Is Britain’s Infantry Fighting Vehicle Ready for 21st Century Warfare?
Or is it time to head to the scrap yard?
Britain’s FV510 Warrior IFV has never had a good record as an infantry fighting vehicle. While its protection and mobility are decent, the armament has long been maligned by analysts and its users. Compared to contemporary American and Soviet IFVs, the Warrior’s turret lacked any kind of FCS or stabilization. The 30mm gun was also clip-fed compared to the box or tray fed American and Soviet designs, limiting the practical rate of fire, making switching ammunition types difficult, and often causing jams.
The peace dividend delayed any upgrades to rectify these issues, and the performance of the Warrior during the GWOT was often considered “good enough.” Limited modernization occurred primarily with drop-in thermal sights and additional armor packages. But these upgrades didn’t address the primary issues with the Warrior’s turret.
Britain’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) started looking into modernizing the Warrior’s turret in 2009 with the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP), an in-depth modernization of the vehicle meant to keep it in service until the 2040s. Lockheed Martin UK and BAE Systems are the primary contractors competing in the programme. Competition continued until 2011 when the Lockheed Martin bid was officially selected by the MoD and was funded.
The final WCSP as selected consisted of multiple sub “programmes.” Warrior Fightability Lethality Improvement Programme (WFLIP) was the main one, the installation of a new turret with proper thermal sights, FCS, and new 40mm autocannon. Armor was also to be improved via the Warrior Modular Protection System (WMPS), which builds upon prior experience uparmoring Warriors during Operation Desert Storm and the GWOT to make a proper modular armor package, similar to that fitted to the German Puma. Finally, Warrior Enhanced Electrical Architecture (WEEA) would provide internal networking and power systems to tie all the new sensors and equipment together.
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