Combat Vehicle, Reconnaissance (Tracked)
Basically an 8-ton tracked MG Midget on steroids with either a turret or not. Moved like a fat girl after the last bun when properly maintained. Rumour has it that the designer of the gearbox went insane trying to figure out how he actually made it work. The initial prototype looked like a 4-year old's drawing of a tank. With all the new anti-mine gubbins fitted it now weighs in the region of 14 tons.
Alvis developed multiple models from the basic design, including:
- FV101 Scorpion (76mm turret),
- FV107 Scimitar (30mm cannon turret),
- FV105 Sultan (Command vehicle),
- FV104 Samaritan (armoured ambulance),
as well as
- FV103 (Army) FV109 (RAF Regiment) Spartan (mini APC beloved of assault troops everywhere), which formed the basis for a range of carriers, including:
- FV120 Spartan MCT (with Milan Compact Turret), and Stormer (supersized Spartan - apparently quite good, so never bought in quantity) and was the basis for the Shielder mine laying vehicle.
All had the Jaguar 4.2 petrol engine (derated) initially, but most if not all of the in-service fleet was converted to Cummins diesel power during LEP mid-life improvement updates in the mid-eighties and onwards.
The 76mm gun in the Scorpion was a development of a 3" weapon originally developed for gunboats; possibly the same ones from the bowels of which the predecessor of the Chieftain engine was hauled. It actually fired blank rounds which, while impressive in themselves, could be tuned up by the addition of an opened can of compo boiled sweets; Johnny Highlander may be a doughty fighter in a corner, but he won't face molten hard candy flying at him at Mach 5 from 50 yards away.
The 30mm Rarden cannon was a manual-loading, clip-fed development of the 30mm ADEN aircraft cannon. RARDEN stood for "Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment eNfield" (Yes; I know it should have been RARDEE, but that would have sounded silly).
Sorry but this isn't the case RARDEN is a totally new system with a VERY HIGH Velocity APDS etc Ammunition developed at the RSAF to take BMP/BTR AFV of the old USSR Army . ADEN is a Gas/Recoil Revolver cannon developed also at the RSAF and Fort Halstead Armament Development Establishment [the AD of ADEN] from a WW II MAUSER Weapon.
I was involved in the RARDEN project while working at the RSAF post AAS Hadrians Camp. While on the Range RARDEN sounds more like a Field gun than a 30mm, maybe the 3 round burst helps!
Still in service with Scimitar and Sabre (Scorpion hull, CVR(W) Fox turret, worst of both worlds, but I bet the moron who thought it up got an OBE) the RARDEN has a very flat trajectory with a high muzzle velocity, and a skilled gunner/commander team can put 6 rounds on target in as much time as it does to think it. Scimitar LEP has more bells and whistles, and an up-armoured/tweaked variant called Scimitar War Fighter was used in the '91 Gulf War.
It fires a variety of ammunition including HE, some form of AP Sabot, and possibly still APSE (Armour-Piercing Smoke-Ejecting - or Special Effects; take your choice) which was just a polite way to get white phosphorus into the other guy's turret and ruin his afternoon without trampling over the Geneva Convention.
Various models served with/continue to serve with Belgium (a big user), Venezuela, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, Togo and others. Export-only variants include Scorpion 90, with a 90mm Belgian Cockerill AT gun, and various tweaked and re armoured variants of Scorpion and Scimitar. A 120mm variant called Sturgeon is also in service with the Fantasian Armed Forces based in Alberta, Canada, as part of the OPFOR in BATUS. The ones in BATUS SALAMANDERS and are old SCORPIONS used in the TES phase in BATUS, just like a big game of lazer quest. Programmed to represent a T80 complete with AT 5 capability. Regularly whip the arse of visiting BG. STURGEON is the old SPARTAN MCT also TES ex phase and with capabilities of a BMP 3
No further variants are planned as the MoD have run out of names starting with "S" by now. You can buy a delivery mileage only, off-the shelf, NATO reserve stock Spartan for 7,500 pounds sterling from Witham Specialist Vehicles in Lincolnshire; worth thinking about to beat that commute?
"Rumour has it that the designer of the gearbox went insane trying to figure out how he actually made it work." Not strictly true, it was the final drives that sent the designer nuts, as they feature epicyclic gears(knowns to the VM's as epileptic gears!). Despite the best efforts of the instructors at SEME Light A classes, I never did figure out what was going on in there.