- Modern equipment of the British Army
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This is a list of the equipment currently in use by the British Army. It includes small arms, combat vehicles, aircraft, boats, 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.
Browning Pistol (L9A1)
The 9mm Browning L9A1 is the general issue pistol for self-defence. The Browning is a self-loading pistol using the standard NATO 9mm round. It has been in service since the Second World War and has proven to be a reliable, accurate and robust weapon.
P226 SIG Pistol (L105A1, L105A2 and L106A1)
Variants of the P226 SIG Sauer pistol have been procured as a replacement for the Browning pistol in some units and as a UOR for use in Afghanistan. The L105A1 is the original P226, the L105A2 is the railed version and the L106A1 has an improved protective finish.
Rifles and shotguns
Rifle 5.56 (L85A2)
The standard issue rifle is the (Bullpup configuration) L85A2, known popularly as the SA80. The L85A2 can be fitted with a SUSAT 4x optical sight and a LLM01 laser aiming and torch attachment. It is fed by a 30 round magazine. There is also a carbine version, the L22A2, in service. An Under-slung Grenade Launcher (UGL) can also be fitted to the L85 rifle. The grenade launcher is a single shot weapon with a side opening breech loading action, taking a 40mm High Explosive round. The UGL has a range of 350 meters for area targets. The sighting system is a ladder sight mounted onto the left of the weapon.
Light Support Weapon (L86A2)
The L86A2 Light Support Weapon (LSW) is similar to the L85 and has been in service since 1986. It has a longer barrel, a bipod and shoulder strap fitted for greater range and accuracy. Many of the weapon's parts are interchangeable with the L85, including the same 30 round magazine. The LSW is capable of producing a high rate of accurate rapid fire at ranges up to 800 meters.
Sharpshooter rifle (L129A1)
A sharpshooter rifle based on Law Enforcement Internationals 7.62mm calibre LM7, was chosen by the MoD as a replacement for the AI L96 used by designated marksmen/sharpshooters.
The L129A1 7.62x51mm calibre, longer range (800m), semi-automatic rifle, will replace the bolt action Accuracy International L96 in the Sharpshooter role. A total of 440 Sharpshooter rifles have been bought as a £1.5m urgent operational requirement. It is the first new infantry combat rifle to be issued for more than 20 years. The standard weapon sight is the ACOG with 400 of them on order.
Heckler & Koch (HK417)
The HK417 is a 7.62mm rifle that has been issued to United Kingdom specialist units.
Sniper rifle (L96)
The 7.62mm L96 sniper's rifle was designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600m and harassing fire out to 1100m. The Accuracy International L96 has been upgraded with a 3-12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.
Long-range rifle (L115A3)
Nearly 600 of the long-range rifles have been ordered to replace the L96. The L115A3 has a scope that can magnify the target up to 25 times, a suppressor to reduce flash and noise, a folding stock and a five-round magazine. With a range of about a mile, the new weapon is being rolled out alongside the broader Sniper System Improvement programme. The L115A3 Long Range Rifle fires an 8.58mm bullet, which is heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96, and is less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.
Combat Shotgun (L128A1)
The Combat Shotgun is a semi-automatic, tubular magazine fed weapon chambered for the 12 gauge cartridge. It has a capacity of eight rounds and a maximum effective range of 140 metres for solid shot and 40 metres for buckshot.
Minimi light machine gun (L108A1/L110A1)
The Minimi light machine gun (LMG) is issued to the infantry and some other units to improve their firepower over that provided by the L85 and L86. It is a 5.56x45mm NATO calibre belt-fed machine gun. It is used primarily with its bipod so it can provide a level of sustained fire not possible with the LSW with its 30-round magazine. The L110A1 is the "paratrooper" version, equipped with a shortened barrel and a collapsible stock and is now issued one per four man infantry fireteam.
FN MINIMI™ 7.62 Machine Gun
In use in small numbers from 2011
General-purpose machine gun (L7A2)
The L7 General-purpose machine gun (GPMG) is the UK's version of the FN MAG. Often referred to as the 'gimpy', it can be fired from a bipod in the light role up to 800 m or from a tripod in the sustained fire role up to 1,800 m, although this falls to 1,100 m in low light conditions, as this is the range at which tracer burns out. Experienced GPMG gunners using the weapon to fire indirectly (i.e. with an arcing trajectory), are able to fire accurately out to 3000 m from the 'Sustained Fire' platform in the 'Map Predicted Fire' role. It is a 7.62x51mm NATO–calibre weapon. Other versions are mounted on various vehicles, boats and helicopters. It is also mounted as coaxial armament in combat vehicles.
Heavy machine gun (L2A1)
The L2 Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) of the British Army is a version of the M2 Browning. It is a 12.7x99mm NATO (.50 BMG) calibre weapon. It can be mounted on a tripod or on pedestal mounts on vehicles.
Heckler & Koch 40mm Grenade Machine Gun
The Heckler & Koch 40mm Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) provides a high rate of fire combined with the fragmentation effect of a mortar. The GMG is usually mounted on Jackal (MWMIK) vehicles but can also be used from tripods.
51 mm Light Mortar (L9A1)
The 51 mm mortar is a light weapon which can be carried and fired by one man. Smoke, illuminating and high explosive bombs are available. The 51mm mortar, which replaced the 2" version, was due to be phased out by the use of the newer 40mm AG36 UGL (Underslung Grenade Launcher) mounted on the SA-80. However operational experience has led to the decision to replace it with a 60mm mortar
60 mm Mortar (M6-895)
The Hirtenberger M6-895 60mm Mortar was 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 be operated in the hand-held mode. The 640 60mm Mortar has been procured as a UOR to replace the current 51mm Mortar on current operations.
81mm mortar (L16)
The L16A2 81mm mortar is a medium calibre weapon which is operated by a three man team. It is often vehicle-borne, and in mechanised infantry battalions is mounted and fired from an FV432 vehicle.
FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile Launcher
The FGM-148 Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile Launcher (ATGM) has been procured as the replacement for the Milan system. It fires a missile out to ~2500 m and is capable of defeating explosive-reactive armour with a tandem High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) warhead. It is currently thought that the Javelin is capable of penetrating most armoured vehicles.
Light Anti-Structures Missile (L72A9)
Originally designated as the "Rocket 66mm HEAT L1A1" M72 LAW, it has been replaced in the Anti-tank role but has been modified for structure demolition purposes, the main difference is the warhead, the LASM contains about 1 kg of an enhanced blast explosive, whereas the LAW contains about a third of a kilogramme.
The Anti-Structures Munition is a man-portable infantry weapon specifically designed to defeat hardened structures. The contract for development of the system was awarded to Dynamit Nobel Defence in 2006. Expected in-service date is sometime in 2010.
Mk.6 and Mk.7 Helmet
The standard helmet is the Mk.6; it is in the process of being replaced by the Mk.7. 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.
Osprey body armour and Osprey Assault body armour
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. The new Osprey Assault body armour, which is currently replacing Osprey, will provide the same ballistic protection, while improving the comfort of personnel on operations in Afghanistan. It has all the stopping power of the current body armour but is closer fitting, less bulky and is easier to move in. It is specifically developed to meet the British Army's requirements, using cutting edge materials and manufacturing technology.
The British Army operates approx. 6,030 armoured vehicles with at-least 647 more in reserve. There are also a further 12,000 Land Rover Wolf armoured patrol vehicles in service.
Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes Combat vehicles Challenger 2 United Kingdom Main battle tank 420 The Challenger 2 (CR2) is the British Army's battle proven Main Battle Tank. CR2 is based on the Challenger 1 that served with distinction on operations in the Gulf War and the Balkans. FV107 Scimitar United Kingdom Light tank (reconnaissance) 325 Scimitar is a fast and agile light tank with the primary role of gathering information. To be replaced by 600 new light tanks. Warrior United Kingdom IFV 785 The Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle has the speed and performance to keep up with Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks over the most difficult terrain, and the firepower and armour to support infantry in the assault. FV430 series and Bulldog United Kingdom APC/IFV 900 The FV 430 family of armoured vehicles entered service with the British Army in the 1960s, but regular maintenance and improvements including a new power train have enabled this old workhorse to remain in service into the 21st Century. (Approx. 500 more in storage) CVR(T) Family United Kingdom APC and Recconnaisance 1,179 As an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), it can carry four men in addition to the crew of three. It is used to carry small specialised groups such as reconnaissance teams, air defence sections and mortar fire controllers. Mastiff Cougar 6x6 MPV United States IFV 304 Mastiff 2 is a heavily armoured, 6 x 6 wheel-drive patrol vehicle which can carry eight people, plus two crew. It began operational duties in June 2009. Ridgback Cougar 4x4 MPV United States IFV 155 More agile than the Mastiff, the Ridgback, though very similar, is nearly two metres shorter but, crucially, a metre slimmer than its big brother, which allows troops greater access and mobility within built-up environments. Wolfhound 6x6 MPV United States IFV 73 The Wolfhound is a tactical support variant of the Mastiff, which will give support troops increased protection in high-threat areas. It has a larger load-carrying ability, and will mainly operate in the logistical role, moving ammunition for Light Guns, or carrying Bulky Stores. TPz Fuchs West Germany APC and Biological warfare 11 The Fuchs vehicles were initially gifted to the UK for the first Gulf War, since when they have been upgraded to be one of the most technologically advanced vehicles of their type in the world. They are manned by a crew of four, Commander, Driver and two Operators. The Fuchs were the first British vehicles into Iraq of the main ground force during the first Gulf War. The vehicle is fully amphibious with a speed through water of 10 kts. It forms part of the armoured arm of the CBRN Regiment which facilitates freedom of movement while the Land Forces advance. Viking BVS10 United Kingdom APC and IFV 161 The VIKING BVS10 All Terrain Vehicle (Protected) ATV(P) is the third generation of articulated vehicles produced by BAE Systems Hagglunds of Sweden. Land Rover Wolf
Land Rover Snatch
United Kingdom Patrol 12,000
The Land Rover Wolf is the British Army's light armoured and patrol combat vehicle. Some 12,000 are in service in the British Army.
The 577 Land Rover Snatch 2s in the British Army are a Protected Patrol Vehicle, based on the Land Rover Heavy Duty Chassis. This upgraded vehicle includes armour for troops on the frontline facing IEDs and Mines.
Vector Pinzgauer United Kingdom Light APC and Patrol 179 The Vector provides good protection and, importantly, increased mobility and capacity compared to the Snatch Landrover, which makes it very suitable for the rugged terrain and long patrol distances in Afghanistan. Supacat "Jackal" MWMIK United Kingdom Tactical Support 270 Used for reconnaissance, rapid assault, fire support and convoy protection, the Jackal has the capacity to support itself and its crew over 800 km. It has a maximum speed of 80 mph (129 km/h) on roads and weighs seven tonnes. Iveco "Panther" CLV. Italy Command and Liaison 412 The Army received the Panther Command and Liaison Vehicle in summer 2009, replacing some of the in-service CVR(T)s, TUMs, Saxon and FV432 vehicles. Husky International MXT-MV United States Protected Support Combat Vehicle 236 The Husky is a protected support vehicle providing commanders with a highly mobile and flexible load carrying vehicle. It is equipped with a machine gun. Force Protection "Foxhound" United Kingdom Light Protected Patrol Vehicle 300 (Approx.) The Foxhound is a new armoured patrol vehicle that is intended to replace the current Land Rover Snatch. It design is specifically suited to providing protection from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED)s and so-called 'roadside bombs'. The vehicle is due to start operations by 2011.
Artillery and air defence
The British Army operates approx. 3,162 artillery pieces and mortars.
Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes Artillery AS90 United Kingdom Self-propelled 155mm howitzer 166 The AS90 is a 155mm self-propelled gun that equips six Field Regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery. L118 Light Gun United Kingdom Towed 105mm howitzer 138 The 105 mm Light Gun is used by the Parachute and Commando Field Artillery Regiments of the British Army. MLRS United States Rocket artillery 42 The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), nicknamed the '70 km Sniper', 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. Rapier FSC Missile System United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile 24 Rapier Field Standard C is a technologically advanced Short Range Air Defence System (SHORAD) and is in service with the Royal Artillery. Starstreak HVM United Kingdom High Velocity Missile 229 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. L16 81mm Mortar
L9A1 51 mm Light Mortar
United Kingdom Mortar 470
The mortar is a Battlegroup level indirect fire weapon which is capable of providing accurate High Explosive, smoke and illuminating rounds out to a maximum range of 5,650m. The Hirtenberger M6-895 60 mm Mortar was procured as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR). It can be fired in both the direct and indirect fire role at a rate of 1–12 rounds a minute and can be operated in the hand held mode. The 640 60 mm Mortar has been procured as a UOR to replace the current 51 mm Mortar on current operations.
Fuchs NBC reconnaissance vehicle
The Fuchs Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle is one of the most technologically advanced vehicles of its type in the world.
Integrated Biological Detection System
The Integrated Biological Detection System (IBDS) provides an enhanced and automated NBC detection system. The IBDS is installed in a container which can be mounted on a vehicle or transported by either fixed or rotary wing aircraft. The IBDS provides the commander in the field with early warning of a chemical or biological attack.
The British Army operates approx. 621+ engineering vehicles.
Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes Engineering equipment CRARRV Challenger 2 United Kingdom Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle 81 The Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV) is a highly evolved armoured vehicle designed to recover and repair damaged tanks on the battlefield. FV434 United Kingdom Armoured Repair Vehicle 50? Unknown FV434 is the Armoured Repair Vehicle variant of the British Army's FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles. Introduced in the 1960s and is operated by the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). FV106 Samson United Kingdom Armoured Recovery Vehicle 120 Armoured Recovery Vehicle variant of the CVR(T) range of combat vehicles. Capable of recovering up to 12 Tonnes of vehicle. FV512 MCRV Warrior IFV United Kingdom Mechanised Combat Repair Vehicle 110 Variant of Warrior Fighting Vehicle. Equipped with a winch for recovery of other armoured and soft skinned vehicles of a similar and lesser weight. FV513 MRV(R) Warrior IFV United Kingdom Mechanised Combat Recovery Vehicle (Repair) 67 Variant of Warrior Fighting Vehicle. Equipped with a winch for recovery of other armoured and soft skinned vehicles of a similar and lesser weight. Also fitted with a 6.5 tonne crane to aid in the quick repair of recovered equipment. Titan AVLB Challenger 2 United Kingdom Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge 33 Titan is a new armoured engineer vehicle designed to enable troops and vehicles to cross gaps of up to 60 metres by laying a selection of close support bridges. Along with Trojan it gives a common heavy armour fleet based on the Challenger 2 chassis. Trojan (vehicle) United Kingdom Minefield Breaching vehicle 33 Trojan is an armoured engineer vehicle designed to open routes through complex battlefield obstacles and clear a path through minefields. Shielder minelaying system United Kingdom Anti-tank Mine layer 29 The Shielder Anti-Tank System gives commanders the facility to create anti-tank barriers quickly and effectively. Python Minefield Breaching System United Kingdom Minefield Breaching System 30? Unknown Python is a highly effective minefield breaching system which has been successfully tested with the British Army. M3 Amphibious Bridge Germany Self-propelled Amphibious Bridging vehicle 50? Unknown The M3 Amphibious Rig can be driven into a river and used as a ferry or, when a number are joined together from bank to bank, as a bridge, capable of taking vehicles as heavy as the Challenger 2. Buffalo United Kingdom/ United States Mine protected Clearance Vehicle 18 The Buffalo mine protected vehicle is a wheeled armored vehicle built by Force Protection Inc. It was designed based on the successful South African Casspir mine-protected vehicle.
Dragon Runner is a lightweight, man-portable robot capable of detecting a variety of explosive devices without putting the operator in danger.
The Army Air Corps operates approximately 218 aircraft, of which 12 are fixed wing and the rest are helicopters. The British Army also operates a number of UAVs used by the Royal Artillery.
The Westland Lynx is a battlefield utility helicopter although it has been used for both anti–tank and reconnaissance operations. The addition of door gunners has allowed Lynx to operate in the very close air support role.
The Westland Gazelle is a small single-engined helicopter primarily used for observation and reconnaissance. It is an older aircraft type with limited capability and is not deployed on combat roles. Under current plans the out of service date for the Gazelle is 2012.
The Eurocopter Squirrel is the basic training helicopter for the Army.
Unmanned aerial vehicles
The Desert Hawk is a Mini Unmanned Air Vehicle (MUAV). It Provides day and night coverage at down to company level. It has an extremely good record proven by supporting both 16 Air Assault Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade in Afghanistan. It has a flight time of approximately one hour, and can fly anywhere within a 10 kilometre radius of its ground control station
The Watchkeeper WK450 is a larger more advanced aircraft, with twin payloads, that can operate in all weathers and can take off and land automatically. For long endurance missions it can be fitted with two 50 litre auxiliary fuel tanks, but it has a typical endurance of 17 hours. WK450 has a maximum payload capacity of 150 kilogrammes. which will include day and night sensors, a flir, a zoom television camera, a laser range finder and target designator and a combined synthetic aperture radar and ground moving target indicator.
B (unarmoured) vehicles
Numerous variants of the Land Rover are used such as the Land Rover Wolf Truck Utility Light and Medium (Higher Specification) (designated TUL-HS and TUM-HS), the Land Rover Defender Truck Utility Light and Medium (designated TUL and TUM) and a version fitted as a Battlefield Ambulance, using the Land Rover Defender 127" chassis.
Quad bikes are used for light transport for things such as mortars, ammunition and supplies in general.
The Demountable Rack Offload and Pickup System (DROPS) is a standard pallet and rack system used by the British Army. Vehicles equipped for the system include the Leyland DAF and Foden EKF 6 x 8 Improved Medium Mobility Load Carriers.
The Pinzgauer 716M is a four-wheel–drive transporter used by the Royal Artillery to tow the L118 Light gun and the Rapier missile system. It is also used as a small logistics vehicle; the armoured version is known as the Vector.
The All Terrain Mobility Platform (ATMP) is a versatile, lightweight load-carrying six-wheeled vehicle used by airborne and air-mobile battalions.
Springer All-Terrain Vehicle
Designed as a light-role load carriage platform, the Springer is based on the US-made Tomcar. The 4 x 2 vehicle can self-load a 1t pallet. Each vehicle is equipped with an 8,000 lb self-recovery winch and sand ladders, which act as loading ramps for a cargo pallet.
The Oshkosh Tank Transporter or Heavy Equipment Transporter (Oshkosh HET 1070F) is capable of carrying a 70-tonne main battle tank or of loading one that has been immobilised. The army also uses a number of MAN SX and MAN HX logistic vehicles with varying capacities, including special variants such as a Unit Support Tanker, and a Recovery Vehicle.
Bowman is the tactical C4I system being issued to British forces to replace the Clansman.
Personal Role Radio
Personal Role Radio (PRR) is distributed to every member of an eight-strong infantry section.
Skynet is a family of military satellites, which provide strategic communication services to the three branches of the British Armed Forces and to NATO forces engaged in coalition tasks.
Landing craft and assault boats
MK 6 Assault boat
The Mk 6 Assault Boat is a glass reinforced plastic boat, operated by the Royal Engineers which can be carried by four men. It is designed to carry up to 10 fully equipped troops or 1,043 kg of stores, it also makes a useful light ferry when fitted with an outboard motor.
The Rigid Raider is a series of rigid hulled raiding craft, operated mainly by the Royal Engineers and Royal Marines, but also by the Royal Logistic Corps. The Mk 3 craft is capable of 30 knots and can be beached during assaults. It is also used in support of bridging operations.
Combat Support Boat
The Combat Support Boat (CSB) is a powerful, versatile craft designed to support both bridging and amphibious operations. Powered by water jet propulsion it has a shallow draught. It is generally operated by the Royal Engineers as a general-purpose boat in support of diving operations, ship-to-shore re-supply and inland riverine patrols. It is also operated by the Royal Marines.
Ramped Craft Logistic
Infantry section equipment
The infantry section normally has two 4-man infantry fire teams. On operations each fire team can be equipped with the following:
- 1 x L85A2
- 1 x L85A2 with UGL
- 1 x Minimi light machine gun
- 1 x L129A1 DMR
- 1 x 84mm Antitank Weapon
- 1 x Light Anti Structure Munition
- 4 x White Phosphorus smoke grenades
- 8 x high explosive grenades
- 4 x smoke grenades
- 3 x Sight Unit Small Arms, Trilux (SUSAT)
- 1 x Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) to be used with the L129A1 DMR
- 2 x image intensified Common Weapon Sights
- 1 x TAM 14 small Thermal Imaging System
- 1 x Head Mounted Night Vision System (HNVS)
- 2 x VIPER 2+ thermal imaging weapon sight
- 2 x commanders target locating system (CTLS)
Future Lynx Wildcat
The Lynx Wildcat will be a fleet of 62 new light helicopters for the Army and Royal Navy from 2014 and 2015 respectively. The Army variant of the Lynx Wildcat will be used for reconnaissance, command and control, transportation of troops and materiél and the provision of force protection. With new Rolls-Royce CTS800-4N engines it will be significantly more powerful than the current Lynx, enabling it to operate in extreme hot conditions and high altitudes.
Future Integrated Soldier Technology
Future Rapid Effect System
A new unarmoured Support vehicle, is currently being introduced into service. There will be 6,928 cargo vehicles including unit support tankers, 288 recovery vehicles and 69 recovery trailers with the deployment planned for 2014.
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