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FV-703 Ferret
FV-712 Ferret
FV 711 Ferret

The Daimler Ferret is a British armored car first built in 1949, production finishing in 1971. The effectiveness of light, wheeled armored vehicles was first demonstrated by the British Army during World War II with the Daimler Scout Car. This small, two-man vehicle was armored all around but weighed only 2.8 metric tonnes (6,174 lbs) and proved very effective in a variety of reconnaissance and liaison roles. In the 1950s, the Daimler Scout Car has been replaced by a similar, but improved, vehicle called the Ferret.

The Ferret was widely used by the British Army in many different situations, from the fighting in Yemen, to patrolling more recently in Beirut as part of the Multi-National Peace-Keeping Force. Various models were produced, all manned by a crew of two. The early model Mk I was armed with a machine gun mounted on its open top. The Ferret Mk I was armed with a .30 cal Browning machine gun, a six cylinder Rolls Royce petrol motor, weighed 3.75 tons, could reach speeds of 60 mph and had a crew of two. By the Mk V the vehicle was fitted with a turret and could carry the Swingfire anti-tank missile. The Ferret has a top speed of 93 kmh and a range of 306 km.

During WW II, the idea of a light, wheeled vehicle for scouting, liaison and similar roles was taken up in the US and developed into the highly successful Jeep. Since then Jeep-type vehicles have been adopted throughout the world and their widespread use shows how much they were needed. However, for all their usefulness, Jeeps and their various derivatives, or successors, have been deficient in one very important respect - they were not armored. This made them vulnerable on the battlefield to rifle fire and in internal security missions to accurately thrown stones. As a result, Jeep-type vehicles are not as effective in many circumstances as a light, wheeled armored vehicle.

How effective light, wheeled armored vehicles can be was first demonstrated by the British Army during WW II with the Daimler Scout Car. This small, two-man vehicle was armored all around but weighed only 2.8 metric tonnes (6,174 lbs) and proved very effective in a variety of reconnaissanceand liaison roles. Ii the 1950s, the Daimler Scout Car was replaced by a similar, but improved, vehicle called the Ferret. This was widely used by the British Army in many different situations, from the fighting in South Yemen, to patrolling in Beirut as part of the Multi-National Peace-Keeping Force.

The armored car retained support, particularly due to its light weight, low noise signature, and fuel economy. This vehicle type was also considered easier to maintain and air transport, while its wheels permitted greater mobility on roads. Yet the technology of the day did not offer an effective means of matching a large caliber gun with a wheeled chassis. Research into a more effective armored car continued, and Canada and the United Kingdom were the leaders in this effort. But the British FV701 Ferret 4x4 light armored car plainly could not replace a light tank.

However, successful prototype vehicles are always modified which increases their weight and leads to even heavier follow-on types. For instance, theo riginal Willys Jeep had a curb weightof 2,203 lbs, but its present day successor, the M998 HMMWV, weighed 5,100lbs. Similarly, the 4.2-ton Ferret was followed by the 6.12-ton Fox. The latter is much more heavily armed with a 30-mm Rarden cannon, but it no longer enjoyed the advantages of small size and light weight of its predecessors and is not suitable for many of the roles which they fulfilled.

In the early 70s, Daimler developed the FOX wheeled 4x4 armored reconnaissancevehicle on the chassis of their earlier armored car, the FERRET. Successful prototype vehicles are always modified which increases their weight and leads to even heavier follow-on types. For instance, the original Willys Jeep had a curb weightof 2,203 Ibs, but its present day successor, the M998 HMMWV, weighs 5,100lbs. Similarly, the 4.2-ton Ferret was followed by the 6.12-ton Fox. The latter is much more heavily armed witha 30-mm Rarden cannon, but it no longer enjoys the advantages of small size and light weight of its predecessorsand is not suitable for many of the roles which they fulfilled. But the concept of the very light, wheeled armored vehicle has proven too successful to be abandoned. Thus, although the British failed to continue its development, the French Army did.





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