Hey, Bulldog! Britain Orders More Up-Armored FV430s
The British Army is currently upgrading about 500 FV430 Mk3 Armored Personnel Carriers with specialty armor and upgraded components (including IED jammer antennas in some cases), in order to equip an armored battlegroup. The intent is to replace many of Britain’s overworked, no-air-conditioning Warrior fighting vehicles in theater. While the up-armored “Bulldogs” lack the Warrior’s 30mm cannon and blazing speed, they are better protected, have air conditioning, are less hostile-looking to locals, and aren’t as apt to tear up local roads due to improved tread designs. These modified FV430s weigh 13 tonnes (28,600 pounds), with a top speed of 44 mph/ 70 kph, and can carry 8 infantry plus a crew of 2. The net result is the replacement of many Land Rovers and Warriors in the Iraqi theater with Mastiff Cougar variants and FV430 Bulldogs, which offer more protection for urban warfare scenarios.
As of July 2007, more than 200 of the upgraded vehicles have already been delivered on time and on budget. Now the UK MoD has confirmed that an order has been placed with BAE Systems Land Systems and their main subcontractor, ABRO, for an additional 400 Bulldog vehicles to be modified to the new standard, bringing the total to 900.
The Bulldogs’ improved protection has received positive reviews on the streets of Basra, Iraq. Col. John Ogden is quoted as saying:
“The Mk3, and in particular its up-armoured version Bulldog, has already proved a big hit with the troops and earned high praise in particular from those using it in anger on the streets of Basra. They are making full use of its significantly greater mobility, they feel safe in it, and as one senior commander told me, they have the confidence to stand their ground and fight from it when required.”
Even so, a British surge to Iraq is not in the cards. Meanwhile, the Canadians, who are fighting alongside British forces in southern Afghanistan, have been forced to add M113 APCs and even main battle tanks due to the proven inability of their wheeled LAV-IIIs to handle key combat mobility requirements there.
While wheeled additions like the WMIK Land Rovers and Supacat MWMIK Jackals have their place, additional Bulldogs may prove very useful in the Afghan mission. They would give British forces a true all-terrain armored option in the face of a well-supplied enemy operating with impunity from bases in Pakistan.
- UK MoD (July 3/08) – ‘Battlefield taxi’ is still best of breed.
- UK MoD (July 13/07) – More upgraded Armoured Personnel Carriers for the Army.