MANUFACTURER(S): Alvis - UK
OPERATORS: United Kingdom
LENGTH: 15.75 feet (4.8 meters)
WIDTH: 7.22 feet (2.2 meters)
HEIGHT: 7.22 feet (2.2 meters)
WEIGHT: 9 Tons (8,100 kilograms; 17,857 pounds)
ENGINE: 1 x Cummins BTA 5.9 diesel engine developing 190 horsepower to drive a conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
SPEED: 50 miles-per-hour (80 kilometers-per-hour)
RANGE: 472 miles (760 kilometers)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Alvis Sabre Reconnaissance Light Tank.
Entry last updated on 3/22/2019.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The Alvis FV107 "Scimitar" light tank proved itself a fairly successful light armored reconnaissance vehicle to the point that the British Army took on a stock of some 325 total units and several hundred more were produced for export to Belgium, Honduras, and Jordan. With available examples of the Alvis "Fox" Armored Car and Alvis "Scorpion" Light Tank, it was decided to mate the two key components of each vehicle to produce a Scimitar-like, budget-conscious alternative which became the Alvis "Sabre" reconnaissance light tank.
The Sabre was a relatively simple mating of the Fox armored car turret with the hull of the Scorpion to produce the new vehicle. The Sabre retained its reconnaissance-minded classification and was armed with the 30mm L21 RARDEN autocannon in a 360-degree traversing turret structure set over the rear of the Scorpion tracked hull. The operating crew numbered three and included the driver, seated front-left in the hull, with the commander and gunner in the turret. The engine was fitted to the front of the vehicle and the running gear remained largely faithful to that as found in the Scorpion design: five double-tired road wheels to each hull side with front-mounted drive sprockets and rear-mounted track idlers. Cross-country travel was aided by a torsion bar suspension system and road speeds reached 50 miles per hour. A 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) was fitted as a coaxial anti-infantry weapon. The vehicle carried 160 x 30mm projectiles in both AP (Armor-Piercing) and HE (High-Explosive) varieties. 3,000 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition was carried.
The Sabre was introduced in 1995 and, in practice, the vehicle proved successful enough to the service that required a fast, lightly armored reconnaissance platform. Actions in active warzones showcased some inherent limitations in the initial offering and these were rectified over time: crew survivability was aided by the installation of 2 x 4 smoke grenade discharger banks to either side of the main gun for the vehicle to provide their own smoke screens. The original 7.62mm belt-fed GPMG fitting was replaced by a more effective 7.62mm L94A1 chain gun system with improved reloading.
Sabres were retired from frontline service with the British Army in 2004. Combat actions ranged from the Gulf War region to the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.
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