Although there was to be a Chieftain Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineer (FV4203) this never entered service. In 1986, the Engineer Workshops of 40 Army Engineer Support Group at Willich, Germany, converted 12 Chieftain gun tanks into Chieftain AVREs for use in BAOR.
The Chieftain AVREs produced at Willich were, however, considered to be interim vehicles and late in 1989 Vickers Defence Systems at Newcastle-upon-Tyne was awarded a contract by the UK MoD for the design, development and conversion of 48 Chieftain gun tanks into Chieftain Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers. The 48 vehicle contract covered two prototype vehicles and 46 production vehicles (one batch of 30 and one of 16).
First two prototypes were completed in 1991 with production running through to late 1994. Conversion work was undertaken by Vickers Defence Systems at Leeds using Chieftain MBT chassis provided from Army stocks.
Production Chieftain AVREs have a new superstructure, a winch with a capacity of 10 tonnes at the hull rear, an ATLAS hydraulic crane and top-mounted hampers on which the engineer equipment is carried.
Main roles of the Chieftain AVRE can be summarised as:
(1) Mineclearing using the Track Width Mine Plough or Giant Viper rocket-propelled system
(2) Laying Class 60 aluminium trackway
(3) Removing battlefield obstacles using a front-mounted Combat Dozer Blade or crane
(4) Filling in ditches using the Combat Dozer Blade or plastic pipe fascines.