Throughout the Cold War decades, the British utilized a variety of armored cars for reconnaissance, scouting and security. One such product became the Daimler "Ferret" Armored Car, a 3.7 ton vehicle crew by two and minimally armed through a single 7.62mm or 0.30 caliber machine gun. Power was served through a Rolls-Royce B60 I6 gasoline-fueled engine outputting 130 horsepower. The vehicle was fully suspended for cross-country travel with power driven to all four wheel systems. Operational ranges reached 190 miles with a peak road speed of 58 miles per hour. The Ferret found widespread popularity in the foreign market, taken on in number by some thirty nations.
Design work on the diminutive car began in 1949. Having found success with previous Daimler armored cars during World War 2, the British Army once again looked to the local concern for its next product. A machine gun turret was made optional and steel used throughout a majority of the vehicle's construction. The "run-flat" tires were held at the extreme corners of the chassis for maximum balance in turns and running on uneven terrain. Smoke grenade dischargers allowed the crew to generate their own smoke screen as needed - the crew numbering two and made up of a driver and commander. The fighting compartment was a good portion of the internal volume of the front and middle of the hull with the engine kept separate in a compartment at the rear. Vision ports were assigned to all panels of the upper hull superstructure to improve situational awareness for the crew. Its profile was purposely low and the vehicle quite robust for the role ahead. It was also of compact dimensions which made transportation easier - dimensions included a length of 12 feet, a width of 6 feet and a height of 6 feet.
The Ferret was produced in many variants beyond the original turret-less Ferret Mk I. The Mk I/I featured improved armor protection and an amphibious quality while the Mk I/II had a fixed turret emplacement with hinged roof door and added a third crewmember to the mix. The Mk II was given the Alvis Saracen turret and armed with a 0.30 cal Browning machine gun and the Mk II/I were Mk I models brought up to the Mk II standard. The Mk II/II had a three-door turret and the follow-up Mk II/III had improved armor protection. The Mk II/IV was given welded-on applique armor plates for even more added protection and the Mk II/V was the Mk I with the applique armor. The Mk II/VI was an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) carrier while the Mk II/VII was the Mk II/VI sans the missile launcher. The Mk III was given better armor protection, a reinforced suspension system, larger road wheels and a flotation screen for amphibious operations. The Mk IV became a reconnaissance-minded vehicle with the Saracen turret and included Mk II/III marks brought up to this new standard. The Mk V mounted the Swingfire Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) as well as the L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG).
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Daimler - UK Manufacturer(s)
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