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UPDATE: UK Strike Brigades to wait for new artillery

23 December 2016
Details revealed to IHS Jane's about the composition of the British Army's future Strike Brigades show they will have no new artillery weapons when they are created. The army is hoping to received a new mobile artillery system, like these USMC M777 towed howitzers, but a procurement programme remains years away. Source: US DoD

Key Points

  • Britain's future Strike Brigades will have to wait to renew their organic artillery capability, IHS Jane's can reveal
  • Until then the brigades will be heavily dependent on joint fires support from elsewhere

The British Army's two new Strike Brigades will not receive new artillery when they are created and will have to rely on air, rocket, and long range artillery support from other formations, services, or allies.

Details of the composition of the Strike Brigades, their development, and subsequent operation have been exclusively revealed to IHS Jane's in a briefing by a senior British Army officer.

In a move that breaks from previous British Army experience, the Strike Brigades will each have an artillery regiment that comprises predominately of artillery fire observers, joint terminal attack controllers, intelligence, surveillance, targeting, acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operators, and fire-planning staff. This is intended to allow the Strike Brigades to better find targets and then co-ordinate joint fires, said the officer.

The equipment set to be used by these two artillery regiments, 3rd Royal Horse Artillery (3 RHA) and 4th Regiment Royal Artillery (4 RA), remains uncertain. Currently both field the BAE Systems L118 105 mm Light Gun, however a briefing to IHS Jane's outlining the future equipment set of the units does not list them having any artillery and instead has them fielding the Ajax, Mastiff, and a yet to be selected Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV).

The British Army does hope to equip these units with a new artillery system in the future, although work to achieve this is in its infancy.

"Pre-Concept Phase work, including research and experimentation, is being undertaken to examine the acquisition of a wheeled surface-to-surface artillery capability to support the Army's Strike Brigades," said the officer. Although previously known as Strike 155, the effort was renamed Medium Wheeled Gun System some months ago, with a 155 mm system not being the only option under consideration.

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