Chieftain Mark V MBT Part II

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⬅️ Chieftain Mark V MBT Part I


FV4201 Chieftain Mk.5

British Army Chieftains, except the Mark I, also were retrofitted for the Improved Fire-Control System, which utilized a digital computer to automatically calculate the ballistic solution and proper laying offset for each target and automatically laid the gun in readiness to fire. The gunner and commander each had a firing switch for the main gun, with the commander having override. Of 900 Chieftains manufactured, some 450 were exported to Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, and Oman.

Summary: Developed in the late 1950s, the Chieftain had a computerized fire-control system and stabilized main armament. It was phased out of British Army service in 1996. Some 450 Chieftains were exported to Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, and Oman.


Chieftain Mk 1

40 training vehicles for 1965/1966.

Chieftain Mk 2

First service model with 650 hp engine.

Chieftain Mk 3

Extra equipment fitted giving rise to several sub-marks.

Chieftain Mk.5

Final production variant, with upgrades to the engine and NBC protection system.

Chieftain Mk.6-9

Incremental upgrades to earlier Marks of tanks, including addition of Clansman radios.

Chieftain Mk.10

Mark 9 upgrade, addition of Stillbrew Crew Protection Package to the turret front and turret ring.

Chieftain Mk.11

Mark 10 upgrade, searchlight replaced with the Thermal Observation and Gunnery System (TOGS), manufactured by Barr and Stroud.

Chieftain Mk.12/13

Proposed further upgrades, cancelled when the Challenger 2 was introduced.


Bridge-laying vehicle.


Armoured Recovery Vehicle, Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle.

Chieftain AVRE

Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers, a British Army combat engineering variant used by the Royal Engineers.

Chieftain Marksman

self-propelled anti-aircraft gun version, equipped with the Marksman twin gun turret.

Chieftain Mineclearer

Mine-clearing development.

Chieftain Sabre

Twin 30 mm AA turret.

Khalid (also designated 4030P2J – P = Phase & J = Jordan)/Shir (Lion) 1

Jordanian / Iranian variant with running gear of the Challenger 1. Basically this was a transition vehicle from the Chieftain to the Shir 2 which had been intended for Iran but was subsequently cancelled. The Shir 2 tanks became Challenger 1 tanks after reworking at ROF Leeds. The vehicle chassis comprised the front half of a Chieftain Hull, Chieftain running gear and the rear of a 4030/2 Chassis (Sloping Hull). This allowed the fitment in the engine bay of a Rolls-Royce CV8 engine.

Weapon Carriers

The Chieftain chassis was modified to mount air defence weapons (“Marksman” 2 x 35 mm cannon) and a 155 mm howitzer in various modifications.

Shir 2

Iranian variant. Visible external differences from the Chieftain Mk.5 included a sloping rear hull, Removal of the Searchlight from the left turret area and storage baskets refitted, water channel removed from around drivers hatch on the glacis plate, modified light clusters also on the glacis plate, Larger sight housing on commanders cupola.

Mobarez Tank

Iranian upgraded version of the Chieftain.


Production dates: 1963–1970

Number produced: Approx. 900

Manufacturer: Royal Ordnance Factory Leeds, Vickers

Crew: 4

Armament: 1 x 120mm (4.72-inch) L11A5 main gun; 1 x 12.7mm machine gun on commander’s cupola that can be aimed and fired from inside the tank; 2 x 7.62mm machine guns (1 coaxial); 2 x 6 smoke grenade dischargers

Rate of fire: 8 rounds per minute

Elevation: -10 to +20 degree

Laser rangefinder

Mark 1 and Mark 2 models had coaxial .50 cal. ranging machine guns prior to the introduction of the laser rangefinder.

Weight: 121,200 lbs.

Length: 24’7” (35’3” over gun)

Width: 11’6”

Height: 9’6”

Armor: turret front, 195 mm RHA (60°)

Ammunition storage and type: 64 x 120mm; 300 x 12.7mm; 6,000 x 7.62mm

Power plant: Leyland L60 vertically opposed 12-cylinder two-stroke 750-hp multifuel engine

Maximum speed: 30 mph

Range: 310 miles

Fording depth: 3’6”

Vertical obstacle: 3’

Trench crossing: 10’3”

Special characteristics: NBC and night-vision systems

Special models: armored engineer vehicle; armored recovery vehicle; armored vehicle-launched bridge; Chieftain can also be fitted with a dozer blade

Read Chieftain Mark V MBT Part I here:
Forschungsmitarbeiter Mitch Williamson is a technical writer with an interest in military and naval affairs. He has published articles in Cross & Cockade International and Wartime magazines. He was research associate for the Bio-history Cross in the Sky, a book about Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton’s career, in collaboration with the flier’s son, Dr Charles S. Eaton. He also assisted in picture research for John Burton’s Fortnight of Infamy. Mitch is now publishing on the WWW various specialist websites combined with custom website design work. He enjoys working and supporting his local C3 Church. “Curate and Compile“
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