Steel Aces

Play for Free Tank MMO

Patreon

Support The Site

Vickers Mk4 Header
United Kingdom

Vickers Mk4 Valiant

Vickers Mk4 Valiant Main Battle Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
1980
Vickers Mk4 Header
Status
Former Prototype
Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Table of Contents

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

Introduction

The Vickers Mk4 Main Battle Tank is a former prototype, with a somewhat colourful history. It was trialled initially in the UK as a replacement to the Chieftain and in the Middle East, with its turret later appearing on the Brazilian EE T1 tank and Vickers Mk7 after the Mk4 suffered an accident.

Initially fitted with the L7 105mm rifled main gun, this was later changed to the 120mm rifled L11, resulting in visible changes to the front of the turret.

Background

Vickers Mk4 Valiant Tank early turret
Vickers Mk4 Valiant Tank early turret

By the mid 1970’s, the British had developed a new composite armour called “Chobham” and were looking for a replacement to the Chieftain that could fitted with this new armour.

Experienced tank manufacturer Vickers, started on the development of a new Main Battle Tank that not only featured Chobham armour over the frontal arc, but had add-on modules containing Chobham armour along the hull and turret side.

The initial design of the tank started in 1977, with Vickers having a working prototype ready for trials in 1980 with the British Army. This initial turret is recognisable by the fume extractor of the L7 105mm rifled main gun, single cast bank of smoke grenade launchers used on Chieftain, narrow gun mantle with a lip of the turret and single drivers periscope.

The initial turret was reworked in 1981 and designated “the universal turret”.  Up-gunned with the rifled 120mm L11 main gun, Vickers secured project funding from a number of companies who contributed to the 3rd Generation, Hunter Killer Fire Control Systems.

The Mk4 Valiant exceeded the armies Chieftain replacement requirements in terms of production and firepower, especially its exceptional Hunter Killer Fire Control System (though typically the mobility was slightly lacking). It also performed a tour of several Middle East countries in the hope of attracting international clients, but with little success.

During a freak accident, the Valiant slipped of its tank transporter and rolled on to its turret top, ending its development as a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank. But this wasn’t the end of Valiant. See Variants below.

Firepower

The Universal Turret featured the same L11 series, 120mm rifled main gun as used on both the Chieftain and Challenger 1 Main Battle Tanks. To attract international sales, it could also use the L7 105mm main gun and the new at the time L44 120mm smoothbore.

The Universal Turret featured the latest in electronic Fire Control System technology at the time. The main gun and sights were stabilised for accurate firing whilst on the move as well as thermal imaging for detecting in all weather conditions and at night. Most importantly it featured a Commanders Independent Sight with laser range finder for a Hunter Killer Capability.

Fire Control System components:

  • Marconi Radar UK – Main gun stabilization and Centaur 1 fire control.
  • Societe de Fabrication d’Instruments de Mesure – Panoramic stabilized commander’s sight.
  • Philips and Odelft – Panoramic stabilized thermal imager.
  • Simrad – Laser range finders.

Protection

Chobham armour (the name of the town in was developed in) is a composite armour, meaning a composition of different hardened materials in layers. What made Chobham armour so special was not only the composition of materials used, but the bonding process and matrix it was attached too, which insured a constant tension and helped shatter the rods of Armour Piercing rounds.

Composite armour can only be used on flat surfaces as it cannot be contoured or fixed to curved surfaces like those of the Chieftains turret, hence a requirement for a new tank.

In Valiant’s case, the Chobham armour was installed across the upper front of the hull and turret as well as bolt-on modules along the hull and turret sides. The modules sizes and weight were designed so they could be replaced by just two crew man.

Valiant was also fitted with an NBC filtration system for the crew, which was mounted on the rear of the Universal Turret and had an internal fire suppression system.

Mobility

The Valiant was initially powered by a 900hp GM Detroit 12V71T diesel engine, which was later replaced with the Rolls Royce CV12TCA Condor diesel engine and was governed to 1,000 hp. The engine bay was reportedly large enough to to install the German 1500hp MTU Euro power pack.

The TN12-1000 transmission was an automatic, with 6 forward and 2 reverse gears. The Valiant retained a torsion bar suspension system similar to older Vickers tanks rather than adopting hydra-gas like the Challenger 1.

Variants and Marks

The only recoverable element of Valiant’s accident was its “Universal Turret”, which went on to be used in two separate tank projects:

  1. The Vickers Mk7 Main Battle Tank – The Mk7 was a hybrid of  the Vickers Universal Turret and the German Leopard 2 tank hull, which uses a 1500hp diesel MTU engine, which provided the Mk7 with a greater level of mobility compared to the Mk4.
  2. The Brazilian EE-T1 Main Battle Tank – Vickers re-purposed the Universal Turret and sold it to the Brazilian manufacturer Engesa as a new turret design for the companies EE-T1 Main Battle Tank. Engesa had secured a deal with Saudi Arabia for the EE-T1. However, the deal fell through after the 1991 Guld War when they decided to buy the American M1A1 Main Battle Tank instead.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
L7 105mm Rifled / L11 120mm Rifled / L44 120mm Smoothbore
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders 7.62.mm Machine Gun, Commanders 7.62.mm Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x44, 120mm rounds (L11)
Engine
CV12TCA Condor 1000hp Diesel
Transmission
TN12-1000 Automatic, 6 forward, 2 reverse gears
Top Road Speed
51 km/h+ depending on engine
Road Range
?
Fuel Capacity
?
Vertical Obstacle
?
Water Capability
?
Trench Crossing
?
Gradient
?
Side Slope
?
Length Gun Forward
9.53m (L7 105mm main gun mounted)
Length Hull
7.51m
Width
3.3m (without hull Chobham armour modules)
Height
2.64m (top of turret)
Ground Clearance
0.5m
Weight
46+ tonne with module armour
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Composite, Modular
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver

References