A CVR(T) (combat Vehicle reconnaissance [Tracked]) is pictured being operated across the harsh desert terrain of Afghanistan by soldiers of the 9th/12th royal lancers. The first of the enhanced CVR(T) fleet is now operational and being put to good use by the lancers, whose main task is to overwatch the battlespace on either side of Highways 1 and 611, the two main supply routes that run through the Task force Helmand area of operations. The Spartan troop carrier, Samson recovery vehicle, Sultan command vehicle, and Samaritan ambulance complete the family.
In 2010/2011, BAE Systems were awarded a contract to modernise CVR(T) armoured vehicles to the CVR(T) Mk 2 configuration, as illustrated by this SCIMITAR Mk 2 vehicle on operations in Afghanistan.
Scorpion (FV101), officially named Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), was developed by Alvis to replace Saladin armoured car. First prototype completed in 1969 and first production vehicles in 1972. By 1999 well over 3,500 had been built for home and export. Driver sits front left with engine to right and two-man turret rear. Turret has commander on left and gunner right. Turret traverse is manual through 360° and 76mm gun elevates from -10° to +35°. Main armament fires HESH, HE and smoke rounds with 7.62mm MG mounted coaxial to left. Flotation screen is carried collapsed round top of hull which when erected makes vehicle fully amphibious, propelled by its tracks. Wide range of optional equipment available including various fire-control systems, laser rangefinders, diesel engine, 90mm gun, 7.62mrn anti-aircraft MG and air-conditioning system. The standard 76mm Scorpion is no longer used by the British Army.
In the late 1960s, the British adopted aluminum for the Alvis Scorpion tracked reconnaissance vehicle (CVR(T)). This was the first vehicle to have a turret as well as a hull welded from the aluminum alloy plate. Due to the strict weight limitations and the level of protection that was required, the 5083-aluminium alloy could not be used. Instead, a new alloy was developed. The result was AA 7039 – an aluminum-zinc- magnesium alloy, which derived its strength from a precipitation hardening heat treatment. This finished aluminum alloy possesses a higher strength and better ballistic properties than AA 5083.
The Type 7039 alloy performed well against AP ammunition when compared to steel armour (RHA). For 14.5-mm ammunition, the advantages of using aluminum alloy over steel are more significant than what would be required to protect against the 7.62-mm ammunition. Yet with both types of ammunition, the disadvantage of using steel narrows as the angle of obliquity increases.
Alvis Stormer APC
In the 1970s a British Government research and development establishment built FV4333 armoured personnel carrier prototype using components of Alvis Scorpion CVR(T) range. Further development by Alvis resulted in Stormer which entered production in 1981 for export with three sold to USA for evaluation in Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) competition (subsequently won by Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada) and 25 to Malaysia, 12 of which had Helio FVT900 turret, 20mm Oerlikon Contraves cannon and 7.62mm MG and remaining vehicles had Thyssen Henschel TH-1 turret with twin 7.62mm MG. Late in 1986 British Army selected Stormer to mount Shorts Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) system. This has an unmanned turret with a total of eight Starstreak SAM in ready to launch position, four either side.
All versions have similar layout with driver front left, engine compartment right, troop compartment extending right to rear. Wide range of weapon stations for hull top including turrets with 7.62mm and 12.7mm MG, 20mm, 25mm or 30mm cannon up to 76mm or 90mm guns. Wide range of optional equipment including NBC system, night vision devices, flotation screen, firing ports/vision blocks, automatic transmission, land navigation system.
Alvis Striker SPATGW Vehicle
Striker was developed to meet requirements of British Army, Alvis being responsible for chassis and the now Matra BAe Dynamics for Swingfire ATGW missile system. First production vehicles delivered in 1975 and used in British Army service by Royal Armoured Corps. Striker (FV102) is member of the Scorpion family Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked).
Mounted roof rear is a launcher box for five wire-guided Matra BAe Dynamics Swingfire ATGWs with HEAT warhead and range of 4,000m. They can be launched from inside or outside vehicle with the aid of a separation sight and controller, in day and night conditions. When travelling, launcher box is horizontal but elevated to 35° prior to missile launch. After the five Swingfire ATGWs are fired new missiles must be loaded externally.
The flotation screen on the Alvis Striker has now been removed and the vehicle has been withdrawn from service with the Belgian Army.
Most of the British Army Alvis Striker vehicles have now been upgraded with the Swingfire Improve Guidance (SWIG) system, the actual missile and chassis have not been upgraded. The British Army did deploy two other systems with the Swingfire ATGW system, the Ferret Mk 5 and the FV438 based on the FV432 chassis, but both of these have been phased out of service.
Alvis Spartan APC
Alvis Spartan (FV103) is a member of Scorpion CVR(T) family and entered service with British Army in 1978 for specialised roles such as carrying Javelin SAM or Royal Engineer assault teams. It is not replacement for FV432 APC.
Driver sits front left, engine compartment to right, vehicle commander/7.62mm MG gunner to his rear and section commander, who dismounts with four infantry, right of vehicle commander. Troops in rear with two-part roof hatch opening left and right, no firing ports. Flotation screen can be fitted round top of hull which, when erected, makes Spartan fully amphibious, propelled by its tracks.
New production vehicles have a number of improvements including upgraded suspension and the option of the more fuel-efficient Perkins diesel engine which has already been installed in some export Scorpions. By 1999 total production of the Spartan APC amounted to over 960 vehicles for both home and export market.
The British Army did have some Spartans fitted with the twin turret but these have been phased out of service. Spartan can be adopted to take a wide range of other weapons including anti-tank guided missiles and various air defence weapons.