoring battlefield radar

The Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (or Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset) is a counter-battery radar. It detects enemy artillery projectiles fired by one or more weapons and from their trajectories locates the position of the weapon that fired it. It has a detection range of up to 30 km and can process up-to 100 projectiles simultaneously. It is mounted on a Bandvagn 206 (Bv206) all-terrain vehicle. Five vehicles are operated by the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.

Exactor

The Exactor is a previously classified purchase of the Rafael Spike-NLOS missile system. The system is primarily used for precise indirect counter barrage attacks at long ranges (30 km (19 mi)) where the GMLRS would result in too much collateral damage. It originally consisted of six Mk2 or Mk4 missiles mounted on an M113 chassis, of which 12 were purchased directly from the Israeli Defence Force with a further two chassis leased.

In 2010, the United Kingdom hired Rafael to produce an improved Mk 5 missile and also ditched the M-113 based launchers as they were poorly air-conditioned and difficult to keep running. These new missiles were mounted on a simpler flatbed trailer containing four missiles each. This new system was dubbed the Exactor 2 by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.[99] 18 such systems now exist within the Royal Artillery in six batteries of three.[100]

Centurion

Centurion is a C-RAM system based on the 20mm Phalanx CIWS, originally acquired for used in Basra, Iraq. It is operated by 16th Regiment Royal Artillery, and intended to intercept incoming rockets, shells and mortars out to a 1.2 km square area.[101] They are maintained by Babcock International in the United Kingdom. A total of ten sets were purchased in 2005,[102] but since then four have been reconverted back to the maritime variant.[103]

Engineering and logistics

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Trojan  United Kingdom Assault breacher vehicle 32[76] Trojan is based on the Challenger 2 chassis and is designed to breach through enemy defences, such as walls or fortifications, and clear paths through minefields. The Trojan is equipped with the Python Minefield Breaching System.[104]
Titan  United Kingdom Armoured vehicle-launched bridge 33[76] The Titan is an armoured bridge launcher based on the Challenger 2 chassis with the capability to deploy a bridge up to 60 meters long.[105]
CRARRV  United Kingdom Armoured recovery vehicle 75[90] Based on the Challenger 1 chassis and is designed to recover and repair damaged or incapacitated tanks.[106]
Terrier  United Kingdom Combat engineering vehicle 60[76] Provides mobility support (obstacle and route clearance), counter-mobility (digging of anti-tank ditches and other obstacles) and survivability (digging of trenches and Armoured Fighting Vehicle slots).[107]
Alvis Unipower  United Kingdom Tank bridge transporter 139[90] The Tank bridge transporter (TBT) has the same cross-country performance as a tank even when fully loaded. It can carry a No 10 Bridge or 2 × No 12 Bridges (Close Support Bridge) of the BR90 family of bridges. It can deploy, drop off and load bridges independently, but it cannot recover them.[108]
M3 Amphibious Rig  Germany Amphibious bridging vehicle 37[76] The M3 Amphibious Rigs are vehicles operated by a 3-man crew. The M3 Rigs can drive into the water, open up and join together to create a bridge of varying length. A 100m bridge can be constructed using 8 rigs.[109]
Buffalo  United States Talisman counter-IED 19[110] Mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) armoured vehicle, which forms part of the British Army's Talisman counter-IED system.[111]
JCB HMEE  United Kingdom Talisman counter-IED 17[110] Heavily armoured excavator. It forms part of the Talisman counter-IED system. The MoD has committed to bring the HMEE along with all related Talisman elements (Minewolf, Tarantula Hawk, Buffalo, Panama and Talon) into the core budget.[112][113]
Oshkosh HET  United States Heavy equipment transporter 91[90] The Oshkosh HET 1070F is the Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) of the British Army. The Heavy Equipment Transporters are capable of carrying a 72-tonne Main Battle Tank and are responsible for the strategic transportation of armoured vehicles over land.[114]
MTVR  United States Close support tanker 357[115] The Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker forms the backbone of the British Army's bulk fuel and water transportation. The Tanker can be fitted with enhanced blast-proof armour for driver protection and General Purpose Machine Guns.[114]
MAN SV  Germany Support vehicle 7,484[115] The MAN family of support vehicles have gradually replaced all 4-tonne, 6-tonne and 14-tonne cargo vehicles currently in service. Consisting of 6/9/15 tonne variants, 4x4/6x6/8x8 retrospective. They have good mobility and the ability to be fitted with armour and General Purpose Machine Guns.[116]

A total of 382 HX77 vehicles are under contract to be converted in to EPLS Mk.3 systems.[117]

Leyland, Foden  United Kingdom DROPS 1,217[90] The Leyland MMLC is the Medium Mobility Load Carrier (MMLC) using a standard pallet and rack system and forms the logistic backbone of the British Army. The Foden IMMLC is the Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier and is used primarily as an ammunition carrier in support of AS90 155mm self-propelled guns.[118]

These DROPS vehicles are planned to be withdrawn in March 2021 to be replaced by 382 MAN EPLS Mk.3 vehicles.[117]

Miscellaneous

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Pinzgauer  Austria All-terrain truck 190 The Pinzgauer is a 4×4 and 6×6 tactical support vehicle used by the Royal Artillery to tow artillery pieces, such as the Rapier and L118 Light gun.
Mowag Duro   Switzerland All-terrain truck 190 118 Duro II and 48 Duro III are operated by communications and intelligence units. A further six Duro II and 18 Duro III are tasked with mine clearance and bomb disposal units - these have become known as Tellar and Citizen in British Army service.[119][120][121]
Land Rover Wolf  United Kingdom Utility vehicle 12,000[122] The Land Rover Wolf is a militarised version of the Land Rover Defender. They can be found in service with the British Army worldwide, and can be armed with one 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun and a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun. The Land Rover Wolf is designated as a Truck Utility Light (TUL) and Medium (TUM).
Land Rover Battle Field Ambulance (BFA)  United Kingdom Battlefield ambulance 116[90] The Land Rover Pulse battlefield ambulance has full medical facilities with the capacity to hold up to six seated casualties or four casualties on stretchers. The vehicle can be airlifted.[123]

C vehicle fleet

The job of the Royal Engineers is to restrict the enemy's ability to advance, while also allowing friendly combat forces the freedom to maneuver as necessary. Other tasks undertaken are bomb disposal, the construction of fortifications, runways, roads and bridges and the improvement of existing infrastructure to support operations - such as improving existing roads for logistic convoys. To achieve this, the Royal Engineers operate a large and diverse fleet of vehicles. At present, the C vehicle fleet is provided by a private finance initiative (PFI) and consists of some 2,500 vehicles of over 160 types of "earthmoving plant, Engineer Construction Plant (ECP) and rough terrain Materials Handling Equipment (MHE)".

The provider of the PFI is Amey Lex Consortium (ALC), which was awarded a 15-year contract in 2005 for £600 million. The handing over of the C vehicle fleet to a PFI has improved overall efficiency, with ALC selecting common chassis for multiple roles and significantly reducing equipment types. This has led to reduced training needs in personnel, commonality of spares and an overall reduction in the logistic footprint and cost of maintenance.[124] ALC maintains the fleet at various degrees of readiness, with a large pool of the vehicles being modified and adapted for military use - however, the majority of the fleet is maintained at commercial standards. The fleet is dispersed worldwide to accommodate both existing and future operations. When in use, the vehicles are essentially being "hired on an ad hoc basis". To help sustain the C vehicle fleet on operations, the PFI includes a logistics support package.[49]

All-terrain vehicles

There are a number of all-terrain vehicles in service with the British Army. The Supacat ATMP is a lightweight 6×6 used by airborne and air-mobile forces. It can carry up to 8 troops with a standard NATO pallet of stores and ammunition. The Springer all-terrain vehicle is a light-role 4×2 load carriage platform, which can self-load a 1-ton pallet. Each vehicle is equipped with an 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) self-recovery winch and sand ladders, which act as loading ramps for a cargo pallet.[110][125] Approximately 900[126] Grizzly 450 quad bikes are used as light transport for things such as mortars, ammunition and general supplies.[110][127] Finally, the Harley Davidson MT350E and Honda R250 motorcycles are used by dispatch riders and for a variety of liaison and traffic control tasks.

Special forces

The Special forces maintain a unique fleet of vehicles to support their covert operations. In 2001, 65 Supacat High Mobility Transporter (HMT) 400 vehicles were ordered under Project Minacity after being in development for a special forces protected vehicle requirement since the late 1990s.[128] The Minacity vehicles entered service in 2003 in Afghanistan.[129] In 2008, 24 Australian Bushmaster armoured vehicles were purchased under an UOR for the SAS in Iraq, as these provided all-round protection unlike the Minacity.[130][131] It is fitted with additional armour, counter-IED electronics, and a .50 calibre machine gun mounted in a RWS.[132] In addition, other vehicles known to be in service are: 60 Toyota Hilux for special forces mobility; and 78 ACMAT VLRAs as tactical support vehicles to resupply and sustain special forces on operations.[133][134] In August 2016, the BBC reported that the Jankel Toyota Land Cruiser-based Al-Thalab long range patrol vehicle was being used in Syria.[135]

Aircraft

TypeOriginClassRoleIntroducedIn serviceTotalNotes
AgustaWestland ApacheUKRotorcraftAttack20045067[76]
AgustaWestland AW159 WildcatUKRotorcraftUtility20143434[76]
Bell 212CanadaRotorcraftUtility199555[76]
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin IIFranceRotorcraftSAS200955
Thales Watchkeeper WK450UKUAVISR20144950[76]
Westland GazelleUKRotorcraftPatrol19743236[76] Expected OSD 2025. The two additional units are currently undergoing work to bring them back into service.[136]

Watercraft

Raiding craft

The raiding craft in service with the British Army are operated in large numbers, predominately with the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps, for supporting both bridging and amphibious operations. These craft are highly versatile and often find themselves serving in environments ranging from the Arctic to the tropics.[137]

Mk.4 Workboat

Four boats in service,[138] operated by the Royal Logistic Corps as small tugs and general purpose work-boats in support of amphibious operations. They have a displacement of 48 tonnes and a maximum speed of 10 knots.[139]

Mexeflotes

Mexeflotes are amphibious landing raft operated by the Royal Logistic Corps for amphibious operations and are designed to deliver both armoured vehicles and material from ship to shore. They are deployed on the 16,160 tonne Bay-class landing ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Future equipment

Ajax Scout SV
'Future Protected Vehicle' - concept
  • The Future Integrated Soldier Technology is a suite of equipment capable of enhancing an infantryman's effectiveness as part of the Future Soldier programme.[140]
  • The Scout SV known as "Ajax" in British service and its variants have been chosen to replace the CVR(T) family of vehicles. Ajax was due to go operational in 2019, but as of October 2019 this had yet to occur.
  • The Land Ceptor Missile system will replace the Rapier by 2020.[141]
  • A new body armour system known as Virtus is under development as a replacement for the Osprey vest and Mk. 7 helmet.[58]
  • The MoD has a requirement for a new multi role vehicle under the Multi Role Vehicle-Protected requirement with main gate expected in 2017. At DSEI 2015 General Dynamics UK announced that they would offer variants of their Ocelot (Foxhound) and Eagle vehicles for the requirement.[142][143] In July 2017, the US DSCA notified the US Congress of a possible sale of 2,747 JLTV vehicles and accessories to the UK.[144] As of Oct 2019 no decision has been made.
  • The British Army wants to purchase 8x8 wheeled armoured fighting vehicles to replace the Mastiff and Ridgeback in British Service. This program used to be part of FRES UV, later named simply UV (Utility Vehicle) and now known as Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV). This vehicle is intended to equip the 4 "heavy protected mobility" battalions under Army 2020 Refine.[145] They will also be part of the two Strike Brigades proposed under the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.[146] In 2018 the UK rejoined the Boxer AFV consortium and as of Oct. 2019 are in negotiations with a view to purchasing 500+ units. On November 5, 2019, it was announced that a £2.8 billion deal for 500 Boxer armoured vehicles had been signed. Deliveries would start in 2023.[147]
  • Senior army officers and procurement officials are looking at either upgrading the Challenger 2 or outright replacing it. At DSEI 2015, army officials expressed their concern with the Challenger 2's armament and its inevitable obsolescence in coming years. Other causes of concern are the Challengers engine and electronics. The army stated that they had been in discussions with armoured fighting vehicle manufacturers about the future of the tank and its potential replacement.[148] A later Defense News article said that the British Army would still proceed with its Challenger 2 LEP, citing that a replacement at the present would be too costly.[149] On 22 December 2016, an assessment phase award was awarded to BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH to progress the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project.[150]
  • Under the Non-Articulated Vehicle – Protected (NAV-P) program, the MoD is looking for a successor to the DROPS vehicles.[151] This has resulted in a contract placed in 2018 for the conversion of 382 MAN HX77 Support Vehicles to carry the EPLS (Enhanced Palletised Load System) equipment. They are due to fully enter service in March 2021. The contract includes the conversion of 33 winterised/waterproofed versions[117]
  • The Army is currently in the process of receiving 56 Harris Corporation T7 EOD unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), procured by DE&S under Project Starter. These systems are due to fully enter service by December 2020, replacing the fleet of Wheelbarrow Mk.8B's at the same time.[152]
  • The British MOD released a Request for Information for the Mobile Fires Platform, a new 155mm self-propelled howitzer to support the Armoured Infantry and Strike Brigades.[153]
  • A Prior Information Notice was released for a successor to the Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (MAMBA), Advanced Sound-ranging Post (ASP) and Counter-battery radar, all which will reach their out-out-service date in 2026.[154]
  • In July 2019, the UK issued a Prior Information Notice for Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) demonstrators which could be mounted on army vehicles.[155]
  • In February 2019 the MOD announced the Robotic Platoon Vehicle programme. This programme aims to provide each infantry platoon on operational deployment, with a robotic vehicle. This is not a single design programme but multiple designs with a short (3-5 year) operational life with the intent to push continuous improvement with operational feedback on short timescales. The intent is to have the first vehicles deployed in 2020. [156]

See also

Other equipment lists
Related articles

References

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