List of equipment of the British Army

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This is a list of equipment of the British Army currently in use. It includes small arms, combat vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, artillery and transport vehicles. The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom, a part of British Armed Forces. Since the end of the Cold War, the British Army has been deployed to a number of conflict zones, often as part of an expeditionary force, a coalition force or part of a United Nations peacekeeping operation.[1]

To meet its commitments, the equipment of the Army is periodically updated and modified. Programs exist to ensure the Army is suitably equipped for both current conflicts and expected future conflicts, with any shortcomings in equipment addressed as Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR), which supplements planned equipment programmes.[2]

Infantry section equipment[edit]

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers during a training exercise in 2014
A soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment firing his L85A2 in Afghanistan

The British infantry section consists of eight soldiers who are normally organised into two four-soldier infantry fireteams. While equipment formations can be tailored as required by section and platoon commanders, infantry sections are usually issued with the following:[3][4][5]

Weapons
  • Six L85A2/A3 rifles, two of which are usually equipped with an L123A2/A3 underslung grenade launcher (UGL)
  • One L129A1 sharpshooter rifle
  • One L7A2 general purpose machine gun (can be replaced by an additional L85A2/A3 rifle at commanding officer's discretion for a total of seven L85A2/A3 rifles)
  • Seven L3A1 bayonets for use with L85A2/A3 and L129A1 rifles (eight bayonets if the L7A2 GPMG is replaced with an additional L85A2/A3 rifle)
  • One L128A1 combat shotgun for use by the section point soldier (point position is subject to rotation between individual members of the section)[6]
  • Two NLAW anti-tank weapons
  • L72A9 or L2A1 anti-structure munitions
  • L109A2 high explosive grenades
  • L132A1 smoke grenades and/or L84A3 red phosphorus smoke grenades[7]
Vision systems
Communications equipment

Weapons[edit]

Pistols[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L105A1/A2, L106A1/A2, L107A1, L117A1/A2  Germany
  Switzerland
Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm SIG Sauer P226 neu.jpg The SIG Sauer P226 and its compact variants were originally used by the Special Air Service,[12] with additional quantities being purchased under an UOR for use by regular Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan to supplement the L9A1 pistol.[13][14][15] The P229 (L117A1/A2) was also a backup weapon for the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[16] Although the L131A1 was later adopted as the replacement for the L9A1, P226 pistols will continue to be used until the end of their life cycles.[17]
L131A1, L137A1[18]  Austria Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm GLOCK 17 Gen 4 Pistol MOD 45160305.jpg Adopted as the new standard issue sidearm to replace the L9A1 pistol, the L47A1 pistol, and, eventually, the SIG Sauer pistols.[19] The L131A1 is a double action sidearm used for close combat with a magazine capacity of 17 rounds;[20][21] where deemed appropriate, it is the primary weapon of personnel working in operational staff appointments and vehicle commanders and carried as a backup weapon by frontline personnel.[22] Over 25,000 were purchased for use by all branches of the British Armed Forces.[23] The compact Glock 19 variant was also adopted.[18]

Infantry rifles[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L85A2, L85A3, L22A2  United Kingdom Assault rifle (L85A2/A3)
Carbine (L22A2)
5.56×45mm SA80-A2 Individual Weapon (IW) MOD 45160295.jpg Standard issue assault rifle with an effective range of 300 to 600 metres.[24][25][26] Can be fitted with SUSAT, ACOG, Elcan SpecterOS 4X or Thermal Viper 2 sights. The LLM-Vario Ray laser aiming module and the L123 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) can also be attached.[9][27] A shortened carbine variant, the L22A2, is used primarily by vehicle and helicopter crews for self-defence and by dog handlers.[28][29] As the L85A1, it replaced the L1A1 Self-Loading Rifle as the standard rifle from 1987 to 1994 when the last L1A1 rifles were removed from service. L85A1 rifles were subsequently upgraded to L85A2 standard from 2001 to 2006, with a railed handguard and a vortex flash eliminator being introduced from 2007. On 11 April 2016,[30] the British Ministry of Defence announced the L85A3 upgrade programme to extend the life of existing weapons to 2025, with changes including upper receiver modifications, a new model of railed handguard to provide a full-length rail system, and a Flat Dark Earth coating for improved camouflage. An initial quantity of 5,000 rifles was upgraded to the new L85A3 standard, with further tranches being upgraded on an ongoing basis.[31]
L129A1  United States Designated marksman rifle 7.62×51mm L129A1 Sharpshooter rifle MOD 45162216.jpg The primary designated marksman rifle, equipped with an ACOG optical sight for long-range engagements. There is also a Sniper Support Weapon version fitted with a 12x Schmidt & Bender scope and a suppressor for use by the second man in each sniper team.[32][33]
L119A1, L119A2  Canada Carbine 5.56×45mm C8 semi-automatic rifle with EOTech.jpg Used by the Special Air Service since 2000,[34] the 16 Air Assault Brigade's Pathfinder Platoon,[35] the Special Forces Support Group (which includes 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment),[12] and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[16] It has been upgraded from the A1 to the A2 variant.[18][36] The Pathfinder Platoon used to carry the full-length C7 version before transitioning to the L119A1 as a result of the C7 weapons wearing out.[12]
MCX  United States Assault rifle .300 AAC Blackout SIG-MCX-Rifle.jpeg The integrally suppressed variant of the SIG-Sauer MCX has been adopted in .300 Blackout by UKSF to replace the MP5SD3s.[37]
L101A2[18]  Germany Carbine 5.56x45mm HK 53 schattenriss noBG.png The HK53 version of the HK33 is used by the Special Air Service and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[35]
M6A2 UCIW  United States Carbine 5.56x45mm LWRC M6A2.jpg The M6A2 UCIW (Ultra Compact Individual Weapon) model of the LWRC M6 has recently been adopted in limited numbers by the UK Special Forces, apparently intended for use by UKSF dog handlers, team leaders, signallers and for use in vehicles and whilst conducting covert reconnaissance and close protection, replacing the 9×19mm MP5K in the latter role[citation needed]. The weapon is often seen in Afghanistan with a SureFire suppressor and either an Aimpoint Micro or EO Tech optics.[38]
L2A1[18]  Germany Battle rifle 7.62×51mm Combater.jpg Battle rifle used by the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit and UKSF.[39] 12", 16" and 20" variants are in use.[18]

Bayonet[edit]

Name Origin Type Image Details
L3A1  United Kingdom Socket bayonet Royal Navy Bayonet.jpg The L3A1 bayonet has a hollow handle that fits onto the muzzle of the L85 rifle. The blade is offset to the side of the handle to allow the rifle to be fired while the bayonet is fitted; it is shaped to produce good penetration when thrust and to part a person's ribs without embedding into bone, and a ribbed section for rope cutting. The bayonet handle is shaped so as to allow the bayonet to be used as a multi-purpose knife when needed. The L3A1's scabbard features a saw blade for use on wood, a sharpening stone to hone the bayonet, and a bottle opener; when combined with the bayonet, it also forms a wire cutter.[40][24][25][26] A rail-mounted adaptor was developed to allow the bayonet to be used with the L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle.[41]

Long range rifles[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L115A3, L115A4  United Kingdom Long range rifle 8.6x70 mm (.338 Lapua Magnum) L115A3 sniper rifle.jpg Now regarded as the primary precision rifle for all British military trained snipers. It is equipped with a 25x scope, a suppressor, a folding stock, a five-round .338 Lapua Magnum magazine and has an effective range in excess of 1,100 m (3,600 ft).[42] Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison currently holds the record for the third longest recorded sniper shot in history at 2,475 meters (2,707 yd) with this rifle.
L118A1
L118A1 AWC
 United Kingdom Long range rifle 7.62×51 mm Accuracy International AW.png Entered service in 1985, has an effective range of around 800 metres and is designed to perform in both desert and arctic conditions. The L118A1 has largely been replaced in front-line service by the L129A1 for section marksmen and the larger-calibre L115A3/A4 for snipers. The integrally-suppressed L118A1 AWC variant is used exclusively by the SAS.[43]
L135A1  United States Anti-materiel rifle 12.7x99 mm M107 1.jpg Recoil-operated, semi-automatic anti-materiel rifle. The British Army uses the M82A1 under the L135A1 Long Range Precision Anti-Structure (LRPAS) Rifle designation.[44][18]
L121A1  United Kingdom Anti-materiel rifle 12.7x99 mm AW50.png The L121A1 (AW50F) is intended to engage a variety of targets, including radar installations, light vehicles (including light armoured vehicles), field fortifications, boats and ammunition dumps. The standard ammunition combines a penetrator with high-explosive and incendiary effects in a single round. It is used by the SAS.[citation needed]
AI AX50  United Kingdom Anti-materiel rifle 12.7x99 mm Long range standalone .50 BMG anti-materiel rifle that is based on and replaced the AW50.[45]

Submachine guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L92A1, L91A1, L80A1, L90A1  Germany Submachine gun 9×19mm Heckler & Koch MP5 b.jpg Used by UKSF and the Royal Military Police Close Protection Unit.[46] The weapon comes in multiple variants, from the standard L92A1 (MP5A3, pictured) and the integrally-suppressed L91A1 (MP5SD3), to the more easily concealable L80A1 (MP5K) and L90A1 (MP5KA1), which are stockless and have vertical foregrips.

Machine guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun  Belgium General-purpose machine gun 7.62×51 mm Pictured is a soldier of First Fusiliers operating a GPMG during a section level attack. MOD 45156947.jpg The designated general purpose machine gun (GPMG) for sustained fire out to 1,800 m. It is used by two-man teams in specialised machine gun platoons for battalion-level fire support,;[47] it can also be carried by foot soldiers and was reinstated as the standard section machine gun following the removal of the L110A3 from service.[5] Variants of the GPMG are mounted on most ground vehicles within the British Army as well as some helicopters.[48]
L108A1, L110A2, L110A3
Minimi 7.62
 Belgium Light machine gun 5.56×45 mm
7.62×51 mm
Multinational Soldiers conduct MOUT training at Anakonda 2016 160614-A-TA175-006.jpg The 5.56 mm FN Minimi saw use with the Special Air Service from Operation Granby onwards,[49][50] with the shorter-barrelled FN Minimi Para being adopted as the L110A1 Light Machine Gun for regular infantry fireteams during Operation Telic. Both variants are belt-fed and equipped with a fixed, folding bipod, with the L110A1-A3 being capable of sustained suppressive fire out to 300 metres.[51] The L110A2 and L110A3 are no longer in service with regular infantry following a review of their usage in dismounted close combat infantry platoons,[52] though weapons in service with Joint Force Command users were retained.[53]
L111A1 Heavy Machine Gun  United States Heavy machine gun 12.7x99 mm M2 Browning, Musée de l'Armée.jpg The L111A1 is the British Army version of the American M2 Browning. It can be attached to both armoured and soft-skin vehicles, or a ground-mount tripod. The weapon has an effective range of 2,200 metres.[54]

Shotguns[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L128A1  Italy Semi-automatic shotgun 12 bore Benelli m4 2.jpg Standard issue combat shotgun used by an infantry section's point man. The L128A1 has a capacity of eight rounds and a maximum effective range of 140 m (460 ft) for solid shot and 40 m (130 ft) for buckshot.[6]
L74A1, L74A2[18]  United States Pump-action shotgun 12 bore M870mcs.jpg Used by UKSF as a breaching shotgun.[55]

Grenade launchers[edit]

Name Origin Type Cartridge Image Details
L123A2, L123A3, L17A1  Germany Underslung grenade launcher 40×46 mm SA80-A2 with Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) MOD 45160296.jpg Variant of the AG36 grenade launcher introduced during the SA80A2 upgrade and issued on a scale of two per infantry section.[4][5] Compared to the preceding Rifle Grenade General Service, the underslung grenade launcher offers low recoil, ease of use, reduced ammunition weight and the ability to have a chambered grenade at the ready without affecting the ability to fire the L85 rifle.[27][56] Ammunition natures used include fragmentation, HEDP, white illuminating parachute, infra-red illuminating parachute, and red phosphorus.[24][26][57] The L17A1 version is used with the L119A1/A2 rifles.[58]
L134A1  Germany Grenade machine gun 40×53 mm HKGMW.jpg The L134A1 is used for the suppression of enemy infantry and can be mounted on both armoured vehicles and tripods. It combines the advantages of a HMG and a mortar in one; delivering a high rate of fire with fragmentation effect. The weapon has a 320rpm rate of fire and an effective range of 1,500 m (4,900 ft)-2,000 m (6,600 ft).[59]

Explosives[edit]

Name Origin Type Detonation Image Details
L109A2[60]   Switzerland HE hand grenade Fuse Grenade IMG 3098.jpg British version of the Swiss HG 85 Grenade. It differs from the original in that it has a matte black safety clip similar to the American M67 grenade. It has a 3–4 second fuse delay (climate dependent), contains 155g of high explosive and has an effective casualty radius of 15 m (49 ft).[61]
L83A1/A2, L132A1  United Kingdom Smoke screening hand grenade Fuse SmokeGrenade2.JPG Used for concealing unit movements.[62]
L84A2, L84A3  Germany Red phosphorus smoke screening hand grenade Fuse Red phosphorus smoke grenade which is effective against visual sight and aiming equipment, night-vision devices, sensors operating in the near IR-spectrum and laser range finders.[63] A third iteration is currently in service.[7]
L68A1 Green, L69A1 Orange, L70A1 Red, L71A1 Blue, L100A1 Yellow, L101A1 Purple, L152A1 Green, L153A1 Orange, L154A1 Red, L155A1 Yellow, L157A1 Purple, L158A1 Turquoise  United Kingdom Signal smoke hand grenade Fuse Smoke Grenade, Cardinham Moor - geograph.org.uk - 621690.jpg Used for ground-to-ground and ground-to-air signalling and for marking target and landing zones.[62]
PE7, PE8  United Kingdom Plastic explosive (RDX-based) Detonator Replacements for the long-serving PE4 plastic explosive which had been rendered obsolete by new taggant requirements and by technical limitations associated with it being predominantly issued in stick form.[64] PE7 was developed from Eurenco's HEXOMAX explosive[65] and is available in 500g block (L20A1) and 2 kg slab (L21A1) forms.[66][67] PE8 was developed by Chemring and is available in 2 kg slab (L22A1) form only.[68] Both PE7 and PE8 slabs are issued in a 20 kg logistic pack containing two 10 kg bulk packs that have five 2 kg slabs each, with the 10 kg packs being capable of use for demolitions as a complete unit; the 2 kg slabs themselves contain four 500g blocks (designated L23A1 in the case of PE8 slabs) that can be removed and used individually.[69][70]
L1A1[68]  United Kingdom Conical and linear user filled demolition charges Detonator User-filled plastic explosive containers that have replaced pre-prepared demolition charge variants in British service due to their lower cost (both in terms of acquisition and in terms of storage since unfilled containers can be stored indefinitely[71][72] while charges such as the L1A1 Necklace Charge had a shelf life of ten years[73]) and their improved safety and ease of use.[74] Both containers consist of a plastic body with a copper lining (with the conical container also including four wooden legs for an adequate standoff distance) and can be used in wet conditions without any reduction in effectiveness unless a body of water is present between the underside of the copper lining and the target; the conical container is filled with 12 kg of PE8 prior to deployment and produces a hole in the target,[75][71] while the linear container is filled with 8 kg of PE8 and produces a linear cut in the target.[76][72]
L26A1[77]  United Kingdom Bangalore torpedo demolition charge Detonator B Company 2 Battalion the Parachute Regiment MOD 45167475.jpg The Chemring-produced L26A1 was chosen to fulfill a MOD requirement for an improved bangalore torpedo design, and is lighter and easier to use than its predecessors. The torpedo consists of an aluminium body filled with two kilograms of DPX1 explosive; detonation produces enhanced blast and fragmentation effects which in turn provide an enhanced cutting capability against both simple and complex wire entanglements. The L26A1 is also capable of cutting through up to six millimetres of steel plating. Up to eight L26A1s can be combined with one another, with the resulting assembly capable of defeating obstacles that are up to eight metres in length.[78][79][80]
M18A1 Anti-Personnel Mine[81]  United States Command-detonated anti-personnel mine Remote US M18a1 claymore mine.jpg Used for specialist and defensive purposes.[82]
L9A8, L17A1, L18A1[83]  United Kingdom HE blast anti-tank mine, demolition charge (improvised) Pressure or detonator L9 Bar mine.jpg Primary anti-tank mine. During the Gulf War, it was found to be highly resistant to mine ploughs, simply rotating under it to detonate below the vehicle, disabling some M60 tanks of the USMC after Iraq captured L9s from the Kuwaiti Army.[84] During Operation Herrick, barmines were split in half for use as improvised demolition charges.[85]

Indirect fire weapons[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Image Details
L16A2  United Kingdom
 Canada
Mortar 81 mm 81mmMORT L16.png Operated by a three-man team. It is often vehicle-borne; in mechanised infantry battalions it is mounted and fired from a Bulldog armoured vehicle.[86] Around 470 are in service.[87]

Portable anti-material weapons[edit]

Name Origin Type Warhead Image Details
NLAW  Sweden
 United Kingdom
Anti-tank weapon 150 mm NLAW Kokonaisturvallisuus 2015 01.JPG Man-portable, short range fire-and-forget anti-tank guided missile system designed for non-expert use. It is designed to "rapidly knock out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above".[88]
Javelin  United States Anti-tank weapon 127 mm FGM-148 Javelin (5160721562).jpg Man-portable medium range anti-tank missile system. It fires a High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT) warhead and is capable of penetrating explosive-reactive armour. Compared to the American original, the version in British service has a more effective sight system and a tripod for improved firing and observation.[89]
L1A2, L2A1  Sweden Anti-tank weapon 84 mm AT-4Launcher.jpeg AT4 CS HP (L1A2) and HE (L2A1) projectiles were purchased as an interim replacement for the LAW 80 while the NLAW system was being developed.[90][91]
L2A1 ASM  Israel Anti-structure weapon 90 mm MATADOR Stand.jpg Disposable, man-portable guided anti-structure weapon. It is designed to destroy hardened structures, such as bunkers, buildings and other fixed positions.[92]
Starstreak MANPAD  United Kingdom Anti-air weapon 22 mm x 3 CJOAX fires 150417-A-BG594-015.jpg Alongside the LML and Stormer mounted versions, the British Armed Forces also possess the high speed Starstreak Missile on a shoulder mounted and man portable launcher.[93]

Personal equipment[edit]

Protective equipment[edit]

A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011, including Mk. 7 helmet and Osprey Mk. 4 vest (back)
A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011, including Mk. 7 helmet and Osprey Mk. 4 vest (front)
A British Army infantryman showing full combat dress and standard personal kit as of 2011 (front and back views). The kit includes a Mk 7 combat helmet with a multi-terrain-pattern (MTP) cover and a mounted night-vision system with ballistic eye protection, an MTP under-body-armour combat shirt, Mk 4 MTP Osprey body armour with medical, ammunition and admin pouches, a personal role radio, a small-arms weapon system with advanced optical gun sight and underslung grenade launcher, pelvic protection, MTP trousers, knee pads and combat boots.[94]

Helmet[edit]

Many soldiers are now equipped with the new Virtus helmet (Revision Batlskin Cobra Plus[95]) which provides increased blunt impact protection, has a lighter weight than the preceding Mk7, can be fitted with face and mandible guards for certain roles, is specially shaped to allow effective weapon usage while in a prone position and wearing body armour, and features a permanent universal night vision mount and a scalable counterweight attached to the helmet's rear in order to ease strain on the user's neck while a night vision device is equipped.[96][97]

Prior to this, the standard helmet in service was the Mk7 which replaced the older Mk6 and Mk6A helmets on operations. The Mk7 helmet offered the same protection as the Mk6A but had a lower weight and was equipped with a new harness that kept the helmet more stable on the head when night vision equipment was fitted. The shape of the helmet was better integrated with new weapon sights compared to the Mk6A, making it easier to use in a variety of fighting positions.[98][99] All helmets allow the soldier to wear a respirator, hearing protection, goggles and/or a radio headset as necessary.[98]

Combat body armour[edit]

The British Army utilises three combat body armour systems. For training activities, old stocks of Enhanced Combat Body Armour are utilised; first introduced in the 1980s,[100] this is a soft body armour vest that can be augmented with hard armour plates.[101][102] For operational activities since 2006, soldiers have been issued with a combined soft and hard body armour vest known as Osprey body armour, with the latest iteration being the Mk 4 and Mk 4A 'Osprey Assault' body armour. The Osprey Mk 4 vest provides the same level of ballistic protection as older Osprey vests while improving the comfort of personnel on operations by being closer fitting, less bulky and easier to move in; this is aided by having a thinner hard armour plate which is carried in an internal pocket as opposed to the external pockets of Enhanced Combat Body Armour and earlier Osprey vests. A new ribbed material lining on the inside of the vest improves breathability in hotter climates such as that of Afghanistan. The Mk 4A version achieves a further weight reduction by switching from a cummerbund to a smaller side plate pouch.[103] All versions of Osprey body armour are modular in that MOLLE loops on the outside of the vest allow soldiers to attach various load carrying pouches to suit their role, with the Osprey Mk 4 having a higher number of loops and introducing new pouches such as a "commander's pouch" for holding stationery and open magazine pouches with elastic draw-cords for easier access to ammunition (though pouches with Velcro flaps and Fastex fastenings were also included[104]).[98][99]

A British Army infantryman in CRBN equipment modelling the currently issued Virtus helmet and vest; he also wears the General Service Respirator issued since 2010

Osprey Mk 4 and Mk 4A body armour has mostly been replaced by the Scalable Tactical Vest component of Virtus body armour, which is even closer fitting and lighter than the Opsrey Mk 4 and can have its level of protection scaled up or down to match the prevailing type of threat. The vest also features a quick-release mechanism to aid safe extraction from hazardous situations such as burning vehicles or drowning and a dynamic weight distribution system which, when linked to a soldier's waist belt, aids in spreading the soldier's load across the back, shoulders, and hips; a mechanism in the small of the back allows the wearer to adjust the weight bias depending on the situation.[96][97]

Ancillary to regular body armour is a three-tier pelvic armour system issued since 2010 to mitigate against the effects of blasts, including shrapnel. The first layer is a pair of underwear shorts manufactured from a ballistic silk material. The second layer consists of detachable pelvic body armour that is intended to be worn while 'outside the wire' to meet the greater threats faced by soldiers on patrol; it can be rolled up and clipped to a belt and then pulled through the legs to form a protective pouch, ensuring that mobility is not impeded while the second layer is worn. The third layer consists of knee-length ballistic shorts worn over a soldier's combat trousers, offering coverage of the upper leg and wider abdominal region and designed for use by soldiers operating hand-held metal detectors to search for explosive devices or otherwise serving in a combat role where greater levels of protection are required.[105][106]

Respirator[edit]

By January 2015, over 300,000 General Service Respirators had been delivered to replace the older S10 respirator.[107] These respirators are also used by the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Uniforms[edit]

Boots[edit]

A British Army infantryman modelling the currently issued brown boots.

In 2012, the MOD purchased a newly designed range of brown combat boots from Haix,[108] Alt-Berg,[109] and other manufacturers for the Army, Royal Navy and RAF to replace the black and desert combat footwear previously worn. Five different boots, developed to match the Multi-Terrain Pattern uniform, are available to Armed Forces personnel depending on where they are based and what role they are in. Each of the five boot types comes in two different styles, with personnel being able to wear the particular style they find most comfortable. Black boots have been retained for wear with most non-camouflage uniforms as well as units on parade in full dress uniform, such as regiments performing ceremonial duties in central London.[110][111]

  • Desert Combat – worn by dismounted troops conducting medium to high levels of activity in desert type environments with temperatures exceeding 40 °C
  • Desert Patrol – worn by drivers/armoured troops conducting lower levels of activity in desert type environments exceeding 40 °C
  • Temperate Combat – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Patrol – worn by mounted troops (drivers/armoured troops) taking part in lower levels of activity in temperate (European) climates
  • Cold Wet Weather – worn by dismounted troops for medium to high levels of activity in temperatures down to −20 °C.

Before the adoption of the brown boots, British troops were issued with desert combat boots manufactured by Meindl[112][113] and Lowa[114] for use in Afghanistan. Both boots remain listed as part of the MOD's 'Black Bag' of operational clothing despite their official replacement by the brown boots,[115] and may be worn by individual soldiers in lieu of the issue footwear.

Personal Role Radio[edit]

A Personal Role Radio (PRR) is distributed to every member of an eight-strong infantry section.[11]

Load carrying equipment[edit]

A soldier with the 1 Yorkshire Regiment battlegroup during Exercise Prairie Lightning
A soldier with 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers during Exercise Southern Warrior in the Falkland Islands
PLCE being used during training exercises

Soldiers need to carry ammunition, water, food, protective equipment, and various other supplies; Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE), officially known as 90 Pattern Webbing,[101] is the current webbing system used by the British Army for this purpose. The webbing consists of a belt, a yoke harness, and various belt pouches, as well as two daysacks for use with the Combat Order; these can be attached to a larger 'Bergen' rucksack for use with the Marching Order. Associated with PLCE is a series of similar load carrying equipment and rucksacks.[116] PLCE webbing is capable of holding everything that a soldier needs to operate for 24 hours without resupply in its Fighting Order, for up to two or three days without resupply in its Combat or Patrol Order and for up to two weeks without resupply in its Marching Order.[117]

PLCE is now very unlikely to be spotted during operations due to the introduction of the Osprey body armour series and the later Virtus scalable tactical vest, both of which feature MOLLE loops for direct attachment of load carrying pouches as well as various associated load carrying items such as rucksacks that also feature MOLLE attachment loops,[98][97][118][119] though PLCE webbing produced in the newer MTP pattern does exist and, due to its durability and the quantity produced, the webbing is often seen in use during training exercises.[120][121][122][123]

Future Integrated Soldier Technology[edit]

The Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) is a programme under development by the Ministry of Defence. The programme is designed to achieve enhanced military effect through the used of advanced technologies improving the situational awareness, lethality and survivability of soldiers. Ultimately, the programme is part of the wider British Armed Forces doctrine of network-enabled capability. 35,000 sets of kit are expected to be bought and issued between 2015 and 2020. This equipment is designed to bring the British infantryman up to standards and link with new technology currently employed, including the new underslung grenade launcher for the SA80 and the deployed Bowman communications network. It is not intended that every soldier be equipped with FIST: instead, unit commanders will request FIST kits as necessary so that they can be tailored to the situation and mission aims.

Vehicles[edit]

Challenger 2, Warrior, AS90, MLRS and Stormer of 1 YORKS battlegroup

Armoured[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Challenger 2  United Kingdom Main battle tank 227[124] Challenger 2 Equips three regular and one Yeomanry (reserve) Armoured Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.[125] To be reduced to 148 upgraded Challenger 3 models by 2030.[126]
Ajax  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 14[127][128] Ajax Six vehicles delivered to Household Cavalry Regiment in July 2020. Another 8 have since delivered. All have been described by Forces News as "... all of which were without turrets and odd sizes".[127] Total of 589 on order.[127]
CVR(T)  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 654[129][124] Scimitar Recce (201),[124] APC, command and ARV variants equip three Armoured Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps and their REME detachments. APC and command variants also in use with the Royal Artillery, while an ambulance variant is operated by the 1st Armoured Medical Regiment.[130] Some variants have been partially replaced by the Iveco LMV, entire family to be replaced by 589 Ajax (Scout SV) starting 2017.
Warrior  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 767[124] Warrior Equips six battalions of Armoured Infantry and their REME detachments. A small number are also used by the Royal Artillery for command and observation.[131] The programme to upgrade them was cancelled in March 2021 and the vehicle is to be gradually phased out and replaced by Boxer.[132]
Bulldog  United Kingdom Armoured fighting vehicle 891[124] Bulldog FV 430 variants remain in service with the infantry, as command vehicles, 81mm mortar carriers, ambulances and recovery vehicles.[133]
Mastiff  United States
 United Kingdom
Protected mobility vehicle 396[124] Mastiff The 6×6 Mastiff and 4×4 Ridgback equip three battalions of Heavy Protected Mobility Infantry, the vehicles can be equipped with either a 12.7mm heavy machine gun or a 40mm grenade machine gun. The 6×6 Wolfhound is a protected tactical support variant of the Mastiff.[134][135]
Ridgeback 168[124]
Wolfhound 125[124]
Jackal  United Kingdom Protected mobility vehicle 437[124] Jackal The 4×4 Jackal equips three Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too. The 6×6 Coyote is a protected tactical support variant of the jackal.[136][137]
Coyote 71[124]
Foxhound  United Kingdom Protected mobility vehicle 398[124] Foxhound Equips six battalions of Light Protected Mobility Infantry in 1 (UK) Division plus 2 battalions in Cyprus.[138]
Husky  United States Protected mobility vehicle 311[124] Husky Protected tactical support vehicle.[139]
RWMIK Land Rover  United Kingdom Protected patrol vehicle 371[140] RWMIK Land Rover The Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit equips three Yeomanry (reserve) Light Cavalry Regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps. The vehicle is also used for convoy protection and various configurations exist for the SAS too.[141]
Panther  Italy Command and liaison 401[140] Panther Armoured command and liaison vehicle for commanders and officers in various cavalry and armoured formations.[142]
TPz Fuchs  Germany CBRN reconnaissance 11[143] CBRN Fuchs Equips Falcon Squadron, Royal Tank Regiment.[144]

Artillery and air-defence[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
GMLRS  United States Rocket artillery 44[145] GMLRS The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS), operated by the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery.[146] To be upgraded to use the Guided MLRS Extended Range (GMLRS-ER) missile and the Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) by 2025, which have ranges of 150 km (93.21 mi) and 499 km (310.06 mi), respectively.[145]
L131 AS-90  United Kingdom Self-propelled artillery 89[124] L131 AS-90 The L131 AS-90 is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer and is the largest piece of field artillery in the British Army. The L131 is operated by three field regiments of the Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Artillery: 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 19th Regiment Royal Artillery.[147]
L118 Light Gun  United Kingdom Towed howitzer 126[124] L118 Light Gun The L118 Light Gun is used by four field artillery regiments: 3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery, 4th Regiment Royal Artillery, 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and 29th Commando Regiment Royal Artillery. It can be towed by a medium-weight vehicle (such as a Pinzgauer) or carried around the battlefield underslung by Chinook helicopters.[148]
Rapier  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 24[143] Rapier The Rapier Field Standard C is a Short Range Air Defence System (SHORAD), which is compact, mobile and air-portable, making it suitable for worldwide operations. It is a 24-hour, all-weather guided weapon system with the capability to engage two targets at once. Operated by the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery across four batteries, one of which is permanently based in the Falkland Islands.[149]
Sky Sabre  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system Sky Sabre is the Army's version of the Common Anti-Aircraft Modular Missile (CAMM), mounted on an 8x8 MAN SV.[150]
Starstreak SP HVM  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 62[143] SP HVM The Starstreak SP HVM is mounted on the Alvis Stormer AFV with an 8-round launcher and internal stowage for a further 12 missiles. The Starstreak HVM (High Velocity Missile) is designed to counter threats from very high performance, low-flying aircraft and fast 'pop up' strikes by helicopters. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[151]
Starstreak LML  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile system 145[143] LML The Starstreak Lightweight Multiple Launcher (LML) is a short-range, highly mobile air defence system that holds three missiles ready for firing and can be used as either a stationary launch unit or mounted on a light vehicle, such as a Land Rover. Starstreak can also be used as a surface attack weapon, capable of penetrating the frontal armour of even IFV's. Operated by 12th Regiment Royal Artillery.[151]

List of obsolete anti-tank guided missiles[edit]

Mobile artillery monitoring battlefield radar[edit]

Mobile artillery monitoring battlefield asset (MAMBA)

The Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (or Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Asset) is a counter-battery radar. It detects enemy artillery projectiles fired by one or more weapons and from their trajectories locates the position of the weapon that fired it. It has a detection range of up to 30 km and can process up-to 100 projectiles simultaneously. It is mounted on a Bandvagn 206 (Bv206) all-terrain vehicle. Five vehicles are operated by the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery.

Exactor[edit]

The Exactor is a previously classified purchase of the Rafael Spike-NLOS missile system. The system is primarily used for precise indirect counter barrage attacks at long ranges (30 km (19 mi)) where the GMLRS would result in too much collateral damage. It originally consisted of six Mk2 or Mk4 missiles mounted on an M113 chassis, of which 12 were purchased directly from the Israeli Defence Force with a further two chassis leased.

In 2010, the United Kingdom hired Rafael to produce an improved Mk 5 missile and also ditched the M-113 based launchers as they were poorly air-conditioned and difficult to keep running. These new missiles were mounted on a simpler flatbed trailer containing four missiles each. This new system was dubbed the Exactor 2 by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.[152] 18 such systems now exist within the Royal Artillery in six batteries of three.[153]

Centurion[edit]

Centurion is a C-RAM system based on the 20mm Phalanx CIWS, originally acquired for used in Basra, Iraq. It is operated by 16th Regiment Royal Artillery, and intended to intercept incoming rockets, shells and mortars out to a 1.2 km square area.[154] They are maintained by Babcock International in the United Kingdom. A total of ten sets were purchased in 2005,[155] but since then four have been reconverted back to the maritime variant.[156]

Engineering and logistics[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Trojan  United Kingdom Assault breacher vehicle 32[124] Trojan Trojan is based on the Challenger 2 chassis and is designed to breach through enemy defences, such as walls or fortifications, and clear paths through minefields. The Trojan is equipped with the Python Minefield Breaching System.[157]
Titan  United Kingdom Armoured vehicle-launched bridge 33[124] Titan The Titan is an armoured bridge launcher based on the Challenger 2 chassis with the capability to deploy a bridge up to 60 meters long.[158]
CRARRV  United Kingdom Armoured recovery vehicle 75[140] CRARRV Based on the Challenger 1 chassis and is designed to recover and repair damaged or incapacitated tanks.[159]
Terrier  United Kingdom Combat engineering vehicle 60[124] Terrier Provides mobility support (obstacle and route clearance), counter-mobility (digging of anti-tank ditches and other obstacles) and survivability (digging of trenches and Armoured Fighting Vehicle slots).[160]
Alvis Unipower  United Kingdom Tank bridge transporter 139[140] Tank bridge transporter The Tank bridge transporter (TBT) has the same cross-country performance as a tank even when fully loaded. It can carry a No 10 Bridge or 2 × No 12 Bridges (Close Support Bridge) of the BR90 family of bridges. It can deploy, drop off and load bridges independently, but it cannot recover them.[161]
M3 Amphibious Rig  Germany Amphibious bridging vehicle 37[124] M3 Amphibious Rig The M3 Amphibious Rigs are vehicles operated by a 3-man crew. The M3 Rigs can drive into the water, open up and join together to create a bridge of varying length. A 100m bridge can be constructed using 8 rigs.[162]
Buffalo  United States Talisman counter-IED 19[163] Buffalo Mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) armoured vehicle, which forms part of the British Army's Talisman counter-IED system.[164]
JCB HMEE  United Kingdom Talisman counter-IED 17[163] HMEE Heavily armoured excavator. It forms part of the Talisman counter-IED system. The MoD has committed to bring the HMEE along with all related Talisman elements (Minewolf, Tarantula Hawk, Buffalo, Panama and Talon) into the core budget.[165][166]
Oshkosh HET  United States Heavy equipment transporter 91[140] Oshkosh HET The Oshkosh HET 1070F is the Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) of the British Army. The Heavy Equipment Transporters are capable of carrying a 72-tonne Main Battle Tank and are responsible for the strategic transportation of armoured vehicles over land.[167]
MTVR  United States Close support tanker 357[168] Oshkosh The Oshkosh Wheeled Tanker forms the backbone of the British Army's bulk fuel and water transportation. The Tanker can be fitted with enhanced blast-proof armour for driver protection and General Purpose Machine Guns.[167]
MAN SV  Germany Support vehicle 7,484[168] MAN The MAN family of support vehicles have gradually replaced all 4-tonne, 6-tonne and 14-tonne cargo vehicles currently in service. Consisting of 6/9/15 tonne variants, 4x4/6x6/8x8 retrospective. They have good mobility and the ability to be fitted with armour and General Purpose Machine Guns.[169]

A total of 382 HX77 vehicles are under contract to be converted in to EPLS Mk.3 systems.[170]

Leyland, Foden  United Kingdom DROPS 1,217[140] Leyland The Leyland MMLC is the Medium Mobility Load Carrier (MMLC) using a standard pallet and rack system and forms the logistic backbone of the British Army. The Foden IMMLC is the Improved Medium Mobility Load Carrier and is used primarily as an ammunition carrier in support of AS90 155mm self-propelled guns.[171]

These DROPS vehicles are planned to be withdrawn in March 2021 to be replaced by 382 MAN EPLS Mk.3 vehicles.[170]

Miscellaneous[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Image Details
Pinzgauer  Austria All-terrain truck 190 Pinzgauer The Pinzgauer is a 4×4 and 6×6 tactical support vehicle used by the Royal Artillery to tow artillery pieces, such as the Rapier and L118 Light gun.
Mowag Duro   Switzerland All-terrain truck 190 Mowag Duro 118 Duro II and 48 Duro III are operated by communications and intelligence units. A further six Duro II and 18 Duro III are tasked with mine clearance and bomb disposal units – these have become known as Tellar and Citizen in British Army service.[172][173][174]
Land Rover Wolf  United Kingdom Utility vehicle 12,000[175] Land Rover Wolf The Land Rover Wolf is a militarised version of the Land Rover Defender. They can be found in service with the British Army worldwide, and can be armed with one 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun and a 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun. The Land Rover Wolf is designated as a Truck Utility Light (TUL – Defender 90) and Medium (TUM – Defender 110).
Land Rover Battle Field Ambulance (BFA)  United Kingdom Battlefield ambulance 116[140] Land Rover Pulse The Land Rover Pulse battlefield ambulance has full medical facilities with the capacity to hold up to six seated casualties or four casualties on stretchers. The vehicle can be airlifted.[176]

C vehicle fleet[edit]

Royal Engineers constructing a road in Afghanistan

The job of the Royal Engineers is to restrict the enemy's ability to advance, while also allowing friendly combat forces the freedom to maneuver as necessary. Other tasks undertaken are bomb disposal, the construction of fortifications, runways, roads and bridges and the improvement of existing infrastructure to support operations – such as improving existing roads for logistic convoys. To achieve this, the Royal Engineers operate a large and diverse fleet of vehicles. At present, the C vehicle fleet is provided by a private finance initiative (PFI) and consists of some 2,500 vehicles of over 160 types of "earthmoving plant, Engineer Construction Plant (ECP) and rough terrain Materials Handling Equipment (MHE)".

The provider of the PFI is Amey Lex Consortium (ALC), which was awarded a 15-year contract in 2005 for £600 million. The handing over of the C vehicle fleet to a PFI has improved overall efficiency, with ALC selecting common chassis for multiple roles and significantly reducing equipment types. This has led to reduced training needs in personnel, commonality of spares and an overall reduction in the logistic footprint and cost of maintenance.[177] ALC maintains the fleet at various degrees of readiness, with a large pool of the vehicles being modified and adapted for military use – however, the majority of the fleet is maintained at commercial standards. The fleet is dispersed worldwide to accommodate both existing and future operations. When in use, the vehicles are essentially being "hired on an ad hoc basis". To help sustain the C vehicle fleet on operations, the PFI includes a logistics support package.[178]

All-terrain vehicles[edit]

A Supacat ATMP, kitted out for operations in Afghanistan

There are a number of all-terrain vehicles in service with the British Army. The Supacat ATMP is a lightweight 6×6 used by airborne and air-mobile forces. It can carry up to 8 troops with a standard NATO pallet of stores and ammunition. The Springer all-terrain vehicle is a light-role 4×2 load carriage platform, which can self-load a 1-ton pallet. Each vehicle is equipped with an 8,000 lb (3,600 kg) self-recovery winch and sand ladders, which act as loading ramps for a cargo pallet.[163][179] Approximately 900[180] Grizzly 450 quad bikes are used as light transport for things such as mortars, ammunition and general supplies.[163][181] Finally, the Harley Davidson MT350E and Honda R250 motorcycles are used by dispatch riders and for a variety of liaison and traffic control tasks.

Special forces[edit]

The Special forces maintain a unique fleet of vehicles to support their covert operations. In 2001, 65 Supacat High Mobility Transporter (HMT) 400 vehicles were ordered under Project Minacity after being in development for a special forces protected vehicle requirement since the late 1990s.[182] The Minacity vehicles entered service in 2003 in Afghanistan.[183] In 2008, 24 Australian Bushmaster armoured vehicles were purchased under an UOR for the SAS in Iraq, as these provided all-round protection unlike the Minacity.[184][185] It is fitted with additional armour, counter-IED electronics, and a .50 calibre machine gun mounted in a RWS.[186] In addition, other vehicles known to be in service are: 60 Toyota Hilux for special forces mobility; and 78 ACMAT VLRAs as tactical support vehicles to resupply and sustain special forces on operations.[187] In August 2016, the BBC reported that the Jankel Toyota Land Cruiser-based Al-Thalab long range patrol vehicle was being used in Syria.[188]

Aircraft[edit]

Type Origin Class Role Introduced In service Total Notes
AgustaWestland Apache UK Rotorcraft Attack 2004 42 50 [124] To be replaced by the AH-64E Apache Guardian in 2024
Boeing AH-64E Guardian United States Rotorcraft Attack 2020 2 2 [189] A total of 50 aircraft are on order to replace the Apache AH1.
AgustaWestland AW159 Wildcat UK Rotorcraft Utility 2014 34 34 [124]
Bell 212 Canada Rotorcraft Utility 1995 5 5 [124] Used by No. 7 Flight AAC in Brunei. Previously also flown in Kenya by No. 25 Flight AAC, in support of TTB and BATUK
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin II France Rotorcraft SAS 2009 5 5
Thales Watchkeeper WK450 UK UAV ISR 2014 49 50 [124]
Westland Gazelle UK Rotorcraft Patrol 1974 26 34 [124] Expected OSD 2025. Two additional units are currently undergoing work to bring them back into service[190]

Watercraft[edit]

Raiding craft[edit]

An Inflatable Raiding Craft (IRC)

The raiding craft in service with the British Army are operated in large numbers, predominately with the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps, for supporting both bridging and amphibious operations. These craft are highly versatile and often find themselves serving in environments ranging from the Arctic to the tropics.[191]

Mk.4 Workboat[edit]

Four boats in service,[192] operated by the Royal Logistic Corps as small tugs and general purpose work-boats in support of amphibious operations. They have a displacement of 48 tonnes and a maximum speed of 10 knots.[193]

Mexeflotes[edit]

Mexeflotes are amphibious landing raft operated by the Royal Logistic Corps for amphibious operations and are designed to deliver both armoured vehicles and material from ship to shore. They are deployed on the 16,160 tonne Bay-class landing ships of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Future equipment[edit]

Ajax Scout SV
'Future Protected Vehicle' – concept
  • The Future Integrated Soldier Technology is a suite of equipment capable of enhancing an infantryman's effectiveness as part of the Future Soldier programme.[194]
  • The Scout SV known as "Ajax" in British service and its variants have been chosen to replace the CVR(T) family of vehicles. Ajax was due to go operational in 2019, however the first were delivered in early 2021
  • The Land Ceptor Missile system will replace the Rapier by 2020.[195]
  • The MoD has a requirement for a new multi role vehicle under the Multi Role Vehicle-Protected. At DSEI 2015 General Dynamics UK announced that they would offer variants of their Ocelot (Foxhound) and Eagle vehicles for the requirement.[196][197] In July 2017, the US DSCA notified the US Congress of a possible sale of 2,747 JLTV vehicles and accessories to the UK.[198] As of Oct 2019 no decision had been made.
  • The British Army wants to purchase 8x8 wheeled armoured fighting vehicles to replace the Mastiff and Ridgeback in British Service. This program used to be part of FRES UV, later named simply UV (Utility Vehicle) and now known as Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV). This vehicle is intended to equip the 4 "heavy protected mobility" battalions under Army 2020 Refine.[199] They will also be part of the two Strike Brigades proposed under the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015.[200] In 2018 the UK rejoined the Boxer AFV consortium and as of Oct. 2019 are in negotiations with a view to purchasing 500+ units. On 5 November 2019, it was announced that a £2.8 billion deal for 500 Boxer armoured vehicles had been signed. Deliveries would start in 2023.[201]
  • Senior army officers and procurement officials are looking at either upgrading the Challenger 2 or outright replacing it. At DSEI 2015, army officials expressed their concern with the Challenger 2's armament and its inevitable obsolescence in coming years. Other causes of concern are the Challengers engine and electronics. The army stated that they had been in discussions with armoured fighting vehicle manufacturers about the future of the tank and its potential replacement.[202] A later Defense News article said that the British Army would still proceed with its Challenger 2 LEP, citing that a replacement at the present would be too costly.[203] On 22 December 2016, an assessment phase award was awarded to BAE Systems and Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH to progress the Challenger 2 Life Extension Project.[204]
  • Under the Non-Articulated Vehicle – Protected (NAV-P) program, the MoD is looking for a successor to the DROPS vehicles.[205] This has resulted in a contract placed in 2018 for the conversion of 382 MAN HX77 Support Vehicles to carry the EPLS (Enhanced Palletised Load System) equipment. They are due to fully enter service in March 2021. The contract includes the conversion of 33 winterised/waterproofed versions[170]
  • The Army is currently in the process of receiving 56 Harris Corporation T7 EOD unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), procured by DE&S under Project Starter. These systems are due to fully enter service by December 2020, replacing the fleet of Wheelbarrow Mk.8Bs at the same time.[206]
  • The British MOD released a Request for Information for the Mobile Fires Platform, a new 155mm self-propelled howitzer to support the Armoured Infantry and Strike Brigades.[207]
  • A Prior Information Notice (PIN) was released for a successor to the Mobile Artillery Monitoring Battlefield Radar (MAMBA), Advanced Sound-ranging Post (ASP) and Counter-battery radar, all which will reach their out-out-service date in 2026.[208]
  • In July 2019, the UK issued a PIN notice for Directed Energy Weapon (DEW) demonstrators which could be mounted on army vehicles.[209]
  • A Robotic Platoon Vehicle (RPV) was pitched at DSEI 2019.[210]
  • In July 2021, a requirement for an Armalite Rifle platform to serve as an Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) System for the new Army Special Operations Brigade was issued.[211]

See also[edit]

Other equipment lists
Related articles

References[edit]

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External links[edit]