Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (UK)

Armoured personnel carriers (APCs) did not enter service with the British Armed Forces in significant numbers until the beginning of the 1950s. The British Army had used a large number of Bren Gun Carriers during World War Two, but it wasn't until 1943 that giving armoured protection to infantry became widely accepted.
Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle (UK)
Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Even then, few vehicles were available such as the Kangaroo, a turret-less Sherman (Ram) tank and the American M3 half-track. A rethink after the war led to a priority being placed on armoured vehicles developed specifically for infantry protection. This led to the development of the FV603 Saracen (6x6) vehicle, the programme being given some urgency by the Malayan Emergency. It was actually a member of the FV600 series of fighting vehicles that included the FV601 Saladin (6x6) armoured car. In addition to the Saracen, the British Army deployed a large number of FV1611 Humber (4x4) APCs and a number of specialised variants. In the late 1950s, GKN was awarded a contract to built a number of unarmoured tracked vehicles for trials and testing, designated FV420.

This was followed by a contract to built a number of prototype and trials vehicles to develop the FV430 series of armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) in conjunction with the Royal Ordnance factories. GKN's Fighting Vehicle Development Division (FVDD) and the Royal Ordnance factories had completed this by 1961, and in 1962 the company was awarded the production contract with the first production vehicles of the FV432 APC being completed the following year. GKN also built the FV431 Light Tracked Load Carrier using the same basic chassis, and Vickers used many automotive components in the construction of the FV433 Abbot 105mm self-propelled gun (SPG). The FV432 fulfilled the same role as the FMC M113 did in the US Army and many specialised versions still exist in service today, their replacement being the multinational (UK-German-Dutch) Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle (MRAV) programme. The initial proposals for a future APC requirement were floated in 1967 and from 1968 until 1971, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) conducted in-house feasibility studies.

The original vehicle was quite large, heavy (30 tons) and well-armoured to give a high degree of battlefield survivability, but was abandoned for cost reasons. In 1972, Project Definition 1 (PD1) studies started with many UK manufacturers being invited to offer themselves as prime contractor. As a result, Vickers and GKN were selected to undertake competitive studies and at the end of the tendering process in 1976, the MoD decided that full responsibility should be invested with a prime contractor and it was decided that out of GKN and Vickers, GKN should be appointed. Full project definition work was carried out between 1977 and 1979 and full development work started in 1979, although there were evaluation studies of the American XM2 (which became the M2 Bradley) still being undertaken. The MCV-80 (as it had become known) was selected to meet the General Staff Requirement 3533, which stated that the vehicle had to have: A capacity for 10 men including the driver and gunner and their supplies; be mobile enough to keep pace with the Challenger 1; have protection against indirect artillery shell bursts and small arms fire and firepower in the light anti-armour, general support and air defence roles.

As GKN was prime contractor, it had full responsibility for making sure the programme could be managed to meet the production, budgetary and performance targets, ensure that a high degree of reliability could be built in to the vehicle and integration of design, development and production meant GKN could take advantage of concurrent engineering. GKN could also select hardware that gave the best value for money and held competitive tenders between many of the sub-system component suppliers to achieve this. In 1984, the MoD announced that GKN would be awarded the initial contract to build the initial twelve production vehicles but after that, future orders would be open to competitive tendering between GKN and other manufacturers. Four of the initial warriors were used in Exercise Lionheart in Germany to test whether they could keep pace with the Challenger. In November 1984 the MCV-80 was accepted into service into the British Army and named Warrior soon after. As a result of the competitive tendering, GKN won the contract for the second and third production batches which amounted to 1,053 vehicles, some 602 with the Rarden 30mm cannon, the rest without. This had been reduced from 1,900 in the 1981 Defence Review and would be reduced again under 'Options for Change' in the early 1990s to 789 and final deliveries took place in early 1995. GKN built the complete hull with the Rarden turret being supplied by Vickers and the powerpack from Perkins Engines, both ready to install. The first two battalions so equipped with Warriors were the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards and 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment in 1988.

The Warrior was designed to replace the FV432 APC in the thirteen mechanised infantry battalions of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Armoured Divisions of BAOR in West Germany. The period of transition would last from 1988 until 1994. Battalions that had received the Warrior would be known as Armoured Infantry, those still equipped with the FV432 would be known as Mechanised Infantry (Tracked) and those in the UK that still had Saxon (4x4) wheeled APCs would be known as Mechanised Infantry (Wheeled). All variants of the Warrior served in Desert Storm and were fitted with passive appliqué armour that was fixed to a frame on the sides and has also been used in Bosnia and is now a standard feature in wartime / high threat scenarios. The infantry battalions that were sent out there were increased in establishment to 875 men and 69 Warriors. These were the 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment, 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots and 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The Warriors achieved a 95 percent availability rate and while none fell victim to enemy action, three Warriors from the 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment were destroyed and nine soldiers killed when their vehicles were mistakenly attacked by American A-10 Thunderbolts firing Maverick missiles. The Warrior has also served with distinction in Bosnia-Herzcegovina and Kosovo. The hull of the Warrior is of all-welded aluminium construction with the driver on the front left who has a single piece hatch and a single wide-angle day periscope that can be replaced by an image intensification periscope at night. Warriors are now being retrofitted with the same hatch as supplied on the vehicles supplied to Kuwait, which has three day periscopes. The powerpack is to the right of the driver and consists of a Perkins Engines Company Condor CV-8 TCA diesel engine (550hp) and an automatic transmission with four forward and two reverse gears. The turret is a two-man design, all-steel construction, and seats the commander on the right and driver on the left. Both have the Pilkington Optronics Raven day/night sight with the day mode having a magnification of x 1 and x 8, whereas the night mode has x 2 and x 6. The turret mounts the 30mm L21A1 Rarden cannon, manufactured initially by British Manufacture and Research Company (BMARC) from 1985, but production is now in the hands of the BAE Systems RO Defence Facility, Nottingham with BMARC having been taken over by Royal Ordnance (now RO Defence), which then become part of British Aerospace (now BAE Systems). A 7.62mm L94A1 chain gun is mounted co-axially with the 30mm Rarden cannon. The troop compartment is to the rear of the hull and the infantry leaves via a single powered rear door (a change from the prototypes that featured two smaller rear doors) and have two periscopes in the hull roof. An NBC system comes as standard and is of an overpressure type.

The Warrior has six rubber coated road wheels and the suspension if of the torsion bar type. Dampers are fitted on the first, second and sixth road wheels. A new single pin track design has been developed for the Warrior by William Cook Defence designated TR30. Chubb Fire Security won the contract in 1986 to supply a Halon fire protection system. The MoD is considering whether to upgrade the Warrior (and Scimitars) with a new target acquisition sight and fire control system as part of the Battle Group Thermal Imaging (BGTI) programme. The British Army are also considering an upgrade programme to include the powerpack, turret and conversion of some Warriors to the cover part of the Armoured Battlefield Support Vehicle (ABSV) role. The British Army has a number of Warrior variants in service. These include the section vehicle (basic Warrior IFV), command vehicles (basic Warrior IFV with additional communications equipment), recovery vehicle (FV513 - crew of five, fitted with a crane that can lift a complete Challenger powerpack and armed with a turret mounted 7.62mm L94A1 chain gun). Also, there is a repair vehicle (FV512) and artillery observation vehicle (FV5114 - has a turret mounted dummy 30mm Rarden cannon and Pilkington Optronics Osprey combined day/thermal/laser system and the standard Raven day/night sight, Battlefield Artillery Target Engagement System (BATES) and Racal Manportable Surveillance and Target Acquisition Radar (MSTAR)). The other main variants are Desert Warrior and Arctic Warrior that have the Delco Defence Systems Operations two-man 25mm M242 cannon, 7.62mm chain gun and TOW anti-tank missile launchers either side of the turret, as well as modified engine and air conditioning systems. The single export customer so far has been the Kuwait Army, which ordered a slightly modified version of the Desert Warrior with the first vehicles being handed over in November 1994. Another variant was fitted with the Belgian Cockerill CM90 two-man turret mounting the Cockerill 90mm Mk 3 gun and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun in 1984. Finally, GKN Defence (now Alvis Vehicles) developed a variant of the Warrior in mid-1998 known as Warrior 2000 to meet the requirements of the Swiss Army who in the end chose the Hägglunds Vehicle CV 9030CH. Alvis (who now owns Hägglunds) is continuing to market the Warrior 2000. The vehicle is similar to the standard Warrior but incorporates changes such as:

A lengthened hull (230mm); stealth technology (smooth exterior to minimise radar signature); uprated Perkins engine (650hp giving 75kph maximum road speed); spaced armour; new track; Delco turret with Bushmaster II 30mm cannon and 7.5mm machine gun; digital fire control system; gunner's day/thermal sight with laser rangefinder; commander's camara mounted over main armament and video distribution system to provide images to the infantry section.

Hull length: 6.34m. Hull width: 3.03m. Height: 2.79m. Crew: 3+7. Ground Clearance: 0.49m. Weight: 28,000kg (combat) Ground pressure: 0.80kg/sq.cm Max speed: 75km/h. Max range (internal fuel): 660km on road. Armament: 30mm L21A1 Rarden cannon, 1 x 7.62mm L94A1 chain gun coaxial.

Foss, Christopher & Sarson, Peter. Warrior Mechanised Combat Vehicle 1987 - 1994, Osprey UK, 1994, London, New Vanguard Series No. 10.
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How to cite this article: Antill, P. (6 April 2001), Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicle, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_warrior.html

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