The British bulldog is part of another strong wave of British support for Ukraine

Great Britain continues to support occupied Ukraine. One of the largest technology “packages” also includes a significant number of Bulldog FV430 Mk3 carriers.

Military aid to Ukraine continues in 2023 and recently it has intensified especially from Great Britain, which came with a generous and rich “package” of weapons. It had previously agreed to supply Challenger 2 main battle tanksbut it also fielded hundreds of FV430 Mk.3 Bulldog armored personnel carriers, which are relatively well-armored and durable vehicles with which soldiers can overcome even the challenging terrain typical of the eastern battlefield.

Carriers and other weapons and equipment

At that time, the British Minister of Defense promised to deliver 14 Challenger 2 tanks, with which the Ukrainians are already training, as well as a battery of 8 AS-155 self-propelled guns of 90 mm caliber, with the promise of one later. sending two more full batteries. A few dozen drones were not to be lost, 100,000 pieces of different ammunition, hundreds of missiles (GMLRS, StarAM, AM) and spare parts for vehicles. A really important part of British support are the FV430 Mk.3 Bulldog armored personnel carriers.

It is a major modernization of the FV432 transporter, which entered service with the British Army as early as 1962. Since then, 2,500 have been produced and have served as the basis for a whole range of vehicles. It also exists as an ambulance, command, engineering and communication tool. It is also based on a self-propelled mortar, a mine, special for two anti-tank teams, or a 105 mm FV433 Abott self-propelled gun.

ThePhoto Source: Public Domain
FV 432, Operation Desert Storm, 1991

The armored personnel carrier FV432 took part in all major conflicts with the British intervention. In addition to the Falklands war in 1982 and Operation Granby (ie the liberation of Kuwait) in 1991, he also appeared in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Africa. In 1985, Princess Diana even drove one of them during the visit to East Berlin. By the turn of the century, however, it was clear that the nearly 40-year veterans were running out. But it was far from the end of them.

The modernization gave the FV432 a second chance

At the beginning of the 21st century, it seemed that the FV432 was just waiting to be retired and end up in the foundries. However, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq turned into guerilla (guerrilla) warfare and the British Army requested the urgent dispatch of carriers with a high degree of protection against explosive devices and fraud systems. The FV432 turned out to be ideal and quickly available. In 2006, BEA delivered the first 50 of 1,000 modernized cars.

The dimensions of the FV430 Bulldog remained the same as those of its predecessor: length 5.25 m, width 2.8 m, height 2.28 m and weight 15.3 tons, with a maximum armor thickness of 12.7 mm. New, however, is the 176kW Rolls-Royce K60 multi-fuel engine, which can drive the car at speeds up to 72 km/h. The construction of the chassis is stable and simple, suspension is provided by torsion bars. As a result, the carrier is no problem even in the most difficult terrains, in which it can travel up to 380 km. But this is only the beginning of the improvements.

Fv 433 Abbot, self-propelled gun, North Cornwall Museum, 2007
ThePhotographers: Hugh Llewelyn / Creative Commons / CC BY-NC
Fv 433 Abbot, self-propelled gun, North Cornwall Museum, 2007

The basic modernization consisted in increasing the ballistic protection of the vehicle. The Bulldog FV430 was fitted with reactive armor from the Israeli company Rafael, which was supposed to withstand even the post-Soviet RPG-7 cumulative warhead. The vehicle also has a number of jammers against remotely launched charges. However, unlike other carriers there are no small arms firing sites, is equipped with only one L7 7.62 mm machine gun. And given the fact that the Bulldog was intended to serve in a hot environment, it is equipped with air conditioning. The crew consists of just two men and up to eight soldiers can be carried.

A good carrier, but it won’t be the only one

Due to its durability, the Bulldog FV430 Mk.3 represents exactly what is suitable for the Ukrainian battlefield. But the question is in which version it will come to Ukraine, because it has not been announced. For example, from Challenger 2 tanks because of the fear of capture by the Russian army some electronics will disappear and many active armor elements will be dismantled. However, the decommissioning may also affect other systems, jammers and the reactive armor system being at greater risk.

If these highly sophisticated technologies fell into the hands of the Russian military, it could not only improve its own systems, but also develop weapons with which it could destroy such armed vehicles. It is understood that there will be a “combing” of submitted carriers negative impact on their fighting skills. Next to them in Ukraine will appear the American attacker with wheels and Bradley with a waist, but the German Marder would also be a reinforcement.

All good machines, but maintaining spare parts, ammunition and other equipment for them is not easy logistically. Unique 3D printing of spare parts directly in Ukraine (also from the UK) can help with this, but the technology is still in its infancy. British help would also be interesting in sending long-range missiles, with which the “yellow and blue” country could suddenly threaten Moscow, the capital of the Russian Federation and the central command.

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