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Vickers Mk7 Main Battle Tank Egypt Trials
United Kingdom

Vickers Mk 7 Main Battle Tank

Vickers Mk7/2 Main Battle Tank, Vickers Mk 7 Main Battle Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
1985
Vickers Mk7 Main Battle Tank
Status
No Longer Marketed
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Introduction

The Vickers Mk 7 Main Battle Tank was a former 3rd generation MBT developed for the export market by the former UK Vickers Defence company. It was a hybrid tank using the former Vickers Mk4 Universal Turret and a Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank hull.The decision to use a Leopard 2 hull was a necessity to use an "off the shelf" hull following the Mk4's accident of rolling off its tank transporter and destroying the hull. The Mk4's mobility overall was not that great compared to other NATO Main Battle Tanks, which was rectified by the use of the Leopard 2 with its 1500hp engine.

Background

The former Vickers Mark 4 Main Battle Tank featured both the latest in hunter killer Fire Control System technology and Chobham armour for trials with the British Army as a possible contender for the replacement of Chieftain. It also performed a number of demonstrations and testing on the export market in the Middle East.

Vickers had developed the “Universal Turret” for the Mk4, which received significant investment from the companies providing the components for the Fire Control System.

Offering the latest in armoured protection and FCS with high levels of accuracy and hunter killer capability, the Mk4’s mobility was underpowered compared to other NATO Main Battle Tanks.

The Mk4 project had come to an end when the tank rolled off the side of its transporter and came to a stop on the turrets roof. Whilst the turret was recoverable, the hull was not.

With so much money tied up in the project, Vickers had to source a new “off the shelf” hull. With only the M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 being the only other two Main Battle Tanks, the Leopard 2 was the selected. The Leopard 2 also featured the 1500hp MTU diesel Engine offering a significant improvement in overall mobility.

Firepower

Main Gun Options

The Mk4 Universal Turret was designed to use both the British rifled 105mm L7 and rifled 120mm L11. Vickers marketing material for the Vickers Mk 7 no longer offers the L7. All marketing images show the Mk7 fitted with the L11, but does stipulate that it could be fitted with the either the Rheinmetall or Giat 120mm smoothbore.

Though this does not stipulate models, at the time Rheinmetall were only manufacturing the L44 and Giat the CN120-25. Its also not clear how the ammunition stowage would have worked, as both smoothbore used 1 part ammunition and the L11 used 3 part ammunition.

The main gun was fully stabilised (as were the sights) for accurate firing on the move during both the day and night-time.

Fire Control System

Gunners Sight – x10 with laser range finder
Philips Thermal Sight for Commander and Gunner
SFIM VS580 Commanders Panoramic Sight with laser range finder
Marconi digital balastic computer
Centaur Gun and Fire Control System

Protection

The Mk7 and Mk7/2 both use Chobham Composite Armour in modular boxes which are secured to the turrets front and sides. The Leopard 2A4 hull retains the smaller modular sections mounted on the sides at the front of the hull and hard steel plates over the frontal arc of the upper glacis.

The driver is off set to the right of the hull. It is not clear if the vehicle is fitted with an NBC filtration system and has smoke grenade launchers that could lay down a smoke screen to mask the vehicle.

Mobility

Using a Leopard 2A4 tank hull, the Mk7 has the same overall levels of mobility. It uses the same MTU 1500hp diesel engine, transmission and torsion bar suspension for a top road speed of 72km/h.

Variants and Marks

The Mark 7

Featuring the Mk4’s latest version of the Universal Turret. It could be easily identified by the smoke grenade launchers, which were mounted to the front of the turret. It had retained the same visible vertical lines of the turrets side modular armour.

The Mark 7/2

This Mk had seen changes to the front of the turret, which can be seen in the images above (Mk7/2 is outlined in green), the smoke grenade launchers have been moved to the rear of the turret on both sides and the lines of the turrets side modular armour are no longer visible.

 

Operators

The United Kingdom

As part of the Chieftain replacement project, The Vickers Mk7/2 was tested against the current (at the time) Challenger 1 and Chieftain, a Leopard 2A4 and M1A1 Abram. Testing included firing and mobility trials, which the Mk7/2 won with the best overall score. The British Army eventually went with the Vickers Challenger 2 design.

Egyptian Trials

In August 1985, the Mk7 was sent for trials in Egypt were it excelled in both firing trials and mobility trials in the hot desert environment.

Its not clear why the vehicle was not selected, but what is clear is that Egypt and the US (General Dynamics?) built “Tank Plant 200” in 1984 to repair and overhaul their M60A3 tanks, supplied in the early 1980’s. The plant (the biggest in the Middle-East) was given the green light to start assembling M1A1 Abram tank kits in 1986.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
120mm Rifled L11 Series / 120mm L44 Smoothbore / 120mm CN120-25 Smoothbore
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders 7.62.mm Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
?
Engine
MTU Mb 873 Diesel 1500hp
Transmission
Renk HSWL 354/3
Top Road Speed
72 km/h
Road Range
550km
Fuel Capacity
1200 litres
Vertical Obstacle
1.1m
Water Capability
1.7m
Trench Crossing
?
Gradient
60%
Side Slope
60%
Length Gun Forward
10.95m
Length Hull
7.72m
Width
3.42m (without armour)
Height
2.99m (top of commanders sight)
Ground Clearance
0.5m
Weight
54.6 Tonne Combat
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Modular
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver

References