Desert Leopard

#1
Whilst on my 30mm gunnery course in Lulworth I saw what was apparently called a Desert Leopard.
It had a leopard 2 hull and a cr2 turret sporting a .50 on the loaders hatch.
I was told that the Sultan of Oman was interested in it for equipping his mob. Anyone from ATDU shed any light on it and what happened? was it successfull?
 
#2
Rarden_reaper said:
Whilst on my 30mm gunnery course in Lulworth I saw what was apparently called a Desert Leopard.
It had a leopard 2 hull and a cr2 turret sporting a .50 on the loaders hatch.
I was told that the Sultan of Oman was interested in it for equipping his mob. Anyone from ATDU shed any light on it and what happened? was it successfull?
Got any pics of this etc??
 
#3
Not ADTU but I might know what it is. Sounds to me very much like the Vickers Mk7 Main battle tank. it utilised a Leopard2 hull with the design ancestor of the Challenger2 turret and was interesting in that it could be adapted to fit either the L11 (and presumably L30 when it arrived) or a German smoothbore . The turret came from the Vickers Valiant MBT, another tank with an entirely new chassis that looked vaguely reminicent of the As90s. Nothing came of either of them sadly, Valiant did appear at least one trade fair, but the British army (I think this was about 1983-86) was getting Challenger1, and everyone else seemed happy with Leopard1 and 2. Dont know what happened to the Leopard part of the combination, but the Valiants were all scrapped. They survived until about 5 years ago when Vickers cleaned out one of their factories and scrapped them all. Bastards.
Ive always wondered if this turret was a development of the MBT80s turret. Certainly it fits in the design chain.
 
#4
The Valiant, initially called the Vickers Mk 4, was designed as an export tank, to match the OTO Melara OF-40 and French AMX-32 of the same period. There were a couple of 'desert' competitions going on at the time and everybody was keen to get in on the market with slighlty lighter panzers than the M1, Leo 2 and CH1.
The Vickers Universal Turret could mount either the L7 105mm or L11 rifled 120mm or the Rheinmetall 120mm smoothbore - as in Leo 2. The AMX-32 turret could take either the F1 105mm or the EFAB 120mm.
 
#5
Stuart666 said:
Not ADTU but I might know what it is. Sounds to me very much like the Vickers Mk7 Main battle tank. it utilised a Leopard2 hull with the design ancestor of the Challenger2 turret and was interesting in that it could be adapted to fit either the L11 (and presumably L30 when it arrived) or a German smoothbore . The turret came from the Vickers Valiant MBT, another tank with an entirely new chassis that looked vaguely reminicent of the As90s. Nothing came of either of them sadly, Valiant did appear at least one trade fair, but the British army (I think this was about 1983-86) was getting Challenger1, and everyone else seemed happy with Leopard1 and 2. Dont know what happened to the Leopard part of the combination, but the Valiants were all scrapped. They survived until about 5 years ago when Vickers cleaned out one of their factories and scrapped them all. Bastards.
Ive always wondered if this turret was a development of the MBT80s turret. Certainly it fits in the design chain.
Certainly was the Vickers 7. While 3RTR stationed at Lulworth IN 87 this 'beast' made an ATDU/Vickers appearance on ranges along with a blimmin abomination from Vickers designed loosely as a replacement for the Vickers medium of Indian army usage(actually motored slower than and spent more time with rads up than a chieftain!) Bloody thing was awful whereas we stared in wonder at the Leopard Hybrid. Turret looked like (but not exactly like) Chally 2 and was certainly equipped with 'first generation?' fibre optics as we couldn't believe how empty the turret was without all the armoured trunking and cables everywhere.
 
#6
ATB, it certainly was a very uncluttered turret. Mind you, at one point Vickers had put a metal screen between the cdr/gunner and ldr/main armament. When I asked them why, I was told it was to prevent incidents such as what happened on the tank park in Padders. My view, as a (by then) former cdr, was that I rather liked the idea of two exits from the turret, and the screen prevented that. Vickers took the point and removed the screen.
It was also useful that, at that time, Vickers had two black-coverall executives - the late Lt Col John Slade and Lt Col B**** T***m*n.
 
#7
I wonder if the other machine was the Valiant? Did it appear to have the same turret as the Mk7?

Shame they didnt market the turret as a replacement for Challenger1. They might have had a big market for it in Jordan by now.
 
#11
clanker said:
Its similar to a poster I have from Vickersb at my unit, of the Challenger 2E , E being, one would think for export?
I gather so yes, though im told they only ever built one. I dont think its being actively marketed now, though hopefully at least some of the mods in it might
one day make it into challenger 2.
 
#13
My old man worked on that project. For some reason the hull was green but the turret sand at first. I believe I only saw it in this state on pics of it at the factory but I have a niggle there was also a pic of it like that on a range with the old boy resplendant in his white coverall looking out the commanders hatch. I also recall him being in the mid east a lot as well but noone was interested at the time.
IIRC there was an issue at a demo with the jundy who turned the turret towards the viewing stand as opposed to the open desert after the VDS reps had assured the emir/sultan/bigwig that it was sooooooooo easy to use after minimal training...Whoops! "This coup is brought to you by the Scotwood Roads finest" probably went through the guys head...
 
#17
Hi

I was actually involved with this project from the word go.

It is a leo2 Hull and a vickers/Marconi Radar designed turret.

It was a follow on from the Vickers Mark 4 Valiant.

The reason it was developed was at that time Chieftain and the 4030 built for the Shah of Iran were the only vehicles they had to offer. The Shah's tanks with mods ended up being the Challenger 1 when the Shah's order was cancelled on his expulsion from Iran.

The Egyptians in particular wanted a tank as did a number of Middle Eastern countries and as Germany had restictions on arms sales Kraus Maffi and Vickers produced the Mk7.

The turret was fitted with a RO 120mm smooth bore and Marconi Radar, later Marconi Command and Control, developed a new Digital Fire Control System and a Solid State Gun Control System. Both very revolutionary at the time.

The shooting capability of the turret was second to none at the time and it performed extremely well especially against the Abrahms. The vehicle was tested by the Gypos and there were some problems with the hull, engine overheating, in the desert and the prototype turret had some problems but not too many considering it was very much a prototype and the electronics were only in the early prototype stage.

The Gypos ran out on money so it was canned but the turret was the basis for further development by both companies and formed the basis of the Challenger 2. Unfortunately Vickers decided to use the Americain CDC Fire Control System out of the M1 but retained the Solid State GCE.

Marconi went on to develop a Weapon Control System for a Brazilain company Engasa for the Osorio MBT. It won a contract for 318 vehicles but that contract was cancelled due to Gulf War 1 and the Suadis bought or were basically given M1.

The WCS was superb. It had a stabilised Gunners sight, Panoramis stabilised Cpmmanders sight and a stabilised panoramic TI sight. - not bad for the 1990's.

I personally saw the Marconi system shoot shit out of the prototype Challenger 2s at Bovington in 1990/91. It was the very best system around and I think it wouls still give M1 Leo 2 and anything else around today a pasting. Trouble is armies buy what the polititians want and not necessarily what is best.

And no , the turret did not accidently swing towards the spectators.... that was some bloody squaddie having his bit of fun. I think hos arse will still be stinging after the kicking he got!