FV510 Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV)
The British Warrior Mechanized Combat Vehicle has proven a success since its inception in the 1980s.
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The Warrior is an infantry fighting vehicle currently in service with the armies of the United Kingdom and Kuwait. While the system can fall under a variety of classifications (Mechanized Combat Vehicle, Infantry Combat Vehicle) her role remains the same - to deliver or extract friendly infantry while providing armor protection and direct fire support. The Warrior is an adaptable and reliable platform that has since proven successful in military actions during the 1991 Gulf War, throughout the Bosnia and Kosovo conflict and, most recently, in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Needless to say, the Warrior has distinguished itself in many-an-action across mountainous, urban and desert terrains and has earned her stay in the ranks of the British Army.
Up to this point in history, armies made due with the new-found flexibility of tracked armored personnel carriers. These proved to be highly efficient machines that could traverse terrains on par with their tank brethren, allowing commanders to bring infantry forces up to front lines as needed. Tracked vehicles allowed for transport across terrains that were often inhospitable for wheeled vehicles and, prior to the age of the armored tracked carrier, armies relied heavily on military 6x6 wheeled trucks to flood troops into combat regions. While generally effective for their time, these wheeled systems were not well protected and proved ultimately limiting in cross country affairs.
The advent of the armored personnel carrier broadened the reach of any modern land army and now allowed troops to be brought to the front by some level of protection. However, within time, these light armored and armed vehicles began to also exhibit their inherent limitations as they became of little value once their infantry cargo had been dropped off. Dedicated armored personnel carriers lacked both the armor protection and firepower needed to participate in continuing to bring the fight directly to an enemy. Perhaps the best known of the Cold War-era APCs became the ubiquitous American M113, a boxy, tracked system design that went on to serve in the inventories of dozens of armies around the world. Similarly, the British developed their equally effective FV432 series APCs and now found themselves looking to the future.
At the end of the 1960s, the Fighting Vehicles and Engineering Establishment of Chertsey undertook a series of studies to determine the future of British Army needs - essentially looking to replace the aging FV432 series. On the wish list was a tracked vehicle protected over in Chobham armor, powered by a 750 diesel engine and fitting a 30mm autocannon in a fully traversing turret system. A fighting compartment for up to seven combat-ready troops would be integrated into the design and allow the new system the capability to release infantry into combat while also being able to engage foes with its own armament. Armor protection would be such that damage from indirect artillery spray could be weakened and the operating team and passengers would be wholly protected from small arms fire. The vehicle would have to be able to keep pace with the fast Challenger main battle tank series during all required British armor actions. The requirement evolved into General Staff Requirement 3533 and the ensuing competition saw GKN Sankey win with their proposal for the "Mechanized Combat Vehicle 80", otherwise designated as the "MCV-80".
MCV-80 pilot vehicles were made available in November of 1984 and trials proved the design sound. GKN then received funding for production to occur in batch deliveries to the British Army number some 1,000 total vehicles. However, defense budget limitations ultimately curtailed this total to less than and only 789 examples were completed in the end. The MCV-80 program then evolved to become the "FV510" and the name of "Warrior" was assigned in 1985. Production soon ramped up at the GKN facility out of Telford in 1986. GKN concentrated on the hull components and Vickers was responsible for the turret. Perkins supplied engines while various other subcontractors handled "lesser" components in the Warrior design. The first production vehicle was delivered in December of 1986 with the British Army formally declaring the system operational in 1988. Deliveries of the Warrior to the British military would continue up until 1995.
Kuwait became the only other notable operator of the Warrior when they placed an order for 254 examples in 1993. These were slightly different from the British versions in that they were modified for operations in desert environments as well as for Kuwaiti Army requirements. As such, these were known as "Desert Warriors" and deliveries of the type began in 1994. Desert Warriors were fitted with an American-based turret (same as on the LAV-25 wheeled APC) mounting a stabilized 25mm M242 Bushmaster chain gun as well as dual Hughes TOW anti-tank missile launchers mounted to either turret side. Close-in defense was handled by a coaxially mounted 7.62mm machine gun. Further qualities that differentiated the Desert Warrior from its original British form included an integrated air conditioning system, cabin firing ports (the British version lacks these) and a revised armor arrangement. The last Desert Warrior was delivered to the Kuwaiti Army in 1997 making her a relatively new and modern addition.