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Alvis FV101 Scorpion

Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle

United Kingdom | 1973

"The Alvis FV101 Scorpion Light Tank has proven itself a complete battlefield package."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/02/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
During the 1960s, the British Army adopted a tracked family concept under the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance, Tracked (CVR-T) name which begat an entire lineup of light-class systems all manufactured under the Alvis Vehicles Limited brand label. One of these products became the Scorpion Light Tank intended for fast, armed reconnaissance and featuring a minimal crew of three. The Scorpion entered service with the British Army in 1973 and was in active use until 1993 with some 3,000 examples being delivered. Combat history included the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, the Falklands War of 1982 and the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Operators eventually grew out of the UK (1,500 tanks) to include Belgium, Chile, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand and Venezuela among others. While no longer in active service with the British, the tank can still be found in the inventories of foreign powers.

The Scorpion is a 9-ton vehicle utilizing a track-over-wheel arrangement that sees five road wheels to each hull side. The drive sprocket is forward with the track idler at rear and no track return rollers are implemented. Dimensions include a length of 17.4 feet, a width of 7 feet and a height of 7 feet making her a most combat battlefield system. Indeed, she was designed for air transport in the belly of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules in pairs. Her crew of three includes the driver, commander and gunner. The driver sits in the hull at front-left with the powerpack to his right. The remaining two crew reside in the 360-traversable turret found along the aft section of the hull superstructure. Armor protection is against heavy small arms fire (12.7mm) and of welded aluminum. The vehicle is amphibious by design, requiring some preparation by the crew by way of raising a floatation screen prior to entry into a water source. An NBC kit (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) is standard.

As a light tank, the Scorpion was modestly armed with a Royal Ordnance Factory series 76mm L23A1 main gun - these later upgraded in the "Scorpion 90 / Scorpion II" mark with a Cockerill Mk III M-A1 90mm main gun to make the light tank more of a battlefield threat. A coaxial 7.62mm L43A1 machine gun was part of the turret armament. An optional 7.62mm could be fitted at one of the turret roof hatches. Eight smoke grenade dischargers (four in two banks) are located to either frontal side of the turret. Original Scorpion turrets made their way onto Canadian MOWAG Piranha 6x6 vehicles to be reborn as the "Cougar".

Power to the vehicle is served through a Cummins BTA diesel-fueled engine of 190 horsepower mated to a David Brown TN15 series transmission system. Suspension is via a torsion bar arrangement. Overall, the Scorpion can reach road speeds of 45 miles per hour and operational ranges out to 470 miles. Originally, the design carried a Jaguar J60 gasoline-fueled engine.

British Scorpions saw combat service during the 1982 Falklands War and the 1991 Persian Gulf War where its speed and fire support capabilities were put to excellent use.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Alvis FV101 Scorpion Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle.
1 x Jaguar J60 (later replaced by Cummins diesel-fueled engine) 6-cylinder gasoline-fueled engine developing 190 horsepower at 4,750rpm driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
50 mph
81 kph
Road Speed
400 miles
644 km
The physical qualities of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle.
15.7 ft
4.79 meters
O/A Length
7.3 ft
2.23 meters
O/A Width
6.9 ft
2.1 meters
O/A Height
17,798 lb
8,073 kg | 8.9 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle.
1 x 76mm Royal Ordnance Factory main gun (early) OR 1 x 90mm Cockerill main gun (late).
1 x 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
1 x 7.62mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) machine gun (optional).
2 x 4 smoke grenade dischargers.
40 x 76mm projectiles.
3,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
8 x Smoke Grenades.
Nightvision - YES.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear Protection (CBRN) - YES.
Notable series variants as part of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion family line.
FV101 "Scorpion" - Base Series Designation; originally armed with 76mm main gun; early forms installed Jaguar powerplant while later forms utilized Cummins diesel engines.
"Scorpion 90 / Scorpion II" - Outfitted with long-barreled 90mm Cockerill Mk III M-A1 main gun.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Alvis FV101 Scorpion. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 3,000 Units

Contractor(s): Alvis Vehicles, Coventry, UK
National flag of Belgium National flag of Chile National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iran National flag of Ireland National flag of Jordan National flag of Malaysia National flag of Nigeria National flag of Oman National flag of the Philippines National flag of Spain National flag of Tanzania National flag of Thailand National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of Venezuela

[ Belgium; Botswana; Brunei; Chile; Honduras; Indonesia; Iran; Ireland; Jordan; Malaysia; Nigeria; Oman; Philippines; Spain; Tanzania; Thailand; Togo; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; Venezuela ]
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Image of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion
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Image of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion
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Image of the Alvis FV101 Scorpion
Image courtesy of the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Alvis FV101 Scorpion Light Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle appears in the following collections:
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