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Vickers Mk 3 Tank
United Kingdom

Vickers Mk 3 Tank

Nigerian Vickers Mk 3 Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
Vickers Mk 3 Tank
In Service
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The Vickers Mk 3 Tank was an export tank developed by UK defence company Vickers. It was the last commercially successful export tank for Vickers and was sold to three countries African countries where it is still in service. The Mk 3 featured improvements in mobility, protection and fire control systems compared to the earlier Vickers Mk 1.


The Vickers Mk 1 had been a highly successful export tank, with over 2000 vehicles being produced. The principal operator India, had pointed out a number of areas of the vehicle that needed improvements.

Vickers had had designed an improved vehicle, the Mk 2 but this didn’t make it off the design board. Development of the Mk 3 started in 1969. Retaining the Mk 1 hull, a new more powerful engine was fitted and a new turret with better protection, featuring improved Fire Control Systems was developed.


Still potent, the L7 105mm Rifled main gun was retained from the Mk 1. Detection and 1st hit probability of enemy vehicles was improved with new Fire Control Systems.

A EC620 gun control system was installed for stabilisation of the main gun for firing on the move and a Marconi SFC600 fire-control system with a laser range finder was fitted to handle all necessary targeting calculations before firing.

The new turret also gave improved depression and elevation of the main gun, which was an advantage for firing up and down slopped areas.

The Commander also has a traversable cupola fitted with a Pilkington PE Condor combined day/  night sight for added detection of targets in addition to the Gunner.


The new turret had a steel cast front, that was contoured for better protection against armour piercing and shape charged rounds. All the 105mm ammunition was stored below the turret ring to avoid cooking of should the turret be penetrated.

A bank of Smoke Grenade Launchers were fitted to the front of the turret on either side of the main gun to lay down a smoke screen to mask the vehicle.

Vickers offered an optional Nuclear Biological Chemical filtration system for the tank, but was never purchased.


Variants and Marks

Vickers Mk 3i

Vickers Mk 3i Tank
Vickers Mk 3i Tank

After its initial success, Vickers revisited the Mk 3 design in 1986 and implemented a number of improvements, hence the “I” in the designation. It featured a new upper glacis plate of the hull for improved levels of protection.

Whilst retaining the L7 105mm main gun, improvements were made in the overall levels of accuracy, rate of fire and firing on the move.

A new EFCS computerised Fire Control System was installed with a muzzle reference system, a new thermal sleeve for the main gun, EC 620 all electrical gun control system and dampers to some of the road wheels for a smoother, steadier platform.

The vehicles overall mobility was improved with a Perkins Engines CV12 TCE 850bhp diesel engine and T1200 transmission.

Vickers Mk 3M

Vickers Mk 3M Tank
Vickers Mk 3M Tank

A later proposed upgrade developed in 1996. Saw improvements of the Fire Control System and an Explosive Reactive Armour kit covering the turret and hull front and sides.

Vickers Mk 3 Eagle

The designation of Mk 3 in service with the Nigerian Army.

Vickers Mk 3 AVLB

The Mk 3 Armoured Vehicle Launching Bridge used the same hydraulic bridging mechanism as the Chieftains AVLB. This meant the Mk 3 AVLB could carry the No.9 tank bridge, which was cable of supporting 60+ tonne vehicles across a 12m wide gap.

Vickers Mk 3 ARV

The Armoured Recovery Vehicle variants could not only be used on the Mk 3 family but was capable of recovering armoured vehicle of up to 65 tonnes. It featured a recovery winch, front stabilization blade and crane for lifting powerpack’s, of which one spare one could be carried on the ARV’s engine decks.



38 tanks ordered in 1977 and delivered from 1979-1980 as well as 3 ARV variants. A second order was placed in 1978 with 38 more tanks and 4 ARV variants with deliveries completed from 1981-1982.


36 tanks, 6 AVLB and 5 ARV were ordered in 1981 and were delivered from 1983-1985. A second duplicate order was placed in 1985, with deliveries starting that year and completed the following year in 1986. The final order was for a total of 64 tanks placed in 1990. Deliveries ran from 1992 to 1994. Designated “Eagle” the tank has served in a number of conflicts and remains in service where its preferred by crews over Russian T-72M models.


4 ARV variant ordered in 1988 and delivered in 1989. They are used to support a number of Chinese light and medium tanks such as the Type 59.


Main Gun
105mm L7 Rifled
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x50 105mm, x2600 7.62mm, x700 .5ocal
720bhp Detroit Diesel Model 12V-71T
Top Road Speed
50 km/h
Road Range
490+ Km
Fuel Capacity
1000 Litres
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
7.56 m
Ground Clearance
38.7+ tonnes
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver