AEC A-41 Centurion

     Notes: The Centurion was initially designed to be a sort of ďTiger Killer;Ē a tank with the firepower and protection to be able to tackle the German Tiger and Panther tanks on equal terms.  Unfortunately, only six made it to Europe by May 1945, less than a week before the Nazi surrender.  It would not be until the Korean War, in January of 1951, that the first Centurions would see combat in the capable hands of the 8th Kingís Royal Irish Hussars.  Some 13 versions of the Centurion were developed by the British, and the Mark 3 was the first to see combat.  Other countries have also developed tanks based on the Centurion, bringing the total to over 20 subtypes.

 

Centurion Mark 1 and Mark 2

     Designed for World War 2 combat against what were then the most heavily armed and armored tanks of the time, the design of the Centurion was aimed at being able to penetrate heavy armor at long range, being able to take a hit and keep going, and to improve protection against antitank mines.  An increase in mobility was also considered desirable, but not as much required as the other specifications.  (Cross-country performance, however, was considered more important than road speed.)  The layout was essentially conventional and similar to modern tanks, with commanderís hatch on the left turret deck, a loaderís hatch on the right turret deck, and the driverís hatch on the left hull front.  The commander had all-around vision blocks, along with a periscope at the front with magnification.  The driver had two wide vision blocks in front of his position, and the gunner and loader both had a periscope to see outside of the turret.  Unusually for a tank of its time, the Centurion had no radio operator/hull machinegunner; there simply wasnít room in the front hull, and the loader became a loader/radio operator.  Instead of a turret bustle rack, the sides of the turret had large stowage boxes.

     Armament consisted of a 17-pounder (76.2mm) high-velocity gun, the same found on the Comet cruiser tank.  The Mark 1 had two 7.92mm coaxial machineguns; these were mounted independent of the main gunís mantlet in their own ball mounts, and could be moved independently of the main gun. Optionally, a third machinegun could be mounted, firing through a ball mount in the rear of the turret, but this required the removal of the smoke mortar and the escape hatch as the rear of the turret.  A 51mm mortar that fired smoke rounds was also installed in the turret.  Some initial versions had a 20mm Polsten cannon instead of the right side coaxial machinegun; but the cannon (as well as the extra coaxial machinegun) proved to be unpopular.  (Note that this is a cannon, and not an autocannon.)  The gunner had a basic telescopic gunsight, and one of the coaxial machineguns could be used as a ranging machinegun.  The glacis plate had more sloping than most tanks of the time, and under the track skirts and behind the tracks, the hull was also slightly sloped.  (The standard production Mark 1 is listed as ďType 3Ē below, but this is not an official designation by any means.)

     The engine compartment was large but well-thought out; it contained a 600 horsepower Rolls-Royce Mk 4 Meteor engine with an enlarged crankcase and a dry sump.  The transmission was manual, and driving the Centurion was a task requiring a ridiculous amount of manual dexterity, coordination, and strength.  Suspension was by an AEC/Rackham system based on a blend of Christie suspension and horizontal volute suspension.

     The Mark 2 (also called the A-41A) was an evolutionary development of the Mark 1, replacing the Mark 1 in production after about 100 Mark 1s had been built.  A number of changes were made; most notably, the Centurion became heavier, since the armor on the glacis and turret front became thicker.  The coaxial Besa machineguns remained, despite tankerís insistence that they wanted Browning M-1919A4s instead.  Initially, a more powerful 20-pounder gun was to be fitted, but instead the Mark 2 retained the 17-pounder gun.  The main gun, however, got gyroscopic stabilization for elevation and deflection soon after production started.  (Those Mk 2s with the new stabilization were called Mk 2/1s.)  Most of the main gun ammunition was moved beneath the turret floor to reduce its vulnerability to combat damage.  An interesting feature was added: a small water heater that could boil water or heat rations.  The engine was a modified form of the Mk 4 Meteor called the Mk 4A, which developed 640 horsepower; the final drives, steering mechanism, and brakes were also modified to account for the change in engine power.

 

Centurion Mark 3 and Mark 5

     In 1950, the Centurion came under the new designation and became the FV-4000.  (The Mk 3 was officially the FV-4003.) However, almost two years before, the Mark 3 went into production.  The biggest difference between the Mark 3 and earlier versions was the new main gun, a 20-pounder (84mm) gun much more powerful than the 17-pounder gun.  Within a year, all Mk 2s were modified to the Mk 3 standard.  The Mk 3 became the first Centurion to see combat.

     Changing to the heavier 20-pounder gun, however, increased the weight of the Centurion enough that the length of the tank was actually shortened by 114 millimeters by re-mounting some of the air intakes for the engine and altering the transmission covers.  (It only saved them about 45 kilograms.)  The turret size and shape were also altered to take the new gun, and it was a little taller than the Mk 2.  The new gun also required modifications to the fire control and stabilization gear.  The much-disliked Besa coaxials were retained.

     Other changes included an upgraded engine, the Meteor Mk 4B, developing 650 horsepower.  Though a small APU had been tried out on some Mk 2s, the Mk 3 included a small 8-horsepower Morris APU (after some teething pains).  Modifications were also made to the engine and other equipment to allow them to operate better in desert and tropical environments.  More modifications covered cold weather and (to an extent) arctic environments.  Braking had been a persistent problem on the Centurion, but after trying over half a dozen alternate braking systems, the old brakes were retained.

     Due to high fuel consumption and the use of gasoline as fuel, provisions were made to allow the Centurion to carry a pair of droppable auxiliary fuel tanks on the rear deck, adding 273 liters of fuel.  As these auxiliary tanks were not armored (they were little more than modified fuel drums), they were not authorized for combat use.  The Mk 3 could also tow fuel trailers carrying 909 liters that were modified to feed fuel directly into the Centurionís engine.  These were armored to a point, but crews still regarded them as a pain in the butt.  These fuel trailers entered service in 1953; in Twilight 2000 v2.2 terms, they have an AV of 4 for their bodies, a suspension of W(2), and a cost of $3000.

     The Mk 5 (FV-4005) was an incremental upgrade of the Mk 3; in fact, most Mk 3s were converted to the Mk 5 standard.  The Centurion crews were finally rid of their hated and unreliable Besa coaxials with the Mk 5; they were replaced with Browning M-1919A4s that had been rechambered for 7.62mm NATO.  In addition, the second coaxial was removed and replaced by a pintle-mounted M-1919A4 at the commanderís hatch.  Improvements in radio technology gave the loader a little less extra work to do.  The commander had auxiliary controls for the main gun, and his own rangefinder for when that was necessary.  While the gunner had powered controls for the main gun and coaxial, the commander had only manual controls, and only for the main gun itself.  The Mark 5 also had numerous improvements large and small, to various systems in the tank.

     Oh, and the Mark 4?  It was to be a self-propelled howitzer/assault gun variant, with a 95mm howitzer as main armament.  The Mark 4 was passed on by the British Army, however.

 

Centurion Mark 7

     The Mk 7 was long considered the definitive Centurion, and it had a relatively long service life in the British Army.  The Mk 7 grew out of Korean War experience, particularly the Centurion Mk 5ís short range.  The quick solution for the British was to add a third fuel tank, which required a modification of the hull and rearrangement of the power pack and fuel storage.  Conversion of existing Mk 3s and Mk 5s was considered, but never actually done.  Other changes included the removal of the bulkhead between the driverís position and the turret basket, engine louvers moved to the rear deck directly behind the turret (allowing a cap for the new fuel tank to be installed.  These louvers later had to be given special shields and additional armor protection.  Main gun ammunition storage was also rearranged, so that the ammunition was no longer under the floor of the turret, but around the turret space instead, as well as behind the driver.  On the side of the hull, a loading port for main gun ammunition was installed, accessible by hinging the track skirt on the left side upwards.  The side skirts themselves were modified to allow them to be hinged upwards or completely removed for maintenance of the skirts of suspension.  Filling the fuel tanks, before a measure of guesswork, now has indicators to tell the crew when they were full.  The deplorable transmission remained, but was now more accessible for maintenance.  The bolts that secured the track sections, side skirts, and brake drums were found to quickly come loose, and these were placed by US-designed SAE-threaded bolts.  A storage grid was attached to the rear of the turret for a camouflage net, as stowing it on the rear deck was no longer possible.  Six smoke grenade dischargers on each side of the turret replaced the smoke-launching mortar.

 

Centurion Mark 8 and later

     In early 1953, testing began on components that would eventually lead to the Mk 8.  It began with a new cooling system for the engine along with a new clutch system.  This was soon superseded by a test version of the Mk 7 equipped with a Rolls-Royce Griffon engine.  Finally, the Mk 8 went back to the Meteor 4B engine.  By 1955, the Centurion, now classified as a Medium Tank by the British Army, had a new fully-rotating commanderís cupola with a two-piece hatch, a ventilation fan in the roof of the turret, and better protection for the commander.  The main gun was mounted in a mantlet with rubber mountings, making more resilient to a hit.  The engine and its compartment were redesigned to allow the Mk 8 to perform more reliably in hot weather, and improve the comfort of the crew somewhat.  The Mk 8 was also fitted with a white light/IR searchlight, along with an IR sight for the gunner.

     In the early 1960s, the Mk 5s received a new main gun Ė the 105mm L-7 rifled gun.  These tanks were designated the Mk 6.  The Mk 7 also received the same treatment, and also got more glacis armor; with just additional armor, the designation was the Mk 7/1, while with additional armor and the new gun, it was designated the Mk 9.  The Mk 9 was later equipped with night vision, and called the Mk 9/1.  With the addition of a .50-caliber ranging machinegun, it becomes a Mk 9/2.  With the addition of a bustle rack, it becomes the Mk 12.  The Mk 8s with just the additional armor were called Mk 8/1s, while those with the increased armor and the new gun became Mk 10s.  With the addition of enhanced night vision and a turret bustle rack, this becomes the Mk 10/1.  Add a .50-caliber ranging machinegun, and you have a Mk 10/2.  If you take a Mk 6 and add a bustle rack, night vision, and a .50-caliber ranging machinegun, you have a Mk 11.  If you take a Mk 10/2 and further upgrade the night vision and fire control suite, you have a Mk 13.

 

 

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 1)

$318,581

G, A

450 kg

39.49 tons

4

19

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 2)

$323,347

G, A

450 kg

37.71 tons

4

18

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 3)

$394,009

G, A

450 kg

38.56 tons

4

18

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 2

$294,534

G, A

450 kg

43.54 tons

4

18

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 3

$299,185

G, A

450 kg

44.45 tons

4

18

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 5

$301,919

G, A

450 kg

50.79 tons

4

22

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 6

$280,598

G, A

450 kg

51.61 tons

4

24

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 7

$241,816

G, A

450 kg

50.98 tons

4

22

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 7/1

$248,352

G, A

450 kg

52.18 tons

4

22

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 8

$283,816

G, A

450 kg

51.17 tons

4

24

Headlights, Active IR (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 8/1

$290,352

G, A

450 kg

52.37 tons

4

22

Headlights, Active IR (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 9

$287,517

G, A

450 kg

52.6 tons

4

22

Headlights

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 9/1, 10

$377,517

G, A

450 kg

52.69 tons

4

22

Headlights, Active IR (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 9/2, 10/1, 11, 12

$387,875

G, A

450 kg

52.76 tons

4

22

Headlights, Active IR (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

Centurion Mk 13

$461,875

G, A

450 kg

52.56 tons

4

23

Headlights, Active IR (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Centurion Mk 1

127/89

24/19

790

520

Trtd

T6

TF38  TS12  TR6  HF48  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 2

123/86

23/18

790

556

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 3

123/86

23/18

790

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 5

113/79

21/17

790

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 6

111/78

21/17

790

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 7

112/79

21/17

1037

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 7/1

112/79

21/17

1037

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS17  TR11 HF63  HS13  HR8

Centurion Mk 8

112/78

21/17

1037

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS12  TR6  HF53  HS10  HR6

Centurion Mk 8/1

110/77

21/17

1037

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS17  TR11 HF63  HS13  HR8

Centurion Mk 9, 9/1, 9/2, 10, 10/1, 10/2, 11, 12, 13

110/77

21/17

1037

566

Trtd

T6

TF42  TS17  TR11 HF63  HS13  HR8

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 1)

+1

Basic

17-Pounder Gun, 7.92mm Besa, 20mm Polsten Gun, 51mm Smoke Mortar

75x17-Pound, 1700x7.92mm, 50x20mm, 30x51mm Mortar

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 2)

+1

Basic

17-Pounder Gun, 3x7.92mm Besa

75x17-Pound, 6000x7.92mm

Centurion Mk 1 (Type 3)

+1

Basic

17-Pounder Gun, 2x7.92mm Besa, 51mm Smoke Mortar

75x17-Pound, 3375x7.92mm, 30x51mm Mortar

Centurion Mk 2

+1

Basic

17-Pounder Gun, 2x7.92mm Besa, 51mm Smoke Mortar

73x17-Pound, 3375x7.92mm, 30x51mm Mortar

Centurion Mk 3

+1

Basic

20-Pounder Gun, 2x7.92mm Besa, 51mm Smoke Mortar

65x20-Pound, 3375x7.92mm, 30x51mm Mortar

Centurion Mk 5

+1

Basic

20-Pounder Gun, M-1919A4*, M-1919A4(C)*, 51mm Smoke Mortar

64x20-Pound, 4250x7.62mm, 33x51mm Mortar

Centurion Mk 6, 9, 10, 10/1

+1

Fair

105mm L-7A2 Gun, M-1919A4*, M-1919A4(C)*

64x105mm, 4250x7.62mm

Centurion Mk 7, & 8

+1

Basic

20-Pounder Gun, M-1919A4*, M-1919A4(C)*

65x20-Pound, 250x7.62mm

Centurion Mk 9/2, 10/2, 11, 12

+1

Fair

105mm L-7A2 Gun, M-1919A4*, M-1919A4(C)*

64x105mm, 4250x7.62mm, 600x.50

Centurion Mk 13

+2

Fair

105mm L-7A2 Gun, M-1919A4*, M-1919A4(C)*

64x105mm, 4250x7.62mm, 600x.50

*These M-1919A4s are rechambered for 7.62mm NATO.  Use the Mk 21 Mod 0 stats found in US Machineguns when they are fired.

 

Leyland A-34 Comet

     Notes: In World War 2, the British Army used two main types of tanks Ė Cruiser Tanks, designed to fight other tanks, and Infantry Tanks, designed for fire support for the Infantry and as scout tanks.  British experience in North Africa revealed that their Cruiser Tank designs were no match for German tanks.  Better Cruiser Tanks were needed.  One of these was the Comet, based on the Cromwell, but heavily modified and upgraded; in addition, the Comet was to partially replace the inadequate Cromwell.  As many parts of previous tanks were used as possible, but virtually all previous tank components had to be upgraded or replaced.  As a result, the Comet did not see service until after the Normandy landings in September of 1944; major unit issue did not occur until December of 1944.  Due to its late arrival, the Comet did not get any major combat action until the Korean War.  The Comet remained in British service until 1958, and in South Africa as late as the 1980s; the Finns used them until 1970, and in 2007 they were sold on the museum and collectorsí markets.  The Irish bought 8 Comets in 1959, and used them until 1969.  Currently, only Myanmar uses the Comet (in a modified form).

 

The Comet Mk 1

     The suspension of the Comet was based on the Cromwell, but heavily modified and upgraded to replace a big problem with the Crowell suspension; the Cromwell tended to shed tracks, break torsion bars, and crack roadwheels and drive sprockets.  The turret and hull design was again based on the Cromwell (the Cromwellís low silhouette was one of its few good features), but armor was improved and the turret rotation rate was increased.

     The Cometís configuration was semi-conventional; the commander had a two-part hatch on the left front deck and has an electrically-traversed cupola; there is no loaderís hatch.  There is a step in the frontal armor up to the part of the Comet where the turret is mounted; instead of the driverís hatch being atop the glacis or this step, the driver has a hatch in between the glacis and the step facing to the front and opening to the right.  The driverís hatch is tiny, barely enough to squeeze through, and the driver was more likely to enter through the commanderís hatch in the turret with the rest of the crew.  The radio operator had no hatch at all, and entering his position through the driverís hatch would require him to be a contortionist, so he also entered through the commanderís hatch.  The radio operator also manned a 7.92mm Besa machinegun.

     The small turret of the Comet meant that the standard 17-pounder (76.2mm) gun could not be used.  A more compact version of the 17-pounder was developed; though it was designated a 77mm gun to avoid confusion with the 17-pounder, it too was actually a 76.2mm gun.  This reduced-dimension gun used older 76.2mm ammunition loaded to higher pressures, and therefore the Cometís ammunition was not interchangeable with standard 17-pounder ammunition.  The coaxial machinegun was the same as the hull machinegun; the commander did not have a machinegun, but a Bren gun was available for his use, and normally stored within the turret.  The turret had electric traverse, and the gun had rudimentary stabilization.

     The engine used in the comet Mk 1 Mk 1 was a Rolls-Royce Meteor gasoline engine developing 570 horsepower.  This, combined with the relatively low weight, gave the Comet relatively decent speed and maneuverability.

     The Cometís protection was greatly improved over the Cromwell, with better armor sloping for the turret and glacis and generally improved armor thickness over the front and side arcs.  The gun mantlet was cast from a single piece of steel, and the ammunition was kept in armored bins until needed.  These bins were in the hull over the tracks and behind the turret.  The Cometís weight was about the same as the Sherman, but the gun was superior in hitting power and armor protection better.

 

Later Changes

     Very few changes were ever made to what was considered a successful design that was about to be replaced by the Centurion anyway.  The Mk 1B had re-designed exhaust louvers on the rear deck to allow infantrymen to ride on the rear deck without being choked by the exhaust, and the engine was upgraded to produce 600 horsepower.  Ammo storage rearrangement allowed for more rounds to be carried for the main gun.

     The Comets sold to Myanmar (then Burma) had its machineguns replaced by M-60E2s; in addition, the commanderís cupola was given a pintle to mount an M-60 machinegun.  These Comets are quite old, and none have (in game terms) a wear value of less than 5.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Comet Mk 1

$123,430

G, A

300 kg

33.09 tons

5

14

Headlights

Enclosed

Comet Mk 1B

$123,530

G, A

300 kg

33.23 tons

5

14

Headlights

Enclosed

Myanmar Comet

$122,643

G, A

300 kg

33.2 tons

5

14

Headlights

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Comet Mk 1

137/96

33/22

527

412

Trtd

T5

TF36  TS13  TR8  HF45  HS11  HR7

Comet Mk 1B & Myanmar Comet

141/99

34/23

632

463

Trtd

T5

TF36  TS13  TR8  HF45  HS11  HR7

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Comet Mk 1

+1

Basic

Vickers 77mm HV, 7.92mm Besa, 7.92mm Besa (Hull), Bren Gun (Free)

58x77mm, 5175x7.92mm, 600x.303

Comet Mk 1B

+1

Basic

Vickers 77mm HV, 7.92mm Besa, 7.92mm Besa (Hull), Bren Gun (Free)

61x77mm, 5175x7.92mm, 600x.303

Myanmar Comet

+1

Basic

Vickers 77mm HV, M-60E2, M-60E2 (Hull), M-60 (C)

61x77mm, 5775x7.62mm

 

Leyland FV-4201 Chieftain

     Notes: Until around the Korean War, the British saw tanks have having two separate roles Ė the Infantry Tank, designed to support infantry attacks and protect the Infantry from enemy armor; and the Cruiser Tank, meant for direct combat against enemy armor and to spearhead attacks.  Early in the Korean War, the British Army realized that this approach to tank development had many problems in a modern army; the line between an Infantry Tank and a Cruiser Tank was becoming more and more blurred, The Infantry Tank with its lesser armor and armament was no longer competitive on the battlefield, and the whole approach of two different types of tanks that were more and more often doing the same job was too costly and required a larger supply structure.  Therefore, when looking for a replacement for the Centurion and Conqueror tanks, the British decided to produce a so-called Universal Tank, designed for modern warfare.  This became the Chieftain series of main battle tanks, and several non-MBT variants were also built.

 

The First Chieftain

     Development of the Chieftain began in 1958.  The Chieftain was to be initially armed with the L-7A2 105mm gun, but in view of Soviet tank developments of the period (or at least what NATO thought the Soviet tanks could do), the British decided to arm the Chieftain with the L-11 120mm rifled gun, before construction of prototypes even started.  The Chieftain was to be survivable on the nuclear battlefield, so the Chieftain was equipped with radiological shielding and an overpressure system.  Speed was a bit better than that of the Centurion, and the main gun could be depressed much further than that of the Chieftain to allow it to take more advantage of defilades and dug-in tank emplacements.  The Mk 1 began service in 1965.

     The layout of the Chieftain Mk 1 was standard, with a commanderís hatch on the left side of the turret, a loaderís hatch on the right, and the gunnerís position being below and to the right of the commander.  The driver is in the front center of the hull; in a novel position for the time, the driverís seat was reclined to allow the silhouette to be lower and give the driver more comfort.  The commander has emergency override controls for the main gun, and nine vision blocks around his cupola providing 360-degree vision.  The commanderís cupola also has an L-37A1 7.62mm machinegun (a variant of the L-7A2 machinegun, the British version of the MAG) on a pintle mount.  The commander also sighting magnified periscope than can also be used as an emergency gunsight for the main gun. 

     The 120mm main gun was equipped with a thermal sleeve as well as a fume extractor; the coaxial L-8A1 (a variant of the British version of the FN MAG machinegun) was located to the right.  At the time, the Chieftain had the most powerful main gun of any main battle tank in the world; the L-11A2 gun also uses separate rounds and propellant charges in combustible silk bags.  The gunner also had an L-21A1 .50-caliber ranging machinegun based on the M-2HB, and with an effective range of 1900 meters..  The telescopic coincidence sight and the electro-hydraulic gun stabilization were tied together with a very primitive form of a ballistic computer that was quite a help to the gunner by automatically moving the gun to general area of the aiming point, from which the gunner could provide fine aiming.  Six smoke grenade launchers are on each side of the turret.

     The Mk 1 was equipped with a Leyland L60 engine that was a multi-fuel model which had 585 horsepower.  The Mk 1s were produced primarily for operational testing, and only about 40 were built.  The Mk 1/1 had improvements to the exhaust system as well an indicator to tell the crew that the engine air filter was too dirty; it is identical to the Mk 1 for game purposes.  The Mk 1/2 replaced the commanderís cupola with an improved one, used a further-improved exhaust system, six smoke grenade launchers on each side of the turret, and dual headlights on each side with IR as well as white-light lenses.  Itís slightly more expensive, but otherwise identical to the Mk 1 for game purposes.  The Mk 1/3 was a Mk 1/1 modified to the Mk 5 standard through the ďTotem PoleĒ program; the Mk 1/4 was the Mk 1/2 put through the same upgrades. (Most Mk 1/4s were later converted to AVLBs in 1986.)  Both of these are identical to the Mk 5 for game purposes.

 

Later Chieftain Marks

     The Mk 2 was the first model of the Chieftain to actually see series production.  The Mk 2 began service in 1967, and featured as a primary upgrade a new version of the Leyland L60 engine developing 650 horsepower, and a Coventry H30 23 horsepower diesel APU.  The L60 proved troublesome mechanically and was not what the British Army wanted for the Chieftain, but NATO standards at the time called for a multifuel engine, so the L60 was adopted over the Rolls-Royce diesel engine the Army wanted.  On the left side of the turret is a large white light/IR searchlight (1000 meters range in white light mode, 1500 meters in IR mode); the searchlight has an armored housing and a retractable armored cover.  (In game terms, the searchlight housing has an AV of 4). 

     The Centurion Mk 3 had an APU with improved fuel economy, a dry air cleaner for the engine, a new commanderís cupola with a single hatch instead of a dual hatch, and return rollers, axle arms, and track tensioners which were oil-filled for improved lubrication.  The engine was modified through the ďTotem PoleĒ program, which gave the engine improved reliability, improved hot-climate performance, a starter that worked better in low temperatures, and improved brakes.  (This was the L60A engine.)  In addition, the gun barrel was more easily removed for maintenance; ammunition storage was improved to reduce latch breakages, and the track skirts were modified to strengthen the attachments as well as make them easier to raise for suspension maintenance.  For game purposes, the Mk 3 is for the most part identical to the Mk 2, except for the weight of the vehicle, the maintenance time, and the APU consuming only 1.8 liters per period instead of 2 liters.  The Mk 3/2 is essentially the same vehicle as the Mk 3, but with improved air circulation for the turret.

     The Mk 3/3 had several improvements that (in my opinion) should have made it a Mark of its own.  The commander finally had emergency override controls for the main gun.  More important modifications included a ranging machinegun with extended range (2500 meters), a laser rangefinder, the improvements in turret air circulation, a modified NBC system, and an engine uprated to 720 horsepower and equipped with a low-loss air cleaner.  Turret armor was also improved.  The Mk 3/3P is identical, but has improved performance in desert environments and was built specifically for Iran.

     In 1970, the Israelis were in the market for a new tank, and they heavily considered the Chieftain.  Leyland came up with the Mk 4, which had optimizations for desert conditions found in Israel, and the project went as far as a pre-order and the testing of two Mk 4s at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in the US.  In the end, however, the Israelis canceled their order.

     The Mk 5 was also a major upgrade for the Chieftain, and it is considered the definitive model of the Chieftain.  The engine was changed to the L60 Mk 7A, with has a 750 horsepower engine, improved air cleaners, an enhanced starter, battery heaters, and revised engine covers.  The transmission was strengthened to alleviate a common maintenance problem with the transmission.  The bins for the bagged charges was improved for safety reasons, and ammunition stowage was rearranged to grant a large increase in ammunition and bagged charge supply.  The gunnerís and commanderís sighting telescopes were replaced with improved models, and half the ranging machinegunís ammunition was removed in recognition that the ranging machinegun was rapidly becoming an out-of date device.  The main gun received an improved thermal sleeve, and the travel lock was also improved.  A device to detect whether other vehicles are scanning the Mk 5 with IR viewers was added.  The commanderís machinegun mount was improved to allow it to elevate straight up.  The Mk 5 was first delivered to the British Army in 1972, and soon thereafter to Iran as the Mk 5/P.

The Mk 5/L improved the laser rangefinder module; the Mk 5/2 improved maintenance capabilities for the power pack. (This version was also bought by Kuwait as the Mk 5/2K.) 

     The Mk 5/3 improved the commanderís cupola, and added the IFCS (Improved Fire Control System).  The Mk 5/3P was designed for Iran, and was similar to a standard Mk 5/3 except for an increase in fuel capacity to 975 liters, increased mine protection (floor armor is AV7), and an automatic transmission.  The Mk 5/4 is a Mk 5/3 with modifications to allow better stowage of APFSDS ammunition and a better sight graticule for the gunner.

     The Mk 6 Chieftains were largely Mk 1 and Mk 2 Chieftains that were upgraded to Mk 5 standards.  The Mk 7s were Mk 3s upgraded to Mk 5 standard.  The Mk 8 upgraded the Mk 3/3 to the Mk 5 standard.  The Mk 9 was a modification to all Chieftains that allowed for more APFSDS round storage.

     The primary Mk 10 modification was the Stillbrew armor upgrade.  This upgrade was done only to a very limited amount of Chieftains, most of which were stationed in Germany with the BAOR.  The Stillbrew armor included very examples of what became Chobham armor for the glacis and turret front.  The NBC system was also improved.  The Stillbrew armor package, more an experiment than anything else, was withdrawn from the British Army after a few years, but not before being upgraded to the Mk 11 specification.  The Mk 11 was fitted with the TOGS (Thermal Observation and Gunnery System).  The Mk 11 was the final version of the Chieftain for the British Army; replacement by the Challenger 1 began less than 5 years later.  The last version of the Chieftain was the Mk 15; this was built for a few months in 1985, specifically for Oman, and was essentially a Mk 11 without the Stillbrew armor package.

 

But Thatís Not AllÖ

     In late 1974, Iran ordered 125 slightly modified Chieftains based on the Mk 5, and 1225 based on the Mk 5/3.  These were to have been known as the Shir 1 (for those based on the Mk 5) and Shir 2 (if based on the Mk 5/3).  These modified versions had a large number of fire control, night vision, and automotive modifications, most notably the replacement of the Chieftainís engine and transmission based on the then-upcoming tank that would replace the Chieftain in the British Army (which became the Challenger 1).  The coup that brought the Ayatollah Khomeini to power ended this program just as the Shir 1 and 2 were about to enter series production; first deliveries were, in fact, to take place just a few months later.

     The Jordanians saw their chance.  They had been quite interested in these modified Chieftains for some time, and they therefore placed an order with Vickers Defence (the company that was then producing the Shir tanks) for 274 of the Shir 2 versions.  They re-christened then the Khalid (not to be confused with the Pakistani Al-Khalid tank).

     The Khalid, for the most part, has the hull of a Chieftain Mk 5/3.  However, the rear deck is raised quite a bit to accommodate the new engine, and the turret bustle is also modified to clear the raised roofline.  (Many tank experts claim that these modifications have created a dangerous shot trap, but as the Khalid has never seen combat, itís never been proven conclusively.)  The new power pack is based on the Perkins Condor 1200-horsepower diesel, along with a change to the Brown Defence TN-37 automatic transmission.  The engine was further optimized for Middle Eastern conditions by improving the cooling system with one derived from a system designed for small aircraft.  With the exception of the cooling system, the power pack is 80% identical to that of the Challenger 1.  The 23-horsepower APU that had been in all Chieftain variants since the Mk 3 was retained.  The suspension is a considerably beefed-up version of the standard Chieftain suspension, with roadwheels that have almost twice the travel than those of the Chieftain. 

     Fire control is provided by a modernized version of the Chieftainís IFCS, using more compact components.  The Khalid likewise has a modernized version of the TOGS upgrade.  The commander can access the gunnerís sighting equipment as well as his own and has override controls for the main gun and coaxial machinegun.  The external apertures for the night vision and sighting equipment have armored shutters.  Main armament is the same as that of the Chieftain, but the commander can aim and fire his L-37A1 from inside the turret when buttoned up.  Jordan does not use the Chieftainís searchlight.

     In 1996, Jordan also ordered a number of appliquť armor kits for their Khalids.  Budgetary considerations have considerably slowed the up-armoring of the Khalid, but it is believed that all Khalids now sport this armor package. 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: In the Twilight 2000 timeline, remaining Chieftains that had been mothballed or were serviceable enough to be put back into working condition began to appear in the front lines again in 1997; however, some 50 were retained for defense in England herself.  Iran still used a decent number of Chieftains, but most of Iraqís Chieftains were unserviceable by the time of the Twilight War.  Kuwait never had many Chieftains, but they did take part in the war, as did Omani Chieftains.  Jordan had largely converted their Chieftains to the Tariq specification by the time of the Twilight War; most Jordanian ďChieftainsĒ in the Twilight War were in fact Khalids.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Chieftain Mk 1

$449,523

D, G, A

400 kg

51.92 tons

4

24

Active IR (G)

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 1/2

$459,595

D, G, A

400 kg

51.93 tons

4

24

Active IR (G)

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 2

$458,895

D, G, A

400 kg

52.44 tons

4

24

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 3

$458,895

D, G, A

400 kg

52.94 tons

4

23

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 3/3

$488,559

D, G, A

400 kg

54.1 tons

4

24

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 5

$487,125

D, G, A

400 kg

55 tons

4

24

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 5/3

$507,125

D, G, A

400 kg

55 tons

4

24

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 5/3P

$512,196

D, G, A

400 kg

56 tons

4

25

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 10

$517,568

D, G, A

400 kg

58.28 tons

4

24

Passive IR (G, C), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 11

$550,517

D, G, A

400 kg

58.28 tons

4

25

Passive IR (C, D), Thermal Imaging (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Chieftain Mk 15

$531,326

D, G, A

400 kg

56 tons

4

25

Passive IR (C, D), Thermal Imaging (G), WL/IR Searchlight

Shielded

Khalid

$513,722

D, G, AvG, A

400 kg

58 tons

4

25

Image Intensification (D, G), Thermal Imaging (G, C)

Shielded

Khalid (Up-Armored)

$525,168

D, G, AvG, A

400 kg

59.2 tons

4

25

Image Intensification (D, G), Thermal Imaging (G, C)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Chieftain Mk 1, 1/2

102/71

19/16

887

327

Trtd

T6

TF56  TS22  TR12  HF70  HS18  HR10

Chieftain Mk 2, 3

108/76

20/17

887

366

Trtd

T6

TF56  TS22  TR12  HF70  HS18  HR10

Chieftain Mk 3/3

111/78

21/18

950

494

Trtd

T6

TF60  TR25  TR12  HF70  HS18  HR10

Chieftain Mk 5, 5/2, 5/3, 5/3P, Mk 15

113/79

21/18

950

516

Trtd

T6

TF60  TR25  TR12  HF70  HS18  HR10

Chieftain Mk 10, 11

111/78

21/18

950

508

Trtd

T6

TF68Cp  TS22  TR12  HF84Cp  HS18Sp  HR10

Khalid

140/98

26/21

950

674

Trtd

T6

TF60  TR25  TR12  HF70  HS18  HR10

Khalid (Up-Armored)

137/96

25/20

950

674

Trtd

T6

HF84Sp  HS20Sp  HR12  TF68Sp  TS22Sp  TR12

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Chieftain Mk 1, 1/1, 2, 3

+1

Fair

120mm L-11A2 Rifled Gun, L-8A1, L-37A1 (C), L-21A1 (Ranging)

53x120mm, 6000x7.62mm, 600x.50

Chieftain Mk 3/3

+2

Fair

120mm L-11A2 Rifled Gun, L-8A1, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

53x120mm, 6000x7.62mm, 600x.50

Chieftain Mk 5

+2

Fair

120mm L-11A5 Rifled Gun, L-8A1, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

64x120mm, 6000x7.62mm, 300x.50

Chieftain Mk 5/3, 5/3P, 10, 11, 15

+3

Fair

120mm L-11A5 Rifled Gun, L-8A1, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

64x120mm, 6000x7.62mm, 300x.50

Khalid

+3

Good

120mm L-11A5 Rifled Gun, L-8A1, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

64x120mm, 6000x7.62mm, 300x.50

 

Sherman Firefly

     Notes:  This tank, regarded as the best of the M-4 Sherman line, is a British modification of the M-4A4 Sherman.  Modifications include a change of turret to accept a 17-pounder (76.2mm) high-velocity gun.  A by-product of this modified turret is the increased armor and sloping of the turret.  The vehicle is still in service with some Latin American countries, such as Argentina, which still operates a large number of them. 

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$134,811 (R/R)

G, A

300 kg

34.8 tons

4

11

Headlights

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

90/62

21/14

700

416

Trtd

T5

TF32  TS11  TR6  HF27  HS8  HR4

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

Basic

76.2mm gun, M-1919A4, 60mm Smoke Mortar, M-2HB (C)

78x76.2mm, 5000x.30-06, 500x.50, 20x60mm smoke

 

Vickers Defence Battle Tank

     Notes: Originally, the Vickers-Armstrong Tank was to be a light tank based around the same 20-pounder main gun as the Centurion used, but with a maximum weight of only 24 tons.  The Vickers-Armstrong tank was therefore to be (at the time of its inception in 1960) a well-armed, but less-expensive alternative to more expensive tanks, yet still equipped with advanced fire control systems and armor protection.  The Vickers-Armstrong Tank would be aimed at the export market, and not at the British Army or NATO.

     However, tank developments and world interest had overtaken this idea before it could get off the drawing board.  The 20-pounder gun was obsolete, having been replaced in the Western world for the most part by the British L-7 series of 105mm rifled guns.  This meant that protection requirements had also increased.  In the meantime, the role of the light tank had changed; they were replaced by vehicles that were even lighter than the Vickers-Armstrong Tank light and often wheeled vehicles instead of tracked vehicles.  The Vickers-Armstrong Tank didnít have a market, despite its attractive features.  The light tank Vickers had envisioned therefore was enlarged, given thicker armor, and a 105mm main gun; it became a medium tank with advanced features, ideal for many 2nd and 3rd-World countries.  The first customer became India, in 1964; later customers include Kenya, Kuwait, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Tanzania.

 

The Vickers Mk 1

     The layout of the Vickers Mk 1 is essentially conventional; the commander is on the right side of the turret, the loader on the left, both with hatches.  The gunner is in the turret on the right side of the gun.  The driver is on the front right of the vehicle.  The driver has a spring-loaded hatch that pops up and then swings to the left, with a latch securing it when it is open.  He has a single, wide-angle vision block for use when his hatch is closed.  The loader also has a single wide-angle vision block, facing front.  The commanderís cupola rotates by a hand crank and has six vision blocks for all-around vision.  The commander also has binocular periscope for long-range use, and a machinegun on a pintle attached to the cupola.

     Armament is a 105mm rifled gun, with a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun and a 7.62mm commanderís machinegun.  The Mk 1 is also equipped with an L-21A2 .50 ranging machinegun.  Turret control is all-electric with manual backup; stabilization is also electric by the use of reference gyroscopes, and is essentially a more advanced version of the stabilization system of the Chieftain Mk 2; the Vickers Mk 1 became one of the first tanks to be able to fire with acceptable accuracy on the move.  The Vickers Mk 1 also has a primitive ballistic computer.  Some Indian versions have a white light/IR searchlight to the left of the main gun.

     The Mk 1 used a traditional torsion bar suspension, except that the bars were wrapped to reduce wear and tear, with stops in the hull to limit up and down travel of the arms.  The first, second, and last set of roadwheels also have separate torsion bars that give the Mk 1 more cross-country mobility, and they have hydraulic dampers.  The tracks are of cast manganese steel for lighter weight.  The engine is the a version of the same Leyland L60 on early marks of the Chieftain, but it is a diesel model developing 600 horsepower instead of being a multifuel engine.  A 37-horsepower APU is also fitted.  The Vickers Mk 1 can be fitted with a floatation screen (take 30 minutes to deploy) that allows the Mk 1 to swim.

 

The Version that Never Was: The Vickers Mk 2

     The original Vickers-Armstrong Tank was to have Vigilant ATGM launching boxes mounted on either side of its turret to increase its firepower.  The Vickers Mk 2 resurrected this idea; on either side of the turret, behind the stowage bins, were two launcher boxes for Swingfire ATGMs.  This would have (at the time) given the Vickers Mk 2 unprecedented firepower, especially at long ranges.  The idea was not taken up by any country, however, and this variant was never built.  The launcher boxes are not nearly as well protected as the turret, however; they have an AV of only 4.

 

The Vickers Mk 3

     The Mk 3 was originally built to the specifications of the Nigerian Army, but was also the version sold to Kuwait, Kenya, and Tanzania.  Many features have been redesigned, including a redesigned turret and ammunition stowage scheme to allow more main gun rounds to be carried, a new cast steel nose with increased armor protection, a more powerful engine, and a better ballistic computer and fire control system.

     The powerpack has been replaced by a GM 12V-71T 720-horsepower turbocharged diesel along with a TN-12 Mk 5 automatic transmission.  If necessary, the automatic transmission has an override to allow for manual operation of the transmission.  (A Rolls-Royce 750-horsepower turbocharged engine is offered as an alternative; for game purposes, performance is the same.)

     The commanderís cupola still uses a hand crank (electric traverse is offered as an alternative), but he has a new sight that has day and night channels and x10 magnification.  He also has emergency override controls for the main gun and coaxial, as well as sights for those weapons.  The commander can also access the gunnerís sight.  The commanderís machinegun is fixed to the cupola, but can benefit from the commanderís sights, and be aimed and fired from under armor.  The gunnerís fire control equipment is greatly improved, including a more compact and powerful ballistic computer, a laser rangefinder, wind and temperature sensors, corrections for barrel droop, and a thermal sleeve for the main gun.  On each side of the turret are a cluster of six smoke grenade launchers.

     Designed specifically for Malaysia, the Mk 3(M) is an upgrade of the Mk 3 that is essentially a rebuild of the Mk 3. Service with the Malaysian Army began in 1999.  The Mk 3(M) retains the basic Mk 3 hull and turret, but the glacis and hull sides are equipped with lugs for ERA.  Fire controlled is further improved, as is gun stabilization and the night vision suite, including thermal imaging for the gunner.  The commander can access the gunnerís thermal imager, or use his own night vision equipment.  The Mk 3(M) includes an air conditioning system, a GPS system, a laser warning system (tells the crew when a laser is targeting their tank), an NBC overpressure system, and smoke grenade clusters on each side of the turret that are increased to eight on each side.  Lugs in the front allow for mine flails of a dozer blade to be mounted.

    

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The Vickers Mk 3(M) was never built in the Twilight 2000 timeline).  The countries listed above have their Vickers tanks, in addition to Norway, Denmark, Thailand, and the Philippines.  Some 40 Mk 3s were also used by Home Defense forces in the British Isles themselves.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Mk 1

$231,328

D, A

700 kg

38.1 tons

4

18

Active/Passive IR (G)

Shielded

Mk 2

$245,628

D, A

500 kg

38.3 tons

4

20

Active/Passive IR (G)

Shielded

Mk 3

$247,783

D, A

700 kg

38.7 tons

4

22

Passive IR, Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

Mk 3(M)

$442,337

D, A

700 kg

39.9 tons

4

26

Thermal Imaging (G), Passive IR (C), Image Intensifier (G, C)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Mk 1, Mk 2

126/89

23/19/3

1000

339

Trtd

T5

TF42  TS16  TR9  HF59Sp  HS14Sp  HR8

Mk 3

128/90

24/19

1000

503

Trtd

T4

TF54Sp  TS20Sp  TR9  HF76Sp  HS14Sp  HR8

Mk 3(M)

126/89

24/19

1000

511

Trtd

T4

TF54Sp  TS20Sp  TR9  HF76Sp  HS14Sp  HR8

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Mk 1

+2

Fair

105mm L-7A1 Rifled Gun, L-7A2, L-7A2 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

44x105mm, 3000x7.62mm, 600x.50

Mk 2

+2

Fair

105mm L-7A1 Rifled Gun, L-7A2, L-7A2, L-21A2 (Ranging), 4xSwingfire ATGM Launchers

44x105mm, 3000x7.62mm, 600x.50, 4xSwingfire ATGM

Mk 3

+3

Fair

105mm L-7A1 Rifled Gun, L-7A2, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

50x105mm, 3000x7.62mm, 600x.50

Mk 3(M)

+3

Good

105mm L-7A1 Rifled Gun, L-7A2, L-37A1 (C), L-21A2 (Ranging)

50x105mm, 2600x7.62mm, 700x.50

 

Vickers Defence FV-4030/3 & FV-4030/4 Challenger 1&2

     Notes: The story of the Challenger tank actually began in the late 1960s, when the British began design work on what was to be then a heavily-updated Chieftain.  This tank was to be equipped with a revolutionary new secret armor, which is now known as Chobham.  At first, the British were cooperating on such a tank with the Germans, but that deal fell apart in about 1977, when the British and German engineersí diverged to the point that they could no longer work together.  For a short time, the British even considering buying into the American XM-1 program, replacing certain components such as the engine, transmission, and main gun to British standards.  Another idea was an updated Chieftain hull with a casemated main gun.  In the late 1970s, the British MoD began Project Definition, which finally resulted in the Challenger 1; this program benefited greatly from the Shir1/Shir 2/Khalid tanks Built from the Iranian and Jordanian governments, (the Challenger 1 is in many ways an updated Shir 2) but resulted in a quantum leap ahead of the Chieftain.  First deliveries to the British Army began in 1983.

 

The FV-4030/3 Challenger 1

     One of the first things from Project Definition studies was that the AGT-1500 gas turbine used in the M-1 Abrams was too fuel-hungry and that the Chieftainís L60 Mk7 engine could never be upgraded enough to provide the large increase in power desired.  This resulted in a complete change in powerpacks; the engine would be a Rolls-Royce Condor 12V turbocharged multifuel engine developing 1200 horsepower.  This was coupled to a Gear Industries TN37 transmission, and the Challenger 1 is also equipped with a Coventry H30 37-horsepower APU.  At the rear of the hull, a pair of 300-liter auxiliary fuel drums may be fitted to extend range.  These drums may be dropped at any time and carried at the rear slightly below the level of the rear deck; if they catch on fire, the chance of burning fuel pouring into the engine compartment are less than if they were carried ďSoviet-style.Ē

     The Challengerís most radical upgrade was, of course, the incorporation of Chobham armor into the glacis and turret front.  The turret has a largely conventional layout inside, with the commander to the right side, using a modified version of the Chieftain Mk 5/3ís cupola.  This cupola is usually armed with an integral L-37A2 machinegun.  The cupola has all-around vision blocks; the front one could be quickly replaced with a day/night image intensification vision block.  The commander can also use the image intensification vision block as a gunsight for the main gun or coaxial, and he does have auxiliary controls for them.  However, late-production Challenger 1s had a TOGS upgrade for the commander in 1987, giving him a day/night sight incorporating a thermal imager, including an independent thermal sight/day sight for the commander (what in the Abrams is called a CITS).  In front of the loaderís hatch is a swiveling periscope with no magnification.  The driver is in the center front of the hull, behind the glacis; his hatch is in a shallow cut in the hull, with a hatch that opens slightly up and then pivots to the side.  His forward vision block can be replaced with a night periscope.

     (It may be just me, but the Challenger 1ís turret looks oddly irregular, as if it were higher on the commanderís side than the loaderís side.)

     First-production Challenger 1s were equipped with the L-11A5 120mm rifled gun, as with late marks of the Chieftain, and an L-8A2 coaxial machinegun.  On either side of the front of the turret are 5-barreled smoke grenade launchers.  The gunner has an improved version of the Chieftainís IFCS; the main improvement is to accommodate the Challenger 1 turretís faster rotation rate and faster main gun elevation/depression capability.  The ballistic computer also uses a more compact design with a faster processor and more memory than that of the Chieftain, and other components are 100% solid state and EMP-shielded.  The laser rangefinder has a far greater range to keep up with improvements in ammunition and allow for possible future gun technology improvements.  The laser rangefinder is mounted on the roof instead of the front of the turret to increase the integrity of the turretís frontal armor.  The suspension is a hydrogas system with aluminum-alloy roadwheels and return rollers and steel sprockets and idler wheels.

     The CHIP (Challenger Improvement Program), beginning in 1987 with the aforementioned TOGS upgrade, also included the more agile and faster-acting TN54 transmission.  The engine received a DASCU (Digital Automotive System Control Unit), which further increased the operation of the engine and driverís controls, and adds a system called BITE that allows diagnostic computers direct access to the engine transmission during maintenance without having to pull the powerpack.  The APU was replaced with a Perkins Type 4108, with the same 37 horsepower capability, but lower fuel consumption.  Other improvements, such as a power increase for the engine and a change to the L-30 main gun, were contemplated but not carried out, as the Challenger 2 was to be soon in production.  GPS was also incorporated into the Challenger 1; at first this was put only on command tanks, but later equipped all Challenger 1s after Desert Storm.

     As a result of experience in Desert Storm, the Challenger 1 was further upgraded in 1991 with lugs for ERA on the glacis and improved ammunition stowage allowing the carriage of more of the long-rod L-26E1 APFSDU ammunition.  No further upgrades are contemplated for the British Army, as most Challenger 1s have now been replaced with Challenger 2s.

 

The FV-4030/4 Challenger 2

     While the Challenger 1 was and is a damn fine tank, Vickers Defence knew they could still improve on it.  The Challenger 2 started out as a private venture for Vickers in 1986, a huge slate of upgrades that could be applied to what was then the Challenger 1.  Vickers built eight new turrets and did several automotive updates to the Challenger, and in 1987, a formal demonstration was held in 1987.  The eventual result was production beginning in 1993, using the No. 9 prototype as the base, and improvements were made to virtually the entire tank.  The Challenger 2 began service in May 1994. 

     Externally, the Challenger 2 looks almost identical to the Challenger 1, though the turret appears boxier than that of the Challenger 1, a result of armor improvements.  Crew positions are the same as those on the Challenger 1, though the turret positions are slightly shifted to accommodate design changes inside the turret.  The commander has eight vision blocks for all-around vision when buttoned up, as well as a magnifying day/night periscope.  Under each vision block is a red button; when pushed, the cupola and commanderís seat turns so that the vision block is lined up with the periscope.  Originally, the Challenger 2 did not have a CITS, but it was quickly added.  The loader has the same vision accommodations as those of the Challenger 1, as does the driver, except that the driver can adjust track tension from his position.

     The main gun of the Challenger 2 is an L-30 55-caliber 120mm rifled gun; this gun has a number of improvements over the L-11A5, the foremost of which are increased barrel length for increased range and the CHARM ammunition with ďstickĒ instead of bagged charges.  The Challenger 2 can also fire the L-11A5ís bagged charges, but this negates some of the improvements in the autoloading system.  Unlike most tank main guns, the bore of the L-30 is also chrome-lined to decrease wear.  The L-30 can also fire the CHARM 3 APFSDU round, which is a long-rod penetrator.  The charges are stowed in armored bins; any explosive-type rounds are stowed beneath the turret floor.  The coaxial machinegun is an EX-34 (L-94A1) 7.62mm ChainGun. The commander and loader have externally-mounted L-37A2 machineguns; the commanderís machinegun can be aimed and fired from under armor. On either side of the turret front are five smoke grenade launchers.  A smoke screen can also be laid by injecting diesel fuel into the tankís exhaust.  The gunner has a fully-stabilized sighting and vision system on the turret roof, along with a conventional periscope sight and a telescopic sight coaxial to the main gun (normally used for muzzle reference purposes).  The Challenger 2 is powered by the same power pack as powers the Challenger 1 with the CHIP.

     Vickers Defence has designed room for growth into the Challenger 2, ranging from gun upgrades to specialist command vehicles.  Some that have already been trialed or used include the addition of ERA lugs on the glacis, turret front, turret sides, and hull sides, a CITS and a new 3 kW APU.  In 2003, BAE Combat Systems began adding the PBISA (Platform Battlefield Information System Application) to the Challenger 2.  This system is similar to the FBCB2 system used on the US M-1A2 (the so-called ďelectric tankĒ modifications).  This includes computers, modems, GPS, land navigation systems, and software to integrate the Challenger 2s into a tight-woven intelligence net and battlefield coordination system.  For Operation Telic (the British participation in Iraq) a kit similar to the American TUSK kit for the Abrams was also devised.

 

The Challenger 2E (Desert Challenger)

     The Challenger 2E was originally called the Desert Challenger since it incorporated improvements learned in Desert Storm.  The British Army was not interested, so Vickers Defence is selling it on the export market (hence the ďE,Ē for export).  The Challenger 2E has most of the basic systems of the Challenger 2.  The primary change is the use of the German MTU-EuroPowerPack, with a turbocharged diesel engine developing 1500 horsepower, and is smaller and lighter than the powerpack of the Challenger 1 and Challenger 2.  This allows more internal stowage, some of which accommodates larger fuel tanks.  The suspension is an updated version of the Challenger 2 hydrogas system.  The tracks of the Challenger 2, primarily suited to European conditions, are replaced with a set that is more universally usable.  The Challenger 2E has a CITS based on the latest French SAGEM MVS-580 IRIS, which also has its own laser rangefinder.  The gunnerís sight is similar and is also roof mounted, except that it is not panoramic; both are gyrostabilized.  The Challenger 2E is fitted with a BMS (Battle Management System), which uses a version of the M-1A2 Abramsí FBCB2 software and a British-built GPS system.  The L-30A1 120mm main gun is designed with the L-29 APFSDS-T round in mind, but can fire DU rounds as well.  The Challenger 2E can ford to a depth of 2 meters using a kit or 1.07 meters without one; if installed, the system merely has to be turned on to allow the deeper fording.  Standard commanderís machinegun is the M-2HB, but the Challenger 2E can take a CROWS-type station if desired by the buyer.  Air conditioning and heating are included.

 

The Omani Challenger 2

     The primary change to Omani Challenger 2s are in the powerpack, which allow the engine to maintain full power in temperatures up to 126 degrees Fahrenheit (52 degrees Celsius).  This is done with a modified water-cooling and airflow system, and additional dust filtration.  The radiators and fans are physically larger, and air enters and exists through louvers on the rear hull deck.  (This has a by-product of reducing the Challenger 2s thermal signature.  The cupola-mounted commanderís L-37A1 machinegun has been replaced with a pintle-mounted M-2HB.  The Omani Challenger 2 also uses US-built communications gear, improved air conditioning, and a GPS system.

 

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Iranian forces loyal to NATO did receive some Challenger 1ís, but only about 30 or so.  A few were also supplied to Israel, and some 40 or so were sold to the Chinese.  However, the bulk of the Challenger 1ís went to replace Challenger II losses in Europe or to fight insurgents in the British Isles themselves.  The Omanis also got their Challenger 2s.  The Challenger 2E became standard production for the British Army, but not until 1995, and less than 200 actually made it to the British Army.

     Merc 2000 Notes: These tanks became great seller to those who could afford them.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Challenger 1

$665,663

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

62 tons

4

25

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (C, G), Thermal Imaging (G)

Shielded

Challenger 1 (CHIP)

$714,503

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

62 tons

4

26

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C, G)

Shielded

Challenger 2

$729,659

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

62.5 tons

4

28

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C, G)

Shielded

Challenger 2 (Upgraded)

$729,859

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

62.5 tons

4

28

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C, G)

Shielded

Challenger 2 (Upgraded/Telic)

$782,449

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

63.1 tons

4

28

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C), 2nd Gen Thermal Imaging

Shielded

Challenger 2 (PBISA)

$1,347,891

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

63 tons

4

30

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C), 2nd Gen Thermal Imaging

Shielded

Challenger 2 (PBISA/Telic)

$1,400,481

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

63.6 tons

4

30

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C), 2nd Gen Thermal Imaging

Shielded

Challenger 2E

$1,323,638

D, A

500 kg

62.5 tons

4

30

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C, G)

Shielded

Omani Challenger 2

737,881

D, G, AvG, A

500 kg

62.5 tons

4

28

Passive IR (D), Image Intensification (G), Thermal Imaging (C, G)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Challenger 1

130/91

30/21

1592+600

611

Trtd

T6

TF100Cp  TS28  TR21  HF149Cp  HS21Sp  HR16

Challenger 2

127/89

29/21

1592+600

616

Trtd

T6

TF125Cp  TS32  TR21  HF175Cp  HS24Sp  HR16

Challenger 2E

129/91

29/22

1962+600

618

Trtd

T6

TF125Cp  TS32  TR21  HF175Cp  HS24Sp  HR16

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Challenger 1

+3

Good

L-11A5 120mm Gun, L-37A1 (C), L-8A2

64x120mm, 4000x7.62mm

Challenger 2

+3

Good

L-30 120mm Gun, L-37A1 (C), EX-34

52x120mm, 4000x7.62mm

Challenger 2/Upgraded/PBISA

+4

Good

L-30 120mm Gun, L-37A1 (C), EX-34

52x120mm, 4000x7.62mm

Challenger 2E

+4

Good

L-30A1 120mm Gun, M-2HB (C), EX-34

52x120mm, 3000x7.62mm, 500x.50

Omani Challenger 2

+3

Good

L-30 120mm Gun, M-2HB (C), EX-34

52x120mm, 3000x7.62mm, 500x.50