Feeds

BAE mounts the Last Charge of the Light Cavalry

British Swedish tank to slip through MoD's closing door?

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Commander of British cavalry's final charge in '91: "Actually, tank war was over in the '70s"

But all the same there are good reasons why the Utility Vehicle plans got put on hold. The original concept of FRES was for proper armoured vehicles light enough to be flown to a war rather than having to be shipped by sea and land - hence the "Rapid Effects" bit. But experience in the last few years has shown - as anyone really could have told the Army - that this is fantasy. A vehicle light enough to be airfreighted in a medium transport plane** can't be armoured heavily enough to resist common roadside bombs, heavy buried mines etc. Indeed, even a 60-tonne main battle tank can be knocked out by such means.

Meanwhile, again, experience in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last few years has shown that there probably isn't any one fleet of armoured vehicles you could buy that would be suitable for all or most wars - there certainly isn't one that would be the right one for both of those. Both America and the UK have wound up buying two different fleets largely off the shelf in recent years.

The days of old, where you could be sure you were buying largely for a war on the German plains against the Red Army, are gone. Even if we were still playing Cold War Tank Battle on a nice flat place without too many cities, there are those who would say that the heavy tank and its supporting cast - scout tanks, infantry combat vehicles etc - have largely had their day.

The man who commanded the British armour for what will probably turn out to have been their final operation at full divisional strength - General Rupert Smith, in the 1991 Gulf War - has stated in writing that in his opinion the last real tank-on-tank battles ever seen took place in the 1970s. By his time, the real work was already being done by battlefield air power. Pressed on this by your correspondent a couple of years back, the general said he wouldn't scrap Blighty's tanks now - but nor would he replace them. This is a very common view among modern British soldiers we've spoken with - some of them even cavalrymen.

Perhaps General Smith is wrong, and the many other tank sceptics are wrong. Maybe the main battle tank still has a useful role to play, somehow. But that doesn't mean that recce/scout tanks do. They are competing for business with more and more rivals lately - helicopters, of course, but also ground-scanning radar and infrared aeroplanes both manned and unmanned, satellites, and now even stratosphere-prowling solar powered wingships and dirigibles etc etc.

No doubt there will always be a place for a tough, sneaky recce soldier able to get out onto the ground and see for himself - if necessary unleashing a hefty bit of firepower on his own account rather than just calling down the big hammer from the skies. Certainly the recce cavalry regiments would argue this.

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Whoever you vote for, Google gets in
Report uncovers giant octopus squid of lobbying influence
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.