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FV101 Scorpion / Scorpion 90

The Scorpion was unusual for the time for a light tank, in being made of all-welded aluminium armour. The 76mm gun means it is powerfully armed for a reconnaissance vehicle and the all tracked design and high power/weight ratio give excellent speed and mobility. The downside is that the vehicle resembles a tank and there are always those tempted to use it as such. Scorpion was the flagship of the range which included Scimitar (turreted 30mm Rarden cannon), Spartan (APC), Sultan (command vehicle) and Samson (recovery). Scorpion itself went out of service in 1994 due at least partially to asbestos! However, turrets from Fox armoured cars, which had not been as successful, were mated with redundant Scorpion hulls to produce Sabre which has the same armament and is very similar to Scimitar.

In the late 1950s the British Army issued a requirement for an Armoured Reconnaissance vehicle. This role was eventually spilt into two and the resulting vehicles were the Fox armoured car and the Scorpion CVR(T) range of vehicles. (Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance, Tracked).

SCORPION LIGHT RECONNAISSANCE TANK was produced by Alvis in 1982. A whole family of light armored vehicles was developed on its chassis: the SCIMITAR cavalry vehicle, the STRIKER self-propelled launcher for the SWINGFIRE ATGM, the SPARTAN APC, the SULTAN command vehicle, SAMARITAN ambulance, and the SAMSON recovery vehicle.

The SCORPION light reconnaissance tank's armor is made from aluminum alloy. It protects the crew from small arms and artillery fragments. The engine and transmission are located in the front part of the vehicle. This tank has a 76-mm cannon and a coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun. The basic load principally consists of HE plastic rounds. For combat with light armor targets and personnel, there is a fragmentation round. To the right and left of the cannon, there are mounted two 3-tube grenade launchers. The commander's and gunner's positions are equipped with the necessary observation and sighting devices. For firing at night, there is a low-light sight.

A 6-cylinder carborated engine serves as the power source. The engine used in the Scorpion was the Jaguar XK petrol engine and the 76mm gun is a lighter version of the L5 used in the Saladin armoured car. Incidentally the Saladin series had been developed by Alvis as was this, its replacement. The transmission has seven gears for forward and reverse. The suspension is torsion bar with hydraulic shock absorbers on the front and rear road wheels. The tank crosses water obstacles using an individual swim system (movement in the water is accomplished by track movement.) The SCORPION is air transportable.

The Military Vehicles and Engineering Establishment (MVEE) of the British Ministry of Defense has made extensive use of test bed vehicles to explore new concepts. It has used them with positive results, they formed the first step in the development of new vehicles which were ultimately fielded. They have had negative results when they proved originally promising concepts were not worth developing beyond a certain point, and saved possible misapplication of effort and money.

The TV 15000 test bed built by MVEE was completed in 1964 . This vehicle served to establish the feasibility of a very light, aluminum-armored high-speed tank and led to the design of the current Scorpion light tank and its derivatives, including the Stormer, which was one of the contenders in the US Marine Corps Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) competition.

The Scorpion light tank weighs eight tons, has very low ground pressure, and can traverse even very boggy, restrictive terrain. Additionally, the Scorpion has a crew of three, aluminum armor, a full NBC system, and a 76mm main gun with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The main gun fires high-explosive squashhead (HESH), high-explosive (HE), canister, smoke, and illumination rounds, and the turret has a second generation day and night thermal sight.

The experiences of the British 2nd Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) in the Falkland Islands War of 1982 provides a perfect example that rapid deployment infantry must have armor support in order to ensure success in combat operations with low casualties. The battalion received support from a combined arms team including one troop of light armor, two Scorpions and two Scimitars. A total of four Scorpions, four Scimitars, and one Samson light recovery vehicle deployed to the Falklands. These vehicles proved to be perfect for the Falklands because they could deploy rapidly (two can fit on a C-130, but the Blues and Royals traveled by ship) and they were light enough to move on the islands and could be recovered easily so easily that when one hit a land mine during the final battle for Port Stanley, the vehicle was recovered by Chinook helicopter.

Light armored forces enable the rapid-deployment light infantry commander to easily mass overwhelming direct fires on any specific point or area target. This, in turn, allows the commander to retain freedom of maneuver. Additionally, light armored forces can be transported more easily than their heavy counterparts, and so cause little loss in operational or strategic mobility. Since the light infantry commander now has a way to readily achieve direct fire superiority, he has the ability to retain the offensive, and this allows him to keep his plan simple and flexible.

While not a new design, the highly successful Scorpion light tank fitted with 90mmgun and diesel engine makes a good choice for any-one seeking a small vehicle with high firepower. Another strong selling point is its range of associated vehicles troop carrier, command, and recovery based on common components. Here, Scorpion-sized Spartan-based types and the longer and wider Stormer series give two ranges of options. Scorpion 2000 is an over-haul and upgrade product that includes a new diesel engine, better sights, and a 90mm gun.

For the export market Alvis fitted a 90 mm Cockerill Mk III gun onto the Scorpion with. Almost identical to that fitted to the basic vehicle, the turret of the Scorpion 90 is designated the AC 90 and is. The COCKERILL Mk8 is a medium pressure 48.5 cal 90mm gun designed for vehicles in the 10t to 20t class. Firing high efficiency ammunition, it offers performances very close to the 105mm guns fitted on heavier vehicles. The turret is equipped with fully stabilised day/night (thermal) gunner sight with laser range finder and ballistic computer for firing on the move and at moving targets and a fully stabilised panoramic commander sight offering almost hunter-killer capability. A 7.62 mm machine gun is mounted coaxially to the left of the main armament. A range of four smoke grenades discharger are mounted to each side at the front of the turret.





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