Combat vehicles / Main battle tanks / Vickers MBT

Vickers MBT

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Main battle tank

  • ORIGIN
    United Kingdom

  • NICKNAMES
    Vijayanta (Indian nickname)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1960's

  • DESIGNER
    Vickers

  • PRODUCTION
    1965 - 1995

  • PRODUCERS
    India - Avadi
    United Kingdom - Vickers

  • QUANTITY
    About 2.500 produced.

  • UNIT COST
    $ 1.6 million

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good firepower
    Simple and reliable design
    Limited production costs
    Limited armor protection
    Low speed

Introduction

The Vickers MBT is a main battle tank of UK origin. It was developed by Vickers in the early 1960's for export sales. The Chieftain that was developed for the UK army would be too heavy and far too costly for export to Asia and Africa. The Vickers MBT was developed as a budget tank and uses various components of the Centurion and Chieftain designs.

Layout

The Vickers MBT has a conventional layout. The driver is seated in the front. The turret is placed in the middle and seats the commander, gunner and loader. The engine and drive train are placed at the rear. Many automotive parts are also used on the Chieftain. Sleek straight side skits make the Vickers MBT easy to recognize. The original Mk 1 has a squared turret with large gun mantlet. The Mk 3 has a cast turret and various other improvements, including a more powerful engine. Based on the same chassis a recovery vehicle and bridgelayer were developed.

Firepower

The main armament of the Vickers MBT is the 105mm L7 rifled cannon. The proven L7 cannon provides serious punch and has good accuracy. Against modern main battle tanks the L7 is of limited use, but it is more than adequate for the threats the users of the Vickers MBT face. A 7.62mm machine gun is installed as a coaxial weapon and a 12.7mm ranging machine gun aids in firing the main gun. An additional 7.62mm machine gun is fitted on the turret roof for anti-aircraft use.

Protection

For a main battle tank the Vickers MBT has poor armor protection. The steel armor is up to 80mm thick at the turret front, 60 to 80mm thick at the hull front and 20 to 40mm at the hull sides. This provides the crew protection from small arms fire and shell splinters all around and autocannon and weak anti-armor weapons over the frontal arc. An NBC system is present as are smoke grenade dischargers.

Mobility

The Vickers MBT has a reasonable mobility. The maximum speed is rather limited, being below 50 km/h. The tracked chassis and reasonable power to weight ratio ensure a good off road capability. The Mk 1 uses a 650 hp multifuel engine while the Mk 3 uses a 720 hp turbocharged diesel engine.

Users

The first and main user of the Vickers MBT is India. About 2.200 were produced in India and over 500 remain in service today. They are to be replaced by newer models. The second nation to order was Kuwait. From 1977 to 1995 batches were acquired by various African nations.

Variants

Vickers Mk 3

Vickers Mk 1: The Vickers Mk 1 is the first production model of the Vickers MBT. It features a squared box-like turret with large gun mantlet. The Leyland L60 multifuel engine that was developed for the Chieftain provides propulsion. The Vickers Mk 2 was to be a Mk 1 fitted with a Swingfire missile on each side of the turret. The Mk 2 was never put in production.
Vickers Mk 3: The Vickers Mk 3 is a much improved version of the Vickers MBT. The Mk 3 features a cast turret, more powerful engine, a commander's cupola and laser range finder. It also carries more ammunition and has improved fire controls.

TypeMain battle tank
Crew4 (commander, driver, gunner, loader)
Length7.65 m (hull), 9.79 m (gun forward)
Width3.17 m
Height2.48 m (turret roof), 3.10 m (without MG)
Ground clearance0.41 m
Weight36.1 t unloaded, 38.7 t combat load
Ground pressure0.88 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 4.28 m length, 0.52 m width, 2.52 m track
Turn radius?
EngineDetroit Diesel 12V-71T V12 diesel, 720 hp at 2.500 rpm
Power ratio18.6 hp/t
TransmissionDavid Brown TN12 automatic, 6 forward, 2 reverse
Speed50 km/h
Fuel1.000 L
Range490 km
Wall0.9 m
Trench2.4 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1.1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipmentYes
Night visionYes
Smoke2x6 smoke grenade dischargers
Remarks-
Armament105mm L7 cannon
7.62mm coaxial MG
12.7mm ranging MG
7.62mm roof MG
Weapon1105mm L7 cannon in turret
50 rounds, 18 ready to fire
-7 to +20° elevation, powered
360° traverse, 24°/s powered
stabilized in both axis
Weapon27.62mm coaxial machine gun
2.400 rounds in total
traverse and elevation as main armament
Weapon312.7mm ranging machine gun
700 rounds
traverse and elevation as main armament
Weapon47.62mm machine gun on turret roof
2.400 rounds in total
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

Vickers ARRV

Vickers ARRV: The Vickers Armored Repair and Recovery Vehicle is based on the Vickers MBT chassis. Instead of a turret it has an armored superstructure that houses the crew. The engineering equipment includes a 25 t winch, an earth anchor and a 4 t crane. A 7.62mm machine gun is fitted for self defense. In India a recovery version based on the Vickers chassis was also developed. It features a box shaped superstructure and has an A-frame instead of a crane.

TypeArmored recovery vehicle
Crew4 (commander, driver, 2 engineers)
Length7.56 m (hull), 8.38 m (with spade)
Width3.16 m
Height2.89 m (overall)
Ground clearance0.43 m
Weight38.0 t combat load
Ground pressure0.79 kg/cm2
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 4.28 m length, 0.52 m width, 2.52 m track
Turn radius?
EngineDetroit Diesel 12V-71T V12 diesel, 720 hp at 2.500 rpm
Power ratio18.9 hp/t
TransmissionDavid Brown TN12 automatic, 6 forward, 2 reverse
Speed50 km/h on road
Fuel1.000 L
Range600 km on road
Wall0.9 m
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1.1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipment?
Night vision?
Smoke?
Remarks25 t winch, 4 t winch, earth anchor, 4 t crane
Armament7.62mm MAG machine gun
Weapon17.62mm L37A1 (MAG) machine gun on commander's cupola
100 rounds ready to fire
-10 to +90° elevation, manual
360° traverse
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

Vickers AVLB

Vickers AVLB: The Vickers armored bridgelayer is based on the Vickers MBT chassis. Instead of a turret it carries a single piece 13 m MLC 60/70 bridge which it can launch and recover using the front mounted frame. During launch and recovery the frame rests on the ground.
Kartik: The Kartik is an AVLB developed in India and is based on the lengthened Vickers chassis that is also used for the Catapult self propelled gun. It uses a BLG-60 type 20 m scissor bridge and has a different method for launching the bridge than the original Vickers AVLB.

TypeVehicle launched bridge
Crew3 (commander, driver, engineer)
Length13.7 m (with bridge)
Width4.16 m (with bridge)
Height3.25 m (with bridge)
Ground clearance0.43 m
Weight43.9 t with bridge
Ground pressure?
WheelbaseTracked chassis, 6 roadwheels, idler front, drive sprocket rear, 4.28 m length, 0.52 m width, 2.52 m track
Turn radius?
EngineDetroit Diesel 12V-71T V12 diesel, 720 hp at 2.500 rpm
Power ratio16.4 hp/t
TransmissionDavid Brown TN12 automatic, 6 forward, 2 reverse
Speed?
Fuel1.000 L
Range600 km on road
Wall0.9 m
Trench3 m
Gradient60% gradient, 30% slope
Fording1.1 m
ArmorSteel
NBC equipment?
Night vision?
Smoke?
Remarks13.4 m MLC 60 bridge
Armament7.62mm MAG machine gun
Weapon17.62mm L37A1 (MAG) machine gun on roof
100 rounds ready to fire
manual traverse and elevation
non-stabilized
Weapon2-
Weapon3-
Weapon4-
Weapon5-
Weapon6-

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