This photo album of wheels and tracks spotted at ARMY EXPO 23 in London has been produced primarily for our military vehicle aficionado readers, writes Bob Morrison.
Carl and myself know from our mailboxes (both individual and through our social media presence) that a fair proportion of our readers are interested in walk-around photos of military vehicles, rather than just the single front/side views usually included in news stories. This album of photos snapped on 18th July at ARMY EXPO 23 in London, although not taken in ideal circumstances and only shot at ground level, hopefully provides a little bit more detail on a pair of new British Army vehicles and on some experimental concepts which might enter service in the not too distant future.
WOLFRAM is an evolving project to mount MBDA BRIMSTONE missiles on a Supacat HMT 600 platform to “equip the Light Forces commander with capability to deliver precision anti-armour effects at long ranges whilst retaining the high mobility of the HMT 600”. When we first saw this concept last September at ARMY EXPO 2022 the launcher was displayed on an older trials vehicle with enclosed cab (FG76AB) but at this year’s show it was mounted on an in-service COYOTE 6×6 Tactical Support Vehicle.
The AJAX Armoured Fighting Vehicle is no stranger to these pages, mostly for its chequered development history and the serious late-running of the programme, but five months ago Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace stated the procurement is now “back on track”. The vehicle displayed at ARMY EXPO 23, registration TC43AB, is understood to be in full production configuration; regrettably it was locked down for the duration of our visit and we were unable to get a peek inside, far less take photos.
A UK specification BOXER 8×8 Mechanised Infantry Vehicle was also on display, albeit inside a marquee with ‘dramatic’ lighting and assorted clutter preventing full walk-round photos being taken. However as this was our first opportunity to see a British Army version (at previous military expos it has usually been a Dutch or German spec vehicle or a pre-production prototype on show) I endeavoured to get the best shots possible. I was also given the opportunity to photograph the interior, under supervision and from one angle only, and offered the chance to go inside, but on security grounds full internal photography was understandably not possible. This is the Specialist Carrier variant, configured as a REME fitters’ vehicle with demountable stowage racks and seating for three personnel in addition to the crew.
The FOXHOUND on show, which we also saw last year at the truncated ARMY EXPO 2022, is primarily used for experimentation and is wearing a camouflage ‘skin’. The concept under trial here allows a base colour vehicle to be reconfigured for different operational theatres (e.g. Urban, Temperate, Arid or Arctic) without a total repaint or the addition of a temporary paint scheme which can either partially wear off under field conditions or be problematic to easily remove completely before the next deployment. Think of it being like those advertising skins added to buses and periodically changed. Personally, I think it is a great idea but wonder if this one will get past those bean-counters who only seem to think in the short term.
Finally we have the GDLS (General Dynamics Land Systems) TRX (Tracked Robot 10-ton) which was conceived as a multi-mission, multi-payload robotic vehicle for the US Army’s S-MET programme. This example was configured with two MBDA BRIMSTONE launcher pods and two remote weapon stations (7.62mm and 12.7mm). The idea with this one is that it would be teamed with and operated from an Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle, giving the infantry section both long range precision anti-armour and additional suppressive fire capabilities. The shape of things to come?
Our thanks to the British Army Engagement Team and all involved with ARMY EXPO 23 for smoothing our path to and at Wellington Barracks.
[images © Bob Morrison]